Transport spending north/south divide

Published on Monday, 24 June 2013 12:27
Written by Vicki Mitchem

Londoners are being allocated more money per head on transport spending than all of the other regions combined, according to new analysis from the think tank IPPR North.

The new report is part of a wider 'Spending Review North' project and calls on government to use this week's Spending Review to address regional inequalities through a fresh approach to transport spending.

According to the current National Infrastructure Plan, each Londoner will benefit five hundred times as each person in the North East; one hundred and fifty times as much as each person in the South West; twenty times as much as in the North West and sixteen times as much as in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The report shows that 33 transport projects are in the pipeline for London and the South East, compared to just 3 for the North East. New analysis shows that of the top ten most expensive regional projects, eight were allocated to the London and the South East and none were allocated to the North East, East Midlands or South West.

The top five most expensive regional public sector projects are all allocated to the South, London and the Midlands. None of the top five projects are allocated to the North. Of projects funded solely by the public sector, almost 80% of funding is going to London, compared to 0.9% for the North East.

Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North said:

"Despite high profile Ministerial announcements promising greater investment in Northern infrastructure, the current government plans will not tackle this issue.

"Skewed spending benefiting London and the South East is nothing new but as we head towards new announcements at the Spending Review, these figures will strike most people as deeply unfair. Fairness aside, the more fundamental problem is that they will continue to hold back Northern economic prosperity and widen the yawning productivity gap between the capital and the rest of the nation."


  • Infrastructure announcements at the Spending Review should be underpinned by a commitment to regional rebalancing.
  • Extra resources should be dedicated by Network Rail, the Environment Agency and other agencies to bring forward infrastructure projects outside of London.
  • Capital spending should be devolved to local authorities and transport agencies as they are to Transport for London.
  • The new Cabinet Committee on Local Growth should develop a national strategy to drive the National Infrastructure Plan in order to plan better in the long-term.
  • Local Enterprise Partnerships should collaborate to form their own 'Shadow Committee on Local Growth'.

IPPR North's new report - Still on the wrong track - is available here.

Source: IPPR

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