London facing transport shutdown THIS WEEKEND as Sadiq Khan refuses £1bn bailout | UK | News (Reports)


The Mayor of London is looking to securing a bailout for the transport service across the capital. But ministers have said any cash injection depends of Mr Khan extending the congestion zones.

Crucial talks between the Mayor of London and the Government have now stalled.

Mr Khan has refused to sign an agreement which would see more than three million people being forced to pay £15 to use their cars in London.

The Mayor believes the proposed plans would inflict further pain on Londoners amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey also lashed out at the plans branding it a “death knell” for businesses.

Sadiq Khan refuses TfL bailout from government (Image: Getty)

Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey

Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey (Image: Getty)

He said: “Under no circumstances would I back an extension of the congestion charge zone, regardless of who proposes it.

“Any extension would hit hard working Londoners in the pocket and be a death knell for small businesses.”

However, Mr Bailey went on to accuse Mr Khan of bankrupting the transport service during his tenure as Mayor.

He continued: “Khan has near bankrupted TfL and hung a closed sign over London.”

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Tubes, buses and trains could stop this weekend

Tubes, buses and trains could stop this weekend (Image: Getty)

Back in May, Mr Khan accepted a £1.6billion TfL funding agreement with the Government, which came with the condition to hike up the congestion charge.

He called the cash boost “sticking plaster” and demanded a £5.7billion long-term solution for the next 18 months.

But if Mr Khan fails to negotiate with ministers, tube and bus drivers have been warned these vital transport services may stop running.

According to LBC, TfL staff have been given a Section 14 warning meaning London’s transport system could shutdown as early as this weekend.

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Buses could be stopped this weekend due to funding

Buses could be stopped this weekend due to funding (Image: Getty)

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Former head of buses and surface transport at TfL Leon Daniels said: “As it would be with any business if you can’t pay your obligations, can’t pay for staff or contacts, can’t pay your energy bill then you have to bring it to a halt, and that’s the situation we’re in now.”

Despite both the Government and the Mayor desperately trying to come to an agreement, talks are stalled.

A source close to the Mayor told the MailOnline: “Conditions such as extending a £15 congestion’s charge to the North and South Circular and taking free travel away from children and older people would be totally unacceptable to the Mayor and he would not ask Londoners to accept them in these exceptionally difficult times.”

During the coronavirus pandemic, TfL revenues dropped by 95 percent as people were forced to remain at home if possible.

COVID destroyed TfL during lockdown

COVID destroyed TfL during lockdown (Image: Getty)

But despite a small increase since lockdown measures eased, Mr Khan has warned the numbers will not return to pre-pandemic levels.

He said: “I said back in May the deal we had for six months will be a sticking plaster, we need a sustainable deal.

“For the foreseeable future there will not be five million journeys on our tubes, five-and-a-half million on our buses.

“The facts are that the Government gave the privatised rail operators 18 months funding with no strings attached, but is saying to TfL we’ll give you a six-month deal with strings attached.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson added: “The Government continues to engage with Transport for London and the Mayor on the impacts of Covid-19 on TfL’s finances.

“These discussions are ongoing and will ensure London has a safe, reliable network while delivering a fair deal to UK taxpayers.

“Discussions are underway, and it would be inappropriate to disclose further details at this stage.”

Earlier this month, Mr Khan came under fire after demanded more than £29billion Government funding just for London.

The Mayor also claimed the capital should be prioritised in the spending review despite other areas of the country being deprived of funding.


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