Powys Liberal Democrats have hit out at the Conservative Party after it emerged Wales is to miss out on yet another large pot of rail funding.
The anger follows the revelation that ‘Northern Powerhouse Rail’ will be classified by the Conservative UK Government as an “England and Wales project”.
Northern Powerhouse Rail is a project to connect northern cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, York, Sheffield and Leeds with high-speed and improved rail, not a single meter of the track will be in Wales.
The project is expected to cost £17.2 billion. Under the Barnett Formula (the formula in which Welsh Government funding is calculated), Wales is meant to receive a proportional share of spending in England. In this case, if Northern Powerhouse Rail was classified as an England-only project Wales would receive around £1 billion in funding it could spend on public transport.
However, this is not the first time Wales has been short-changed by the Conservative Government with High Speed 2 (HS2) also being classed as an ‘England and Wales’ despite none of the line being located in Wales. This decision is estimated to have cost Wales £5 billion in lost funding that could have been spent on public transport.
Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire David Chadwick said:
“The latest development goes to show the Conservatives couldn’t care less about Wales and that Powys’ two Conservative MPs are utterly failing to do their job and stand up for their constituents.
“Rural public transport has been cut to the bone while the Conservatives have been in Government and yet they are insistent on depriving our communities of additional funding we should be entitled to.
“Taxpayers in Powys will want their money to go towards improving infrastructure that will benefit their lives, not expensive projects in far-flung regions of England.
“Why aren’t they raising this injustice in Parliament and with their colleagues? If I was the MP it would be one of the first things I’d be trying to change.
“Anyone in Mid Wales, would be able to tell you the abysmal state Welsh railways are.
“Welsh Conservative MPs should hang their heads in shame, their lack of backbone is robbing Wales of vital investment that would not only better services for the public, but help to attract more businesses to Wales.
“This sadly fits a long record for the Conservative Party. It seems if the Conservatives had a message for people in Powys, it would be – ‘you don’t matter to us’.