Hits the nail right on the head.
But, I never knew Wales was offered the same deal as Scotland back in 2006: full devolution of Network rail block grant. Why on earth did they say no? Historically Wales has got something like 1-2% of network rail funding but instead would have got about 5% as a block grant. On its own surely a good deal. Was it something to do with concerns that this would undermine wider efforts to secure "fair funding"?
Simple. If Rail is devolved, WG should pay. If Rail is not devolved then central government should pay. (assuming benefit outweighs cost, which I cannot see how it would not). Since Westminster hold the budget for Rail spending in Wales, then it is Westminster that should pay.
Considering 32 billion is being spent on HS2, it's pretty shocking that Westminster are arguing over 0.5 billion for the Welsh Valleys.
I don't know why but I'm pretty sure Westminster stated they would fund the line to Swansea and I'm sure on the back of that WG said they would electrify the South Wales network.
However, even if Westminster does electrify to Swansea we shouldn't kid ourselves that it is for the sole benefit of the Welsh. Bristol and Swindon will also benefit too!
Ultimately it is the taxpayer footing the bill. Should the British taxpayer pay for electrification of the UK mainline element and the Welsh taxpayer the Welsh equivalent, or should the British taxpayer pay for it all? If anyone has complained about HS2 being unjust then of course they should also accept that it works both ways and that the Welsh taxpayer should pay for infrastructure that only they depend on.
Whatever it is, you know it will get messy and many millions will be wasted in sorting it out. In the meantime, nothing will get done.
edit: I found this from the Welsh government.
I don't think the WG have ever said they would fund the Valleys electrification.
What was talked about at one stage was DfT funding electrification as far as Cardiff and then Wales taking it on to Swansea if it wanted to. Then there was an announcement that DfT would fund the electification to Swansea and that "Valleys lines would be electrified too".
Now I don't recall DfT or the Secretary of State for Wales ever explicitly saying DfT would fund electrification of the Valleys line. But neither did the WG ever say they would. And, in subsequent boosterism for the project, DfT have been happy to imply that they are funding the line, talking about how this shows the coalition "delivering for Wales" etc.
What it seems to boil down to is either:
a) The Treasury/DfT reneging on an implied commitment to fund the electrification
or b) Incompentence on the part of the WG, agreeing to fund a project for which the budget and responsibility isn't actually devolved.
I don't know what is more likely. Morally, however, the fact of the matter is that this is not something for which funding is devolved, and therefore it should be funded centrally. The cost-benefit calcs for electrification of Valleys lines is almost certainly better than for many of the schemes that are being funded centrally (HS2 for one!).
I think who said what is really moot when you think that the taxpayer will be ultimately funding the build. What will happen is that WG and Westminster will spend months if not years wrangling over the finer details of who said what and when and in the meantime the taxpayer will have to pay millions for consultations and judicial reviews which doesn't actually get shovels in the ground thus achieving nothing at all.
We will then get to a point where funding is agreed (10 years and many tens of millions later) and both WG and Westminster will congratulate themselves with a collective pat on the back for a job well done and both will seek to accumulate as much political capital as possible.
In the meantime millions of taxpayers money has been squandered on achieving nothing at all. Perhaps having the state run these things isn't such a good idea.
Jantra - it does matter.
If the WG has to pay for it via higher annual charges to network rail, thats about £25 million a year ad infinitum. That is not an insignificant sum. It is the running cost for about 5 state secondary schools for instance, or perhaps 1000 relatively junior nurses, or 200 relatively senior doctors.
Its not simply a case of "all that happens is the taxpayer pays"... its which budget does this come out of? Does it come out of the Welsh budget meaning less available for other things in Wales? Or does it, more fairly in my view, come out of the DfT budget meaning less to be spent on other DfT projects? Given (a) rail infrastructure funding is not devolve and (b) the very small share of spending foing to Wales as it is.. it seems only right that it comes out of the latter budget.
Of course I am aware of all that but I'm not Wales centric. Just like you wish to view Waterhall in the Cardiff (rather than Fairwater) context, I view infrastructure development in the UK context. Yes Wales has been poorly served in the past by having Westminster holding the purse strings, but then nothing WG has done thus far indicates (to me at least) they would spend the money wisely given the chance.
NB my last point is regarding the £25m annual charges - it needs to be spent by either Westminster or Wales so again it will be funded by the taxpayer.
I'd just like to see it built. I don't care whose budget it comes from (as ultimately it is our taxes that are paying for it) and this whole episode adds credence to the argument that politicians and the state just aren't the best at making decisions for the good of the people
CARDIFFWALESMAP - FORUM