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Government extends emergency TfL funding again

London congestion charge

Emergency funding has been extended to Transport for London (TfL) for a further seven days, having been due to finish on Friday (February 18).

TfL says in a statement that it hopes the additional time will allow it to conclude discussions with the Government.

A TfL spokesman said: "It is essential London receives the sustained long-term Government funding that is vital for the coming years if a period of 'managed decline' of London's transport network is to be avoided. 

"We have agreed with the Government that our existing funding agreement will be extended until 25 February so that these discussions can be concluded.

“Working together, we must achieve a longer-term capital funding settlement of at least three years that ensures London's transport network can remain reliable and efficient, can support the jobs and new homes that rely upon it and can support the economic recovery of the capital and the country as a whole.

“We hope these discussions can be concluded successfully soon." 

The funding update comes after the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and TfL revealed proposals for the expansion of the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) to include Greater London and higher charges for all but the cleanest vehicles ahead of a possible road pricing scheme for the capital.

Ministers agreed a £1.08bn funding package to help TfL recover from the coronavirus pandemic in June. 

The bailout, which provided financial support for the hard-hit transport authority until December 11, followed two emergency support packages agreed in April and October 2020, and took Government support to TfL since March 2020 to more than £4bn. 

The trade union for workers in the transport and travel industries, the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA), says that the Government should 'stop playing politics' with TfL.

TSSA general secretary, Manuel Cortes, said: “Yet again we see Conservative ministers treating our great capital city with contempt. They need to stop playing politics with Transport for London and offer a long-term meaningful financial package.

“It’s simply not possible to build a sustained, clean and green economic recovery from the pandemic without a properly funded transport system across London.

“What we are seeing instead are warnings from our Mayor, Sadiq Khan, about the future of Underground lines, with fares set to rise by almost 5% on average from next month.”

Transport Grant Shapps says that since the start of the pandemic, the Government has supported TfL with more than £4.5bn funding through extraordinary funding settlements.

"We have recognised the reliance of London’s transport network on fare revenue," he said. "We have recognised that demand and, therefore, passenger revenue has been volatile, and have responded accordingly, compensating TfL for that revenue loss to ensure services can be maintained."

He continued: "Government is still committed to supporting London’s transport network as we have since the start of the pandemic and it has offered TfL and the Mayor of London a fourth extraordinary funding agreement.

"TfL has asked for an extension of one week to allow the Mayor of London to consider the terms of the settlement letter and agree it with Government.

"The Government is committed to supporting London and the transport network on which it depends, balancing that with supporting the national transport network."

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