Wigan short-changed on transport investment

Planned transport investment in London is two-and-a-half times higher per person than in Wigan, according to a new study.

Wednesday, 24th January 2018, 1:55 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th January 2018, 3:00 pm
Transport investment is significantly lower in the North West than in the capital

The capital will receive £4,155 per person compared with just £1,600 in the North West, think-tank IPPR North said.

The organisation warned that England will continue to be “dangerously unbalanced” without further spending outside London.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling sparked anger last year by supporting a new £30bn Crossrail 2 scheme in London and the South East days after a series of rail electrification projects in Wales, the Midlands and the North were axed or downgraded.

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He claims per-person spending is higher in the North West than the South East when local transport schemes are factored in, and he is “very happy to stand up and be counted on our record for transport for the North”.

IPPR North’s calculations are based on analysis of data from the Treasury and the Government’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority.

The Government’s own breakdown of the figures suggests a relatively even spend across regions, with £1,353 per person in the North West compared with £1,026 in London.

But IPPR North calls this interpretation “misleading” because nearly £12bn of Transport for London spending is excluded following a deal between Mr Grayling and London mayor Sadiq Khan which allows London to keep its own business rates to spend on transport.

It also noted that the Government analysis only covers the period up to 2020/21, after which a “large proportion” of spending is due to go to London.

IPPR North senior research fellow Luke Raikes said: “Despite the Transport Secretary’s recent statements, London is still set to receive almost three times more transport investment per person than the North. This 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.”