The FT has reported that:
Ministers have threatened to take direct control of Transport for London unless mayor Sadiq Khan accepts a package of measures including higher council tax, a much larger congestion charge zone and higher tube and bus fares in return for rescue funding.
The mayor is seeking a £4.9bn settlement for the next 18 months to bail out TfL whose passenger numbers and revenues have shrunk since Covid-19 restrictions were introduced in March. The government gave an initial six-month package worth £1.6bn to the transport authority in May.
So, let's summarise this.
Fares must rise.
Children will be penalised by paying more.
Moving by car will be more expensive.
Council tax must rise.
In other words, for no fault of their own, and when their incomes and livelihoods are at threat, the government is seeking to substantially increase the effective tax take from Londoners, which can only leave people much more vulnerable, and reduce the chance of any recovery for the city.
This is, of course, the imposition of austerity by stealth.
It will hurt.
It will harm the economy.
It will cause unemployment.
It will increase universal credit claims.
It will increase poverty.
But the government will blame Sadiq Khan. So that's all right then.
This is a declaration of economic warfare on the capital.
How many more people can they alienate?