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£16bn Crossrail to go ahead after last minute deal

Crossrail will get the official green-light next week, thanks to a last-minute deal between the government and the City of London.
The deal will secure the last piece of its £16bn price tag, just a week before the comprehensive spending review, when it will be
officially announced.

The City of London Corporation released this statement on Tuesday evening: "At a special meeting held this afternoon at the Guildhall, the City of London’s Court of Common Council voted, after lengthy discussion, to support a financial contribution to Crossrail.

"Further announcements on a full Crossrail funding package will be made by the government in due course," it said.

Earlier this week, Prime minister Gordon Brown told economists at Reuters in London: "If others are prepared to play their part, the necessary funding from the government will be provided in the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.

"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," he said.

Michael Snyder, chair of the Corporation of London’s policy and resources committee had hinted that a deal was imminent.

"Crossrail is an urgent priority for the City, London and the UK, and City and Corporation of London have been arguing for Crossrail for nearly 20 years."

Transport minister Ruth Kelly last week told NCE that the project will be "the largest construction project in the northern hemisphere", during the Labour party conference last week.

The deal brings to an end almost 30 years of debate and discussion, which has gone off the rails on more than one occasion.

According to MP for Woolwich and Greenwich, Nick Raynsford, who last week confirmed to NCE that the only stumbling block
for Crossrail was money from the City of London (NCE last week). He said he believed that Brown had put severe pressure on the City to deliver.

"Brown is clearly putting the screws on the City.

"He is simply raising the stakes and if the City don’t cough up, then they will get the blame if Crossrail is delayed."

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