“[Sadiq Khan] blew TFL’s finances”

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister's Questions

November 18, 2020

Facts

The Prime Minister told the House of Commons that Sadiq Khan “blew TFL’s finances”. This is not the first time Johnson has made this claim - he said the same thing in October 2020, which Sadiq Khan disputed

While Khan did impose a fare freeze, coronavirus had a much more significant impact on TfL’s finances.

Khan’s fare freeze cost TfL around £640m over four years. This sum is dwarfed by the estimated £1.9bn drop in passenger income that was expected to have occurred as a result of the pandemic.

A report from the London Assembly showed that TfL had made almost £1bn of savings across the organisation and prior to the pandemic, under Sadiq Khan’s leadership. It was on track to reduce its operating deficit for the fourth consecutive year and built up cash reserves of more than £2bn.

Verdict 

Johnson’s claim that Sadiq Khan “blew TFL’s finances” was at best a highly selective account of events and therefore misleading. The statement remains on the Commons record in defiance of the Ministerial Code. Since this was the second time that Boris Johnson had made this misleading claim on the floor of the Commons it cannot be regarded as an inadvertent mistake. Boris Johnson was lying to MPs.

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