Transport funding must recognise role of smaller places, says IPPR North

10 Jun 16

IPPR North has called for a review of how transport projects are funded across the north of England in order to recognise the role of small and medium sized cities and towns in the government’s Northern Powerhouse plans.

IPPR North has called for a review of how transport projects are funded across the north of England in order to recognise the role of small and medium sized cities and towns in the government’s Northern Powerhouse plans.

Wakefield is among the areas that should benefit from changes to transport investment decisions, the report stated. Photo: Shutterstock

 

The think-tank said many of the region’s smaller urban areas, such as Wigan, Doncaster, Burnley and Wakefield, often had growth rates that matched those of their big neighbours Manchester and Liverpool.

However, without a change to what it called the “London-centric system of transport funding”, which favours major cities, the growth of these places as part of the Northern Powerhouse would be hindered.

IPPR North director Ed Cox said government should fund transport developments that help develop what he called “city systems” where the smaller cities can help to avoid the housing and congestion problems faced by London. This would be more like the kind of successful regions seen in Germany, the Netherlands and other parts of Europe, he stated.

“In the same way small and medium businesses are now seen as vital to the British economy and the success of our big companies, we need to refocus policy on the North’s small and medium towns and cities, and not just the big cities – vital as they are.

“The evidence shows this is not ‘jam-spreading’ resources thinly but economically the right thing to do: Manchester needs a prosperous Wigan to succeed, and vice-versa.”

Small and medium cities across the region contribute £82bn a year to UK economy, the City Systems report finds, which is more than Wales and Northern Ireland combined. The cities themselves need to do more to identify and articulate their unique roles as part of these systems, the report stated.

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