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Fears over Crossrail delays

MPs have attacked delays to the Crossrail Bill's movement through parliament during transport questions in the House of Commons.

Shadow transport minister John Hayes accused the government of 'prevarication' and 'timidity' over Crossrail and demanded that Alistair Darling, secretary of state for transport, produce a clear timetable and properly costed business plan.

Darling hit back that the government's commitment to building Crossrail was demonstrated by the House supporting a second reading of the bill last July.

However, he admitted that the timetable would depend on parliamentary progress. The parliamentary committee responsible for the Bill is still in the process of being formed.

Petitions sent to the House of Commons about the Crossrail Bill make it clear that both landowners and conservation groups fear the possibility of severe subsidence on buildings such as the Barbican and Spitalfields Market.

Preparations for the London 2012 Olympics have also raised doubts about the viability of the Crossrail project. There are concerns that construction costs would rise dramatically if two such large projects were built simultaneously.

by Will Hunter

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