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London transport spending 'five times more than Yorkshire'

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Planned transport infrastructure spending in London is almost five times higher per person than in Yorkshire and the Humber or the North East, according to new research.

An IPPR North report says that investment in London is almost 2.6 times higher per person than in the North of England. It says that a spend of £4,155 per head is planned for London compared to just £1,600 per head in the North. 

IPPR North senior research fellow Luke Raikes said the disparity in spending is “indefensible”.

“The North has been underfunded in comparison to London for decades, and our figures demonstrate that ministers have failed to redress this imbalance,” he said, “This failure will continue to hold back the North and the country until the government acts.” 

The think-tank disputed government figures released by the Infrastructure & Projects Authority last year. These showed that per capita spending in northern regions would be more than in the South, and said they failed to consider spending planned after 2021. However, the government hit back and said the IPPR North analysis was “misleading”. 

According to analysis by IPPR North, the original figures fail to account for the fact that Transport for London can spend revenue from business rates on transport. “To be clear, by circumventing the normal arrangements for business rate redistribution, this is £240M additional public money that will be spent in London, that would have otherwise been redistributed centrally and spent across the country,” the report says. 

A government spokesman said: “It is completely misleading for IPPR North to calculate spending figures in this way.

“For good reason, the Infrastructure & Projects Authority analysis focuses on the years for which departmental budgets have been set – 2017/18 to 2020/21 – and it covers 100% of planned Department for Transport capital spending during those years.

“To go beyond 2021, as IPPR North has done, will be highly unrepresentative as it will only focus on a narrow set of projects which have published long-term spending projections extending beyond this date. Several very large spending areas will be totally ignored.

“It is also simply false for IPPR North to suggest ‘London will no longer contribute to transport spending in the rest of the country’, and misleading for their analysis to include Transport for London projects which receive no central government funding.

“Our analysis of planned central government transport investment shows that the spending for the North will receive more investment per person (£1,039) than the South (£1,029).”

Raikes added: “We stand by our figures and methodology but ultimately the general public will need to decide who is misleading whom”.

The report also called for Transport for the North to be given the same powers as Transport for London. 

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