Finance expert warns GLA that rail link could fall victim to cost-cutting

Postponing the construction of Crossrail will be an “attractive option” for the next government, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned yesterday.

The caution was issued in response to questions from assembly members of the Greater London Authority, as director Robert Chote delivered a speech on the state of public finance.

Assembly member Richard Tracey questioned Chote on whether Crossrail would have to be postponed, regardless of which party came to power.

“I don't know how far it has gone in terms of what will be saved by not doing it; you have to look at what would be saved by stopping it now,” Chote replied.

“But if the government could painlessly delay the timing of the payment for it,” he added, “then yes, postponing Crossrail must be a relatively attractive option for them.”

The warning comes amid industry fears that proposed cuts in public spending by the Tories could see the huge rail project mothballed.