Council leaders urge government to back Crossrail 2

13 Apr 17

Council leaders from London and the South East have urged the government to steam ahead with Crossrail 2 plans.

In a joint pledge today, councils stretching from Cambridge to Portsmouth, and London’s 32 borough councils and the City of London, have written to the government calling on it to back the £31.2bn scheme.

In a letter to the chancellor and the transport secretary the councils have expressed their support for the project, which they believe will relieve pressure on overcrowded lines and bring economic benefits.

They argue that the new railway will boost the country’s economy by up to £150bn. It will support the construction of 200,000 homes and the creation of 200,000 jobs, and generate 60,000 supply chain jobs across the UK, including 18,000 apprentices.

London has already committed to meeting half the cost of Crossrail 2, which will serve stations throughout the South East, linking south west and north east London, as well as Surrey and Hertfordshire – but now the project needs a commitment from ministers.

Claire Kober, chairman of London Councils, said: “London Councils fully supports Crossrail 2 and it is crucial that government now demonstrates its commitment to the scheme. 

“The project will provide a much-needed boost to business across the UK in an uncertain economic environment, and is vital to relieve pressure on London’s essential transport network, which is impacted by population growth.”

This view is echoed by Linda Haysey, leader of East Herts Council, as she said the project was “vital” for driving growth in her region.

Her assessment was shared by the leader of Portsmouth City Council, Donna Jones, who said commuters from Portsmouth and the wider south relied on a quick and efficient rail service to the capital.

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, said: “The support of local councils from Cambridge through to Portsmouth shows just how important Crossrail 2 is, not just to London but to the entire South East. “It will provide much-needed relief for commuters who are forced to travel on overcrowded rail lines every single day, and unlock thousands of homes and jobs across the region.”

TfL has submitted an updated business case and funding plan to the transport secretary, a decision is expected over the next two months on further government support.

Proponents of Crossrail 2 say construction could start in the early 2020s and the railway could be operational by 2033.

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