Do the London Tories have no shame? Not content with their appalling and divisive campaign against Sadiq Khan last year, they’ve now decided the best way to rehabilitate themselves with Londoners is to play dirty politics with the lives of thousands of disabled people living in the city, based on nothing but untruths and deliberate inaccuracies.
For those who don’t know, London’s Taxicard service offers subsidised travel in licensed taxis and private hire vehicles to Londoners who suffer from serious mobility impairments, or to those who are severely sight impaired. It is a vital lifeline that allows over 70,000 people who have difficulties using buses, trains and tubes to make around 1.22 million trips per year.
Earlier this week, the London Tories stuttered back into life for the first time since the unforgivable Zac Goldsmith campaign, to claim that that the Taxicard budget is being cut by 13 per cent.
The only problem with this is that it turns out it is a lie. In reality, the Taxicard budget for next year hasn’t even been set yet.
There is no one more fully committed to the continuation of the Taxicard service than our Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan and his Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross.
Despite massive Tory cuts to London’s transport system, Sadiq has given a categorical guarantee that TfL will continue to provide exactly the same level of Taxicard service for everyone who needs it in London - in every corner of our city.
Transport for London is currently recommissioning the Taxicard service with exactly this specification - and the Mayor has committed to funding whatever it takes to achieve this.
The Tories are turning to untruths and dishonesty because they’ve put themselves on the wrong side of nearly every argument in London. Under Theresa May, the Tories simply don’t understand our city, our values or our way of life.
So while Labour have frozen all TfL fares and introduced the new Hopper bus fare, the Tories have put national rail fares up again by 3.4% from next month. While Labour has launched the most ambitious plan to tackle toxic air pollution of any city in the world, the Tory Government has blocked London from receiving any national funding to help. And while Labour have put an extra dedicated police officer into every community in London, the Tories are cutting £1billion of funding from the Met.
The Tories are getting increasingly desperate ahead of the London local elections next May. They know that Labour is looking to build on our success at the general election in June all across our city - taking the fight to the Tories in their heartlands like Barnet and Wandsworth. But with a Tory Government that is hammering London on a daily basis, they are going to have to do better than this. Telling the truth would help.