News

London mayor announces plans to raise council tax to help fund capital’s transport

Sadiq Khan has announced plans to raise council tax in London because the Government is “refusing to properly fund” the capital’s hard-hit transport system.

The London mayor said he did not want to make the increase but had been “forced down this route” due to the lack of a long-term funding deal for Transport for London (TfL), which has experienced large losses due to the pandemic.

The three-year hike, which will increase council tax bills by around £20 a year per household, would raise an estimated £172m annually.

Additionally, Mr Khan plans to increase the age of eligibility for free travel for over 60s by 10 per cent each year over the next 12 years.

Cheaper off-peak fares for tube journeys between Zone 1 and Heathrow could also be scrapped as part of the proposals, while Oyster card deposits could be increased from £5 to £7.

Previously, the Department for Transport (DfT) has insisted it has “repeatedly shown its commitment” to support TfL throughout the pandemic, providing more than £4bn in emergency funding.

Related Stories

But despite his proposed measures, Mr Khan said a “managed decline” of TfL would still be required, involving “significant cuts” to bus and Underground services.

He renewed his call for the Government to “give back the £500 million Londoners pay every year in Vehicle Excise Duty”, saying funds from the levy are currently “used almost entirely to maintain roads outside London”.

“The Government is still refusing to properly fund TfL, and ministers are effectively holding London to ransom, threatening to withhold all emergency funding unless even more significant additional revenue is raised from Londoners for TfL,” said Mr Khan.

“These are on top of the changes forced upon London last year when short-term funding was first given.”

He added that the Covid pandemic is the “sole cause” of TfL’s financial problems.

A previous funding agreement between the Government and TfL, due to expire last Saturday, has been extended until Friday.

A DfT spokesperson said: “We received a response from the mayor on income generation proposals which can move TfL towards a financially sustainable future, in a way that is fair to the national taxpayer.

“As this response was received three weeks late, we agreed to extend the current funding package for one week to seek further clarity from the mayor.

“We have now received a further response from the mayor which we will consider and respond to in due course.”



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

close