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Sunak’s north Wales rail electrification plan ‘crumbs from the table’

04 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty at the Conservative conference. Image: Stefan Rousseau

Emily Price

Rishi Sunak’s proposals to electrify the North Wales Main Line have been blasted as “crumbs from the table” by Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader.

Liz Saville Roberts said the pledge does not replace the billions of pounds Wales should have already received in Barnett consequentials for the first phase of HS2.

The Prime Minister made the announcement during his keynotes speech at the Tory conference in Manchester on Wednesday (October 4).

He said he would scrap the northern leg of HS2 and instead would invest “every single penny” on new transport projects in the north and Midlands.

Responding to the announcement, Ms Saville Roberts said: “High-speed rail for London, crumbs from the table for Wales.

“Electrifying the North Wales Main line is said to receive around £1bn. Plaid Cymru will not accept that this pledge replaces the more than £2bn Wales should have already received in Barnett consequentials for the first phase of HS2.

“It’s only thanks to Plaid Cymru’s decade-long demand for Wales to receive our fair share from HS2 that Rishi Sunak now feels pressured to give empty promises of the most modest of benefits to Wales.

“We cannot believe a word the Conservatives have to say on electrification. For years, the Tories promised electrifying the south Wales line between Cardiff and Swansea, before it was scrapped.

The announcement comes after years of controversy following a decision to classify the HS2 high speed line in England as an “England and Wales” project.

Compensation

Opposition politicians have argued that the decision has effectively robbed Wales of billions in rail infrastructure investment that it would have received if HS2 had been classified as an England only project.

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.

Ms Saville Roberts said: “HS2 isn’t just an England-only scheme, it’s a London-only scheme. Wales should therefore receive full compensation for funding spent on the first phase so far, just as we did for Crossrail.

“The billions in funding that we’re owed would revolutionise our deteriorating transport infrastructure, rejuvenate our bus services, and significantly improve north-south connectivity in our nation.

“The only way to resolve this saga is to fully devolve rail infrastructure to Wales, transferring the billions owed through the Barnett formula.

“That would allow the people of Wales to choose how to invest in our nation. With Keir Starmer’s Labour Party refusing to make that commitment, only Plaid Cymru speaks for Wales.”

It is understood that Andrew RT Davies was given little advance warning of the north Wales announcement.

In a statement he said: “This afternoon the Prime Minister has set out ambitious plans for the country to boost transport connections across the UK with £36 billion.

“His announcement is great news for Wales with substantial funding to electrify the North Wales Rail Mainline. On top of that Wales will get further funding through Barnett consequentials from investment in local projects in England.

“The UK Conservative Government continues to deliver for Wales while the Labour Government persists in flittering away Welsh taxpayers’ money on their vanity projects such as £120 million on more politicians.

“Only the Conservatives can be trusted to deliver Wales’ priorities.”


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Sally-Anne
Sally-Anne
7 months ago

Cymru, always gets robbed and conned by the Saesneg in Westminster…. How can we seriously imagine that Westminster will ever treat us fairly? At every turn, even in only the last four years, they have trodden us down, stolen from us and treated us with contempt, go further back and its just as bad and worse and worse…. How much longer should we tolerate this?

Jeff
Jeff
7 months ago

Hang on, ARTD says
“Only the Conservatives can be trusted to deliver Wales’ priorities.”?

Is he paying attention to the HS2 being ceased. The Cons have not delivered that project, the one they let go way over budget. When the rest of the world just build fast rail links, the UK becomes a laughing stock. They failed with Brexit. They failed the UK continuously let alone Wales. Have to wonder what happens to someone when they believe what they spout.

Last edited 7 months ago by Jeff
Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago

I quote, “it is understood that A R T Davies was given little advance warning”, why would they, most of them dont know who he is.

Pete Cuthbert
Pete Cuthbert
7 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

I doubt if it would have made any difference to what he had to say. The quote above suggests that he still lives in cloud cookoo land with the Brexit Unicorns frolicking on the lawn.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
7 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Indeed. Westminster Tories believe that TC is the leader of the Tories in Wales. ‘Out of touch’ doesn’t get near it.

Richard
Richard
7 months ago

Is this good for us in northern Wales ?
Will it ever be built ?

important questions for sure

Will it add extra opportunity locally ?
How will it effect current service povision?

These are the Questions we need answere for from both Unionist parties

Jeff
Jeff
7 months ago
Reply to  Richard

More important.
Other questions.
What is the con here. There is always one these days. This hasn’t passed parliament yet.
What is the long game. It is not our benefit. How has this been funded.

RuthJWilliams
RuthJWilliams
7 months ago

Let’s hope we get this electrification. WAG has said it will not invest further in the road infrastructure of the country; at least we now have the prospect of public transport in North Wales which moves faster than 20mph. Who knows, it may do something to slow down our depopulation crisis and keep young talent in the country as well.

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago
Reply to  RuthJWilliams

Could you please present evidence of the Wales Assembly Government ( WAG ) saying they ” will not invest further in road infrastructure” , as that institution was dissolved in 2020, and I do not recall them ever saying that.

Last edited 7 months ago by Gareth
Bachgen o Lerpwl
7 months ago

I do hope there will not a first class service on this line.

Rob
Rob
7 months ago

Is this the same UK government that was committed to the electrification of the line to Swansea? Why should we believe a word that they say.

Rail infrastructure should be a matter for the Welsh Government to decide. Transport links between north and south are extremely poor, and links west of Carmarthen are very limited. We need the power to be able to make these decisions for ourselves, and not depend on our neighbours to make them for us.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 months ago

Liz, the only truth here is that we are fools to believe one word of what these murdering scumbags say…

He stands there with arms outstretched like the Messiah, in the full knowledge that he is personally responsible for thousands of deaths of the citizens of our countries just to fill the treasury’s coffers, he and his partner in crime should be on trial for their lives. I can only hope that his karma catches up with him in this incarnation…

Last edited 7 months ago by Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Rishi Sunak has been reported to the Scottish Police for contempt of court, this jumped up little rich boy is about to find out he is not above Scottish Law even if he he believes, like his Bully Dog Braverman ,that he is above English Law…

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