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From the Senedd

02/12/2021

Since the election in May, Plaid Cymru has consistently called on the Welsh government to take action to tackle rising unemployment and to come forward with a credible plan to boost the Welsh economy.  

There is nothing inherently wrong with apprenticeship schemes or the other modest proposals Labour has put forward. But those are things that are normal- “business as usual” ideas.  Plaid Cymru believes Transport is one of the key areas for action as it is crucial to both short-term and long-term sustainable development.

The Labour government has confirmed it will focus on the “east-west Trans-European routes and enterprise zones” which Plaid Cymru believes is a critical error.  Plaid Cymru implemented the Economic Renewal Programme, and from that came a commitment to a 10-year National Infrastructure Plan.

The 10-year scale of the National Infrastructure Plan allows us to get away from the short-termism that is inherent in the current Welsh Government’s thinking.   Of course we need investment into the economically vital east-west links.  But over the course of 10 years, the Government should uphold this Assembly’s commitment to representing the whole of Wales, and this means there has to be a place for north-south links in the longer-term vision.

Ieuan Wyn Jones as Transport Minister laid the foundations that we want to build on.  The One Wales government prioritised east-west links, but also found the political space for a commitment to begin the work of uniting our nation through adopting a north-south perspective to run parallel to that east-west development.

The Labour-ConDem budget is extremely bad news for businesses and workers in Wales and does little to address the deepening economic crisis which sees our economy deteriorating week by week.  Unemployment in Wales has risen to its record worst with little sign of a Welsh government willing to captain the Welsh ship on these turbulent economic seas.

It is not surprising that Labour jumped at their budget deal with the Lib Dems.  Labour has already failed to uphold its election pledge of defending Wales from the ConDems – when a relatively cheap offer was put on the table; Labour had no hesitation in jumping into bed with their unionist friends.

Since the Lib-Labour deal the UK Chancellor has announced a £30billion UK ‘National Infrastructure Plan’ based around Plaid Cymru’s Build4Wales programme announced earlier this year.  £25billion will come from pension funds with the remaining £5billion from the UK Treasury.

Wales will see less than 0.8% of the £30billion investment as the Tories and Lib Dems only apply our funding formula to the £5billion.  This is totally unacceptable and does not even fill the void the UK Government had already created by reducing our capital investment budget. 

Whilst Plaid Cymru continues to fight for our fair share of the pot, the £216million can be the ‘shot in the arm’ our economy needs if the Labour government here in Wales can be bothered to step up to the plate and deliver.