London mayor Sadiq Khan says it's a myth that the capital gets too much public spending on transport

Rebecca Smith
The mayor said comparing transport spending in the capital with elsewhere in the UK was not comparing like with like
The mayor said comparing transport spending in the capital with elsewhere in the UK was not comparing like with like (Source: Getty)

London's mayor has hit back at claims that the capital receives a disproportionate amount of investment on transport schemes compared to the rest of the country.

Today, Sadiq Khan released a new report by GLA Economics, arguing that previous regional comparisons haven't considered the demand for transport and size of the economy in London, and that the amount being spent on railways per passenger journey is among the lowest in Britain.

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Concerns have been raised over the future of prospective developments such as the huge £31bn Crossrail 2 rail project, that government could go cold on it, with the perception that it was investing in the capital at the expense of elsewhere in the country.

And at face value, London does receive the most transport expenditure in the UK - historically 20-30 per cent of the UK total, even accounting for population differences.

But today's report argues that comparing regions on how much transport expenditure they receive on a per head basis doesn't properly account for the need or demand for transport in the respective areas.

Around half of people working and living in London commute to their job via public transport, while the number of passengers using public transport in the capital at peak hours considerably exceeds those of other major cities. The report says London Bridge station, for example, has nearly double the number of passenger arrivals on any given day than all the stations in Birmingham combined.

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London mayor, Sadiq Khan, said:

London is often accused of taking a bigger slice of the cake when it comes to public spending on transport. However, the capital faces a unique set of challenges relative to other regions of the UK, particularly the immense level of demand placed on our transport networks.

To compare transport spending in London with any other UK region is just not comparing like with like and this report well and truly debunks the myth that we receive more than our fair share.

Where London succeeds, the rest of the country succeeds and Crossrail is a great example of that.

There were around 1.5bn railway journeys across Britain in 2015-16, and nearly two-thirds, 934.6m, were in London. "When compared with public sector expenditure on railways, the amount spent per passenger journey in London was approximately £6.94 in 2015-16. That was below the GB average of £10.31 and one of the lowest among all the regions, the report adds.

Around 79.4 per cent of the planned infrastructure in London will be funded entirely by the public sector; the lowest among the English regions, while the report also flags that London's share of total economic output for the UK in 2015 was 22.7 per cent, more than the North East, North West, and Yorkshire and the Humber combined.

However, Conservative London Assembly member Keith Prince, said: “This is nothing but political posturing and yet another attempt by Sadiq Khan to deflect attention away from his own transport failings.

“London receives six times more money on transport per person than the north of England – his statements simply aren’t supported.

“It is little wonder that a man who cost TfL more than £640m with his failed fares freeze is trying to get voters to look the other way. The mayor needs to start working with the government to deliver projects like Crossrail 2 and rail devolution in London and stop taking cheap shots with ill-informed claims.”

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