Great Reset U-Turn: Labour Party to Ditch National Car Emissions Tax Zones Scheme

Protesters against the expansion of London's Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) stand holding
Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images

Sir Keir Starmer’s left-wing Labour Party has reportedly abandoned plans to impose so-called “clean air zones” that would slap drivers with emissions taxes in localities throughout the country.

Following steep public backlash and a disastrous by-election result attributed to anger over leftist London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s widely despised plan to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) car tax scheme to all of London, the Labour Party has reportedly scrapped plans to campaign on bringing the Great Reset-style scheme to the rest of the country.

While the party had included a pledge to support “clean air zones” in its draft report at Labour’s National Policy Forum — which will serve as the basis for the party’s election manifesto — it has now removed the text, according to The Telegraph.

The original text stated: “Labour supports the principle of clean air zones and recognises the huge damage to human health caused by air pollution and the damage to our climate caused by carbon emissions from polluting vehicles.

“However, they must be phased in carefully, mindful of the impacts on small businesses and low-paid workers, and should be accompanied with a just transition plan to enable people to switch affordably to low-emission vehicles.”

Yet, a photograph seen by The Telegraph reportedly shows that this paragraph has been removed. It comes as Labour suffered a shock defeat in the Uxbridge by-election in North London after it was predicted to safely pick up former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s seat in the parliament.

The defeat has been attributed to the unpopularity of Sadiq Khan’s plans to expand the ULEZ scheme to all 33 boroughs of London later this month, at which point average drivers will be required to pay between £12.50 to £27.50 per day if they drive in the city, with exceptions carved out for supposedly “greener” vehicles such as hybrids and electric cars. The plans have caused outrage among blue-collar workers who need to drive in and out of the city in order to put food on the table.

Following the by-election loss, Sir Keir Starmer appeared to want to distance himself and the party — which is currently predicted to take the reigns of power from the Tories after next year’s general election — from the anti-car agenda of Khan.

“That result in Uxbridge demonstrates there is never any reason to be complacent and never a reason to rest on our laurels. It is reminder that in an election, policy matters… We are doing something very wrong if policies put forward by the Labour Party end up on each and every Tory leaflet,” he said.

A Labour Party source confirmed the u-turn on the policy, saying: “Clean air zones are Conservative government policy. The Tories are the ones who have pushed councils to introduce them. Labour is not in favour of extra burdens on drivers during a Tory-made cost of living crisis.

“Labour’s priority is growing the economy to improve living standards and tackle the cost of living crisis.”

However, others are less convinced that the left-wing party will maintain such a position if they are given power by the people, with Conservative London Assembly Member Susan Hall, who will challenge Sadiq Khan in next year’s London mayoral election, saying: “Everyone knows Labour won’t stop with Sadiq Khan’s Ulez expansion, no matter what they say.”

“[Deputy leader] Angela Rayner has admitted that she wants to see Ulez schemes all over the country. Sadiq Khan’s tax will punish poorer families who rely on their cars, and Keir Starmer was too weak to tell him to stop. That is why we must stop them both at the ballot box in 2024.”

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