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Devolution and transport in the UK IPPR Devolution in a Downturn conference, Belfast Jon Shaw.

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Presentation on theme: "Devolution and transport in the UK IPPR Devolution in a Downturn conference, Belfast Jon Shaw."— Presentation transcript:

1 Devolution and transport in the UK IPPR Devolution in a Downturn conference, Belfast Jon Shaw

2 Outline Transport and devolution in the UK Transport strategies Transport policies Conclusions

3 Transport and devolution in the UK Our starting point is 1998: A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone Travel Choices for Scotland Transporting Wales into the Future Shaping our Future: Regional Development Strategy for Northern Ireland Geographical tensions within this one overarching strategy

4 Transport and devolution in the UK


6 Transport strategies Headline national strategies showed remarkable horizontal convergence Sustainability / integration rhetoric Reassertion of road building and primacy of economy Some vertical divergence as a result A longer timescale would mean some vertical convergence Why?

7 Transport strategies Londons strategy showed genuine divergence Horizontal divergence in that in London the rhetoric of A New Deal was actually delivered Vertical divergence in that policies different from those immediately preceding The Mayors Transport Strategy (again a timescale issue) Transport a policy area upon which broader legitimacy for the devolved institutions was based

8 Transport policies Four policy elements of the various transport strategies demonstrate dynamics of divergence and convergence Roads / road user charging Public transport investment Concessionary fares Air Route Development Funds

9 Transport policies Divergence (D) / convergence (C) from England

10 Transport policies Concessionary fares for the over-60s Well established prior to devolution but – on the mainland at least – problems after local government reorganisation in the 1990s National schemes following devolution: Northern Ireland, October 2001 Wales, April 2002 Scotland, January 2006 England, April 2008

11 Policy divergence and convergence Benefits of concessionary fares questionable Costly but limited economic development effect and distribute benefits unevenly Induce travel and therefore become more costly Impact upon local transport budgets A political gimmick? Curious lack of appraisal – probably grey vote initiative An easy way to reach targets? Nevertheless, a splendid example of policy transfer!

12 Conclusions Analyses of policy divergence and convergence have been a key strand of devolution research in the UK Transport largely neglected in such analyses Transport strategies show significant convergence London being the exception Transport policies show a mixture of divergence and convergence Importance of timescale to analyses of vertical divergence / convergence

13 Conclusions How far is devolution per se significant in promoting policy change? Policy ideas themselves not necessarily products of devolution Devolution opens the door, but you have to walk through that door (Transport policy adviser, London) London shows the most significant devolution effect, but has the least devolved power Institutional arrangements important… …but so are specific local circumstances, and the activation of institutional structures by political agency So, strategic capacity is of key importance?

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