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Home Government TfL funding extension confirmed until February

TfL funding extension confirmed until February

Transport for London (TfL) has said the UK Government has extended funding support until February 2022.

An extraordinary funding and financing support package arrangement, announced in June, was provided to help TfL because of low passenger numbers and revenue forecasts due to the pandemic.

The funding first expired on 10 December, before being extended until today (17 December) as negotiations continued.

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Andy Byford, London’s transport commissioner, said: “The government has today confirmed an extension of its funding support for TfL through until 4 February, for which we are grateful. The Mayor has also set out a range of proposals that will help support TfL’s financial sustainability.

“There is no UK recovery from the pandemic without a London recovery and there is no London recovery without a properly funded transport network in the capital. It is therefore essential that discussions with government continue so that we can agree the sustained long-term government funding that is vital for the coming years if a period of ‘managed decline’ of London’s transport network is to be avoided. Working together we must achieve this longer term funding settlement that ensures London’s transport network can remain reliable and efficient, can support the jobs and new homes that rely upon it and can support the economic recovery of the capital and the country as a whole. This vital job is far from done.”

In response, Darren Caplan, chief executive at the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “Today’s funding extension will bring some temporary relief to businesses and passengers. The current situation is obviously difficult, with passenger numbers yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, and whilst we are confident numbers will return in the medium term, it is clear further immediate support is needed for TfL whilst fare revenue recovers.

“However, this is yet another stop-gap deal. What is really needed is a long-term funding settlement, similar to Network Rail’s five-year Control Period, which would provide the resources needed to steer London’s railways through the pandemic and ensure investment now for beyond COVID. Such certainty would enable businesses to invest – in what are challenging economic times – in the people, skills and capabilities needed to maintain and upgrade London’s rail and Tube lines, as well as to keep costs down for the taxpayer which only a visible and certain pipeline of work brings.

“Certainty of longer-term railway investment also supports a wider supply chain right across the country, which employs hundreds of thousands of skilled workers. So whilst we hope this short term extension enables the government and TfL to deal with the current problems caused by the pandemic, we also need a multi-year deal to be agreed, to ensure the UK railway industry can not only continue to support sustainable public transport for millions of people in London, but also ultimately get better value for money for the taxpayer.”

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