Plaid Cymru leader claims UK Labour Government would be ‘more of the same’
Rhun ap Iorwerth claimed Mark Drakeford has failed to persuade UK Labour leader Keir Starmer of the importance of fair funding for Wales and suggested that a future Labour UK Government would offer merely “more of the same”.
Plaid Cymru’s leader also accused the Conservative Government in London and Labour Government in Cardiff of not acting in the best interests of Wales, which he said reinforced the feeling that they are “more consumed with fighting each other than fighting for Wales”.
Speaking after the first session of First Minister’s questions since the summer recess, Mr ap Iorwerth said: “The new Senedd term was the perfect opportunity for the First Minister to give a firm commitment that the lives of the people of Wales would improve, should a Labour government be elected at the next General Election.
“Regrettably, it seems that the First Minister and Keir Starmer haven’t spoken over the summer, or if they have – the Leader of the Labour party isn’t listening.
“Faced with the disastrous fall out of Tory decision making – this was the opportunity for Labour to commit to funding Wales fairly. We know the Conservatives won’t, we hoped Labour would.
“A commitment to giving Wales its £6bn share of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse rail funding, and undoing the harmful cuts to the Welsh budget is not only a financial imperative but it’s also a moral obligation.
“Similarly, the ambivalence around whether new money will be found to fund fair public sector pay rises points to a ‘more of the same’ approach if Keir Starmer inherits the keys to Downing Street.
“Wales needs new thinking to drive down inequality, protect livelihoods and boost the economy and now, more than ever, people are looking for politicians who will fight for Wales.”
In his response to Mr ap Iorwerth, the First Minister said: “Of course, we are in regular discussions with our colleagues in the UK Labour Party. We understand the circumstances that they will face, when and if they become the government, given the financial mess they will inherit.
“I say to the member instead of asking me speculative questions about what may or may not happen in the future, let’s look at what has happened already, because Kier Starmer has made a specific commitment that European funds, as were, will in future, be put in the hands of the Welsh government when they are to be used in Wales.
“So that is a very specific commitment. It demonstrates, I think an understanding on the part of the Labour leadership of where devolved responsibilities properly lie, they will look to strengthen this Senedd.
“They will look to make sure that we have the resources, we need to discharge those responsibilities. They will have no magic wand on the first day, but they will have a very, very different purpose behind the decisions they will make and I believe a very, very different relationship with whoever is in government here.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.