Welsh Government politicians in ministerial cars oblivious to how bad Wales’ transport is says MS
Welsh Government politicians have become oblivious to how bad Wales’ transport network is because they travel in ministerial cars, a Conservative Senedd member has said.
Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders MS/AS called for a “massive overhaul” of transport in Wales.
Speaking in the Senedd, she said that Labour’s approach to transport over 22 years of devolution had been “sluggish and delayed”.
“When the First Minister and his Cabinet have access to ministerial cars, it’s all too easy to forget how the majority of others get around,” she said.
“The Welsh Government are out of touch, and while the cost-of-living crisis is hitting hard working families in Wales, the Welsh Government insults us by failing to deliver on the most basic of services.”
She pointed to data showing that the number of people commuting within Wales had increased from 1.1 million people in 2001 to 1.3 million in 2019, a rise of 16.8%.
“The sluggish approach and delayed roll out of vitally important transport networks here in Wales are because of inaction for 22 years by Welsh Labour,” she said.
“Between January and October 2021, there were 28 services which were more than an hour late and at least 314 train services which were late by 15 to 30 minutes during the same time.
“As a result of the insufficient services, TfW has paid out £2.23 million in compensation to passengers since 2018: money which could have been used to roll out more improved services.
“They truly take the people of Wales for granted and see their time in Government as endless. Residents can be sure that I will continue to give the Welsh Government grief in the Welsh Parliament until we have a rail service befitting our proud nation.”
Climate Change Minister Julie James however responded to say that she was amused that the Welsh Conservatives were complaining about transport given current pan-UK transport difficulties.
“In a week when the railways have been brought to a standstill, airports brought to a standstill and petrol prices are on the increase again, I wasn’t sure whether the Conservatives had meant to table this against their own UK Government,” she said.
“The Welsh Government, by contrast, has an immensely ambitious vision for the transport network in Wales, and the changes that need to happen to be fit for the climate emergency—a climate emergency that the Tories are quick to acknowledge in theory, but never, ever support in practice.
“It is a vision made increasingly difficult by decades of under-investment from the UK Government and a consistent rejection of our requests for devolution. It’s really interesting that a Tory Member of this Senedd thinks that funding for Wales is not part of his job. That just explains such a lot about the situation that we’re in.”
She added: “On rail, we have neither the appropriate devolution of rail infrastructure nor a fair funding settlement. If Wales had its share of the HS2 project, we would have £5 billion—billion—into our block grant, enabling us to improve investment into the railway system.
“We need the UK Government to fulfil their responsibilities to improve the rail network in Wales.”
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