The gaping north-south divide in the UK will only get wider if funding isn’t changed, a new report has warned.
In London, planned investment is two-and-a-half times higher per person than in the north of England.
This means Londoners will be receiving £4,155 per person compared to 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.
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
It added that England will continue to be ‘dangerously unbalanced’ without further spending outside the capital.
IPPR North’s calculations are based on analysis of data from the Treasury and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority.
The Government described IPPR North’s analysis as ‘highly unrepresentative’ as only a narrow set of projects have published long-term spending projections beyond 2020/21.
Its own breakdown of planned central government transport investment shows the North will receive more investment per person (£1,039) than the South (£1,029).
But IPPR North stated that this includes less than half of planned spending, including nearly £12 billion.
The think-tank and the Government claimed each other’s figures were ‘misleading’.
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 has previously insisted the Government is ‘very happy to stand up and be counted on our record for transport for the North’.
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.’
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’.
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: ‘With its misleading statistics, it’s clear that this Government won’t be upfront about the scale of its underinvestment in the North.’
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: ‘The North gets a raw deal in terms of transport funding.
‘In order to rebalance the national economy, it is vitally important that the Government addresses this disparity and prioritises major infrastructure projects such as Crossrail for the North.’