Crossrail reveals the depth of Britain’s north-south divide | Simon Jenkins
Billions more have just been announced for the delayed London rail line – yet northern infrastructure projects are killed off
It’s been a great week to bury bad government. Two of the greatest infrastructure projects in the land hit financial grief. Normally it would have been headline news. Instead no one shows the slightest interest. The Department for Transport has long had a simple agenda. A cynic might sum it up as: give London anything it wants, but starve the north of investment until it gets the point and moves south. It is called regional policy, applied ruthlessly since 2010.
A rail tunnel has been built under London, at nearly twice the diameter of any other line and for no other reason than to spend splendidly. Crossrail this year has demanded an extra £2.3bn on a price tag of some £15bn, with no known completion date. Worse is happening at its sister project HS2, whose £56bn budget – up from an original £34bn – has gripped its backers in mendacity for five years or more. Leaks from all over are now predicting it will cost from £80bn (the Treasury) to more than £100bn, with no realistic completion date.
Source: Guardian Transport