There’s been a bit of a stand-off between Boris and the Americans for some time now. You see, the Yanks owe London Â£5.5 million in unpaid congestion charges, a fee which most other embassies pay without fuss. However, the Americans believe the Congestion Charge to be a ‘tax’ and so they argue that they’re exempt from paying it.
It was handy, therefore, that Boris got the chance this week got to ask the main man to raise the issue. The Mayor met Barack Obama as part of his visit to the UK and the Guardian reports that ‘Boris last night kept his promise to ask the US president to get his embassy to cough up that Â£5.5 million its diplomats owe we Londoners. Full details of Obama’s response have yet to be extracted, but I was told that he remembered Boris writing in support of his candidacy for the White House.’
While the Americans maintain that they don’t have to pay a local tax, Boris apparently ‘told Obama that UK diplomats pay bridge tolls in the US, so his guys in London should pay our C-charge in the same spirit.’
Quite whether anything will come of it is debatable, but the newspaper was pleased that Bozza had been brave enough to tackle the issue. ‘Visitors who avoid paying it are being mean and ungracious guests’ reported the Guardian, although you’d have to think they weren’t *exactly* the words that Bozza used to address the President….