The leader of Brent Council said the Government is “punishing” Londoners with price increases as part of its Transport for London (TfL) bailout package.

Cllr Muhammed Butt accused ministers of “playing political games” by forcing TfL to accept new measures that will include higher fares and increases to the central London congestion charge.

The Government agreed to release £1.6 billion worth of emergency funding to support London’s transport network provided some conditions were met by the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan.

These include increasing bus and Tube fares by one per cent above inflation, as well as raising the congestion charge from £11.50 to £15 and widening its scope from 7am to 10pm seven days a week.

London Underground services will also be restored to full capacity as soon as possible.

Cllr Butt said it was wrong for the Government to insist on higher charges when its own coronavirus guidelines contributed to the sharp fall in revenue for TfL.

He said: “It is clear for all to see that the Government’s funding package gives with one hand while taking with the other.

“It is deeply unfair that Londoners are being punished for doing the right thing and staying at home during this pandemic.

“Rather than working to find a sensible arrangement, the Government has chosen to balance TfL’s books on the backs of hardworking Londoners.

“I would urge the Government to abandon its partisan approach and work to find a new funding mechanism for TfL to help Brent’s hard-pressed commuters, rather than playing political games.”

In a statement to Parliament last month, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps acknowledged the loss of revenue brought about by the Covid-19 outbreak was the “most important” reason for TfL’s issues.

However, he said decisions made over the last four years – with Mr Khan as Mayor of London – had resulted in the “pre-existing poor condition of TfL’s financial position”.

He explained the fare increase of one per cent above inflation would allow TfL to “get back on a sustainable footing while ensuring fairness for the wider British taxpayer”.

He added: “The decision to offer support was not taken lightly, but reflects the exceptional circumstances the country finds itself in.

“I consider it vital to keep services in London running to the maximum levels possible to allow safe transport of passengers.”

Mr Khan criticised the deal and said it was being “imposed” on the public by the Government.

He said the only reason TfL was facing financial difficulties was due to a loss of income – a problem, he noted, faced by “every other transport operator in the country”.

And, like Cllr Butt, he questioned the fairness of only increasing charges for those working in London, many of whom will rely on public transport.