Sunday, 8 December 2013


Lets be honest, Westminster austerity agenda is not working in our national interest. In response to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, Plaid Cymru has renewed its commitment to securing a Welsh economic recovery and tackling the cost of living crisis by creating meaningful, well-paid jobs and bringing down energy prices. Over £ 1 billion pounds will have been wiped from Welsh economy this year by the Westminster Government, and cuts to Welsh public services extending far in to the future are having a devastating effect.

That is why Wales needs greater financial and policy powers to shape the economy here, create jobs and more sustainable growth. The Government response to the Silk Commission has said that Wales is set to have greater investment powers which would be maximised by the income tax sharing arrangements. All parties in Wales need to  push on with this for the benefit of the Welsh economy.

The change of focus in the Funding for Lending scheme from mortgages to businesses should be welcomed as both business investment and lending remain in a depressed state. Plaid Cymru would implement a public development / business investment bank ("A Bank of Wales") to lend to SMEs, and develop local industries here. Plaid Cymru also wants to cut business rates for thousands of Welsh businesses.

Although a reduction in consumer energy bills is to be welcomed, Plaid Cymru has concerns that the reduction will not apply to off-grid consumers in rural areas. The real reason for soaring bills is profiteering by the members of the ‘Big 6’ energy cartel, something that the current Con Dem Coalition government and the last Labour government entirely failed to tackle. That is why Plaid Cymru has proposed a publicly-owned energy company, Energy Wales, with a not-for-distributable-profit model.

Plaid Cymru has also criticised the Chancellor's announcement that workers will be expected to work for up to five years longer in changes to the state pension. We in Wales will be hit disproportionately by these changes due to our lower life expectancy, and it is particularly perverse to reduce the job opportunities available to young people at a time when UK youth unemployment stands at a million.

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