Crossrail Could Be Mothballed Without Funding Agreement

TfL boss says £80 million needed from government this week

Elizabeth line train. Picture: TfL

The future of Crossrail has been called into question with the possibility now being raised that the project may need to be mothballed.

According to a report on Sky News, Andy Byford, the London transport commissioner, has written to the permanent secretary at the Department for Transport (DfT) saying that unless the government urgently comes up with a funding package this week the project may need to be put on hold.

He told Bernadette Kelly that £80m of immediate support was essential to keep progressing with the long delayed Elizabeth line.

Mr Byford’s letter reportedly says that "If agreement is not reached this week, we will have no option but to mothball the project and to seek alternative governance for its eventual completion.

"I sincerely hope that we can avoid such a Doomsday scenario."

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said, "What's happening between the Government and TFL is nothing short of a disgrace. As we approach next year's London Mayoral Election it's clear the Government are using TFL and our members as a political football and rather than stick to their pledge of ‘Building Back Better’ they're starving TFL of vital funds and playing games with workers’ livelihoods. "

The letter was sent as the government confirmed it is to change the way it assesses the value for money of big spending projects to ensure that a greater proportion of projects are in the north of England as part of its levelling up agenda.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the changes would allow those "in all corners of the UK to get their fair share of our future prosperity".

November 21, 2020