Alistair Darling backs scheme but indicates that private funding will be required for the £10bn project.

The government has reaffirmed its commitment to the £10bn Crossrail scheme, but not without indicating that private sector funding would be needed for the project.

Transport secretary Alistair Darling supported the scheme in Parliament yesterday when he launched a hybrid bill for the cross London rail project, which will run from Maidenhead in the west to Shenfield in the east and Abbey Wood in the South East.

Darling said: "The case for Crossrail is clear and the government has long said that it is committed to the scheme. Introducing a bill for the project after years of uncertainty represents a major step forward."

A statement from the Department of Transport confirmed that the government would not solely fund the scheme. It said: "There will need to be a substantial contribution to the cost of the project from those who benefit from it."

The move from the government was welcomed by Cross London Rail Links, the body responsible for pushing the scheme forward. Chief executive Norman Haste said: "We've got there and I hope that what is being presented will match the many expectations and hopes expressed to us by the public and stakeholders."

Haste welcomed the safeguarding of the route from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet.