HS2 Welsh cash bid hits buffers

 

It would be one of the biggest infrastructure problems the UK has seen, costing more than £30bn of public money.

HS2 is hugely controversial in parts of England and its benefits for Wales are disputed. But (those Barnett consequentials again) will Wales get a share of the cash?

Apparently not. Transport may be devolved to Wales, giving the Welsh government a share of increases in spending in England, but transport infrastructure is not.

Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards has been campaigning for a change in the rules to allow Wales a share of any cash spent on HS2. He says it could be worth almost £2bn.

A UK government reluctance to increase public spending is not unexpected. What has surprised Mr Edwards is an apparent reluctance by the Labour-run Welsh government to press for extra cash for Wales.

The Welsh government has put its case in new evidence to the Commons Welsh affairs committee.

That evidence says: "The Welsh government continues to engage with the UK government to ensure that Wales receives all of the consequentials to which we are entitled.

"In relation to the recent HS2 announcement, no budget allocations have been made for the construction of either phase in the current spending review period.

"Rail infrastructure is not devolved and as such we would not expect to receive consequentials.

"An exception is in relation to transport projects in London where the Welsh government can receive consequentials, an example of this is the Crossrail project for which a consequential was paid to the Welsh government."

A Welsh government source has reportedly accused Mr Edwards of failing to understand the rules on those Barnett consequentials; he finds it strange the Welsh government isn't apparently making the case for Wales to get a share of higher public spending on HS2.

 
David Cornock, Parliamentary correspondent, Wales Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 6.

    WTGR, Tredwyn, you don't address the point. If Wales expects to get a % of any large capital expenditure in England, even where there is no corresponding activity in Wales, then capital expenditure in Wales should be limited by the same formula.
    Thus if Wales gets a cut from HS2, and can choose to spend it on anything; then what capital projects should Westminster fund in Wales ??

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 5.

    Rail is not devolved, Wales does not get a budget for it. The bulk of expenditure comes from railtrack's budget therefore and they decide investments on the same basis across England and Wales. Electrification is about 400 million but most of the track is in England. HS2 is double-digit billions - at the last count. M4 was built before devolution and was not more expensive than any other motorway

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 4.

    'a change in the rules to allow Wales a share of any cash spent on HS2'
    Has anyone added up the cost of the M4 to Pont Abraham, and how that compares with the total amount spent on motorways in England?
    Or the cost of the HS2 compared with the cost of electrification of the Paddington line to Swansea? Does anyone know if the latter will come out of WG funds or out of the Railtrack funds ?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 3.

    'Wales...will always be treated as a lesser nation by Westminster.'
    So, what do you want: an EU where Monaco gets an equal vote with Poland ? This is a finance decision ! Compare the GNP of Wales and England.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 2.

    I'm not entirely surprised by this news. It seems Wales unlike it's counterpart Scotland will always be treated as a lesser nation by Westminster. I blame both Labour & Tories for this farcical ongoing Devolution settlement. They should have not withheld powers back putting Wales at a constant disadvantage to appease the unionist parties scared that a prosperous Wales means a independent one.

 

Comments 5 of 6

 

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