East of England receives less transport funding

The government is planning to spend 98pc less on transport projects in the east of England compared to London, a new study claims.

The Institute for Public Policy Research has analysed chancellor George Osborne's �30bn plans to create more jobs by funding building across the country.

Its findings suggest Londoners receive the equivalent of �2,731 each and the south east �792 per head while the east of England is said to be receiving just �43 per head.

This includes �86.5m from the coalition toward the �111m northern distributor road around Norwich.

Tim East, Norfolk County Council Liberal Democrat shadow spokesman for transport, said the county was awarded a 'disappointing' amount of money because it was on the wrong side of the line of the government's spending formula.


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He said: 'It shows in all aspects. For example, the bus subsidy in terms of free bus passes. We are now �4.5m short of the amount because of that formula. My view is it is discriminatory on the part of the government and we all suffer in Norfolk and the eastern region.'

Bert Bremner, Norwich City Council cabinet member for planning and transport, said all areas of the county suffered from the lack of cash.

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He said: 'It's terrible when you start working out the richest area is going to have the most investment. We are being kicked in the teeth by the government and MPs.'

The report said the area which received the least amount of funding was the north east, receiving �5 per head. It added government guidance ensured transport projects were 'skewed heavily in favour' of areas with the highest population density –London and the south east.

It said: 'As London's transport infrastructure and economy improves, so does its population density.

'As a result, the process becomes self-fulfilling to the point where it is difficult to see when London's congestion effects will finally be identified as a disbenefit rather than a good reason to invest yet more.

'Put crudely, the London and the south east are locked into a dependency on public sector spending on infrastructure which masks the true costs of doing business in the capital and holds back growth opportunities for other cities and their hinterlands.'

But a Department for Transport spokesman said �1.4bn of investment into transport schemes outside London had been announced in the past month, with one future aim including a high speed rail link from the north to south.

He said: 'However, we cannot ignore the fact that London is the biggest city in the UK and a global capital supporting a large number of people who commute from outside the region. The government's strategy for transport investment will ensure the maximum possible economic benefit to the UK as a whole – this means investing in the regions as well as ensuing that our major cities are able to compete in the world economy.'

richard.wheeler@archant.co.uk

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