Financial powers must be transfered to Wales promptly


Lowered UK economic growth forecast shows need for Welsh Government to act

Plaid Cymru Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, has called for the 'Calman Cymru' Commission to carry out its work swiftly and transfer financial powers to Wales promptly, as the Bank of England today once again lowered UK economic growth forecasts for 2011.

Mr Edwards argues that devolving greater financial and economic powers to the Welsh Assembly would allow the Welsh Government to act in the best interests of Wales rather than relying on London to make decisions.

Plaid Cymru have proposed measures such as a reduction in corporation tax in Wales, investment in infrastructure and jobs and a temporary cut in VAT to stimulate the economy.

Mr Edwards said:

“As a result of the policies of the Westminster Government, the UK’s economic growth forecasts have been cut yet again, with growth for 2011 now expected to be less than half it was predicted this time last year.

“As all indicators show that Wales is recovering slower than the south-east of England, it is imperative that the Calman Cymru commission, which will be looking into financial powers and Welsh democracy, carries out its work swiftly and promptly.

“The events of 2008, when this economic crisis began, confirmed our belief that the Welsh Government had too few powers to make a real difference to the Welsh economy.

“Plaid Cymru have set out a series of ideas for Wales which will stimulate economic growth and jobs here.

“We need to have powers over corporation tax in Wales, so that we can give our companies an economic advantage in the market-place.

“We should be able to borrow money to invest in our infrastructure, such as hospitals and schools, and create construction jobs – Plaid’s Build for Wales plan.

“In Westminster, we have suggested a temporary cut in VAT, back to the 17.5% it was last year, that would boost the economy right here, right now as well as helping hard-pressed families. We are disappointed that the Labour party failed to support our amendment to this effect at this year’s Finance Bill.

“Working together, these policies would give support to Welsh companies and families who have been let down by London.

“As UK Chancellor, George Osborne has failed to set out a Plan B if his swingeing cuts fail, which these figures suggest may well happen.

“Putting all your eggs in one basket, as the UK did with the financial sector, is never a good plan, and I hope that he will soon admit his mistake and offer alternatives for growth.”

The Bank of England’s quarterly report on growth and inflation today lowered growth forecasts for 2011 from around 1.8% in May to about 1.4%. At the time of the emergency Budget in June 2010, the Office for Budget Responsibility estimated 2011 growth as being 2.6%.