Almost every capital city in the world receives national funding for its transport network year on year, but Boris Johnson ended that crucial help for London.
That decision and the pandemic have put Transport for London in an extremely difficult position, with tube journeys still only at 65% of their normal rate, and buses at just 71%.
The Government has refused to provide long term support to London during the pandemic and has imposed conditions hitting Londoners for the short term resources that have been supplied. By contrast, private rail companies serving other parts of the country have been bailed out with no conditions.
Ministers seem hellbent on punishing our wonderful city. Levelling up is meaningless waffle if London is ignored, but when the capital does well the whole country benefits.
Sadly, without help for London we will see: lengthy delays for the Bakerloo Line extension; no new Jubilee Line trains; escalators at Elephant and Castle station held back; and the possible closure of the Rotherhithe Tunnel. This is on top of cuts to tube and bus services hitting the whole of London.
A fully functioning transport system is essential to getting our capital back on its feet and supporting jobs throughout the country. London’s economy represents 23% of the country’s GDP and we were contributing £39 billion NET to the Treasury before the pandemic. For every £1 invested in London Underground, 55p is paid to workforces outside the capital so withholding support hits the whole southeast.
There are just a few weeks left for the Government to deliver a fair funding deal for London. Failure to do so will put the country’s recovery from covid in jeopardy.