IRRESPECTIVE OF how the IPPR North or Department for Transport calculate spending figures, the conclusion is the same – infrastructure investment in Yorkshire remains woefully inadequate.
Yet, while it is fair to say that spending here has risen, the North has been shortchanged for decades and the current sums still compare unfavourably to the money being lavished on London and the South East.
And, rather than Chris Grayling trying to invent figures of his own to mask his policy failings that are accumulating faster than the number of late-running trains, the Cabinet minister should be giving Transport for the North the full powers that its London equivalent enjoys.
After all, Mr Grayling told The Yorkshire Post last summer that the North needed to sort out its own problems and, in subsequent months, it has become abundantly clear that the Transport Secretary is undeserving of the public’s confidence.
This mistrust was illustrated by his excruciating appearance before Parliament’s Transport Select Committee earlier this week when Mr Grayling was accused of withholding information about his decision to scrap a number of previously promised rail electrification schemes.
Challenged specifically about the Midland Mainline from London to Sheffield, committee chairwoman Lilian Greenwood said at one point: “You are asking us to take your word for it rather than provide the full business case?”
Given Mr Grayling’s candour after this cross-party committee chose to recall him because it had doubts about his evidence to an earlier session, Theresa May’s decision not to sack the Transport Secretary in the recent reshuffle is looking more misguided with each passing day.
As such, only an unprecedented financial commitment to the North will save what is left of the politician’s reputation.