Sponging Londoners

A profile in yesterday’s Guardian of Peter Hendy, boss at Transport for London (TFL), confirms some astonishing facts:

” In this financial year it will receive about £3.5bn from the government – nearly a quarter of the DfT’s total £15.9bn annual budget”

We are paying £3.5bn a year to subsidise rich commuters and tourists. Scarcely believable -Especially when the £1bn electrification of the Great Western Railway to Swansea loooks in doubt. Oh and the £100m p.a to S4C is being cut by 24%
Some people already knew that London was full of subsidy junkies…but not Jeremy Paxman untill Eurfyl demolished him….

  • Cynic

    Errr….. but London is actually 21% of the whole UK economy so in that context and given the state of London’s infrastructure its probably reasonable. You also need to consider that the whole transport network nationally is subsidised. Where did NIR get the money for the new trains, for example? Who paid for LUAS in Dublin?

  • Dewi

    It’s the scale Cynic – a quarter of the DfT spending going to the richest part of the UK economy. Surely they could fund themselves (Ever been on a London bus? It’s absurdly cheap.)

  • AlanMaskey

    But London and the City is the British economy (excluding the massive weapons of mass destruction nad porno industries). That said, the London Tube sucks.

  • Cynic

    It isn’t the British economy but it is the powerhouse that drives that economy producing 21% of GDP. My point is that its wrong to look at London in isolation and scream ‘subsidy is unfair’. As for Londoners paying more – they might well argue that perhaps 21% of all Government expenditure should go on them – whereas it is a faction of that

  • GreenBack

    Surely funding for S4c should be cut by more that 25%?
    According to the tfl website 28 million passengers use the Tube. So with a sub of 3.5bln that’s £125 per passenger. The latest figures I could find for S4c (for 2007) show 511,00 viewers. At 100ml a year that’s £195 per viewer.

    Oh and according to a study from the Oxford Economics forecasting group, London’s economy could grow at 3.8% a year up to 2015 and generate 385,000 new jobs – more than the estimated employment created by Wales, Scotland, the Midlands and north England combined over the same period.

  • The transport infrastructure in London has been creaking at the seams for years, but I think one of the main reasons money is at long last being spent on it probably has more to do with the coming Olympics than anything else.

    London is massive, sprawling and ugly, but it works and makes a profit which the whole of the UK benefit from.

  • Dewi

    “Oh and according to a study from the Oxford Economics forecasting group, London’s economy could grow at 3.8% a year up to 2015 and generate 385,000 new jobs – more than the estimated employment created by Wales, Scotland, the Midlands and north England combined over the same period”

    yep i read that – ever wonder why?

  • GreenBack

    Because lots and lots of people are crammed into an ugly, congested, urban sprawl. Where people move to to find work.
    And you need a functioning transport system to facilitate that.
    I’m sure families in London would love to live in the less densely populated areas; in bigger houses where rents are lower but that’s not where the jobs are.

  • padraig

    I used to work for London Underground. They are the most astonishing crooks. I recall one ticket collect, supposedly earning £200 a week who came on the job in a high powered sports car. Another when she died had her locker opened and they found her wage slips, unopened for the previous two years. The wages they get they simply use as pocket money. They were all at it.

    In addition a huge proportion of the public were also thieves and never paid fares. In addition to this most of them were bone idle and militant with it.

  • Paul


    Two points:

    1. Not only is London and the SE the UK’s economic power house, I suspect that the Uk government receives a much higher percentage than 25% of its revenue (via income tax) from the region.

    2. With the distribution of spending through Barnett , Wales gets 8% more than the UK average, England get 3% less- as a Welsh nationalist, surely how that money is distributed within England should be none of your business;)

    And as for this:
    Surely they could fund themselves (Ever been on a London bus? It’s absurdly cheap.)

    Nope, “fund themselves” is a policy Wales (and NI) should keep very quiet about; if you’re not careful London will take you up on it;)

  • Paul

    Completely agree. The money for the Barnett formula springs initially, and some must hope eternally, from a spring in London.

  • ND

    Sponging Londoners!!

    NI must really work out a real relationship with London, and some understanding of this incredible city.

    It’s an hour away, a fairly important place most people on the planet would agree and the source of NI’s economic salvation, paying for your health, your police, your public sector, your unemployed.

    It’s an investment in infrastructure not a subsidy which will reap a benefit unlike many investments elsewhere.

    The comment about rich Londoners is a joke. It’s the great number of working poor (by NI standards) in London who make the city tick and despite all that is said about spongers the millions working in so so conditions must get the odd break!

  • lover not a fighter

    Ungrateful Londoners ???

    Next thing they will be rioting or forcing marches down roads that they are not wanted, except the vast majority of them are working too hard and do not have the time unlike the great contributers of NI who always find time for an unnecessary march and a recreational [right] (slip of the keyboard but heh ?; correction ;riot)

  • BR

    £2 for a single fare on a bus is cheap?! Behave yourself. On top of that, claiming that everyone, or even a majority of London transport users are rich commuters or tourists is ridiculously naive, and born out of the mind of someone who has very little clue about London at all. Similar to a Londoner claiming that money spent on Northern Ireland is wasted on a bunch of terrorists.

    This has easily got to be the most rubbish article on this site I’ve seen.

  • Looking through the Window

    I wouldn’t call £2 for a single journey cheap.
    And not all Londoners are rich. Plenty could do with an extra £20 a week or so to help pay the bills…
    London may be the richest part of the UK but that is in absolute terms. Relatively there are plenty of people living under the average UK standard of living.

  • Looking through the Window

    Put extremely objectively and without generalising at all.

  • Iano


    If you search youtube you might find the interview Jeremy Paxman did with a Plaid Cymru spokesman where Paxman admitted he never read the figures which showed higher per capita spending in London than Wales he just assumed that London’s was lower than elsewhere. (Because that is what journalits do?)

  • BR

    Absolutely. The reason why London is considered wealthy is because of a rich few, such as bankers with more money than sense who live there. The reality is that it contains some of the poorest areas in England, which are a much better representative of what London is like as a whole than the wealthy minority. But apparently according to the article starter here, they should all have to pay even more than £4 for a return bus trip to the shops/school, because there are a few multi millionaires living in West London who make the mean wealth high.

  • Dewi

    don’t let me on about the Olympics….don’t you get fed up?

  • joeCanuck

    Warning; Mick’s rule about to be broken (maybe).
    Lovely to see that smug obnoxious all knowing prick getting his comeuppance.
    Well done Eurfyl. President of Iceland did a good job too.

  • Dewi

    You all shout but seriously if the place is so rich why am i subsidising it?

  • padraig

    All thieves and bone idle. You’re not biased are you. Tell me amongst such a throng a star such as yourself must have shone like a jewel: what were you doing there?

    I cant speak for LT employees, but being paid monthly and direct into the bank, meant I seldom opened my pay slips. You see I knew if the net amount in the bank was right, the rest would be.

    Millions of people live in one of the biggest, most successful cities in the world. I didn’t like it there but I did like most of the people I knew.


    Wales could be independent at the next GE: Vote for it.

  • GreenBack

    How are you subsidising it?
    London pays more tax per capita than Wales and the cash for the Tube is coming out of general taxation.
    The Tube is there to get people from home to work and move tourists around, all of which generates revenue so London can be a net contributor and help subsidise the likes of S4c (which gets more cash per ‘user’).

  • Iano

    * North East £8,177 – 111% of UK average identifiable expenditure
    * North West £7,798 – 106%
    * Yorkshire and Humberside £7,188 – 98%
    * East Midlands £6,491 – 88%
    * West Midlands £7,065 – 96%
    * Eastern £6,144 – 83%
    * London £8,404 – 114%
    * South East £6,304 – 86%
    * South West £6,677 – 91%