HS3 ambitions may side-track Crossrail 2 plans in Spring Budget
Plans for London’s Crossrail 2 network may be at risk of being eclipsed by ambitions from northern cities for the east-west HS3 link, senior MPs from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of London have today warned.
It is anticipated that progress being made with Crossrail 2 could be delayed by prime minister Theresa May in response to claims from northern leaders that Whitehall is favouring rail infrastructure in the capital and is not serious about investment being made in transport in northern cities.
Bob Neill, MP for Bromley & Chislehurst, told RTM of the importance of MPs and central government backing Crossrail 2: “London’s economic health is important to the whole of the UK. Ultimately, when London succeeds, Britain prospers.
“We must therefore continue to invest in the infrastructure that keeps our capital moving, and Crossrail 2 – a proposal that has widespread support across the city – is central to those plans going forward.”
He added it is crucial, regardless of political persuasion, “MPs, business leaders and other stakeholders rally behind this project and make the case to ministers, loud and clear, that this is a vitally important scheme and one that must receive government backing. That is a message the APPG for London will continue to throw its full weight behind.”
In a report published by IPPR North in February, further evidence was put forward for HS3 closing the divide in infrastructure investment between the north and the south of the country. It also found that London alone received more than half of England’s £32.7bn transport spending.
But senior members from the APPG expressed concern that demands from northern leaders for funding to be put aside for HS3 may detract from London’s ambitions for Crossrail 2 by causing a conflict of interest between the capital and cities such as Manchester and Leeds.
This has prompted an appeal from London MPs to the PM and chancellor Phillip Hammond to fully support Crossrail 2 at the Spring Budget tomorrow, arguing that both projects can be successful at the same time and do not to be mutually exclusive.
These calls come just a few weeks after London mayor Sadiq Khan announced that the capital’s network would “grind to a halt” without Crossrail 2. He argued that, based on modelling by Transport for London, the city would struggle to cope with overcrowding should the government not back plans for Crossrail 2.
This was in response to claims from insiders who said that the government was “going cold” on the project – going on to suggest that half of the project’s £32bn price tag could be in jeopardy.
Commenting on Whitehall’s alleged reluctance to fully back Crossrail 2, Khan said: “Crossrail 2 is crucial. It’s crucial to meeting our ambitious targets for new affordable homes. It’s crucial to unlocking future economic growth in the aftermath of the EU referendum.
“It’s crucial to ensure that Euston station keeps running smoothly when HS2 opens, and it’s crucial if we are to prevent Waterloo, Victoria and many other stations from rush hour meltdown.
In last year’s Budget, former chancellor George Osborne gave the go-ahead to both HS3 and Crossrail 2, further backing the latter with £80m in funding.
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