IPPR North criticises regional imbalance in transport spending

By agency reporter
August 7, 2018

Statistics analysed by Insititute for Public Policy Research North (IPPR North) “lay bare the regional imbalance” in the UK economy.

  • Over the last year (2015/16-2016/17), transport spending in London increased by 11.4 per cent. In contrast, it fell by 3.6 per cent in the North of England.
  • This means that the North received £289 per head on transport, while London received £708 per head on average over the last ten years.
  • If the North had received the same amount per head of public spending on transport as London for the last ten years, it would have had an investment of £63 billion more. An average of £6 billion more each year since 2007/08.
  • In 2016/17 alone the North would have received £9 billion more if it had the same investment per head as London.

Previous IPPR North analysis has also shown that government planned expenditure shows 2.6 times more per capita transport spending going into London compared to the North; five times more than in Yorkshire and the Humber, or in the North East.

People in the North of England have experienced severe travel chaos over recent months. IPPR North have called on the Transport Secretary to devolve powers to Transport for the North, so that it can invest and borrow for its own infrastructure, rather than relying on central government.

Luke Raikes, Senior Research Fellow at IPPR North said: “These new figures lay bare the regional imbalance in our economy. They show how much public investment has gone into London over the years which has supported London’s growth.

“They also show that London and the South East have paid more tax than the other regions, which is partly due to all UK taxpayers spending decades paying for its infrastructure. But instead of simplistic arguments over which region ‘subsidises’ the other, we must learn the lesson that public investment can support regional growth, and apply that lesson to all of our regions, not just the capital.

“So if we want to rebalance our economy, and have thriving regions outside of London, real power must be devolved to bodies like Transport for the North and real tax and spend powers to the North’s mayors, and a devolution framework that works for all areas. Working with London and across the country, they can start to rebalance our economy in the interests of all people and places.”

* The ONS Country and regional public sector finances statistics are available here

* IPPR North https://www.ippr.org/north


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