The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is warning the Government that the level of savings being demanded of Transport for London will mean a fifth of the capital’s bus services will be cut.
A letter from Mr Khan to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has been published which says that the cuts demanded are “significantly beyond” what is achievable without “massively damaging TfL and reducing the quality and affordability of transport services at the worst possible time”.
Mr Khan writes, “One of my biggest concerns about the proposed settlement is the new demand that TfL must raise an additional £0.5-£1.0 billion of revenue per year from April 2023. There are very few options for raising this level of new revenue, let alone within such a short timeframe. TfL has calculated that it would require at least one of the following policies to raise £500m a year: an extension to the Congestion Charge zone to the North and South circular; year on year fares increases of 17 per cent; the introduction of a Greater London Boundary charge for cars entering London; a £130-165 Council Tax increase on Band D properties.
“If you wish London to raise such a sum from within current powers, the Government must be honest with Londoners and outline which of the above options you want to force London to implement just as we are seeking to recover from this pandemic. None of them are desirable, nor is it acceptable to impose them on Londoners. That’s why I believe the Government and City Hall must work together to identify alternative appropriate sources of funding so that London can take responsibility for funding its transport network in a way that is fair to Londoners and the country.”
Mr Khan concludes: “The future of TfL, and the future of our great capital city, is far too important to be treated as a political football. I know we both want to agree on a settlement to ensure TfL can continue to run essential transport services in the short-term at this vital time, but I will have to be honest about all the implications of what you are proposing to force upon the country’s capital.”
Read the full letter here.
(Picture – Highways News)