View from City Hall: Brexit uncertainty cannot be allowed to de-rail Bakerloo extension

Josh Salisbury (23 May, 2019) Columnists

Brexit has caused a lot of uncertainty, argues London Assembly member for Southwark and Lambeth, Florence Eshalomi

15124Florence Eshalomi, London Assembly Member for Southwark and Lambeth

Brexit uncertainty has plagued our TVs, newspapers, social media feeds and conversations for what feels like an eternity.

With so many failed votes in parliament to the EU elections actually taking place in the UK, it is difficult to know where we stand.

Much of what is talked about is what will happen post-Brexit. What will it mean for our household incomes if we have a ‘bad Brexit’?

What will happen to the price of our food if we leave with no deal? We have all been asking these questions with very little reassurance or answers from Government.

However it is not just a post-brexit we are worried about.

The state of unknown that we are currently in and may be in for much of the year at least, is taking its toll. The uncertainty and paralysis of the government is having a knock-on effect on our ability to plan for the future.

At City Hall recently I asked the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, about the impact this uncertainty is having on our rail projects.

In particular, I asked about the Bakerloo line extension.

Southwark need this extension to deal with demand, population and connectivity. It is something I have been pushing for since before I was elected as your local Assembly Member.

Large capital projects such as the crucial Bakerloo line extension rely upon funding that should be projected within the three-year review spending.

However, because of the Brexit uncertainty, the chancellor, Philip Hammond, had said that if they are not able to find a solution to Brexit then this would throw into question the three-year spending review and potentially result in only a one-year review.

This uncertainty means that there is currently no Government capital funding beyond 2020/21 for certain.

Without knowing how much funding will be given for just the next three years then this creates a huge problem in knowing what projects will be able to proceed.

Our ability to commit funding and plan for improvements across London’s rail infrastructure is in question.

I have asked the Mayor to push the government on this and to commit to these capital projects. I will continue to do the same.

The Bakerloo line extension is crucial for so many Southwark residents and cannot be put on halt due to the paralysis of Brexit.

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