London Underground and TfL

27.11.18

Transport minister blames Khan for TfL’s financial problems as it struggles to fund Crossrail

Transport minister Andrew Jones has criticised Sadiq Khan over the capital’s struggle to complete the Crossrail project and argued that it is “becoming clearer how the mayor’s policies are causing long-term problems with TfL’s finances.”

Jones placed the responsibility for TfL’s precarious financial position at Khan’s feet as the Elizabeth Line project runs over budget and lags months behind schedule.

Crossrail announced in August that the completion of the scheme would be delayed by at least nine months, and last month the government had to give the organisation a £350m short-term loan in order to prevent it from falling further behind schedule.

Mayor Khan has recently come under fierce criticism after claims he and London transport bosses “misled” the London Assembly Transport Committee over the delay, which he denies.

Speaking in Parliament, Jones has now criticised his policies and said that TfL’s finances were “a matter for the mayor of London.” His boss, transport secretary Chris Grayling, also claimed last month that Khan’s four-year fare freeze across the capital was to blame for TfL’s financial woes. 

After being questioned by Conservative MP Alex Burghart, the minister said that the government would continue to work with TfL as joint sponsors “to oversee Crossrail’s delivery of the new railway as soon as possible.”

His boss Chris Grayling also claimed last month that as well as the challenges facing Crossrail, Khan’s four-year fare freeze was to blame for TfL’s financial woes.

The London Assembly recently wrote to Khan accusing him of being “deliberately misleading” over the delays to Crossrail after the committee “identified grave discrepancies” in evidence given to its investigation.

But the mayor denied he had prior knowledge of the delays and said that he and Crossrail had been transparent throughout 2018 on “significant growing cost and schedule pressures.”

Crossrail has repeatedly taken hits in recent months, with Khan saying just last week that the project will likely need even more cash injections, and in a letter,  he also voiced “significant concerns” over the Elizabeth Line’s transparency and governance.

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Image credit - Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images

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