‘Scandal’ of Tory underfunding of Wales railways highlighted in Senedd
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:
- a) that rail investment is critical to reducing carbon emissions and boosting economic growth;
- b) the damaging effects of multi-annual, multi-billion-pound under-investment in rail in Wales by the UK Conservative Government
- 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:
- a) £5 billion consequentials from the HS2 expenditure in England;
- b) £1 billion consequentials from the Northern Powerhouse Rail expenditure in England;
- 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.”
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
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.