Coalition of Londoners calls for an end to ‘appalling attack’ on the Capital’s transport

October 29, 2020
Coalition of Londoners calls for an end to ‘appalling attack’ on the Capital’s transport
 
 
A coalition of organisations have today joined together in a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, calling on him to end his government’s attack on the capital’s transport system, 48 hours before negotiations between the government and TfL over a new funding deal are due to end.
 
The letter, signed by 13 organisations representing London’s transport workers, passenger groups, children, young people, students, pensioners, disabled people and anti-poverty campaigners, condemns the government for imposing what is in effect ‘a new round of austerity cuts that will throw more families into poverty and increase hardship for ordinary working people and small businesses across the capital.’
 
The signatories condemn the government’s ‘offer’ – reported to be £1 billion over 6 months, conditional on TfL imposing driverless trains, attacks on pensions in retirement, fare and tax rises and cuts to concessions for children, young people and pensioners – saying:
 
“This package of cuts is punitive, cruel and unnecessary. It’s an open attack on the livelihoods of 9 million Londoners who are being punished because, unlike other major cities our capital’s transport system has been forced to become overly dependent on fare revenue, leaving it exposed to the shocks of the pandemic”.
 
The letter says,
 
“We call on the Prime Minister to abandon this appalling attack on the livelihoods of London’s people and its transport workers and immediately agree a proper funding package that fully supports public transport in our capital during the current crisis and also reinstates government grant to a level that allows for the retention and expansion of safe, sustainable and affordable public transport for the future.”
The signatories to the letter are:  ASLEF, RMT, TSSA, Unite the Union, National Union of Students, London, East and South East TUC, London Region National Pensioners Convention, Child Poverty Action Group, Age UK London, Disabled People Against the Cuts, We Own It, the Association of British Commuters and Bring Back British Rail.

The full letter, send to the Prime Minister today, can be read below:
 
 29th October, 2020
 
Dear Prime Minister,
 
Listen to London: Stop the austerity attack and properly fund London Transport
 
As we move into a hard winter and a second wave of Covid-19 infections, Londoners who have done everything asked of them during this crisis, including transport keyworkers who have put their lives on the line to keep the capital moving, are facing a new round of austerity cuts that will throw more families into poverty and increase hardship for ordinary working people and small businesses across the capital.
 
The cuts being proposed will:
 
Increase child and pensioner poverty in London by cutting access to free travel concessions; Increase hardship for London’s working families and small businesses through fare rises and council tax supplements; Unfairly target the 55,000 keyworkers who have worked heroically throughout the crisis by attacking their jobs, wages, conditions of employment and their pension provision for old age; Damage passenger safety and confidence in public transport through the loss of jobs that are vital to clean, safe and orderly travel; Lead to a degradation of our transport system which will reduce accessibility for disabled people, prevent us from meeting our decarbonisation goals and improving air quality and public health in the capital drive London’s economy further into recession.
 
This package of cuts is punitive, cruel and unnecessary. It’s an open attack on the livelihoods of 9 million Londoners who are being punished because, unlike other major cities our capital’s transport system has been forced to become overly dependent on fare revenue, leaving it exposed to the shocks of the pandemic. This is a broken funding model, but instead of working to fix it, your government appears to be using it to inflict yet more austerity on people who have done what they have been asked to do and endured great hardship in the process.
 
We call on your government to abandon this appalling attack on the livelihoods of London’s people and its transport workers and immediately agree a proper funding package that fully supports public transport in our capital during the current crisis and also reinstates government grant to a level that allows for the retention and expansion of safe, sustainable and affordable public transport for the future.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Mick Cash, General Secretary, RMT
 
Mick Whelan, General Secretary, ASLEF
 
Manuel Cortes, General Secretary, TSSA
 
Len McCluskey, General Secretary, Unite the Union
 
Larissa Kennedy, President, NUS
 
Sam Gurney, Regional Secretary, London, East and South East TUC
 
Cat Hobbs, Director, We Own It
 
Abigail Wood, Chief Executive, Age UK London
 
Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group
 
Barry Todman, London Region, National Pensioners Convention
 
Paula Peters, National Steering Group Member, Disabled People Against the Cuts
 
Emily Yates, Co-Founder, Association of British Commuters
 
Ellie Harrison, Founder, Bring Back British Rail

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