Plenary on 2006-12-06
Session date: 
December 6, 2006
Question By: 
John Biggs
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Peter Hendy (Commissioner, Transport for London)


How is TfL gong to make the case for long term funding in the context of the Comprehensive Spending Review and how will smaller local schemes benefit if funding is secured?


Answer for Funding

Answer for Funding

Answered By: 
Peter Hendy (Commissioner, Transport for London)

Written Answer: We are the furthest forward we have ever been in getting Crossrail built. We have a robust scheme, with a review currently reducing the cost even further. The support is widespread and cross-party, including from the Government, 20% of top FTSE companies, the CBI, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, London First, all London boroughs, most London MPs, the Mayor, Assembly Members including yourself, UK Tourist Bodies and Unions. Crossrail is the single biggest addition we can and need to make to London's infrastructure. The case is overwhelming. The benefits over 60 years of a £30bn increase in UK GDP, £12bn more in tax revenue and £5bn saved in time to business easily outweigh the cost.A Bill for Crossrail is being taken through Parliament, sponsored by the DfT. The main outstanding issue is funding. We have been having constructive talks with the Treasury, and are looking at a formula involving a contribution from fares, from business, and from the Government. The government has indicated that there will be a decision within the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review. What is clear is that Crossrail cannot be delayed. While the capital's economy and population continue to grow, its transport system is already over-stretched. Crossrail is the single most important project to support this growth ' it would provide 40% of the extra rail capacity that London needs by 2015. Any delay could harm UK economic growth and regional regeneration, harm core business centres, undermine London's global importance and put huge pressure on the network.

Oral Answer: What you are asking is about making the case for long term funding in the context of the forthcoming 2007 Spending Review. As the Assembly will know, the groundbreaking settlement agreed with the Government as a result of the 2004 Spending Review provides, in effect, guaranteed funding until the end of our budget and business plan five year process with the investment programme in 2010. The question in the 2007 Spending Review is therefore not about expenditure for the normal period of the Spending Review 2007 - 2010 because we have, in effect, already got a guaranteed settlement for that.

The question is - and we do not fully have an answer to it yet - what further period beyond that is the Treasury and/or the Department of Transport and/or the Government going to look at in terms of indicative settlement for longer term transport funding and transport infrastructure investment? That is one of the reasons why we have spent two years doing this work. In a growing city with a growing population and a necessity for growing economic activity, we need to point out what investment and funding is actually needed for the future beyond 2010. Certainly I believe that the Transport 2025 vision is the document which informs what we think Government should do in the longer term.

Clearly, it is a very formidable challenge, but then the challenge of having nearly one million people extra in this city in some 15 years is a very formidable challenge itself. That is why I drew attention in my opening remarks to the happy coincidence of the publication of this with the Eddington Report, which is seeking to advise the Chancellor about what transport investment would be needed to sustain productivity and economic growth in the UK. Since we form such an important part of the UK's economy, it does not bear thinking about that we would not put forward a case for the necessary investment to keep the city going.