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Just days after writing a cheque worth £200 million as part of a pledge to help finance Crossrail, the Corporation has thrown its weight behind calls for a second major cross-country rail project. The authority joined 32 councils from across the Capital and the rest of the...

Just days after writing a cheque worth £200 million as part of a pledge to help finance Crossrail, the Corporation has thrown its weight behind calls for a second major cross-country rail project. The authority joined 32 councils from across the Capital and the rest of the south east in urging government to give Crossrail 2 – a north-south line connecting the Solent to the Wash – its full backing.

In a joint letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond and transport secretary Chris Grayling, delivered by the Mayor of London, the coalition stressed that the benefits of the railway would be felt nationwide, citing an estimated 200,000 jobs that could be created as a result of its undertaking.

And while estimating the project’s worth to the UK economy to be in the region of £150billion, the letter also warned that not progressing with plans could stunt growth and create “chaotic” transport connections as “the population of the south east region continues to grow rapidly.”
“London Councils fully supports Crossrail 2 and it is crucial that government now demonstrates its commitment to the scheme,” said Claire Kober, the chair of London Councils.

“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.

“We look forward to seeing the plans given full backing by ministers.” The Capital has already committed to meeting half the cost of the project (Crossrail’s bill will hit £15bn), which will connect with HS2 at Euston.

Transport for London has also submitted an updated business case and funding plan to Mr Grayling, outlining that construction could start in the early 2020s, with the railway operational by 2033. Sadiq Khan 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.

“But Crossrail 2 is not just vital to the south east, its economic boost is vital to the whole of the UK. That’s why it’s so important that the government gives us its backing to proceed as soon as possible.” The City is set to benefit from Crossrail’s completion next year with cosmetic improvements at Farringdon, Liverpool Street and Moorgate stations.

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