Grant Shapps responds to calls for increased funding for TFL
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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has responded to London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s warning that bus and tube services could be cut as a result of a funding black hole. Mr Shapps pointed out an additional £4 billion had already been paid into TfL’s coffers to ensure services could continue. TfL currently faces a £1.9 billion funding gap, with the pandemic contributing with a sharp fall in the number of fares paid due to the lockdowns London experienced over the past year.
LBC presenter Nick Ferrari said: “Busses in London could be cut by a fifth; tubes by a 10th because of a near 2-billion-pound funding black hole. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned.”
Mr Shapps said: “I’ve already given the Mayor £4 million to keep the network running.
“Of course, coronavirus has had a big impact.
“I think what we’re seeing there is a bit of public lobbying in advance of the next settlement, which takes place in December.
“So you know, people can see we’ve stepped up to the plate and been able to keep London Transport TfL running.”
He went on: “Really important that the mayor does his part that addresses some of the,m for example, terms and conditions of pensions, where the taxpayer is paying a lot of money in and you know.
“We need to make sure that this is run in a manner which not just benefits Londoners, but actually the rest of the taxpayers in the UK as well.”
Nick Ferrari said: “Well, I wonder if you’d like any of my listeners to question the wisdom of Transport for London offering senior staff or Executives more than 12 million pounds a year in bonuses.”
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Mr Shapps said: “Well, I do question all of those things. And I think you know, we’ve got to be realistic given the times that we’re living in with some of these terms and conditions.
“And also we want them there to actually be you know, collecting fares properly, being efficient with the way that he runs the system as well. So of course there’s a lot to be done there.”
TfL clarified any bonuses will not be signed off until the financial conditions at the organisation have stabilised.
According to a report to be considered by TFL’s finance committee, the coronavirus pandemic caused their “Managed Decline” plan.
Sadiq Khan has warned that the TFL might have to start cutting back on services to bridge the gap.
It comes as Transport for London’s (TfL) emergency funding deal is coming to a close next month.
A report to City Hall’s finance committee has also detailed worse-than-expected impacts on the transport network due the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Transport for London is dealing with an unprecedented financial crisis caused by the pandemic,” Mr Khan said in a statement.
“We are now less than a month away from TfL’s emergency funding deal expiring on December 11.
“Unless the Government provides the long-term funding needed to maintain our public transport network, there will be no choice but to make significant cuts to services just as demand is growing again.”
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