/ Government transport spending. Ridiculous SE bias.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
TMM - on 06 Feb 2014
In light of the closure of the SW mainline beyond Exeter I dismayed at the effect this is having to the economy of the region
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-26062712

At a time when the government is engaged in investing in HS2 so people can travel from Brum to London 30mins faster the SW beyond Exeter is not devoid of a rail network linking it to the rest of country.

When the Channel Tunnel was proposed and further investment was pumped into the SE I recall a govt commitment to electrify the track to Plymouth. Result? Nothing.

There is no air link to any London airports from any SW airports following Flybe's withdrawal from Newquay and the closure of Plymouth aiport.

Pi$$ed off that even yesterday this news was been challenged for top billing due to a tube strike which has a temporary effect.

Check out the average transport spend per head.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-16235349
London 2731
SE 792
SW 19
NE 5

Remember that in the SW we already have limited access to any public transport so we have to use the car. The VED is the same if you own a car in London where you have heavily subsidised mass transit system or if you live on Dartmoor. You pay more for your fuel and all other services (mains gas? Ha!)

Do the govt want us to all move to the SE?

Rant over
Lord of Starkness - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:

Not just the South West that gets a low per capita spend on infrastructure compared to the South East. Whilst the main North South arterial communications are not too bad, East / West road and rail connections are hopeless, thus hindering business in the regions. If congestion in the SE was allowed to continue to get worse, more people would be encouraged away from there, instead of being 'sucked in'.

Soren Lorenson - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:

Sorry I can't hear you over the whining of Londoners having to cope with the poor level of transport service the rest of us have to use.

Ramblin dave - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:

You know London's one of not many regions of the UK that contributes more to the treasury than it takes out, yeah? I think if you look at the figures it works out to be subsidising pretty much everywhere south of the border.
TMM - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Ramblin dave:
That's interesting. I wonder why it is that 'London' is able to make such a strong contribution?

Do you think that having the seat of government, the primary financial centre and comprehensive range of transport options help to create and perpetuate that situation?
Post edited at 09:55
Tom Last - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Ramblin dave:

No doubt, but the news bias did sting a bit yesterday while the southwest got torn apart by waves for the umpteenth time in as many weeks, the sharpest focus seemed to be on strikes/delays to tube services.

A friend of mine started his journey back from Shetland to Cornwall yesterday
and isn't back yet.

I don't think his lateness can be attributed to the three minute delay he experienced on the tube.

I know it's anecdotal, but did make me laugh ;)
Lord of Starkness - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> You know London's one of not many regions of the UK that contributes more to the treasury than it takes out, yeah? I think if you look at the figures it works out to be subsidising pretty much everywhere south of the border.

I wonder if that's because it's already sucked the lifeblood out of the rest of the country due to the decimation of heavy industry in the 80's. At one time it was the industrial heartlands of the Midlands and North that created much of this nations wealth.
Ramblin dave - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Lord of Starkness:

I know there's background to it, and to be honest I'd love to have a more balanced economy in this country if only for the selfish reason that it'd leave me with a better chance of finding a job somewhere less flat.

But at the same time, the fact is that London has a lot of people trying to live and work in a small space, it's generally good for the country's finances that they're able to do so, and spending a lot on transport is part of what it takes to make that work. Bear in mind that for all this lavish spending, Londoners still aren't getting flown to work in private helicopters or anything - the actual time it takes to get somewhere useful or interesting from somewhere that you can actually afford to live without being a Russian oligarch is pretty comparable to anywhere else in the country, as far as I can tell.

The news thing yesterday was daft, though. But that's the media for you.
wintertree - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:

> Do you think that having the seat of government, the primary financial centre and comprehensive range of transport options help to create and perpetuate that situation?

Do you want to turn 607 square miles of the SW into a city of 8.2M people? Then you could have all these things you want and the transport infrastructure *needed* to support it. Get that big and you need trains, not as a lifestyle choice or a green alternative but because the road network just can not cope. As much as the low spending on trains here in the NE seems a shame, they are nowhere near as critical to our economic activity compared to the SE.
Postmanpat on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Lord of Starkness:

> I wonder if that's because it's already sucked the lifeblood out of the rest of the country due to the decimation of heavy industry in the 80's.

So London caused the decline of heavy industry?
The New NickB - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Postmanpat:

> So London caused the decline of heavy industry?

Yep, Finchley to be precise :-)
Choss on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:

Been waiting Decades for electric trains in south West?
The New NickB - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to wintertree:

Do you understand the concept of spend per head of population. In theory higher population density should mean less spend per head.
Neil Williams - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Lord of Starkness:

"At one time it was the industrial heartlands of the Midlands and North that created much of this nations wealth."

British industry has never had the "worth paying for high quality" approach, or not for many years. That's why heavy industry, manufacturing in particular, has survived in Germany. Without that, it'd all have gone to the cheapest bidder in China etc. That's globalisation, and there's no avoiding it.

Our economy now is about knowledge, design and service. And the benefit of that is that we are on the edge of wide-scale home-working being viable. Fancy living in the outer Hebrides and doing an IT job technically based in London? Might work now. I presently do an IT contract for a Swiss company based mainly in the UK.

We're also entering a phase where small business can have global reach - easily. That changes things again.

As for the GWML, it'll get fixed when the weather has died down and the trains will run again. A big chunk of it is being electrified. Apart from reinstatement of the diversionary route via Okehampton, what do you see as necessary and viable?

Neil
Irk the Purist - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

But how was it calculated? Was this total spend in 2012 when London was being Olympicked? Is it per full time resident? Because London transports a lot more people than actually live there?

Could it just be because everything in London and the se costs 10 times more than every where else?

?
Neil Williams - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

Whatever you think of Thatcher, I don't agree that she did. It is globalisation, high (on a world scale) wages and an unwillingness to pay more to buy British.

Neil
JMGLondon - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:

Transport spend in the SE can benefit other parts of the UK.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26063121

ByEek - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Tom Last:

> No doubt, but the news bias did sting a bit yesterday while the southwest got torn apart by waves for the umpteenth time in as many weeks, the sharpest focus seemed to be on strikes/delays to tube services.

But is that surprising? The bad weather has been going on for a month or so now. There is only so much to say about a puddle or large wave or other "terrible scenes of devastation". The tube strike was a new event yesterday, is disrupting one of the biggest cities in the world and unsurprisingly, the London based press were there to witness it. Why does it come as a surprise that it had a lot of coverage?
wintertree - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to The New NickB:
> Do you understand the concept of spend per head of population. In theory higher population density should mean less spend per head.

Do you understand the concepts of saturation and non-linear responses?

Saturation: You reach a point where roads become saturated and trains move from being a lifestyle choice to a necessity. Or looked at another way, you max out the capacity of one transport route (a road, a rail) and you have to build a new one, leading to a dramatic increase in capital costs at the boundary. The south east has several routes approaching saturation, whereas other regions still have capacity.

Non-linear response: You further reach a situation where the density of population and scarcity of land pushes prices up by, for example, requiring tunnelling. Only in a naively simple theory does higher population density mean less spend per head.
Post edited at 11:18
The New NickB - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Neil Williams:

Did you not spot the smiley? It is a complex issue, she is part of the equation, but a smaller part than some would say.
The New NickB - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to wintertree:

Yes, understand those things, working as I occasionally do on major transport projects, I also understand the whole wrong headed ness of it all.
Neil Williams - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to The New NickB:
Sorry. I think the biggest issue is that people choose to buy cheap near enough every time (and that British products, unlike say German ones, often weren't good enough to pay a premium for).

This is how Switzerland manages to keep a vaguely viable manufacturing industry, for example, despite being a *very* high wage country. There is an incredible loyalty towards Swiss products.

Neil
Post edited at 11:29
TMM - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to wintertree:

> Do you want to turn 607 square miles of the SW into a city of 8.2M people? Then you could have all these things you want and the transport infrastructure *needed* to support it. Get that big and you need trains, not as a lifestyle choice or a green alternative but because the road network just can not cope. As much as the low spending on trains here in the NE seems a shame, they are nowhere near as critical to our economic activity compared to the SE.

Not really what I am looking for. I am just hoping for a fair crack of the whip. If the govt decides that mass transit systems such buses and trains are not economic in the SW how about you reduce our VED or fuel taxation to allow to still engage in economic activity.
TMM - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to JMGLondon:

Good news for London and a company in Derby and its suppliers. Unless there happens to be seat manufacturer or some other component provider in the SW then I fail to see the relevance to OP.

You also realise you're actually quoting BoJo automatically invalidates your comment.

> Transport spend in the SE can benefit other parts of the UK.


Bjartur i Sumarhus on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:

We will swap you some buses and trains for some of your house prices and countryside please (the stuff above water if that's ok). Thx
cuppatea on 06 Feb 2014

Is mentioning the Barnett Formula the new Godwin? :D
The New NickB - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Irk the Purist:

> But how was it calculated? Was this total spend in 2012 when London was being Olympicked? Is it per full time resident? Because London transports a lot more people than actually live there?

The National Infrastructure Plan returns similar figures and that isn't Olympic related. It isn't the only place that transports a lot more people than actually live there.

> Could it just be because everything in London and the se costs 10 times more than every where else?

Well yes, but this is an argument against just throwing money at it.
JMGLondon - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:

Sorry,your stats & link referenced English regions.

Having grown up in the SW I'm all to aware of the the lack of investment in transport infrastructure. That the mainline from w'loo is still single track at some points is a complete joke.
The New NickB - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

He irony being that investment in transport infrastructure is a major driver in property prices.
ByEek - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:

> Not really what I am looking for. I am just hoping for a fair crack of the whip. If the govt decides that mass transit systems such buses and trains are not economic in the SW how about you reduce our VED or fuel taxation to allow to still engage in economic activity.

It is a toughy. We have just bought a new house and its location in relation to work was a key restricting decision that had to be made. Where as you make a fair point about competing on a level playing field, the flip side is that if you decided to locate your international business in London, you costs would be much higher.

I work for a software company in Manchester. If we relocated to London, we wouldn't increase our turnover but would have higher wage bills and rent. Swings and roundabouts.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Neil Williams - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:
Generally, even in the SE and even where subsidised, public transport is expensive. Once you've decided to be a car owner, driving remains usually the cheapest way to travel, particularly if the car contains more than one person. So you probably don't have it as bad as you think, as driving is still feasible for you - not for a Londoner.

And don't forget in the SE that much public transport is radial (other than the London Overground which is a newish development in terms of being of any quality). If you want a "web" type network, try the North West - even though the quality is down, the network does give much more flexibility of destination. If, say, you live in Aylesbury and work in Bedford, your public transport options are poor - slow, infrequent and little in the way of an evening service.

Neil
Post edited at 13:04
Jimbo C - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Lord of Starkness:

> Whilst the main North South arterial communications are not too bad, East / West road and rail connections are hopeless, thus hindering business in the regions.

Absolutely. A decent, fast rail connection linking Manchester and Sheffield would do wonders for regional SMEs

Obviously the Pennines are a 'bit in the way' but lack of investment and closure of some really useful lines has let things slide.

Neil Williams - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Jimbo C:
I would hardly say Manchester to Sheffield had a bad rail service. All it is severely lacking is capacity - and this wasn't always so - demand increase has happened so quickly that rolling stock procurement can't keep up.

Edit: there's also that the newer TransPennine Express rolling stock, while longer physically, traded comfort for capacity. Most seats have good legroom and are at tables, but that means a 3 car set doesn't have many more seats than the 2-car sets they replaced, and far fewer than the old, tightly-packed 3-car sets.

Neil
Post edited at 13:07
ByEek - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Jimbo C:

> Absolutely. A decent, fast rail connection linking Manchester and Sheffield would do wonders for regional SMEs

Eh? How fast do you need it to be? 48 minutes travel time twice an hour seems pretty good to me.

I am also astounded that you can travel from Manchester to Norwich in 5 hours by train and Manchester to Plymouth (when there is track available) in 4 hours. Pretty impressive stuff compared to the equivalent car journeys.
timjones - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:

Have you checked the date on that story?

How about some up to date figures for a year that isn't likely to have included a lot of investment for the Olympics?
TMM - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to timjones:
Show me your data. I'm afraid my access to national statistics of govt spending per head of population is a little limited.

You will also that Nick B's post at 1238 confirms the overall flavour of the data regardless of the year.

Why not post a link with your contradictory data?
Post edited at 13:47
timjones - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:

> Show me your data. I'm afraid my access to national statistics of govt spending per head of population is a little limited.

> You will also that Nick B's post at 1238 confirms the overall flavour of the data regardless of the year.

> Why not post a link with your contradictory data?

I don't have any contradictory data but I can see a flaw in drawing parallels between damage caused by extreme weather int the SW and investment infrastructure in London in the runup to a major event that was going to draw in people from all over the world.

I'd like to see more money invested in rural transport but I don't think the examples you are using do much to further the case to support it.
Jimbo C - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to ByEek:

48 minutes for under 40 miles with one intermediate stop is not that quick for a train, and my experience is that it's longer than that complete with the occasional stop in the middle of nowhere somewhere near Chinley. My main gripe with that line is that the train makes fantastic progress between Sheffield and Edale and then slows to a crawl for the remainder.

Suspect it's because this is not one of the main lines. The service North or South of Manchester tends to be very good.
Timmd on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Postmanpat:
'I wonder if that's because it's already sucked the lifeblood out of the rest of the country due to the decimation of heavy industry in the 80's.'

> So London caused the decline of heavy industry?

I don't want to turn into a forum pedant, but the key word is 'due', ie the industry declined first.

You seemed about to argue over nothing...
Post edited at 22:21
Neil Williams - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to Jimbo C:
It'll probably slow west of Chinley because you then get onto lines shared by Manchester local services, and if one is late you'll be stuck behind it. That would apply regardless of whether it went via Strines/Marple or Hazel Grove - both have a fairly frequent local service (at least half hourly).

The solution to this is to follow the European lead and implement bi-directional working and loops on all resignalled lines. This would allow overtaking.

If by "north and south of Manchester" you mean the WCML, you can't expect it to be that good. The WCML is one of the busiest intercity lines in Europe and is not even vaguely comparable.

Neil
Post edited at 09:38
ByEek - on 10 Feb 2014
In reply to Jimbo C:

> 48 minutes for under 40 miles with one intermediate stop is not that quick for a train, and my experience is that it's longer than that complete with the occasional stop in the middle of nowhere somewhere near Chinley. My main gripe with that line is that the train makes fantastic progress between Sheffield and Edale and then slows to a crawl for the remainder.

Fair enough - but I challenge you to drive the same route in anything under 2 hours at rush hour.
kestrelspl on 10 Feb 2014
In reply to ByEek:

Also 48 mins for 40 miles is pretty quick compared to trains in London, my 7 mile commute by train takes me that long.
The New NickB - on 10 Feb 2014
In reply to kestrelspl:

Really, what is the commute?

Never mind cycling, a fairly average runner could do it on foot quicker.
Neil Williams - on 10 Feb 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

Though running to work is no good unless you've got showers. Cycling is more feasible, you just have to go slower. Though I know loads of people who seem incapable of doing that. I think if you ride a more suitable bike (sit up style rather than a drop-bar road bike) it encourages you to ride in a more stately fashion and thus not get sweaty.

Neil
silhouette - on 10 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:

So TMM, can we rely on your support for Crossrail 2 or not?
The New NickB - on 10 Feb 2014
In reply to Neil Williams:

I am not suggesting running, I am just a little surprised at the suggestion that 7 mile train journey takes 48 minutes. I just had a look at my old London commute by train, similar distance and takes 16 minutes.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 10 Feb 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

My commute by train is only 12 miles as the crow flies, unfortunately it requires changing twice! So usually takes between 60 - 75 minutes. I used to cycle, took approx the same time depending on weather/lights etc. Now I use a scooter. It's the quickest by far, half the price of the train, and a lot less effort than the bike ;-)

A lot of the overground trains that go through London Bridge / Black Friars go at a snails pace so can easily believe a 7 mile journey could take 40 mins plus.
chris j on 10 Feb 2014
In reply to silhouette:

Probably after they've reopened the Exeter - Okehampton - Plymouth line and raised the Paddington - Exeter line by about 3 ft so it stays above the floods. Chance of these happening? Pretty low now Sky News is obsessed with the Thames valley...
kestrelspl on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

Unfortunately it's a choice of two changes or a 10 minute walk to get a less reliable half hour train. I agree it does seem annoying when you compare to running that distance, bit the chance to do some reading is quite nice.
GrahamD - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:


> At a time when the government is engaged in investing in HS2 so people can travel from Brum to London 30mins faster ..

a) That is not the purpose of HS2 as anyone who has looked at it even briefly will know
b) Birmingham and Manchester are not in the SE
The New NickB - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to GrahamD:

> a) That is not the purpose of HS2 as anyone who has looked at it even briefly will know

It sort of was, before they decided it was all about capacity.

Lord of Starkness - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to GrahamD:


> b) Birmingham and Manchester are not in the SE

They are from where I am sitting.

Jim Fraser - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:

(Call that a rant?!)


Sorry, is that 5 total for the north-east or 5 per head?

When oh when is England going to get a grip and just tell London to F*ck Off.

The story of modern Parisian politics is instructive. The office of mayor was not filled for over a hundred years because the Republic believed that the office would hold too much power to the centre and be bad for France. We do not need to discuss whether their judgements were correct because the first modern mayor of Paris was convicted for paying his friends for non-existent jobs at city expense and one the current candidates has extended the reach of parasitic Paris to such an extent that London is described as a suburb of Paris.

GrahamD - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to Lord of Starkness:

I can see South in a purely geopraphical sense, but East is pushing it a bit (unless you allow NI in to the calculation :-) ). Culturally and economically Brum and Manchester really are no more SE than Edinburgh is
GrahamD - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

I think it was more about the marketing. High Speed sounds better than Network capacity - which is why these networks in other countries that have them call them Bullet or TGV or whatever.

Its a typical little Britain response to knock an infrastructure project because of 'the cost benefit' or because this particular one doesn't benefit me personally
tom_in_edinburgh - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to GrahamD:

> Its a typical little Britain response to knock an infrastructure project because of 'the cost benefit' or because this particular one doesn't benefit me personally

London 2731
SE 792
SW 19
NE 5

Maybe the next few big infrastructure projects should be somewhere other than the South East?



Ramblin dave - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

If you stop looking specifically at transport and look at total public spending per head, you get a slightly different view. Namely, in decreasing order of /head:
Northern Ireland
Scotland (would be interesting if this was broken down further, but it isn't, unfortunately...)
Wales
London
North East
Noth West
Yorkshire & Humber
West Mids
South West
East Mids
East
South East

with London, NE and NW being within a couple of percent of each other.

Source:
www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn04033.pdf

Given that, what we're actually seeing is that London is slightly above average for public spending as a whole, but that transport is an unusually large proportion of that. This is perhaps unsurprising given that getting large numbers of people to work in a relatively small and extremely densely populated area is inherently quite difficult and expensive.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to Ramblin dave:

The public spending per head numbers are misleading because of the way they are worked out. The central government expenses on 'national' offices which are located in London are looked on as benefiting the whole country and not counted into the public expenditure per head in London total: despite the fact that all that money is actually getting spent within the London economy.

If you included *all* the money government spends on people and facilities in London as 'public expenditure per head in London' you would get a totally different outcome and most likely London would be massively ahead of the other regions.
TMM - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to GrahamD:

> a) That is not the purpose of HS2 as anyone who has looked at it even briefly will know

> b) Birmingham and Manchester are not in the SE

No you're right. The purpose of HS2 is to turn Brum into a suburb of London and maintain capital flows to the SE. Have you read the reports suggesting that these transport infrastructure projects to and within London merely maintain and protect the primacy of London and SE as the business hub of the UK.
TMM - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to GrahamD:

> Its a typical little Britain response to knock an infrastructure project because of 'the cost benefit' or because this particular one doesn't benefit me personally

That's actually quite insulting. I would prefer to see investment that sees economic and social benefits extend beyond the home counties.
GrahamD - on 13 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:

HS2 is the first leg of a high speed rail network intended to link most of the population centres of the north with each other and with the SE. Long overdue as far as I'm concerned - it only gets us to where France, Germany, Japan and even Spain were over 10 years ago. Its certainly not a SE project.

As far as I can see the biggest beneficiary to start with (discounting the jobs created in the building) will be Birmingham
GrahamD - on 13 Feb 2014
In reply to TMM:

> That's actually quite insulting. I would prefer to see investment that sees economic and social benefits extend beyond the home counties.

Which, of course, HS2 does. Unfortunately it doesn't help the SW but that's no reason for people in the SW to knock it - they should hope that a successful infrastructure project outside London points the way for future investment.
GrahamD - on 13 Feb 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Maybe the next few big infrastructure projects should be somewhere other than the South East?

I was listening to a program on R4 about this the other week, which highlighted the disparity (but not quite the level of disparity you quote). One of the conclusions from that program was that actually future planned / proposed infrastructure projects went a long way to resolving the balance.
Neil Williams - on 13 Feb 2014
In reply to GrahamD:

Though the purpose of phase 1 is primarily to relieve capacity constraints on the south WCML between London and Rugby.

Neil

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