Calls for more transport funding for towns to reduce 'North-South divide'

A new report is calling on the Government to hand over more power to local areas in a bid to reduce the North South divide.

The National Infrastructure Commission is urging ministers to overhaul the funding system.

The aim is to allow regions to spend more time upgrading roads, public transport and making other improvements. 

The Commission proposes that the government should support local authorities outside London by enabling them to spend up to £6 billion per year on transport investment over the next five years. 

The independent report on how infrastructure investment can best support the needs of different town-sized settlements was commissioned by government in March.

The Commission engaged with dozens of civic and business leaders over the course of the study and undertook social research on town residents' investment priorities. 

Amongst those asked, they found better road maintenance was the number one priority.

Bridget Rosewell, Commissioner, said:

Better road maintenance was the number one for priority in residents' survey Credit: PA

Cllr David Renard, economy spokesperson for the Local Government Association said: "Reducing and simplifying the number of funding streams available to councils and providing long-term certainty will help councils plan and deliver better transport and connectivity across the country.  

"This is something that councils have called for and will make us stronger partners with government in delivering its transport decarbonisation and climate change ambitions.

"With the right tools, councils can help rebuild their communities, help level up the country and address the challenges that have been brought by the pandemic."