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£16 million Crossrail bid at risk' from cuts

PUBLISHED: 16:42 27 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:59 25 August 2010

The £16 billion Crossrail project could be at risk from cuts after the new government revealed they have not made any final decisions on the future of the scheme. The Department of Transport would not confirm to the Times that no cuts would be made to th

The £16 billion Crossrail project could be at risk from cuts after the new government revealed they have not made any final decisions on the future of the scheme.

The Department of Transport would not confirm to the Times that no cuts would be made to the project, which would connect Abbey Wood to west of London.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said that the Abbey Wood and Maidenhead branches may be threatened, but that he would launch a "Stalingrad defence" of the project.

He also said he would attempt to secure London's annual £9.3 billion transport budget as the new coalition government look to make more cuts after the

£6.2 billion already announced this week.

Last Sunday Transport Minister Theresa Villiers said she would look for "value for money" in the project and confirmed that the transport budget is not ring-fenced.

Greenwich and Woolwich MP Nick Raynsford, who has met with Mr Johnson, said: "Any suggestion that work might be delayed or cut risks undermining business confidence in this part of the capital.

"I am therefore actively seeking reassurances from the government that it remains committed to the south east section of the Crossrail scheme.

"I have written to the new Secretary of State for Transport to express my concerns."

The 72 mile route, due to open by 2017, is due to connect Maidenhead, Berkshire, with Shenfield in Essex via the West End and Canary Wharf, with a link to Heathrow Airport.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport told the Times: "The government supports Crossrail. The project will support and enable growth - now, and in the future, in London, and across the UK as a whole.

"No decisions have been taken to cut the scope of the Crossrail project.

"However, we need to ensure that every pound invested in the project is well spent and that the scheme remains affordable.

"Crossrail are focussed on optimising the scheme's value for money through effective management of risk and best value engineering solutions. The re-engineering of the Canary Wharf station has already offered a significant saving.

"We are working closely with Transport for London to ensure that value for taxpayer money is maximised as the project progresses.

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