William Eichler 24 January 2018

Transport spending disproportionately benefits London, research reveals

Transport spending disproportionately benefits London, research reveals  image

Planned transport investment in London is almost five times more per capita than in Yorkshire, the Humber or the North East despite Government claims, new figures reveal.

The progressive think tank IPPR North has published a new analysis of the Government’s infrastructure spending plans and found a wide disparity between spending in the North and the South.

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA), the UK’s centre of expertise for major infrastructure projects, recently published the annual National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline, which sets out Whitehall’s infrastructure plans for the coming years.

The IPA’s analysis revealed there to be a much more even distribution of transport investment across the country than has historically been the case.

However, IPPR North argues the IPA’s methodology was flawed. The think tank claims the Government body has excluded large amounts of money spent in the capital.

Planned transport investment in London is, in fact, almost 2.6 times higher per capita than in the North, the think tank discovered. Around £4,155 per capita is planned on for London, compared to just £1,600 in the North as a whole.

The North West is set to receive more than the England regional average, at £2,439 per capita, according to the analysis. However, this is still far less than London, and also less than the West Midlands (£3,029 per capita).

‘Unless and until central government makes signi cant new investments in transport priorities outside the capital and affords bodies like Transport for the North the same powers as those exercised by TfL, it will be impossible to repaint a different picture and we will continue to live in a nation which is dangerously unbalanced,’ concludes IPPR North’s briefing.

Responding to IPPR North’s findings, Cllr Judith Blake, Leeds City Council leader, who speaks for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority on transport, said: ‘We have always been clear that improving transport is key to rebalancing the economy. 

‘These figures reveal the unacceptable continuing gulf between how much is spent in our region compared to the capital and illustrate just how far the Northern Powerhouse vision is from being realised unless this fundamental issue is addressed.

‘By highlighting the stark comparison between transport spending in our region and the capital, this report also serves to underline the relatively modest £150-per-head costs of Transport for the North's proposals to invest across the North of England including creating the Northern Powerhouse Rail or CrossRail for the North.’

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