North Wales railways need fair funding settlement, ministers told
The Government must invest more in north Wales’ railways in order for the region to get a “fair settlement”, ministers have been told.
Delyn MP Rob Roberts disputed claims from the Department for Transport (DfT) that North Wales was already getting its fair share of rail funding, and challenged ministers to correct this.
Mr Roberts, who was elected as a Conservative MP, now sits as an independent after parliamentary authorities found he had made unwanted advances towards a member of staff.
At Wales Questions in the Commons, he said: “When I asked the DfT about maintenance funding spent on the Wales route, they told me it gets 4% to 5% of the spending and it equates to 4% of the network so it must be fair.
“The problem is that the figures are based on train miles rather than track length, and the train miles are always lower in Wales because of lack of investment in infrastructure when the track length is actually 11%, not 4%.
“Will the minister make representations to the DfT to increase rail spending proportionately to make it a fairer settlement?”
Welsh Office minister Dr James Davies did not respond directly to the request, but said Mr Roberts was “right to reference investment in rail in North Wales”.
Shadow minister Gerald Jones had earlier called on the Government to ensure Wales gets a fair share of funding from HS2.
The Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney MP said: “Considering not a single mile of track of HS2 will reach Wales, and current services between Wales and England are woefully unreliable and expensive, what steps is the Secretary of State and the Government going to take to improve this and ensure that those living in Wales actually benefit from HS2?”
Welsh Secretary David TC Davies replied: “The HS2 project, which was of course proposed by the previous Labour government and is supported as far as I am aware by the Labour Opposition, will benefit passengers in North Wales.
“The Government is committed to passengers across the whole of Wales, which is why £390 million is being spent on a range of improvements and of course in addition to that we will shortly have the South Wales Metro system, which is part of the Cardiff Capital Region growth deal.”
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