MORE suggestions today that the Crossrail transport project might get chewed in the government cut-shears. The scheme, it seems, is in danger of being at least hacked back – see the working out here on Adam Bienkov’s blog. Among those miserable about that prospect will be Professor Malcolm Grant, provost at University College London in Bloomsbury. He – alongside Boris Johnson and other important people – signed a letter published in The Guardian earlier this month pleading with the government to safeguard the project. The war cry read:
To protect our future competitiveness we must deliver Crossrail – the country’s most significant economic development project. It will bring up to £36bn to the national economy and must proceed with value for money at its heart, but as planned and without delay.
Our message to those now facing the responsibility of government is clear: London’s transport settlement must be safeguarded, and any diminishing of it will be to the detriment of the entire country.
It’s interesting that Professor Grant signed his name off on that letter as ‘President and Provost of UCL’, suggesting his contribution was not sent purely in a personal capacity. Yet, if you formally ask the university whether it has had any communications with the Department of Transport in the last 18 months – exchanges where maybe UCL might have shown its forthright support for Crossrail – the response is nil. A Freedom of Information request sent back to me this morning said as much. Surely, the future of a capital-changing project isn’t just being negotiated through the media. It’s certainly time that we all knew once and for all whether it’s going to go ahead or not.