James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Sadiq Khan brands Government "outrageous" for offering TfL a bad deal during a crisis
18 May 2020, 16:21
Sadiq Khan told LBC the Government was "outrageous" for offering TfL a bad deal when bailing them out during a crisis.
Transport for London was forced to turn to the government for a £1.6 billion bailout after they lost 90% of their income during the pandemic, Sadiq Khan told LBC.
The Mayor of London said there were conditions of the Government's bailout deal, including a reimposing of the congestion charge, a halt on free travel for children and the charging of over-60s to travel at peak times.
He told Shelagh he accepted this because the alternative was a significantly reduced transport service and admitted this was a "bad deal."
"I had two choices: accept this bad deal...or have to service notice and cut hugely tube services, bus services, tram services, and overground at a time when we should be trying to increase them," he said.
Shelagh asked: "You believe the government has been punitive in this instance in the middle of a pandemic to you and forced your hand on this?"
"I think the government has been outrageous," Mr Khan said, "we TfL are the only transport authority of a capital city in the Western world that does not get an operating grant from central government."
This means TfL are only able to operate from the fares they get in, the congestion charges and the advertising.
"The government asked us to encourage people not to use public transport and then they said by the way if we're going to support you financially, these are the strings attached."
Mr Khan said it would be "just perverse" if this was a political punishment for him freezing travel fares.
He responded to Tory Shaun Bailey's accusation that he has put four years of poor wealth management on to the British people: "I've brought the deficit down, I've increased our cash balances, I've frozen TfL fares."