Wales ‘told to be grateful for what it does get’ on infrastructure spending

Chris Grayling. Picture by the House of Commons (CC BY 3.0)

Plaid Cymru has accused the UK Government of telling Wales to “shut up and be grateful” after the UK Transport Secretary rebuffed claims that the country wasn’t getting its fair share of infrastructure spending.

Responding to a question by MP Jonathan Edwards, the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said that Wales shouldn’t complain “given the amount of support that taxpayers elsewhere in the UK that goes into Wales”.

A spokesperson for Plaid Cymru said that Chris Grayling’s response amounted to telling Wales to “shut up and be grateful for what it does get”.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards had called on the UK Government to improve the formula used for calculating infrastructure spending in Wales.

He cited research from Cardiff University claiming that Wales has lost out on £5.6billion since 1999 due to underinvestment by the UK Government.

Speaking from the despatch box, the Westminster Secretary of State, Chris Grayling MP, said:

“I don’t think that the Welsh could ever claim that their money is siphoned off to pay for the rest of the county given the amount of support that taxpayers elsewhere in the UK that goes into Wales.

“But the reality is that we’ll be looking at all aspects of the [rail] industry, how we operate different parts of infrastructure in future and try and make sure that we try and do the right thing for the whole United Kingdom.”

Jonathan Edwards had asked a question to Chris Grayling as he launched a new rail inquiry in the House of Commons.

“The Wales Governance Centre recently published figures that my country would have received an extra £5.6billion since 1999 if the rate of infrastructure investment had kept pace with London and the South-East,” Jonathan Edwards said.

“Will the terms of reference of the review also include how to ensure a more equitable share of investment? So that Welsh taxpayers’ money is no longer siphoned off to invest in infrastructure here in London and the South-East.”

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