The Chair of the Public Accounts Committee has written to the National Audit Office (NAO), requesting a full investigation into Crossrail.
Responsible for overseeing government expenditure to ensure spending is effective and honest, the select committee is concerned with the problems that seem to be emanating from the scheme.
Originally set to open in December 2018, this date has been pushed back by nine months; delays such as these to this important infrastructure project mean that, guaranteed income that would have been expected by Transport for London (TfL) will no longer be accessible.
Add to this the fact that a short term £350 million repayable financing package has been allocated to ensuring the Elizabeth line can continue, and the London Assembly’s concerns that it has been misled about the project’s delays, and it is understandable that the Public Accounts Committee want to find out more.
Its Chair, Meg Hillier, has therefore written “to ask the National Audit Office to undertake an investigation on TfL’s Crossrail project.”
In particular, the Public Accounts Committee want clarification about when it was clear that there would be delays; why these have happened; and how financing has been agreed.
The letter says: “I would ask that you examine the governance of the project, including what information was available to officials and when, and would welcome a firm timescale of when it became clear that the project would be delayed.
“I would also ask that you look into what the circumstances were that led to its delay, as well as the additional costs incurred.
“Furthermore, I would welcome clarification on when officials were aware that the programme was encountering major difficulties and how the financing deal from the Department was agreed.”
It comes after the London Assembly once again expressed displeasure at information provided about the delays by the Mayor of London.