TfL’s finances have been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, as London commuters switched to stay-at-home working. The government has so far injected over £3billion to help keep the capital’s transport network afloat. The funds were set to cease from next week, but TfL has just secured a seven-week extension to its existing bailout, which is believed to be worth up to £485million of taxpayers’ cash.
Last May, TfL secured a £1.6billion bailout, followed by another cash injection worth £1.8billion last November.
The most recent deal was due to expire next week, but TfL has secured an extension to the plan in order to ensure services continue to run around the capital.
The financial package has been extended to May 18 and provides an additional £260m in base funding plus revenue support of approximately £225m from the Government.
The new bailout will take the total amount of Government cash injected into TfL to more than £3billion since March 2020.
The winner of May’s mayoral election is expected to secure a fresh deal after the vote on May 6.
A TfL spokesman said: “We have today agreed with the Government that our funding will be extended until May 18 on the same terms that have applied to our funding for the second half of 2020/21.
“We continue discussions with the Government on our need for further financial support and a long-term capital funding deal.
“This is vital for us to support a strong and robust recovery from the pandemic, and to provide confidence to our UK-wide supply chain.”
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Another person said: “This does not bode well.”
Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, said a future settlement will be considered once parts of the economy are reopened and demand on the transport network is known.
He said: “The Government and Mayor of London have agreed to extend the current Transport for London funding deal.
“The deal was due to run out on 31 March 2021, however, things have changed since we set the end of March for the next review of support to TfL.
“The roadmap set out by the Prime Minister to cautiously and safely reopen society and our economy means we can better understand the potential recovery in passenger demand, ensuring we deliver a sensible and appropriate deal in the future.
“As a result, and given the Mayoral election timetable, we have therefore agreed to roll over the existing funding deal until 18 May on the same terms as now, providing certainty over the pre-election period.
“Together, the Government and the newly elected Mayor will agree a new funding deal after the elections in May 2021. By this point, non-essential retail and other parts of the economy should be open and transport demand on the network will be considered when formulating a future settlement.
“Support for London needs to be balanced with the national recovery and supporting the national transport network as a whole.
“Since March 2020 the Government has spent £11bn supporting the running of the national transport network apart from that directly provided to TfL, whilst continuing to spend money on vital infrastructure projects to level up the national transport network outside of London.”