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London mayor says more infrastructure cash would boost economy by £33bn per year

Crossrail 2

London mayor Sadiq Khan has called for more infrastructure investment to help pay for schemes such as Crossrail 2, ahead of the first National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA).

A report commissioned by Khan has highlighted five infrastructure schemes which he says would boost the economy by £33bn per year if they went ahead. They are:

  • The extension of the Elizabeth Line to Ebbsfleet in Kent.
  • Crossrail 2 – the south west – north east London connection.
  • An extension of the Croydon tram network towards Sutton.
  • Extending the Bakerloo line to Lewisham via the Old Kent Road and New Cross Gate.
  • Continued investment in the Royal Docks as a distinctive location for business and culture.

These schemes could part-fund themselves if they were paid for using “innovative” private investment, according to a City Hall-commissioned report by Greenwood Strategic Advisors.

The report argued that major public investment in these schemes would generate £33bn extra for the economy per year by 2050, generating £10bn per year in tax.

According to the report, without the major schemes, London’s housing crisis would cut expected job growth by 16% by 2050.

Khan also stressed the NIA – which sets out infrastructure priorities over the next 30 years – should be used to highlight the need for a “substantial increase in investment” in London.

Khan said: “As a country, we need to move from a system of underinvestment, low growth, reduced tax take and constrained public funding toward a new philosophy of sensible investment in high-growth schemes that deliver economic prosperity, more homes and higher tax revenues.

“Good quality, modern infrastructure, including new roads and railways is crucial if this country is to remain a global economic powerhouse – so it is vital that we see increased investment across the country and not just here in London. I am confident that the National Infrastructure Commission will convey the need for a substantial increase in investment when it publishes its assessment of the country’s requirements.”

Researchers for the report used a computer programme to simulate different outcomes according to current policy. It found that money from government is “insufficient” and unlikely to change in future.

Donations from individual citizens and UK pension funds could play a bigger role in funding major infrastructure schemes in the capital, meaning public money would be spared “until investments are producing their expected social, economic and fiscal impacts”.

Transport for London director of spatial planning Lucinda Turner said: “It’s absolutely vital that we plan and invest in the next major transport infrastructure projects such as Crossrail 2 and the Bakerloo line extension to ensure we can support London’s continued growth.”

A planned extension of Crossrail to Ebbsfleet could be used for a feasibility study into the possibilities of innovative private financing, according to the report.

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