Welsh Government slams UK Government over lack of investment in train stations
The Welsh Government has criticised the UK Government for not investing in train stations on the Wales and Borders network.
Despite it being the UK Government’s responsibility to invest in rail infrastructure, the Welsh Government had promised to match any funding invested.
The Welsh Government had asked for investment in seven stations but only four were selected by the UK Government for funding.
The Economy, Transport and North Wales Minister, Ken Skates, said the UK Government were failing to deliver the investment they are responsible for.
“It is disappointing that the UK Government has decided to invest in just four of the seven projects we had promoted and offered to match fund,” he said.
“I have therefore asked Transport for Wales and rail industry partners to urgently consider the scope for using the matched funding commitment we offered to progress step-free access at the excluded stations, under our own direct investment. This is because of the U.K. Government’s failure to deliver the investment they are responsible for.
“Stations with strong community support for step-free upgrades have been excluded from funding. Unfortunately, it is another example where passengers are set feel the effect of the UK Government’s continuing underinvestment in Welsh railways.
“Meanwhile, I am pleased that work will go ahead at the four successful stations.”
The schemes selected were lift additions at Grangetown, Llantwit Major, Pontypool and Neath, all through joint funding from the Department for Transport, Transport for Wales, and third party funding.
Ruabon, Haverfordwest and Whitchurch (Shropshire) were all endorsed by the Welsh Government, but were not selected by the UK Government in the final funding allocations.
Earlier this month, Ken Skates said that giving the Welsh Government full control over railways would “address some of the concerns” of Wales’ “growing independence movement”.
Infrastructure planning and funding of Network Rail in Wales remain the responsibility of the UK Government, unlike Scotland where this aspect is devolved.
While the Welsh Ministers have powers to invest in infrastructure, Wales receives no block grant allocation for this.
In a letter to MPs Ken Skates said: “We have a clear template for delivering the remaining elements of devolution, we have unprecedented cross-party support and we have an ambitious and deliverable vision that will reverse the decades of under-investment in our railway.
“We would regard any outcome that resulted in an inferior degree of devolution for Wales to that proposed for other areas of the United Kingdom as a significant missed opportunity.
“An equitable rail devolution settlement across all nations of the UK would address some of the concerns being raised by the growing independence movements in both Scotland and Wales.”