Sadiq Khan warns of huge cuts on cards for the Tube, buses and cycle schemes

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (West End Final)
(West End Final)

‘That’s some nice transport network you had planned there. Shame if something were to happen to it...’ I paraphrase, but only somewhat.

Today, Sadiq Khan has warned that TfL faces a £1.3bn black hole in its capital investment and repairs budget beyond April 2023. What that means is that the network will be forced into what City Hall terms a period of “managed decline” in which only safety-critical repairs will be carried out.

Not only that, but no more electric buses, step-free stations or cycling schemes. No Bakerloo Line extension or Camden Town upgrade. Crossrail 2? Are you drunk?

TfL, like transport networks everywhere, has been hit hard by the collapse in passengers as a result of the pandemic. But what makes the capital unusual is it is one of the only cities in the world with a transport system that receives no central government subsidy to support operational costs. That is why it is so exposed to a fall in commuters.

Of course, London is not alone today in taking a pretty dim view of government transport policy. This morning, Grant Shapps announced that the eastern leg of HS2 to Leeds is to be cancelled with some of the money being reinvested in the so-called Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands.

London to Leeds by train, which was meant to be cut to 1h20m, will now take close to two hours. Birmingham to York will go from taking a planned less than an hour to again just under two.

Why is this happening? Well yes, money, or lack thereof. Rishi Sunak is sticking to the fiscal rule which essentially limits public sector net investment to 3% of GDP.

But fiscal rules are political choices, and there is one other intriguing electoral element as well. Chris Curtis of Opinium Research points out that the section of HS2 that has now been nixed would have run through (and presumably roundly upset many people in) a large number of Red Wall seats, while the line itself would most benefit Labour areas. Politics, man.

Elsewhere in the paper, Sarfraz Manzoor writes that Melanie Sykes’s autism diagnosis at 51 gives hope to those who have always felt different.

Meanwhile, Melanie McDonagh wonders where, for the Harry Potter 20th anniversary spectacular, is JK Rowling?

And finally, we reveal London’s best secret party spots, according to those in the know. It may not surprise you to learn that I was not interviewed for this piece.

This article appears in our newsletter, West End Final – delivered 4pm daily – bringing you the very best of the paper, from culture and comment to features and sport. Sign up here.

Read More

Talking Point: What are your thoughts on the risk of TfL cuts?

TfL cash crisis: London cycling schemes face ‘horrifying’ cuts

Sadiq Khan ‘confident’ of Night Tube return despite strike threat

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting