Wales’ transport minister blasts UK Secretary for not meeting with him
Wales’ minister in charge of transport has criticised the UK Government’s Transport Secretary for not meeting with him.
Grant Shapps was photographed meeting with the Welsh Conservatives’ shadow transport minister Natasha Asghar in an image she posted on social media.
But Wales’ Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters, who is responsible for road and rail, said that Grant Shapps was not responding to his requests for a discussion.
“Good to see Mr Shapps meet with the Shadow Transport Minister when he won’t meet with the actual Transport Minister,” he said.
“I hope Natasha took the chance to ask why we don’t get the £5 billion share of HS2 spend that even Welsh Tory MPs think we deserve.”
The Welsh Conservatives’ shadow transport minister Natasha Ashgar had earlier posted to say: “Really productive meetings with Simon Hart, Grant Shapps and Virginia Crosbie to discuss transport issues in Wales from trains, planes roads and the Magor with Undy walkway station.”
She later responded to Lee Waters message by asking: “Lee have you tried asking him nicely for a meeting? I’m sure if you will, he will happily oblige.”
Lee Waters responded: “Yes. Did you ask about the HS2 share? This should be a cross-party issue.
“Just as all parties in the Senedd came together make case for electrification I’d like us to do the same over rail infrastructure.”
Lee Waters’ comments come after the Welsh Government have criticised the UK Government’s “neglect” of rail infrastructure in Wales.
Wales will not benefit in the same way as Scotland and Northern Ireland from additional rail funding as a result of the HS2 project as it has been designated an England and Wales project.
If the new HS2 rail route, which is due to open by 2040, were classified as a England-only rail project then Wales would be entitled to an additional £4.6 billion which could be spent on public transport.
The UK Government have defended the move, saying that the designation was justified as Wales would benefit from being better connected to other parts of the UK.
“I do not think Wales loses out as a result of HS2,” Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove told the House of Commons earlier this month. “I think north Wales in particular benefits significantly because of increased connectivity.”
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