London transport �7.6b budget cuts enrage unions

TRANSPORT for London will slash �7.6 billion from its budget over the next seven years.

TfL’s Business Plan confirmed there will be job losses and major cutbacks to achieve huge savings in the coming years.

The job cuts include 800 ticket office staff, 800 permanent and non-permanet ‘back-office’ staff and 278 full-time workers from London Underground and the old Tube Lines company.

But bosses say they can deliver a safe and reliable service despite the cost-cutting measures.

“We will save some �7.6bn over the course of this plan and in future years and have already secured a third of these savings,” said Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy.

“This includes a fundamental review of our back office and corporate functions to make us more efficient, ensuring that we can protect the front line services on which the people of London rely.”

The cuts confirmation, coming at a time when the Tube is busier than at any other time in its history with carry 1.1 billion passengers this year, have predictably been criticised by unions and the Mayor’s political opponents.

Most Read

Labour’s London transport spokesperson Val Shawcross described the settlement as an “insult” to farepayers, while RMT general secretary Bob Crow said the cuts will “drag the underground even deeper into the spiral of decline”.

The Business Plan sets out the programme for upgrades on the Tube, with 33 per cent increased capacity on the Jubilee Line later this year and improvements planned for the Victoria Line (by 2012), Northern (2014), Piccadilly and Bakerloo (2015) and District, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan (2018).

Meanwhile, passenger numbers on the DLR are expected to jump by more than a third by 2015.

The business plan set out by Transport for London sets out that passenger figure will go from the current 77 million a year to 104 million.

This will be achieved largely through this year’s extension to Stratford International and three-car capability on the entire network, set to be available from this summer and rolled out next to the Beckton-Canning Town route.