Government spending 6 times more on transport per person in London than in North West
Mr Crausby, MP for Bolton North East, has criticised the government after new figures showed it is spending six times more on transport projects in London than in the North West. The Institute Public Policy Research (IPPR) reported that over the next 5 years the Conservative government will spend £290 per person on transport for Bolton. That compares to £1,870 that London will be given per person for the same period. The IPPR study found the £4.6 billion to be spent on completing Crossrail during 2016-21 will exceed spending on all transport projects in the North (£4.3 billion). Mr Crausby said this was “a slap in the face” and that the “government should be investing in our future.” He added that “The current government’s behaviour towards northern transport is worrying and they don’t seem to be listening.” Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North, urged the new Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, to adopt a ‘North First’ approach, and make the most of low interest rates to create a £50bn “catch-up cash fund” to be invested in northern road and rail priorities. . Mr Cox’s proposal is supported by the IPPR North’s statement that the North’s “£300bn economy is worth more than those of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined.” IPPR director Tom Kibasi said: “Given the Brexit result, the North of England must urgently see growing prosperity.” The transport infrastructure need to enable a 3rd Heathrow runway is estimated by Transport for London to be about £15 billion or more. See link. Possibly £10 billion for Gatwick. See link.
MP slams Government for spending 6 times more on transport in London than in North West
CAMPAIGN: Bolton MP David Crausby has regularly campaigned about the state of trains in Bolton.
By Liam Thorp, politics reporter (Bolton News)
A CAMPAIGNING Bolton MP has slammed the government after new figures showed the Tories are spending six times more on transport projects in London than in the North West.
The Institute Public Policy Research (IPPR) reported that over the next five years the Conservative government will spend £290 per person on transport for Bolton.
This figure pales in comparison to the £1,870 that London will be given per person for the same period.
The total amount of spending for Northern transport is half the amount allotted to London’s Crossrail project.
Mr Crausby, MP for Bolton North East, condemned the government’s decision as ‘a slap in the face’.
He said: “Areas like Bolton need huge investment in public transport and the government should be investing in our future.”
Mr Crausby has often championed the need for more investment in Bolton’s transport system. He also previously criticised the state of overcrowding on Bolton’s trains, denouncing attempts by former Prime Minister David Cameron to solve the issue as ‘broken promises’.
Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North, urged the new Secretary of State to adapt a ‘North First’ approach, committing ‘£50 billion’ to ‘both road and rail priorities in the North’. Mr Cox’s proposal is supported by the IPPR North’s statement that the North’s ‘£300bn economy is worth more than those of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined.’
Mr Crausby shared the point of view proposed by IPPR, saying that for the North West’s economy to flower, it will ‘need the infrastructure in place.’
Two years ago, Bolton News launched the ‘Let’s Get Back on Track’ campaign, in response to the frustration of local commuters to cuts to Bolton railway, which was already in deemed to be in a dire state.
Faced by the figures produced by IPPR, Mr Crausby argued that Bolton’s transport needs are yet to be heard by Westminster. He said the regional differences in transport investment did ‘reflect a problem between Westminster and the North.’
He added: “I think that nothing sums up the Northern powerhouse better than investment in Northern Transport.
“The current government’s behaviour towards northern transport is worrying and they don’t seem to be listening.”
Think tank calls on government to build HS3 before HS2
Construction of the HS3 rail line in the North of England should take priority over High Speed 2, an influential think tank has urged.
The Institute for Public Policy Research called on new transport secretary Chris Grayling to adopt a “North first” agenda on infrastructure spending to close the funding gap between the North and London.
Research showed the North will receive six times less funding per person for infrastructure projects compared with London.
On average, infrastructure spending per person between 2016 and 2020 will be £1,869 in London, compared with £277 across the North.
The study also found that the £4.6bn to be spent on completing Crossrail during 2016-21 will exceed spending on all transport projects in the North (£4.3bn).
It also called on the government to make the most of record low interest rates to create a £50bn “catch-up cash fund” that could be invested in northern road and rail priorities.
The IPPR joins a growing list of groups calling for extra borrowing for infrastructure investment.
Last month a report from the UK’s biggest contractor Balfour Beatty said the post-Brexit climate was the ideal time for the government to borrow money to ensure major infrastructure projects were not delayed or scrapped.
Director of IPPR North Ed Cox said: “To build Theresa May’s ‘Better Britain’, we must focus on a better North.
“The North of England’s £300bn economy is worth more than those of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined.
“Focusing on this is going to be critical in creating the prosperity our country is going to need over the coming years.
“The North must also take control of its own funding decisions.
“The evidence shows that this would help boost growth, ditching the Treasury’s outdated and ineffective model, better suited to mitigating congestion than driving new economic growth.”
IPPR director Tom Kibasi added: “Given the Brexit result, the North of England must urgently see growing prosperity.
“A proper east-west crossing would boost northern and UK growth, and must now take priority above all other major transport projects, including Crossrail 2 and HS2.”
Why we need a North-first approach to infrastructure
With a population of 15 million and an economy worth £300bn – twice the size of Scotland – the North of England is too big to be ignored. If the North was able to halve the gap between its own economic output per head and the national level, then its economy would be £34bn bigger.
Infrastructure investment oils the wheels of economic productivity. To this extent, it is no surprise that the most productive region of the country – London and the South-east – is also the region that has received the lion’s share of infrastructure expenditure in recent decades.
Souht-east spending dwarfing North
The amounts spent on Heathrow Terminal 5, tube upgrades and Crossrail all dwarf infrastructure spending everywhere else in the country. Despite the rhetoric of the previous chancellor, this looks set to continue.
Analysis of the current National Infrastructure Pipeline shows that we are planning to spend nearly £1,900 per person on transport infrastructure in London, compared with just £270 per person in the North. The £4.6bn left to spend on Crossrail is more than the total expenditure planned for the Northern Powerhouse.
But where investment in the capital does little more than mitigate congestion, investment in the North could fire up a new era of Northern prosperity.
There is a compelling argument that the success of big cities like London or city-regions like the Rhine-Ruhr in Germany are built upon large, well-connected labour markets.
But commuter travel between Manchester and Leeds is 40 per cent less than might be expected between two similarly sized locations in the rest of Europe. And unlike in London, for most people in the North, moving jobs requires moving home, creating a big drag on labour mobility.
Thankfully, this is now well recognised and in the past two years Transport for the North has made rapid progress in developing a Northern Transport Strategy that will soon publish its key investment priorities, expected to total more than £50bn.
With various spending rounds on the horizon, the government has a unique opportunity to realise the North’s latent potential.
By upgrading its appraisal processes and adopting a ‘North First’ approach to investment, the UK economy could be firing on all cylinders rather than constantly propping up an ailing economy with massively expensive mitigation schemes in the capital.
Ed Cox is a director of IPPR North and member of the Business North steering group