Today, once again trying to put Wales first, Plaid Cymru has tabled a series of amendments to the remaining stage of the Wales Bill, which is currently being debated in the Commons. The amendments seek to strengthen Wales’ economy and our democracy by boosting borrowing powers and give the National Assembly powers to hold binding referenda.
Plaid Cymru Treasury spokesperson Jonathan Edwards MP said:
“Throughout the course of the Wales Bill, Plaid Cymru has sought to deliver the best deal possible for our nation by tabling ambitious amendments which would strengthen the Bill and provide the Welsh government with as wide an array of job-creating powers as possible.
“If passed, the amendments we have tabled would empower the Welsh Government to issue financial guarantees for infrastructure projects - if the Welsh Government secured 5% of the UK Government’s spend on guarantees it would underwrite £2bn of investment.
“Our amendments would also remove the handcuffs which prevent the Welsh Government from choosing what infrastructure projects to spend on, rather than being told to spend on the M4, for example. All four corners of Wales need ambitious infrastructure projects and the Westminster Government shouldn’t stand in the way of this.
“The Labour party regrettably, rather than strengthening the hand of the Labour-run Welsh Government to intervene in the Welsh economy, has tabled several wrecking amendments aimed at delaying progress in implementing the Bill. This is the only piece of Welsh legislation we have seen during this five-year parliament. As the Bill stands Wales would still be playing catch-up with where Scotland is now.
“Rather than make panicked pledges to Scotland and treat Wales as a second class nation, the Westminster parties should be taking this bill – and our nation’s best interests – seriously.”
Hywel Williams MP added:
“As far as Plaid Cymru’s constitutional amendment goes, it would ensure that the National Assembly for Wales had the power to hold binding referenda in order to honour the will of the Welsh people.
“However, the Edinburgh Agreement which provides for a clear legal base for the referendum on Scottish independence in September has set a precedent for this.
“Plaid Cymru believes that Wales too should be granted this same power. Of course, not all referenda centre on questions of independence – it is the principal that the people of Wales should be able to decide what powers they have and when.
“It is simply a matter of democracy that if the National Assembly is to be granted further powers, that institution should have the power to ask the people of Wales whether they support certain measures.”
It will be interesting to see how the representatives of those Westminster based political parties with electoral representation in Wales vote on Plaid’s amendments to the bill...