More than 80 London business, universities and charities have written to Rishi Sunak to call on the chancellor to provide a long-term funding deal for Transport for London (TfL).
Signatories to the letter – including the chiefs of Eurostar International, the ExCel Centre and London City Airport – called on Sunak to provide a funding deal that lasts until April 2023.
Bosses from Landsec, the New West End Company, Imperial College London, the London School of Economics and the Centre for London were also among the singatories to the letter to Sunak.
They said that without “sufficient financial support to deal with the continued effects of the pandemic we may soon fall back into the cycle of decline that plagued the capital before the creation of Transport for London”.
TfL has received four short-term bailouts since the start of Covid-19, after the transport body’s revenues plummeted by more than 90 per cent during the first lockdown.
The latest funding package runs out in just six days, with mayor of London Sadiq Khan warning that TfL services will need to be cut if a deal can’t be closed.
The letter from the 83 London businesses and groups to Sunak read: “We welcome the government’s commitment to deliver ‘London-style’ transport in other cities across the UK butmaintaining ‘London-style’ transport in the capital is not guaranteed.
“Without sufficient financial support to deal with the continued effects of the pandemic we may soon fall back into the cycle of decline that plagued the capital before the creation of Transport for London.
“London’s economic success –and the substantial and tangible benefits it delivers for the wider UK –cannot be taken for granted.”
Khan said at an event on Tuesday that formal negotiations have not even begun with the Department for Transport over a new deal, despite the current one running out on 11 December.
He also warned that he may need to cut an entire Tube line without sustainable funding for TfL.
“This unprecedented financial crisis facing TfL could have such far-reaching consequences,” he said.
“It won’t be long before London itself will no longer have London-style transport services. We will be forced to move into ‘managed decline’ leading to rundown services reminiscent of the 1970s and 1980s.”
A government spokesperson said: “Any support provided will focus on getting TfL back onto a sustainable footing in a way that is fair to taxpayers across the country.”