Dismore writes to Barnet MPs demanding they stand up for London against draconian TfL funding support conditions

Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden Andrew Dismore has written to the three Barnet Conservative MPs, Mike Freer, Theresa Villiers and Matthew Offord, after details of the Government’s proposed funding support for TfL was published. The funding would come at the price of abolishing free travel for the over 60s  and under 18s, an undisclosed hike in the council tax precept, and the extension of the congestion charge zone to the North and South Circular.

Mr Dismore highlighted that Boris Johnson as Mayor gave away TfL’s annual £700 million grant from the Government, yet Sadiq Khan still managed to reduce the operating deficit by 71%, and increased cash balances by 13%. He also corrected the record on the cost of Sadiq’s fare freezes, aimed at helping the poorest Londoners with the cost of living, which has only cost £160 million a year over 4 years – in total only sufficient to meet just 4 weeks of TfL’s costs.

Londoners had done the right thing during the Covid pandemic and stayed away from public transport to help control the virus, which led to a 90% drop in TfL revenues. The previous funding support to TfL included measures to increase the congestion charge to £15 per day, and reduced the availability of concessionary travel.

Mr Dismore said:

‘My question to the Barnet Conservative MPs is whose side are they on? Their constituents’ or their party’s?

‘Will they punish the young and old by taking away their free travel, having already defunded social care and youth services, and backed millions in school funding cuts?

‘Do they think it right that parents should have to pay £15 a day – £75 a week- for the ‘school run’; or families £15 to drive to the supermarket for their weekly shop?

‘Will they punish Barnet’s many car users, and along the way damage our town centres and local businesses?

‘Will they punish commuters with higher fares after ten years of stagnant wage growth for many and a cost of living crisis?

‘Will they punish all Londoners with higher council taxes, when they’ve robbed them of £1 billion of police funding, £700 million of TfL funding a year and all the other services hit by the cuts they’ve voted for?

‘Do they think it is right that the government should act the school bully towards Londoners, threatening to take direct control of Transport for London unless the mayor accepts the government’s draconian package?

‘I urge them to do the right thing and stand up for their constituents. Oppose this deal and vote against it. They must start to put their constituents ahead of their party and prevent the worst catastrophe to hit the prosperity of Barnet and London in decades.’