Transport spending 'skewed towards London'

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The government spends more money on transport projects for Londoners than on those for the rest of the country combined, a think tank says.

The Institute for Public Policy Research North says £2,700 is spent per person in London compared with £5 per head in the north-east of England.

In a report out this week IPPR North says there is a "sharp disparity".

The government says its investment strategy is to maximise economic benefits for the country as a whole.

'Deeply unfair'

Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North, said: "Skewed spending benefiting London and the south-east is nothing new but these new figures are truly shocking and will strike most people as deeply unfair."

The BBC's Transport Correspondent Richard Lister says the report claims the infrastructure strategy is "entrenching the North-South divide".

IPPR North says almost half of the 20 biggest taxpayer-funded transport projects benefit only London and the south-east.


  • London - £2,731
  • South-east of England - £792
  • East Midlands - £311
  • West Midlands - £269
  • Yorkshire and Humberside - £201
  • North-west of England - £134
  • Eastern England - £43
  • South-west of England - £19
  • North-east of England - £5

The Department for Transport said London is a global capital which supports a large number of commuters and it points out the government had recently approved additional investment of £1.4bn in transport schemes outside London.

But analysis by IPPR North shows almost half of major transport projects involving public funding benefit only London and the south-east, accounting for 84% of planned spending.

IPPR North says the "cost benefit analysis" equation currently used to decide where investment is targeted is wrong and that lack of spending constrains growth in the north of England.

Mr Cox conceded that much of the spending in London was due to the Olympics but he added: "If the government continue to use a system that reinforces the dominance of London and the south-east we'll all be worse-off in the long-run as the south becomes more congested while the north continues to fall behind in terms of growth."

IPPR North has called for a review of all future infrastructure projects ahead of the 2014 Spending Review.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    These tax dodging bloody southerners get all of the benefits with none of the hard work. How absolutely typical of this lot. Good luck to you when Scotland snaps off the natural resource and industrial base and you have to get off your fat arses and actually DO something for a living.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    Perhaps london gets the lions share.
    But has it been spent well?
    Think not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    Whilst it is unsurprising the spending is skewed towards London you have to question the disparity. For example Leeds is the largest city in Europe without any mass transit system, yet the most recent attempt to provide a level of mass transit by the council the trolleybus has been delayed again. Yes Leeds is much smaller than London but the costs for the scheme are a fraction in comparison.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    So, pointyhead, just why should rural West Yorkshire benefit from the Olympics?

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    I am so tired of all this bull about how the north and Scotland are so worse off. It is utther rubbish. The North and Scotland over the last 60 years has had 3 times the disposable income of the south. It cost less to live up north. Want to build a road or railway the land cost less. I cannot wait until the north and Scotland pay as much to live as the south. Wow how they will moan then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    Note to HELEN_of_TROY:
    Your argument would be valid except the spending has already factored in the population it is spending per head. I live in Norfolk and it is no surprise that we get little, but it is doubly galling as we have a lot of new houses - but this is not to service Norfolk's needs because are native housing needs are fairly static, the houses are for London/south-east overspill.

  • Comment number 81.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    Why am I not surprised the goverment could not care less about anyone who lives outside the M25 which is fine by me as long as the rest of the country is not expected to chip in for London events like the Olympics and other events put on for the rich in the south.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    Transport spending 'skewed towards London'

    As if everbody didn't know that. It will be interesting to see if businesses pull out of London, just like the BBC did, to cut costs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    On behalf of the people of Scotland, may I apologise to the English provinces for Helen of Troy's comments below

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    We cannot have the "royals" and the aristos made to look cheapskate when they entertain their friends and inner circle. We cannot let the greedy bankers lose their ill-gotten cocoon of wealth and privilege. And our beloved M.P's and Lords must be protected from any disturbance of their cossetted lifestyles. That's why London gets the lion's share!

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.


    Just run that one past me again. Huge infrastructure being built in London to support the Olympics, including massive spending on transport. For someone who rarely, if ever, travels to London, how will this benefit me in rural West Yorkshire? Generally, the legacy of the Olympics will benefit one area of the country only - the South East.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    @Gwylin, your geography needs some work. Eton (near Windsor) is itself outside the M25.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    @ post 1; Utter tosh - most of the UK 60+ million population live outside London. As for GDP, are you suggesting that our beloved financial markets actually manufacture anything?! Banking and financial institutions have created an illusion of wealth in the UK, it is all "smoke and mirrors" based on credit, consumption and debt. So, where is most UK manufacturing i.e real money based?

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    London has less need for public funding of transport per person than the rest of the country (more people per mile of road) and WAY more money spent.
    I wonder where the politicians live and work?
    Oh, yeah.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    wonder how many of the people on here moaning about transport spending outside of london are also moaning about HS2? can't have you're cake and eat it-the whole idea of introducing a high speed rail link is to encourage business out of london and into the midlands and (then later) the north of england, but this is being shot down. a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    As a business owner in the North West I can see how London is vitally important as a financial dynamo on the world stage. What I can't see however is fair access to that market from small companies up and down the country. As long as rail tickets into the capital cost more than flying to Europe one has to question if the government (this and those before it) really do see beyond the M25.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Yoohoo, London. Yes, we do exist outside the M25. But I don't suppose geography lessons at Eton would've mentioned that, eh, Mr Cameron?

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    London gets Crossrail and Thameslink, Manchester gets Metrolink and Northern Hub. Over 1 billion journeys were made on the tube last year, that's about the same as the whole National Rail network. Network Rail is spending £5 bn on the Great Western & spent £9bn on the West Coast. Nottingham & Edinburgh are getting tram extensions/trams. But I do believe more needs to be spent elsewhere too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    London is the economic heart of the UK. Transport is vital to that as every major employer and economist has noted. It is also well established that a failing transport system directly impacts on income generation of the UK economy.
    Stop this nonsense coming from the regions about London propped up by the rest of the UK. Is isn't true - just get better educated to find this out for yourselves.


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