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Taxpayers’ interest in the Crossrail programme has so far been well protected, according to the National Audit Office. If progress in providing the new rail service for London and the South-East can be maintained and risks managed, then the programme is on course to achieve value for money.

When complete, the line will run from Maidenhead and Heathrow Airport in the west, to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east. Crossrail Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Transport for London, is implementing the programme, with Network Rail carrying out work to improve existing surface infrastructure.

Joint sponsors the Department for Transport and Transport for London have established a £14.8 billion funding package to build the infrastructure. The funding is a combination of direct grant funding from both bodies, including £5 billion from the Department, and borrowing by Network Rail and Transport for London. Businesses have also contributed to the funding package, most notably through a supplement to London business rates, but the Department has not secured all the private sector contributions for which it had hoped.

There are also additional costs, including the estimated £1 billion cost of buying trains, most of which will be funded directly by TfL, with the Department providing £100 million; and the £316 million cost to develop plans for the railway, to which the Department contributed £175 million.

According to today’s report, the strategic need for Crossrail has become clearer over time as increased population and employment growth in London have been forecast. It is also expected that Crossrail’s benefits will outweigh its costs. The Department forecasts that Crossrail will bring £1.97 of transport benefits for every £1 of cost, and there is also potential for it to bring wider economic benefits.

About half of the infrastructure work is now complete. Progress is just behind schedule, but Crossrail Limited has taken steps to improve the progress against schedule and it remains confident that it will meet the planned delivery date. Forecast costs remain within available funding of £14.8 billion. However, Crossrail will not fully open until December 2019 and a number of risks remain, in particular the delivery of the Crossrail trains and the appointment of the operator.

The sponsors and Crossrail Limited have so far done well to protect taxpayers’ interests, by taking early action to stop costs escalating and, during construction, tightly managing the programme. There is still a long way to go and the Department must continue to manage risks to protect its investment in Crossrail.”

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office

Notes for Editors

£14.8 billion
rossrail programme's available funding for infrastructure

£5.2 billion
Contribution for Crossrail infrastructure set aside by the Department for Transport

£1 billion
Estimated cost of Crossrail trains

December 2019
Crossrail full opening date

14 years
Time from Crossrail Bill being presented to Parliament, to Crossrail opening fully

43.7 per cent
Of the Crossrail infrastructure works complete against a target of 45.2 per cent, as at September 2013

Kilometres (26.2 miles) of new Crossrail tunnels under London

Crossrail trains per hour which will run in each direction on the central section at peak times

New stations being built

1. Press notices and reports are available from the date of publication on the NAO website, which is at Hard copies can be obtained from The Stationery Office on 0845 702 3474.

2. The National Audit Office scrutinises public spending for Parliament and is independent of government. The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), Amyas Morse, is an Officer of the House of Commons and leads the NAO, which employs some 860 staff. The C&AG certifies the accounts of all government departments and many other public sector bodies. He has statutory authority to examine and report to Parliament on whether departments and the bodies they fund have used their resources efficiently, effectively, and with economy. Our studies evaluate the value for money of public spending, nationally and locally. Our recommendations and reports on good practice help government improve public services, and our work led to audited savings of almost £1.2 billion in 2012.

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