A new ambassadorial broom in the US embassy is continuing to sweep aside the bill for unpaid congestion charge which now totals £3.5m.
What with a change in administration, both across the pond and in Grosvenor Square, Boris Johnson may have been hoping that the 'special relationship' might extend to settling the outstanding sum. Not so. The Americans insist that they won't cough up, despite the Mayor waving a fruitless ASBO threat at them last year.
'The US government's position is that this a tax and therefore is prohibited by various treaties,' said a spokesman for the US embassy dashing Boris's hopes for a boost to the London coffers.
It's not just the US embassy with short arms and long pockets either; Russia and Japan are close runners in the leaderboard owing £1.8m and £1.7m respectively while the Polish embassy have clocked up a peanut-like £540,000 in comparison. Still, it's not all bad news according to TfL who say that three quarters of foreign embassies don't take the US line that the c-charge as a tax and do actually pay their bills.
Poor old Boris, as if friendly fire with the Tories wasn't enough, he's also engaging in battle over the proposed new US embassy building in Battersea along with the long-running congestion charge saga. He's said to be 'deeply disappointed' about the US's failure to change their policy which is a step down from last year's 'fury' but still unlikely to guilt-trip the ambassador.