Boris Johnson told the House of Commons during PMQs that London mayor Sadiq Khan “had effectively bankrupted TfL before coronavirus had even hit and left a massive black hole in its finances.”
Sadiq Khan disputed these claims and said: “It gives me no pleasure in saying so, but our Prime Minister today, on the floor of the House of Commons has lied.”
Although Khan did impose a fare freeze, this freeze cost TfL around £640m over four years - a sum dwarfed by the estimated pandemic-related £1.9bn drop in passenger income expected at the time Mr Johnson made his remarks.
A report from the London Assembly showed that TfL had made almost £1bn of savings across the organisation and prior to the pandemic was on track to reduce its like-for-like operating deficit for the fourth consecutive year (down 86% compared to 2015/16), and built up cash reserves of more than £2bn (up by 31% compared to 2015/16). According to a BBC report, TfL’s deficit had fallen by 71% since 2016.
The Prime Minister’s statement about TfL was misleading. It remains on the House of Commons record in defiance of the Ministerial Code.