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Transport for London: Financial Settlement

Volume 708: debated on Thursday 3 February 2022

16. What recent progress he has made on agreeing a long-term financial settlement with Transport for London. (905414)

It is for the Mayor to take decisions about how to balance the TfL budget. We are committed to supporting the system and have done so with hard cash—£4.5 billion and counting.

As my right hon. Friend knows, the current deal expires very soon. The Mayor was due to provide ways that he would balance the budget; I understand that he has not done so yet. Could my right hon. Friend confirm that in any arrangements that he makes with the Mayor of London, we will exclude the outer London charge for people driving into the London area and stop the Mayor introducing road pricing in London unless the whole country goes ahead with it?

My hon. Friend is a terrific champion of a fair settlement. It is the easiest thing in the world for someone to propose a tax that people other than their own residents pay, which is exactly what the Mayor has been pursuing with the boundary tax. It is not fair; we will oppose it—no taxation without representation.

The Government’s piecemeal funding for Transport for London is short-sighted and, yet again, will have an impact on thousands of jobs across the entire country. For every £1 spent on London’s transport infrastructure, 50p is spent outside the capital. We know that they have the money after yesterday’s news about the latest Government wastage—£9 billion blown on dodgy PPE about as effective as the Prime Minister’s Save Big Dog strategy.

Some 30 TfL projects currently support thousands of jobs around the country from Wrightbus in Ballymena in Northern Ireland to Bombardier in my constituency. That includes a £1 billion contract for building tube trains in Goole in East Yorkshire. Is it not time for the Government to save jobs across the country, stop rolling out the rhetoric and start investing in London’s transport infrastructure?

The trouble is, when someone writes that kind of passage in advance and practises it in front of the mirror, they potentially miss the announcement that was made in the original answer. We have now spent £4.5 billion propping up TfL to help out, rightly, because of the pandemic and, in addition, because of the decisions that failed to be made earlier, such as the four-year fare freeze and the concessions that go way above anything available elsewhere in the country.