Questioning the PM on the North-South divide in infrastructure spending

In a Liaison Committee evidence session on Tuesday I grilled the Prime Minister on the North/South divide and private sector funding for transport infrastructure.

I pointed out the huge discrepancy in infrastructure spending between the North and the South East and challenged David Cameron to explain how he will address this imbalance.

I asked the PM:

“How will we be able to tell if private sector funding is going to increase the already major disparities between spending on, and investment in, transport between the north and London and the South-East”.

He agreed that there is an imbalance in the UK economy and that tackling it should be a priority. However, while he claimed that the Government is taking action it is clear that the South attracts far more investment, both public and private, than the North.

A December IPPR report showed that of the recent infrastructure projects announced, 341 times as much was spent per head in London as the North West. Private sector involvement also accentuates this imbalance, as private investment favours short term gains in areas of high population and high average wages – such as London – over long term gains in areas with lower levels of existing infrastructure, such as the North.