FOI request detail

Government Funding to TfL

Request ID: FOI-0423-2021
Date published: 10 July 2020

You asked

The mayor had emailed in his role as a Labour Mayor and I am now formally requesting that the office of Mayor discloses the following: (a) the full terms and conditions of any lending/ borrowing/ grant request made by TfL/ Mayor proposed to the Government by TfL/ Mayor (b) the full terms and conditions of any lending/ borrowing/ grant made by the Government to TfL/Mayor (c) the level of engagement of the Mayor in those negotiations (d) the level at which the final agreement was agreed and signed off by central Government; and (e) the areas of difference between the request made and the agreement reached.

We answered

Our Ref:         FOI-0423-2021

Thank you for your request received on 17 June 2020 asking for information about the Government’s recent funding agreement for TfL.
Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we hold some of the information you require. You asked:
a.     the full terms and conditions of any lending/ borrowing/ grant request made by TfL/ Mayor proposed to the Government by TfL/ Mayor
Please find attached the letter sent on 27 April 2020 from TfL to Her Majesty’s Treasury requesting funding.
In accordance with the FOI Act, we are not obliged to supply some of the information contained in the attached letter as it is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under sections 42 – legal privilege and 43(2) – prejudice to commercial interests.
In this instance the exemption has been applied as some of the information regarding the Pension Scheme and the Northern Line Train Service PFI contract contained in the letter is commercially sensitive, and in the case of the latter, is the result of legal advice. Disclosure of information relating to the Pension Scheme could prejudice our commercial position in regard  to our exposure to the Pension Scheme. The PFI contract is subject to further negotiation with suppliers and disclosure would be likely to prejudice our commercial position. The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. We recognise the need for openness and transparency by public authorities but in this instance the public interest in ensuring that we are able to obtain the best value for public money outweighs the general public interest in further transparency of this aspect of business.
Section 42 of the Freedom of Information Act exempts legally privileged information, including legal advice, from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. There is a very strong element of public interest inbuilt into the concept of Legal Professional Privilege and this has long been recognised, by the Information Commissioner, the Information Tribunal and the courts, and it reflects the importance of legal advice being sought, and given, in confidence as a fundamental condition on which the administration of justice rests. There is an inherent public interest in TfL being able to obtain full and frank legal advice, and this is consistent with TfL’s responsibility to analyse and address legal risks and issues.
In addition, in accordance with our obligations under Data Protection legislation some personal data has been removed, as required by section 40(2) of the FOI Act. This is because disclosure of this personal data would be a breach of the legislation, specifically the first principle of Article 5 of the General Data Protection Regulation which requires all processing of personal data to be fair and lawful. It would not be fair to disclose this personal information when the individuals have no expectation it would be disclosed and TfL has not satisfied one of the conditions which would make the processing ‘fair’.
This exemption to the right of access to information is an absolute exemption and not subject to an assessment of whether the public interest favours use of the exemption.
e.     the areas of difference between the request made and the agreement reached
TfL requested £2bn until 30 September and received £1.6bn (with the option to top this sum up to £1.9bn if evidenced that this was required) until 17 October 2020.
If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for some reason, please feel free to contact me.
Please note, the Government has announced a series of measures to tackle the coronavirus. It is essential for London, that we continue to provide a safe transport network for essential journeys.
In current circumstances, we are not able to answer FOI requests readily and we ask that you please do not make a request to us at present.
Answering FOI requests will require the use of limited resources and the attention of staff who could be supporting other essential activity. In any event, please note that our response time will be affected by the current situation.
Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Gemma Jacob
Senior FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

[email protected]


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