Warning that government regional development plan will turn Wales into ‘Western England’
The Welsh Government’s plan to develop Wales’ economy risks turning the country into ‘Western England’, Plaid Cymru have warned.
They said the National Development Framework will ‘split Wales’ and was about ‘securing crumbs from the UK Government’s table’.
Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister on the Environment, Llyr Gruffydd MS, was responding to the regional development plan put forward by the Welsh Government.
The 20-year plan identifies where nationally significant developments should take place, national and regional growth areas, what infrastructure and services are needed and how Wales can contribute to the fight against climate change.
“The choice about the kind of future we want to see is ours to make: an Alun Cairns, Tory-inspired Western England or an independent country where wealth, power and development is shared equitably across the whole of Wales,” Llyr Gruffydd said.
Llyr Gruffydd said that the regional map would “drives a wedge” into Wales, and ignored the “pressing” issue of lack of north-south connectivity, whilst also neglecting some of those parts of Wales needing regeneration and development.
He suggested that the Welsh Government replace the four-region model with a different approach focused on distributing wealth, power and investment equitably across the whole of Wales by targeting intervention and growth to the areas in most need.
“Labour’s proposal is sadly a carbon copy of the Tory-inspired model of entrenched economic dependency,” he said.
“Even its four-region approach is modelled on the UK Government’s Growth Deal areas. Future Wales is more about the future of the Northern Powerhouse, the Bristol Western Gateway and the Midlands Engine.
“It offers an economic plan based on securing crumbs from somebody else’s table, rather than building up Wales’ economy in its own right.
“Rather than offering a vision that brings Wales together, Labour is carving Wales up to serve Boris Johnson’s agenda. It pushes the north and the south of our country even further apart and neglect’s the pressing need for improved north-south connectivity.
“Most importantly, it also neglects some of those parts of Wales most in need of regeneration and development, namely the western seaboard and the valleys of the south. This approach will not change the UK and Welsh Governments failure to distribute wealth and growth equally across Wales.
“The Welsh Government must change tack and replace the four-region model proposed in Future Wales 2040 with an alternative approach focused on making Wales a connected, sustainable, prosperous and self-sufficient nation in every sense.”