Growing divide on transport spending

Ed Cox
Ed Cox
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YORKSHIRE is facing a growing East-West divide on transport investment alongside the longstanding gulf in spending compared to the capital, new figures show.

This region will see transport spending worth £190 per person over the next five years compared to £682 in the North West, according to a report by the IPPR North thinktank.

It suggests that it is the North West that has so far been the major beneficiary of the Government’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ drive to accelerate the economy of the North of England.

The study also underlines how London continues to soak up transport investment at a level that dwarfs the North with spending worth £1,943 per person.

IPPR North director Ed Cox said: “With the government pre-occupied with Brexit, giving more power to regions to take control over infrastructure is key to creating a country that works ‘for everyone’.

“We’re not asking for simple handouts, we’re asking for powers to finance this ourselves as London currently does.

“There is a long, long way to go to rebalance the UK but these figures suggest we’re seeing the green shoots of the Northern Powerhouse idea being more than mere bluster.

“We must however make more progress if we want to see spades in the ground anytime soon.

“Britain is tasked with overhauling our economy after we leave the EU, and our report details how exactly we pay for this vital project – northern prosperity is national prosperity.”

The IPPR report describes the plan for trans-Pennine high speed rail services - known as Northern Powerhouse Rail or HS3 - as the key to rebalancing the economy.

The report recommends Transport for the North, the body responsible for developing major transport projects in the North of England, should be given powers to invest enjoyed by Transport for London.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We are investing £13 billion to improve transport across the North to improve journeys for local people, help industry grow and boost productivity.”

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP

Shadow Chancellor calls on Government to address North South divide