MPs condemn Government transport policy

A group of MPs has criticised the Government for a lack of clarity on its transport strategy and called on ministers to publish a White Paper to make clear how transport spending will boost the economy.

Transport: a more coherent policy strategy is needed
Transport: a more coherent policy strategy is needed

The cross-party Transport Select Committee this week published its Transport and the Economy report, which looks at how well the Government is supporting the UK economy and reducing regional differences in economic prosperity through its transport spending.

The report criticised the Government for spending large amounts of money on transport despite not having a strong policy framework in place.

The delay in producing national policy statements on transport was also noted by the MPs, who said: "A detailed set of objectives and a robust analytical framework are required against which proposals can be assessed.

"Large sums of money are involved and difficult choices have to be made. We recommend that a White Paper be published, clarifying the Government's objectives for all transport spending and the criteria it will use for deciding between different claims on the available resources."

The committee expressed concerns that the abolition of regional planning bodies would prevent larger than local transport schemes from getting off the ground.

Louise Ellman, chair of the committee, said: "The current government has swept away the regional tier of planning and many institutions that played a key role in the development of strategic priorities for transport spending in support of economic development.

"This has created a vacuum that has left regions without the institutions and arrangements they need to plan and prioritise sub-national transport schemes and other significant transport infrastructure."

The lack of prominence given to the UK’s major ports and airports in the transport strategy was highlighted, with the committee recommending that the Government explain how it intends to help businesses meet the need for better international links.

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