This debate will take place between 2.30 and 4.00 pm on 14 November in Westminster Hall. The Member who secured the debate is Stephen Crabb MP (Con., Preseli Pembrokeshire).
MPs can find Parliamentary questions, statements and debates on the M4 via this link.
The Welsh Government is planning to build a new section of motorway in the M4 corridor south of Newport alongside complementary measures. The public inquiry into the scheme closed in March 2018; a final report has yet to be issued. The Works are planned to start at the end of 2018, to be complete by the end of 2023. estimated cost is approximately £1.3 billion. All relevant documentation associated with the scheme is available on the Welsh Government website.
This is a devolved project, however there is some dispute between the Welsh Government and the UK Government about funding for the scheme. In Budget 2018 the Chancellor announced that the Government would “support the delivery of a new M4 relief road through a review of the Welsh Government’s capital borrowing powers at the Spending Review, to consider whether the borrowing cap should be increased by up to £300 million to support this vital project”.
Further to this, there were reports that Wales Finance Secretary, Mark Drakeford, had taken issue with this. The BBC reported:
The Welsh Government can already borrow £1bn, but opponents of the relief road are concerned that committing to the project will tie-up most of that cash for years.
Mr Drakeford told BBC Radio's Good Morning Wales programme that he was told months ago that the borrowing powers would be reviewed.
"It will be for the national assembly for Wales to decide on how borrowing powers are deployed, not for the Chancellor in England, not for the Secretary for State for Wales," he said. "If our borrowing ability goes up, which it should go up, it should be for the national assembly to make those decisions."
But [Welsh Secretary, Alun] Cairns said: "Last April, the Welsh Government asked the Treasury for additional funding for the M4 road, for additional borrowing capacity. I've been able to deliver that extra borrowing power so there is no financial reason why that road [can not be] built. I'd also point out that it is a Labour manifesto commitment," adding: "This is not about us dictating policy. If they choose not to build it, then that is their political choice and they need to explain that to the people around Newport as well as to the businesses across the whole of the South Wales corridor because they will suffer as a result."
[…] A Welsh Government spokesman said: "We requested the UK Government reviews the Welsh Government's borrowing cap, in line with the fiscal framework agreement, for it to be raised at the next spending review. This request was made to help us fund our ambitious capital infrastructure programme, which potentially includes an M4 relief road, subject to the outcome of the public inquiry."
[…] The Welsh Government recently received the findings of a public inquiry into whether to build the M4 Relief Road, which estimated to cost more than £1.4bn.
A decision is yet to be taken on whether to go ahead, with a vote set to take place in the assembly in December.
Ministers in Cardiff have supported the relief road in the past but Mr Drakeford, who is a candidate in the Welsh Labour leadership race, is thought to be a sceptic.
Plaid Cymru treasury spokesman Jonathan Edwards said: "It would completely undermine devolution if those borrowing powers are only constrained by what the British government wants the Welsh government to spend those borrowing powers on."
[via the Welsh Government’s Statement of Case]
Commons Debate packs CDP-2018-0246
Author: Louise Butcher