Number crunch of transport spending shows local transport is biggest loser

Stacking coins

In one of the most in-depth analysis so far produced on the Government's transport spending record, a new report shows that spending on local transport outside London has been hardest hit – down by 27% in 2012/3 when compared with the pre-election transport budget for 2010/11.

The report also shows that although national roads took a huge hit following the election, the 2011 Autumn Statement saw the biggest transport spending change since the election, with spending projections dramatically increased (although still below the pre-election transport budget for 2010/11).

National rail is by far the biggest winner with spending 30% higher in 2012/13 than it was in the pre-election 2010/11 transport budget

Meanwhile, transport spending in London has seen reductions, but unlike the rest of the country, cuts in London's transport spending are backloaded rather than frontloaded. London also benefits from the skewing of national rail spending to the South East and additional funding for Crossrail. 

Director of pteg, Jonathan Bray, said:

'What this analysis shows is that although many of the transport spending engines were switched off following the election, more of them are now being switched on again.  Although transport spending is still lower for local transport and for national roads than it was in the transport budget which the current Government inherited. These figures also show the benefits of the long term statutory funding structures for rail, which has helped ensure increased and consistent spending on national rail, when compared with stop start funding decision-making for other areas of transport, where Whitehall has a freer hand.'

Jonathan Bray added:

'The figures show that, not for the first time, London-based decision makers have ensured that the transport they use has been relatively protected, whilst local transport spend outside London has taken a hammering. That's not to say there aren’t some very big and very welcome schemes going ahead - from HS2 to the expansion of Manchester Metrolink. But some of this spending is spread over a long period and masks reductions in background funding which this analysis exposes.’

Jonathan Bray concluded:

'The Government has increased spending on national rail, shielded London from the worst, and had a major change of mind on national roads spending. In the forthcoming spending review it's time to take a fresh look at local transport spending outside the gilded capital. The UK economy needs all its big cities to have strong, vibrant economies if the nation as a whole is to thrive. Our cities can't do that without modern and efficient transport networks and that means getting a fair share, rather than the biggest reductions, in the overall transport spending pot. With HS2 on the way, this will be particularly crucial, as to get the most from high speed rail it needs to plug into urban transit networks that can cope with the passenger flows to and from the stations it will serve.’


For more contact Jonathan Bray on 0113 251 7445 / 0781 804 1485

Notes to editors

The number crunch report can be downloaded below.

For more on the case for transport spending in urban areas has all the evidence, all in one place.