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‘Scandal’ of Tory underfunding of Wales railways highlighted in Senedd

25 Apr 2023 3 minute read
Photo TfW

A cross party group of Senedd Members has called on the UK Government to allocate billions of pounds to adequately fund railways in Wales.

The MS’s have signed a Statement of Opinion highlighting the “scandal” of underfunding and calling on Westminster to allocate significant financial consequentials to Wales with an additional multi-billion-pound sum equal to the historic under-investment since 2010.

The statement organised by Huw Irranca-Davies, MS for Ogmore, notes:

  1. a) that rail investment is critical to reducing carbon emissions and boosting economic growth;
  2. b) the damaging effects of multi-annual, multi-billion-pound under-investment in rail in Wales by the UK Conservative Government
  3. c) that no new tracks in the Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 plans will be placed in Wales.

And calls on the UK Government to allocate to Wales:

  1. a) £5 billion consequentials from the HS2 expenditure in England;
  2. b) £1 billion consequentials from the Northern Powerhouse Rail expenditure in England;
  3. c) an additional multi-billion-pound sum equal to the historic under-investment since 2010.

The organiser of the Statement, Huw Irranca-Davies MS says “In South and West Wales we have lost out on rail electrification which the Tories promised and then broke that promise.

“Locally, we have waited for decades for funds to upgrade the Maesteg line, while billions have been spent on railways in the Southeast of England.

“We cannot get money from the UK government to close the notorious Pencoed level crossing, without which there cannot be more services on the South Wales mainline, yet billions are spent on HS2 and the Northern Powerhouse Rail without a penny extra coming to Wales.”

UK Treasury

The UK Treasury has designated both the HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail as “England and Wales” expenditure despite not including any developments within Wales itself.

The HS2 project is likely to cost up to £100 billion to complete and the stalled Northern Powerhouse scheme is priced at over £20 million.

Rail infrastructure is not devolved to Wales, meaning that it depends on investment by the UK Government.

A report published last year by Professor Mark Barry of Cardiff University, who has played a key role in the development of the South Wales Metro, estimated the UK Government is now investing 200 times more in England’s rail network than Wales’.

A Cardiff University report in 2021 also concluded that if rail was devolved, Wales would have received an extra £514m investment in its rail infrastructure

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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 year ago

Nice try Huw and gang but I fear you will receive the standard reply. ‘We’ve put more money in’. They only have to put a single penny in to make that statement true but the trouble is it doesn’t go very far.

1 year ago

The irony of a Labour member telling us how much we are being short changed by Westminster, weeks after his leader was telling us how well we do from having the union ” insurance policy” that we benefit so much from. Wake up Labour in Cymru, we are being bent over and shafted by the union, get real and leave it behind now, please, for our futures sake.

George Thomas
George Thomas
1 year ago
Reply to  Gareth

It’s possible to be both short-changed and looked after by insurance policy.

In my opinion, the facts are that leaving the UK would make things more difficult and that staying in the UK would make things more difficult.

It would be amazing if the thing that was currently shafting us financially because they could didn’t try to if we decided to leave, but that doesn’t seem likely.

1 year ago
Reply to  George Thomas

I tend to look at country’s similar to us, and the position we are in now, and how they have flourished since becoming Indy states. Latvia Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, take a look at the ROI, who 50 years ago had a GDP half of ours and now it is ahead of ours. After 800 years of coming last in the UK, there must be an alternative. Countries that in Europe are considered poorer than the U K, all seem to afford electrified rail systems, how? Short term pain will come, but we can not get worse in the long term,… Read more »

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
1 year ago

See that brick wall near you? Bang your head against it. We are never going to get adequate funding for our railways from Westminster. It won’t fund it because it knows it can get away with not funding it. It’s been the same in other areas for centuries too, it’s why we are poorer than other areas of the UK. We need to stop bloodying our head against that brick wall and get the hell out of this corrupt Union as soon as possible instead.

Gwyn Hopkins
Gwyn Hopkins
1 year ago

Although the HS2 railway will all be in England, the UK government has designated it an England – Wales project on the flimsy pretext that a few trains using it will proceed to Holyhead. However, some trains using HS2 will go to Scotland but the government has not designated it an England – Scotland project. Hence Scotland is receiving a Barnett consequential (9bn) – but not Wales. The reason for this gross discrimination against Wales couldn’t be clearer – Scotland’s independence movement is far stronger than that of Wales.    

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