Jeremy Hunt has been urged to use the autumn statement to boost “vital” capital funding for Transport for London (TfL) in a bid to turnaround the UK’s “anaemic” growth prospects.
Business leaders and London councils have written to Hunt and transport secretary Mark Harper to demand sustainable investment in the capital’s transport network, including to extend the Bakerloo and DLR lines which could connect thousands of new homes.
It comes as Tory MPs continue to call on the Chancellor to deliver tax cuts as an offer to voters ahead of a general election next year, in this month’s budget on November 22.
John Dickie, BusinessLDN chief executive, said: “Without the certainty of a multi-year TfL capital funding deal London risks grinding to a halt.
And Southwark council leader Kieron Williams said: “If we want to boost the UK’s anaemic growth, we must invest in transport – both in the capital and across the whole of the country.”
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department for Transport (DfT) gave emergency revenue funding deals to keep TfL running, with the latest round expiring in March 2024.
While passenger levels have continued to recover, and TfL is set to be self-sufficient for day-to-day costs by March, but advocates say it will still need capital support from ministers.
Coordinated by partnership Central London Forward (CLF), the letter has been signed by council leaders, including in the City of London, Islington, Tower Hamlets and Westminster.
Business groups who have backed the call for more capital investment include the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI); the New West End Company; the Heart of London Business Alliance; the Knightsbridge Partnership; and Angel London.
Research from CLF found TfL’s supply chain generated £5.9bn in gross value added to the UK economy in the last year, which supported over 100,000 jobs.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Mayor is clear that Ministers must use the autumn statement to support London’s transport network with a long-term capital funding deal, as they have for many other cities around the country.
“TfL is on track to achieve operational financial sustainability during 2023/24, but needs £569m in capital funding for 2024/25 to support critical network upgrades, invest in roads and protect tens of thousands of jobs across the country that are supported by TfL’s supply chain.
“Failure to secure this funding would put vital upgrades at risk, be detrimental to long-term infrastructure investment in the capital’s transport network and put jobs and economic growth at risk across the UK.”
TfL,the DfT and the Treasury have been contacted for comment.