Wales will ‘benefit significantly’ due to HS2 says Michael Gove
Wales will “benefit significantly” due to HS2, Michel Gove has said, as the country misses out on £4.6 billion of funding.
His comments come after Wales’ First Minister slammed the UK Government’s “neglect” of rail infrastructure in Wales as “pathetic”.
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.
Speaking in the Senedd yesterday Mark Drakeford said that Wales was not treated fairly by the UK Government and added that calling HS2 an England and Wales project was “absolutely nonsensical”.
However, the Levelling Up Secretary said today 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,” he told the House of Commons. “I think north Wales in particular benefits significantly because of increased connectivity.”
He was responding to a question from Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney MP Gerald Davies who asked why Wales would not see any of the financial benefits of the project.
“Wales is set to be denied £4.6 billion as a result of the Government classifying HS2 as an England and Wales project, despite the Treasury finding that Wales would lose out on £150 million per annum as a result of HS2,” Gerald Davies said.
“That does not sound like levelling up to me. Does the Secretary of State agree?”
Last year the cross-party Welsh Affairs committee called for the rail scheme to be reclassified as an ‘England only’ project.
“We recommend that HS2 should be reclassified as an England only project,” it said. “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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