A leading think tank for the north of England has told the government they must take the opportunity to improve their record on transport spending next year and pave the way for long-overdue infrastructure in the North.
The calls come on the same day that figures published and analysed by IPPR North show that since the Northern Powerhouse agenda was introduced in 2014, transport spending per person has gone up twice as much in London as in the North.
Researchers say while the capital has seen a £326 per person increase in public spending, the North has seen an increase less than half the size – just £146.
Although spending has risen significantly in the north west in the last year, spending fell in Yorkshire and the Humber by £18 per person – more than any other region. Meanwhile, spending in the North East rose by just £2 per person and other English regions and nations of the UK have also received less transport spending than the capital, according to the research.
Luke Raikes, senior research fellow at IPPR North, said the latest data highlighted how the government had failed on promises to make the Northern Powerhouse a reality.
"People are continuing to suffer the very real effects of decades of underinvestment, the ongoing chaos on northern trains is a clear sign."
Luke Raikes, IPPR North.
Raikes said while announcements like the £37 million in the budget for transport in the North are welcomed, areas in the North East and the Humber are yet to see such a boost.
“Investment in the North still pales in comparison to spending in London. People are continuing to suffer the very real effects of decades of underinvestment, and the ongoing chaos on northern trains is a clear sign of how far there is to go. The Northern Powerhouse has the potential to improve the whole country by transforming the North’s economy. In realising this, transport has an important role to play in helping to connect people, services and goods across the region.”
In August, the IPPR North called for more powers to be devolved to bodies like Transport for the North after using ONS data to show transport spending in London had increased by 11.4% but fell by 3.6% in the north of England through 2015/16 - 2016/17.
The body has now reiterated its message for more powers to be devolved to mayors and decision makers in the north.
“Next year will offer the government an opportunity to improve their record on transport spending, they must take it,” Raikes added. “Transport for the North is now developing investment plans that will address this long-standing problem and the government will then have the chance to follow through on their promises: to give the green light on long-overdue investment in the North; and to devolve real power so that the North can take responsibility for its own transport ne