Infrastructure investment is just £851 per head in Yorkshire
THE disproportionate levels of investment in the Northern Powerhouse regions compared with London has been laid bare by Sheffield researchers.
Analysis by the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI), part of the University of Sheffield, has examined regional infrastructure investment and its impact on rebalancing the UK economy.
Public infrastructure investment allocated specifically to London represents
£5,305 per head of population, with all other regions “significantly below that planned for London”.
Yorkshire and Humberside has £851 per head – a figure which includes £208m allocated to the trans-Pennine rail line electrification that has been indefinitely “paused” – while the North West has £1,946 and the North East just £414.
“The disproportionate investment bias towards London matters for all of us in the short, medium and long-term,” wrote Tom Hunt, policy research officer at SPERI, and deputy director Craig Berry.
“Firstly, the regional inequality in public infrastructure investment means the English regions are missing out on the short term economic boost that infrastructure investment provides. Re-orientating public investment away from London would create construction jobs and related supply-chain industries in the areas of the country that need greater private sector activity.
“Although High Speed 2 is a controversial form of infrastructure investment, starting construction from the North down, rather than from London up, would be an obvious ‘quick win’.
“In the medium term, as the government recognises, investing in the networks that underpin economic activity is an important way of improving productivity. Investing in transport, for instance, helps workers get to work quicker, and for goods to be transported more efficiently. Prioritising High Speed 3, which would better connect Northern cities, over Crossrail 2 would be a clear signal that the government is committed to the Northern Powerhouse agenda.”
They added: “The Chancellor talks about creating a more balanced, higher productivity economy but is so far failing to deliver it. Re-orientating infrastructure investment away from London would be a step in the right direction.”