Government cancelled 20 funding meetings with cash-strapped TfL, Sadiq Khan claims

“You should be aware that 20 meetings with TfL have been cancelled by the Department for Transport or the Treasury since the last funding deal was agreed.”

Government departments have cancelled 20 funding meetings with Transport for London (TfL) amid negotiations to resolve the network’s cash crisis, Sadiq Khan has claimed.

The mayor of London has hit out at transport secretary Grant Shapps over the need for a long-term funding deal to secure TfL’s future.

Government sources told LondonWorld that meetings between TfL and the Department for Transport “are extremely frequent”.

But in a letter sent yesterday, (Thursday, June 9), Mr Khan urged the secretary of state to meet with him and TfL before the service is forced to enter an era of “managed decline”.

(Right to left) Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on a Elizabeth Line train at Paddington station in London, to mark the completion of London's Crossrail project.

Around 80 bus routes could risk being cut - which equates to an 18% service reduction overall - and a 9% reduction in tube services, equivalent to closing an entire line, could be introduced.

Mr Khan wrote: “Without a long-term capital deal in two weeks’ time, TfL will be forced to start work on enacting its managed decline scenario.

“That would mean an additional 80 bus routes cut (an overall 18% reduction), and a 9% reduction in tube services, equivalent to closing an entire line.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Photo: Getty

“Despite this looming deadline, I have still to hear from you directly and you should be aware that 20 meetings with TfL have been cancelled by the DfT and/or Treasury since the last funding deal was agreed.

“It is absolutely imperative we meet so that we can finally agree a fair, long-term funding deal that will protect London’s transport network – not just for the sake of the capital but for the economic wellbeing of the whole country.”

And he added: “While we are grateful for the support you have provided to date, its short-term nature has made it challenging for TfL to plan expenditure and a path away from government support.

“The only reason TfL needs financial support is because of the devastating impact of the pandemic on fare income – which as a result of past government decisions, we are over-dependent on, compared to the public transport networks in equivalent world cities.”

“You will have seen my recent letter to the prime minister, to which you were copied, informing him of TfL’s publication of proposals to reduce the size of the bus network in the capital.

“This is a direct result of the conditions set out in the Government funding deals, as is the industrial action we are seeing on the underground network.”

A DfT spokesperson said: “This a wholly unfair portrayal of the work that has been going on between the department and TfL.

“Officials have been meeting with TfL on a regular basis after committing to explore a long-term settlement and the Mayor is well aware of this.

“This is just another example of the Mayor refusing to take responsibility and fulfil his promise of making TfL financially stable despite numerous bailouts from the Government adding up to almost £5bn.”

On bus cuts, the spokesperson added: “We know Londoners will be disappointed to see popular routes cut, however as transport in London is devolved, it is for TfL and the Mayor make decisions on service levels.”

The Treasury has also been contacted for comment.