The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has criticised the Government over an emergency funding deal for Transport for London (TfL) which has only been extended by two-and-a-half weeks.
The Government has said it will continue its emergency funding of TfL, a model put in place during the pandemic, until July 13, with the capital’s transport future funding structure hanging in the balance.
A letter from Grant Shapps, transport secretary, sent to the mayor last Friday said that negotiations between the Government and TfL needed a “reset of the relationship”.
Government revenue funding since May 2020 totals almost £5bn, Mr Shapps said, which makes TfL the largest single recipient of pandemic support across the transport sector.
But Mr Khan said the Government will bring “managed decline” across the network if it fails to commit to a long term funding plan.
When TfL secured its latest funding deal in February this year, one of the Government’s conditions was for TfL to achieve £400m in “revenue sources or cost savings initiatives”.
The mayor of London said of the latest funding extension: “The Government has only given TfL another short-term extension – of just a matter of weeks – to the current emergency funding deal. This is no way to treat Londoners and the transport network they rely upon.
“The pandemic is the only reason TfL is facing a financial crisis. If the Government continues to refuse to properly fund TfL as we desperately need, TfL will be have no choice but to put our transport network into managed decline.
“This would mean almost one in five bus services being axed and cuts to London Underground services of nearly 10 per cent – the equivalent of closing an entire Tube line.”
TfL has proposed cutting a swathe of bus services across London in a bid to come up with the savings the Government requested.
In his letter, Mr Shapps accused the mayor of using the bus services as a “political weapon” to secure a long-term funding deal.
A Transport for London (TfL) spokesman said: “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.
“It is essential London receives the sustained long-term Government funding that is vital for the coming years if a period of ‘managed decline’ of London’s transport network is to be avoided.”
Grant Shapps said: “This is just another misleading claim from the Mayor as he continues to bury his head in the sand and avoid taking responsibility for his own actions.
“After committing to explore a long-term settlement in February, TfL and the Mayor agreed to provide information that would sufficiently demonstrate that conditions outlined in the current settlement are on track.
“Despite the Mayor repeatedly calling on the Government to deliver a long-term deal he has once again failed to fulfil his side of the bargain and provide the vital evidence required to progress talks.”
Pictured: Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (Picture: PA)
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