DfT pledges light touch for transport cash plans


Councils' plans to spend allocations under the £4.7bn Local Transport Fund will not be subject to much ‘marking’ by central government, a top official has suggested.

Jessica Matthew, co-director of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Local Transport Directorate told a conference that the department expects to issue guidance on the funding stream ‘fairly soon’, as well as more detail on how much money is in each of the initial years.

In February the DfT confirmed allocations for individual local authorities in the North and Midlands over seven years, said to have been reallocated from planned spending on HS2.

At the time it said councils will be held to account ‘by the government as well as their communities’ to make sure the money is spent promptly and effectively.’

It added: ‘Local councils will be expected to publish their delivery plans for which projects they wish to invest in.’

However, Ms Matthew said: ‘We are expecting local authorities to produce their own plan. I don’t think there will be very much marking of those plans by central government. And they’re for quite a wide range of transport things.

‘We expect them to be a mixture of both capital and revenue funding. So watch this space’

The DfT has previously said the money can be spent on both highway works and public transport, as well as increasing electric vehicle charging.

Ms Matthew added that the DfT still expects councils to set out how various funding streams fit together in a statutory local transport plan but said she does not expect guidance on such plans to appear in this Parliament, ‘but that doesn’t mean local authorities shouldn’t be setting out what they intend to do in their local area, using the funding available'.

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