|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Both the Department for Transport and Transport for London stand ready to help broker an alternative solution among interested parties to try to address the funding problems. Both the sponsoring bodies have been in extensive discussions with Berkeley over the past year, to seek a way to enable the company to
honour its commitments. They have written to me only today with more constructive ideas. Naturally, one of the most significant of those interested parties is the London borough of Greenwich. In this regard, it is important to assess whether development opportunities around the station and the alternative funding that they might generate have been fully explored.
I know that Greenwich council is actively engaged in the issues that we have discussed this evening. It is now important for all of us who care about Crossrail to assess thoroughly the possible alternative funding sources that could be available between the interested parties if Berkeley Homes does not step up to the plate and deliver what it promised. Therefore, while I cannot promise additional funding from the Department and the taxpayer, we do stand ready to try to help the interested parties find a solution to enable Woolwich station to go ahead. The right hon. Gentleman can have my absolute assurance on that.
I would like to mention briefly some of the wider issues that the right hon. Gentleman raised about transport in his constituency. He warmly welcomed a number of the recent improvements, and it is worth noting that several important programmes in recent years have benefited his constituency, such as the refurbishment of the East London line as part of the London overground network, new interchanges with the tube and bus networks, and the extension of the docklands light railway, which the right hon. Gentleman described with such eloquence.
I thank all Members who have taken part in the debate, especially the right hon. Gentleman. I believe
that it has provided a valuable opportunity to consider important issues around the Crossrail project in general and its impact on his constituency in south-east London in particular. After long years of waiting, the commencement of work on Crossrail was warmly welcomed, particularly within the business community, where Crossrail has always enjoyed strong support. The CBI recently made it clear to the Secretary of State that it is pleased to see progress continuing under the new Government.
I should like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Government, to thank the Canary Wharf Group, BAA plc, the Corporation of London and its members for the considerable financial contributions that they are making. I am sure that we would all like to express the same gratitude to the other businesses in the capital whose rate supplements are providing a hugely important element of the funding package.
This project has the potential to deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits for the capital and for the country. Those benefits will be felt well beyond the areas directly served by the new line and its stations. The challenge facing all of us who are interested in Crossrail is to ensure that costs are kept down. That means engaging in an active, energetic pursuit of best value for money procurement processes, urgently seeking ways-