Wales is getting “absolutely screwed” by the UK Government over spending on transport projects, according to the Director of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre.
Professor Richard Wyn Jones pointed to figures that showed that Wales was only getting 36.6% of its population share of transport spending across the rest of the UK.
This was mainly as a result of HS2, the bullet train project which was classified as being an ‘England and Wales’ project by the UK Government despite the entirety of it being in England.
Meanwhile, Scotland benefitted from 91.7% of its population share of spending across the UK, despite the eventual aim that HS2 trains will be available from Edinburgh to London.
Richard Wyn Jones was responding to figures analysed by Guto Ifan, a researcher at the Wales Governance Centre.
“In today’s Statement of Funding Policy, Wales’ Barnett comparability factor for UK transport spending has collapsed – from 80.9% to just 36.6%,” Guto Ifan said.
“That means Welsh Government gets much less for every pound spent by DfT in England. Mainly as a result of HS2.
“HS2 again is treated as an “England and Wales” project, which means it is weighted 0% in Barnett calculations.
“Meanwhile, Scotland’s Barnett consequential for transport up from 91.0% to 91.7% – benefitting from a 100% factor for HS2.
“The inclusion of HS2 as an England and Wales project led to a drop in the consequential from 80.7% to 53.7%. Which will have serious ramifications for future growth in the Welsh budget.”
Professor Richard Wyn Jones said that the issue was “extremely serious”.
“Whatever your political colours it’s obvious that Wales is being, to use a technical term, absolutely screwed. With very serious consequences for future public spending and investment.”
On Monday, Wales’ Transport Minister Ken Skates, said that a a conservative estimate of the underfunding of Welsh railways from 2001-2029 was £2.4bn, and this figure could be as high as £5.1bn.
Mr Skates said: “The UK Government has to demonstrate its sincerity to levelling up our country by addressing their failure to invest fairly in Wales’s rail, broadband and aviation connectivity.
“It has refused to devolve these powers and funding, whilst also failing to take our connectivity seriously. The Union Connectivity Review is an opportunity for the UK Government to reflect on historic underinvestment and to focus on putting things right