Combined Authority responds to IPPR North transport spending report

Responding to a new report published by IPPR North today showing planned transport investment in Yorkshire and the Humber is the lowest in England at around one-fifth of that in London, Cllr Judith Blake, Leeds City Council leader, who speaks for West Yorkshire Combined Authority on transport, said:

"We have always been clear that improving transport is key to rebalancing the economy, which is why one of our first actions was to use our City Region Growth Deal to establish a £1bn Fund to invest in economy-boosting transport schemes.

“Sadly, the figures published by the IPPR today reveal the 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.

"These figures put into perspective our request for investment to develop our plans for maximising the benefits of HS2 right across the Leeds City Region, creating 40,000 new jobs directly and a further 50,000 from the resulting growth.

“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.”

Calculations

The IPPR’s report says that the government will invest £4,155 per person on transport in London while in Yorkshire and the Humber the figure will be just £844 per head. The calculations are based on analysis of data from the Treasury and the Government's Infrastructure and Projects Authority.

The organisation says that England will continue to be "dangerously unbalanced" without further spending outside the capital and claims the disparity should cause "should be significant concern" among road and rail users over the disparity.

IPPR North claims that the Government's interpretation of the figures, suggesting an even spending pattern across regions, could be "misleading", because less than half of planned spending is included and it only covers the period up to 2020/21. Nearly £12 billion of Transport for London spending, following a deal between Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and London mayor Sadiq Khan, is excluded claims the think-tank.

IPPR North senior research fellow Luke Raikes said: "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".

Find out more about IPPR North's Future Transport Investment in the North briefing (opens in new tab). 

24 Jan 2018

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