Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, has called for Wales to be given “it’s rightful share” of public investment in airport expansion in the south east of England.
Under the Barnett formula, which determines the level of funding for all of the devolved nations of the UK, Wales receives a share of spending on England-only matters, based on its population.
Transport for London has estimated that connecting an expanded Heathrow Airport to central London will cost up to £20 billion. If Wales were to receive its population share, it would boost Welsh public finances by £1 billion.
Plaid Cymru Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, said:
“If Westminster is willing to spend £20 billion of taxpayers’ money in the richest corner of the British State then it should be willing to give Wales its rightful share of that spending. The people of Wales pay their taxes too, not just London.
“I am no fan of the way in which the devolved countries are funded and would far rather see reform of the widely discredited Barnett formula but for as long as it is in place, the least that Westminster could do is give Wales the money that we are owed.
“Any public investments on England-only projects, such as London transport infrastructure, are supposed to trigger a transfer of funding to Wales. If Heathrow expansion means £20 billion of public investment on upgrading London’s rail network, as TfL have estimated, then Wales is entitled to £1 billion.
“I have been in Westminster for long enough to see how the Treasury tries to get away with depriving Wales of money that is rightfully ours. On building the Olympic Park in London and in building an £80 billion rail line through the middle of England, Westminster tried to say they weren’t investing in England, they were investing in the UK. To make such an argument undermines the whole purpose of the Barnett formula.
“£1 billion could be transformative for the Welsh economy. We could electrify our railways, build metro systems and re-open closed railway lines to connect our country. We could build new hospitals, schools and roads.
“It would be an utter disgrace if Westminster were to try and argue once again, that investing in London’s railway lines is somehow an investment for Wales, and deprive the country of this much needed investment.”