Construction bodies and firms across Britain join in fight against levy, but Ken Livingstone is unmoved.
Trade body Scottish Building this week backed Building's Chop the Charge campaign. It is lobbying to win contractors in Edinburgh an exemption from a congestion levy that could soon be imposed in the city.

Dozens of Building readers have written in to support the campaign to persuade London mayor Ken Livingstone to grant contractors an exemption from the charge in the capital.

When asked about Building's campaign, Livingstone said he did not believe the industry had a strong enough case for an exemption.

He said: "Low-paid workers might be slightly higher up the list for exemptions than the construction industry. I'm sure £5 a day might be bearable for their balance sheets."

Scottish Building secretary Bill Goodall said he was fully behind the campaign. He said Edinburgh council had agreed in principle to introduce congestion charging and that he would lobby for construction firms to be exempted. Goodall added that contractors in Edinburgh were monitoring reaction to the charge in London.

He said: "We are certainly aware of the potential impact and costs that congestion charging would have on firms, so we have to move to try to reduce the negative effects."

He added that the charge ought to be designed so that it penalised commuters rather than the construction industry.

The industry is having enough difficulty in retaining labour – the charge will drive more labour away

David Wren, contractor Claydon Associates

Building readers have applauded the Chop the Charge campaign, launched last week.

John Sayer, managing director of refurbishment contractor R Richardson, said his suppliers had taken advantage of the congestion charge to increase prices.

He said: "Some suppliers are taking advantage of the charge with a £10 per skip increase, ignoring the fact that one £5 fee will cover probably six return journeys a day."

David Wren, a director at contractor Claydon Associates, said the charge would place more pressure on contractors working in the capital.