Sunday, November 18, 2007

Eurostar launch highlights transport divide

For this weekend's column, I returned to an old hobby-horse - regional transport funding. The launch of the new Eurostar terminal at St Pancras is a reminder that, when the Channel Tunnel was first built, the whole of the country was meant to benefit from the project, not just the South. Yet if the North is to gain anything from the new improved link to the continent, it will require the construction of a new high-speed route linking into the St Pancras terminal, a project which the Brown government has put off for at least a decade. More for those who are interested in this sort of thing on the companion blog HERE.

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James Higham said...

There is no tradition of the north ever having historically been of any interest to London, Paul.

Anonymous said...

Paul I agree and support the importance that you place on this regional transport issue if we are serious about truly uk-wide economic performance.

I admit that I'm feeling pretty depressed just now about regional policy having just reviewed for a professional journal the recently published Policy Exchange's so-called report into regeneration funding.

The report is a pathetically partial piece of work with few and mostly poorly based conclusions. A London-centric bias runs through the entire document, the Humber Bridge is for example cited as an case of mistaken public expenditure - the principle fault seems to have been that it was built outside the South East of England.

Indeed it seems the authors almost pressume that every success story in the South East has been due to the fact that it is in the South East, and everything that takes place outside the South East is likely to be a failure.

That a UK Think Tank can see fit to publish such a 'report' and for it to be taken seriously in some quarters, is an indication of how South East England bound our policy-making elites have become.

That the authors are based at the LSE (if I'm correct) might be an excuse for their London-centric bias were it not for the fact that it is also my alma mater!