Cardiff Central Station, via Istock

Levelling Up funding secured for new rail line between Cardiff Bay and Cardiff Central

Round two of the UK government’s Levelling Up Fund will deliver 11 projects in Wales with £208m, securing £50m of that fund for the new rail line between Cardiff Bay and Cardiff Central.

Announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, this funding injection aims to reduce the disparity between richer and poorer areas across the country, with portions of the cash also being disbursed for an engineering campus in Ebbw Vale and a new cycle route between Llandudno Junction and Betws y Coed.

The railway line comes as part of a wider scheme that will provide vital upgrades to South Wales’ commuter railway, seeing the £50m allocated to Cardiff Crossrail improve the journey to and from the city, whilst raising the economic performance of the wider region.

Sunak delivered this message, addressing his aim to “grow the economy, create jobs and spread opportunity everywhere.

“That’s why we are backing more than 100 projects with new transformational funding to level up local communities across the United Kingdom.

"By reaching even more parts of the country than before, we will build a future of optimism and pride in people's lives and the places they call home."

Delivering improved transport links across the UK is a key priority of the Levelling Up Fund, seeing more than £670m in total being distributed to 26 projects across the UK.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said:

“We are firing the starting gun on more than a hundred transformational projects in every corner of the UK that will revitalise communities that have historically been overlooked but are bursting with potential.

“This new funding will create jobs, drive economic growth, and help to restore local pride. We are delivering on the people’s priorities, levelling up across the UK to ensure that no matter where you are from, you can go as far as your talents will take you.”

Though this level of funding will be used to conduct essential improvements to the region, there are still concerns about the disparity between this scheme’s allocated finances and the previous EU project to reduce disparity, with Wales being an estimated £1.1bn worse off.

The Welsh government addressed this, saying:

 "Wales now has less say over less money and every decision on Levelling Up funding for local projects has been taken in Whitehall.

"The delayed, chaotic process is now costing jobs and other much-needed projects are being missed as a result of the lost funds.

"Today's news does not come close to meeting the funding promised by UK ministers in 2019."

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