TfL accepts Government seven-week bailout

22 March 2021, 11:46

TfL has accepted a Government offer (Pictured is London mayor Sadiq Khan)
TfL has accepted a Government offer (Pictured is London mayor Sadiq Khan). Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Transport for London (TfL) has accepted the Government's offer to extend its bailout by seven weeks, despite calling for a long-term deal.

This agreement secures the continuation of public transport in the capital until May 18.

The collapse in passenger numbers during the coronavirus pandemic has decimated TfL's finances, leading it to require Government funding to keep services running.

A £1.6 billion bailout was agreed in May 2020, followed by a £1.8 billion deal in November which was due to expire on March 31.

Read more: Government struggling to defend six-month extension to lockdown powers

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who chairs TfL, said: "This seven-week extension will enable TfL to carry on running the safe, reliable and frequent services that will be vital as lockdown restrictions begin to ease.

"These discussions will continue as it is essential that TfL has further financial support and a long-term capital funding deal that will allow it to support a strong and robust recovery for London and the UK."

Boris Johnson Receives The AstraZeneca Vaccine
Boris Johnson Receives The AstraZeneca Vaccine. Picture: Getty

Business leaders and trade unions expressed frustration last week at the duration of the package being offered by the Government.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "The Government is committed to supporting London's transport network through the pandemic and has already provided more than £3 billion in emergency funding to TfL.

"The road map set out by the Prime Minister to cautiously and safely reopen society and our economy means we can better understand the potential recovery in passenger demand, ensuring we deliver a sensible and appropriate deal in the future.

"The Government and the mayor of London have therefore agreed to roll over the existing funding deal for TfL until May 18 on the same terms as now, providing certainty over the pre-election period."

The London mayoral election takes place on May 6.