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Ministers fork out ANOTHER £825MILLION to stop London’s delayed Crossrail project being mothballed

Ministers fork out ANOTHER £825MILLION to stop London’s beleaguered Crossrail project – which is already running four YEARS late – from being ‘mothballed’ due to a lack of money

  • Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed a deal with Transport for London
  • A loan of £825million will help complete the middle section of east-west route
  • Will run as the Elizabeth Line between Berkshire and Essex via central London 
  • Was due to open in December 2018 but now not expected to open before 2022

Ministers poured the best art of a billion pounds more into London’s Crossrail train line today after fears the much-delayed and over-budget programme might be ‘mothballed’ completely.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed a deal with Transport for London (TfL) that would see ministers stump up a £825million loan in order to complete the crucial middle section of the east-west route under the capital.

The railway – which will run as the Elizabeth Line between Berkshire and Essex via central London – was due to open in December 2018, and its budget was set at £15.9 billion in 2007.

But it has been hit by a series of delays and cost increases and is now not expected to open before 2022.

Writing on Twitter today Mr Shapps said he was ‘committed to getting Crossrail delivered’ and described the loan as ‘a fair deal for taxpayers across the UK’.

The money will ‘get the project up and running, and ensuring we continue to #BuildBackBetter across the whole country’, Mr Shapps added.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed a deal with Transport for London (TfL) that would see ministers stump up a £825million loan in order to complete the crucial middle section of the east-west route under the capital

Grant Shapps

Sadiq Khan

Writing on Twitter today Mr Shapps said he was ‘committed to getting Crossrail delivered’ and described the loan as ‘a fair deal for taxpayers across the UK’. But mayor of London Sadiq Khan blasted the decision to make the cash a loan instead of a grant.

The railway - which will run as the Elizabeth Line between Berkshire and Essex via central London - was due to open in December 2018

The railway – which will run as the Elizabeth Line between Berkshire and Essex via central London – was due to open in December 2018

Transport for London (TfL) and the Government had previously agreed a funding package totalling £17.8 billion.

But mayor of London Sadiq Khan blasted the decision to make the cash a loan instead of a grant.

‘Securing this financing package enables us to press full steam ahead with getting the central section of the Elizabeth line open as soon as possible,’ he said.

‘The Government have insisted London must pay the shortfall – despite the overwhelming majority of the tax income that will result from Crossrail going to the Treasury.

‘This is another example of London supporting the country way over and above the help we get from this Government.

‘I do not want this project to be stalled so it is vital that we dig deep to get the railway up and running. I will continue to monitor progress closely and do everything I can to minimise costs – helping ensure London and beyond can enjoy its many benefits sooner rather than later.’

The line has been hit by a series of delays and cost increases and is now not expected to open before 2022

The line has been hit by a series of delays and cost increases and is now not expected to open before 2022

Andy Byford, London's transport commissioner wrote to the DfT last month, warning that Crossrail risked being 'mothballed' without an injection of more cash

Andy Byford, London’s transport commissioner wrote to the DfT last month, warning that Crossrail risked being ‘mothballed’ without an injection of more cash

The project has suffered from problems in a number of areas, including construction work and signalling systems.

In a statement Mr Shapps said that the loan would be made to the Greater London Authority and repaid via London’s Business Rate Supplement and from the Mayoral Community Infrastructure Levy.

‘The government remains committed to the rapid completion of the project, in a way that is fair to UK taxpayers and has committed to financing the completion of Crossrail,’ he said.

‘However, London – as the primary beneficiary – must ultimately bear any additional costs. Crossrail Ltd is committed to reducing its funding shortfall and will take all necessary steps to complete the project without requiring further additional funding. Transport for London (TfL) is ensuring that further independent analysis of costs is carried out.’

Andy Byford, London’s transport commissioner wrote to the DfT last month, warning that Crossrail risked being ‘mothballed’ without an injection of more cash.

Today he said: ‘I have been very clear that it is my priority to get the railway open as soon as possible and all those working on the Crossrail project are focused on that too.

‘Confirming this financing is an essential step in ensuring the team can fully concentrate on safely delivering the Elizabeth line, which is so vital for boosting rail capacity and supporting the economy.’

Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild said: ‘Delivery of the Elizabeth line is now in its complex final stages.

‘Good progress continues to be made with completing the remaining infrastructure works so that we begin intensive operational testing, known as trial running, at the earliest opportunity in 2021.

‘Many of the stations are now nearing completion and we will shortly commence an enabling phase for trial running which allows testing in the tunnels to be undertaken with an increased number of trains, further helping to build operational reliability.

‘We are doing everything possible to deliver the Elizabeth line as safely and quickly as we can.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk