This paper explains how local transport governance is structured in England and what funding is available. It also looks at the broader question of transport devolution and how the devolved landscape might look in the future.Jump to full report >>
Although this paper mentions the Northern Powerhouse, it does not look at it in detail. The Commons Library will be publishing a separate paper on the Northern Powerhouse (CBP7676) in Autumn 2016.
Since 2010 Conservative-led governments have radically reformed local transport governance and finance in England. They judged the system they inherited from Labour in 2010 to be overly-centralised and unnecessarily complex. Consequently, it devolved powers to local bodies to plan and fund their own transport developments, using both grants from central government as well as money raised elsewhere, such as from the private sector and local taxpayers.
The Government now expects major local transport schemes to be delivered by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and local authorities either alone or as part of new governance arrangements such as Combined Authorities and, in the future, alongside strategic Sub-national Transport Bodies (STBs). The bulk of the capital funding for transport projects is now managed by LEPs via growth funding. Local authorities continue to receive revenue funding from DCLG and can apply for Access Funding for sustainable transport projects.
Devolution has been one of the Government’s key policy priorities since 2010 and ties in with several different policy areas, of which transport is one. ‘Devolution deals’ will see more transport decisions taken at the local level and less control of both policy and budgets from Whitehall. The first directly elected mayors and STBs will begin work in 2017.
Further papers on transport, devolution and local government can be found on the topical pages of the Parliament website.