Boris Johnson delighted to avoid “fiscal suicide” of transport cuts

LONDON Mayor Boris Johnson today admitted it had taken months to persuade Government to save some of London’s key transport projects.

The Mayor confirmed at a press conference this afternoon that funding for Crossrail, Tube upgrades and the bus network would all be protected.

But for the first time he admitted the cross-London rail project will not be completed in full until 2018, with some outer stations opening some months after the central stations are functional.

Mayor Johnson said: “Today is the culmination of months of hard negotiations with the Government and I am pleased that they have recognised the immense importance of protecting investment in the capital.

“London is the engine of the UK’s economy and it would be fiscal suicide to have starved it of fuel.”

On the year’s delay, he told reporters: “Many people would not have believed it could be delivered at all. I don’t think it’s the end of the world.”

However, it was confirmed that fares will rise by 6.8 per cent on London transport next year, with Johnson unable to say what increases there would be for the rest of his administration.

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The Mayor also confirmed delivery of all 12 Barclays Cycle Superhighways by 2015 and the extension of Barclays Cycle Hire ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.

On policing, Johnson admitted there may be cuts to administrative staff rather than front-line officers.

“The majority of savings will come from back offices and we will be able to protect front-line services. We’re increasingly confident of that.”