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Source: London Assembly

A funding deal for Transport for London (TfL) was recently agreed with the Mayor of London and the Government. The current deal is due to run out in April 2021.  
 
The London Assembly has today agreed for the Chair of the London Assembly to write to Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP to request that he allows the full publication of the KPMG Review of TfL immediately. 
 

Dr Alison Moore AM, who proposed the motion said: 
 
“Thanks to the efforts of City Hall, charities, business leaders and ordinary Londoners, we saw the Government drop the worst of the conditions it tried to attach to the recent emergency funding agreement. 

 

“The reality is that the latest funding package is a sticking plaster on the extensive financial issues that TfL is facing due to the pandemic.  

 

“When it runs dry in March, and the next round of negotiations begin, Ministers must not put proposals such as the further expansion of the congestion zone or the removal of free travel concessions for under 18s and older Londoners, back on the table. 

 

“TfL needs a long-term and sustainable funding deal from Government to protect key infrastructure projects and jobs. It should also be able to retain the £500m that the capital raises annually through Vehicle Excise Duty and gain restored access to the £700 million a year operating grant, which was taken away in 2018. 

 

“In the shorter-term, for the sake of transparency, Ministers must also publish the KPMG report it commissioned into TfL’s finances.” 
 

The full text of the motion is: 

 
“This Assembly notes the financial difficulties that Transport for London (TfL) is facing solely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. London is the only major city in western Europe that hasn’t received direct Government funding to run day to day transport services, since the agreement to remove the Operating Grant in 2015. This financial model imposed by Boris Johnson as Mayor has resulted in TfL relying very heavily on passenger fares to pay for the services they run, income of which fell by 90 per cent during lockdown and remains lower than this time last year, because Londoners are following Government advice and only travelling where absolutely necessary.  

 

This Assembly welcomes Sadiq Khan’s achievement in reducing TfL’s operating deficit from £1.5 billion under former Mayor of London Boris Johnson, to £200 million, a 71 per cent reduction, and increasing cash reserves by 13 per cent.  

 

This Assembly agreed with the Mayor and strongly opposed the Government’s conditions to the funding which would have penalised Londoners for doing the right thing during this pandemic. The Government’s proposed conditions included removing free travel permanently for under-18s, a removal of the 60+ photocard, for fares to rise above inflation, for the £15 Congestion Charge to be expanded to the North and South Circular and to introduce a new council tax precept for Londoners to pay again for London’s transport. This Assembly welcomes the Mayor’s achievements in securing a six-month deal worth £1.8 billion of Government grant and borrowing and thanks to the efforts of City Hall, charities, business leaders and ordinary Londoners, we saw the Government drop the worst of the conditions it tried to attach to the recent emergency funding agreement. This Assembly urges the Government not to include these conditions in the future negotiations in March. 

 

This Assembly notes that the Secretary of State for Transport Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP did not meet the Mayor’s request to provide the £2.2 billion over the next 6 months and £2.9 billion for next financial year as requested, to fully support TfL as COVID-19 restrictions continue to depress Tube and bus passenger numbers.Therefore, this Assembly urges the Secretary of State for Transport to meet with the Mayor of London well in advance of March 2021, and to provide London with the long-term funding settlement that it needs, reinstating the £700 million per annuum Operating Grant and returning the £500 million paid annually by Londoners in Vehicle Excise Duty to the capital as part of a package of further fiscal devolution. 

 

This Assembly demands full transparency from the Government on this issue and therefore agrees for the Chair of the London Assembly to write to Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP to request he allows the full publication of the KPMG Review immediately.” 

MIL OSI United Kingdom