Mayor says he 'wouldn't support' current Government conditions for TfL bailout

16 October 2020, 13:23 | Updated: 16 October 2020, 13:30

By Kate Buck

Sadiq Khan has told LBC he "wouldn't support" current Government conditions for a billion pound bailout fo London's struggling transport network.

TfL has fallen into a financial blackhole during the coronavirus pandemic, with footfall crashing 90 per cent as Londoners have heeded advice to work from home to try and reduce the spread of coronavirus.

It has been reported that conditions being imposed in exchange for the much needed cash injection would involve a fare hike and free travel being taken away from the under 18s and pensioners.

But speaking to LBC's James O'Brien during Speak to Sadiq, the London Mayor said that these would be measures he "wouldn't support" and aired his frustration that a deal has not been reached sooner.

Although he refused to be drawn on the exact details,, he did say that reports of rises in fares and the halting of free travel for the under 16s and retired were a "fair reflection" of what is being discussed.

"I don't think you should punish Londoners for doing the right thing or adding conditions to us that you don't attach to others," he said.

"Ive been quite clear, taking away free travel for the under 18s is not something that I would support and so its really important that the government works with us, its in both of out interests to get TfL running"

Sadiq Khan says he wouldn't support current measures
Sadiq Khan says he wouldn't support current measures. Picture: LBC

A grant was given in May to keep the capital's transport afloat, but that money runs out on Saturday and there are fears if it's not given again then the services for Londoners will be reduced.

"I'm annoyed that it's taken us until this week to get into proper negotiations. We were ready earlier to negotiate a new deal. I said back in May that the deal we had for six months was a sticking plaster," he told James.

"We need a sustainable deal, bearing in mind for the foreseeable future we will not see five million journeys on our tube or five and a half million on our buses.

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"I'm hoping the Government does right by Londoners who by the way have done the right thing by following the rules.

"I'm not someone who goes round regularly saying that London contributes far more to our country's prosperity than they give to us, and for the government to be saying they don't think London's transport authority should be subsidised by the government doesn't reflect the facts.

"The facts are that the government gave the privatised train operating companies 18 months worth of grants without strings attached, yet they're saying to TfL well give you a six month deal with strings attached were now negotiating for the remaining part of this year and hopefully next year as well."

Watch the full exchange at the top of this page.