Cash injection for Crossrail

Crossrail has been given £825 million more Government funding, enough to “get the project up and running” after concerns it could be “mothballed” over a lack of cash to finish it.

The commitment comes after claims that Crossrail would see a “funding bonanza” if the Chancellor could put his name to it, the leader of the Labour group in Brentwood Gareth Barrett said.

But today (Tuesday, December 1), Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said he is “committed to getting Crossrail delivered”.

Writing on Twitter, he described the loan as “a fair deal for taxpayers across the UK”. He added that the money will “get the project up and running, and ensuring we continue to #BuildBackBetter across the whole country”.

His commitment comes after concerns that the £19 billion Crossrail project could have faced “mothballing” over a row where a £275 million shortfall should come from.

The latest in a long line of setbacks follows a host of previous delays – the most recent in August – when it was revealed that the project was now likely to cost £18.7 billion. That equates to £450 million more than the previous estimate nine months earlier.

Cllr Barrett said the onus needed to be on the Government which now has  committed to ensuring Crossrail is completed – albeit significantly behind schedule.

Cllr Barrett said: “Finally some common sense – this is a vital infrastructure project for Brentwood’s commuters and an improved artery into London. This is a start to supporting TfL with the funding it needs to deliver it – hopefully next they will properly fund upgrades to our own stations.”

He had earlier argued that it was “absurd” to try to drop all the blame on TfL – and that “If this was a COVID-19 scheme that Rishi Sunak could put his name on, we’d likely be in for a funding bonanza.”

His were not the only words of concern.

Councillor Damian White, leader of Having Council, also urged the government and TfL to “come together and resolve their differences over the funding dispute”.

When completed, Havering will benefit from three Crossrail stations.

The connection will provide fast links from Shenfield as the eastern terminus through Harold Wood, Gidea Park and Romford in Havering, central London and to Heathrow Airport.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter