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Westminster takes responsibility for rail electrification to Swansea

The secretary of state for Wales Cheryl Gillan has confirmed that electrification of the Great Western Main Line to Swansea is the sole responsibility of the Westminster government.

Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Elfyn Llwyd slammed suggestions being made in London that the Welsh Government should pay for mainline electrification in Wales and thereby save money for the Department for Transport (DfT).

He said: “The secretary of state for Wales has today confirmed that Westminster alone decides the fate of the £1bn project for electrification of the Great Western Main Line from London to Swansea.”

The independent Holtham Commission has already proved that Wales is under-funded by up to £300M per year. Llwyd said that Westminster should accept responsibility and fund projects that are not the remit of the devolved administration.

“In recent months there have been suggestions coming from the DfT in London that the Welsh Government should part-fund electrification of the main line within Wales,” said Llwyd.

“This is in spite of the fact that electrification has a better business plan and better cost-benefits ratio than Crossrail, which is costing £16bn. Just one station will cost more than the entire 287km of electrified track to Swansea.

“The Welsh Government cannot do anything about the Great Western Line. If powers are devolved to Wales, then funding to do that job properly must also be devolved.

“Instead of reforming Labour’s failed and flawed Barnett Formula, the UK Government are trying to get rid of responsibility on the cheap.

“Wales is losing out already and with the massive cuts being made by the UK Government, we cannot afford to fund responsibilities which are not ours to fund.”

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