Tough Times for TfL

Articles, LondonUnlockedEditor

200810101113.jpgThe Guardian carries problematic news for TfL this morning:

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today confirmed that Transport for London had invested £40m in a failed Icelandic bank and vowed to seek "redress" for the lost deposits.

"That is a question for us and, together with the rest of London's authorities, we are looking to see what redress we can find," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

TfL is believed to have a £40m deposit in the Icelandic bank Kaupthing, which has been placed in administration.

Of course, £40m is a trifling figure compared to the up-to £3bn funding-gap faced by TfL should they wish to keep to current plans for maintenance and upgrade work on the Tube. However, it does succeed in making a difficult position for Mr Johnson even worse.

The war of words between City Hall and the DfT continue, Mr Johnson letting loose with a warning to the Government in the same article:

"I just want to stress that as the government thinks about its priorities now, and thinks about the way out of the recession we may or may not get into, it is absolutely vital that we continue with the investment in transport infrastructure in London.

"If we want to get ourselves out of this mess, that means long-term investment in improving our city and making it even more attractive as a place to come and work and invest."

He warned that failing to upgrade the London Underground or shelving Crossrail, the rail network linking east and west London, would be detrimental to the capital. "It is vital that people in government understand that," he said.

As Mr Johnson quite rightly said on the Today Programme yesterday:

"We will cripple ourselves if we fail to get Crossrail done and we fail to upgrade the Tube. It is vital that people in Government understand that."

These are tough economic times, but the Government must not forget the contribution that London makes to the UKs wealth. To do so would be true short-sightedness.