More than 50 Members of Parliament from across the country and political parties have urged the government to urgently back Crossrail 2 and show the world that Britain is open for business.
The 59 MPs, which represent constituencies from as far north as Newcastle upon Tyne and as far south as Portsmouth, have called on the government to back the vital project now so that it can progress in Parliament and begin carrying passengers by 2033.
The cross-party group MPs, which include dozens from across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, London and Surrey, have written to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, and the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, urging them to boost the entire country by giving Crossrail 2 the go-ahead.
The letter highlighted that the benefits of Crossrail 2 would be felt across the UK, boosting the economy by up to £150bn. Such a commitment would show that the country is preparing for growth and will give firms the certainty they need to invest in the skills needed for the long-term future.
Some 200,000 jobs and 200,000 new homes will be supported as a result of Crossrail 2, as well as 60,000 supply-chain jobs and 18,000 apprentices across the country, making a major contribution to solving the housing crisis and supporting key employment centres. More than 30 per cent of these new homes would be outside London.
The letter of support follows the calls of senior business leaders, homebuilding and property leaders and local authorities across the South East who have also written to the Chancellor and Transport Secretary significance of Crossrail 2.
Crossrail 2 will transform journey times and connectivity from the Solent to the Wash. More than a million public transport journeys every day will be significantly better as a result of Crossrail 2, with 40 per cent of the transport benefits falling outside London. It will relieve congestion on the overcrowded key rail lines from Portsmouth to Cambridge, and link with HS2 at Euston. It will also relieve pressure on the Underground, as the population of the South East region continues to grow rapidly.
With the overcrowded rail network threatening to stunt economic growth, the dangers of delaying the project are clear. For commuters travelling into London, overcrowding is already intolerable and, without the much needed additional capacity Crossrail 2 provides, nationally important stations including Victoria, Clapham Junction and Waterloo will see further serious overcrowding and regular closures, and Euston will be utterly unable to cope with increased passenger numbers from HS2.
The new railway is a scheme of national importance, with London businesses indicating they are prepared to contribute through local taxes and levies. London has shown how it can meet half the total cost – unlike other nationally significant projects that do not receive such levels of local funding. But now the project needs a commitment from ministers – as recommended by the National Infrastructure Commission last year.
Tom Brake MP for Carshalton and Wallington said: “Rather than sitting on its hands as it has done during the chaos caused by the Southern Rail strikes, it’s high time the Government gave backing for transport infrastructure which will help increase jobs, stimulate the local economy and relieve stress for the thousands of commuters who call the South East home.”