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 107.

    I think its not on but the people of london will find excuses to say this is ok .We in wales are getting a crappy deal from westminnster but what can we do with the far right in power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    100% correct. But there is also more to this. Here in Leeds, a tram project was ultimately not supported so the council lost £30 million. Simply wasted. Yes, £30 million! So they spent more money on a trolley bus system which has as yet also not happened. Double whammy. Thanks Whitehall!

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    One thing we do9 not need to spend on for anyone is HS2.

    There si no case for it to help London or anywhere else, it will cost £1000 per taxpayer and cause devataion to many areas.

    No thanks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    84. Oysterman. I'm not asking for rural West Yorkshire to benefit. What I do question is previous posts saying that the county will be benefited.

    I am contributing through tax to the Games, but for what? Oh yeah, a national feel good factor. Utter tosh.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    Over-priced, unreliable public transport? Look no further than London Underground, guys. Traffic? Yep, we got tons of that too; have a Friday evening holiday on the M25 one evening - (literally) hours of fun.

    And yes, I'd whole-heartedly agree with 'the Norf' having their own regional government. Just make sure you break all financial ties with London, and let's see how you get on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    "people who commute in to work every day, tourists, students, visitors to theatres and galleries, people travelling through to other destinations, and the rest." Erm, so Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle don't have commuters, students, entertainment or railway stations? I guarantee the village I live in with a population of 10,000 would have a railway station if it was 40 mins from London not Leeds.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    And we could do with another Thames crossing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    "Some of the comments added here border on the infantile. An area of high population density means that - guess what - there's a LOT of people there."

    And some comments defending this are facile beyond belief: do you really think London is unique in having a high population?

    And do you really think it's 546 TIMES MORE than say, Newcastle?

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    How naive the posters here are who tell us that London is the "financial heart" of the UK. The financial heart of the country is the working man and woman who grind, produce and manufacture. The scum in the "City" are the people who have robbed the entire country blind and told us we owe them one. Generations of hard work have been gambled and LOST by these people we owe so much to.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    89. StopMoaningPls
    ''No, the rail network takes 6bn passengers a year. And the average rail journey is a lot longer than the average tube journey.''

    Where did you get 6bn from!? According to the Office of Rail Regulation, Network Rail and the International Union of Railways the National Rail network had 1.3 billion passengers last year. 6bn would mean our network is hectic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    This comes as no surprise. So far as the Government are concerned, Great Britain does not extend beyond London (But they are happy to take our taxes to pay for it).

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    When will the Government realise that people will not use public Transport due to the thugs etc on the buses late at night ?? What we need is a return to a driver and conductor style on the buses at night so that women etc feel safe - then the transport will get used as intended.
    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 95.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    Public transport in London is far better than in other areas, meaning that people who live there frequently don't understand the problems in other parts of the country. Where I live there are no trams or tubes, all we have is an infrequent bus service, so everyone drives everywhere. It takes me 2 hours to get 5 miles to work by 3 buses!

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    What a ridiculous report. The figures should be how many £s per head in the forementioned region, those figures would be a lot less 'shocking'. Not even sure why this is making news.

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    Some of the comments added here border on the infantile. An area of high population density means that - guess what - there's a LOT of people there.

    London and the South East EASILY justifies investment, as it's the financial heart of the UK. That's an undisputable fact; were it not for the GDP and GVA which London generates, the rest of the UK would have diddly squat to spend.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    I'd love to know where the money is going in London - the transport system is appalling. The tube is dirty, crowded, smelly, hot, unreliable and expensive. The buses, at least, are usually clean

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    Blaming the Tories so this inequality in transport spending? Yawn.

    Anyone would think that the allocation in spending inequality had been born recently. Nay, it's been going on for years irrespective of who's in power. Wake up for goodness sake.

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    7 Minutes ago

    "....Over 1 billion journeys were made on the tube last year, that's about the same as the whole National Rail network."

    No, the rail network takes 6bn passengers a year. And the average rail journey is a lot longer than the average tube journey.

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    On the face of it the spending does seem completely unbalanced and unjust, but maybe thats because the capacity needs of the infrastructure outside of london is already better meet.Major multi billion pound projects such as the Olympics have probably skewed the statistics a fair amount too.London is also relatively small area with a massive population density.With many more commuters from outside.


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