Plaid Cymru hits out at ‘absurd’ England-and-Wales designation for troubled HS2 project
Plaid Cymru has urged the UK Government to reclassify HS2 as an “England only” project following reports that sections of the high-speed rail link will be delayed to save money.
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP, has said that it is “absurd” that the UK Government “continues to pretend that HS2 is an ‘England-and-Wales’ project”.
Ms Saville Roberts’ intervention comes after reports that the UK government is set to announce that construction of certain sections of HS2 will be put on hold.
Unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland, Wales doesn’t receive Barnett consequentials from spending on HS2 because national rail infrastructure in Wales is reserved to the UK Government.
For this reason the Treasury has classified HS2 as a ‘national project’ which benefits both countries, despite the railway project – even if completed – being wholly in England.
A Cardiff University report found that if rail was devolved, Wales would have received an extra £514m investment in its rail infrastructure between 2011-12 and 2019-20 as a result of UK Government investment in HS2.
Ms Saville Roberts said that it is “absurd” that the UK Government continues to “pretend” that HS2 benefits Wales, when reports suggest that it will be “nothing more than a new line between London and Birmingham”.
She called on the Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies MP, to “start doing his job” and demand Wales’s fair share from the “biggest white elephant in the Tory circus”.
“It is absurd that the UK Government continues to pretend that HS2 is an ‘England-and-Wales’ project when it’s clear it will be nothing more than a new line between London and Birmingham,” Ms Saville Roberts said.
“The argument for denying our fair share of HS2 consequential funding was threadbare to begin with. Now it has been torn to shreds.
“It’s time for the Secretary of State for Wales to start doing his job and demand Wales’s fair share from this biggest white elephant in the Tory circus”.
A budget of £55.7 billion for the whole of the HS2 project was set in 2015. But the target cost of Phase One alone has spiralled to £40.3 billion at 2019 prices.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.