THE extent to which transport investment in Yorkshire lags behind the rest of the country is confirmed by new research by the IPPR North think-tank which reveals how annual spending per person in this country has increased from £300 to just £315 since the inception of the Northern Powerhouse in 2013-14.
A vindication of The Yorkshire Post’s long-held criticism of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling following a year of chaos on the region’s railways, these new statistics – and the regional and national spending divides which they confirm – explain the growing dismay of passengers when services are disrupted.
Not only is Yorkshire losing out to the North West where spending has – in fairness – doubled in the past five years, and now stands at £528 per person, but the comparable figure for Londoners now tops £1,000 for the first time.
Yet, while Mr Grayling will point out that combined spending across the North does finally exceed the amount of money being devoted to transport projects in the capital under this new analysis, this is scant consolation for a region left shortchanged by successive governments for decades.
And while the Budget did set aside a further £37m to further develop plans to improve rail links between the region’s major towns and cities, the plain fact of the matter is that the current Transport Secretary was totally dismissive of the North’s needs until this newspaper – in conjunction with others – started holding him to account for a succession of broken promises and policy failures.
Rather than dismissing the IPPR North with the arrogance and complacency that has become his hallmark, he should use Transport Questions in the Commons tomorrow to set out the Government’s short, medium and long-term plans to reverse these spending imbalances. Yorkshire commuters don’t want the exotic roof gardens being installed at Canary Wharf on the much-vaunted Crossrail line in London – they’ll happily settle for trains which run on time and enable them to travel with a degree of comfort. It’s not too much to ask, is it?