Danny Alexander says £1bn order of new trains for Crossrail is first infrastructure project to benefit from UK Guarantees scheme

The train contract for Crossrail will be the first project to be unwritten by the government through the UK Guarantees scheme, chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has confirmed.

In his speech to the Liberal Democrat conference today, Alexander said the Crossrail train contract would be the “first of many” infrastructure projects to be under written through the scheme.

He said: “One major project we are funding is London’s Crossrail. It is the biggest infrastructure project in Europe right now. But we need to ensure the rolling stock is delivered on time.

“Right now, difficulties raising the necessary private funding in the market could delay their delivery. So I can announce to you today that the train contract for Crossrail will be the first project to qualify for a new government guarantee.

 “And it will be the first of many across Britain, I am sure. We have rebuilt the confidence in this nation’s ability to pay its way in the world, we can now put that credibility to work for the British people.”

The order is for a depot and 60 trains to be used on the new Crossrail route, with the government hoping that the guarantee would drive down the cost of the rolling stock order.

John Cridland, CBI director-eneral, said the announcement was good news: “I welcome the first announcement of the use of UK Guarantees to underpin the funding of new Crossrail trains. This is an important step forward, and I hope to see more announcements as quickly as possible.”