Government 'to consider case for Crossrail 2'
Thu 27 Jun 2013
Plans to build a second Crossrail network in London could be a step closer towards becoming a reality.
Speaking in this week's Spending Round statement in the House of Commons, chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said the government will be "looking at the case" for pressing ahead with the project.
The idea of creating Crossrail 2 - a rail link between north-east and south-west London - was put forward recently by London First, which believes it could help ease the pressure on existing rail interchanges including Euston, Clapham Junction and Victoria.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has already backed the proposal, saying there is an "incontestable" case in favour of pressing ahead with Crossrail 2.
Mr Osborne made his pledge after announcing that while the Department for Transport will have to make a nine per cent cut in its day-to-day resource spending from 2015, its capital budget will go up to £9.5 billion.
This, he said, is the biggest increase in any part of government - reflecting the priority it is placing on infrastructure projects as a means of stimulating economic growth.
Mr Osborne noted that the government is putting more money into the UK's rail network than at any time since the Victorian age and described the Crossrail network currently under construction in London as "the largest urban infrastructure project in Europe".
He added that the mayor of London will be given nearly £9 billion of capital spending and "additional financing power to the end of this decade".
The chancellor's commitment to examining the case for Crossrail 2 might represent a step forward for the proposals, as transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin recently downplayed the chances of the project going ahead.
Speaking to Construction News, he said the government can "only do what's affordable" and must consider the needs of the whole country when deciding how to allocate funds for major infrastructure projects, rather than just London.
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