Transport for London given 10-day government funding extension

18 May 2021, 13:45

Transport for London has received extended financial support after huge losses during the pandemic
Transport for London has received extended financial support after huge losses during the pandemic. Picture: PA

By Emma Soteriou

Transport for London (TfL) has received a 10-day extension of its government-funded bailout while negotiations continue for a long-term deal.

It means public transport in the capital will still be able to run until 28 May.

TfL suffered a heavy financial loss in 2020 due to a drop in passenger numbers during the coronavirus pandemic, meaning it had to turn to the government for £3 billion in emergency funding.

A TfL spokesman said: "We continue to discuss our funding requirements with the government and hope these discussions can be concluded successfully soon, to enable a strong and robust recovery from the pandemic.

"We have today agreed with the government that our existing funding agreement will be extended until Friday 28 May so that these constructive discussions can be concluded."

Read more: TfL accepts government's seven-week bailout

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Labour’s London Assembly Transport Spokesperson, Elly Baker AM, said: “The government knows that a fair deal for TfL is crucial - not just for London’s economic recovery, but that of the whole country.

“Since its fares revenue plummeted by 90 per cent when the pandemic first hit, passenger numbers have struggled to recover and this has had far-reaching consequences for TfL’s financial future.

"It is important to remember that before the Covid-19 outbreak, the mayor had slashed TfL’s operating deficit by 71 per cent and increased its cash reserves by 13 per cent.

“A clear case has been put to ministers that TfL needs a multi-year emergency funding settlement to not only keep transport services running, but to also safeguard jobs and the future of key infrastructure projects.

“Short-term, sticking-plaster agreements with any number of strings attached simply won’t do. The government must use the next ten days to come to the table with TfL and the mayor to offer long-term support”.

Boris Johnson accused Mayor of London Sadiq Khan of "blowing" finances through the "irresponsible fares policy", but TfL insists it was on its way to financial self-sufficiency prior to the pandemic.

A Department for Transport (DfT) spokesman said: "We continue to discuss any further funding requirements with TfL and the mayor, and all additional funding provided will continue to move TfL onto a more financially sustainable footing."

DfT figures show that the number of passengers on the Tube last week were at 35 per cent and buses at 60 per cent compared to levels pre-pandemic.