The delayed opening of Crossrail is "terrible news" for passengers and businesses in London, a politician has warned.

The operators announced on Thursday evening that the new line will not open as planned in summer 2021 because of delays caused by coronavirus.

The railway, from Reading, cutting through Maidenhead and Slough, to Shenfield in Essex via central London, was originally expected to open in December 2018, but repeated delays have pushed it back.

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly member and deputy chair of its Transport Committee, said: "This further delay is terrible news, for passengers and London's businesses. The hole in Transport for London's budget is also set to become even bigger.

"Only in June, the chairman of Crossrail was publicly claiming to 'meet or beat' the opening date of Crossrail.

"Clear answers are now needed as to why such claims were made just a few weeks ago. The lack of honesty about the real progress in completing Crossrail has been staggering."

Ms Pidgeon said it was time to stop "peddling misleading claims" on Crossrail.

Crossrail said: "A programme of this scale and complexity was already challenging, the impact of Covid-19 has clearly made the existing pressures more acute.

"Due to a pause of physical activity on sites and significant constraints on ongoing work, time has been lost, only some of which can be recovered.

"The opening of the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood next summer, as announced earlier this year prior to Covid-19, is not achievable."

Alison Moore, who chairs the London Assembly Transport Committee, said: "Crossrail's announcement that there will be a further delay to the opening of the central section of the line is disappointing.

"We knew costs were increasing before Covid hit and it is now certain that the project will be further delayed and put further into the red as a result of this crisis.

"I can fully understand Londoners' frustration because this pandemic, and the economic fallout it creates, means there is still no concrete opening date and costs will continue to rise."