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Sadiq Khan claims TfL's bailout is "draconian" after ministers threaten to remove control from him


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has claimed the government has taken “draconian” measures to the people of the capital, resulting in a “triple whammy” of higher costs.

Mr Khan made the allegations after saying Westminster intended to expand the £ 15 congestion charge zone to the north and south county roads in 12 months.

He added that the government wants to raise TfL tariffs above the inflation rate and double the call to end free travel for under 18s.

But he was hit by a counterclaim from the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, Shaun Bailey, who blamed him for one of the walks.

He said: & # 39; Sadiq Khan is overwhelmed. If he wants to help hospitality businesses, he should get rid of his congestion charge hike. & # 39;

The government has threatened to remove Mayor Sadiq Khan's control of Transport for London unless he cuts costs and increases tariffs in exchange for a bailout

London Mayor needs £ 4.9 billion deal to save TfL for the next 18 months after passenger numbers plummeted and revenue collapsed as a result of the pandemic

London Mayor needs £ 4.9 billion deal to save TfL for the next 18 months after passenger numbers plummeted and revenue collapsed as a result of the pandemic

Mr Khan also said the government wanted to introduce a new tax burden in the capital.

He said, "I just cannot accept this government plan, which would cost Londoners three times as much at a time when so many people are already in trouble.

"The government should support the Londoners during this difficult time, not make ill-advised and draconian proposals that stifle our economic recovery.

"Ministers have already forced TfL to come up with proposals to increase the cost and hours of the congestion charge in May. Now they want to expand them to four million more Londoners.

"They also want to increase tariffs in London significantly and burden all Londoners with a regressive new tax.

"It is clear that tough decisions are ahead of us to fill the huge void the pandemic has left in TfL's finances. I was ready to speak to the government about how to raise the necessary funds, however a proposal that distinguishes Londoners for punishment is totally unacceptable, as well as making no economic sense.

According to the Financial Times, Mr Khan's letter called for council tax increases across the city, expansion of the congestion fee zone, and higher metro and bus fares (pictured on the metro in 2016).

According to the Financial Times, Mr Khan's letter called for council tax increases across the city, expansion of the congestion fee zone, and higher metro and bus fares (pictured on the metro in 2016).

Grant Shapps, the transportation secretary, wrote to Mr. Khan with a series of claims in return for a financial bailout

Grant Shapps, the transportation secretary, wrote to Mr. Khan with a series of claims in return for a financial bailout

"I urge ministers to come back to the table with a revised proposal that doesn't penalize Londoners for doing the right thing to crack down on Covid-19 and publishing their review in full in TfL's finances."

Mr Khan's outbreak came after he said the government threatened to lose control of Transport for London unless it cuts costs and increases tariffs in exchange for a bailout.

London Mayor needs £ 4.9 billion deal to save TfL for the next 18 months after passenger numbers plummeted and revenue collapsed as a result of the pandemic.

The government gave the giant transport agency an initial six-month support package worth £ 1.6 billion in May.

Grant Shapps, the transportation secretary, wrote to Mr. Khan with a series of claims in return for a financial bailout.

According to the Financial Times, the letter urged Mr. Khan to raisee City tax throughout the city, expansion of the congestion fee zone and introduction of higher subway and bus prices.

The controversial issue of promoting driverless trains was also raised.

In return, Mr Shapps proposed a six-month financing contract, known as the "H2 contract", through March 2021, which is to be replaced by a longer-term settlement.

However, the Transport Secretary warned that government support for London would "take another form" if the two sides failed to close an H2 deal or if terms were not met.

TfL's board of directors will hold a crunch meeting on Wednesday to settle.

"We will have reserve legislative powers that will allow us to direct TfL if necessary," Shapps said in the letter.

"This would be tied to another series of short-term funding agreements."

In a response on October 6, Mr. Khan denied the request, insisting that a council tax increase for Londoners would "be even more reliant on an already broken form of taxation and be regressive".

On expanding the congestion zone, he added, "This blunt approach would have a catastrophic impact on the economy in central London and beyond."

The government has since been accused of demanding "punitive terms" for agreeing the financing agreement.

Rail, Maritime and Transport general secretary Mick Cash said: “The speculation that the government is threatening to take direct control of TfL sounds like more bullying by this government to impose its will on Londoners and about local democracy get over it.

"As we await official confirmation of the future financing modalities for transportation in the capital, RMT reiterates our position that we will not tolerate attacks on jobs and conditions of a quarter as part of a deal."

The government's battle with the Mayor of London comes at an inopportune time for decentralization as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland impose their own lockdown restrictions and Boris Johnson's back off negotiations in support of Greater Manchester.

In his letter, Mr Shapps said he expected Londoners to pay more by adding to their council tax to help improve TfL's finances.

He also made it clear that he expected the mayor at TfL to begin “pension and job reform”, accelerate “insufficient” progress on driverless trains, lower discounts for children and retirees, and increase tariffs by more as the “RPI-Inflation +”, the 1 percent model will be agreed in May.

The mayor has imposed a tariff freeze over the past four years. The Minister of Transport also asked the Mayor to extend the tolling zone for traffic jams in central London to the same areas as the "extremely low emissions zone" from October 2021.

He compared the imposition of stringent conditions on London to the government's "continued blank check" on the rail industry with minimal conditions.

A spokesman for the Mayor of London said negotiations with the government would continue, but added: “Suffice it to say there is simply no way for a mayor to accept conditions of this nature that would make it more difficult to get the virus fight and stifle London's economic recovery at its worst. & # 39;

A Department of Transport spokeswoman said: "We have agreed to extend the support period and have transferred unspent funds from the Extraordinary Financing Agreement for Transport for London to allow further time to negotiate a new deal.

& # 39; These discussions will ensure that London has a secure and reliable network. It would be inappropriate to disclose further details at this point. "

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