Crossrail gets £350m government bailout

Kevin Farnsworth argues that corporate welfare should not be increased, rather needs more regulation.
(Karen Arnold/Creative Commons)

The UK government has announced a £350m bailout for the delayed Crossrail project. Crossrail, is a new east-west rail line running through London. The route, to be known as the Elizabeth Line was due to open in December 2018, but is now scheduled for autumn 2019.  The £350m government bailout is to ensure completion does not slip further. Jo Johnson, transport minister said that the “short term repayable financing” was to “ensure that full momentum is maintained”.

The cost of Crossrail is currently budgeted at £15.8bn.  The project is funded by taxpayers and a levy on business. Mr Johnson said that Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport (DfT) have commissioned two reviews into Crossrail’s governance and and commercial position. Crossrail’s costs have increased and are higher than the £14.8bn budgeted in the 2010 spending review. Although the cost overrun is dwarfed by the 76 per cent overrun incurred by the Jubilee Line, there is concern about Crossrail’s finances. The FT reported in September that Mike Brown, commissioner of Transport for London, said that TfL and the DfT, had no idea how much more money the scheme [Crossrail] would cost.