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Conservatives vow to build Crossrail and "begin work" on high speed rail line

Shadow chancellor George Osborne has pledged that his party will build London’s £15.9bn Crossrail scheme and start work on a north-south high speed rail line should they win the next General Election.

Launching the Conservatives’ economic model, Osborne said that Britain’s tax system, education and national infrastructure will be revamped to help British firms out-compete others in the world.

“We will create a stable and transparent framework to encourage private sector investment in infrastructure. We support Crossrail,” says the report A New Economic Model: Eight Benchmarks for Britain.

“We will begin work on Britain’s first ever North-South high speed rail line to connect London and Heathrow with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, increasing capacity and reducing travel times.

“Our aspiration is to go further in years to come, to a line that stretches north to Newcastle and Scotland and to a network connecting many of the UK’s major cities in a national high-speed network.

“We will also reform the way our existing railways are run, with longer franchises to encourage private sector investment in much needed improvements.”

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering welcomed the announcement, but said it was keen to see how the plans would be financed.

“George Osborne today launched the Conservatives’ policy paper A New Economic Model: Eight Benchmarks for Britain.  In it, the shadow chancellor set out a range of policy options to be implemented should the Conservatives form the next government. 

“These included an unambiguous commitment to a new high speed railway line linking London and Leeds, with ambitions to connect to Scotland.

“The ACE looks forward to seeing further details about how this ambitious programme would be financed,” it said in a statement.

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