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.
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?
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.
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?