Transport Spending (North-East)

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 12th January 2012.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) 10:30 am, 12th January 2012

What proportion of central Government spending on transport is spent in the north-east.

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

According to the latest figures published by the Treasury, of the £10,380 million spent on transport in the UK directly by central Government in 2010, £293 million was spent in the north-east, which was broadly comparable with expenditure in the preceding years under the Labour Government. An additional £363 million was spent by local authorities, with some of the funding coming from central Government.

Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

The Minister referred earlier to the transport spending announced in the autumn statement, but the Institute for Public Policy Research found that of that only 0.04% was spent in the north-east. The Government will be spending £2,731 per head in London compared with a mere £5 in the north-east, and we know that high-speed rail will not even get as far as Leeds until 2033, so will the Minister look at decentralising transport spending so that the north-east does not continue to be left behind?

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

First, we are looking at decentralising transport spending. Secondly, the proportion of expenditure in the north-east is not particularly out of line with the population there. Thirdly, the IPPR report to which the hon. Lady refers is not complete; it did not, for example, include the December announcements on local major projects and did not take into account the further £1 billion from the regional growth fund. It is not a complete analysis.

Photo of Alan Beith Alan Beith Chair, Justice Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, National Policy Statements Sub-Committee, Chair, Justice Committee

One way of improving the north-east’s share of transport expenditure would be to bring forward schemes to dual dangerous single carriageway sections of the A1 that have already been prepared by the Highways Agency. Will my hon. Friend discuss with his ministerial colleagues the urgency of bringing forward some of those schemes as soon as we can?

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

I am happy to say that the discussion has already taken place to some degree. The Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend Mike Penning, is looking at those schemes as we speak.