Rishi Sunak took the capital for granted in his Budget speech yesterday, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said, and in doing so the Tory Chancellor scored an own goal for the nation’s economic recovery.
Sunak allocated nearly £7billion to boost public transport in England’s city regions – but not a penny of new funding Transport for London, which was hard-hit when lockdown deprived it of all its fares revenue.
The government has paid nearly £4billion in bailouts to keep TfL services running during the coronavirus pandemic. The latest TfL funding settlement from government expires on December 11, creating yet more uncertainty just ahead of the busy Christmas period.
The Budget did not provide enough funding “to keep Londoners safe, deliver more affordable housing, tackle poor air quality and the meet the ambition needed to achieve net zero and address the climate crisis”, Mayor Khan said.
London contributed a net £38.8billion to the Treasury in the last full financial year prior to the pandemic.
“Without a London recovery, there will be no national economic recovery,” Khan said.
Marina Ahmad, the former Bromley councillor and now Labour’s London Assembly economy spokesperson, told Inside Croydon, “The Chancellor’s mantra of ‘levelling-up’ will ring hollow in the ears of Londoners.
“Almost 1million in the capital are being levelled down by the cut to the Universal Credit uplift at a time when rents, food and energy bills are rising as we head into a difficult winter.
“London has been largely overlooked by the Chancellor. This is an own goal for the government as they know that investment in the capital, especially its transport infrastructure, generates jobs and dividends for other regions in the country and helps us to reach our vital net-zero targets.
“Almost a quarter of the country’s GDP is generated in London.
“If the Chancellor kicks London, he kicks the country.
“With his refrain of bringing funding back to 2010 levels, it does look as if the Chancellor has finally latched on to the fact that austerity was an expensive and drawn-out mistake.
“But the level of investment announced today still falls short of undoing the damage done to our NHS and public services over the last decade”.
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