Jon Cruddas MP Opposition to ULEZ

Jon speaking
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Jon Cruddas MP Opposition to ULEZ

In just two weeks, on 29 August, the Ultra Low Emission Zone will be extended to cover my constituency of Dagenham & Rainham. I have been clear in my opposition to this policy since the expansion was announced and continue to lobby against it.

I understand the pressing need to improve air quality and public health, which is why I have consistently campaigned against waste incineration and fought to clean up Launder’s Lane – two very real threats to human health across the south of my constituency. The Government needs to do more and is ducking its responsibilities to keep the air clean instead of just forcing mayors and councillors to fix a national problem.

This scheme is yet another unwelcome hit on working people in areas like ours. The Tories have crashed our economy leaving thousands of people struggling to put food on the table and heat their homes, and against this backdrop those same people will now struggle to get to work.

With City Hall unwilling to back down and reconsider the ULEZ expansion I have been non-partisan in my representations. The scrappage scheme has been improved and extended it’s a step in the right direction but the Mayor needs to keep listening and assessing the impacts on business and low paid workers in outer London. That is why I signed a cross-party letter on behalf of the Federation of Small Business and have made several public statements about the potential this has to damage the London economy.

I have always strived to ensure that the voice of ordinary working people in Dagenham & Rainham is heard at all levels of the political process. When I retire at the next election I know Labour at a parliamentary level, representing local people, will continue to stand up for what is right here – following my lead on controversial issues such as the ULEZ expansion.

The bottom line is that this should have been delayed until we were on the other side of the cost-of-living crisis. Dagenham & Rainham is home to many low-income workers who rely on their personal vehicles. The public transport infrastructure just isn’t there to support this policy – and with no SuperLoop bus offer and little else by way of investment it doesn’t appear to be on the way in areas like ours. Telling people to buy a new vehicle, forcing them to give up their jobs, potentially isolating elderly and vulnerable people who rely on family visits is beyond the pale.