Crossrail project to support thousands of new jobs

04 March 2013

Posted by Satvir Bhullar

The Crossrail project will lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs, according to recently released figures.

Around 55,000 positions are expected to be supported by the scheme, which will create a new rail line linking Berkshire to Essex and Kent via London.

Contracts worth £5.5 billion have already been awarded, with 43 per cent of these given to companies from outside the south-east. Three out of five firms in the supply chain are small to medium-sized businesses.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be around £14.8 billion and it is expected to open in 2018. The majority of contracts in the supply chain are yet to be awarded.

Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail Chief Executive, said: "Crossrail will not just benefit London and the south-east. The project's economic benefits are being felt well beyond the confines of the M25."

He added: "Firms right across the UK are winning business on the back of Europe's largest construction project. Work is set to peak over the next two years, so it's vital that businesses continue to seize the opportunities that Crossrail has to offer.''

The news has been welcomed by Business Secretary Vince Cable, who said the new line will boost the UK economy by improving infrastructure and creating jobs across the country.

He commented: "With over £5.5 billion of contracts awarded and 75,000 business opportunities throughout the supply chain, this is now the time for the UK's small and medium companies to capitalise.'' In excess of 1,700 businesses have secured work through the project so far.

It was recently revealed that the multi-billion-pound rail line will be financed entirely by taxpayers' money. The government had originally planed for a proportion of the funding to be supplied by the private sector, but this has been scrapped due to fears it would delay the project's completion date.

This development has been welcomed by the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association, whose leader Manuel Cortes said it is "cheaper and quicker" to have publicly-funded trains.

However, Maria Eagle, the Shadow Transport Secretary, described the news as "another humiliating transport shambles".

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