Crossrail bosses signal £19bn project may need yet more cash to complete Elizabeth line

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Leaders hinted Crossrail could require up to another £275 million in funding - despite already receiving an £825m loan from the government.

Transport bosses have implied the long-awaited Crossrail project may need a further cash boost to get it over the finishing line.

Hold ups due to the coronavirus crisis saw the project receive an £825 million loan from the government to support its continued construction.

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Now the long-awaited scheme could be set to require a further cash injection to see it completed, bosses have suggested.

Speaking in front of the London Assembly’s transport committee this morning, leaders hinted Crossrail could require up to another £275m in funding.

It comes after a parliamentary finance committee warned of a potential £150m shortfall in the project’s budget, in a report published last month.

Andy Byford, Transport for London (TfL) commissioner, admitted this possible scarcity was “a pressure over and above the £825m that’s secured”.

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And he warned that if further funding was required, he “couldn’t say for certain” that it would be secured - meaning the shortfall would have to be made up from TfL’s existing budget.

“That would require tough choices,” he said.

Passengers will be able to travel from Canary Wharf to Heathrow in just over 30 minutes.

The public accounts committee, made up of MPs who scrutinise taxpayers’ value for money, found that “by the time passengers can travel from one end of the Elizabeth line to the other, some £19 billion will have been invested in Crossrail”.

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Its report said a recent “estimate of the cost to complete the Elizabeth line has increased to £18.9 billion, 28% more than the £14.8 billion budget set in 2010”.

Asked when managers would know whether the project would need extra funds, Mr Byford said he hoped neither further government funding, nor a dip into TfL cash would be needed.

During the session at City Hall, rail chiefs were also grilled over complaints about the impact of works on the line.

Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon. Credit: Carl Court/Getty ImagesLib Dem Caroline Pidgeon. Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images
Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon. Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images | Getty Images

Transport committee chair Caroline Pidgeon MBE said the Crossrail ombudsman had received “a small number of complaints around Abbey Wood about flooding and at Bond Street, about noise”.

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“You both know only two well the work I’ve done with you trying to sort out one business in Soho who are still owed nearly £300,000 because your insurers have been delaying providing them with information,” she said.

“That just isn’t good enough, is it? That’s somebody’s livelihood.”

Mark Field, Crossrail chief executive, said: “I don’t think Crossrail can claim to be an exemplar and have got everything right.

“People can be assured that the railway and operations, noise, vibrations - we have built to the highest possible standards.

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“But there’s no doubt that in a small number of very impactful situations our footprint did impact people - particularly the trader that you’re talking of.

“I can’t really comment on the insurance because that’s a matter between them and their insurer.

“What I do commit to though, is making sure that the various insurance activities go as fast as they possibly can and I will keep going with that.

“I’m very sorry for the effect we had on that facility and certainly we could have done things better.

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“There’s a lot of good stuff as well… but when it goes wrong it goes horribly wrong and it affects those people deeply.

“I can’t say we got everything right but there is plenty to celebrate in Crossrail.”

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