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Norths/South divide on transport spending, say MPs
6:02am Tuesday 3rd June 2014 in News
THE underfunding of transport projects in the North-East compared to London has been highlighted by MPs who say the situation "cannot be allowed to continue".
A report by the House of Commons Transport Committee has called on Ministers to ensure a fairer allocation of funding across the country on transport infrastructure.
The findings have been been welcomed by North-East business leaders who say that although London and the South-East should receive the lion's share of spending, the scale of disparity must be addressed.
The report from the House of Commons Transport Committee urged Ministers to use the new funding arrangements for local projects to "ensure that there is a fairer allocation of funding".
"No area across our nation should be second class in relation to the allocation of transport infrastructure funds," the MPs said.
The report looked into new arrangements, from 2015, for local decisions on transport spending.
Launching the report today (Tuesday, June 3), the committee's chairman Louise Ellman said: "Far less money is spent on transport projects outside London than in the capital. This inequality has gone on for too long and has to change.
"For example, the Institute of Public Policy Research says that transport infrastructure spending is £2,500 per head in London compared with £5 per head in the North-East."
"Even on the Government's figures, transport spending per head in London is more than twice that in the English regions."
Commenting on the report, North East Chamber of Commerce policy and research manager, Mark Stephenson said: “After dire levels of infrastructure investment, the North-East has secured more projects in 18 months than in the previous decade.
"The region will be linked to the capital via a motorway, traffic pinch points on the A1 Western Bypass and A19 are to be addressed and a feasibility study into the dualling of the A1 north of Newcastle is underway.
“Each project will have a major impact, but more is required."
Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald said the distribution of Government spending was "unfair and divisive".
He added: "I asked the Prime Minister in the House of Commons about the unbalanced approach to investment in infrastructure across the country.
"I pointed out to him the National Infrastructure Plan reveals that over 80 per cent of spending on transport infrastructure will be in London and the South-East, almost £5,000 per capita compared with under £250 per person in the North-East."
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