HS2: Wales owed almost £4bn even after phase 2 cancellation – Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP will ask the UK Transport Minister to justify withholding £3.9bn in rail funds from Wales, due to the designation of the HS2 rail project as an England and Wales project.
The estimated cost of the HS2 line from London to Birmingham has ballooned to as much as £66bn, the scheme’s executive chair told the Transport Select Committee last Wednesday (10 January).
Despite transport being devolved to Wales, rail infrastructure is not.
This means that, unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland, Wales does not receive funding to reflect rail spending in England.
Were Wales to be treated in line with both Scotland and Northern Ireland through the Barnett Formula on HS2 funding, Wales would receive £3.9bn in consequentials.
Speaking ahead of a debate in the House of Commons today (17 January), Ms Saville Roberts said: “The second leg of HS2 was scrapped to a big fanfare with grand promises to Wales. But the reality is that the UK Government is still withholding almost £4bn in funds owed to us if Wales were treated in line with Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“The HS2 executive chair’s admission that the cost of HS2 has ballooned to £66bn means that Wales is losing out on £3.9bn in much-needed funds. That money would be transformational for our transport infrastructure, particularly in rural areas where bus services have been run into the ground for years.
“Up to a quarter of Wales’s bus services are at risk of cuts or significant amendments, in a country that is already more dependent on cars than any other UK nation. The UK Government’s boastful rhetoric on transport funding is at odds with people’s lived experience in our communities.
“I look forward to asking the UK Transport Minister today to outline why exactly he thinks it is fair that Wales is short-changed of £3.9bn. Plaid Cymru will always stand up for fairness for Wales over HS2, and we will not rest until Wales gets what we’re owed.”
Around 10% of Wales’s bus routes were reduced or withdrawn during the summer of 2023 due to funding pressures, and the Confederation of Public Transport have estimated that a further 15% to 25% of all bus routes in Wales will be at risk of cuts or significant amendment over the coming year.
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