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George Osborne: 'I ignored advice to axe Crossrail'


Project: George Osborne (Picture: Getty)

George Osborne has told how he was advised to axe funding for the  flagship projects of Crossrail, the Tate Modern extension, and the Francis Crick Institute for medical research when he came to power.

The Chancellor said Treasury civil servants presented him with a list that consisted of “the three things that it was within my power to immediately stop and save billions of pounds”.

But at the launch of a new creative industries workspace in Shoreditch, Mr Osborne said ministers ignored the advice because the schemes were so important to London’s success.

“Thank God we’ve gone ahead with them. They’ve supported this concept of a city being more than just people living in a place and going to work,” he added.

He highlighted science and culture as “things that really make a big global city a place people want to live and people want to move to.

“There are really exciting projects out there — not just big infrastructure projects like Crossrail 2 and various Tube extensions, but really important cultural projects ... like the garden bridge, Olympicopolis [cultural hub in the Olympic Park] or Design Museum in Kensington.  These are all fantastic projects which enhance a city.”

The Francis Crick Institute in St Pancras will bring together scientists from all disciplines for research into treating and preventing illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, infections, and neurological conditions.

The Chancellor and Evening Standard Editor Sarah Sands spoke last night at the opening of Second Home, which was co-founded by his former adviser Rohan Silva for entrepreneurs and creative businesses to come together in the “Tech City” area around Old Street roundabout. Guests included lastminute founders Brent Hoberman and Martha Lane Fox, Tom Hulme from Google Ventures, Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota, and Anda Winters, artistic director of The Print Room.

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