‘Can Wales afford not to be independent?’ asks Plaid Cymru MP

Liz Saville Roberts MP (CC BY 3.0)

A Plaid Cymru MP has asked if Wales can afford not to be an independent nation.

Liz Saville Roberts, the party’s leader in Westminster, was responding to being told by an interviewer on Bloomberg that independence would be “economically unwise”.

The Member of Parliament for Dwyfor Meirionnydd pointed out that the UK Government was having to borrow large amounts of money to deal with Brexit and the Covid crisis.

Ms Saville Roberts argued that Wales was hampered by the fact it didn’t have full control of its borrowing and therefore couldn’t act with the same degree of independence.

She stated that Wales is “prevented from using the same resources” and said with independence we could “start putting our own priorities first.”

When questioned about how an independent Wales would get on economically, Ms Saville Roberts said: “Or alternatively could we afford not to? I mean look at the situation where an independent government at the lowest borrowing rates we’ve had I think within my lifetime.

“The UK Government is borrowing itself to deal with the grim realities of both Brexit and the Covid crisis. It can do that.”

‘Independence’ 

She added: “There is a cap on how much the Welsh Government can borrow. We can’t actually operate with that degree of independence.

“With independence we could start putting our own priorities first and using the way that money operates within governments across the world, using that to our own effect.

“The UK Government can do that. They have prevented in the asymmetrical pattern that we have of devolution in the UK. The Welsh Government has far fewer powers. It’s effectively prevented from using the same resources.

“Look at the emotional argument over and above that. I imagine that Simon Hart (the Welsh Secretary) has used these arguments as well.

“He will be playing to a lack of confidence, the idea that Westminster knows best. But even across the north of England there are serious questions about the degree of funding that’s always assumed to go to the southeast of England.

“These questions are rising not just in Wales, but in other places as well. It’s easy enough to describe the problem.

“In Wales we’ve been on the receiving end of not having the degree of support within this ‘fantastic union’ that gets us out of this entrenched poverty, it then asks what’s the solution to it?”

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