Transport for London funding deal can create more jobs at new Goole train factory, Sadiq Khan says

Sadiq Khan has urged the Government not to “cut off your nose to spite your face” as he warned investment in a new Yorkshire train-manufacturing facility could be hit by an ongoing row over funding for Transport for London.

The London mayor visited the site of the new Siemens Mobility factory in Goole, East Yorkshire, where dozens of new Piccadilly line Tube trains are to be built as part of a £1.5bn contract.

But Mr Khan said today that potential future deals for the Goole factory, which is still under construction but is due to open next year and employ hundreds of people, would be put into question unless the Government agrees a long-term capital funding deal for TfL.

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Under the terms of the contract, Siemens is to build some of the 94 new Piccadilly line trains in an existing factory in Vienna but will switch production to Yorkshire when the new factory opens.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan with Andrew Percy MP Brigg & Goole during his visit to the Siemens Mobility factory in Goole

TfL has time limited options built into its contract with Siemens Mobility to also build new Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City line trains in the future but the mayor’s office said this work is dependent on sufficient funding. Without enough Government support, the work could be pushed back almost 20 years into the early 2040s.

Mr Khan said: “When we gave the contract to Siemens what Siemens was able to do because of the certainty of us ordering 94 trains for the Piccadilly line was to invest in this brand new factory in Goole. That has already led to 250 jobs being created in construction and when this factory opens there will be 700 additional jobs plus the supply chain of almost 2,000 jobs - all building the trains we need in London.

“The problem is the pandemic has meant fares income dried up for TfL. We need a long-term deal from the Government to invest in capital.

“What I’m keen is for the Government to give us the certainty so we can make sure the Piccadilly line gets the trains it needs but also we could be ordering trains for the Bakerloo line, the Central line, the Waterloo & City line - all those trains are 50 years old.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the new Siemens factory

“That means more certainty for Siemens and they can invest more in this factory and result in more jobs being created.

“Siemens is already happy to do that. So is the local MP, the council and TfL - the only thing that is missing is the Government. If levelling up is going to be meaningful, that has got to mean investment in jobs like this.”

In February, the Department for Transport agreed to provide a further £200m to TfL in a funding bailout package running to June. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the support took Government emergency funding to TfL during the pandemic to almost £5bn and said it was down to Mr Khan to put the organisation “on the path to financial sustainability” by next year.

Mr Khan said: “Every other major city in the world has their Government supporting their public transport. London is the only mayor city in the world where the Government is washing their hands of transport.

“We will by next year make sure we are completely financially sustainable. But the capital investment in the long-term requires Government investment.

“This contract is £1.5bn. It is simply unrealistic to expect Londoners to be able to afford future contracts like that by themselves.

“The Government has got to step in, it does in other industries, it has in the past.

“If we had certainty from the Government in regards to capital, we could be investing in new trains which benefits Londoners but also benefits other parts of the country because they have the skills, the expertise and the equipment to build the trains we need.

“The way to make our country equal is not to make London poorer, that’s not sensible.”

Mr Khan was joined on his visit by local Tory MP Andrew Percy, who represents Brigg and Goole.

Mr Percy said of his decision to join the visit after being invited by Mr Khan: “I’m coming along to make the point that I will work with anybody for the good of our town because this is about people’s jobs and the future of our area.

“It doesn’t matter what people’s politics are - we are all agreed that actually by investing across the country you bring benefit to the whole country. This is an example of how investing in London can be positive for the North of England.

“This factory isn’t just being constructed to make TfL trains, we want them to make lots of other trains as well. But that is obviously the catalyst for making this development happen so it is important we all work together.

“We have political divisions, but we all want more jobs and we all want successful British manufacturing and by investing in the South of England you can bring benefits across the North.

“I’m happy to be here and will work with Sadiq and whoever for the good of our town.”

When asked about Mr Khan’s criticisms of Government in relation to TfL funding, Mr Percy said: “Sadiq is the Mayor of London and is making the political points he needs to make and I would be making if I was in his position about the future of transport in London.

“I’m focusing on the positives - we are building the Piccadilly line trains and there’s lots of other train contracts coming up across the UK. Of course we want to see this factory also get the next round of London Underground upgrades. Sadiq has got to battle for his city. But there’s nothing but positive here. We are all going to be working together for the future of this factory.”

Mr Percy said the new factory will be “transformative for Goole”.

“It is going to be offering people jobs that have not been on offer in such numbers in Goole before,” he said.

“It is nothing but positive for the town.

“It is also great for British manufacturing more generally. There is a real buzz about the town because of this development.”

Mr Khan said he had wanted Mr Percy on the visit as he considers the Tory MP to be a “champion and advocate for his community”.

“We have been working closely with Andrew and the local Tory council and the private sector to try and make sure we have a win-win scenario

“A win for London because we’ve not got the skills, expertise and kit to build these trains; a win for Brigg and Goole because it is local people that benefit and the company benefits.

“Our contract means these trains are made in Yorkshire rather than Vienna.

“The only person missing from this party is the Government. What I would say to the Government is don’t cut your nose off to spite your face, We as the capital city are really proud of the contribution of about £40bn we make to the Treasury.

“I’ve not got this sort of kit and expertise and the sort of engineers in London to build these trains, East Yorkshire does.”

The Government has committed to consider a longer-term capital settlement for TfL but on the condition that the organisation provides what it deems sufficient information about its investment plans.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We have repeatedly shown our commitment to supporting London's transport network throughout the pandemic, providing close to £5bn in emergency funding to Transport for London.

“We recognise the need for certainty and stability in their capital investment programme which is why we will conditionally consider longer-term capital settlements for TfL should they provide sufficient information.”

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