Crisis-hit TfL gets seven weeks' more funding – as Khan accuses govt of 'managed decline'

17 December 2021, 19:13

Sadiq Khan said TfL is 'having to plan on the basis of a managed decline of the capital’s public transport network'.
Sadiq Khan said TfL is 'having to plan on the basis of a managed decline of the capital’s public transport network'. Picture: Getty

By James Morris

Crisis-hit Transport for London (TfL) has been given a seven-week funding extension by the government – two days after Sadiq Khan announced plans to raise council tax in the capital.

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TfL continues to endure a financial crisis, exacerbated by the Covid pandemic.

Its previous funding agreement with the government expired today, but TfL – which London mayor Mr Khan chairs – announced it has now received support through to 4 February.

But Mr Khan responded by saying "nothing has changed", accusing the government of risking "a managed decline" of London's transport network.

(The video above is from 30 November.)

The mayor said: "The Covid pandemic is the only reason TfL is facing a financial crisis, and it’s clear the pandemic is far from over. The government’s short-term deals are trapping TfL on life support, rather than putting it on a path to long-term sustainability."

Andy Byford, London’s transport commissioner, said TfL is "grateful" but added: "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 therefore essential that discussions with government continue so that we can agree 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."

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On Wednesday, Mr Khan had said that in order to raise funds for TfL, he was planning to raise the mayor’s office’s share of council tax by an average of £20 per property, as well as reduce free travel for over-60s.

He accused the government of "holding London to ransom".

Transport secretary Grant Shapps hit back in his tweeted announcement of the funding tonight, claiming Mr Khan’s income proposals for TfL were three weeks overdue.

"I’ve agreed an extension of the current settlement until 4 February for further work to be done on them," Mr Shapps said.