Transport for London agrees third Government bailout to keep services running

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A third Government bailout has been agreed for Transport for London to keep services going after the demand for travel collapsed during the Covid pandemic.

The Department for Transport said the latest package is worth £1.08 billion and runs until December 11.

As part of the deal London's mayor has been asked to make big savings and find new ways of making money.Sadiq Khan said "this is not the deal we wanted, but we have fought hard to get."

He added: "After some extremely tough negotiations, we have successfully managed to see off the worst of the conditions the Government wanted to impose on London.

"The Government is still insisting that TfL look at options to raise a further £500m to £1bn of revenue per year by 2023.

"I have been clear to the Government that there are very few options to do this and forcing TfL to impose draconian additional measures on London would be unacceptable. So I will continue to work with the Government to identify an appropriate source of funding.

"But I am hopeful that as London bounces back from the pandemic, and income from fares continues to increase, we’ll be able to avoid introducing any unfair measures on Londoners, as the additional fares revenue may be able to meet Government demands," he added.

Income from fares dropped by as much as 90 per cent when Londoners were told to stay at home during lockdown.

"This £1.08 billion financial package will support London and its transport network through the pandemic, and ensure it is a modern, efficient and viable network for the future," said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Throughout this process, the government has maintained that these support packages must be fair to taxpayers across the UK and on the condition that action is taken to put TfL on the path to long-term financial sustainability. As part of today’s settlement, the Mayor has agreed to further measures that will help ensure that," Mr Shapps added.

According to the Government, Sadiq Khan has agreed to:

  • deliver £300 million of savings or new income sources in 2021 to 2022

  • identify new or increased sources of revenue for TfL of between £0.5 billion to £1 billion each year from 2023

  • prepare a plan to accelerate TfL’s existing modernisation programme of £730 million by April 2023

  • review TfL’s generous pensions scheme

  • prepare a revised medium-term capital investment programme

  • set aside at least £100 million to continue the delivery of healthy streets and active travel programmes

  • carry out a joint review with government of demand on London’s transport network to ensure service levels are appropriate

London’s Transport Commissioner Andy Byford said: "We are working hard to rebuild revenue through attracting people back to our services with nearly 60 per cent of pre-pandemic ridership already travelling again.

"Today’s funding agreement with the Government provides £1.08bn in base funding and further support should our passenger revenue income be lower than forecast until 11 December 2021 to enable us to continue to run near full levels of service to stimulate London’s recovery and deliver a host of improvements like the Elizabeth line, Northern line extension and expansion of London Overground."

Mick Lynch from the RMT Union described the deal as a "disgraceful stitch up", adding:"It is completely unacceptable for transport workers who have risked and in some cases tragically lost their lives to now be asked to pay this political price for the coronavirus."Attacks on workers pensions are wholly unacceptable while driverless trains are unwanted, unaffordable and unsafe."With funding only lasting until December London is being held to ransom with a gun to its head rather than being given the long term stable funding deal that is necessary to rebuild the economy as we move out of lockdown.”