Nobody has done a proper assessment of where transport infrastructure investment is going and what the impact is on cities and towns. Some assessment has been made of the impact on different regions of the country, and that is important. Actually, it is significant, because I think the New Economics Foundation cites HS2’s own figures showing that 40% of the benefits from HS2 will go to London, whereas only 10% of the benefits will go to Yorkshire. I want to see a broader assessment of the impact on cities and towns.
Job growth is twice as fast in cities as in towns. New digital jobs, service jobs, university-related jobs and cultural jobs are all being concentrated in cities, but manufacturing, distribution and retail jobs are disappearing from towns. That is a result of automation or changes to our economy, but public sector investment decisions, including on transport priorities, are making that worse. Public services are shrinking back from towns into cities, and the new infrastructure investment is always concentrated on cities rather than towns.