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UK Government challenged over allocation of rail infrastructure funding to Wales

12 Jul 2023 2 minute read
Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams. Photo UK Parliament

Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon Hywel Williams has hit out at the UK Government for denying Wales a share of the rail infrastructure funding being spent on major projects in England.

Wales has missed out on billions of pound in recent years because the Treasury has categorised selected English-only rail projects, such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, as England-and-Wales projects.

As a result, the Welsh Government has not received consequential funding, unlike the Scottish and Northern Irish governments.

However, other English rail projects such as Crossrail and Thameslink are deemed to benefit England only, and therefore provide proportionate consequential funding to the Welsh Government based on expenditure in England through the Barnett formula.

If HS2 were treated as an ‘England only’ project, Wales could expect to receive approximately £5bn over its duration, with an additional £1bn from Northern Powerhouse Rail.

During the Welsh Affairs Committee session last week, Plaid Cymru MP for Ceredigion, Ben Lake, sought an explanation for this disparity.

The Chief Secretary’s response was that Mr Lake was “dragging me into quite complex technical details” and that it was “quite a difficult, technical financial calculation and I am not full of that information in my head at the moment”.

White elephant

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions today (12 July), which was taken by Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden in the absence of Rishi Sunak, Mr Williams MP asked:  “In the Welsh Affairs Committee my Honourable Friend for Ceredigion (Ben Lake) asked the Chief Secretary to the Treasury about the varying comparability factors for Wales for Crossrail, for Thameslink, and for HS2.

“His answer began with ‘you are dragging me into quite complex technical details’… and then he gave no complex technical details.

“I’m sure that the people of Wales would be delighted to tackle any complex technical details were the Deputy Prime Minister to explain to the House why we are paying £5bn for a white elephant in HS2 which by now comes nowhere near our country.”

The Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden responded that “it is thanks to the strength of our United Kingdom that record sums are going to Wales under Barnett consequentials”.

He did not, however, address Mr Williams’ question about HS2 funding.


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Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
7 months ago

How many times has this been brought up and how many times has it simply been ignored? They couldn’t care less about what we think, end of. What’s needed now is to make sure ‘everyone’ in Cymru, particularly the young, is aware of how we are continually shafted by Westminster. That they are aware there is an alternative to this neglect and that is independence.

Andy Williams
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve A Duggan

Four equal members of the “United Kingdom” Don’t make me laugh. The sooner it’s confined to the dustbin of history, the better.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 months ago

While we are in parliament perhaps someone could have a word with Wallace about his side-of-the-mouth comment about the Ukrainians being more grateful for our surplus weaponry. Munitions that have bought Fat Shanks and now Rishi Ji so much kudos on the world stage and a place to hide or be photographed.

Wallace and Gromit (Truss) legends in their own bathtubs, what a creep, no wonder he didn’t get the top job he was after…thinking he could buy it with tens of thousands of gallons of Ukraine Blood…Ych a fi

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

MM I suspect that UK and maybe some other NATO members are beginning to cool on the Ukraine “mission” as it has already served to prove that Putin’s Russia is an irritant but not the threat some had imagined it to be. Those members are now satisfied that Putin’s hordes are unlikely to gallop across Europe any time soon. Having them bogged down in Eastern Ukraine and exposing their limited capabilities suits these guys nicely. Having sold 100s of billions of $’s, £s, etc of munitions the next big money grab for the corporate friends of big government will be… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Yes, not venture capitalists but ‘vulture capitalists’ I think you have coined a phrase there hd… As for the reconstruction, your dead right, seeing Rishi Ji and Biden so pally, with Rishi Ji as piggy in the middle between Modi Ji and Biden it is easy to imagine. Who knew Germany was using several countries including the UK to build armoured vehicles, a rearmament program is in full swing for the EU. Once upon a time I would have had Jane’s latest catalogue to hand. The real concern is a booby-trapped nuclear power station ready as a dirty bomb to… Read more »

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

I see Wallace’s oppo in the USA has also chipped in to remind Zelenskiy to say thank you nicely…

Ukraine 505 days under bombardment…

Malta went 27/28 months, over 800 days…

Seige of Moscow 100 days

London Blitz 200 days

how many times Wallace came under fire, if ever, would be interesting to know and the yank…

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
7 months ago

Thank you Arfon Williams for standing up for Wales. At least he & Plaid Cymru are fighting for our interests at Westminster where others navel gaze. Do you think Blue Labour leader Keir Starmer will reverse this decision if he ever becomes Prime Minister? Like hell he will. England is his priority. Wales isn’t even an afterthought. Personally speaking , think anyone who condones this cynical ploy by the Conservatives by making HS2 an England & Wales infrastructure build even though it skirts Wales by hundreds of miles, which will deny our Senedd billions in consequential over the lifetime of… Read more »

Ap Kenneth
Ap Kenneth
7 months ago

Remember they eventually promised to electrify the GWR mainline from London to Swansea. Well that did not last long and the south of Wales is saddled with second rate electric locomotives that have to lug a diesel engine and fuel around to complete the jouney to Swansea, greater maintenance and energy costs. Let alone the little matter of diesel pollution along the line. Conclusion, you cannot trust a Consrvative London Government.

Gwyn Hopkins
Gwyn Hopkins
7 months ago

Trains will use the – wholly in England – HS2 track to go to both Scotland and Wales. Because the UK government designates it as an England-only project for Scotland it gets a Barnett consequential of about 9bn. For Wales it is paradoxically and discriminatorily designated as an England-and-Wales project meaning that Wales gets no Barnett consequential (of about £5bn). This blatant favouritism towards Scotland and meanness towards Wales is without doubt because the SNP is very much stronger than Plaid Cymru.   

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