Get in touch ...

Know of something happening in
us on

E-mail your contributions to:

We are on Facebook at

Friday, February 4, 2022

UK Government accused of neglecting north Wales rail system

* Clwyd South MS Ken Skates with North Wales MS Carolyn Thomas. 

Labour politicians, including Clwyd South MS Ken Skates, has accused the UK Government of the "shameful neglect" of rail infrastructure in North Wales.

And they claim the local network is being "short-changed" by £5bn. 

The issue has been raised in the Senedd by North Wales MS Carolyn Thomas followed by former Transport Minister Ken Skates wh0 repeated his calls for rail to be fully devolved to the Welsh Government. 

While transport is devolved to Wales, responsibility for railway track, station infrastructure and signalling remains with the UK Government at Westminster. 

Labour claims that over the past 20 years, Wales has had less than 2% of the £102bn that the UK Government has spent on improvements – despite having 5% of the population and 11% of the track miles. 

During First Minister’s Questions this week First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Welsh Ministers take every opportunity to raise with the UK Government their shameful neglect of investment in rail infrastructure in north Wales.” 

And Ms Thomas told the Senedd: “The Tory UK Government are investing just under £100bn in HS2 rail infrastructure. If the Barnett formula were to be applied, Wales should be entitled to the population share of 5%which is £5bn. But, because the UK Government says that the line from London to Birmingham is going to benefit Wales, we are getting nothing.  

“On top of this, a levelling-up funding bid was made to UK Government for investment on the Wrexham-Bidston line, which is desperately needed. But, again, the UK Government failed to deliver investment. All we are asking for is that Wales be treated fairly.” 

The First Minister responded: “Wales is treated anything but fairly when it comes to rail investment by the UK Government. It is 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.  

“And all of that comes on top of a decade of neglect of investment in the infrastructure here in Wales. You've heard the figures here before – 2% of the railway line in Wales is electrified. Twenty-two miles. It is pathetic, and it is the direct result of broken promises. 

“This Welsh Government, by contrast, goes on investing in rail services in north Wales. This year, we will increase services on the line between Wrexham and Bidston. Next year, we will provide new services between Liverpool and Llandudno. And, the year after that, there will be new services from the north to Cardiff. Where the UK Government treats Wales with contempt when it comes to rail investment, this government goes on investing – in the north and in the rest of Wales.” 

The Union Connectivity Review, commissioned by the UK Government and published in December, ‘concluded that devolution had been good for transport’, the First Minister said. 

Ken Skates added: “The most straightforward way to address historic underfunding would be to devolve responsibilities and appropriate funding to the Welsh Government.”  

Last year, Ms Thomas and Mr Skates were among the North Wales Labour politicians to welcome the cross-party Welsh Affairs Committee’s report recommending urgent improvements in rail infrastructure across the region by the UK Government. 

They called on the UK Government to urgently implement the recommendations, which included preparing a full strategic case for the upgrade and electrification of the North Wales mainline.  

The report also called for the classification of HS2 as an England-only scheme – which Mr Skates said ‘could in turn generate huge consequential funds for Wales’ – and HS2 incorporating improvements around Crewe and Chester to enable North Wales to benefit from the project. 

No comments:

Post a Comment