Protest planned over funding for transport in London

Photo: PA Media

Rail unions and politicians are staging a demonstration this week to warn that public transport in London will “grind to a halt” without long-term financial planning.

The protest outside Parliament on Wednesday will come days before a decision is expected on funding for Transport for London (TfL).

Unions and politicians have warned that bus and Tube services will be cut without more funds, with a likely impact on jobs.

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Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), has warned that public transport across London will grind to a halt without a long-term financial plan.

“This is a hugely important demonstration because we know our public transport system in London desperately needs a proper long-term funding settlement from the Government.

“Yet instead, we see ministers attacking TfL services and budgets with the sole aim of undermining London and our brave transport workers who have stood on the front line throughout the Covid crisis.

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“We will make it clear to those inside the Westminster Parliament that we are not going away. Ministers must step up to the plate before services really do start grinding to a halt.”

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), said: “As the December 11 deadline for negotiating a new funding package for Transport for London approaches, RMT will be joining London’s other trade unions to demonstrate outside Parliament, calling on the Government to stop its attacks on transport workers and for the restoration of the operating grant to TfL.

“This demonstration will be making it clear that attacks on pensions, pay freezes and threats to services and jobs is not an acceptable way to treat London’s transport workers who have kept the city moving through a global pandemic.”

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A Government spokesman said: “We have repeatedly shown our commitment to supporting London’s transport network through the pandemic, providing more than £4 billion in emergency funding to Transport for London.

“We will continue to discuss any further funding requirements with TfL and the Mayor, and any support provided will focus on getting TfL back on to a sustainable financial footing in a way that is fair to taxpayers across the country.”

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