Chris Elmore, MP for Ogmore, has called for greater funding from the UK Government in rail infrastructure after nearly a decade of neglect. Chris described the “great train robbery” he believed Wales has lived through since the Conservatives took power in 2010.
During a backbench business debate on St. David’s Day, Chris praised the Welsh Labour Government’s record investment in the new Wales and Borders franchise, which will see £5 billion being injected into the network and all trains replaced by 2023. Half of these trains will be built in Wales.
In contrast, the Ogmore MP noted the distain with which the UK Government – and notably the Wales Office – appeared to have for improving the sections of the rail network which are still reserved to Westminster.
Speaking after the debate, Chris Elmore MP said:
“It simply cannot be right that Wales has 11% of the total track across England and Wales and yet has only received a measly 2% of the UK Government’s funding for vital rail safety and renewal upgrades since 2010. To say it’s a kick in the teeth is an understatement.
“It’s time for the Welsh Secretary to start doing his job and delivering meaningful infrastructure improvements across Wales.
“Mind you, with the scrapping of rail electrification past Cardiff, the cancellation of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and the fact that Chris Grayling is still Transport Secretary, I won’t hold my breath!”
MPs from across Wales raised a range of issues during the debate, with many also raising their concerns about the great uncertainty facing Wales as the Brexit deadline of March 29th fast approaches.
Whilst tensions between the government and opposition MPs were high at times, many of them did find much-needed consensus in congratulating the Welsh rugby team on their stunning victory against England in the Six Nations.