Think tank IPPR North says northern England is underfunded compared with London by almost £6 billion per year, in terms of infrastructure investment.
Its research suggests that had the region received the same per capita infrastructure spending as London, it would have received £59bn more investment over the past ten years. The findings follow Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling’s announcement that electrification schemes in the North have been cancelled - while London’s Crossrail 2 project has received the green light.
Public spending in the North is said to average £282 per head, against a national average of £345 per head and £680 in London. Scotland receives £536 public spending per capita. The think tank claims that from 2016-17 onwards, £1,900 per capita will be spent in London - £1,500 more than the north of England.
IPPR North Senior Research Fellow Luke Raikes called the findings a “national scandal”, adding: “In most other advanced countries, decisions about transport investment are made locally or regionally, where people really in the know about local problems decide exactly what’s needed.
“But in Britain, our Whitehall-knows-best attitude leads to the capital being the Government’s default option for more funding. Devolving funding for regional infrastructure would help fix Britain’s broken economy, by closing the regional productivity gap and helping the country to catch up with our competitors overseas.
“If we are ever going to have an economy that works for everyone, we need a federal UK and regional government with teeth, such as a Council of the North, working with a souped-up Transport for the North, businesses and residents.
“That means doing what Whitehall has failed to do for decades, and invest in transport so the whole country can benefit from the realised potential of a New North. Northern prosperity is national prosperity.”