The government has threatened the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan that unless he accepts a package of measures including higher transport fares and council tax, then they will “seize control of Transport for London.”
The government wants Khan to create a larger congestion charge zone along with higher bus and tube fares including higher council tax for Londoners.
Khan has also been told to extend the congestion charge into the same areas as the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone from October 2021 the, Financial Times reports.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wrote to the Mayor of London saying the government will take “reserve legislative powers allowing us if necessary, to direct TfL” if Khan does not follow the measures.
If Khan accepts the measures, then TfL in return will receive six months of rescue funding until March 2021.
The letter which was seen by the Financial Times said the seizure of TfL will be combined with more series of “short term funding measures.”
Khan responded and said that the expansion of the congestion charge zone will have negative economic consequences and with council tax being raised he warned that this will “place even more reliance on an already broken form of taxation and would be regressive.”
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said, “Negotiations with the Government continue, but suffice it to say there is simply no way any Mayor could accept conditions of this nature, which would make it harder to tackle the virus and choke off London’s economic recovery at the worst possible time”.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said, “We have agreed an extension to the support period and to rollover unspent funding from the Transport for London Extraordinary Funding Agreement, allowing further time for negotiations for a new settlement.
“These discussions will ensure London has a safe, reliable network. It would be inappropriate to disclose further details at this stage.”