Home Estate Planning Sadiq Khan accused of misleading Londoners over £30m cash to halt Tube strikes

Sadiq Khan accused of misleading Londoners over £30m cash to halt Tube strikes

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Sadiq Khan has been accused of being misleading over the £30m cash he put forward to call off this month’s Tube strikes.

Industrial action by the RMT union was called off two weeks ago after the mayor of London found unexpected extra money to enable Transport for London (TfL) to reopen negotiations.

But Khan was criticised at the time, amid warnings other unions would come forward asking for more cash – putting Londoners at risk of further strike action.

Now the mayor has come under fire for refusing to confirm the £30m figure – which has now been revealed in City Hall’s draft budget for 2024-25 – at the time it was reported.

Conservative group leader Neil Garratt raised the issue during a budget questions session at City Hall this morning.

He said: “Two weeks ago, you sat here in this room… three times I asked you if it was £30m that had been offered to London Underground to resolve the strikes, to give them extra pay. 

“Three times you told me that was not the correct number, you wouldn’t say what it was but you said it wasnt that. But then the budget came out and it was £30m. 

“Why did you tell us, tell me, tell Londoners, that it wasn’t £30m?”

He added: “You said ‘you shouldn’t believe what you read in the media’. 

“But I should have believed what I read in the media and I shouldn’t have believed you telling me it wasnt that figure. Why did you say it wasnt that figure?”

In response, Khan insisted he “wasn’t willing to confirm the figure that was in the media because there’s a process… and I think it’s important for the process to have been followed”.

The mayor said it would have been wrong for him to reveal the money publicly while TfL were speaking to “ respective trade unions representing hardworking TfL staff”.

He added: “It’s very important for proper processes to be followed when negotiating… I was not willing to confirm the figure in the media.”

At the meeting in question on January 9, Khan was asked if the £30m being reported in the press was correct, and said: “No, I don’t want to talk about figures in the press. 

“But it’s important we allow discussions to take place but we shouldn’t believe what’s in the press.”

He admitted the extra money had come from City Hall, but insisted: “The timing was fortuitous as we’re in the budget setting process…. the figure you said that’s in the media is not the figure I would say is the figure.”

A spokesperson for the mayor said: “The absolute worst outcome for London taxpayers and businesses would have been a week of strike action this week causing huge disruption.

“The Mayor has always said negotiation and talking with workers is the best way to settle disputes.”

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