UK Government must Commit to Electrify Rail to Swansea

Plaid Cymru’s Jonathan Edwards MP today challenged Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond on the floor of the House of Commons over the UK Government’s decision to refuse full electrification of the First Great Western rail line to Swansea.

Mr Edwards argued that the UK Government was on the one hand admitting that rail is an important means of boosting the economy, but on the other effectively stopping any investment into the economy past Cardiff.

Plaid’s Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“The announcement that the line would not be electrified as far as west Wales went down like a lead balloon in the communities I represent in west Wales.

“Last week, the Business Secretary made a speech saying that investment in high speed and electrified rail was an example of how the UK Government was going to rebalance the economy.

“Is the message then, as far as the UK Government is concerned, that the Welsh economy stops at Cardiff?

“A sound business case was made by the Plaid Minister for Transport and the Economy in the Welsh Government and many have been questioning why the UK Government, first under Labour and now under the ConDems, are undermining this.

“It would even be cheaper to electrify the whole line in the long run. It makes sense to have a continuous development programme as far as Swansea and further west, than to have the work stop at Cardiff and then suffer the expense of starting all over again.

“Other areas of the UK are streets ahead of Wales as they receive investment into high speed rail. Why is Wales being left behind?”

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