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Rail Funding in Wales

Volume 723: debated on Thursday 24 November 2022

This Government are investing through Network Rail up to £2 billion in the rail network in Wales over the current five-year control period to March 2024. That is twice the level of investment carried out in the previous five years.

The Minister will know that HS2 will reduce travel times from London to Manchester from two hours 10 minutes to one hour 10 minutes and by even more to Scotland, yet the travel time by train to Swansea, which I represent, will remain at about three hours. How is it that Scotland will get an additional £8 billion in Barnett consequentials but Wales will not get the £5 billion that it should get, given that in the past 12 years we have seen only 1.5% of the rail enhancements go to Wales? Will he look at that again and meet me to discuss it, so that we can have our fair share to deliver net zero, improve productivity and deliver levelling up?

The hon. Member is right that there are no direct Barnett consequentials from HS2 to Wales, but there are indirect benefits that I can explain when I meet him—to take up his invitation to meet. I welcome the fact that the Office of Rail and Road reports that Government funding for the operational railway was £1.27 per passenger kilometre in England and £2.39 per passenger kilometre in Wales and Scotland, which I am keen to support.

I welcome the Minister to his place. The Government are committed to levelling up, and that means improving transport and connectivity for my Ynys Môn constituents. How is the Minister using RNEP—the rail network enhancements pipeline—to improve north Wales journey times; will the scope be extended to include rail links to HS2 and the northern powerhouse; and when the Minister visits Ynys Môn, will he come by train?

I will certainly come by train to meet my hon. Friend, who is a true champion for transport in Ynys Môn and the wider north Wales region. She has secured a Backbench Business debate on the west coast main line in the Chamber on 15 December, and that demonstrates what a champion she is. I expect to have the business case for the project that she mentions on my desk in the new year, when I can talk to her further about it.