United Kingdom

Cheers, Sadiq! Khan costs UK taxpayers £10m in farcical row

Transport for London (TfL), which is run by the Mayor of London, has reached a financial deal with the Silver Thames Connect group, amid accusations of a botched procurement process for the new Silvertown Tunnel under the River Thames. TfL agreed to pay more than £10million to the consortium, after the group started legal action when the contract was given to another firm, sources told The Daily Telegraph.

The East London tunnel will link Silvertown to the Greenwich Peninsula.

A row was triggered after TfL awarded the £1bn Silvertown Tunnel contract to Riverlinx.

But, Silver Thames Connect claimed its bid was better value for money and started legal action in August 2019 in order to suspend the project.

The suspension was lifted two months later, but Silver Thames Connect pursued damages.

A TfL spokesperson said: “The losing bidder, Silver Thames Connect, made a claim to TfL in relation to the procurement for the design, build, finance and maintenance of the Silvertown Tunnel, which was the subject of court proceedings.

“The parties resolved the matter in March, the terms of which are confidential.”

Work on the tunnel is due to be completed in 2025 and it is hoped the infrastructure project will reduce congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel.

The new tunnel will connect to the A1020 Silvertown Way/Lower Lea Crossing on the north side and to the A102 Blackwall Tunnel Approach on the south side.

Silvertown Tunnel will also fall within the Ultra Low Emission Zone from October, meaning vehicles will be bound by strict emission rules.

Meanwhile, talks on a funding package between TfL and the Government remain ongoing after the latest rescue deal expired on Friday.

TfL and Westminster agreed £1.8billion bailout last November to keep services running following a dramatic drop in passenger revenues during the pandemic.

READ MORE: Brexit LIVE: Give up or it’ll get ugly! EU scolds UK for standoff

The three main rail unions and business leaders have stressed the need for a long-term settlement as the capital returns from the devastating impact of the virus crisis.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, Transport Salaried Staffs Association and Aslef have been warning against cuts to jobs and services as part of any financial package.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “London’s transport services and the staff who deliver them deserve better than being caught in the crossfire of a row between the Mayor and the Government.

“We need a long-term financial package that secures the future of jobs and services rather than this endless game of cat and mouse.”

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