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The Federation for Small Businesses (FSB) says the decision to scrap the rail electrification between Cardiff and Swansea "risks a psychological blow to economic and business confidence."
The promise to electrify the railway line as far as Swansea – made repeatedly by the past two Secretaries of State and the wider UK Government – was not just about cutting journey times, but was also about providing a 21st century infrastructure for business and showing ambition and growth for South and West Wales.
There has for some time been a unanimity of both business and political voices outlining the opportunity of electrification to Swansea and so it is disappointing that despite this consensus, the UK Government has chosen not to deliver against this proposal.
Losing the electrification scheme risks a psychological blow to economic and business confidence which comes at a time that we can ill afford it.
We would call on the UK Government therefore to commit now to other vital projects which can bolster economic confidence particularly the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, the decision for which is now long-overdue but which we have always seen as a vital part of economic regeneration in the area.
We are reassured by proposals and commitments to upgrade and improve rail infrastructure west of Swansea which will serve to help open up the rest of the City Region and we look forward to hearing early detail on how these proposals will be developed.
Swansea Council have responded to the decision to scrap the rail electrification between Cardiff and Swansea.
They say they've been "betrayed by the UK Government" over the announcement.
The council has also expressed its concern about the Swansea tidal lagoon project saying it will be pressing the UK Government because "it is vital for Swansea and the City Region."
We are angry. We feel we’ve been betrayed by the UK government. We’ve had meeting after meeting with ministers about the electrification of the line to Swansea and they told us it would happen. We were assured it would go ahead.
Our private sector partners have been side by side with us on this and I suspect they will be equally angry, frustrated and disappointed with this announcement.
It seems now that the money is being directed elsewhere, to High Speed 2 in England which will not offer any foreseeable benefits to this part of Wales.
The people of Swansea have been badly let down about the electrification project and they must not be let down about the lagoon as well.
Ministers have been making the right noises about the lagoon for months but they’ve delayed and delayed the decision. We will now be pressing them hard about it because it’s vital for Swansea and the City Region. We need to know it’s going ahead.
The Welsh Government has criticised plans to scrap the Swansea rail electrification plans by the UK's Transport Secretary.
They've said it amounts to 'years of broken promises' from the UK Government.
We have repeatedly called for the electrification of the mainline through to Swansea. Only this week, the Economy Secretary urged the UK Government to deliver on their commitment to electrify trains from Cardiff to Swansea or give the Welsh Government the powers and funding to do so. The UK Government has so far refused to devolve funding for rail infrastructure, as was recommended by the Commission on Devolution in Wales, so it is its duty to invest in Wales. Today’s reports in the media are therefore disturbing. If true it will amount to years of broken promises to the people of Wales - we urge the UK Government to clarify its position.
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