Wales should be grateful for investment in English railways – that was the message from the Secretary of State for Wales today when responding to a question from Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards.
Mr Edwards told the Welsh Secretary that given the £145billion the British Government was investing on just three railway projects in England, it was an "absolute scandal" that the government broke its promise to electrify the Great Western Mainline to Swansea – a commitment made by successive Tory politicians which would cost just 0.27% (£400m) - of the amount being invested in the 3 projects in England.
The Carmarthenshire MP said that the priorities of the British Government made the case for devolving responsibility for rail infrastructure to Wales so that we could benefit from our fair share of investment.
Responding to Mr Edwards' question, Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns stated that bi-model trains would improve connectivity for west Wales. Mr Cairns also said that "…the network in Wales is part of the UK network…he has been supportive of the Halton curve, which is in England but will bring major benefits to the network between north Wales and Liverpool."
Speaking after his question Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Jonathan Edwards said:
"In answering my question the Welsh Secretary would have us believe that stopping electrification at Cardiff is somehow more beneficial to west Wales residents than electrifying the line to Swansea. He neglected to mention that bi-modal trains were always proposed for the new London Paddington trains which come west of Swansea.
"What the Tory broken promise means is that anyone west of Cardiff will continue to endure the glacial pace of public transport while England flies high on electrified rail to the tune of £145billion.
"Meanwhile the British Government detests the very thought of investing just 0.27% of that cost to improve the railway between Cardiff and Swansea and instead expects us to be grateful for investing in England.
"It's a rather bizarre situation that one department of the British Government announces an end to diesel fuelled cars whilst another department is forcing west Wales to have nothing but diesel fuelled public transport.
"Wales is being robbed of a multi-billion pound investment opportunity that could allow our nation to have some of the best rail infrastructure in the world. Wales literally cannot afford to go on like this. For Westminster, Wales will always be second class to the needs of England."