HC Deb 09 March 2004 vol 418 c1373
12. Mr. Nigel Beard (Bexleyheath and Crayford) (Lab)

If he will make a statement on the importance of Crossrail to (a) London businesses and (b) the development of the Thames gateway. [159441]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Tony McNulty)

All those issues were covered in Cross London Rail Links Ltd.'s Crossrail business case, the recent review of which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is considering. He will make an announcement on the future of the business case in due course.

Mr. Beard

Does my hon. Friend agree that Crossrail's impact on the Thames gateway depends on the continuation of the line from the Isle of Dogs to the channel tunnel rail link at Ebbsfleet via the south bank? Does not the realisation of that potential in turn depend on confidence among private investors that the line will be built according to a credible timetable?

Mr. McNulty

As my hon. Friend will know, the Government said last July that, in principle, Crossrail would be a very good thing for London and its transport network. I trust that he will forgive me for not going into detail about specific parts of specific lines, given that I received the Montague report only about two weeks ago. It is currently being analysed, and a report is soon to be produced.

Ms Diane Abbott (Hackney, North and Stoke Newington) (Lab)

Does my hon. Friend agree that the long-awaited Crossrail project is vital to the regeneration of the east end? Many people in London are waiting for a positive sign from the Government.

Mr. McNulty

As the Government said last summer, Crossrail is indeed an important project for London, but we must not put all our eggs in one basket. We must give due weight to the myriad transport and other schemes that are already regenerating east London. East London, and its regeneration, need not wait for the green light to be given for Crossrail.

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