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Crossrail is go

The Prime Minister today confirmed that the Crossrail scheme will go ahead, with work to start in 2010, to complete in 2017.

Gordon Brown said, "I believe this is a project of enormous importance not just for London but for the whole country.

"By generating an additional 30,000 jobs and helping London retain its position as the world's pre-eminent financial centre, it will support Britain's economic growth and maintain Britain's position as a leading world economy.

"And by delivering quicker journeys from some of the most economically disadvantaged parts of the city to the most economically important, it will support regeneration particularly in the most deprived parts of our country."

Responses from industry were quick. London Mayor Ken Livingstone said, "Crossrail is not just a transport scheme – it is the key to the next 20 years of economic development of London.

"Crossrail will provide the transport underpinning for the greatest centres of London’s business – the City, Canary Wharf and the West End – as well as linking these areas of high jobs growth to the areas of greatest deprivation in east London and opening up the areas of new housing development in the Thames Gateway.

"Crossrail, like all good ideas, is simple. It gives the financial centres of London, the City and Canary Wharf, a single transport platform, links this to Heathrow, provides massive new transport capacity in the West End, and opens up the connection to the areas of housing development in the Thames Gateway.

"It passes through most of the areas of highest job growth in London. The station at Whitechapel provides a junction to the East London Line – which passes through the areas of London’s greatest deprivation.

"With a capacity twice that of the Jubilee line, and expanding London’s rail capacity by 10 per cent, it is the largest addition to London’s transport system for more than fifty years.

"It will touch the lives of millions of Londoners whether they are travelling to work, going to the West End to shop or for the evening out, travelling to Heathrow or living in East London – and by providing the transport backbone of the internationally competitive businesses of London it will aid the whole UK economy."

The City of London Corporation, which agreed to release the last piece of funding earlier in the week, revealed that their final contribution was £350M, including a £200M lump sum to be paid to the Government in 2015/2016.

Michael Snyder, Chairman of the City of London's Policy and Resources Committee said, "Crossrail is the most important new transport infrastructure in the UK in the last 30 years and will make an immense difference to London's credibility as a place to do international business.

"Transport delays currently cost City businesses £1 million each working day. It is expected that Crossrail will add a net benefit of £30 billion pound to UK GDP over 60 years and contribute £12 billion in tax revenues."

The largest building project in Europe, the Government has pledged that Crossrail will:

- Carry more than 200 million passengers per year, including a 54% increase in rail capacity to Canary Wharf and 21% more to the City. Crossrail will add 10% to London's overall transport capacity.

- Add at least £20bn to the UK economy and support around 30,000 new high-value jobs by 2026. 14,000 will be employed in the line's construction.

- Ensure the continued and sustainable growth of London as a world finance centre - including the expansion of Canary Wharf.

- Boost existing regeneration plans in the Thames Gateway and elsewhere.

- Provide a new direct link to Heathrow. A trip between Canary Wharf and Heathrow would take link 43 minutes.

- Give greater access for people with reduced mobility.

- Crossrail is expected to be self-sustaining once operational.

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