Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced his support for London’s Crossrail project – a major new link between east and west London.
In a statement released today Mr Brown said construction would begin on the project in 2010 with train services due to start running in 2017.
The PM said funding would come “largely from the public sector but also including the proceeds from a supplementary business rate and additional contributions from certain London businesses and developers who will benefit significantly from Crossrail”
“I want the project to go ahead subject to the satisfactory conclusion of detailed negotiations for additional contributions from all the beneficiaries. The City of London in particular will need to make a significant contribution.”
Brown’s comments were welcomed by Mayor of London Ken Livingstone who his office and Transport for London “have been working intensively to bring together the financial package that will deliver Crossrail, and great progress has been made. As Gordon Brown said this morning, Crossrail is vital for the economy of the whole country and of London.”
“We will continue to work together to close the gap that still remains so that Crossrail can be announced together with the Comprehensive Spending Review, and I am hopeful this can be achieved.”
Speaking last month Damian Hockney, leader of the One London Party on the London Assembly, criticised the Government for looking to business for funds and called on for the scrapping of the “useless” London Development Agency to help fund the project.
Mr Hockney said “we have been waiting for successive governments to start building Crossrail for nearly 20 years. Meanwhile London is grinding to a halt.”
“Now Ruth Kelly is calling on specific businesses to stump up money to pay for an essential infrastructure project which will be of benefit to the whole national economy. This is an absurdity. Do we ask sick people to pay extra to fund the Health Service? Or victims of crime to pay for more policing?”
“If it needs to make up the shortfall, we propose that the government scraps the useless London Development Agency (annual cost £420 million). There is no doubt that London’s economic development would be enhanced far more by Crossrail than anything the LDA has done in its two billion pound seven-year lifetime.”
Related Links: www.crossrail.co.uk