London Mayor Sadiq Khan needs to brush up on his negotiation skills. Mere hours after he announced Transport for London was on the verge of running out of money, and services may stop running if additional funding wasn’t forthcoming, he managed to secure... a package of less money than is needed, with more strings attached than a marionette.
In exchange for the £1.6 billion package, Khan has agreed to return the Tube to 100% service levels “as soon as possible”, and to a long-term review of TfL’s finances — which the Tory government will no doubt use to demand cuts. Khan also agreed that information on staff absences will be sent directly to the government — which can’t mean anything good for us as staff. He has offered to increase fares by 1% above inflation, breaking an election pledge. And government officials will now sit on the TfL board.
We might query what there is left to cut, after a decade that has seen one cuts programme follow another (OSP... Fit for the Future... Transformation...), it is likely the Tories will be looking around for stuff to slash or sell off in order to claw back some over their grudgingly-given dosh.
We shouldn’t let the inevitable arguments about the difficult circumstances and the need to tighten our belts dissuade us from fighting that for all we’re worth. Workers and passengers should not pay for the crisis.