Transport for London are hurtling towards another financial crisis as an emergency funding package handed to them by the Government expires this weekend.
Last week on Friday (10 December), the Government agreed to extend its financial support TfL for another week, with discussions about ongoing funding for the transport network to continue.
On 1 June 2021, TfL announced that an extraordinary funding and financing support package had been agreed between TfL and the DfT to support transport services in London and contribute towards TfL’s forecast revenue loss due to reduced passenger numbers using TfL services as a result of the pandemic. The Funding Package provided support for the period from 29 May 2021 to 11 December 2021.
The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, is under pressure to act swiftly to help TfL, in light of the huge losses it faces as Omicron deters passengers. There were about 500,000 fewer Tube journeys by 10.00am on Monday morning (13 December) after the Government’s guidance to work from home kicked in.
Mr Shapps said:
“We have thus far supported London with over £4 billion funding and will make sure services are protected whilst work on the next settlement is underway.”
‘There is no UK recovery from the pandemic without a London recovery’, says TfL
TfL says that if a comprehensive funding package cannot be agreed upon then significant cuts to the capital’s transport services. The Mayor said in November that 100 bus routes are likely to go and 200 more are likely to have the frequency of the services reduced. Older Tube trains and diesel buses, which were scheduled for replacement, will be kept in service and plans for new pedestrian and cycle safety schemes will be scrapped.
TfL is seeking £500m for the remainder of the current financial year, £1.1bn for 2022/23 and between £400m to £500m for the two subsequent financial years – plus guarantees on long-term capital funding to maintain and upgrade the capital’s transport infrastructure.
A TfL spokesperson said:
“We continue to discuss our funding requirements with the Government, who have today indicated their intention to extend our funding support for TfL through until 17 December 2021.
“There is no UK recovery from the pandemic without a London recovery and there is no London recovery without a properly funded transport network in the capital. We hope the discussions can be successfully concluded soon.”
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