Liverpool and the North miss out on £66bn of transport spending

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is demanding more funding for the North as IPPR report shows London receives an extra £2,389 per person. Tony McDonough reports

railway, tracks, trains
IPPR North report shows a huge gap between spending in London and the North


New figures show the huge gap between transport spending in London and the North of England.

Figures compiled by think tank IPPR North show Government’s projected spending on transport projects would see £3,636 per person in London while this plummets to just £1,247 per person in the North – a gap of £2,389.

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, who has persistently lobbied for more funding for transport infrastructure in the region, was shocked at the figures, saying: “Today’s IPPR report shows the true scale of the imbalance in infrastructure spending across the UK.

“The continued focus on London and the South East has seen the North miss out on £66bn in this decade alone. Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard a lot about the Government’s renewed commitment to building a Northern Powerhouse.

“It’s time for the government to match this talk with equal funding for the North in the spending review – including an unequivocal commitment to delivering Northern Powerhouse Rail in full.”

Last month Mr Rotheram hit out at Boris Johnson when the Prime Minister announced it would fund a high-speed rail link between Manchester and Leeds but not one between Liverpool and Manchester.

He and Transport for the North have repeatedly said that the Northern Powerhouse can only reach its full potential if the Government commits to high-speed rail from Liverpool to Hull at an estimated cost of £39bn. Mr Rotheram also insists that HS2 line from London goes ahead then it must come all the way to Liverpool.

The IPPR 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 the government’s own figures, the leading think-tank found that planned transport spending on the capital is set to be £3,636 per person, compared to £1,247 on the North.

Steve Rotheram
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram. Picture by Tony McDonough


Yorkshire and the Humber will receive the least of all of England’s regions at just £511 per person, followed closely by the North East at £519 per person. The North West will receive £2,062 per person. This does not include Northern Powerhouse Rail or recent overspend on Crossrail, which were not included in the pipeline.

In contrast, the Government’s own analysis of the same pipeline includes just £40.2bn of the £117.6bn total transport investment it contains, meaning the Government exclude two-thirds of planned transport spending from their own calculations.

Today’s report also analyses a separate set of Government figures that show past spending. IPPR North found that the transport spending gap between the capital and the North grew over the last decade.

Spending increased by 2.5 times more per person on London than on the North. In fact, 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 did.

Luke Raikes, senior research fellow at IPPR North, added: “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.”

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