Image above: The Palaestra Building – TfL’s HQ
10% reduction in Tube services likely
Transport for London’s funding from the Government to keep transport running in London has been extended yet again, after negotiations were unable to agree a formal settlement by today’s (Friday 24 June) deadline.
The Department for Transport’s fourth funding settlement of the pandemic, which took government support to £5 billion, ended on Friday. According to a letter seen by the Evening Standard, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has extended the current package for two-and-a-half weeks, until 13 July.
Sadiq Khan has warned “massive” cuts to London Underground and bus services are “imminent” as the government’s temporary funding for Transport for London draws to a close and negotiations between the mayor and the Department for Transport collapsed.
The London mayor says that without a long-term funding plan, Londoners will see a 10% reduction in Underground services, equivalent to an entire Tube line, and the loss of more than 100 bus routes.
On Thursday The London Assembly has today amended a motion at Mayor’s Question Time to call on the Government to provide a fair and sustainable funding settlement for TfL.
Image above: City Hall home of the London Assembly
Signifiant cuts to tube and bus services likely without long-term funding
Elly Baker AM, who proposed the amended motion in the London Assembly said:
“With just over 24 hours to go until the deadline, it is both very concerning and disappointing that the Government has not yet put a funding deal on the table for TfL to consider.
“Over the last few years, there has been an overwhelming chorus of calls for ministers to provide TfL with a fair and long-term funding deal coming out the pandemic.
“Without this and with any further delay, we will see significant cuts to tube and bus services and key infrastructure projects being shelved.
“Londoners are already seeing the impact of this and simply can’t afford another short-term, sticking plaster deal”.
Short-term bail outs unsustainable, says Sadiq Khan
Speaking at a TfL bus garage in East Ham on Thursday, Mr Khan said:
“More short-term extensions with no promise of any additional long-term funding simply doesn’t cut it.”
“For months now, I’ve been asking to start constructive negotiations with ministers so that we can agree to a fair and sustainable funding deal for TfL,” Mr Khan said.
“We’ve had zero engagement from the Transport Secretary, and we’ve yet to see any proposals for a long-term funding deal.”
He said TfL has been left with no choice but to begin “imminent” preparations for a state of managed decline.
“Time is running out and that is why I am once again urging the government to meet with me so that we can finally agree a sustainable, long-term funding deal that will protect not only London’s economic recovery, but that of the whole country,” Mr Khan added.
Transport Secretary accuses Mayor of “burying his head in the sand”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps accused the mayor of “burying his head in the sand” and not providing “vital evidence required to progress talks”.
He said DfT officials have met TfL on a regular basis to try and agree the deal and “to suggest anything else is simply not true”.
Mr Shapps later posted a letter to Mr Khan on Twitter, in which he accused the mayor of “untrue” statements and a campaign of “scaremongering and threats”.
Among his suggestions for TfL to save money were introducing more bus priority measures and reforming pensions. He said that the government would be open to a longer-term commitment to funding on the condition of a “reset of the relationship” with City Hall.
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