Welsh Government failing to stand up for Welsh interests over HS2

Plaid Cymru has responded to the Welsh Government’s u-turn on HS2 consequentials for Wales by criticising Labour for their lethargic approach to standing up for Welsh interests.

Since the high-speed rail project was announced, Plaid Cymru has consistently called for Barnett consequential equivalent compensation for Wales of up to £4bn – based on a recent report by the Institute of Economic Affairs which said the project could ultimately coat £80bn.

Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, accused the Welsh First Minister and his party of being “all over the shop” and drew attention to the hypocrisy of Labour MPs from Wales who failed to vote against the paving bill for HS2 when it was being discussed in Parliament.

Mr Edwards said:

“The people of Wales deserve better than mixed messages and u-turns from their Government.

“Plaid Cymru has consistently campaigned for a HS2 equivalent consequential for Wales – a substantial amount of money that could be in invested in our own roads and railways to generate jobs and vastly improve services.

“The North Wales line is in desperate need of electrification and the creation of a South Wales Metro would ease congestion and improve commutes throughout the region.

“Meanwhile, the Labour Party in Wales has been suspiciously quiet on this matter – failing to call for a consequential equivalent and failing to vote on the crucial paving bill in Westminster. Even now when they’ve finally decided to speak up on the issue, they’re calling for a consequential of £2bn – half what Wales is owed based on the latest projected figures.

“It is highly regrettable that Labour have spent the last three years ganging up with the Tories to undermine the campaign led by Plaid Cymru on this vital issue of importance for Wales.

“It is clear that the Welsh Government is all over the shop on this issue. It is high time the First Minister decides where his priorities lie – standing up for the Welsh interest and securing that Wales doesn’t lose out when billions are spent on England-only projects, or appeasing his London colleagues in the Labour Party. 

“This u-turn has only come about because Labour are positioning to ditch support for HS2.

“Wales deserves a Government that puts the Welsh national interest first not the narrow interests of the Labour Party.”

ENDS

 

Update: Jonathan Edwards receives praise from the Financial Times’ Chief Political Correspondent, Jim Pickard:

Times HS2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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