The IPPR has claimed that the North is set to continue receiving significantly less transport funding per person compared to London, despite already missing out on £66bn transport funding over the last decade.
The influential think-tank has published a new independent analysis of regional transport spending in England, which claims to set out the true extent of underfunding in Northern transport infrastructure, both in the past and also under the government’s current plans for the future.
The report shows a comprehensive picture of planned spending included in the most recent edition of the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline – a list of the government’s planned infrastructure projects between now and 2033.
Examining what it described as the government’s own figures, IPPR North found that planned transport spending shows that, unless investment in the Northern Powerhouse goes ahead, London is set to receive almost three times more per person than the North, and seven times more per person than in Yorkshire and the Humber or the North East.
While the capital will receive £3,636 per person, says the IPPR, the North will receive just £1,247 per person and within the North, Yorkshire and the Humber will see just £511; the North East £519; and the North West £2,062 per person.
IPPR North also found that the transport spending gap between the capital and the North grew over the last decade, with spending increased by 2.5 times more per person on London than on the North. In fact, say the IPPR, if the North had received the same transport spending per person as London over the last decade, it would have received £66bn more than it actually did.
Report author Luke Raikes called on the new prime minister to “turn years of Northern Powerhouse rhetoric into reality” by taking urgent action to invest in the north and devolve powers to northern leaders and Transport for the North. IPPR North has also recommended that Phase 2 of HS2 must begin in the north so that Northern Powerhouse Rail can be accelerated using its infrastructure.
Luke Raikes, senior research fellow at IPPR North said: “These figures show that the prime minister must urgently follow through on his promises to invest in northern transport infrastructure and devolve power to the north’s leaders. The Northern Powerhouse agenda could benefit people across the whole country. Northern transport infrastructure is a national priority. The upcoming spending review offers a real opportunity for the government to turn years of Northern Powerhouse rhetoric into reality, and to finally deliver on promises made to the north.”
Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, said the report made “embarrassing reading for the government."
He said: “In the five years since they first promised us a Northern Powerhouse, the transport spending gap between North and South has widened and is set to get even wider over the next decade. To be fair, the new prime minister has recognised our frustration and made new commitments. It is essential that he now backs up his words with action.
“It is time to be clear about what a Northern Powerhouse actually means. It means Whitehall putting the North of England at the front of the queue for transport investment for the next 30 years, in the same way London has been for the last 30 years, and re-prioritising transport spending in this country. Anything less will leave the government’s Northern Powerhouse claims as nothing more than a giant political con.”