Sadiq Khan is attempting to hide the consequences of his incompetent handling Transport for London's finances behind the government's bailout terms. In the past four years, the Mayor has pursued transport policies which he knew TfL could not afford. And now Londoners are paying the price.
He lost at least £640 million subsidising tourist travel while Londoners saw the cost of their travel cards rise.
The delay to Crossrail, a vital project which was on time and budget when Khan inherited it, has cost £3.65 billion in bail outs and £1.35 billion in lost revenue.
Transport for London's debt rocketed to a record £13 billion after Khan maxed out its credit cards.
21 major transport projects were delayed or cancelled as a consequence of Sadiq Khan's financial mismanagement.
Now the Mayor is trying to hide the consequences of his decisions at the helm of Transport for London. Here's what the Mayor doesn't want you to know:
1) Sadiq Khan was already planning to increase TfL fares.
The Mayor already planned to increase TfL fares by by 1% plus RPI from January 2021 before the coronavirus crisis. Yet, Sadiq Khan has blamed the government bailout terms for his planned fare increase next year. The Mayor had already approved the fare increase in December 2019 in TfL's Business Plan, and announced his decision to hike up fares in March 2020.
2) Sadiq Khan chose to hike up Congestion Charge.
The Mayor decided to increase the charge to £15, extend hours from 7 am until 10 pm for seven days a week and close residents’ discount to new applicants, but then blamed the government for his disastrous plan. However, he admitted on Good Morning Britain that it was, in fact, his decision.
3) Sadiq Khan's Deputy agreed to cut under-18s free travel.
After the Mayor agreed to the bailout for Transport for London, he immediately blamed the government for free travel for under-18s being temporarily suspended. However, a letter from the Transport Secretary to the Mayor revealed that Sadiq Khan's Deputy Mayor of Transport was directly asked if she agreed with pausing the concession. And she agreed. The letter told the Mayor: "We asked your Deputy Mayor for Transport directly, during the negotiations, whether she accepted making the withdrawal of the under-18 concession part of the deal. She said she did.”
The Mayor wants to avoid responsibility for the concession being paused during lockdown despite warning children and young Londoners to avoid public transport.
He told LBC on the 4th May: "What we don't want is children and their parents and carers using public transport during rush hour, leading to social interaction leading to the virus spreading.... If there's any increase at all in passenger numbers that's a big problem for us...”
4) Government blamed TfL's finances for bail out.
Immediately after the bailout, Sadiq Khan and London Labour went on the defensive claiming that the Mayor had "fixed" Transport for London's finances. That's not what the government thinks. In its explanation of the bailout, the Secretary of State for Transport told Parliament: "An important secondary factor was the pre-existing poor condition of TfL's financial position as a result of decisions made over the last four years. Combined with significant cost increases and delays to Crossrail, this left TfL in serious financial difficulty, even before the public health emergency." That's why in return for the £1.6 billion bailout Sadiq Khan has been forced to accept two government representatives on the TfL board, one special representative at all finance meetings, and a government-led review of TfL's structure and finances.