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MPs call for fairer transport spending in the regions

The government must ensure that transport spending is fairly allocated across the nation, a report by the House of Commons transport select committee has said.

The report Counting the cost: financial scrutiny of the Department for Transport 2011-12 examined transport spending pledges made by the government in 2011/12. MPs on the committee are concerned that regions outside of London and the South East are not as well provided for.

They also raised concerns about how projects are chosen. “A project’s readiness to proceed does not necessarily demonstrate that it is the best way of using public money to promote growth,” said committee chairman Louise Ellman MP.

The committee also wanted to see more information on how the department’s funding of the Regional Growth and Growing Places Funds has been used. It also repeated the call it made a year ago for the Department for Transport (DfT) to publish a national transport strategy.

“While the presentation of financial information is in a clearer, simpler format than previous years, the key performance indicators fail to show whether the DfT’s policies are effective and, overall, the DfT’s 2010/11 annual report gives a very thin account of the department’s performance during the year,” added Ellman. “The department must publish much more information about changes made to its budget within any given year.”

The committee recommended that the new rail schemes announced in the Autumn Statement be regarded as additional to those the government is to fund as part of planning for the 2014/19 rail spending period.

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