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London 'unfairly burdened' with 8bn cost of Crossrail

23 February 10 10:58 GMT

Londoners are "unfairly burdened" with half the cost of the £16bn Crossrail, a London Assembly report said.

Business premises in the capital with a rateable value in excess of £55,000 will raise £4.1bn of the cost by paying a 2% business rate levy.

Although eight stations fall outside London those areas will not contribute to the cost, the report found.

Crossrail said it would consider the recommendations made by the Transport Committee's report.

Chief executive of Crossrail, Rob Holden, said: "We welcome the Committee's cross-party support for Crossrail and its recognition of the project's long-term economic benefits to the capital and the whole of the UK.

"We note the Committee's recommendations and look forward to continuing our engagement with it and through the life of the project."

'Unfair contribution'

The report called for the government, which it said got a "good deal", to ensure that the capital is not asked to pay for overruns.

"The Committee recognises that London will benefit substantially from the construction of Crossrail. That said though, it is making arguably an unfair contribution to the project's costs.

"We recommend that, should additional funding be required, London is not asked to contribute further to the construction of Crossrail and that consideration is given to extending a Crossrail levy to local authorities on the route outside the GLA (Greater London Authority) boundary."

London establishments will have to pay the business rate supplement (BRS) for up to 31 years, with up to 70% of the cost borne by businesses in central London.

The report also said that residents and businesses in Soho and Paddington complained that they received only three months' notice and were at times "intimidated", prompting Mayor Boris Johnson to intervene.

Mr Holden told the committee that his company needed to "be more proactive" in the way it dealt with compensation claims.

Caroline Pidgeon, chairperson of the committee, said: "Crossrail's initial dealings with displaced businesses and residents have been very disappointing.

"We hope they have learned lessons from these early experiences."

The report also suggested that a majority of the 21,000 expected jobs generated by the project should go to Londoners.

The 72-mile route will link Maidenhead in Berkshire to Shenfield in Essex, running through central London and will also include a link to Heathrow airport.

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