Prime minister Boris Johnson has criticised London mayor Sadiq Khan’s handling of Transport for London (TfL) finances, snubbing Khan’s plan to impose a £5.50 levy for those driving into London.
The charge is intended to fuel London’s transport system, which is looking for some £8bn to fund an extension of the Bakerloo line to Lewisham.
“What you need is, you need a mayor who’s going to come forward and bring a business case to us,” Johnson said.
“We got Cross Rail done because the mayoral team worked across business, the City, worked with the construction industry, worked with the developers, worked with everybody who’s going to be part of it, to bring a business case.
“He has not produced a business case either for the Bakerloo line or for Cross Rail 2.”
Johnson added: “I do accept that TfL has not been well manged recently, and we of course understand the priority of looking after London passengers and the London economy. So, we will do everything we can to help.”
The prime minister labelled the proposed levy as ‘typical’ of labour politicians and mayors, saying their approach “is always to try to clobber motorists”.
“Sadiq Khan has not handled the finances of TfL well.”
Speaking on when he himself was mayor of London, from 2008 to 2016, Johnson told ITV News: “I wouldn’t have gone for the crazy policies that did so much damage to TfL’s finances before the pandemic even began.
“I was absolutely ruthless in making sure we had the funding that we needed.
“Now, we’re going to have to help him sort it out. I’ll have a look at his crazed new tax on motorists, typical left-wing thing. But we’ll have a look at it and see what we can do.”
Johnson went on to criticise Khan’s initial pledge to cut fares for Londoners, as he suggests the measure is not conducive to bolstering investment and infrastructure across the network.
“I never took that approach. I always level with people. If you want better services, if you want investment in transport infrastructure in London, then it’s going to have to come in the fare box.
“I was absolutely straight with people. And he totally failed to do that.”