Sadiq Khan lashes out at Boris Johnson in TfL funding row – ‘You lied plain and simple!’

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The Labour mayor used an explosive op-ed to hit out at Boris Johnson after he said Mr Khan had “effectively bankrupted” the capital’s public transport system. The Prime Minister’s scathing review of the mayor’s performance came during this week’s PMQs amid an ongoing row over a second coronavirus funding package for TfL.

Mr Khan slammed the Government’s conditions attached to the bailout, warning they would “hit Londoners with a triple whammy of higher costs”.

The Mayor said ministers want TfL to expand the £15 Congestion Charge Zone to the North and South Circular roads in 12 months’ time.

This would mean the zone would cover an extra four million Londoners.

The Government was also said to want to increase TfL fares by well above the inflation rate, and double down on demands to remove free travel for under-18s.

And a further proposal by ministers is to introduce a new council tax charge in London, regardless of whether residents use public transport, according to the mayor.

Writing in the Labour List, Mr Khan said: “The Prime Minister lied, plain and simple, in the House of Commons this week when he said Transport for London (TfL) only needed emergency national funding now due to actions I had taken prior to the pandemic.

“The truth is that before the coronavirus I was fixing the financial mess at TfL that I’d inherited from Boris Johnson when he was mayor.

“Over the course of four years, I had reduced TfL’s deficit by 71 percent and increased cash reserves by 13 percent.”

In May ministers handed the network a £1.6billion financial package to keep services up and running.

The boost came after TfL’s income from passenger fares fell by 90 percent during the lockdown.

But Mr Khan argued that the deal was merely a “sticking plaster” for the huge problems faced by TfL bosses.

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He said the offer “failed to address the dramatic fall in fares income due to COVID-19.”

Mr Khan has said London’s entire economy will be put at risk if another massive cash injection is not secured for TfL.

The mayor who took over from Mr Johnson in City Hall in 2016 accused the Government of “ill-advised and draconian” plans in return for a second bailout.

Speaking during PMQs on Wednesday, Mr Johnson told the Commons: “The current Mayor of London had effectively bankrupted TfL before coronavirus had even hit and left a massive black hole in its finances.

“Any need to make up that deficit is entirely down to him, it is entirely his responsibility.

“Any expansion of the congestion charge or any other measure taken to improve the finances of TfL are entirely the responsibility of the bankrupt current Labour Mayor of London.”

Mr Khan told a meeting of TfL’s board that he intends to “stand firm and fight for a fair deal for Londoners”.

Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said it was “extremely worrying” that the Government is offering only a “papering-over-the-cracks funding package” for the public transport network.

Mr McMahon criticised Mr Johnson for attaching “punitive conditions” to the second Government bailout.

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