Mayor warns of cuts to services 'never seen in London before' in TfL funding dispute

Sadiq Khan has warned "massive" cuts to London Underground and bus services are "imminent" as the government's temporary funding for Transport for London draws to a close and negotiations between the mayor and the Department for Transport collapsed.

The London mayor says that without a long-term funding plan, Londoners will see a 10% reduction in Underground services - equivalent to an entire Tube line - and the loss of more than 100 bus routes.

DfT's fourth funding settlement of the pandemic, which took government support to £5 billion, ends on Friday. According to a letter seen by the Evening Standard, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has extended the current package for two-and-a-half weeks, until 13 July.

The Department for Transport has been contacted for comment.

Speaking at a TfL bus garage in East Ham on Thursday, Mr Khan said: “More short-term extensions with no promise of any additional long-term funding simply doesn’t cut it."

London Mayor Sadiq Khan at West Ham bus depot, east London, on Thursday Credit: PA

“For months now, I’ve been asking to start constructive negotiations with ministers so that we can agree to a fair and sustainable funding deal for TfL," Mr Khan said.

“We’ve had zero engagement from the Transport Secretary, and we’ve yet to see any proposals for a long-term funding deal."

He said TfL has been left with no choice but to begin "imminent" preparations for a state of managed decline.

"Time is running out and that is why I am once again urging the government to meet with me so that we can finally agree a sustainable, long-term funding deal that will protect not only London’s economic recovery, but that of the whole country," Mr Khan added.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps accused the mayor of "burying his head in the sand" and not providing "vital evidence required to progress talks".

He said DfT officials have met TfL on a regular basis to try and agree the deal and "to suggest anything else is simply not true".

Mr Shapps later posted a letter to Mr Khan on Twitter, in which he accused the mayor of "untrue" statements and a campaign of "scaremongering and threats".

Among his suggestions for TfL to save money were introducing more bus priority measures and reforming pensions. He said that the government would be open to a longer-term commitment to funding on the condition of a "reset of the relationship" with City Hall.

Mr Khan hit back with a series of tweets on Thursday night declaring Mr Shapps' letter "total nonsense".

He described Mr Shapps' suggestion for bus lane priorities as "fantasy" and TfL has "nothing left to cut".

The mayor added: "And if Grant Shapps wants to reset the relationship, I’d be delighted to meet with him. As I’ve been repeatedly requesting."

On Friday morning Tube workers reaffirmed their backing for more strike action in a dispute over jobs, pay, pensions and conditions.

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