The Senedd has unanimously supported a motion form Plaid Cymru that called on the UK Government to redesignate HS2 as an England-only project, and provide Wales with the ‘resultant consequentials it is rightfully owed’.
The motion has been called ‘one of the clearest signs that Westminster has got it wrong’, by Plaid Cymru, who have also said that ‘the time has come for Westminster to pay what Wales is owed’.
The Plaid Cymru debate in the Senedd on Wednesday 26 April called on the UK Government to right the inconsistency that currently sees the £100 billion HS2 rail line classed as an ‘England-and-Wales’ project, despite not an inch of track being laid in Wales.
Plaid Cymru has long-argued that £5 billion is owed to Wales as a Barnett consequential of the HS2 project, which links London to Birmingham and Manchester.
Further to this, the announcement of £39 billion to be invested into the Northern Powerhouse Rail project should provide Wales with an additional £1 billion. This too is currently classed as an England and Wales project, despite linking Liverpool to Hull.
In the Senedd debate, Plaid Cymru laid the blame of this continued funding inconsistency at the door of Westminster, where the Conservatives refuse to reclassify HS2 as England only, but also with the Labour Party, whose leader, Keir Starmer, has not committed to reclassify HS2 as an England only project in the event of a Labour administration in Westminster.
Although Plaid Cymru has welcomed the cross-party consensus on the issue in Wales, the party has emphasised that the decision will have to ultimately come from the UK Government, and called for the Welsh branches of the Westminster parties to demand a fair share commitment from their parties in London so that Wales can fix its broken transport system.
Luke Fletcher, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for the Economy, said:
“Plaid Cymru’s debate in the Senedd today has seen every party agree that Wales deserves its fair share of funding as a result of HS2.
“This is one of the clearest signs that Westminster has got it wrong on HS2 over many years.
“Wales pays its fair share of taxes into the pot, but we do not get our fair share back from Westminster.
“The figure owed to Wales from HS2 is a staggering £5 billion. Add the similar Northern Powerhouse Rail to this and you have a whopping £6bn that is owed to Wales from Westminster. That’s £6bn we could use to fix our broken transport system here in Wales – connecting our communities from north to south.
“Despite the consensus, neither Sunak nor Starmer have committed to giving Wales what we are owed after the next general election. I urge all of the Members of the Senedd from all parties who supported Plaid Cymru’s motion to urge their Westminster colleagues to commit to giving Wales its fair share.
Fair funding for Wales as a result of HS2 was also raised in Prime Ministers Questions today by Liz Saville Roberts MP, Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader who told the Prime Minister that the cost of a North to South rail link for Wales would be a fraction of the price of HS2.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Liz Saville Roberts MP said:
“Incredibly, any traveller wanting to go by train from north to south Wales has to go via England.
“Linking Wales north to south would cost two billion pounds.
“The PM talks about ‘running away with other people’s money’ but his Government is depriving Wales to the tune of six billion pounds by ruling that north-south England rail links like HS2 somehow benefit Wales.
“Will he plead guilty to the Great Welsh Train Robbery?”