Boris Johnson yesterday imposed huge rises in bus and Tube fares and a 25 per cent increase to the congestion charge. The Mayor of London explained that the measures were necessary to plug a £3.2bn "black hole" in the transport budget. But what does this mean for London's SMEs?
"It’s another nail in the coffin for small businesses locating themselves in central London," says Huddle.net co-founder Alastair Mitchell. "London is already one of the most expensive cities in the world to do business, and transport costs in the UK are generally hundreds of per cent higher than on continental Europe or in the US."
Mitesh Soma, founder of £20m-turnover online pharmacy ChemistDirect.co.uk, agrees that the hikes are a nightmare for SMEs but doesn't believe the Mayor had any other option. "Boris Johnson is stuck between a rock and a hard place," he says. "While there seems to be no other alternative to raise funds to pay for the capital’s crumbling transport network, small businesses will be rightly angry as these fare increases come at a time when we should be trying to entice people to work."
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