Funding plans show Northern Powerhouse split

Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool
Image caption The Northern Powerhouse initiative aims to encourage economic growth outside of London and the South East

Yorkshire and the North East are being "left behind" their Northern Powerhouse neighbours in the race to fund major projects, council leaders have warned.

More than £41bn of infrastructure spending is planned in the North West over the next five years, compared to £15bn in Yorkshire and the North East.

Council leaders want the Autumn Statement to tackle the imbalance.

The Treasury said the figures are "not a fair reflection of the investment".

A spokesman said 550 infrastructure projects have been created in the North since 2010.

Analysis by BBC News has found that there is a disparity in the amount of money planned to be spent on infrastructure projects across the North.

A divided Northern Powerhouse?
Region Total Infrastructure Spending Number of projects Spending per person
North West £41.4bn 88 £5,771
North East £5.9bn 27 £2,230
Yorkshire and The Humber £9.0bn 29 £1,684

Spending on infrastructure includes improving roads, railways and access to the internet and is seen as a way to boost the economy.

Some of the projects identified include spending £375m on the A1 in Yorkshire and £600m on building a new bridge over the River Mersey.

Per person spending in the North West is earmarked to be three times higher than in Yorkshire and The Humber and twice as high as in the North East of England.

"I don't think the Northern Powerhouse is working for everybody which is why people feel left behind," said Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchliffe.

"I applaud the idea of a powerhouse but what we need is help to ensure Yorkshire and the North East can catch up so everyone can achieve their potential."

How is poor infrastructure holding back the North?

Image copyright BBC News
Image caption The chief executive of Sky Bet says poor transport links put people off wanting to work in Leeds

The technology and betting company Sky Bet employs more than 1,000 people in Leeds making them one of the city's biggest employers.

Richard Flint said poor transport links are having a direct impact on his business and the wider economy.

He said: "When we surveyed potential employees we found 64% would consider moving to London for a job but only 34% would move to Leeds. The main reason why they wouldn't move to Leeds was the poor transport links and therefore the long commute.

"The reality is that people don't want to travel between Manchester and Leeds for work. So for us as a growing company we want to see transport across the North improved so we can attract and retain the best talent."

Image copyright El Pollock/Geograph
Image caption Train journeys between Manchester and Leeds can take more than an hour during peak times

The Northern Powerhouse was a concept created by former chancellor George Osborne in 2014 as an attempt to "rebalance" the UK's economy away from being dominated by London and the South East.

"We do in the North East feel at times the government naturally focuses on Manchester and Liverpool so we do have to elbow our way into contention," said Dave Budd, the elected mayor of Middlesbrough.

"I hope the government's Autumn Statement reaffirms the idea of the Northern Powerhouse and that ministers realise that devolution for us is not just a paper exercise."

The regional figures on infrastructure spending are compiled from the government's National Infrastructure Delivery Plan.

The BBC's analysis has looked at projects specifically identified for each region and has excluded national projects such as HS2 rail as its potential benefits cannot be attributed to any one part of the country.

A Treasury spokesperson said: "These findings are completely misleading and are not a fair reflection of the level of investment we are making on roads, transport, and housing.

"In reality, over half of the projects in our pipeline are long-term and benefit more than one region, such as HS2 which is our bold vision for connecting up the great cities of the North."

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