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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Revealed: Transport spending falls in the North while rising in London

Statistics released today and analysed by IPPR North “lay bare the regional imbalance” in the UK economy.

  • Over the last year (2015/16-2016/17), transport spending in London increased by 11.4 per cent. In contrast, it fell by 3.6 per cent in the North of England.
  • This means that the North received £289 per head on transport, while London received £708 per head on average over the last ten years.
  • If the North had received the same amount per head public spending on transport as London for the last ten years, it would have had an investment of £63 billion more. An average of £6 billion more each year since 2007/08.
  • In 2016/17 alone the North would have received £9 billion more if it had the same investment per head as London.

Previous IPPR North analysis has also shown that government 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.

People in the North of England have experienced severe travel chaos over recent months. IPPR North have called on the Transport Secretary to devolve powers to Transport for the North, so that it can invest and borrow for its own infrastructure, rather than relying on central government.

Luke Raikes, Senior Research Fellow at IPPR North said:

“These new figures lay bare the regional imbalance in our economy. They show how much public investment has gone into London over the years which has supported London’s growth.

“They also show that London and the South East have paid more tax than the other regions, which is partly due to all UK taxpayers spending decades paying for its infrastructure. But instead of simplistic arguments over which region ‘subsidises’ the other, we must learn the lesson that public investment can support regional growth, and apply that lesson to all of our regions, not just the capital.

“So if we want to rebalance our economy, and have thriving regions outside of London, real power must be devolved to bodies like Transport for the North and real tax and spend powers to the North’s mayors, and a devolution framework that works for all areas. Working with London and across the country, they can start to rebalance our economy in the interests of all people and places.”

ENDS

For further details or to arrange to interview Luke Raikes, please contact IPPR North and Scotland Media and Campaigns Manager Rosie Corrigan on 07585 772633 / r.corrigan@ippr.org.

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 ippr.org/north.

To calculate the figures set out in this release, IPPR North analysed the Office for National Statistics ‘Country and regional public sector finances’ data published today. Spending was divided by population and then the spending per head for London or the UK respectively were used to show what would have been spent in total in other regions if it were spent on the same basis. 

The following chart shows the spend on transport in the North, versus the spend that it would have received if it had received the same spending per capita as London.

Source: IPPR North analysis of ONS 2018, ‘Country and regional public sector finances

IPPR North’s most recent report on future transport investment can be found here.

Additional spending on transport if regions had received the same per head as London (£billion)

2007/08

2008/09

2009/10

2010/11

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

North East

£1.0

£0.8

£1.3

£1.1

£1.1

£1.2

£1.2

£1.2

North West

£2.3

£1.9

£2.9

£2.5

£2.6

£2.9

£2.9

£3.0

Yorkshire and The Humber

£2.0

£1.5

£2.4

£2.1

£2.1

£2.1

£2.0

£2.1

East Midlands

£1.6

£1.5

£2.2

£2.0

£2.0

£2.2

£2.1

£2.1

West Midlands

£1.9

£1.6

£2.7

£2.5

£2.5

£2.5

£2.5

£2.4

East of England

£2.1

£1.9

£2.6

£2.0

£2.1

£2.5

£2.5

£2.5

London

£0.0

£0.0

£0.0

£0.0

£0.0

£0.0

£0.0

£0.0

South East

£2.9

£2.2

£4.1

£3.6

£3.8

£3.8

£3.6

£3.8

South West

£2.0

£1.7

£2.7

£2.4

£2.4

£2.5

£2.6

£2.6

England

£15.8

£13.0

£20.9

£18.1

£18.7

£19.6

£19.2

£19.7

Wales

£0.9

£0.8

£1.2

£0.9

£0.9

£0.9

£1.0

£1.1

Scotland

£0.4

£0.2

£1.0

£0.7

£0.7

£0.5

£0.6

£0.8

Northern Ireland

£0.5

£0.5

£0.8

£0.5

£0.6

£0.6

£0.7

£0.7

North (NE, NW and Y&H)

£5.3

£4.2

£6.6

£5.7

£5.8

£6.1

£6.0

£6.3

UK

£17.7

£14.5

£23.8

£20.2

£20.9

£21.6

£21.5

£22.3

Source: IPPR North analysis of ONS  2018, ‘Country and regional public sector finances'

Spending per head on transport

2007/08

2008/09

2009/10

2010/11

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

North East

£231

£243

£264

£258

£226

£208

£217

£240

£285

£298

North West

£294

£307

£337

£302

£278

£251

£251

£268

£387

£377

Yorkshire and The Humber

£232

£281

£286

£268

£262

£270

£288

£283

£376

£342

East Midlands

£249

£241

£259

£228

£212

£177

£205

£226

£260

£227

West Midlands

£266

£287

£261

£223

£209

£218

£217

£255

£334

£321

East of England

£248

£241

£300

£318

£288

£232

£242

£260

£339

£341

London

£621

£573

£750

£664

£652

£656

£658

£682

£868

£958

South East

£280

£316

£273

£240

£216

£222

£255

£260

£336

£378

South West

£241

£248

£225

£215

£191

£189

£182

£207

£269

£312

England

£314

£322

£351

£320

£301

£291

£302

£320

£415

£433

Wales

£314

£319

£354

£366

£349

£355

£336

£334

£395

£383

Scotland

£552

£529

£565

£524

£514

£559

£548

£525

£582

£628

Northern Ireland

£310

£309

£328

£390

£336

£315

£291

£288

£237

£313

North (NE, NW and Y&H)

£261

£286

£306

£283

£263

£250

£258

£268

£366

£351

UK

£334

£339

£368

£342

£322

£317

£324

£337

£423

£443

Source: IPPR North analysis of ONS  2018, ‘Country and regional public sector finances’