Politics

Boris slams Sadiq Khan for ‘blowing’ London’s finances amid calls for PM to take control

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Boris Johnson blamed Sadiq Khan for leaving London bankrupt, amid growing concern over the capital’s finances. During Prime Minister’s Questions earlier this week, Mr Johnson, who is also Mr Khan’s predecessor as London Mayor, accused him of “blowing” Transport for London’s finances. Mr Khan has been accused of leaving London’s economy in ruin amid regular clashes with the Government over funding.

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell asked about a flyover in Romford, saying: “Will the Prime Minister commit today to stepping in where Sadiq Khan has failed, bankrupting TfL to the tune of £10bn, and guarantee the necessary funding to replace and reshape this junction, especially as it will form a major route to and from the new Lower Thames Crossing?”

Mr Johnson responded: “My honourable friend is absolutely right that it’s the current Labour Mayor of London who blew TfL’s finances, which were left in remarkably good condition by the previous Mayor of London, Mr Speaker, even before the pandemic struck.

“I can assure my honourable friend that we are working with TfL to see what we can do to resolve the problem.”

Sadiq Khan immediately accused Mr Johnson of lying to MPs with his claim that the Mayor had bankrupted Transport for London.

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Mr Khan tweeted in response: “Another lie from the PM.

“The truth is I’ve had to clean up his mess. While he increased TfL’s debt by more than £7bn, I reduced TfL’s deficit by over £1bn before the pandemic.

“The sole cause of TfL’s financial problems is COVID – which led to fares income dropping by up to 90%.”

Mr Khan’s rival candidate for London Mayor, Shaun Bailey, accused him of “mismanaging” London’s finances.

Mr Bailey said: “Sadiq Khan racked up £9.56bn of waste at TfL, £100m on his own PR and £800k on beach parties.

“As Mayor, I’ll restore order to London’s finances. Cutting waste, protecting services and securing our city’s recovery.”

Earlier this week, City AM revealed that Mr Khan had increased City Hall spending on public relations by 33 percent over the course of his term in office.

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Numbers released by City Hall through a freedom of information request show the Mayor spent £977,912 on press office costs for 2019/20, compared to £732,537 in 2015/16.

City Hall Conservatives have criticised Mr Khan for being more concerned with his public image than policy.

London Assembly member and leader of the City Hall Tories Susan Hall said Mr Khan’s spending on press officers was “extortionate”.

Mr Khan is currently trying to push through a council tax rise of 21 percent in a bid to salvage London’s finances. 

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