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Sadiq Khan 'depriving vital services of money' to 'buy votes' in 'bumper election year spend' Susan Hall claims
22 January 2024, 09:38 | Updated: 22 January 2024, 09:50
Susan Hall accuses Sadiq Khan of 'depriving vital services of money' so he can 'buy votes'
Conservative candidate for the Mayor of London has accused Sadiq Khan of underfunding vital services to enable him to fund a bumper election year spend and win a historic third term.
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Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, during a regular 'Call Hall' segment, the Tory mayoral hopeful Susan Hall said: "He's spent seven years saying he's got no money, that he's underfunded. And yet, suddenly he's got money to do a fare freeze. Oh, guess why? There's an election coming."
The freeze will apply to pay-as-you-go fares for bus, Tube, DLR and tram journeys, and the majority of those fares for London Overground and Elizabeth line trips.
Mr Khan said this will be paid for by allocating £123 million of Greater London Authority funding.
Ms Hall went on to tell LBC, that current mayor Sadiq Khan would "find other monies for all sorts of other things, it's because there's an election coming."
She then went on to accuse the Mayor of "depriving" vital services to ensure he can have a "bumper year now" just before the election, to "buy the votes."
"For the last seven years, he's been depriving various vital services of money, and I would suggest definitely the police, in order that he can have a bumper year now, just before an election, and buy the votes quite frankly," Ms Hall told LBC.
Mr Khan has been the Labour mayor of London since 2016 and has made key decisions over the £30 million spent on ending the Tube strike as well as blocking the Stratford MSG Sphere and rolling out the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) in parts of the capital.
Conservative politicians previously criticised Mr Khan for freezing fares for the first four years after he was elected in May 2016, claiming this damaged TfL's finances and contributed to the transport body being reliant on Government bailouts following the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Khan has insisted the need for funding was caused by the collapse in revenue from the drop in passenger numbers due to the virus crisis.
City Hall said an example of the benefits of the freeze include someone commuting from Hornchurch to a central London station five days a week avoiding a potential 20p increase to their fare, saving up to £90 a year.
By contrast, the Government set a cap of 4.9% for rises in regulated fares on mainline train services in England from March 3.
City Hall calculated that TfL fares will be 14% lower this year than if they had risen in line with England's rail fares since 2016.
Mr Khan said: "While people across the country face another hike in their rail fares, I simply wasn't prepared to stand by and see TfL customers face a similar hike.
"This is the fifth fares freeze I've done since becoming mayor, making transport in our city 21% cheaper than it would have been had fares risen by inflation.
"This shows that whenever I can freeze fares, I do so.
"As we continue building a fairer, greener and more prosperous London for everyone, making public transport more affordable and appealing will continue to be a key part of my plan."
The election will be held on Thursday, May 2, simultaneously with elections to the London Assembly and local elections.
Mayoral elections are traditionally held every four years. However, voters last went to the polls in 2021 rather than 2020 as the election was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It will be the first time the election uses the first-past-the-post system. Previously, it relied on the supplementary vote system.
- LBC has approached Sadiq Khan for comment