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Minister claims HS2 will benefit Wales even after northern leg is scrapped

18 Oct 2023 4 minute read
James Davies MP speaking in the House of Commons

Wales will continue to benefit from HS2 even after its northern leg has been scrapped, a UK Government minister has claimed.

James Davies, a Welsh Office minister, faced questions about why extra devolved cash for HS2, known as Barnett consequentials, would not be given to Wales now that the part of the scheme said to most benefit Wales – the Manchester leg – had been scrapped.

The project has been classed as an “England and Wales” scheme by the UK Government, denying the Welsh Government extra funding on the basis that the Manchester section would benefit rail journeys along the north Wales mainline to Holyhead.

Facing questions in the Commons about HS2 following Rishi Sunak’s decision to scrap the Birmingham to Manchester leg, Dr Davies insisted the major infrastructure project would still benefit people travelling from London to north Wales because of the new tracks laid to Birmingham.

Tory chaos

Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville-Roberts quoted the words of Welsh Secretary David TC Davies, telling the Commons: “‘HS2 is going to benefit Wales, it’s going to benefit people in North Wales who will benefit from better access at Crewe to London.’”

She added: “That was the Secretary of State’s central argument to withholding billions of pounds from Wales by claiming HS2 benefited us.

“Now, that the link at Crewe is another casualty of Tory chaos, will Wales Office ministers stay true to their own logic and urge the Treasury to class HS2 as English only?”

Dr Davies replied: “As she knows, rail infrastructure is not devolved and I would argue that investment in Great Britain’s rail infrastructure is of value to those in north Wales and the rest of Wales.

“Furthermore, HS2 is an important connection to the West Midlands, will be from London, and passengers from London to north Wales are likely to still use that.”

Network North

Shadow Wales minister Jessica Morden had earlier cast doubt on Network North, the series of infrastructure schemes announced by the Prime Minister to replace HS2, which is tipped to include electrification of the north Wales mainline.

Ms Morden listed a series of other decisions taken by the UK Government in Wales, telling the Commons: “Strong economic links are dependent on the Government actually having an economic plan, but this party opposite’s track record speaks for itself.

“They cancelled the electrification of the mainline to Swansea, they’re spending half a billion pounds and still potentially making up to 3,000 steelworkers redundant, and their pitiful semi-conductor strategy doesn’t even give us a bit part on the world stage.

“Why should anyone believe that their latest promises made for north Wales at a desperate party conference are worth the fag packet they are printed on?”

Dr Davies responded: “I would urge her to be somewhat more positive about the £1 billion that has been announced for infrastructure developments in north Wales by means of the electrification, and also I think in terms of the steel industry in Port Talbot, the half a billion pounds has actually saved very many jobs and also means that decarbonisation can occur.”

Elsewhere in the debate, Conservative MP for Aberconwy Robin Millar asked if ministers were still open to providing the Welsh Government with help to clear the NHS backlog in Wales.

“Twice the UK Government has offered the Welsh Government help in reducing patient waiting lists for important medical procedures. Neither offer has been taken up by the Labour Government in Wales,” he said.

Dr Davies responded: “Having spoken with the Department for Health I can indeed confirm that the offer still stands. He will find it of interest to know that the Labour Welsh Government did write in response to the latest offer several weeks after that offer had been made.

“Unfortunately the minister did not confirm whether they would accept the offer or not.

“In the interests of tens of thousands of patients, I would strongly encourage them to do so.”


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Annibendod
Annibendod
7 months ago

What have we done to deserve such people?

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago

Going on this mans logic, the new Brenner Base tunnel in the eastern Alps, should half the journey time from Beddau to Pontypridd and bring wider benefits to the area.

Last edited 7 months ago by Gareth
Richard E
Richard E
7 months ago

James is a very hard working, decent and honest local MP who sadly just ‘ doesn’t get Wales ‘ and even less so Europe.

Influenced by his late aunt Beata Brooks MEP ( who made Margaret Thatcher look pro europe ) he is seen by many across his region ( Chester and North Wales ) as the representative of David Jones MP here on earth.

His comnents or who ever penned them for James just show out of touch the Tory Party has become sadly.

They will soon reap what they have sown

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago

Did he claim this with a straight face?

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
7 months ago

So if they made improvements to the Conwy Valley line, would he proudly say it would benefit to the people of England, as they would be able to get to Blaenau Ffestiniog quicker?

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
7 months ago

They’ll keep pumping us this crap until, they believe, we’ll let it pass, get bored or just forget it. We can’t let this happen – £5b ! Imagine what could be done with that amount of money! Keep up the pressure Liz!

karl
karl
7 months ago

What utter lies. HS2 was reported to take away from our economy.

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago
Reply to  karl

A dept of transport report concluded that ” HS2 will negatively impact the Welsh economy by an estimated by £200 million a year”.
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&opi=89978449&url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-51460737&ved=2ahUKEwjezJOouICCAxXYQUEAHXYlD0MQFnoECCwQAQ&usg=AOvVaw37SnvKzPLS2bTSqD9G9Uot

R W
R W
7 months ago

Enough is enough!! It’s time Drakeford and his cronies showed some backbone by taking this unscrupulous government in Westminster to the law courts to ensure that we receive the funding we deserve. Surely, if this isn’t a cast iron case, then I don’t know what is!!

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
7 months ago

They really are taking the proverbial out of Wales these treacherous so-called Welsh Tory MPs. HS2 is a white elephant that’s hemorrhaged tens of billions and the only ones benefitting is the Midlands & Southern England and no doubt those Conservative party donors who likely own those construction firms building the line. Welsh Office lackey MP James Davies like his fellow collaborator Welsh Secretary Englishman David TC Davies not forgetting captain clueless Andrew RT Davies leader of the Welsh Tories are a Conservative cancer that’s eating Wales from the inside out. Hypocrite Keir Starmer & UK Labour are no better.… Read more »

Llyn
Llyn
7 months ago

Just after the Brexit referendum James Davies predicted that the result would bring the people of Britain together. Says it all really.

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
7 months ago

Davies is yet another Tory politician who was educated at a fee-paying school, where the main item on the curriculum seems to be how to talk well but lie badly.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
7 months ago

£5bn will benefit Wales. A train which doesn’t cross our border will not.

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