Call for investment boost

Chris Grayling at the Dartford site
Chris Grayling at the Dartford site

Transport infrastructure projects should “harness the potential of the North” rather than “just reacting to congestion” in the South East, a think tank has claimed.

IPPR North responded to the announcement that a new multibillion tunnel is to be built beneath the River Thames linking Kent and Essex by saying that £1,500 more per person is spent on transport schemes in London than northern England.

The new bridge is estimated to cost between £4.3 billion and £5.9bn, while the capital’s new east-west rail line, Crossrail, has a £14.8bn budget.

IPPR North senior research fellow Luke Raikes said the North is up to twice as dependent on EU trade than London, meaning “it needs investment now more than ever” following the Brexit vote.

Mr Raikes said: “London is set to receive more than half the country’s public and public-private funded transport infrastructure - £1,500 more per person than the North.

“The Government’s industrial strategy should use infrastructure, alongside other interventions, to harness the potential of the North, instead of just reacting to congestion in London and the South East.

“Investing in the east-west transport connectivity in the North would also go a long way toward rebalancing the economy.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling insisted that work in the North such as the Ordsall Chord project to link stations in Manchester city centre is part of “a really extensive improvement on a scale that simply hasn’t been seen for a very long time”. He insisted the crossing was “UK project’”