Alun Cairns criticised for saying Wales would benefit from more investment in England

Alun Cairns gives evidence to the Welsh Affairs Committee

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns has been criticised after defending a lack of investment in Wales by saying that more investment in England would benefit Wales.

Appearing before the Welsh Affairs Committee, he said that “infrastructure investment doesn’t have to be in Wales to benefit Wales”.

“Because you can imagine that the electrification of the Main Line is £2.8bn between Paddington and South Wales. And on that basis, of course, south Wales will rightly benefit from that as well.”

His comments came after the UK Government announced the cancellation of plans to electrify the railway between Cardiff and Swansea and for a Tidal Lagoon in Wales’ second city.

Plaid Cymru MP and member of the Welsh Affairs Committee, Liz Saville Roberts said his comments betrayed a “deeply entrenched attitude in Westminster”.

“The Secretary of State’s slip of the tongue shines a light on how unionism and Westminster-rule has allowed Wales’s economy to erode through chronic under-investment in our country,” she said.

“The fact that even the Secretary of State for Wales – the person tasked with ensuring Wales’ voice is heard in the cabinet – believes investing in the south-east of England will transform the Welsh economy tells us everything we need to know about why they cancelled the electrification of the railway line to Swansea, why they abandoned the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and why Welsh taxpayers are paying for HS2 and Crossrail 2 while getting nothing in return.

“This is a deeply entrenched attitude in Westminster. It is not a Tory attitude or a Wales Office attitude, it is a Westminster attitude that has been a block on our country’s progress for far too long.

“We cannot allow such flawed thinking to continue to shape critical policy decisions such as how the replacement for EU funding – the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund – should operate.

“The answer is to take control over our own future and do the job ourselves.”


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