Talks are ongoing in pursuit of a new package of Government funding support to Transport for London amid warnings that failure to reach an agreement could cost the capital over £12Bn in economic losses over the next decade.
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TfL’s previous Covid emergency funding deal ran out on Friday last week but was extended by a further seven days while discussions continue with the Department for Transport.
In an update to Parliament on Monday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Department received a letter from London’s Mayor last week providing information on how TfL will raise new income of up to £1Bn, in line with the previous emergency settlement.
“Government requires further clarification on these proposals,” he said, by a deadline of today. “Should sufficient information be received, work on an extended further settlement will continue to support the capital and its transport network,” said the Transport Secretary.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has warned that without fresh funding support Transport for London’s network will be forced to enter a state of ‘managed decline’, with major economic consequences for the capital.
This would be expected to involve cuts to public transport provision, including an 18% reduction in bus services and a 9% reduction to Tube services. Such a scenario would also constrain capital investment, resulting in major infrastructure schemes being cancelled or delayed including a signalling upgrade to the Piccadilly Line and the Bakerloo line extension.
“There will be knock on effects in nearly every area of the capital’s economy if the Government fails to properly fund TfL,” the Mayor warned. “I continue to urge the Government to step up negotiations so we can save London’s transport network, and with it the economic recovery in the capital and wider country.”
It is also said that failure to strike a deal would hamper efforts to reduce carbon emissions and could result in a car led recovery from the pandemic in the capital.
Think tank Centre for London’s chief executive Nick Bowes said: “Slashing investment in London’s transport network system is not the way to go – it may look like an attractive way to save money, but instead stores up even more problems down the line.
“It is critical that the Government and the Mayor come to an agreement as soon as possible.”
TfL seeks operational support from the Government through to the end of the current financial year and says around £1.2Bn will be needed covering 2022/23.
A TfL spokesman said: “We continue to discuss our funding requirements with the Government. 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. We hope the discussions can be successfully concluded soon.”
(Photograph: Alastair Lloyd)
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