MP rallies support to secure billions for Welsh transport funding
Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards MP has today (Monday) launched one of his party's key General Election campaigns to secure a fair share for Wales from spending on the England-only High Speed Rail (HS2) project.
In a keynote speech at the National Eisteddfod in Llanelli this morning, Mr Edwards - who has campaigned on this issue since being elected in 2010 - made the case that Welsh taxpayers should not be forced to fund an England-only project and that Wales is entitled to a sum of around £2-4bn of the HS2 expenditure.
He added that the HS2 project is set dominate infrastructure investment for at least a generation and that there will be little money left to spend on other projects, despite the Welsh transport network being in dire need of investment.
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Speaking ahead of the launch, Mr Edwards said:
"For over four years, Plaid Cymru has fought for a fair share for Wales from spending on the England-only HS2 project.
"This project is estimated to cost £50-80bn, improving rail links between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. The Westminster Government has branded this an UK-wide scheme but the last time I looked, all those cities were in England.
"Welsh taxpayers should not be expected to foot the bill for this vanity project unless our nation is fairly compensated. Based on Wales being home to 5% of the UK population, we should receive £2-4bn for our fair share.
"This is a staggering sum of money that could revolutionise our transport system and deliver much needed projects such as the electrification of the North Wales Main Line, the Valleys Lines, a South Wales Metro, and countless road projects up and down Wales.
"Plaid Cymru is the party for all of Wales. Unlike the Labour Welsh Government who have taken the reckless decision to spend nearly £1bn on a 9 mile stretch of the M4, we recognise that roads and railways in all corners of our nation are in need of investment.
"Despite independent research showing that HS2 will have a devastating impact on the South Wales economy, Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs from Wales have voted in favour of this project.
"I now call on the people of Wales to join us in sending a message to the Westminster elite that our nation will no longer settle for crumbs from the Westminster table. Whether by writing to their MP, visiting the campaign website to sign our petition, or completing a pledge card - every small step will help force a big change.
"The financial decisions on HS2 will be made in the next Comprehensive Spending Review which will take place in the early years of the next Westminster Parliament. The run-up to the General Election is the only opportunity for the people of Wales to ensure that those elected to serve our communities after next May will not support public spending on HS2 unless our nation receives a fair share.”
- Jonathan Edwards MP’s speech to the National Eisteddfod
- Figures show that the HS2 project is estimated to cost £50-80bn: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10249815/High-speed-rail-scheme-c...
- Independent research shows that HS2 will have a devastating impact on the South Wales economy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24589652
- George Osborne has announced plans for HS3 at a cost of £7bn: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-27974907
- Plans for Crossrail 2 are advanced at a cost of £16bn: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-27764476
- Boris Johnson has announced plans for a £30bn inner orbital underground motorway in London and has called for £1.3trillion in infrastructure spending in the city: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/mayor-sets-out-plan-for-22mile-...