MP calls for changes to ‘deeply unfair’ transport spending

MP calls for changes to ‘deeply unfair’ transport spending

Bradford South MP Judith Cummins has called on the government to change the “deeply unfair” way it invests in transport.

Mrs Cummins said Bradford was being held back by a “persistent lack of investment” and a “narrow and ultimately unsatisfactory value for money assessment” that favours areas which have historically high levels of spending, such as London and the south-east.

“For too long ambitious transport projects in the north have been passed over while billions have been spent on projects down south,” Mrs Cummins added.

The MP was speaking during a House of Commons debate on Tuesday (27) which was scrutinising the spending of the Department for Transport.

“If government targets transport spending in areas of high economic development or places where people already use public transport extensively they are reinforcing inequalities rather than correcting them,” Mrs Cummins said.

“In recent months we have seen the cancellation of many rail electrification projects, the postponement of essential motorway upgrades in Yorkshire and combined authorities forced to reduce bus services due to continuing budget cuts.”

Mrs Cummins highlighted recent figures by thinktank IPPR North which show planned transport infrastructure spending per person will be five times higher in London than in Yorkshire, whose total of £844 is the lowest of all English regions.

Bradford does not have a through railway station and is not directly on an intercity network.

Mrs Cummins stressed that these “gross inequalities” have “real consequences” for her constituents and called for a “step-by-step” increase in per person levels of funding until they are equal with those of London.

Mrs Cummins welcomed the addition of a new station in Bradford on Transport for the North’s draft strategic transport plan but added: “The ambition to create a Northern Powerhouse and to rebalance our national economy will remain unmet as long as the current funding disparities in transport remain in place.

“One way to quickly and effectively start making progress would be to unpick the skewed value for money formula used by the Department for Transport to make investment decisions and to create a new formula that stops favouring areas with historically high levels of investment.”

UK Labour Party