Tory Chancellor George Osborne has hit public transport in yet another spending review, announced on June 26th.
He pledged money for Tube upgrades; £2 billion for research into Crossrail 2 and £90 million for the electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.
But he axed TfL’s budget for running day-to-day services by 12.5%
This is a classic example of Tory public transport policy: cutting money that should fund the running costs of public transport services and investing it instead in massive projects that will enrich the privateers who win the construction contracts.
The budget for day-to-day transport services is already squeezed. Money is tied up in long-term contracts through franchises with private Train Operating Companies and extortionate debt repayments to private companies for Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects.
The Government’s agenda is to use public transport funding as a vehicle to make private profit for their business buddies, while cutting services. Private profit instead of public transport.
The Government was quick to point out that cuts to ‘running costs’ also means transport workers’ so-called ‘generous terms and conditions’ are in the firing line.
Government policy, backed by Mayor Boris Johnson, threatens our jobs, pay and a worse service for the public. Our union movement needs to demand no job cuts. We need a public transport system run in the interests of passengers and workers. Public transport not private profit!