I feel as if London, having been mugged, is now having to buy back the money the mugger took! You will wonder what I am going on about. Well it’s the £16billion (yes billion) east west London rail link. The project has been on and off for the past 20 years, usually re-announced every election and then nothing happens and in a perverse reversal this time, it is the project that appears to be going ahead and the election cancelled.

The project itself is welcome and I’m sure will benefit London as a whole. So where’s the beef?

Well yes London as a whole may benefit, but will Barnet? Well, Crossrail might, might, its thought take some pressure off the Northern Line, though quite how is unclear, as the Crossrail connections to the Northern Line will be in central London. I’m not being churlish as I accept Barnet has a role in contributing to the greater good of London, but it's gone too far.

We seem to have become a Cashpoint Council, every time the Government wants cash; Barnet and other suburbs like Barnet have to stump up. We subsidise poorer parts of London and the UK already.

In Barnet we pay nearly £18million a year to the Government for them to redistribute elsewhere.

London as a whole contributes £20 billion (yes billion) more to the Chancellor than it gets back. So London could pay for Crossrail and have change if we were just allowed to keep the tax we already pay. We wouldn’t have to keep the tax we pay for ever, just a year would more than pay for Crossrail.

Sadly, that’s not how Crossrail is being funded. Londoners will have to pay again. On top of the billions London’s businesses already pay, they will now
have to pay a Crossrail business rate surcharge on top. What’s more, Crossrail will soak up all the available transport infrastructure monies for the foreseeable future. Transport for London are already saying that some of the tube line investment may have to be delayed and that’s if the project stays in budget - and we know how Government projects always come in on budget!

So if the £16billion isn’t enough who bears the risk on any overspends?? Transport for London - that’s who - and that means you and me. Apparently Transport for London will bear the budget risks! Phew what a relief, good old TfL, those paragons of fiscal rectitude will keep things on track (no pun intended).

It’s not enough that London’s taxpayers are already paying through the nose, but the salt in the wound is that no other transport infrastructure will now get a look in for the foreseeable future. So the growth corridor between Barnet and Northampton, an area that will see significant population and housing growth, will just have to struggle on. So I guess we can kiss goodbye any hope of the promised North Circular improvements.