London companies ask Sunak to provide long-term TfL financing

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Sunday 05 December 2021 12:26

More than 80 London companies, universities and charities have written to Rishi Sunak asking the Chancellor to secure a long-term funding deal for Transport for London (TfL).

The signatories of the letter – including the heads of Eurostar International, the ExCel Center and London City Airport – called on Sunak to provide a funding deal that lasts until April 2023.

Patrons of Landsec, the New West End Company, Imperial College London, the London School of Economics and the Center for London were also among the signatories of the letter to Sunak.

They said that without “sufficient financial support to deal with the lingering effects of the pandemic, we may soon fall back into the cycle of decline that plagued the capital before Transport for London was established.”

TfL has received four short-term bailouts since the start of Covid-19, after the transport agency’s revenues fell by more than 90% in the first lockdown.

The latest funding package runs out in just six days, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan warning TfL services will have to be cut if a deal cannot be reached.

The letter from 83 London companies and groups to Sunak reads: “We welcome the government’s commitment to provide ‘London style’ transport to other cities in the UK, but the maintenance of transport ‘London style’ in the capital is not guaranteed.

“Without sufficient financial support to deal with the lingering effects of the pandemic, we may soon fall back into the cycle of decline that plagued the capital before Transport for London was established.

“London’s economic success – and the substantial and tangible benefits it offers to the whole of the UK – cannot be taken for granted. “

Khan said at an event on Tuesday that formal negotiations have not even started with the Transport Department on a new deal, despite the current deal expiring on December 11.

He also warned that he may have to cut an entire line of tube without sustainable funding for TfL.

“This unprecedented financial crisis that TfL is facing could have consequences of such far-reaching,” he said.

“It won’t be long before London itself runs out of London-style transport services. We will be forced to move into a ‘managed decline’ leading to dilapidated services reminiscent of the 1970s and 1980s. ”

A government spokesperson said: “Any support provided will focus on getting TfL back on a sustainable basis in a way that’s fair to taxpayers across the country.”

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