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Levelling Up: Rail Investment in Wales

Volume 710: debated on Monday 7 March 2022

11. What assessment he has made of the potential effect on levelling up in Wales of rail enhancement investments. (905905)

Investment in rail is a very important part of the levelling-up agenda. As well as the £2 billion for Network Rail in Wales over this control period, more than £340 million has been provided for enhancements in Welsh rail from 2019 to 2024. What is more, the UK Government are investing £30 million in the Global Centre of Rail Excellence, supporting about 120 jobs in Wales.

It takes three hours to get from London to Swansea; it takes three hours to get from London to Edinburgh. The reason is that only 1.5% of UK rail enhancement funding goes to Wales, even though it has 5% of the population and 11% of the railway lines. Will the Minister—with the support of the Secretary of State—urge the Treasury to provide funding as a share of HS2 to Wales on the same basis as it provides it to Scotland, given that HS2 is north-south, which would give us an extra £4.6 billion to level up and connect the Union?

The 1% figure that the hon. Gentleman quotes is from a Welsh Government report, which looks only at a very small part of rail investment and does not give a correct picture of the wider investment in Wales that I described. HS2 will of course provide huge benefits to the people of north Wales, who will be connected much more rapidly to the rest of the country.