The government has agreed to extend its financial support to Transport for London (TfL) by two weeks while negotiations on a new rescue package continue.
Ministers are calling for the London congestion fee zone to be expanded and for children and the elderly to be downgraded free travel in exchange for an alleged £ 1 billion package.
The Deputy Mayor of London, Heidi Alexander, said that there were "differences to be resolved" between the two sides, and expressed the hope that "cooler heads will prevail in the next 14 days".
Speaking to a meeting of TfL's finance committee, she said, “Neither the mayor nor I can see how it would be right to bill people £ 15 to get a mile from Wandsworth to Clapham or Catford to Lewisham from October next year drive when the overload occurs should be extended to the north and south circulars.
“That's exactly what the government told us that it wanted.
"We cannot understand why we should travel freely under 18 or over 60 when many people in London are actually facing real difficulties in the months to come."
Negotiations are believed to have stalled because ministers insist that such an injection of money depends on the mayor extending the congestion zone to the north and south circulars
In Whitehall and City Hall, there is a "collective responsibility" to making sure tubes and buses continue to run, she added.
TfL boss Andy Byford described the two-week extension as a "sensible pragmatic solution" that "focuses people's thoughts".
He added, “We can close this deal now.
"We are really very close and resolving this issue is our top priority and I think the two weeks will be enough."
A spokesman for the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: & # 39; The two-week extension will allow TfL to continue to provide safe, reliable and frequent transportation services – which is more critical than ever as the capital enters Tier 2 and the cases of Covid increase.
"Sadiq will continue to fight for adequate longer-term funding for TfL and a fair deal for the Londoners."
A Transport Department spokesman said: "We have agreed to extend the support period and extend 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 safe and reliable network. It would be inappropriate to disclose further details at this point. "
TfL's finances have been hit hard by the drop in travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
A £ 1.6 billion bailout package agreed with Mr Khan in May called for funding through Saturday.
It was reported last month that Mr Khan was aiming for a £ 5.7 billion bailout to keep London's transport system running for the next 18 months.
Sadiq Khan (left) is in urgent talks with the government to get a £ 1 billion financing package before TfL burns its last reserves and threatens to disrupt transportation in the capital this weekend. Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey (right) said, "Under no circumstances would I support an expansion of the congestion fee zone regardless of who suggests it."
It is because Sadiq Khan was accused today of "playing games" after alleging ministers are demanding that he widen the congestion zone to receive a £ 1 billion bailout.
The Mayor of London was furious at the suggestion that the government had made the move a condition of the recent extraordinary cash injection to keep Transport for London from stalling, amid earlier fears that might emerge this weekend.
Sources close to Mr Khan have said that he valiantly resisted extending the congestion zone to the North and South Circulars, which would force up to three million citizens to pay £ 15 to use their cars.
But Senior Tories raged that the mayor had actually gone to the Treasury Department with a "begging bowl" and had only learned that after years of mismanagement he had to find some savings to balance the books. They insisted and it was up to him how the money was found.
A senior Conservative source said, “The fact is that he was presented with a list of options. He is welcome to come up with his own.
“But he has to say how he will make savings. Instead, he plays games in the media. & # 39;
They added, “We said how you are going to do it, these are some of the things you can do. He has to find ways to save money. & # 39;
The government has extended its emergency funding of TfL by two weeks in order to have more time to resolve the bitter dispute over the huge sums of money required to keep the transportation system alive.
The clashes have been going on for months, and London Tory MPs are increasingly frustrated by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps' refusal to publicly take up the mayor's dire threats.
In May, Mr Khan accepted a £ 1.6 billion funding agreement with the government that included an increase in the congestion fee to £ 15. But he has called the injection a "sticking plaster" and is calling for a £ 5.7 billion long-term solution over the next 18 months.
However, government sources say they are determined that Mr Khan will not get a free ticket after bankrupting TfL due to mismanagement during his tenure.
Subway and bus drivers have been warned that key transportation services may stop working if the impasse is not overcome in the coming days.
Figures show that the highest proportion of adults traveling to work has been eased since the relaxation
Around two-thirds of employed adults traveled to their place of work within seven days – the highest proportion since the easing measures began, according to the figures.
Between 7 and 11 October, 65 percent of employees said they had traveled to work in the past week either exclusively or in combination with home work, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This despite the government's urging to work from home on September 22nd.
The ONS said there was "no evidence that the longer-term trend of travel to work has changed".
Of the 980 employed adults, 54 percent said they had only traveled to work, and 11 percent said they had worked and commuted from home.
This is the highest percentage since the lockdown restrictions began being relaxed in late May, according to the ONS.
In other developments in the country's coronavirus battle:
- Almost a third of English councils saw a drop in coronavirus infections last week as a second breaker lockdown was called for and restrictions tightened across the country.
- SAGE member Professor Jeremy Farrar said the current basic restriction, which includes a 10pm curfew, is "the worst of all worlds" as it caused economic damage and did not go far enough to quell the virus.
- Another SAGE consultant has suggested that a number of circuit breakers might be required, scheduled around school holidays to help control the outbreak.
- Wales prepares to defy Prime Minister by imposing its own "breaker" lockdown – as an "unenforceable" travel ban on English people from coronavirus hotspots traveling to Wales goes into effect tonight;
- London is on the last day before Tier 2 restrictions go into effect, which means around nine million people will be banned from mixing with other households indoors.
- Mr Raab said he took allegations of a Russian disinformation campaign against the Oxford coronavirus vaccine "very seriously". Pictures, memes and video clips showed the vaccination carried out in the UK to be dangerous.
TfL employees have received a Section 114 warning, which means the London transport system could stop working this weekend, according to LBC.
A town hall source said MailOnline TfL couldn't just shut down London's transportation system overnight.
Former head of buses and land transport at TfL Leon Daniels disagreed and warned that in the worst case scenario, the services could be suspended.
He told LBC, “As with any business, if you can't meet your commitments, pay for staff or contracts, pay your electricity bill, you have to stall it and that's where we are are now. & # 39;
Both the government and the mayor say they are working urgently to find a solution but are divided on the terms.
During the height of the crisis, TfL's revenues fell 95 percent as people were instructed to work from home and the number of visitors in carriages fell. It has increased slightly since the lockdown was initially relaxed after the first wave, but today Mr Khan said passenger numbers will not return to pre-pandemic levels in the near future
What are the ministers' terms for a £ 1 billion bailout?
A source close to London Mayor Sadiq Khan has suggested that the government has set strict terms in the event of a TfL bailout:
1. Extension of the congestion zone to the north and south.
The current congestion zone is marked by the inner London ring road and encompasses central London, including the city and the West End.
If it is extended to the North and South Circulars, it will affect millions more people. The North Circular between Chiswick and Woolwich extends as north as Barnet. The South Circular extends almost as far as Streatham.
2. Take away free travel for children and the elderly.
Currently, children can travel for free on London buses, and there is also a Freedom Pass for the elderly to get around the capital.
A source close to Mr Khan told MailOnline: “Conditions such as extending a £ 15 congestion fee to the North and South Circulars and exempting children and the elderly would be totally unacceptable to the Mayor and he would not ask Londoners to accept this in these extraordinarily difficult times. & # 39;
The extension of the congestion zone to the North and South Circulars would hit the pockets of millions of Londoners and has also been under attack by Conservatives.
Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey said the only reason behind such measures to increase revenue was due to city hall financial mismanagement.
Mr Bailey said, "Khan nearly bankrupted TfL and hung a closed sign over London."
He added: & # 39; Under no circumstances would I support an extension of the congestion charge zone, regardless of who suggests it …
"Any expansion would pocket hard-working Londoners and a death knell for small businesses."
Tory MP Bob Blackman told MailOnline: “He's going to the Treasury with a begging bowl. He wants £ 5.6 billion to keep TfL going over the next few months.
'At what point what? Is there a magic money tree? It's just ridiculous what he's asking for. & # 39;
TfL's finances have long been worrying. According to reports, the DfT has created a draft in KPMG to review its accounts.
Mr Khan claims that TfL's financial troubles were due to the fact that passenger numbers fell during the pandemic.
During the height of the crisis, TfL's revenues fell 95 percent as people were instructed to work from home and the number of visitors in carriages fell.
It has increased slightly since the lockdown was initially relaxed after the first wave, but today Mr Khan said passenger numbers will not return to pre-pandemic levels in the near future.
He told LBC: “I said back in May that the deal we had for six months was going to be a sticking plaster. We need a sustainable deal.
"In the foreseeable future, there won't be five million journeys on our subway, five and a half million on our buses."
The Mayor added that the government should not penalize Londoners for “doing the right thing” and avoiding public transport – especially when such conditions are not imposed on private rail operators.
He said, "The facts are that the government gave the privatized railroad operators 18 months of unconditional funding, but TfL says we will give you a six-month, conditional contract."
The spokesman for Mr Khan urged ministers to acknowledge that "singling out Londoners for punishment is unacceptable and makes no economic sense".
He added: "We continue to discuss the next emergency funding package with the government and fight for a fair deal for London."
His opposition was confirmed by RAC's head of road policy, Nicolas Lyes, who said: “Extending the congestion charge zone to the circular areas North and South would encompass a vast geographic area and hit drivers and companies right in their pockets at worst Pandemic that severely affects travel habits and finances.
"Motorists in London this year were already faced with increases in the existing congestion charge zone and an increase in operating hours, so that the introduction of additional charges is completely unreasonable."
Edmund King, AA president, said the excitement over the congestion charge "makes it seem once and for all that the charge is related to environmental improvement or a reduction in congestion". "It's just a tax," he added.
“It is very ironic that this is the case as many people are avoiding public transport due to Covid and some London boroughs are increasingly congested due to poorly thought out road restrictions that are now causing a resident uprising.
"Enforcing this excessive and socially regressive congestion tax that hits the poorest hardest will be a poll tax on wheels."
Commuters wear face masks on the Victoria Line, the London Underground, in central London today during morning rush hour
Subway and bus passengers are rising, but Mr Khan said passenger numbers will not return to pre-pandemic levels in the near future
Coronavirus-positive tests in London have increased dramatically since early September, but changes in recent weeks suggest the rate of increase is slowing, with a 37 percent increase in the seven days to October 7, compared to nearly double Increase of 84 percent in the third week of September
A TfL spokesman said: “We continue to discuss our immediate funding needs with the government and hope that these discussions can soon be successfully concluded so that we can help London in this next phase of the pandemic.
"We are doing our utmost to minimize costs and continue to operate full service in our network while our financing discussions continue."
The Ministry of Transport refused to disclose the details of its funding offer, but stressed that negotiations with the mayor were ongoing.
A DfT spokesman said: "The government continues to work with Transport for London and the Mayor on the impact of Covid-19 on TfL's finances.
& # 39; These discussions are ongoing and will ensure that London has a safe and reliable network and is providing a fair deal to UK taxpayers.
"Discussions are ongoing and it would be inappropriate to provide further details at this point."
Like Devon, Oxford and Coventry all have higher Covid-19 infection rates than London – but only the capital will be forced to stricter social distancing rules tomorrow
By Sam Blanchard for MailOnline
Devon, Oxford and Coventry all have higher coronavirus infection rates than London but will not have lockdown rules if the capital moves into Tier 2 tomorrow.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock and London Mayor Sadiq Khan confirmed yesterday that an indoor meeting ban will begin in the city tonight at midnight. The strict social distancing rule reflects what is happening in the Covid hotspots in the north of England, where the country's second wave is widespread.
However, the rate of infection in London is significantly lower than in these areas and below the nationwide average, which is around 160 cases per 100,000. According to statistics from the Ministry of Health, it's even lower than other areas where there are no additional rules at all, with only social distancing and the rule of six.
While the 32 boroughs of London recorded an average of 99 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in the week leading up to October 10, the figure was 159 in Coventry and 154 in Oxford over the same period. No single borough of London currently has such a high infection rate, with 147 in Ealing being the highest in the city.
It was 146 per 100,000 in Bristol, there were 139 cases per 100,000 in Bournemouth, 115 in Bath and Devon – driven by an outbreak in the university town of Exeter, where the rate is close to 400 – the average was 106.
All of these areas are in the south of England, which has no regional restrictions, such as the Midlands, the North West and the North East. Some areas with lower infection rates are closed to keep them safe from nearby outbreaks.
All of London could get into lockdown earlier than other areas, most of which had significantly higher infection rates prior to the introduction of new regulations, because Mr Khan has urged the government to tighten its stance in the city and because outbreaks are spreading faster can move between the districts because the population moves so much.
It is because Londoners are prepared for the capital's transportation system to stall this weekend as the financially troubled TfL burns the last part of its funding. The eleventh hour talks between ministers and Sadiq Khan over a £ 1 billion bailout have stalled over sticking points affecting the government's terms of a deal.
It is assumed that the mayor refuses to join an extension of the congestion zone, in particular to the north and south circulars. But rivals say he was cornered after bankrupting TfL due to mismanagement during his tenure at town hall.
The decision to put London into a tier two lockdown today sparked fears that around 200,000 people in the city center could lose their hospitality jobs this weekend. An industry spokesman warned the drastic restrictions would result in "maximum revenue pressure and no support".
WHERE HAS HIGHER INFECTION RATES THAN LONDON BUT NO LOCKDOWNS?
Many areas have a higher infection rate than the average number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in London, which was 99 as of October 10, but remain on the blocking scale at level 1.
(London average calculated as the mean of the infection rates in individual areas without taking into account the population differences)
- Exeter (397) and Devon as a whole (106)
- Coventry (159) and surrounding parts of Warwickshire, including Rugby (107), Warwick (104) and Stratford-on-Avon (103)
- Oxford (154)
- North Lincolnshire (150)
- Bristol (146)
- Bathroom (115)
- Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (139)
- Windsor and Maidenhead (114)
- East Hertfordshire (102)
Health ministry statistics released yesterday afternoon show wide variations in the rate of infection in the capital, but all will face the same “high” lockdown rules from midnight tonight.
For example, in Ealing and Richmond upon Thames there have been more than 140 cases per 100,000 people for whom data is available in the past week – this is the standard way of measuring the rate of infection of a place – while in Bexley the rate is only 69 per 100,000.
Matt Hancock's department yesterday claimed that cases in the city are "skyrocketing" but local politicians have made the decision to tar the whole city with the same brush.
Bob Blackman, the Tory MP from Harrow in west London – where about 121 cases per 100,000 people have been diagnosed and 304 people have been diagnosed in the week ending October 10 – said yesterday, & # 39; (Sadiq Khan) is going for re-treatment stand Wahl says I'm the mayor who shut down London and threw the jobs under the belt.
“I don't see this as a great approach. He goes to the Treasury with a begging bowl … It's ridiculous what he's asking.
Andy Burnham (Mayor of Manchester) understandably tries to protect and preserve Manchester. Sadiq Khan seems to want to bring London to the third stage. I don't know what the madness of doing it is. & # 39;
Bromley and Chislehurst MP Sir Bob Neill said the "one-size-fits-all" approach to the capital was a mistake.
The senior conservative told Sky News, “I think it's a mistake. I think it's out of proportion to all of London.
"I can see some parts of London that pass the test, but … there are a cluster of districts in south east and south of London where rates are much lower."
Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond said he was surprised that Tier 2 measures would be rolled out across the capital.
"Yes, infections are increasing in London, but they are increasing at different rates in different parts of London, with different levels of hospitalization," the senior Tory told BBC Radio 4's World At One.
"They go very, very far and it is not clear that the government actually advocated the case that there should be a complete lockdown across London."
An expert told MailOnline that the reason the whole city has been thrown together may be because people are so connected that it is impossible to separate the boroughs.
"We face such major challenges to fairness and equity when considering a ban," said Dr. Ilan Kelman, Health Disaster Expert at University College London.
& # 39; London is particularly difficult to use public transport due to its size and high mobility. We now also have students moving between their dormitories and universities, despite university-related infections having emerged across the country.
Hospital admissions in London rose 51 percent in the fortnight between September 25 and October 9, from an average of 33 per day to 50, half the rate of increase in the national measure for England
The death toll in London is low, averaging four a day, compared to 60 a day across England. However, the measures are always the last to rise and lag behind infections by about a month
There are currently 77 ventilated patients in intensive care in London, down from a low of 10 on August 7th. For comparison, there are 135 ventilated patients in the North West, 116 in the North East and 468 across England
The London Underground, train and bus staff are due to prepare for a complete network shutdown THIS WEEKEND
Londoners are prepared for the capital's transport system to grind to a halt this weekend as the financially troubled TfL burns the last part of its funding.
Eleventh hour talks between ministers and Sadiq Khan over a £ 1 billion bailout have stalled over sticking points affecting the government's terms of a deal.
It is assumed that the mayor refuses to join an extension of the congestion zone, in particular to the north and south circulars.
But rivals say he was cornered after bankrupting TfL due to mismanagement during his tenure at town hall.
In May, Mr Khan was forced to increase the congestion fee from £ 1.6 billion to £ 15 as part of a funding agreement with the government.
As the money prepares to dry up tomorrow, subway and bus drivers have been warned that if negotiations remain stalled, key transportation services may stop running.
'We are in a win-win situation where too many lose so much. What we can do is treat each other fairly and help as many as possible, regardless of the levels or local differences. & # 39;
Sadiq Khan had suggested earlier this week that a case rate of 100 positive tests per 100,000 people per week would be a "trigger" for sending an area into a second stage lockdown.
However, many areas of the country have a higher rate and remain in the first stage, while London has been included in the second stage as a precaution, although the rate has not yet reached that level.
It appears to be the first place in the country to have a lockdown initiated in advance of a local crisis rather than in response to a crisis, and it is the first time an entire region has been hit in one go.
Places with rates over 100 but no local lockdowns according to the latest Department of Health data include: Exeter (397); Coventry (159) and surrounding parts of Warwickshire, including Rugby, Warwick and Stratford-on-Avon; Oxford (154); North Lincolnshire (150); Bristol (146); Bath (115); Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (139); Windsor and Maidenhead (114) and East Hertfordshire (102).
Many of the areas are in the southwest, which was the least affected part of the country during the epidemic, probably because there are so few cities and the population is more thinly distributed across rural areas.
Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow in Furness, York, Northeast Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash will also be placed in the same second tier category starting Saturday. All have higher rates of infection than London with rates over 100.
Under the new rules, household mixing will be strictly limited, but offices and public transport can remain open, despite the general advice of the government to work from home wherever possible.
Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith asked yesterday if London is being sacrificed to demonstrate that the south is not being treated more leniently in the face of complaints from the northern states.
Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham complained yesterday that his city and the surrounding area are being treated like 'canaries in a coal mine' because of stricter local lockdown rules.
"London is huge," said Iain Duncan Smith. "Whether people like it or not, it's very diverse and each of the boroughs, many of them are bigger than most cities in the rest of the UK," he said in the House of Commons.
“Surely we have to go back to the nature of this London Tier 2 position because there might even be regional areas that could be removed, there are big differences.
"Please think again, otherwise a voter who literally called me today said to me, is this actually a London Tier 2 to stop the North-South divide argument?"
Health Secretary Matt Hancock replied, “No, just about the last point, absolutely not. The decision was made based on the data across London.
“And we considered the city-to-city advocated city-to-city approach, but the decision we have come to is that cases are increasing across the capital. So it was right for the capital to move as a whole – and that was supported by the bipartisan team working on it at the London level. & # 39;
London Tory Mayoral nominee Shaun Bailey said: “Sadiq Khan's constant call for a lockdown is extremely irresponsible. It's like he wants people to focus on something other than his bad record as mayor.
“I support the government's decision to include London in Tier 2. This is a sensible move that can help us avoid a lockdown while keeping Londoners safe.
In the meantime, Sadiq Khan must stop ruling via press release and get his job done. That means he's reversing his congestion charge increase, scrapping his LTN plans and getting people back to central London safely. & # 39;
What are the three tires?
TIER 1 / MEDIUM
- You are not allowed to socialize in groups larger than 6 people inside or outside
- Certain companies need to ensure that customers only consume food and drink while seated and close between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
- Companies and venues that sell groceries for consumption off-site can do so after 10 p.m. as long as it is a take-out service
- Places of worship remain open, subject to the rule of 6
- Weddings and funerals can be held with restrictions on the number of participants
- Exercise classes and organized sports can still take place outdoors or indoors with rule 6
TIER 2 / HIGH
- You must not come in contact with anyone outside of your household or support bubbles indoors
- You are not allowed to socialize in a group of more than 6 people outdoors, not even in a garden
- Exercise classes and organized sports can still take place outdoors. These are only allowed indoors if it is possible for people not to mix with people they do not live with or with whom they do not share a support bubble, or if they practice youth or disabled sports
- You can still travel to venues or facilities that are open, work, or have access to education, but try to reduce the number of trips you make if possible
TIER 3 / VERY HIGH:
- You must not come into contact with anyone indoors or in a private garden with whom you do not live together or with whom you have formed a support bubble
- You are not allowed to socialize in a group of more than 6 people in an outdoor public area such as a park
- Pubs and bars have to close and can only stay open where they function like a restaurant, which means extensive meals are served
- Places of worship remain open, but mixing in the household is not permitted
- Weddings (but not receptions) and funerals may limit the number of participants
- You should avoid staying in any other part of the UK if you live in a very high alert area
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Nachrichten (t) Sadiq Khan (t) TFL (t) Coronavirus