Sadiq Khan's TfL business plan will "leave the books resolutely unbalanced"

 
Rebecca Smith
"The business plan of a one-term mayor," Prince said of Khan's plan (Source: Getty)

The mayor's Transport for London (TfL) business plan has only just been announced, but it's already causing raised eyebrows.

Step forward Keith Prince, Conservative London Assembly member, who has criticised the plan as "reckless" and warned that commuters will suffer.

“Since May we’ve seen the mayor making wild spending promises with little real hint of how he's going to balance the books," Prince said. "Now we know why - he's going to leave the books resolutely unbalanced. This is the business plan of a one-term mayor who is desperate to keep the show on the road for four years with no real thought for how to cope after May 2020."

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Instead of the prudent financial management TfL needs, we see a 46 per cent increase in long-term borrowing, a 27 per cent increase in long-term liabilities and useable reserves slashed by £1.689bn.

Add in incredibly optimistic predictions on efficiency savings and unlikely projections on housing receipts and it is clear the mayor does not have a long-term strategy for London.

The mayor has set out plans to cut costs from a "flabby" TfL in what was described as the "biggest ever overhaul in the history of the organisation".

The draft business plan, which goes before a TfL board next week, predicts savings of £800m a year by 2021 from TfL's current £11.5bn annual budget.

Sadiq Khan has been unveiling a range of big investments and announced a fare freeze, which'll cost an estimated £640m over the next five years. But TfL says this should be offset by a projected 38 per cent increase in revenues from fares going up to £6.3bn by 2021, helped along by the new Elizabeth line.

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TfL will also be cutting management layers, and has implemented an exit programme with 49 senior managers leaving, which TfL said will save it £40m over the next five years. It also intends to chop spending on consultancy and non-permanent labour.

“There’s a definite case for slimming down TfL but we’ve yet to see details of the mayor’s end goal on this," Prince added. "His savings projections look incredibly optimistic and there is no certainty, even when efficiencies are identified, that they can be delivered. It means he is committing to spending money he doesn't have."

Khan said: "The previous mayor refused to do it, but in reorganising a flabby TfL and finding major efficiency savings within the organisation, we’re securing this record investment without burdening Londoners with further hikes in TfL fares."

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