Transport for London (TfL) has already received bail-outs totalling £3.4billion this year but has warned it will need a further £2.9billion to keep the capital moving throughout 2021. The fresh demands are bound to enrage Boris Johnson, who served two terms as London Mayor, who last month accused Mr Khan of bankrupting the city’s transport system.
Mr Khan has angrily denied claims he is responsible for the financial black hole, blaming both the pandemic and Mr Johnson’s previous City Hall administration for the cash crisis.
TfL said income from fares had fallen by 90 percent during the coronavirus pandemic as Londoners worked from home and tourists stayed away.
In March, passengers were urged not to travel unless absolutely necessary and 40 Tube stations across London were closed in order to deal with staff absences.
Lockdowns, restrictions on sport and entertainment events and night-time curfews on pubs, bars and restaurants have also had a massive impact on the the TfL finances.
Deputy Mayor Heidi Alexander said: “In the next financial year, we are still going to need considerable Government support to cope with the impact of the pandemic.”
Mr Khan secured the first TfL bailout last May when the Government agreed to a £1.6billion and earlier this month negotiated a second bailout for £1.8billion.
Mr Khan said the deal was “not ideal” while the Government said it was “proof of our commitment”.
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The Mayor said he fought hard against the “very worst” proposals, adding: “The only reason TfL needs government support is because its fares income has almost dried up since March.”
Without a bailout the network would be forced to issue a Section 114 order, the equivalent of bankruptcy for a public company.
TfL finances have become the focus of an increasingly bitter campaign for next year’s mayoral election with Mr Khan facing claims of poor management from his Tory rival Shaun Bailey.
Last week Mr Khan demanded the removal of a fact-checking website which accuses him of “bankrupting” TfL through “out-of-control” waste.
The furious London Mayor said the site was “masquerading” as a fact-checking source and accused its publishers of “peddling fake news”.
The Transport for London Bailout Facts website does not carry Conservative branding but describes itself as being published on behalf Mr Bailey and gives the party’s campaign HQ’s address.
The site attacks Mr Khan’s management of TfL in the wake of a second £1.8billion bail-out from the Government.
It states that TfL has “wasted” £9.56billion since 2016, when Mr Khan became mayor, including on pension “overpayments”, debt interest and lost revenue caused by delays to the Crossrail project.
And it claims losses in fares during the coronavirus crisis have only amounted to only £1.6billion.
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A spokeswoman for the mayor said Mr Bailey’s campaign was “deliberately lying” and described the website as “fake news masquerading as ‘facts’.”
She said: “The Tories must stop trying to take Londoners for fools.
“The only reason TfL needs Government support is because COVID-19 decimated our fares income, as has happened to train operators across the country.
“Before the pandemic Mr Khan was clearing up the financial mess left by Boris Johnson’s mayoralty.”
A spokesman for Mr Bailey’s campaign said: “If Sadiq Khan is worried about explaining his side of the story, he can set up his own website.”
“This website puts the facts out there. It doesn’t tell people what to think. Londoners can make up their own minds.”