Retail Property - City shops may seek rate cuts on back of c-charge

London Mayor Ken Livingstone's congestion charges could be costing the city dearly.

According to Dolf Darnton, head of the retail division at solicitors Osborne Clarke, many London retailers will seek a reduction in business rates because of the fall in shoppers, who shy away from London because of c-charges.

'A number of stores are already demanding partial rate reductions following September 11, which drastically reduced the number of overseas visitors,' said Darnton.

'A far larger proportion will be claiming for loss of custom because of car-borne shoppers avoiding the capital.'

Although the c-charge has caused a drop of about 50,000 cars a day, the anticipated income to fund other key transport projects is nowhere near as high as expected. Instead of creating a surplus of£200 million, the charge has earned only£68 million.