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UK government could take control of Transport for London unless deal reached -Financial Times

Tue, 20th Oct 2020 20:56

Oct 20 (Reuters) - The UK government has threatened to seize
control of Transport for London (TfL) if mayor Sadiq Khan fails
to reach a deal proposed by ministers, the Financial Times
reported on Tuesday.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps had written a letter to
Khan earlier this month listing several conditions in return for
any financial rescue package, the newspaper https://on.ft.com/31mAxan
reported.

According to the report, Shapps proposed a six-month funding
deal to March 2021 dubbed "the H2 deal" ahead of a longer-term
settlement.

TfL's income was down by 90% because people avoided public
transportation at the height of the novel coronavirus pandemic
between March and July. It was bailed out by the central
government when its finances came under pressure in the crisis.

The government's proposed deal offered TfL a further 1
billion pounds ($1.29 billion) bailout with demands that the
transport operator raise fares and curb the remaining free
travel entitlements for children and pensioners, a source
familiar with the matter had said on Thursday.

Shapps said the government would take control of TfL and run
it from Whitehall if both sides failed to strike an H2 deal or
if its terms were not met, the FT said.

Conditions such as extending a £15 congestion charge to the
North and South Circular were put forward by the minister.

The demands were rejected by Khan in an interview with LBC
News last week.

"Negotiations with the Government continue, but suffice it
to say there is simply no way any Mayor could accept conditions
of this nature," a representative for the Mayor of London said
in an emailed statement on Tuesday in response to the FT report.

TfL had announced last week that government support had been
extended for a further two weeks.
(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Grant
McCool)

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