London’s business community has warned that significant cuts or changes to Crossrail could jeopardise support for the scheme.
Highlighting that businesses have made a significant financial contribution to the scheme via a supplement on business rates, London First Chief Executive Baroness Jo Valentine warned that any short term savings made from spending cuts imposed by the Government would cut scheme’s the economic benefits.
In a statement issued on Friday Valentine said: “Crossrail is a critical investment in London and the UK’s future – substantial economic benefits will flow from Crossrail beyond London’s boundaries and to the rest of the UK. Although the costs of Crossrail are far outweighed by its benefits, London’s businesses have come together to shoulder much of the burden. They are putting their wallet behind their rhetoric.
“We must, of course, continue to drive efficiency savings whilst maintaining the increases in capacity and opportunity this scheme offers. But the deal with the Government for the business community to contribute a large part of the costs was always contingent on the project delivering on its promises. If business is not consulted, or the scheme becomes unrecognisable, don’t count on continued business support.”
The warning comes amidst counting fears that the new Westminster government may seek to scale back the project’s scope in order to cut costs.
In February a report by the London Assembly warned the capital was set to pay “more than its fair share” for Crossrail, noting that central government will earn “around £22 billion over ten years” in extra tax revenue, yet is providing just £8 billion towards the scheme’s £15.9 billion funding package with London providing £7.8 billion through future fares and the business rate supplement.