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Union Connectivity Review Chair claims England-only HS2 rail investment benefits Wales

23 Dec 2021 4 minutes Read
HS2 Artist Impression

The Chair of the Union Connectivity Review has claimed that investments in the England-only HS2 rail project will benefit Wales.

Sir Peter Hendy, who is also the Chair of Network Rail, told MPs at the Welsh Affairs Committee that this is because the project includes building a new station in Crewe.

He argued that this will “enable much much faster journey times to north Wales” from the Cheshire town, which he described as a “huge benefit”.

The UK Government has refused to class HS2 as an England-only rail project despite recommendation by the cross-party Welsh Affairs Committee that it should do so because none of the investment is going into Wales’ rail network.

The report also notes that Wales will not benefit in the same way as Scotland and Northern Ireland from additional rail funding as a result of the HS2 project.

“This is despite the fact that UK Government’s own analysis has concluded that HS2 will produce an economic disbenefit for Wales,” the report says.

With the estimated cost of HS2 being around £100 billion, the Welsh Government would expect to receive around £5 billion in additional funds via the Barnett formula if the project was reclassified.

Hendy was appointed by the UK Government to produce the report in the UK transport network, with the aim of “binding” Wales, England and the other nations of the UK “closer together”.

But Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts has said his report aimed to make Wales an “extension of the West of England”.

During the session of the Welsh Affairs Commitee, Conservative MP for Aberconwy, Robin Millar said: “We talked about the impact of investments in England which benefit north Wales, and some station improvements in Crewe, Chester etcetera, which would have an impact on the north Wales main line. So what is you assessment of the UK Government’s argument that HS2 will provide significant benefits to north Wales please?”

Hendy replied: “So the recent announcement about the integrated rail plan confirmed that the government intends to bring forward a bill to get HS2 to Crewe, to Manchester, from the Midlands, and I think that’s very significant for north Wales because interrail will include a new station at Crewe or a station that to all reasonable effect is new and that will enable much much faster journey times to north Wales, which I think is a huge benefit.”

‘One of the things that is central’

“And one of the things that is central to the proposition about looking at the connectivity of the four nations of the United Kingdom that is expenditure in one of the nations can greatly benefit others.

“So HS2 doesn’t itself tough Wales, but the result of HS2 and the result of the investment at Crewe will produce a great benefit for north Wales. It may produce actually produce a reasonable benefit even for central Wales as a consequence of the connection between Crewe and Shrewsbury and the Cambria main line, and although you didn’t ask it actually HS2 to Crewe and north of Crewe will also produce a huge potential benefit for Scotland and you’ll read in my report some recommendations about that.

“So I think the central part of your premise is right which is that you know the UK transport system is a network. It’a a network of roads it’s a network of railways, and investment in one place can produce benefits in another, which is actually the purpose of me I think doing this work”.

Millar replied: “Yes it is . It is the underpinning concept of the union I suppose in many respects.”

The Welsh Affairs Committee report stated: “We recommend that HS2 should be reclassified as an England only project. Using the Barnett Formula, Wales’ funding settlement should be recalculated to apply an additional allocation based on the funding for HS2 in England.

“We suggest that such a reclassification would help to ensure that Welsh rail passengers receive the same advantage from investment in HS2 as those in Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

HS2 is a high-speed railway that aims to improve links between London, the midlands and the north of England with routes to Birmingham and Leeds.


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Ed Jones
Ed Jones
5 months ago

‘North Wales’ is used by those who cannot be bothered to learn to use the correct Welsh names, am hardly surprised Robin Millar uses it so often.
Please Labour, Plaid, Lib Dems, et al, a Progressive Alliance is needed for us here in Aberconwy, so we can send this odious person (check his voting record) to either his holiday home in Gwynedd or back to Suffolk!

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
5 months ago

Let me get this right. The HS2 Infrastructure build in England that is hundreds of miles away from our border will benefit Wales, in this case “North Wales” because the line is slightly nearer the further North you go and there’s a new station being built at Crewe, again in England. What a load of bull!

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
5 months ago

Hands up any Gogs on here that have ever used Crewe railway station, because I haven’t as its completely irrelevant to where I live. Most pathetic reason ever, they really are actively trying to wipe Wales out and call us all English.

Wynford Jones
Wynford Jones
5 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

You are absolutely right, but I did once go through there with Mam in 1957.!

Hogyn y Gogledd
Hogyn y Gogledd
5 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

I go through Crewe on my way from North Wales to London.

But, assuming Avanti reintroduce the normal through trains from Holyhead/Bangor to Euston after the pandemic has passed, then the state of Crewe station and other lines leading to it will be of no meaning.

They trains will be using the West Coast mainline, not the HS2 tracks, and Crewe station will be just a few minutes stop.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
5 months ago

The problem is that its like asking the French taxpayer to subsidise their HS2 because some French tourists might use it.

Hogyn y Gogledd
Hogyn y Gogledd
5 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

I don’t disagree.

Argol Fawr
Argol Fawr
5 months ago

If you keep repeating a lie, people begin to believe it’s true. It applies here and within all governments. The present UK gov particularly.

George
George
5 months ago

Don’t think anyone can seriously argue that it doesn’t benefit Wales full stop, but the benefit is not great enough to merit missing out on extra funding that Scotland is getting. No where near enough.

Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
5 months ago

I’m sure with a bit of stretching, one can argue that Cymru will get some (but very, very little) benefit from HS2.

But the question should be, do we get £5 billion of benefit from HS2? And the answer of course, is no, as it will will cost our economy £150 million a year. Over 30 years that’s another £4.5 billion.

So the proper question is: what could we do with £9.5 billion to improve the transport infrastructure in Cymru? I suspect a lot more than building a new station that “isn’t very far from Cymru”

Crwtyn Cemais
Crwtyn Cemais
5 months ago

Y tro diwethaf imi deithio i’r Alban o Lundain, aeth y trên o dde Lloegr trwy ganolbarth Lloegr ac wedyn trwy Ogledd Lloegr cyn croesi ffin Yr Alban. Bydd teithio rhwng Llundain a’r Alban wrth fanteisio ar gyflymder ychwanegol HS2 yn golygu bydd teithwyr rhwng De Lloegr a’r Alban yn elwa o’r prosiect yma. Fel rhywun sydd yn byw yn Ne Cymru, fydda i ddim yn teithio ar un filltir o gledrau newydd HS2. Eto i gyd, er bydd Yr Alban yn derbyn iawndal yn ôl y ‘Barnett Formula’, ni fydd Cymru – sydd ddim yn elwa ar HS2, yn… Read more »

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
5 months ago

Ah, Sir Peter Hendy. Head of TfL when the UK taxpayer forked out £6Bn uplift cash for the Olympics and got one rebuilt station (he got a knighthood). Also the man who grovellingly allowed Johnson to scrap Bendy buses without checking that they were hired under contract and that one moment’s waffle cost £7M in cash.

Not the sharpest knife in the box and a lickspittle of the first water.

R W
R W
5 months ago

I suspect that Scotland will gain a greater financial advantage from HS2 than Wales ever will, yet the Scots still get compensated. Tells us all we need to know.
To a large extent, it’s probably our fault because we always vote for pro-unionist parties in national elections, which means the Tories are more than happy to continue to ignore us.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
5 months ago

A new station at Crewe will not benefit Wales in the slightest – they know and we know it – cut the crap and give us the £5Billion we are due.

John Young
John Young
4 months ago

As things stand Wales will be investing £5 billion in HS2. Which means £5 billion NOT spent in Wales. We also won’t be getting £5 billion consequentials which means another £5 billion not spent in Wales. Correct me if my logic is questionable here but doesn’t that mean that Wales loses out by £10 billion ?

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