Press Story

Government figures released today and analysed by IPPR North show that, since the Northern Powerhouse agenda was introduced by Government in 2014, transport spending per person has gone up twice as much in London as in the North.

The government figures detail historic transport spending between 2013/14 and 2017/18.

IPPR North analysis of these figures shows that 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. Transport spending per person remains approximately twice as high in London as in the North – as it has for the past decade.

Spending has risen significantly in the north west in the last year – rising by £158 per person compared to £91 per person in London. But spending per head in the north west still remains far lower at £528 compared to £1,019 per person in London. And spending fell in Yorkshire and the Humber by £18 per person – more than any other region. Meanwhile, spending in the North East did rise, but this was by just £2 per person. Other English regions and nations of the UK have also received less transport spending than the capital.

Almost five years on from Government’s announcement of the Northern Powerhouse agenda, IPPR North have renewed their call for the Department for Transport to follow through on promises to invest in the North and to devolve power to Transport for the North.

Luke Raikes, Senior Research Fellow at IPPR North said:

“Today’s figures show us that government still needs to follow through on their promises to make the Northern Powerhouse a reality.

“An increase in spending in the north west in the past year is very welcome. As is the £37 million announced in the Budget for transport in the North, but the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber are yet to see such a boost, and 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.

“Next year will offer the government an opportunity to improve their record on transport spending. They must take it. 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 network.”


Contact: Rosie Corrigan, Media and Campaigns Manager for IPPR North, on 0161 694 9685 or


Luke Raikes, Senior Research Fellow at IPPR North is available for interview.

IPPR North is the leading think-tank for the north of England, developing bold ideas for a stronger economy and prosperous places and people. For more information, visit

All figures are in real terms.

Figures include capital and revenue; local and central government.

Table: Public transport spending per person by region, real terms






North East






North West






Yorkshire and The Humber






East Midlands






West Midlands


















South East






South West


















Northern Ireland






United Kingdom






























Source: IPPR North analysis of HM Treasury (2018) Country and Regional Analysis and ONS (2018) population estimates and projections.

IPPR North’s briefing of January this year on future transport investment can be found here. The briefing on planned expenditure shows 2.6 times more per capita transport spending going into London compared to the North; 5 times more than in Yorkshire and the Humber, or in the North East.