TfL: More funding in autumn statement or ‘significant reductions’ may be necessary, Sadiq Khan warns

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The mayor said it is "crucial" Jeremy Hunt confirms long-term funding for TfL in his autumn statement.

The chancellor’s autumn statement needs to include additional funding for Transport for London (TfL) or the authority will have to “make significant reductions in its spending programmes”, the government has been warned.

Mayor Sadiq Khan told the London assembly during this week’s (November 16) Mayor’s Question Time a lack of confirmed funds also risks TfL missing out on purchasing additional Elizabeth line trains, which are essential to ensure Old Oak Common can manage the influx of passengers once the HS2 line is finished.

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is due to deliver his autumn statement next Wednesday (November 22), in which he will set out the government’s spending priorities over the next year.

TfL, which submitted its funding business case in September, has repeatedly called for longer-term agreements with the government to provide certainty over future projects.

Last month, local government expert Sir Tony Travers described TfL as “one of the most fare-dependent transport systems of its kind in the world”, outlining its reliance on government funding for major projects and enhancements.

Additional Elizabeth line trains is among the pieces of work at-risk without further government funding. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images.Additional Elizabeth line trains is among the pieces of work at-risk without further government funding. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images.
Additional Elizabeth line trains is among the pieces of work at-risk without further government funding. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images. | AFP via Getty Images

Speaking to assembly members (AM) earlier this week, Mr Khan said: “It’s crucial this (the submitted funding business case) leads to a confirmation of funding in the autumn statement or TfL will be forced to consider making significant reductions in its spending programme across TfL and borough schemes. 

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“This would not only reduce investment running through its supply chain but could also force TfL to look at reducing service levels and asset renewals which underpin a reliable transport network.”

Mr Khan said the business case showed three-quarters of future investment could be funded by TfL itself, but that support is needed for a range of capital projects. These include new Piccadilly line and Bakerloo line trains, the next stage of feasibility work for the DLR extension to Thamesmead, and more Elizabeth line trains.

The latter are specifically for Old Oak Common, which, once it opens in the early 2030s, will be the terminus for those travelling to London via HS2 until the Euston leg is completed.

This issue has been raised previously in the chamber at City Hall. In June, TfL’s chief finance officer Patrick Doig said: “The critical thing is, even though this is an issue at the end of this decade, we need to make a decision pretty quickly to order some rolling stock.” He added this demonstrates one of the challenges of “having to make long-term decisions, without having long-term funding certainty”.

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A Department for Transport (DfT) spokesperson said it is for the mayor to ensure TfL can deliver transport services in the capital, and that since 2020, it has provided more than £6 billion in support.

The current funding settlement, they added, is worth just under £1.2bn, and runs until March 2024.

TfL and the Treasury were approached for comment.

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