The music scene of Great Britain is built on a slant. While the rain may fall hard on humdrum towns in the North, it is towards London that it runs, washing its money and talent along with it. One in three 22-30 year olds are currently leaving their hometowns to live within confines of the M25. For many young artists who pick up a laptop or a guitar, the first thing they ask is not 'How do I use the boredom, isolation and outsiderdom of provincial living to make amazing pop music?' but 'How do I get a gig at a normcore festival in Hackney?'.

Is it because they believe the words of overgrown, albino schoolboy Boris Johnson who last year claimed that, while The Beatles came from Liverpool, "in the end it was London that helped propel them around the world"? Or is it indicative of a Britain that has, for all intents and purposes, been reduced to the Greater London area, starving the rest of the country not only of national wealth, but enterprise, infrastructure and talent too?

David Cameron and George Osborne tell us that the planned HS2 rail line will go someway as to bridging this divide, spreading prosperity to the North's troubled cities by shaving 35 minutes off the journey time between London and Birmingham and, by 2033, an hour off Manchester and Leeds too. Musicians living in those areas will be expected to take satisfaction from the fact they have been handed an opportunity to impose more easily upon the capital; commuting to management meetings, press engagements and label showcases without having to leave whatever desolate fracking ground they call home. But artists shouldn't have to leave their cities to access the UK's music scene. Their cities should receive the investment needed to make them competitive and their music scenes competitive in their own right.

"The real issue is less about journey times and more about how far music's centre of gravity has shifted in favour of the south-east."

In 2012-13, Arts Council England (ACE) spent £69 per head in London, compared with a measly £4.60 per head elsewhere (an amount that wouldn't pay for a can of Red Stripe in half the city's venues). Add to this the fact that the capital receives almost £650 per head of public transport investment a year contrasted with £250 in the North and you begin to get the impression that this government sees growth as an entirely south-eastern priority.

Instead of building HS2, the government should invest in upgraded rail links for the North. Our trains are old. They break down. A lot. If you live half an hour the wrong side of Manchester you have no chance of going to watch a gig in town unless you know someone who can drive (and god knows small venues need punters at the moment). As we have seen in Wales, where most branch lines were cut in the early '60s, the cost of a weakened rail network is economic decline (that Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, John Cale, Marina and the Diamonds, Julian Cope and Manic Street Preachers come from the only European country, bar Albania and Moldova, without an electrified railway is simply unjust and merits a separate discussion in itself).

You see, it's already quick enough for Londoners to reach the North, or vice versa. The real issue is less about journey times and more about how far music's centre of gravity has shifted in favour of the south-east. Although a city like London will always draw musicians, a look at some of the most idiosyncratic music this country has produced suggests that the truly exciting scenes are often those formed away from the tastemaking homogeneity of the capital: Hull with its mid-1980s boom of The Housemartins, Red Guitars and Everything But The Girl; Manchester pretty much consistently from the late seventies to the early nineties; Bristol and its multi-racial underground. But while rain and graffiti may help in uniting artists for a time, they cannot sustain a scene forever. Without the right investment, growth is hindered and - as has been the case in Manchester - areas often never experience anything like it again.

"To ensure that pop continues to be a wealth of voices, accents and reference points, it is essential that measures are taken to devolve more power to the regions."

Music has become increasingly dominated by those free from the pressure of having a job. While this is by no means a problem exclusive to the North (and it would be insulting to the struggling artists of Cornwall, Great Yarmouth or London to suggest otherwise), when Public Finance magazine shows cuts in the north-west of 6-8% with spending actually set to rise by more than 2% in the some parts of the south-east, then it is in the North where it will be most keenly felt.

In a Sheffield where £140m of cuts have already been made in the past two years, where eight more food banks have opened in the last few months, where the city's 25,000 seater Don Valley Stadium was demolished as part of a £50m budget-cutting measure (an amount less than that hidden by Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Mark Owen and manager Jonathan Wild in their tax avoidance scheme), it is hard to imagine Pulp having survived long enough to write 'Common People'. And without the Jarvis Cockers of this world, who do we have? Mumford and Sons? Coldplay? The Vaccines? All fine bands but none that exactly burn with outsider insurgency [insert obligatory reference to Joe Strummer's upbringing here]. Part of the rise of UKIP in May's European elections was to do with people feeling that politicians aren't listening to them. And if they can't be heard in an industry as traditionally meritocratic as pop music, then where can they?

To ensure that pop continues to be a wealth of voices, accents and reference points, it is essential that measures are taken to devolve more power to the regions. Take the £50bn earmarked for HS2 and give it to local councils. Allow the likes of Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Sunderland the freedom to plan their own services, their own infrastructure and their own cultural events. For while high speed rail will be a gravy train for the few who can afford it, it will serve no benefit to the rest.