Call for more cash for North East roads

A traffic jam at Testos roundabout.
A traffic jam at Testos roundabout.

The Government is being urged to make a U-turn on its transport policy ahead of a key meeting of northern political and business leaders this week.

Calls have been made for more investment in transport outside London and the South East amid claims of a huge North-South divide in Government spending.

Figures published by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) North shows the North of England has seen £59 billion less spending over the last decade compared to the capital.

The call comes as The Gazette has launched a Safe A19 campaign calling on the Government to hold an inquiry into safety on one of our busiest roads.

Nearly 900 people have signed the petition so far in response to growing concerns about the number of accidents and casualties on the stretch of the road from South Tyneside’s Testos Roundabout to Wolviston in County Durham.

Data analysis by Tom Forth of consultancy ODILeeds showed the vast majority of Department for Transport staff work in the capital and South East - leading to an “institutional bias” that “patronises” northern commuters, IPPR North said.

This week a major cross-party summit is being held in Leeds to discuss transport investment in the North, attended by the Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, Liverpool city region mayor Steve Rotheram, and the leaders of Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and Manchester councils.

Luke Raikes, senior research fellow at IPPR North, said: “The Government still hasn’t engaged with the North seriously over this issue.

“Instead it has tried to defend its plans by pointing to the small amount of investment it does make, or rehashing previously announced spending.

“The best way forward is to deliver the fresh funding and powers northern commuters clearly need.”

The Department for Transport (DfT) has insisted money for the North is not being cut.

Our petition can be found by visiting www.change.org and searching for ‘Safe A19’.