With just two days of campaigning left in the London Mayoral election before polling day, Ken Livingstone has put London’s soaring transport fares centre stage, calling on Tory candidate Boris Johnson and transport secretary Justine Greening to come clean on the extent of their plans to increase Londoner’s bus, tube and train fares.
Green and Liberal Democrat candidates in the election have been more open with voters about their fares plans than the Tories.
In interviews and public meetings Conservative Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to admit how much he will increase Londoners fares in 2013, 2014 and beyond, despite being regularly questioned about what the cost of tube, train and rail fares in London will be from 2013.
There are growing concerns that Boris Johnson’s year-on-year fare rises could be part of a secret Tory deal which is making Londoners pick up a growing bill for the government’s national transport budget. The Tory government has already cut London’s transport budget by 21% and it is feared the Tories want to go further. Has Boris Johnson has struck a secret deal to raise Londoner’s fares to help the government cut funding from the national transport budget?
In an interview with the Financial Times on 1 April 2012, Tory Secretary of State, Justine Greening, came close to letting the cat out of the bag. Ken Livingstone’s fares policy, she said, “would risk breaching the terms of the government’s funding settlement with TfL.”
Other Tory colleagues have been more explicit. The influential Conservative Home website’s headline simply states, “A Conservative Government should scrap the £3 billion annual subsidy to Transport for London.”
Ken Livingstone said; “Tory Mayor Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to say how much fares will rise in 2013, 2014 and beyond. The risk is that he has made a secret pact with his Tory colleagues in Westminster to cut government subsidy to Transport for London by shifting the burden to the farepayer.
“There is the clearest possible evidence that the Conservatives plan even higher London transport fares for years to come. Incredibly, with just two days left before the Mayoral election the Conservative candidate has not yet owned up to Londoners how much he plans to raise their fares next year.
“For months the Conservative candidate has dodged answering questions on the cost of fares under the Tories if he won. Today I’m calling on him to publish his secret fares plan.
“The Tories have repeatedly refused to tell Londoners what discussions there have been between their mayor and his government colleagues about reductions to the Transport for London grant. The danger is that Boris Johnson is putting up fares massively as part of an arrangement with the government to make it easier for them to cut the transport grant.
“There are just two days before the Mayoral election. Londoners have a right to know how much the Tory Mayor intends to increase their bus, tube, tram and train fares. We need answers now. Today I have written to Tory Transport Secretary, Justine Greening to ask her to release details of all discussions between her and her government and Boris Johnson’s administration about increasing the burden on fare payers and cutting government investment in transport.”Other news from London Assembly Labour