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Volume 527: debated on Thursday 5 May 2011

Crossrail is at a relatively early stage of construction and the cost will be finalised over time. However, at this stage, we expect that the project will cost no more than £14.5 billion.

I understand that the Government have cut £1 billion from the Crossrail project, which will mean that its opening will be delayed until 2018, and that only part of the route will be open. Will the Minister confirm for me today when the whole of the planned route will be open and which bits will not be open in 2018? When will I be able to travel from Stratford to Heathrow?

There will be a phased opening of services from 2018. We have lengthened the delivery time following an engineering-led review, which did a great job in reducing the cost of the project while still enabling the full benefits to be delivered according to the original scope. We shall make an announcement in due course on the timetable for the phasing in of services from 2018.

I declare an interest as the chair of the all-party Crossrail group. My constituents in Ilford will benefit enormously as a result of the improvements brought about because three stations in my constituency are on the Crossrail route. However, there is considerable disappointment on Redbridge council at the fact that, as a result of the cost-cutting exercise, the plans to remodel and rebuild Ilford station will not go ahead. The Minister has been invited to meet Redbridge council and visit the area. Is she likely to come to Redbridge in the near future to discuss that with my council?

I pay tribute to the work that the hon. Gentleman has always done on Crossrail. The whole House will welcome confirmation that Crossrail has gone ahead; despite all the scare stories from Labour in opposition, the coalition is pressing ahead with it. We have made some savings on some stations. The plans for their redevelopment are less ambitious than they were, but they will still perform all the transport functions that were included in the plans’ original scope. Crossrail and the Department for Transport remain happy to work with local authorities to facilitate extra improvements that local authorities might want to fund and deliver to regenerate the surrounding area.