Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the Major of London had reduced the TfL operating deficit by 70% and increased its cash balance by 13%, while maintaining fares income over the past four years—a much healthier situation than that left by his predecessor. It is also worth bearing in mind, in the light of what has been said, that London’s net contribution to the Treasury last year was £38.8 billion.
I return to the question raised by noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, which did not get much of an answer. Why are the Government playing awkward over funding for publicly owned TfL? They are providing all the money private train operators in London require through 18-month funding deals with a surplus element built in and few questions asked. Meanwhile, they are seeking to force the Mayor of London to make punitive policy changes affecting Londoners—who have done and continue to do the right thing on Covid-19—as the price for their necessary further financial support. It is not sufficient to say they are different cases; they are very similar.