Funding arrangement between Government and Transport for London extended

Funding arrangement between Government and Transport for London extended

A funding arrangement between the Government and Transport for London has been extended for two weeks.

A funding arrangement between the Government and Transport for London has been extended for two weeks.

The arrangement was due to end on Friday, amid fears from unions of spending cuts which would lead to job losses and reductions in pay, pensions and conditions.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union are staging two 24-hour strikes over the issue next month.

A Transport for London spokesperson said: “We continue to discuss our funding requirements with the Government.

“There is no UK recovery from the pandemic without a London recovery and there is no London recovery without a properly funded transport network in the capital.

“It is essential London receives the sustained long-term Government funding that is vital for the coming years if a period of ‘managed decline’ of London’s transport network is to be avoided.

“We have today agreed with the Government that our existing funding agreement will be extended until February 18 2022 so that these discussions can be concluded.

“Working together, we must achieve a longer-term capital funding settlement for at least three years, that ensures London’s transport network can remain reliable and efficient, can support the jobs and new homes that rely upon it and can support the economic recovery of the capital and the country as a whole.”

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, said: “Yet another 11th-hour reprieve for TfL is insulting and deeply unhelpful – it’s miles away from what our capital needs.

“Short-term sticking plasters are doing harm to what should be the jewel in the crown of our transport networks.

“Just this week we’ve heard the Government say they want other parts of the country to have ‘London-style’ transport – but what an insult if they intend to grind TfL into the ground.

“TfL is operating hand to mouth, without the ability to make capital investments and long-term plans.

“The Government must come up with an appropriate, long-term funding arrangement which protects TfL services for London as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.”

Darren Caplan, chief executive at the Railway Industry Association, said: “It is frustrating to see yet another short-term extension announced today, which is really a sticking plaster solution rather than a long-term programme to invest in London’s transport system.

“Hundreds of businesses across the UK, including those which maintain and upgrade the capital’s rail and tube network, will still not be able to plan and invest in skills and capabilities due to the uncertainty over future funding and the status of key railway projects. And lack of certainty and visibility of projects means a poorer deal for the taxpayer too.

“Just this week TfL confirmed that without a long-term deal, several vital upgrades will be paused or cancelled and that they face a funding gap in the coming years. All this at a time when passengers are clearly returning to the network to return to workplaces, visit friends and family, and enjoy hospitality.“

Finn Brennan, Aslef’s organiser on London Underground, said: ”The latest short-term funding announcement does nothing to deal with the fundamental issues facing passengers on London’s public transport.

“We still face a future of managed decline with higher fares and huge staff cuts that mean the system will be less safe and less accessible.

“Staff still face the prospect of threats to working conditions and pensions. No-one should be in any doubt that our members will do whatever is necessary to protect our agreements and terms of employment.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We have repeatedly shown our commitment to supporting London’s transport network throughout the pandemic, providing over £4.5 billion in emergency funding to Transport for London and pledging a further billion pounds of capital investment every year up until at least 2024/25 – all at a time of significant pressure on the national finances.

“We’re aware that TfL are still feeling the after-effects of the pandemic but it is the Mayor’s responsibility to accelerate overdue reforms that will ensure TfL becomes financially sustainable.

“We have offered a short extension of 14 days to continue discussions that will ensure any further settlement represents value for money for taxpayers across the UK.”

London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “This two-week extension to the current funding deal will allow negotiations to continue.

“The pandemic is the only reason TfL is facing a financial crisis. I urge the Government to engage with TfL and City Hall in good faith so that we can finally agree a fair, long-term funding deal that will protect London’s transport network – for the sake of the capital and the whole country.

“Some 43,000 jobs outside London depend on TfL’s investment. If the Government fails to support TfL at this difficult time, it could impact TfL’s UK-wide supply chain, hitting jobs and growth and holding back the economic recovery in London and across the UK.”

Shadow transport minister Sam Tarry said: “It’s a disgrace that, yet again, the Government’s kicked the can down the road.

“Thousands of jobs across the UK are reliant on a long-term funding deal for TfL, while 50p in every pound of investment is spent outside the capital.

“The Government needs to put forward a robust financial package that will enable TfL to plan for the future, rather than running down London’s transport network.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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