Green London mayoral candidate Zoë Garbett pledges cheaper TfL travel and better deals for renters

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Zoë Garbett has pledged to hold a consultation on pay-per-mile road charging to create a “better and fairer” deal for motorists.

The Green Party’s mayoral candidate launched her campaign this week promising cheaper travel and a better deal for renters in London.

Zoë Garbett has pledged to hold a consultation on road pricing to create a “better and fairer” deal for charging motorists in the capital.

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She vowed to extend free peak travel to older people and free school meals to secondary school pupils.

Speaking at the Canal Club Community Centre in Bethnal Green on Tuesday, the Hackney Councillor criticised Labour and Conservatives for “letting London down”.

Addressing the crowd she said: “As a councillor in Hackney, I know how unaffordable this city has become. As a renter, I know how insecure it can feel.

“Low-paid work forces people to skip meals, and schools are closing because families can’t afford to live here. We have to do better – and we can.”

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Green Party mayoral candidate Zoë Garbett at her campaign launchGreen Party mayoral candidate Zoë Garbett at her campaign launch
Green Party mayoral candidate Zoë Garbett at her campaign launch | Green Party

Road-pricing plan

Ms Garbett said there needs to be a fairer system which charges motorists the more they drove, and takes into account time, distance and emissions.

“We know that the congestion charge is outdated. It's about sitting down and looking at all those different charges and how it might work differently,” Ms Garbett told LondonWorld.

“I think the current charge is quite unfair. You can go a short distance and be charged quite a lot and it seems to be charging a few people a lot rather than really looking at everything that we should take into account. 

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“So the weight of the vehicle, the damage it might do to the road, the time of day, the location, how frequently and how often people use their cars. 

“This would be very much a conversation with Londoners setting that out in the first year and hopefully bringing in a change by the end of the first term if that’s what Londoners want.”

Private renters

Ms Garbett has pledged to set up a rent commission to get a better deal for renters.

“I’m a private renter in London and I know how insecure it can feel, and I hear from other private renters who don’t even want to complain about repairs because they’re worried about their rent going up or being evicted,” she said.

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“I think that’s terrible. I want to look at that balance and make sure that renters have got more power and more voice. One of the things I want to set about doing is I want to set up a rent commission which would look at putting forward a case for rent controls so the mayor of London needs the power to do that.”

Ms Garbett argued that setting up a rent commission now would put forward a “stronger case” to gain powers from the government to freeze rents and then eventually bring them down.

More affordable London

Ms Garbett says she is concerned about the number of people being priced out of London and says she would do everything in the mayor’s control to make the capital as affordable as possible.

“One of the biggest things we can do is to make Transport for London more affordable. Cities across Europe have much cheaper transport systems but we need more government funding to do that for everyone,” she told LondonWorld.

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Ms Garbett has pledged to reduce transport costs, by extending free bus travel to under 22s, providing free bus travel to people seeking asylum and reinstating free pre-9am travel for Freedom Pass and 60+ Oyster card holders.

The candidate argued that freezing fares, as Labour mayor Sadiq Khan has done for single pay-as-you-go journeys, “isn’t enough”, and that she would “work to bring down the cost of fares across our city”.

She said she would extend Mr Khan’s free school meal programme to cover secondary schools as well as primaries, “so no child is hungry”.

The Greens have increased their vote share at every election since the mayoralty’s creation in 2000. In 2012’s contest, they overtook the Liberal Democrats to come third – a position they have retained ever since.

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Mr Khan and Tory candidate Susan Hall have both said the election is a “two horse race” between each other, with the Labour mayor recently penning a “love letter” to Green and Lib Dem voters to “lend” him their support.

According to the latest poll, Mr Khan is on track to receive 51% of the vote, with Ms Hall trailing on 27%. The poll, conducted by Savanta, had the Lib Dems’ Rob Blackie at 10%, followed by Ms Garbett at 8% and Reform UK’s Howard Cox at 2%.

The London mayoral election is on May 2, along with elections to the London Assembly. Voters are reminded they need photo ID following the introduction of new legislation.

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