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Welsh Government not giving ‘correct picture’ of UK Government rail investment in Wales claims minister

07 Mar 2022 3 minutes Read
Left, Neil O’Brien picture by Richard Townshend (CC BY 3.0). Right, photo by Stuart Wilding is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

A UK Government minister has claimed that the Welsh Government is not giving a “correct picture” of the amount that is being invested in Wales’ rail network.

The Welsh Government has been critical of the UK Government’s lack of investment in Wales’ rail network, particularly the decision to deem HS2 an England and Wales project despite no part of it entering Wales.

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Welsh Labour MP Geraint Davies asked The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Neil O’Brien, why Wales did not enjoy greater investment in its rail network.

“It takes three hours to get from London to Swansea; it takes three hours to get from London to Edinburgh,” Geraint Davies said.

“The reason is that only 1.5% of UK rail enhancement funding goes to Wales, even though it has 5% of the population and 11% of the railway lines.

“Will the Minister—with the support of the Secretary of State—urge the Treasury to provide funding as a share of HS2 to Wales on the same basis as it provides it to Scotland, given that HS2 is north-south, which would give us an extra £4.6 billion to level up and connect the Union?”

Neil O’Brien responded that the UK Government were invested £2 billion for Network Rail and £340 million for enhancements in Welsh rail from 2019 to 2024. They were also investing £30 million in the Global Centre of Rail Excellence at the head of the Dulais and Tawe Valleys, supporting about 120 jobs in Wales, he added.

“The 1% figure that the hon. Gentleman quotes is from a Welsh Government report, which looks only at a very small part of rail investment and does not give a correct picture of the wider investment in Wales that I described,” he said.

“HS2 will of course provide huge benefits to the people of north Wales, who will be connected much more rapidly to the rest of the country.”

‘Nonsensical’

Geraint Davies’ question comes after  Mark Drakeford had slammed the UK Government’s “neglect” of rail infrastructure in Wales as “pathetic” last month.

The First Minister said that Wales was not treated fairly by the UK Government and added that calling HS2 an England and Wales project was “absolutely nonsensical”.

He was responding to a question in the Senedd by Labour MS Carolyn Thomas who asked what Wales’ could do to claim its £5bn share of investment it would be entitled to if HS2 was classified as an England-only project.

“Wales is treated anything but fairly when it comes to rail investment by the UK Government,” Mark Drakeford responded, adding that “Wales loses out on billions of pounds’ worth of investment.

“It is nonsensical—absolutely nonsensical—to claim that, because there is a new service from London to Birmingham, somehow that means Wales has had its fair share of that investment.

“Scotland, where comparability is conceded, will have £10 billion to invest in rail infrastructure in Scotland, every penny of which is being denied here to Wales.

“And all of that comes on top of a decade of neglect of investment in the infrastructure here in Wales.”


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G Horton-Jones
G Horton-Jones
2 months ago

Let’s face facts we are a small colony in Westminster’s eyes
And to make matters worse our government is run God forbid by a kind of coalition of what they want people who are opposed to what we determine is good for them irrespective of what they want or need or even what the facts are telling everyone

Ann
Ann
2 months ago

I am unclear how they can try to claim the new Global Centre of Excellence as investment in our network! Whilst the Centre is welcome as a new employer the site is not currently accessible to the public by rail as the line on which it will be sited was closed to passenger traffic under the Beeching Review!

Bob McIntyre
Bob McIntyre
2 months ago

Talk about general ignorance. What about journey times in Wales? When was the last time Mr Davies actually travelled on a train? “It takes three hours to get from London to Swansea; it takes three hours to get from London to Edinburgh,” Geraint Davies said. For the record, the fastest trains from London to Edinburgh take about 4h40m, those from Swansea to London around 2h45m. The average speeds being: 70.8mph and 59.6mph respectively. Our esteemed politicians may wish to consider that it takes 2h36m to cover the 69 miles from Swansea to Llandrindod by train, if it runs, which, this… Read more »

Quornby
Quornby
2 months ago

No it’s even worse.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
2 months ago

What investment? Oh, those leaky “world class” trains we received instead of rail electrification between Cardiff & Swansea pledged in the Conservative manifesto which was countersigned by Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies and then Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns who gained votes using fraudulent means. With what Wales are receiving in rail investment compared to the hundreds of billions spent in England is embarrassing. And the Tories cannot keep claiming how they are investing in Wales when it’s untrue. We still in the 21st century have no proper interconnectivity within Wales let alone a system they claim is world class.… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Y Cymro
Kurt C
Kurt C
2 months ago

I have no interested in travelling to London, it’s not a nice place. Now travelling around my own country or right now Ponty to Cardiff is dire on trains.

Derek Amitri
Derek Amitri
2 months ago

It’s the Welsh government, not the UK, who have decided for many years not to have a fast direct service from North Wales towns to Crewe, in order to connect with the rest of the UK, for most of the day. Instead we get a local stopping train and we have to change at Chester. They honestly, honestly think this will compete with driving on the A55. What planet are they on? They could give us a decent service tomorrow if they stopped moaning about the UK.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
2 months ago

Putting Wales, Railways and Ukraine together my ‘mate’ has come up with John Hughes of Merthyr Tydfil who in 1870 led a fleet of Arks containing all plant and workforce needed to set up a steel industry. His destination became Hughesovka…today Donetsk…

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
2 months ago

HS2 will do nothing to improve interconnectivity within Wales, which is where any Welsh-focused investment should be targeted. Neither will HS2 achieve the Tories’ agenda for integrating the country closer with England, which is their only concern re. Wales.

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