Liberal Democrat shadow transport secretary Norman Baker has raised fears over the future of Crossrail after sounding out the cost of cancelling the £16bn project.
Baker has asked transport minister Sadiq Khan what the cost to the taxpayer would be if the scheme were to be abandoned after the General Election in June 2010.
In response Khan said the current government remained fully committed to delivering the project. If the project were to be axed, costs would exceed £1.6bn, he said. Up to June 2010 project delivery costs, including fees paid to consultants would be £950M, with an extra £700M in land costs plus “uncertain” costs of cancelling contracts let to date.
“It is not possible to produce precise estimates as to overall expenditure if the project were to be cancelled,” said Khan.
“The costs associated with any cancellation would be substantial but would be contingent on a number of different factors, including contractual commitments and potential income from land no longer required. Naturally, the resolution of contractual arrangements would be a matter of significant commercial sensitivity and economic uncertainty.”
Liberal Democrat economic spokesman Vince Cable has already warned that the £16bn east-west rail scheme for London was unlikely to be a “key priority”, should his party have influence in any new government.