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Boris Johnson accused of inflicting ‘rail betrayal’ on Wales over lack of transport spending

02 Dec 2020 3 minutes Read
Boris Johnson. Picture by British Embassy Belgrade (CC BY 2.0).

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was accused of inflicting a “rail betrayal” on Wales during today’s Prime Minister’ Questions.

Last week’s Statement of Funding revealed that funding Wales was only getting 36.6% of its population share of transport spending across the rest of the UK.

This was mainly as a result of HS2, the bullet train project which was classified as being an ‘England and Wales’ project by the UK Government despite the entirety of it being in England.

With the project expected to cost over £100bn, Wales would ordinarily receive around £5bn in Barnett consequentials. However, due to the decision confirmed in last week’s Spending Review, Wales will not receive any additional money.

Plaid Cymru Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP criticised the decision, saying that it “reveals in black and white the iniquity of the rail betrayal being inflicted on Wales”.

“Last week his government published its Statement of Funding, showing a reduction in the amount Wales receives through transport spend in England from 80.9% to 36.6%,” she said during PMQs.

She asked Boris Johnson: “Could he inform the House of how much investment is he funnelling away from Wales due to his government’s decision to label this white elephant an ‘EnglandandWales scheme’, despite not a single inch of the railway being in Wales?”

 

‘Fair share’

In his response, the Prime Minister said that he “simply failed to recognise the characterisation” made by Ms Saville Roberts.

“The Welsh Government will accept an additional £1.3bn next year and we’re supplying £240m more to support Welsh farmers, £22.1m to support fisheries in Wales.

“And the last time I looked at transport in Wales the Welsh Labour government spent £144m for plans for an M4 bypass which they then junked, Mr. Speaker.”

Speaking after PMQs, Liz Saville Roberts said: “Plaid Cymru has been warning since 2015 of the danger HS2 posed to future Welsh government funding. The Prime Minister’s non-answer confirmed that Wales is yet again short-changed by Westminster.

“We now know that HS2 will drive a coach and horses through the Welsh budget, with Westminster intent on not only stripping our powers away, but also the economic means to invest in our nation.

“We are facing the worst recession in more than 300 years and an unprecedented economic crisis. I urge the Prime Minister not to deprive Wales of its fair share of funding in this context.”

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