Sadiq Khan condemns draconian conditions of TfL rescue

Sadiq Khan condemns draconian conditions of TfL rescue

New government funding proposals for Transport for London (TfL) are “ill advised and draconian”, according to Sadiq Khan.

The mayor of London said ministers aim to impose a “triple whammy” of measures in return for rescue funding to cover the losses incurred through Covid-19.

The proposals include higher council taxes, an expanded congestion charge zone and a hike in Tube and bus fares.

The Department for Transport said talks over a settlement are ongoing.

TfL bosses have asked for a £5.7bn package to prop up services for the next 18 months, after passenger numbers and revenues plummeted in the aftermath the March lockdown.

In May, the government granted TfL £1.6bn in emergency funding to keep services running.

Then on Friday, a last-minute extension of that bailout was secured to cover another two weeks.

As part of the package of new measures, according to Mr Kahn’s office, ministers want to:

Union leaders have criticised the proposals, with some highlighting what they say is a discrepancy in the government’s treatment of private rail companies and TfL.

Manuel Cortes, TSSA general secretary, said: “This punishment of Londoners and TfL is nakedly political from the Tories.

“They were only too happy to prop up failing private train operators, but when it comes to our country’s transport success story they won’t provide the funds needed.”

Mr Khan has also called for the government to publish in full a review of TfL’s finances, which he said has only been shared with redactions.

The mayor said the government’s proposals “would hit Londoners with a triple whammy of higher costs at a time when so many people are already facing hardship”.

“The government should be supporting Londoners through this difficult time – not making ill-advised and draconian proposals.

“Ministers already forced TfL to bring forward proposals to increase the cost and hours of the congestion charge in May – now they want to expand it to cover four million more Londoners.

“They also want to significantly increase fares in London and hit all Londoners with a regressive new tax.

“I have been ready to talk with government about how the necessary funds can be raised – but a proposal which singles out Londoners for punishment is completely unacceptable, as well as making no economic sense.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “We have agreed an extension to the support period and to roll over unspent funding from the Transport for London Extraordinary Funding Agreement, allowing further time for negotiations for a new settlement.

“These discussions will ensure London has a safe, reliable network. It would be inappropriate to disclose further details at this stage.”

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