The building of a new train station, promised to the people of Caerphilly for a decade, has been delayed.
The Welsh Assembly Government has outlined its spending plans for 2011-2012 and has said the long-awaited station for the Energlyn area has been deferred because of spending cuts imposed by the UK Government.
Caerphilly’s Labour AM Jeff Cuthbert has criticised the delay.
He said: “This is an extremely disappointing decision that has been forced on Wales by the UK Coalition Government’s drastic and over-enthusiastic spending cuts.
“Wales has been left with the worst financial settlement since devolution thanks to the Tories’ and Lib Dems’ Thatcherite commitment to cutting public spending and rolling back the state.
“I have campaigned long and hard for better access and services along the Rhymney Valley line, and Wales’ Plaid Cymru Transport Minister has praised me in the past for the work that I have done on behalf of my constituents.
“However, I regret greatly that Plaid Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones has taken this decision because the new station is badly needed and local people will be very disappointed.”
Residents were first promised a new station as far back as 2001. The failure of private company Railtrack delayed the project after its successor, the publicly-owned Network Rail, decided to concentrate on the backlog of track maintenance it inherited.
Ron Davies, Plaid Cymru’s Assembly candidate for Caerphilly, said: “I’m really disappointed at this news. But it really is crocodile tears from a weak and ineffective Assembly Member who has failed to secure funding for this project since he was elected in 2003.
“The Labour Government in Westminster had 13 years to ensure Wales received fair funding. Wales is being shortchanged to the tune of £300m a year. If Labour had secured the funding Wales is due, Energlyn station would have been built and opened by now. But they did nothing.
“Projects like this are crucial to regenerating Caerphilly and, if I am successful in May’s Assembly elections, I will make it a top priority whoever is in power, either in Cardiff or Westminster.”