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Plaid Cymru leader calls for meeting with Keir Starmer to discuss ‘pressing issues facing Wales ahead of general election

29 Apr 2024 4 minute read
Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth

Rhun ap Iorwerth has requested a meeting with Labour leader Keir Starmer to discuss key policy issues including fair funding for Wales, Devolution of the Crown Estate and the designation of HS2 as an England and Wales project.

The leader of Plaid Cymru has written to Mr Starmer today (29 April) to discuss “pressing issues” facing Wales ahead of a general election.

Mr ap Iorwerth writes that Vaughan Gething has committed to several policies initially proposed by Plaid Cymru.

In Mr Gething’s leadership manifesto, he emphasised that “HS2 is clearly an England only project that has been classified ad England and Wales to deny us funding,” refers to the full devolution of justice and policing powers as “established Welsh Labour policy” and referred to powers over the Crown Estate as “the most important set of powers” he would seek for the Senedd.

However, Mr ap Iorwerth notes, “since his election as First Minister, he’s been quiet on these matters”

Donation controversy

In his letter, he speculates that Mr Gething may be preoccupied with the ongoing controversy regarding the £200,000 donation he accepted from an environmental offender’s company.

Mr ap Iorwerth raises his concerns that the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Jo Stevens MP, has rejected the call for the devolution of justice, despite Welsh Labour’s support for the issue.

He also raises the £1.3 billion real term decrease in the Welsh Government’s budget since 2021.

Mr Gething recently told the Senedd that “Conservative choices” were to blame for the funding shortfall facing Wales. However, in March, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves MP made clear that if elected, Labour would not break the fiscal rules set by the Conservatives.

Mr ap Iorwerth warned that “by adopting the Tories’ austere fiscal rules, Labour is ensuring that Wales will continue to be held back.”

In the letter, Mr ap Iorwerth writes:“I am writing to request a meeting to discuss the pressing issues facing Wales ahead of the upcoming General Election.

“Vaughan Gething, in his Welsh Labour leadership manifesto, pledged policies initially proposed by Plaid Cymru, including the transfer of HS2 consequentials to Wales, the devolution of the Crown Estate and the full devolution of justice and policing powers.

“However, since his election as First Minister, he’s been quiet on these matters, possibly due to being preoccupied by questions surrounding the £200,000 donation he accepted from an environmental offender’s company.

“I was disappointed to hear reports after your initial meeting with the new First Minister that there was no commitment to provide extra funding to the Welsh Government through the HS2 project. Either Mr Gething didn’t raise this issue or failed to persuade you of its significance.

“During the leadership campaign, Mr Gething said that responsibility for the Crown Estate is “the most important set of new powers” he would seek for the Senedd. A longstanding Plaid Cymru policy – this would go a long way in ensuring that the transition to renewable energy benefits our communities. Yet, your Shadow Cabinet has been tight-lipped on this policy so far.

“It’s also disheartening that despite agreement between the Labour Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru on the importance of fully devolving policing and justice, your Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Jo Stevens MP, rejected the idea out of hand.

“I hope you’ll acknowledge the Welsh Government’s detailed analysis of the shortcomings in the current division of powers and how devolution will make our communities safer.

“More broadly, Welsh public services are on their knees, with the Welsh Government’s budget facing a £1.3 billion real term decrease since 2021 due to inflation, along with a £1.1 billion shortfall from post-EU funding. Mr Gething has been vocal in his criticism of the current UK Government and claims that a Labour UK Government would address this.

“If, as expected, the Conservatives lose power in the next election, there will be a rare chance to reform the UK’s flawed political system. However, by adopting the Tories’ austere fiscal rules, Labour is ensuring that Wales will continue to be held back. A needs-based funding formula and the devolution of fiscal levers to Wales would redress much of this imbalance.

“I urge you to consider these calls – by my party, and many of your own colleagues in the Welsh Labour Party – and hope very much that you’ll accept my request to discuss how we can build a fairer, more ambitious Wales.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
26 days ago

Good move, be the First Minister’s conscience and Cymru’s champion…

hdavies15
hdavies15
25 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Rhun would get more out of talking to the wall in his house …

Gwyn Hopkins
Gwyn Hopkins
26 days ago

What’s clearly required is the standardisation of devolution across Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales – to that which applies in Scotland, at least. This is the only situation that would be fair, equitable and make sense. With the current 3 different versions of devolution in place there’s little wonder that Whitehall civil servants and Westminster politicians are confused, indifferent and even disdainful towards it, sometimes ignoring it entirely.

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