TfL Tube warning following Autumn Statement announcement

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The Autumn Statement includes a pledge from the government to provide funding for a rapid transit bus network in Thamesmead, as part of its vision for a new Docklands 2.0.

Transport for London (TfL) says it is disappointed that the government has not yet confirmed the funding needed for vital upgrades including new Piccadilly line trains.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered the government's plans for the economy today at the House of Commons in his Autumn statement.

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Mr Hunt announced cuts to national insurance as he declared the economy is "back on track”, and announced business tax cuts, benefit increases and pension reforms.

The Autumn Statement included a pledge from the government to provide funding for a rapid transit bus network in Thamesmead, as part of its vision for a new Docklands 2.0.

Docklands 2.0 is a Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) policy which looks to build up to 65,000 homes across multiple sites of significant scale including at Thamesmead, Beckton and Silvertown.

While TfL welcomed the reference in the Autumn Statement for funding towards a new bus network in Thamesmead, the transport body shared its frustration with the government’s failure to include its plans for capital funding for London’s transport network.

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TfL has said it is able to fund three quarters of the capital investment programmeTfL has said it is able to fund three quarters of the capital investment programme
TfL has said it is able to fund three quarters of the capital investment programme | AFP via Getty Images

Last year, TfL made a long term funding deal with the government to help the transport network recover from its revenue loss from the pandemic.

The agreement with the government left a gap in TfL's budget of around £740m across 2022/2023 and 2023/2024. While the transport network says it is able to fund three quarters of the capital investment programme it needs the government to step in to provide the final quarter.

Rachel McLean, chief finance officer at TfL, said: “We have been clear that we are now able to fund around three quarters of our capital investment programme for 2024/25 but we need the government to provide the final quarter so that projects critical to the city like the new fleet of Piccadilly line trains - half of which are being built in Goole in Yorkshire - can carry on being manufactured.

“At this stage London is being forced to exist without the multi-year ‘London-style’ funding agreements that are being introduced elsewhere, despite the Underground being considered a national asset which has always previously received support. Investment in London’s transport has direct and substantial benefits for jobs and growth outside the capital - whether through direct manufacturing or supply chains.

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“We are running out of time to plan sensibly for March 2024 and the government is putting our plans to grow ridership and support jobs and economic growth in London and across the country at risk.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan described Mr Hunt’s Autumn budget as “deeply anti-London”.

“This Autumn Statement was an opportunity for the chancellor to recognise the important role that London plays in creating jobs and growth across the UK, while providing vital support to Londoners with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis,” said the mayor.

“Instead, what we’ve seen is another deeply anti-London budget. Whether on TfL capital funding, desperately needed affordable housing or providing the Met Police with the funding it needs, today’s statement again fell woefully short. Londoners continue to suffer from higher prices at the shops, higher energy bills and soaring housing costs because of the government’s failure and mismanagement. The limited additional help being provided by ministers today is dwarfed by the deepening housing crisis affecting Londoners across our city.

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“The OBR today confirmed that economic growth across the country will be more sluggish than previously forecast. What the government needs to realise is that proper investment in London would not only help deliver more affordable housing, better transport, and vital services that Londoners need, but also help power our national recovery, generate prosperity, and speed up the growth of high-paid jobs.”

Mr Hunt said in his statement: "Funding will also accelerate the delivery of new high quality housing in Cambridge, Leeds and London...Subject to the business case, the government will also provide funding for a rapid transit bus network in Thamesmead, as part of its vision for a new Docklands 2.0."

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