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Tory axe hangs over Crossrail

The Conservatives have refused to rubber stamp the £15.9bn Crossrail project, saying every existing scheme would be “subject to review” should they win the next General Election.

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Philip Hammond was responding to a query from his opposite number Yvette Cooper, who asked Hammond whether “he would also take this opportunity to say whether his party supports Crossrail?”

In response, Hammond said: “We believe that Crossrail is a good project. It fits very well with our agenda of improving rail infrastructure. She [Cooper] sits there, chuntering about guaranteeing to support this project or that project.

“Do the Government have no conception of the scale of the hole that they have dug? Every single programme and project will have to be reassessed and re-evaluated. Each project will have to demonstrate its value for money and its effectiveness in an extraordinarily tight fiscal climate created by the disaster that the Government have visited on this country,” he said.

Every single programme and project will have to be reassessed and re-evaluated

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Philip Hammond

Hammond went on to criticise the government’s budget: “This year sees the continuation of the recent trend for the Budget to be increasingly disjoined from the Finance Bill that follows it.

“Annual taxes are announced years in advance, not for the purpose of providing greater forewarning and more stability and transparency in the system, but for pure political advantage. An early announcement by this Government does not mean greater certainty. Last November, the tax rate was to be 45p from 2011. By this April, it had become 50p from 2010,” he said.

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