Posted: Wed 26th Apr 2023

Sunak accused of £6bn Welsh rail infrastructure theft

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Apr 26th, 2023

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP, accused Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of “robbing Wales to the tune of £6 billion” in rail infrastructure spending.

The claim stems from the Treasury’s classification of the HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail projects as ‘England-and-Wales,’ which denies Wales any financial return, unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland.

According to Saville Roberts, a population-based share of spending on HS2 would yield a £5 billion consequential for Wales, and £1 billion from Northern Powerhouse Rail.

She highlighted the lack of a direct rail route between north and south Wales, necessitating travel through England.

Transport for Wales estimates that completing a north-south rail route within the country, from Bangor to Swansea, would cost around £2 billion, one-third of the purported £6 billion owed.

Plaid Cymru will hold a Senedd debate urging the UK Government to deliver the consequential funds in full. While the Labour Welsh Government and the Welsh Conservatives are likely to support the motion, neither London party has committed to providing the funds.

Plaid Cymru is also calling for the devolution of rail infrastructure to Wales if Keir Starmer is elected Prime Minister.

In the House of Commons, Liz Saville Roberts MP argued that HS2 and similar north-south England rail links do not significantly benefit Wales.

Sunak responded that the UK Government is committed to working cooperatively with the Welsh Government and investing in Welsh communities through the levelling up fund and the community ownership fund.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Transport Minister, Natasha Asghar MS, stated that the party supports reclassifying HS2 as an England-only project, allowing Wales to receive its consequential funding.

She acknowledged the benefits of HS2 for Wales but argued that they do not warrant the current classification.

However, Asghar recommended allocating the funding directly to Network Rail, as she believes the Labour Government cannot be trusted to invest wisely in Wales’ rail infrastructure.

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