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Friday, February 04, 2011

Labour's faux pas on electrification

There are red faces all round in the Welsh Labour Party this morning after their Shadow Transport Secretary gave an interview in which she was less than committed to the electrification of the mainline between London and Swansea.

This was the project of course that Gordon Brown announced in January 2009 and said would start immediately. Alas, once the new Government took up residence they discovered than not only had it not started but that there was no money allocated to pay for it and no business plan.

The Coalition Government has been busy ever since trying to put that right and I am still optimistic of a favourable announcement, especially if the Welsh Government are able to commit to the electrication of the Valley Lines.

According to today's Western Mail Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle yesterday seemed to indicate that Labour had abandoned its commitment to providing the high-speed link to Wales.

They say that Maria Eagle told the London Evening Standard newspaper: “The Tory-led Government has delayed the completion of vital rail projects including Crossrail and Thameslink in London, cut new carriages planned by Labour and hit commuters with massive fare increases.

“At the same time they plan to only spend £750m of the £17.5bn cost of the proposed new high-speed line to Birmingham. Labour will next month launch a root and branch review of our transport policy with nothing ruled in or out.

“It would be irresponsible to make cast-iron spending commitments for beyond 2015 before we have listened to the public and come to conclusions about our future priorities.”

This of course led to much activity by Shadow Welsh Office Ministers but despite their strongest protests they could not hide the fact that Ms. Eagle had missed out Wales in the list of projects she supported and was not committing herself to any new spending.
What do Plaid want to do regarding electrification of the rail network in the principality?
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