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Transport for London Budget

Volume 688: debated on Thursday 28 January 2021

What assessment he has made of the progress of the Mayor of London in putting the Transport for London budget on a sound footing. (911488)

The Mayor of London is responsible for Crossrail’s costs and completion through Transport for London, although the Government have offered an additional £825 million in borrowing to meet Crossrail’s funding shortfall.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Mayor of London has monumentally mismanaged the Crossrail project, which is over budget and several years delayed, and that it is ordinary Londoners who are having to pick up the bill with a 10% increase in the share of council tax for the Mayor?

My hon. Friend is of course correct. We have had the failure to deliver Crossrail on time, £5.2 billion; higher pensions at TfL, £828 million; the fare freeze, with £640 million of fares not collected; and fare dodging, £400 million. I know that that is all just millions and billions to us, but it all adds up.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Instead of levelling up the north, where this Government have cut £4 million from Transport for the North, the Minister and his Government clearly intend to level down London’s transport network. This is not the first time we have had to come to the House to ask about the Government’s support for TfL because it did not go far enough in the first place. At a time when public transport ridership has collapsed and we are still a long way off recovering to pre-pandemic ridership levels, we must think about redistribution. That is clearly the right approach. Vehicle excise duty, which raises £500 million from drivers who live in London, is invested almost exclusively in roads outside the city. Keeping it in the capital would enable TfL to continue to be a world-class transport provider and boost our nation’s economy, so will the Transport Secretary commit to looking at this as a way to support TfL?

I welcome the hon. Gentleman to his position, warmly congratulate him and look forward to many exchanges. He asks about TfL. The Government have provided £3.3 billion and counting to TfL to keep it afloat. I just listed some of the moneys that had not been collected in by the Mayor, and I hear that the hon. Gentleman now wants to give the Mayor responsibility for the collection of vehicle excise duty in addition. Londoners will be interested in this. The Mayor is already planning an over £31 band D increase in council tax this year and now he has this new boundary tax, which might be £3.50 or £5.50—we await to hear—for entering London from certain locations. Where does it end?