MPs on the cross party Transport Select Committee have warned the Government it must do more to show that transport expenditure plans involve a fair allocation of resources across the nation.
Launching a short report examining transport spending pledges made by the Government in 2011–12, Louise Ellman MP, chair of the Transport Select Committee said,
"Although we welcome the additional investment in road and rail infrastructure projects announced in the Autumn Statement, there is still concern that the regions are not as well provided for as London and the south east.
We also have real concerns about how those projects were chosen. A project's readiness to proceed does not necessarily demonstrate that it is the best way of using public money to promote growth.
Ministers also need to provide much more information about how the department’s funding of the Regional Growth and Growing Places Funds has been used.
While the presentation of financial information is in a clearer, simpler format than previous years, the key performance indicators fail to show whether the DfT's policies are effective and, overall, the DfT's 2010–11 annual report gives a very thin account of the department's performance during the year. The Department must publish much more information about changes made to its budget within any given year."
MPs noted that the DfT underspent on its budget in 2010–11 by more than the budget cuts made during the year.
MPs recommend that the new rail schemes announced in the autumn statement be regarded as additional to those which the Government will agree to fund as part of planning for the 2014–19 rail spending period.
Finally, the Committee repeats its call for the Department to publish a national transport strategy to explain what the Government aims to achieve by spending money on transport and how its policies support these aims.
"It is now a full year since we first made this recommendation in our report on Transport and Economy so we look forward to hearing more from Ministers on this crucial matter when that report is debated on the floor of the House on 28 February"
added Louise Ellman.