27 May 2021
RMT Press Office:
On the eve of deadline for new funding deal, RMT warns of new Dark Age for London Transport as Tories gear up to inflict new round of politically motivated austerity.
RMT warned today that the Tories will inflict a new Dark Age on London’s transport network if they impose more cuts on TfL as the price of providing a new bailout package.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said:
“Rumours abound of a deal based on either cuts today or another temporary package with cuts imposed later in the year. Either way we seem to be set to go back to the dark age of London Transport when the network was starved of funds for political reasons.
“The Tories lost the mayoral election to someone who pledged to ‘fearlessly stand up for the city’ and ‘oppose further austerity’, and they don’t like the result so they’re trying to starve Londoners into submission using the pandemic as cover.
“Cutting spending on public transport will plunge the capital into a new Dark Age of ageing, dirty trains running on an increasingly unsafe infrastructure while the city is clogged with congestion and pollution. At the same time, London Transport worker heroes who have risked and lost their lives to Covid-19 are being asked to pay the Tory price of the Coronavirus crisis. RMT will fight these cuts from whichever quarter they come and with every tool available for us and we urge Londoners to join this struggle because everyone will feel the effects of this attack.”
- The government’s plans are based on a secret report prepared for them by the consultancy KPMG which no one outside the government has seen in an unredacted form.
- There is no mandate for cuts to London’s transport network. In his manifesto Sadiq Khan said: “This election is a two-horse race. As your Labour candidate I’ll fearlessly stand up for the city, oppose further austerity, argue for the investment London needs and face down shameful attacks on our values. On the other side is a Tory candidate who’ll never do any of these things. Instead, they’ll be scared of upsetting the Government and timid in the face of the threats facing the city. Their focus would be on the few, not the many, and with them it’ll be more austerity and a return to the failed way of doing things.” Sadiq-for-London-Manifesto-.pdf, p. 13.
- Sadiq Khan won the election as London Mayor on a ticket of campaigning for the restoration of grant funding for TfL, which had become over-dependant on fare revenue. “I won’t give up fighting for the fairest emergency funding deals I can achieve — but I’ll also argue for a new long-term, sustainable and fair funding model for TfL. I’ll continue campaigning for the restoration of sufficient Government grant funding and the devolution of new funds to London. Only then will the city be able to continue investing in its public transport system and build on the dramatic improvements of the last twenty years.” Sadiq-for-London-Manifesto-.pdf, p. 33.
- TfL and the Mayor have sought temporary bailout funding to make up for the damage to revenue caused by the drop in passenger numbers and a restoration of the grants cut by the Tory-led coalition government in 2010 while passenger numbers recover.
- Department for Transport data show that Tube use has steadily increased from 18% in March this year to 40% in May (Transport use during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) TfL project that they will need revenue support until at least 2023 and have proposed a series of measures to fund this.