Wales’ economy faces “its biggest challenge for a generation” and can’t wait around for Westminster to act, according to Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price.
The party have today launched a unveiled a £6bn ‘Rebuild Wales’ plan to create more than 60,000 jobs for a “rapid recovery” in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
The plan will be put into action if the party gains power following May’s Senedd elections, they said.
Adam Price said that the “ambitious but deliverable” raft of measures “should have been brought in years ago had the Labour Welsh Government shown a greater urgency to build a resilient economy”.
The plan includes:
- Creating 7,500 new teachers, teaching assistants, childcare workers, care home workers, homecarers and healthcare workers “to transform a system that has been under-staffed, under-paid and undervalued for too long”.
- A £6 billion programme of investment to support Wales’ economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, it’s been estimated by Transition Economics, Plaid Cymru say, will create almost 60,000 jobs in the immediate term
- Guaranteed secure employment, on at least a Living Wage to every 16 to 24-year old alongside an apprenticeship, a fulltime place in college or university or participation in a paid role in a volunteering programme—a modern version of Roosevelt’s New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps
“The Welsh economy is facing its biggest challenge for a generation. With unemployment due to reach 120,000 by the summer, we need an urgent alternative economic strategy which will not only create jobs but also support the thousands of businesses facing bankruptcy as a result of the pandemic,” Adam Price said.
“We will learn lessons and ensure that the post-pandemic recovery sees Wales working faster and smarter than the pandemic response – with an unrelenting focus on protecting livelihoods.
“This is an ambitious but deliverable raft of measures which should have been brought in years ago had the Labour Welsh Government shown a greater urgency to build a resilient economy.
“Within its first few hours, a Plaid Cymru government would announce a £6 billion green economic stimulus, creating almost 60,000 jobs through tasking the National Infrastructure Commission with delivering shovel-ready investable projects.
“These could include building thousands of new social homes, retrofitting existing homes, expanding and electrifying the rail network, and delivering the fastest broadband to all parts of Wales.
“We would introduce a Welsh Youth Guarantee giving secure employment to every 16–24-year-olds on at least a Living Wage, zero-interest loans to get businesses back on their feet, and a reskilling programme giving those who were recently made redundant a £5,000 retraining allowance.
“A Plaid government would also implement a new ‘local first’ procurement policy to give preference to small and medium-sized local businesses – setting a target of increasing Welsh firms’ share of public procurement from 52% to 75% – creating up to 46,000 jobs.”