HS2 Consequential Funding

Part of 1. Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Cabinet Office – in the Senedd at 2:14 pm on 15 May 2024.

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Photo of Rebecca Evans Rebecca Evans Labour 2:14, 15 May 2024

Well, £350 million could have made a significant difference to us here in Wales in terms of the investment that we're able to make in public services. I think that the UK Government should return that money to Wales. There's absolutely no argument now that the HS2 project, which is basically a London-to-Birmingham railway, has any benefit to us here in Wales. Those kind of flimsy arguments that we would benefit in the past I think have been completely washed away now, so that money I think does need to be returned to us. We're being short-changed in so many ways. When you think about replacement EU funding, for example, that’s a classic example of the UK Government short-changing the Welsh Government, and when you look at the ways in which the UK Government has provided specific funding for Northern Ireland to help Northern Ireland to meet its challenges in terms of public services, but not providing the same for us here in Wales, I think again that’s an example of where we’ve been short-changed. As I’ve said to the Minister in Northern Ireland, we don’t begrudge a penny. We recognise the pressures on public services there, but what we want is fair treatment and fair play right across the United Kingdom.

So, what I would like to see as we start our discussions in terms of the next spending review period is absolutely for this project to be categorised now as an England-only project, as it should have been all along.