Transport for London Bill slammed by RMT as multi-billion pound rip off

 
James Nickerson
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The TfL Bill has its third reading tonight (Source: Getty)

The RMT union has slammed the Transport for London Bill as a "multi-billion pound rip off" ahead its third reading in parliament tonight.

The bill was introduced to help TfL maximise profits that it makes from developing its property. It aims to allow TfL power to enter into partnerships with property developers to generating cash in the longer term.

However, in the aftermath of the Panama papers, the RMT said it is a "multi-billion pound rip off tailored yet again to the tax-dodging, global super-rich.”

"The wholesale withdrawal of central government financial support for TfL is forcing it to risk its assets in complex property gambles no matter how dodgy and no matter what the real cost to Londoners," RMT secretary general Mick Cash said.

"The construction firms with which TfL plans to engage, are running rings around TfL, helping the hapless organisation offload its prime London assets at well below the market rate.

"We have no confidence in TfL to be able to secure a fair price for its land – and our concerns are borne out by its dreadful governance failures in relation to the development of Earls Court."

The union said it had undertaken further investigation into how TfL was persuaded to engage in the development of the Earls Court site – the model for future TfL development. After an examination of Capco’s (the property developer behind Earls Court construction) annual report, new concerns have arisen.

Specifically, RMT says that it believes that it could give away its assets too cheaply and too riskily.

"There is a fresh financial crisis brewing – meaning that there is an increased risk of corporate defaults – especially in the over-leveraged property sector. TfL is entering the property development game at precisely the wrong moment and in precisely the wrong way," it said.

Back in February TfL announced property partners, including Taylor Wimpey, Land Securities and Berkeley Group, aiming to develop TfL owned sites and produce new homes along with commercial premises.

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