‘Bad news for Sadiq!’ London Mayor accused of failing capital as Boris forced to step in

‘Bad news for Sadiq!’ London Mayor accused of failing capital as Boris forced to step in

Speaking on ITV Good Morning Britain, the Conservative candidate for the next mayoral elections claimed Sadiq Khan failed Transport for London long before the pandemic. Mr Bailey accused the London Mayor of making the decision to cut transport services in the capital at the very beginning of the epidemic for commercial reasons. 

As the Government was on Thursday forced to bailout Transport for London to ensure services could run again to help key workers around the capital, Mr Bailey said the good news for Londoners was “bad news” for Sadiq Khan. 

He said: “The bailout is good news for London, it’s good news for emergency workers who have to move around.

“The only person this is bad news for is Sadiq Khan.

“TfL needed a bailout long before the coronavirus and the fact that Sadiq Khan thought it was right to use the safety of Londoners to try and leverage against the Government, I think it’s completely wrong.”

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Transport for London has been given a bailout to help it fill a coronavirus-related black hole in its budget after its income slumped by 90 percent.

The Government bailout, reported to be worth £1.6 billion, will come with caveats, including a rise in tube and bus fares, a source has confirmed to PA news agency.

A mayoral source said: “The Government has belatedly agreed financial support for TfL to deal with Covid-19 – as they have for every other train and bus operator in the country.

“But they have forced ordinary Londoners to pay a very heavy price for doing the right thing on Covid-19 by hiking TfL fares, temporarily suspending the Freedom Pass (free travel for over 60s) at busy times and loading TfL with debt that Londoners will pay for in the long run.”

According to the Mirror, the deal breaks down as £1.1 billion in cash and a £505 million loan for the capital’s transport provider.

City Hall and the Department for Transport have been approached for comment.

TfL has been in talks with ministers for several weeks over a grant, as it requires £3.2 billion to balance its proposed emergency budget for 2020/21.

On Thursday, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned that TfL would need to reduce services unless an agreement was reached by the end of the day.

Tube and bus use fell dramatically after the Prime Minister put in place strict lockdown controls on March 23, forcing people to stay home in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus – a move that badly hit TfL and other transport operators’ income streams.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, at the daily coronavirus Downing Street briefing, indicated that fare rises would be coming as part of a resolution to the issue.

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Mr Khan has frozen single fares on the London Underground, buses, DLR and trams since he became mayor in May 2016.

But Mr Shapps said it was “very important” that as part of a rescue package “we don’t end up in a situation where people from outside the capital are unfairly carrying the burden”.

He warned that consistent fare freezes mean “more money isn’t going into the system”, stating: “You can’t then have an unfair settlement, where other British taxpayers are effectively bailing out the system.”

Mr Shapps said at the time that he was “optimistic” a “solution” would be reached for TfL.

Earlier, Mr Khan told LBC radio that TfL was legally treated like a local authority, which meant “we have to” balance the books.

“We’d have to reduce the bus services we provide, we’d have to reduce the Tube services we provide, to save money,” he said.

Mr Khan continued: “At a time when the Government is wanting us to increase services to get into the recovery phase, we might be required to cut services because the Government is failing to give us the grant support we need.”

Published at Thu, 14 May 2020 23:01:00 +0000