DESPITE GOVERNMENT RAMMING TRANSPORT FOR LONDON BILL THROUGH COMMONS LAST NIGHT, RMT PLEDGES TO CONTINUE FIGHT
The Transport for London Bill passed through its latest stage in the Commons last night after a hard-line Tory whipping operation and will now go to the report stage with transport union RMT pledging to continue to work with Labour MPs to oppose it as it heads towards its third reading. The bill is designed to help TfL fill the funding gap arising from impending cuts in the grant it receives from central government, by allowing it to use offshore companies to develop its property.
Leaks show that, from the turn of the decade, the government will cut £700 million a year from its contribution to TfL’s budget. In return for accepting this reduction without a fuss, last night the government lined up its pet MPs to ram the bill through Parliament.
With its property development focused “Transport for London Bill”, TfL is trying to jump head first into the worst kind of corporate structures – “Limited Partnerships”. That is development orchestrated via opaque offshore investment vehicles that pay little tax and are magnets for crooks from around the world engaged in stealing money from their own public purses.
TfL is pinning all its hopes on filling the gap created by government cuts to its budget by leasing out land to offshore companies. It should not have been put in this position by government – TfL is struggling to run a transport network, let alone a property portfolio.
Their press office spins this as TfL’s contribution to tackling the housing crisis but RMT says it is nothing of the kind.
Even if Transport for London were to allow the building of giant residential towers above every one of its stations, the cost of housing in the capital will remain unaffordable.
While the provision of vital services such as housing continues to be dominated by corporate interests, the chief winners will remain the financiers. With ordinary working people left competing against each other to see how much money they can borrow for ever more miniscule and remote dwellings.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“The Transport for London Bill may well have been whipped through the Commons last night but the fight is far from over.”
“TfL needs to be saved from itself and from a government indifferent to the growing financial crisis facing services in the Capital city as we saw from the transport department funding settlement agreed last week.
“Speculative property gambles benefit global finance capital and open the door to a barrage of dirty money and the warehousing of residential units that turn whole areas into ghost towns. TfL should have no part of that.
“TfL needs to be properly funded by government and not encouraged to gamble its financial future and the safe provision of transport services on shadey property deals straight out of The Long Good Friday.”