Osborne urged not to cut Crossrail

GEORGE Osborne must protect Crossrail and other vital infrastructure projects in the government spending review, industry chiefs urged today.

The CBI accepted cuts were necessary to tackle the deficit in the public finances, even though they would have a short-term impact on economic growth, it said in a pre-review submission to the Treasury.

But the business lobbying group said the impact could be mitigated if programmes to stimulate private sector growth were prioritised.

It called for work to continue on Crossrail and the London Underground upgrade as Britain’s transport assets are maintained, while it suggested that savings could be made by cutting concessionary fares.

“Cutting spending means tough choices. We think that the need for economic growth, not the noise of the loudest voice, should determine where cuts are made,” said CBI deputy director-general John Cridland.

“The Government must improve the efficiency of public services and focus the limited public money available on areas that do most to galvanise growth.”

The CBI also said the Government should also seek to prioritise “knowledge assets”, such as research and development, and “human capital” through education and skills training.