Funding priorities which see £2,595 being spent on transport improvements for every Londoner, but just £185 per Midland resident must change, according to MPs.

But a planned revamp of the unfair funding system could make the situation even worse, an inquiry has warned.

A Commons committee demanded action to end a bias in favour of London, which means funding for transport infrastructure such as new rail stations or road schemes comes to £2,595 per person in the capital but just £184.96 per person in the West Midlands.

And MPs criticised a new funding system due to come into effect next year which puts Local Enterprise Partnerships, bodies led by employers and backed by local authorities, in charge of improving local transport.

In a new report, the Commons Transport Committee said: “There is a risk that some areas will be left behind”.

But the MPs, including Redditch MP Karen Lumley, warned: “The under-funding of transport projects outside Greater London in recent years cannot be allowed to continue. No area across our nation should be second class in relation to the allocation of transport infrastructure funds.”

The committee highlighted research from thinktank IPPR North which found there was a massive gap in spending per head on transport infrastructure.

Ministers have announced that Local Enterprises (LEPs) will become responsible for transport schemes from 2015. The Government is putting £2 billion a year into a fund called the Single Local Growth Fund, and LEPs will draw up bids to try to win a share of the money.

These include Birmingham and the Black Country LEP as well as the Black Country LEP, Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, Worcestershire LEP, Stoke and Staffordshire LEP and the Marches LEP, covering Herefordshire and Shropshire.

But the inquiry warned:

* Money could go to areas where LEPs had the resources to prepare impressive bids, not where it was most needed.

* There is no guarantee that the £2 billion a year will be spent on transport, because LEPs can also bid to use the money on any scheme that is designed to help the economy grow.

* LEPs are not accountable to the public and most voters would expect their local council to be in charge of spending.

* While the new system is supposed to devolve power and funding to a local level, central government in London will decide which bids are successful.

In particular, the MPs warned that there was no guarantee that the new system would ensure cash was distributed fairly.

And they criticised Ministers for encouraging councils to set up joint transport boards, such as Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Transport Board which includes Birmingham, Solihull, Staffordshire and Worcestershire councils among others – only to change the rules and announce that LEPs, and not transport boards, will oversee transport funding.

Committee chair Louise Ellman said: “Far less money is spent on transport projects outside London than in the capital. This inequality has gone on for too long and has to change.

“For example, IPPR says that transport infrastructure spending is £2,500 per head in London compared with £5 per head in the north east.

“Even on the Government’s figures, transport spending per head in London is more than twice that in the English regions.”

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