Mayor Sadiq Khan’s office has dismissed as “complete nonsense” claims that he “refused to rule out cycling budget cuts” while appearing before London Assembly members this morning.
During the regular Mayor’s Question Time session, Green Party assembly member Caroline Russell asked the Mayor for assurances that the amount of money spent on cycling would not decrease over the course of his term.
In response, Mr Khan reiterated his election pledge to “increase the proportion” of the TfL budget which is invested in cycling infrastructure and schemes.
The Mayor also said he was committed to having “more people cycling” and praised the efforts of both of his successors, Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson, who he said had “very good” records on increasing cycling.
Ms Russell cited TfL’s current plans which will see cycle spending “peak in 2017/18 at £166m,” before falling to “just £66m” in 2019/20 and called on Mr Khan to maintain spending at 2016/17 levels of £155m each year.
Mr Khan said he would be publishing TfL’s revised business plan later this year and could not give the sort of commitments Russell was asking for ahead of the document being finalised.
It appears to have been these comments which prompted the Assembly Member to issue a statement in which she claimed Mr Khan had “refused to rule out planned cuts to London’s cycling budget.”
She added: “During his election campaign he pledged to increase the proportion of TfL funding for cycling, his fares freeze and other pressures mean the overall pot for transport investment is going to shrink.
“That means cycle spending could fall off a cliff even if he meets his campaign pledge.”
When similar complaints were made during the closing months of Mr Johnson’s mayoralty, TfL and City Hall pointed out that the cost of building the large north-south and east-west cycle superhighways and delivering initial efforts to boost cycle safety would inevitably mean more money was needed in the immediate term, with less required in later years to deliver additional improvements.
Responding to Ms Russell’s statement, a spokesman for the Mayor said: ““This is complete nonsense.
“Sadiq has made it very clear that he will increase the proportion of TfL funding spent on cycling, and more details will be outlined in the forthcoming business plan.”