Dagenham and Rainham MP accuses government of playing ‘political games’ over TfL funding

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 October 2020

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas has accused the government of playing political games over TfL's coffers.  Picture: Eleanor Bentall

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas has accused the government of playing political games over TfL's coffers. Picture: Eleanor Bentall

© Transport for London

A Labour MP has accused the government of playing “unscrupulous political games” over TfL’s coffers.

Dagenham and Rainham Labour MP Jon Cruddas. Picture: HM Government.Dagenham and Rainham Labour MP Jon Cruddas. Picture: HM Government.

Jon Cruddas, who represents Dagenham and Rainham, described further Covid-19 related plans for the transport body as an attack on Londoners.

Mr Cruddas said: “The Tory government’s TfL funding proposal is nothing less than an attack on Londoners – punishing commuters in Dagenham and Rainham with fare hikes, council tax increases and an excessive extension of the congestion charge zone.”

He added that under the measures people who have “made great sacrifice” to follow the government’s Covid-19 rules will have to shell out £15 just to visit neighbouring Newham.

A government proposal made public by mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is to extend the £15 congestion charge zone to the North and South Circular in 12 months’ time.

Mr Cruddas said: “We always knew there would be difficult choices to make, but the Tories seemingly have no trouble handing a blank cheque to failing private train operators whilst refusing to give TfL the support it needs.

“The Tories are playing unscrupulous political games at a time when the national good should come first.”

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A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We have agreed an extension to the support period and to rollover unspent funding from the Transport for London extraordinary funding agreement, allowing further time for negotiations for a new settlement.

“These discussions will ensure London has a safe, reliable network. It would be inappropriate to disclose further details at this stage.”

The government has already pumped £1.6billion into TfL.

Mr Cruddas said: “The Tories have already pulled the rug out from under our young people and the over-60s by removing travel concessions, now this.

“Make no mistake, these measures will hit the poorest Londoners the hardest, stifling London’s economic recovery and leaving people in constituencies like mine overstretched and under increasing financial pressure.”

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today (October 21) called on ministers to reconsider “ill-advised and draconian” proposals.

He said the government wanted to increase TfL fares by well above the inflation rate and double down on demands to remove free travel for under-18s.

A further proposal is to introduce a new council tax charge in the capital.

Mr Khan said: “I simply cannot accept this government plan, which would hit Londoners with a triple whammy of higher costs at a time when so many people are already facing hardship.”

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