Social work road rage

There is much to be said in favour of congestion charges to reduce
the traffic flow into central London: safer roads, less pollution,
and shorter journey times for those who continue to drive, whether
as a privilege or out of necessity.

And, make no mistake, for the majority who could equally well use
public transport, it is a privilege. If the scheme meets its target
of 15 per cent fewer cars on the road, it may even be worth putting
up with the fact that those who can afford to pay the £5 daily
fee will be precisely those with the biggest cars belching out the
most exhaust fumes.

But it is a great pity that Transport for London, which manages the
mayor’s transport strategy, has ignored one group for whom car
travel in central London is often less a privilege than a duty –
social workers.

No one will ask fire, police and ambulance crews to fork out a
fiver every time they drive through the charge zone and the same
quite rightly goes for disabled drivers, but social workers who
need to use a car as part of their job may find that they have to

If Transport for London stands by this grossly unfair decision, the
eight social services departments within the charging zone will
find it even more difficult to recruit the staff they so
desperately need.

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