Sir - This August the think tank Institute for Public Policy Research North (IPPR) published its latest updated analysis of regional transport spending, highlighting continuing under investment in the North of England. Their analysis found that London would receive £3,636 in transport spending per person, while the north would receive £1,247. Yorkshire and the Humber get the lowest of all of England’s regions with just £511 planned per person, followed closely by the north-east at £519 per person. The north-west will get £2,062 per person under current plans.

Consistently, the IPPR North has highlighted the low transport spending in the North compared to London, (see my letter 'A North-South divide on transport spending Craven Herald, July 18) although the Government frequently challenges their figures.

Now the Government has launched a review of high-speed rail link HS2 - with a decision expected by the end of October. It will consider whether and how the project to connect London, the Midlands and northern England is value for money and should proceed. With some £7.4 billions already spent on the project, in July, Allan Cook current chair of the project, reportedly warned that the total cost could exceed the current budget of £56bn by £30bn. Some fear the final figure could hit £100 billion.

According to reports every aspect of the project will be “rigorously examined” in order to make “properly-informed decisions.” Even if the review does back HS2, the project which emerges could look very different from the current plans. The review will examine how much realistic potential there is for cost reductions through changes to HS2's scope, planned phasing or specification.

Whilst understanding the concern of some cross party politicians in the Midlands and the North that any cut backs or scrapping of HS2 will impact badly on the future rail infrastructure, it is a future that is a long way off .The second phase of HS2 to Leeds and Manchester is scheduled for completion by 2033. What is needed now is a new west-to-east high-speed rail line, connecting Liverpool, Manchester, and Leeds onto Newcastle and Hull, our own Crossrail of the North, together with improvements to regional and local services, may of which have been already highlighted in 'Your Letters' to this newspaper.

Barry White

Albert Hill,