A Barnet councillor has slammed proposals to extend a £15-a-day travel charge to the borough, warning it would “hit families hard and destroy local businesses”.

Labour’s Cllr Anne Clarke accused the Government of “playing politics with a revenue crisis solely caused by the Covid-19 pandemic” after a plan to extend the congestion charge zone to the North and South Circular roads was revealed.

The extension of the charge reportedly came as one of the conditions attached to a £4.9 billion bailout deal proposed by the Government for Transport for London (TfL), alongside higher council taxes and a rise in Tube and bus fares.

The proposals were revealed in a letter from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, which was seen by the Financial Times. The letter reportedly warned that if the mayor did not accept the offer, ministers would take direct control of TfL.

Cllr Clarke (Childs Hill), who is Labour’s London Assembly candidate for Barnet and Camden, said: “This deal stinks, it will destroy jobs and prosperity in this city, wrecking chances for the young and opportunities for those seeking work. An extension of the £15-a-day congestion charge zone will hit workers and families hard and destroy local businesses.

“The old and the young in Barnet have dealt with huge cuts to social care budgets, cuts to youth services and school funding, now their free travel, paid for by Londoners after Boris Johnson agreed to scrap TfL’s £700 million grant in 2015, is under threat.

“To add to all this misery, the Government want a hike in taxes, leaving all Londoners worse off during a cost of living crisis. Their war on London is vindictive and cruel.

“It is despicable how Johnson’s Government has played politics with a revenue crisis solely caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Sadiq Khan reduced the TfL deficit he inherited from Mayor Johnson by 71 per cent. Punishing cities like London and Manchester shows how unfit the Prime Minister is for office.”

Negotiations over the conditions of the bailout package are ongoing.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport commented: “We have agreed an extension to the support period and to rollover unspent funding from the Transport for London Extraordinary Funding Agreement, allowing further time for negotiations for a new settlement.

“These discussions will ensure London has a safe, reliable network. It would be inappropriate to disclose further details at this stage.”