In a joint letter to Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, and Alun Cairns MP, Secretary of State for Wales, all 22 South Wales Welsh Labour MPs have accused the UK Government of “causing Wales to be left behind”.
The letter notes the broken promise on rail electrification, unwillingness to provide funding for Welsh rail enhancements, and refusal to confirm funding for the Wales and Borders franchise, as evidence of the UK Government’s neglect.
The 22 MPs, each representing South Wales constituencies, have called on the Government to reconsider their broken promise on electrification, including the funding of rail upgrades, and to honour the funding agreement made with the Welsh Government in 2014 to secure a sustainable new Wales and Borders franchise agreement rather than attempting to strip out £1bn of investment over the next few years.
Chris Elmore MP, Chair-elect of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rail in Wales, said:
“Across South Wales, people feel they are being ignored by this UK Tory Government. The Welsh Secretary has stayed tight-lipped whilst the Government have neglected our railways and has refused to stand up for us. Meanwhile, Tory Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is happy to spend £30bn on Crossrail 2 in London, but when it comes to Wales, can’t find the money to electrify our lines. All the while, the Tories in Westminster are starving the Welsh Labour Government of the money needed for infrastructure investment.
“The sheer number of MPs that have come together to push the UK Government on this shows that this is a pressing issue that needs urgent attention. Welsh Labour MPs will not allow our railways in South Wales to lag behind the rest of the UK.
“Alun Cairns needs to pluck up the courage and stand up for Wales, whilst Chris Grayling needs to understand that we also need investment this side of the Severn Bridge.
Christina Rees MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, said:
“It’s time for Alun Cairns to do the job he’s there to do, and make the case to Chris Grayling and Theresa May to keep their promises on rail investment in Wales.
“Our election manifesto was clear – a UK Labour Government would deliver the promised rail electrification, and also deliver record investment for infrastructure projects, including rail. As things stand, the Welsh Labour Government is working with one hand tied behind its back.
“The Tories showed nothing but disrespect and disinterest towards Wales during the General Election campaign. Their repeated betrayals over rail investment show that this appalling approach is continuing in Government.”
The Transport Secretary announced the cancellation of electrification to Swansea in a written statement the week before the summer Parliamentary recess began. Mr Cairns had previously affirmed that electrification would benefit the whole of the South Wales region.
£1 billion of additional funding was recently promised to the Northern Irish Executive in return for the DUP’s support for the UK Government. No such promise of additional funding has been made for the Welsh Government, who – along with the Scottish Government – formally called for a funding boost in line with the Barnett formula last month.