Wales at risk of losing £150m a year because of HS2 rail project, says Labour MS
Wales is at risk of losing a £150 million a year because of the HS2 rail project, a Labour MS has said.
Jayne Bryant, who represents Newport West, told Senedd members that the project “will increase the attractiveness of the north and north-west of England”.
During a debate in the Senedd, Finance Minster Rebecca Evans said the Tory government’s “own analysis does show that HS2 has the potential to harm Wales”.
It has been categorised as an England and Wales project despite the fact that no part of the track is included in Wales.
The minister took aim at the UK Government for “the historic underfunding of and underinvestment in rail in Wales”, and called on it to address this in the upcoming spending review on October 27.
Jayne Bryant said: “As you know, over £150 million risks being lost annually to Wales as a result of the HS2 project, which will increase the attractiveness of the north and north-west of England.
“It’s essential that Wales gets its fair share and is not left behind. Minister, would you agree with me that the UK Government have the perfect opportunity to do this in the forthcoming spending review on 27 October by committing investment that can deliver the essential rail infrastructure package set out in the Burns recommendations for Newport, including mainline rail upgrades and six vitally needed new stations?”
Rebecca Evans said: Llywydd, Jayne Bryant’s absolutely right to recognise that the UK Government’s own analysis does show that HS2 has the potential to harm Wales, and particularly south-west Wales, and yet they still categorise it as an England-and-Wales project.
“They do have the opportunity to address both this and the historic underfunding of and underinvestment in rail in Wales at the forthcoming spending review on 27 October.
“But, in particular response to the questions around the Burns commission, its 58 recommendations were accepted in principle by the Welsh Government, and they do align very well with our new transport strategy for Wales.
“The delivery unit has been established now in Transport for Wales, and that’s pressing ahead with making those recommendations a reality.
“Burns did recommend six new stations at Newport Road, Cardiff parkway, Newport west, Newport east, Llanwern and Magor, and we accepted those recommendations, but those stations do require upgrades to the non-devolved south Wales main line to enable them.
“So, there’s a great opportunity for the UK Government, at the forthcoming spending review to make real its talk of levelling up and to invest in this area in particular.”