LOOK IN ON LONDON
Mayor offers revenue raising suggestions
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and UK government continued their public battle over continue funding for Transport for London (TfL) as the December 11 expiry date of the support package agreed in June approached.
One of the conditions of this deal was that the mayor outline his proposals to raise between £500m and £1bn per year in additional revenue. A last-minute extension to December 17 was granted in order for the mayor to provide options for consideration by the government. Having seen his preferred choices rejected –a greater London boundary charge, remitting a proportion of vehicle excise duty to the Greater London Authority (GLA) or introducing a levy on online delivery vans – the mayor submitted revised proposals on December 15.
In addition to increasing fares by one percentage point above the retail prices index (which was 7.7% in November) options submitted include an increase in council tax of about £20 per property a year, which is expected to raise around £170m annually, and restricting the travel concessions offered by the 60+ Oyster card. The age eligibility will also be raised by six months each year for the next 12 years – at this stage its age criteria would match that of the Freedom Pass, which is largely funded by local authorities, and it is to be assumed that the 60+ Oyster Card would be withdrawn. A 2018 report by the GLA Budget and Performance Committee estimated that the 60+ Oyster Card cost TfL around £70m a year in revenue foregone.