To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of whether the Welsh Government’s comparability factor for the Department for Transport should be updated in light of the changes to HS2 outlined in the Integrated Rail Plan to recognise that (a) Northern Powerhouse Rail Core Network, (b) Transpennine Route Upgrade and (c) the smaller rail schemes in the North and Midlands are England-only projects.
The UK Government is responsible for much of the rail infrastructure in Wales and therefore spends money on this infrastructure rather than providing Barnett-based funding for the Welsh Government to do so. This is consistent with funding arrangements for all other reserved responsibilities in Wales. For example, the UK Government spends money on policing in Wales rather than providing the Welsh Government with Barnett-based funding in relation to spending on police forces in England.
In line with this responsibility, the UK Government is currently delivering an ambitious programme to upgrade Welsh railways, including through the electrification of the Severn Tunnel and building a new station at Bow Street.The Welsh Government’s comparability factors will be revisited at the next Spending Review. However, they will not be significantly affected by changes in rail infrastructure spending across England and Wales given this is a reserved responsibility as set out above.
Full details of how comparability factors work are set out in the Statement of Funding Policy.