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Welsh firms get inside track on HS2 contract bids

Welsh businesses find out today how to bid for contracts worth around £10bn from Britain's largest infrastructure project.

A high speed train using HS1, the Channel Tunnel. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

HS2 is the high speed railway initially linking Birmingham and London.

Today HS2 Ltd's senior management team are in Cardiff.

"The HS2 team are laying down their marker now, looking for suppliers throughout the UK to support the first phase of HS2 between London and Birmingham and we have a range of suppliers in Wales that can add value to the project. Good suppliers, with a track record of excellent service, products and expertise"

– Edwina Hart AM, Economy Minister

Wales should get share of HS2 funding says Plaid

Plaid Cymru is hoping to use today's debate on the controversial HS2 rail scheme to ensure extra money is given to Wales as a result. Jonathan Edwards MP has tabled amendments to the legislation paving the way for HS2 which will be voted on in the Commons today.

He says his amendment will be 'the last chance to enshrine in law' the principle that the Welsh Government should be receive funding equivalent to 5% of the cost of the project.

Plaid Cymru has fought a three year long campaign to ensure that Wales receives a fair share from HS2. The cost of the network has doubled over the summer to over £40bn according to the Treasury’s own estimates. Independent assessments by the Institute for Economic Affairs put the cost of HS2 at over £80bn. A fair share for Wales therefore would be between £3bn and £4bn.

Historically, Wales has been poorly served by Westminster Governments when it comes to transport infrastructure in our country – receiving less than half of what our population share would dictate. It’s no wonder that our transport systems are so poor.

– Jonathan Edwards MP, Plaid Cymru


Treasury says Wales did get some HS2 money but won't get much more

The Treasury has issued a further statement on the disagreement between Welsh and UK Governments over extra spending as a result of the HS2 rail scheme. Click here to read the background.

The Treasury now agrees that the Welsh Government HAS received a relatively small amount of extra money (£35m) because the Department for Transport's cash for HS2 came too late to change the formula used to decide how much money Wales gets.

But it's made clear the formula will be changed before there's any major spending on HS2 which means that Wales won't get any extra money if the project finally gets the go-ahead. A Treasury source described the dispute as 'overplayed.'

At the Spending Round in June, the Welsh Govt received a capital consequential of £84.5m. This was based on a £2bn increase in the total DfT capital budget. The Barnett formula calculation used the framework set out at the Spending Review in 2010, which set out 73.1% per cent of changes in DfT spending are subject to Barnett consequential for the Welsh Government. The framework is expected to be updated at the next full Spending Review, as is usual practice, and will reflect the latest information on departmental spending.

– Treasury spokesperson

Governments at loggerheads over Wales funding

The Welsh and UK Governments are at loggerheads over extra funding for Wales. The row centres on whether or not the Welsh Government is getting extra money as a result of the controversial HS2 rail project in England.

The Treasury's been denying that Wales is getting a share of that money. The Welsh Government insists that it has.

VIDEO: Finance Minister Jane Hutt AM


Welsh Government insists it's right in Treasury dispute

A Welsh Government spokesman has further clarified why Finance Minister Jane Hutt is sticking to her guns in a disagreement with the UK Treasury. The dispute is over whether or not Wales has received a share of spending on the controversial HS2 rail scheme.

Jane Hutt has already told ITV Cymru Wales that she stands by her claim as set out in a letter to the Finance Committee. Now a Welsh Government spokesman has underlined her position.

The Finance Minister's letter to the Assembly's Finance Committee is accurate. At the Spending Round in June, the UK Government allocated funding for HS2 in 2015-16 through the UK Department for Transport capital budget. This contributed to an overall increase in the DfT capital budget from £7.5bn to £9.5bn in 2015-16 - a £2bn increase. This increase includes funding for HS2. The Welsh Government received a capital consequential of £84.5m from the £2bn overall increase in the DfT capital budget.

Finance Minister stands by HS2 funding claim

Finance Minister Jane Hutt is standing by her claim that the Treasury has given the Welsh Government extra money as a result of spending on the controversial HS2 rail scheme.

She'd told the Assembly's Finance Committee that £84m was passed on in the recent Spending Review as a result of Department for Transport capital spending including HS2. The Treasury has disputed that claim.

But in this short interview with Lynn Courtney, Jane Hutt insists that the money - known as Barnett Consequentials after the formula used to work out Wales' share of UK Government funds - does reflect Westminster's spending on HS2.

HS2 opponents say Wales' bonus could add up to £5bn

Money given to Wales as a result of UK Government spending on the HS2 rail project could add up to an extra £5.3bn on the total bill according to opponents of the scheme. Finance Minister Jane Hutt has acknowledged that the Welsh Government has already received a further £84m from the Treasury.

The funding is known as a 'Barnett Consequential' because it's allocated using the Barnett formula for working out the share of UK spending devolved nations should receive. The move has been welcomed by Welsh politicians for setting an important precedent.

But it's also been criticised by opponents of the whole HS2 scheme who say it adds what the call the spiralling costs of the project.

The award for Barnett money to Wales is a clear admission that HS2 doesn’t benefit Wales, it hurts Wales, the same way it hurts many other parts of the country. Northern Ireland is in the same boat and must now be due for a pay out too, and now this precedent has been set we are be talking about another £5.3bn which has to be added to the current £50.1bn costs of HS2.

As we have always said and as keeps being demonstrated, the costs of HS2 will keep going up and the benefits will keep going down. It is time to go back to the drawing board, scrap HS2 and deliver the rail infrastructure improvements the whole country really needs.

– Joe Rukin, Stop HS2 Campaign