New report shows local transport spending outside London could be decimated in spending review

Wednesday, August 4, 2010
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Government urged to consider regional dimension in determining funding cuts

A new report for pteg by finance and business advisors Grant Thornton UK LLP, shows that unprotected areas of the transport budget could be facing devastating cuts.

The report shows that if transport takes a disproportionate hit, and if areas of the transport budget continue to enjoy high levels of protection (such as London and national rail) then unprotected areas of transport spend (like local transport outside London) could be decimated.

The report sets out three scenarios for unprotected transport spending (which includes local transport outside London). In all three scenarios by 2014/15 capital spend falls by nearly 90%, whilst revenue spending falls by between 56% and 85%.

The report, 'Government Spending Cuts: Scenarios for Future Transport Funding' can be downloaded below.

Chair of pteg, Neil Scales, said:

‘We understand that we are living in tough times for public spending and that hard choices will have to be made. This analysis shows how much care will need to be taken in the spending review to ensure that the regional dimension is factored in - otherwise we could be looking at the regions taking a disproportionate and divisive share of the spending reductions.’

‘The potential reductions in revenue spend are particularly alarming. We have a legal duty to fund the free pass for older and disabled people – whatever it costs. So any reductions in revenue will hit hard the other frontline services we provide - such as concessions for children and younger people, bus stations, and lifeline bus services.’

Neil Scales added:

‘We recognise we will need to do more for less and we are already making efficiencies accordingly. However, if the spending review can get the balance right between London and the regions, and between local transport and other areas of transport spend, then we will be in a far better position to keep frontline big city transport services in place.’

Partner and Head of Transport at Grant Thornton's Government and Infrastructure Advisory practice, Will McWilliams said:

‘As the coalition government does not consider public transport a front-line service, it will have to take its share of the cuts required to reduce the budget deficit and national debt. However, it is imperative that any under-investment in transport does not come at the cost of jeopardising the economic competitiveness of our core cities and regions.’

ENDS

For more contact Jonathan Bray on 0113 251 7445 / 0781 804 1485