Labour’s politically motivated row over paying for Valleys electrification was resolved today as the First Minister published letters between the UK and Welsh Governments, proving Labour Ministers were aware of their financial responsibilities.
The Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, writes on 13 July 2012 to confirm agreement with Labour’s then Transport Minister Carl Sargeant that:
the next Wales and Borders franchise specification should include electric services on the Valley lines, with a specific access charge on the franchise to repay the infrastructure investment by Network Rail.
Carl Sargeant confirmed this agreement in his letter of 24 July 2012:
I can confirm our agreement as set out in your letter.
Byron Davies AM, Shadow Minister for Transport, said, "Electrification is the biggest single investment in Wales’ transport infrastructure for decades and it is appalling that Labour Ministers are playing politics with it.
"Labour orchestrated a spat with the UK Government in the pursuit of its narrow party political interests instead of co-operating on a record investment project to bring benefits to the South Wales economy.
"These letters reveal that Labour Ministers were well aware of their responsibilities towards the cost of Valleys electrification, but have cynically tried to manipulate the situation for political motives.
"Electrification is a great success story of the Conservative-led Coalition, which is in the process of electrifying 800 miles of track in the UK.
"Conservatives in government are building a transport network fit for the future after 13 years of neglect under Labour when not a single inch of track in Wales was electrified.
"Carwyn Jones and his lazy Labour Ministers need to start acting like a government and should meet with the Department for Transport as soon as possible to clear up this misunderstanding on the part of Labour Ministers in Wales."