City Hall today said it’d need another £2.9bn to keep Transport for London services such as the Tube running as they are in the next financial year, after the Covid-19 pandemic led to a collapse in ticket revenue.
“In the next financial year, we are still going to need considerable government support to cope with the impact of the pandemic,” deputy mayor Heidi Alexander told Reuters.
City Hall has been in a tuug-of-war with central Government over funding since the pandemic reached the UK in March and commuters were told to work from home, leading to a dramatic drop-off in Tube, bus and overground rail services.
Sadiq Khan’s Transport for London got £2.4bn in government support this year, but thinks it will need another £2.9bn in 2021, Alexander said.
“If we had more autonomy over the taxes raised in our city we could decide where that is spent, and I’d be accountable,” Khan said.
Asked about raising council tax, Khan said it was one of the options to help ease the funding crunch.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, himself a former mayor, said last month that Khan had bankrupted the capital’s transport system.
Previous negotiations between the two sides resulted in two tranches of funding for the London transport organisation, but the government wanted City Hall to do away with concession discounts and pass on above-inflation fare increases as well as widen the catchment of where the Congestion Zone charge applies.
TfL did earlier commit to contributing approximately £160m to the forecast funding shortfall in the form of additional income or savings through a mixture of lower spending and cost control.