Group attacks disparity over north of London's planned transport investment


Planned transport investment in London is two-and-a-half times higher per person than in the north of England, according to a new study.

London will receive £4,155 per person compared with just £1,600 in the North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber regions combined, think tank IPPR North said.

The organisation claimed there "should be significant concern" among road and rail users over the disparity.

It added that England will continue to be "dangerously unbalanced" without further spending outside the capital.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling sparked anger in July last year by supporting a new £30 billion Crossrail 2 scheme in London and the South East days after a series of rail electrification projects in Wales, the Midlands and the North were axed or downgraded.

Mr Grayling claims per person spending is higher in the North West than the South East when local transport schemes are taken into account, and he is "very happy to stand up and be counted on our record for transport for the North".

IPPR North's calculations are based on analysis of data from the Treasury and the Government's Infrastructure and Projects Authority.

The Government's own breakdown of the figures suggests there is a relatively even spending pattern across regions, with £1,353 per person in north-west England compared with £1,026 in London.

But IPPR North claimed this interpretation could be misleading, stating that less than half of planned spending is included.

The Government said Transport for London projects should not be included as they receive no central Government funding, but IPPR North argued it is wrong to exclude all local spending, and ministers should be "held to account" for allowing the Greater London Authority to retain its business rates.

Nearly £12 billion of Transport for London spending is excluded following a deal between Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and London mayor Sadiq Khan which allows London to keep its own business rates to spend on transport, the think tank said.

These revenues have historically been pooled, in part, to re-balance the economy, it added.

The group also noted that the Government analysis only covers the period up to 2020/21, after which a "large proportion" of spending is due to go to London.

IPPR North senior research fellow Luke Raikes said: "Despite the Transport Secretary's recent statements, London is still set to receive almost three times more transport investment per person than the North. This is indefensible.

"The North has been underfunded in comparison to London for decades, and our figures demonstrate that ministers have failed to redress this imbalance.

"This failure will continue to hold back the North and the country until the Government acts."

He added that statutory body Transport for the North needs to be given similar powers to Transport for London so it can encourage business investment and borrow for its own infrastructure, instead of "going cap in hand to central government".

A Government spokesman described IPPR North's analysis as "completely misleading" and "highly unrepresentative" as only a narrow set of projects have published long-term spending projections beyond 2020/21.

He continued: "It is also simply false for IPPR North to suggest 'London will no longer contribute to transport spending in the rest of the country', and misleading for their analysis to include Transport for London projects which receive no central government funding.

"Our analysis of planned central government transport investment shows the North will receive more investment per person (£1,039) than the South (£1,029)."

This is IPPR North's analysis of planned central and local public/private transport infrastructure spending from 2017/18 onwards, per person:

London: £4,155

West Midlands: £3,029

North West: £2,439

South East: £1,307

East Midlands: £1,134

East of England: £1,134

South West: £984

North East: £855

Yorkshire and the Humber: £844

The North: (North West, North East, Yorkshire and the Humber): £1,600

All regions: £1,955