New Treasury figures show massive transport funding gap between London and the regions

Monday, November 7, 2011
Funding gap

New public spending figures released by the Treasury show transport spend in London is now nearing triple the spend in the North of England and West Midlands.

Analysis by pteg (‘the Funding Gap report’) of the Treasury’s Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses figures for 2010/11, reveals that spending on transport in London now stands at £774 per head compared with £285 per head for the West Midlands and the North of England combined.

The figures per region are: £255 per head for the North East, £337 for the North West, £276 for Yorkshire and Humberside, and £242 for the West Midlands.

The gap has widened significantly since the previous years’ figures with spend in London rising from £721 per head to £774 per head, whilst the spend in the West Midlands and North of England has fallen from £302 to £285 per head.

The disparity in public spending on transport between London and the regions is not matched for public spending as a whole, or for spending on education or health. It is also a relatively recent phenomenon rather than the historic norm.

Chair of pteg, Geoff Inskip said:

‘We fully accept that London needs and deserves high quality public transport. The transformation of the capital’s transport system in recent years has been a fantastic achievement. London Overground, Oyster cards, the central London hire bike scheme, the overhaul of the tube - the list goes on and on. However, if we are going to rebalance the economy then we need the right balance on transport spending. Our major regional cities are economic powerhouses and a greater level of transport investment is needed in cities like Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Birmingham if we are to tackle imbalances in the national economy and by doing so ensure that the whole country can fulfil its economic potential.’

‘These latest Treasury figures put some numbers on what people see for themselves whenever they visit London, which is that in recent years transport spending in the capital has been on an entirely different scale when compared with the next tier of major cities. The Government’s support for High Speed Two, for the overhaul of the Tyne and Wear Metro, for Birmingham New Street and for the roll out of tram networks like Manchester Metrolink, all show that the Government is supporting public transport in the cities. However we need to keep up the pace on investment of that scale if the funding gap isn’t to continue to grow in a divisive and disproportionate way.’

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