Transport for London (TfL) tonight announced it had reached another short-term stop-gap funding deal with central government to fund the capital’s transport network until early February.
Andy Byford, London’s transport commissioner, said: “The Government has today confirmed an extension of its funding support for TfL through until 4 February, for which we are grateful. The Mayor has also set out a range of proposals that will help support TfL’s financial sustainability.”
TfL had warned it would have to potentially close an entire Tube line if a funding deal couldn’t be reached.
Mayor Sadiq Khan was mulling a council tax rise to help plug the funding black hole.
Tonight after the deal was announced he didn’t mince words: “The Government is still refusing to properly fund Transport for London which has been severely affected by COVID, yet again only providing a short-term funding deal that will only last a matter of weeks.
Khan added: “This means that nothing has changed in terms of TfL having to plan on the basis of a managed decline of the capital’s public transport network.
TfL’s central government grant ended in 2019 and it was forced to generate most of its income from fare revenues and dvertising – both of which went into steep decline at the onset of the Covidd-19 pandemic.
Byford added: “There is no UK recovery from the pandemic without a London recovery and there is no London recovery without a properly funded transport network in the capital.
“It is therefore essential that discussions with Government continue so that we can agree the sustained long-term Government funding that is vital for the coming years if a period of ‘managed decline’ of London’s transport network is to be avoided.”
Responding to the short extension of Transport for London’s funding arrangements to 4 February, programme director Adam Tyndall said:
“Another short-term funding extension is extremely disappointing, but better than no deal at all.
“London needs the Mayor and Government to work out a sustainable plan sooner rather than later, otherwise jobs, growth and the economic recovery of both the capital and the UK will be put at risk.”