Dale Robinson, Director, Planning development and regeneration, Yorkshire
Importance of infrastructure to the regional economy
“For too long decisions on transport priorities within the regions have been in the hands of Whitehall.
This has often been to the detriment of the regions, holding back growth and economic prosperity. The lack of investment is clearly skewed towards London with the government spending more money on transport priorities for Londoners than on those for the rest of the Country combined.
Recent data show that the amount spent per person on transport in London is around £545 per person compared to £246 per person in Yorkshire. In the North East the amount of investment is £213 per person, amongst the lowest region spend per head in the country.
The Government says its commitment is to maximise economic benefits for the whole country with a particular emphasis on reducing the north south divide, but how can this be true when such disparity in investment is actually enhancing the divide.
Much has been made of HS2 which is welcomed but this is not due to be operational until 2030 at the earliest. This is not soon enough and the Government need to accelerate the delivery of this project not only to speed up journey times but also to release capacity on the railways.
However, better connections do not have to mean high-speed rail at the expense of everything else. The focus should be on integration between modes of transport, across the northern cities, for which HS2 is a crucial part. In this regard the government’s recent announcement to ‘put on hold’ the electrification of the Trans-Pennine train line is a real concern and puts in doubt the pre-election promises of significant investment in the Northern Power house.
The Northern regions now need to unite and demand an equal share of investment emphasis.”