1. ITV Report

Welsh Government urged to stand by agreement to pay for Valley Lines electrification

The dispute is over the cost of electrifying the South Wales Valley Lines Photo: ITV Cymru Wales

The Welsh Secretary says he expects the Welsh Government to 'perform its part of the bargain' and pay for electrification of the Valley Lines. There's an increasingly bitter dispute between ministers in Cardiff and the UK Government over who should foot the bill for the project. Catch up with the details by clicking here.

I've seen correspondence between officials in Cardiff and Whitehall from March 2013 which includes a paragraph which clearly states that the Welsh Government 'will pay for the full cost of the work.' It states that 'the Department for Transport will cover the costs in CP5 ' (a budgeting term referring to 2014-19) but that the DfT 'will get this back from WG (Welsh Government) from CP6 (2019-24) onwards.'

I gather the correspondence between officials continued and that that 'side agreement' was finalised and also documented. It adds to other correspondence which has been released in the last week which strongly suggests that there was a formal deal in which the Welsh Government agreed to meet the cost of electrifying the Valley Lines.

That's certainly what Welsh Secretary David Jones believes and it's why he told me he expects Carwyn Jones' government to stick to its deal.

A Welsh Government spokesperson has urged the Welsh Secretary to publish any correspondence:

The Welsh Government has never agreed to fund the electrification of the Valley Lines because rail infrastructure is not devolved. However, the Prime Minister has publicly stated on a number of occasions that the UK Government would fund this important project. If the Secretary of State for Wales has any correspondence that suggests otherwise then we call on him to make it public

– Welsh Government spokesperson

One senior Labour figure told me that either there's been a cock-up by officials or that UK Government figures have misled people by claiming in interviews that London would fully fund electrification of both the Great Western main line and Valleys Lines.

Privately the Prime Minister and other senior UK Government figures are said to be 'livid' at the dispute. Both sides are hoping cool heads will prevail, but for the moment there's a serious question over a project which all sides agree is of huge importance for Wales.

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