Wales should now get £1.9bn

I'm very pleased that the UK Transport Secretary has today announced that the HS2 line between London and Birmingham is to go ahead.

     

This investment of £33bn is entirely within England. By all rights Wales should get a Barnett consequential of 5.83% in so far as it is funded from the Treasury or other public funds. On the full sum, this would equate to just over £1.9bn.

The priority now is to make sure we get it, rather than have to put up with the same sort of fudge that we had to endure over the expenditure on the Olympic Games. Having seen coverage of the statement in Westminster, I think our politicians would do far better to concentrate their efforts on securing this money for Wales rather than talking about about tunnels through the Chilterns.
 

 
Update - 18:45, 10 January 2012

For those who aren't aware of it, just before Christmas the current UK Government were obliged, under the inter-governmental disputes procedure, to make a U-turn over the Barnett consequential for the Olympic Games in London ... but only for that period in which they have been in power. Details here.

Sadly, the vast majority of the expense was incurred before that when Labour were in power in Westminster, so we're only getting a small fraction of what we should have got. But the point of principle has been established. Therefore the question is whether the Welsh Government will fight for a similar Barnett consequential in this case.

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13 comments:

Owen said...

Ha ha ha.......like hell we will!

The most painful thing is that sum of money would almost certainly cover the costs of a "Metro" in south Wales, or even pay for the electification of the north Wales coast line - perhaps even go a significant way to electrifying all railways in Wales. There are also those who would probably urinate a great deal of it up the wall building an M4 Newport bypass.

The only way Wales will see any of that money is via benefits paid due to the tens of thousands of jobs it's predicted HS3 could cost Wales (and the SW of England).

I'd be very pleasantly surprised if Wales even saw a tenth of £1.9bn which is both depressing and typical thinking about it.

Siônnyn said...

If it means Gillan resigns, making way for a more talented and committed Welshman, representing a Welsh constituency, to step into the job, then I would say that the money was almost worth it!

I subscribe to google alerts, and one of the searches is 'Cheryl Gillan' - it gives me any stories where that name appears. The number of stories involving the railway outnumber the stories involving Wales by about 4 to 1. She will not be missed.

MH said...

Don't dismiss the possibility out of hand, Owen. After all, the current ConDem government has now agreed (under a disputes procedure) to pay a Barnett Consequential on the Olympics ... but only for that period in which they have been in power. See here. Sadly, the vast majority of the expense was incurred before that when Labour were in power so we're only getting a small fraction of what we should have got. But the point of principle has been conceded. Therefore the question is whether the Welsh Government will fight for it in this case. I'll add a note about that to the main post.

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The line being put out in the statement is that the increased tunnelling under the Chilterns actually reduces costs rather than increases them, Siônnyn. Sounds rather contrived to me. It seems to have been done by over-estimating the cost clearing away the spoil from what were deep cuttings.

Anonymous said...

Had this been under Labour, I would have said "no chance". However I think there can be a chance with this.

I think what may happen is that we are given the £1bn, but it must be spend on the electrification from Cardiff to Swansea. Its still investment, but through the back door.

Anonymous said...

Nah, they'll probably say this is "UK money", not England only, although how this will benefit Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, heaven only knows?

Anonymous said...

Because we have a weak press, they can get away with giving a token gesture of £10m - this wouldn't happen in Scotland

MH said...

Actually, it did happen in Scotland, Anon 20:10. Scotland only got £16m and Northern Ireland got £5.4m ... i.e. exactly the same as our £8.9m when adjusted for size of population.

Peter Black said...

You only get Barnett consequentials on UK spending on devolved functions. As rail infrastructure is not a devolved function we are not entitled to a consequential.

MH said...

So what was "devolved" about the Barnett consequential for the Olympics we eventually got, Peter? Or the Barnett consequential we eventually got for the Treasury funded part (about £5.5bn out of a total £16bn) of Crossrail? See here for details, §44.

Don't give up before you've even started. You're elected to represent and fight for people in Wales, not the Treasury in Westminster.

MH said...

There's another link for Crossrail here. What's the difference between one major rail infrastructure project and another?

Anonymous said...

"Had this been under Labour, I would have said "no chance". However I think there can be a chance with this.

I think what may happen is that we are given the £1bn, but it must be spend on the electrification from Cardiff to Swansea. Its still investment, but through the back door."

I wouldn't have thought so. The Tories don't want to electrify between Cardiff and Swansea if they can help it, and it is illegal to stipulate conditions with Barnett consequentials.

It's a con to sometimes think the Tories are "nicer" than Labour. If anything they're probably less generous because we don't matter electorally for them.

Rail infrastructure is not devolved and it is actually the Tories' job to deliver things like electrification in Wales.

That said, we shouldn't write it off. The Labour govt should fight for every penny. I don't have much faith in them but that diesn't mean the Tories are any better.

Joni Eds said...

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm100609/halltext/100609h0002.htm#10060947000349

here's my second speech in Westminster way back in the summer of 2010 where i raise the point about the fact that HS2 has no Barnett effect.

maen_tramgwydd said...

Peter Black:

"..we are not entitled to a consequential"

Like Oliver in the workhouse, not really entitled to ask for more, while the workhouse managers wine and dine to their hearts content.

Just about sums up what is wrong with the UK.

Go for it, you Scots!!

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