Local MP to lead Wales’s opposition to High Speed rail project

Carmarthenshire economy to lose £12 million
No share for Wales an ‘act of betrayal’ – Jonathan Edwards

Carmarthenshire MP and Plaid Cymru Transport and Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards, has said that any MP based in Wales voting for HS2 without fair funding for Wales would be committing an act of political betrayal.

Jonathan Edwards’s campaign, which he started just a month after being elected to the House of Commons in 2010, has concentrated on the fact that Wales should be compensated for taxpayers’ money being spent on an England-only High Speed rail project.

In November last year, the Welsh Government confirmed that Mr Edwards’s efforts were successful and that Wales had received an equivalent share of funding to the tune of £35million. Despite a period of confusion at the time, the UK Treasury conceded that funding from HS2 was given to Wales, but in error.

The HS2 Bill will be debated in Parliament this week where the Carmarthenshire MP will be leading Wales’s opposition to the project if Wales does not receive its fair share of the spend.

Mr Edwards said that detailed economic analysis by accountants KPMG which was commissioned by the UK Government itself indicated that hundreds of millions of pounds will be lost from the Welsh economy each year as a result of the proposed High Speed rail link which links the North of England and London.

The figures were only released following a Freedom of Information request by the BBC programme Newsnight. The report indicates that Carmarthenshire will lose £12.1million per annum; Cardiff will lose £68m per annum; Swansea £16.5m; Bridgend £11m, and Neath Port Talbot £6m. The report indicated that Wrexham would gain marginally from HS2.

England-only infrastructure developments should result in Wales receiving its fair share. However, transport infrastructure is not devolved and HS2 has been designated by the UK Government as a ‘UK-ide project’ meaning that Wales will not receive 5% of the total costs of the project in compensation. Last summer the UK Government up-rated the expected cost of the development by £10bn to over £40bn.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP, Jonathan Edwards said:

“The last time I looked on a map, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, and Leeds were all in England. I find it difficult to see how the UK Government can claim that this is a UK-wide project – particularly when the Carmarthenshire economy and the economy of other Welsh communities look set to lose tens of millions of pounds as a result.

“I’ve been arguing since entering Parliament that Wales rightfully deserves a fair share of the project spend. This campaign resulted in a windfall being agreed last year, but the UK Government now intends to stop that money coming in future years.

“Based on UK Government projections, Wales should receive £2bn as a result of HS2. However with predictions that the total bill for HS2 could easily double, we could be looking at nearer £4bn. Either way this is a huge sum of money which could revolutionise transport infrastructure in Wales.

“I am not prepared to support a project that takes over £12million away from Carmarthenshire each year and tens of millions of pounds away from the South Wales economy.

“It would be an act of betrayal by MPs representing Welsh constituencies if they didn’t oppose the HS2 Bill without cast iron guarantees that we were not going to be short changed again by the UK Government.”


4 Responses to “Local MP to lead Wales’s opposition to High Speed rail project” [latest first]

  1. Hi Jonathan, do you have any idea of the amount of support you will receive from A. Welsh MP’s and B. English MP’s ? And can l suggest you name and shame certainly those who represent Welsh constituencies who do not oppose the bill without the guarantee’s for a fair share for Wales. best wishes Pauline

  2. We will as I dont expect a single unionist MP to protect Welsh interests. Rebellion amongst shire Tories. Probablt twenty tk thirty odd.

  3. Jonathan, what formula do you use to “calculate” hypothetical losses based on an unknown period in the future?

  4. I do believe you are referring to the KPMG report

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