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Prime minister Gordon Brown launches Crossrail

“If you don’t invest in the future, you have no future. Today we are sending a message that our faith in the future is such that today, in the midst of a downturn, we are starting the biggest infrastructure project in this country.”

This is a great day for Canary Wharf. It’s a great day for public transport. It’s a great day, as we’ve seen, for new engineering changing the way we do things. It’s a great day for London and I think most of all it’s a great day for partnership.

This is a partnership between people who over years have been committed to a dream that some people thought would never happen, to a project that people thought might be cancelled at some point, to an endeavour that people thought may never in the end be delivered.  And I want to pay tribute to all those who are involved in this unique partnership of the private and public sector, of different levels and tiers of government, of the financial community here in Canary Wharf and, of course, the whole business community through London. 

Let me thank George for his leadership.  Canary Wharf here is employing, as he said, 93,000 people.  JPMorgan have just started to build a huge construction that will employ thousands of people in the next few years.  Plans are already there to double the numbers of people employed in Canary Wharf over the next few years, and George, by his leadership, is sending a very important signal that the future of Canary Wharf is established and is going to go from strength to strength in the years to come.

I also want to thank all those associated with the work of Transport for London for what they are now doing - Peter Hendy and all those who are involved in Transport for London.  I want to thank the Mayor for his leadership and what he has done to establish the basis on which this project can now move ahead.  And I want to thank all those associated with Crossrail.  We had an excellent presentation from Rob Holden, Doug Oakervee, all those who are involved in Crossrail.  This is truly a partnership of public and private sector, but let me give a special thanks to the business community this morning.  It is important to finance this project that the business community has been prepared to contribute, that it has had the vision to see that the future of this area and of London depends on this level of investment, and so I want to thank all companies represented here today and all those who are part of the financing of the project.

This is our signal of faith in the future: the biggest infrastructure project in the country starting now.

Gordon Brown, Prime minister

I think we’re sending out two signals today.  The first signal is that we are not going to allow barriers to come in the way of an important project moving forward.  This was first conceived in the 1980s, it was postponed in the 1990s.  This is going ahead now as a result of the collective decisions of large numbers of people who were involved in this and we are not going to fail to invest in the future because of the economic difficulties that we face.

But I think it’s an even more important signal than that.  This is our signal of faith in the future: the biggest infrastructure project in the country starting now.  Fourteen thousand people to be employed in the construction phase.  A project that is worth £16 billion.  A project that will open up London and put 1.5 million more people within an hour of the centre of the city.  A project that will link business as well as link people together.  A project that combines with the work that is being done with the Thameslink, with the East London line, with the extension of the Docklands Railway, with the improvements in the tube and the overland railway.  A project that is a signal of our confidence and our faith in the future.  Our faith in London as a financial centre.  Our faith in regeneration, creating jobs in this area and throughout the whole of London and this whole region.  A faith that Britain is moving forward with investments about future jobs and about future opportunities for our economy.  Faith in our integrated transport system that is linking the roads and the rails in a more environmentally friendly way for the future. 

If you don’t invest in the future, you have no future.  Today we are sending a message that our faith in the future is such that today, in the midst of a downturn, we are starting the biggest infrastructure project in this country – one that will serve not just London, but as a message to the whole of the world that we will invest through this downturn and we will emerge a stronger country as a result.

Thank you all very much.

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