Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 7100 - 7119)

  7100. MR CAMERON: At the time that Crossrail—

  7101. CHAIRMAN: I do not want to know "at the time"; I want to know what it is now.

  7102. MR CAMERON: Can I just take instructions on that?

  7103. CHAIRMAN: Of course.

(Counsel took instructions.)

  7104. MR CAMERON: I will try and put what I have been told simply, if I can. The figure for benefits was taken from the Montague Report, which was an independent review of the scheme, as the Committee will know.

  7105. CHAIRMAN: Yes.

  7106. MR CAMERON: The figure for costs assumed that the extension to Ebbsfleet would be included as part of the scheme when it was implemented at—and I am now going to give the precise date—at that time it was envisaged 2011, but it was a net present value worked back and, therefore, it gives an indication which would be equally valid if you were to promote a Transport and Works Act Order later, because the net present value of benefits is lower because they come at a later date, and the costs are lower because you have to wait longer to pay.

  7107. CHAIRMAN: But your bottom line on page 91 assumes that the line to Ebbsfleet would be available when?[41]42

  7108. MR CAMERON: That was calculated on the basis that it would be available, I have just been told, at 2011 or 2012, at the time that the scheme went ahead, and that was based on the Montague Report.

  7109. CHAIRMAN: I understand that. That cannot be valid today?

  7110. MR CAMERON: No, my Lord, it cannot be valid because of the way we have put this forward. Equally, if the cost is to be incurred later the current net present value cost would be less, so it moves forward in time.

  7111. CHAIRMAN: So you have no figure with a realistic opening date for an extension of Crossrail from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet?

  7112. MR CAMERON: My Lord, what we can do, and I cannot do it immediately but I can ask somebody to do it, is to take the Promoters' figures for their outturn costs, and they have to assume dates, then, for when the work is to be done, and to calculate them as a net present value by working them back and applying the Government's interest rate.

  7113. CHAIRMAN: Mr Cameron, this Bill envisages Crossrail ending at Abbey Wood opening in 2017. When do you say, given your Transport and Works Act Order, it would get to Ebbsfleet?

  7114. MR CAMERON: It depends entirely on when the authorities decided to promote the Transport and Works Act Order.

  7115. CHAIRMAN: I quite agree with you, but I am asking what assumptions we are to make.

  7116. MR CAMERON: Well, I hesitate to make up figures on the hoof right now; I will take instructions on that and come back to the Committee on it. However, if one is going to make an analysis of cost and benefit, if you do it in net present values it does not matter, to a large extent, when it occurs because it is the net present value that is calculated.

  7117. CHAIRMAN: So it does not matter whether Crossrail reaches Ebbsfleet in 2011 or 2020?

  7118. MR CAMERON: Not for the purposes of the benefit:cost ratio.

  7119. CHAIRMAN: The last line on page 91? It is exactly the same?

41   42 Committee Ref: A35, Comparison of Cost/Benefit Ratios (BEXYLB-44_05A-091) Back

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