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Plaid Cymru leader sets out vision of fairness for Wales

09 Jan 2024 4 minute read
Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth.

Emily Price

Plaid Cymru leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth will today set out his vision for “economic and social prosperity” for Wales in a lecture to be given in Cardiff.

In a speech given at the Wales Governance Centre, Mr ap Iorwerth will reflect on 25 years of devolution and demand a “much higher level of ambition” for Wales to deliver a “fairer future”.

Plaid Cymru’s leader also will set out a series of proposals designed to boost economic growth and productivity.

This will include setting new targets for the economy, legislating on fair funding for Wales and granting the Senedd more flexibility over taxation.

However, the Welsh Conservatives have claimed that greater powers over tax bands will result in the poorest in Wales being the hardest hit.

Powers

The Plaid Cymru leader is expected to say: “Whilst culturally a new sense of nationhood has developed and there’s been a growing political understanding of the powers that reside in Wales – especially after our Covid experience – there remains a persistent underperformance on many metrics, including, crucially, economic underperformance, a 25-year Achilles heel which requires addressing and strengthening.

“If we fail in this endeavour, we will fail in our mission to secure a fairer, more ambitious Wales. Fairness and ambition are not mutually exclusive – on the contrary – they are intrinsically linked. Believing in the redistribution of wealth and a supportive state while simultaneously advocating for successful enterprise is not an either/or. Both have people at their heart, and the people of Wales are our greatest asset.”

Speaking of how “fairness and ambition” lie at the core of his political mission for Wales, the Plaid Cymru leader will say: “Prescribing a label to my politics has never been a motivation of mine. What drives me is getting Wales moving and working better, where background is no impediment to success, where ill health is not defined by postcode and where I see no arbitrary boundaries to what we can achieve both as individuals and collectively, as communities and as a nation.

“Setting a high bar in terms of ambition for Wales is vital if we’re to build a fairer society. And those two words – fairness and ambition – really are intertwined in my political thinking. Creating a fair society should be an ambition for all of us. Collectively. And we shouldn’t rest until we can look around our communities and see that no one is being left behind. But ambition in its wider sense is something I want Wales to embrace.

“A go-getting Wales, with an ambition to succeed. Not to tread water or get by. But to prosper. And to do so precisely because it’s for the common good, using that prosperity to further entrench the fairness we seek.”

Speaking about “underfunding” in Wales, Mr ap Iorwerth will say: “By enshrining into law an Economic Fairness (Wales) Bill we would rebalance the wealth of the UK, ensuring that Wales gets what it’s owed and critically what it needs in public investment.

“It would take us away from the hypocrisy of the argument that most parts of the United Kingdom must live under the iron fist of fiscal responsibility while others benefit from the trappings of more spending as a pre-election sweetener.

“Without fairness at the heart of economic decision-making, Wales will always be hindered in its desire to be the ambitious and prosperous nation it strives to be.

“Had an Economic Fairness Bill underpinned by an independent arms-length arbitration body been on the statute book, the statistical rollcall of shame which highlights Wales’s underfunding would look very different.

“Between 2001 and 2029 – the Welsh Government estimates that Wales will have lost out to the tune of between £2.9bn and £8bn of rail investment alone. It further calculates that the Levelling Up Fund and Shared Prosperity Fund leaves us over a billion pounds worse off. These are significant numbers. And losing that kind of investment makes a big difference.”

Welsh businesses

Conservative Senedd group leader, Andrew RT Davies criticised Plaid Cymru’s vision saying: “Plaid Cymru has borrowed the Scottish Nationalist playbook on taxation, and the outcome will be higher taxes for the poorest in Wales.

“As we have seen in Scotland, people on higher wages will consider leaving if tax rates aren’t competitive with other parts of the UK, and the outcome will be a higher tax burden on the lowest earners.

“The Welsh Conservatives would reverse Plaid and Labour’s cut to business rates relief and reform our rates to make them fairer for Welsh businesses.”


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Catherine
Catherine
1 month ago

“The Welsh Conservatives” is a party that, by its own admission, advocates for the Saesneg Tory’s vision of the “UK” (whatever the hell that can be on an archipelago where less than fifty percent of the population supports the monarchy). Welsh Labour, is going to do even less for Cymru without Mark Drakeford and will always be in debt and thus in pawn to Starmer’s Labour in Saesneg. Its a party largely consisting of people who wished Labour could be like “they were in the nineties when they looked like a bunch of coke dealers” so the vaguely socliast policies… Read more »

adopted cardi
adopted cardi
1 month ago

-somebody to vote for. As long as he doesn’t go with Market Capital – which has wreaked so much havoc over the last 44+ years.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
1 month ago

Will the disappointment never end??? I have now read this article four times and each time it gets worse. Once again, what we have here is a vague wish list with a sub-title moan at underfunding. What good an Economic Fairness (Wales) Bill would do in re-balancing the wealth of the UK is clearly nonsense and how “ensuring that Wales gets what it’s owed and critically what it needs in public investment” supposedly assumes that some one in Westminster will suddenly put their hands up and admit that they’ve been very naughty…. Where is the economic development detail? Keep it… Read more »

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
1 month ago

The only vote and demand he should have is our independence to govern ourselves and not have the London English government intervering

Rhddwen y Sais
1 month ago

What does he say about providing more hospitals and a functioning international airport? So that we do not need to sponge off our neighbours overcrowded facilities.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
1 month ago

Beth am ddad-wladychu economi Cymru, a Chymru ei hun o ran hynny? O fyddared y mudandod!

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

Not sure how we de-colonise the country. Economic migration over the centuries has made our population of mixed background. We perhaps need to follow the Preston model and always choose Cymru sourced goods and services. (OK it is difficult and I do try!)

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
1 month ago

Plaid is worth a try, has to be better than the Welsh Branch of Labour or Tory, Their allegiances lie elsewhere, controlled by Westminster

max wallis
max wallis
1 month ago

25 years underperformance include Plaid leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones’s time as Deputy FM and economy Minister. No different from Labour policy. Indeed, stuck to expanding aerospace and brought in mega-companies to build incinerators – first Covanta at Merthyr that the people defeated, then Viridor and Wheelabrator. Which have suppressed the development of indigenous industry processing recycled materials – so we depend on England.

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