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London business provides final piece in Crossrail funding jigsaw

The Government’s decision finally to give Crossrail the go-ahead was today met with applause and relief by London’s business community.

London First, which represents over 300 of the capital’s leading companies, has been urging Government to agree a funding package for the east-west London rail link for over a decade.  Vital to London’s growth and the UK’s ongoing competitiveness, Crossrail will join Heathrow to the growing Thames Gateway via the business districts of the West End, City and Docklands.

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, said:

“This is a great, great day for London and surely the best news for London commuters and businesses in a generation.

“Getting the go ahead for Crossrail has been like piecing together a giant jigsaw, but with real UK jobs and GDP growth at stake.  At the turn of the Millennium, the jigsaw appeared to have been knocked off the table, with some pieces missing altogether.  Even then, London First refused to give up on Crossrail.

“Now the Government has responded to our call and assembled a renewed funding package, with London’s business leaders digging deep into corporate pockets to find the elusive final elements.  Canary Wharf, BAA and City of London have all made important contributions.

“The Government, albeit somewhat late in the day, has worked hard to deliver this solution.  The Treasury and Transport teams, Ministers and officials are to be praised for their persistence in the end game.  In a few years time, London’s commuters will come to cherish these efforts.

“Crucially for London’s future, when Chinese and Indian businesses consider where to site their European HQs, they will see in London a world city investing in its future.”

Background:

  • London First has been campaigning for the Government to commit to funding Crossrail since its inception in 1992
  • The Government has today announced that, with the help of London’s business community, the funding gap has been bridged and the £16bn pound project, to be met by Government, business and fare box contributions, can now move into construction phase following Royal Assent of the Crossrail Bill in 2008
  • The railway is expected to be ready in 2017

Notes to Editors

London First is a business membership organisation whose mission is to make London the best city in the world in which to do business. London First undertakes this by mobilising the experience, expertise and enthusiasm of the private sector to develop practical solutions to the challenges facing London. London First also seeks to persuade central and London government to make the investments that London needs in its infrastructure

London First delivers its activities with the support of 300 of the capital’s major businesses in key sectors such as finance, professional services, property, ICT, creative industries, hospitality and retail. Membership also includes all of London’s higher education institutions as well as further education colleges and NHS hospital trusts. London First members represent 26% of London’s GDP.

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