The commissioner of Transport for London told his board today that he is seeking a small extension to the government’s current funding arrangements to give him and colleagues time to properly examine what he called an “extremely complex” deal offered in draft form late last Friday night.
Stressing that the government’s offer, made in the form of a letter, is “confidential” and “market sensitive” Andy Byford was able to disclose only that “we do have a long-er term settlement on offer, which I welcome” and described the letter as “very complex, it runs into a lot of detail, it will take time for me and my team to go through it in absolute perfect fine detail”.
Byford said that with that in mind he has asked the government to further extend the current short-term deal beyond its latest expiry date of 28 July, adding that “we did warn the DfT [Department for Transport] that if we didn’t get it [the offer] by the middle of next wee, we would need an extension”. This had not been granted at the time of the meeting.
The DfT offer was not delivered to TfL until around 10.00 on Friday evening, meaning that Byford and his colleagues had “worked through the weekend” to get to grips with it.
“It goes without saying,” Byford continued, “that if the offer is less than we need, I won’t recommend it, I cannot recommend a deal that doesn’t give us a balanced budget.” He reiterated that between the end of the current financial year, which will end on 31 March 2023, TfL believes it needs an additional £927 million “to tide us over” and that “we’ve got to make sure that both the quantum and the conditions are acceptable.”
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