Tomorrow (20th August) is the last chance for Londoners on income support to claim the half-priced travel concession following Mayor Boris Johnson’s decision to scrap the deal signed by his predecessor with the Venezuelan government which saw London receive a rebate on the annual cost of fuel for the capital’s bus fleet.
Green Party Assembly Member Darren Johnson has welcomed the Mayor’s decision to scrap the deal but has used tomorrow’s closure to applications to criticise Mayor Johnson for failing to continue the concession scheme.
Mr Johnson said the Mayor had “rushed to cancel the oil deal with Venezuela without expressing any concern about how he is making things worse for some of the poorest Londoners. He also appears to have landed London with an unnecessary £7m bill from the Venezuela government.”
“I always thought that the previous mayor’s cheap oil deal sent out completely the wrong message environmentally but the new mayor’s rush to cancel the scheme, appears to be motivated by politics, rather than the interests of Londoners.”
A spokesperson for the Mayor told MayorWatch: “The Mayor felt deeply uncomfortable about support for Londoners being funded by the citizens of another country, especially one where many people live in extreme poverty.
“We are committed to honouring the concession for Londoners on income support until the end of the scheme and Transport for London will honour the discount until the six month time periods on cards have run out. The Mayor has discussed with TfL how best to provide support for low income Londoners and will outline his plans on how to do this when the annual fares announcement is made in the autumn.
“As for a £7 million bill, if the Greens had given the contract with Venezuela even a cursory glance they would have seen that it includes the agreement to pay back unspent and unallocated money. Seeing as Venezuela has given London £16m, several million of which has not been spent, Johnson should be ashamed of himself if he is advocating pocketing the cash.”