London mayor Boris Johnson has warned the Treasury that cuts to the capital’s public transport systems would hurt the UK economy.
Johnson is urging the government to find the cash for the proposed £16bn Crossrail project for London, which is currently being constructed.
Speaking at the Conservatives conference he said he will never agree to cuts of London’s transport infrastructure because of the wider implications of such a move.
He said: “The buses, the railways, the Tube, cuts that would damage the ability of this country to compete internationally and to generate jobs for decades to come.”
London’s mayor also stressed the importance of keeping the capital strong, with exports of £20bn in tax going to the rest of the UK, and London being responsible for a third of the UK exports of services.
“There would be no insurance industry in Norwich if it was not for London. There would be no financial service industry in Edinburgh, and great international law and accountancy firms would have no offices in Birmingham if they did not have offices in London,” he said.
The mayor also said that his bicycle hire scheme “Boris Bikes” had also proven to be a success, with very few accidents and no fatalities so far.
He said: “But the best thing of all, the most hopeful, the most inspiring thing is […] contrary to all the predictions of the doomsayers and the negative spirits that urged me against it, is do you know how many bicycles have been stolen?
“Three bicycles, only three.”