'Joy' at government U-turn on ‘punishing’ conditions

‘Joy’ at government U-turn on ‘punishing’ conditions.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has negotiated a £1.8 Billion pound support package for Transport for London (TFL) which was so desperately needed due to the loss of passenger revenue during the COVID pandemic. ‘Londoners did the right thing‘ but were being punished by a Conservative government which threatened to make even more cuts, ‘punishing’ children and the elderly who currently receive free travel in the capital.

Up until the COVID crisis TFL was in a good position, having reduced the eye-watering deficit left by Mayor Johnson by a staggering 71%. Mayor Khan ‘called out’ the now Prime Minister Johnson for his blatant lies showing that it was in fact Mr Johnson’s previous administration at TFL who had bankrupted Transport for London.

Because of the ‘dodgy deal’ struck between Boris and George Osborne in 2015, TFL’s Government grant was removed, leaving London as the only major city in western Europe that doesn’t receive direct Government funding to run day-to-day transport services. This means it relies very heavily on passenger fares for the services that are run. This is just one of the numerous financial mistakes made by Mr Johnson in his previous role as London Mayor.

London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan has worked hard over the last four years, increasing TFL’s cash reserves by 13 percent.

However, because Londoners have done the right thing by staying at home, passenger numbers have fallen and like other regional transport networks TFL finds itself in need of Government support during the COVID lockdowns..

Negotiations for emergency finances were held up as the Government tried to play a political game with London. It appears that Prime Minister Johnson is using this as an attempt to damage Sadiq Khan in the run up to the 2021 election by forcing TFL to impose taxes, take away free travel for the elderly and for children, and to extend the congestion charge at a time when businesses can least afford it.

This is even more obvious when we look at the Government’s  proposed conditions when compared with other regional transport support packages – such as those given to Conservative Mayor Andy Street with no damaging conditions attached.

Negotiations with the Government have been an appalling, and totally unnecessary distraction, at a time when every ounce of attention should have been focused on slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting local businesses.

Krupesh Hirani, Labour’s Candidate for Brent and Harrow in the upcoming GLA elections said:

‘It is welcome news that the Government are no longer trying to punish London and I am proud of the work done by Sadiq and the Labour team in City Hall to secure this emergency funding’

Graham Henson Labour Leader of Harrow Council commented:

‘This is great for Harrow. When we come out of this pandemic we will build back better. London’s Transport Network is crucial in building a better Harrow and keeping our borough connected’

Mrs Cass, a resident who has a teenager at one of Harrow’s high schools said:

‘I can’t tell you the joy I felt when I heard about the Mayor’s decision to reject the cutting of the children’s bus fare. I was so worried about my daughter having to walk home alone, after dark – it couldn’t have come at a worse time. I am so glad that this decision by Boris Johnson has been overturned. It’s a victory for common sense!’

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