Reintroducing the London Lorry Control Scheme and raising the London Congestion Charge is a “sucker punch” to the logistics sector, FTA said today.

The association is calling for freight to be exempt from schemes such as the Congestion Charge as the sector strives to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

Natalie Chapman, FTA head of urban policy, accused local and national politicians of abandoning the sector.

“It appears that politicians at a national and local level have all forgotten the vital role which logistics workers have played in keeping our cities and businesses stocked with everything they need.

“The latest round of punitive taxes, re-imposed with little or no notice on those working hard to keep the country trading, totally ignore the work of our sector, and feel like a sucker punch to businesses which have themselves felt the impact of the outbreak on their trading performance.”

She added: “Rather than reintroducing the London Lorry Control Scheme and putting the London Congestion Charge back into action overnight, at an inflated price and for longer hours, surely our politicians should be working to assist the businesses in their area to continue working as the economy cranks back to life?

Chapman also questioned the timing of the reintroduction of the schemes.

“In our opinion, freight should be exempt from schemes such as the Congestion Charge, and should certainly not be fighting above inflation price increases brought in at the eleventh hour – there is little alternative to road access to supply the capital and other big cities with the products and services its businesses need to kickstart their recovery.

“This is simply a stealth tax on those who only weeks ago were deemed ‘essential’ to the country’s recovery – how quickly they forget.”

The FTA said it has written to London mayor Sadiq Khan to express the disappointment of its members at the reintroduction and extension of the London Congestion Charge but said it has not yet received a response.