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Transport spending cuts could threaten major projects, according to press reports

The Department for Transport (DfT) is facing a £30bn spending gap, which could threaten major projects, according to a leaked memo seen by The Guardian, the paper said today.

A leaked industry memo seen by the Guardian warned of “looming spending cuts” on major transport projects as the DfT faces the consequences of restoring order to public finances, it said.

It went on to say that as a result Crossrail could be delayed, hard shoulder running could be cut and the north-south high-speed rail programme could be held back by a decade. Prime minister Gordon Brown had just this week announced his intention to publish a feasibility into the high-speed line in the coming year.

The government came up against added pressure yesterday when it was forced to step in and nationalise the East Coast rail line because its operator National Express failed to meet the obligations of its franchise.

The industry memo warned, that a new comprehensive spending review by a Labour or Conservative government will almost certainly target the DfT. According to the Guardian, it said: “It has historically often seemed less painful to target transport spending, rather than more ‘sensitive’ programmes such as health, education and social security.”

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