Hammond: We’ll build Crossrail

TRANSPORT secretary Philip Hammond yesterday said the government would deliver the Crossrail pro­ject in its entirety.

There had been concerns the coalition would scrap some stations as it grapples with a massive budget deficit.

But speaking in an exclusive interview with City A.M., Hammond said he had no plans to reduce the scope of the railway, which will connect Maidenhead in Berkshire with Shenfield in Essex via the West End and Canary Wharf.

“The funding is committed and we will deliver the project as it stands,” he added.

However, Hammond said he would try to cut costs to bring the project in under its £16bn budget.

“At a time of financial stringency, we need to maximise value for the taxpayer,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hammond dismissed threats from British Airways boss Willie Walsh in the wake of the government’s decision to scrap plans for a third runway at Heathrow.

Walsh has said the airline could now expand in Madrid instead of London if its merger with Iberia goes ahead.

But Hammond said: “I think you’ll probably find that Heathrow is the place that most British Airways passengers want to come to. Barajas, charming as it is, will not be the first-choice destination for most of them.”