Friday, 6 Dec 2019

‘NOT EXEMPT!’ Anger after embassies stack up £119million in unpaid motoring charges

A grand total of £118.5million has been revealed in motoring and car parking charges owed from embassies and foreign diplomats, the Mail Online reports. British allies America owes the most, with Japan coming in second owning £8.6million, followed closely by Nigeria with just one £7million. Russia owes £5.7million, China owes £5.2million and Poland owes £4.4million.

In eighth place is Germany with an outstanding bill of £4.3million, and the EU power state is followed closely by Ghana with a £4million total.

Last on the list is Kazakstan, which owes £3.4million.

Perhaps most infuriating is that the UK remains unlikely to ever see a penny of this money which is owed in parking-related penalty charge notices (PCNs) and unpaid Congestion Charge Zone (CCZ) fees.

This is due to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, a controversial agreement that means diplomats are immune from having to pay taxes in the countries hosting them.

This agreement was a highly contested UN legislation signed by the UK that means embassies do not legally have to pay up.

Transport for London (TfL) challenges this because the outstanding amount represents significant lost revenue which by law has to re-invest earnings into the City’s transport systems as part of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Transport Strategy.

TfL made £155.9million from congestion charge payments and fines last year, to put the figure into perspective.

TfL’s general manager for road user charging Paul Cowperthwaite said the company continue to request payment from diplomats.

He said: “We are clear that the Congestion Charge is a charge for a service and not a tax. This means that foreign diplomats are not exempt from paying it.

“We continue to pursue all unpaid Congestion Charge fees and related penalty charge notices.”

The US is the worst offender in parking and congestion charges.

The country owes £3,765 in unpaid parking tickets alone.

Nigeria owes the highest amount for unpaid parking tickets, with a Freedom of Information request finding the sum to be a staggering £272,740.

Figures were collected up the end of the year 2017.

Source: Read Full Article

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