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Opinion

Wales can escape this Westminster chaos – let’s build a progressive independent nation instead

23 Oct 2022 5 minute read
Adam Price. Picture by Plaid Cymru

Adam Price, the leader of Plaid Cymru

As Plaid Cymru delegates met this weekend at our annual conference in Llandudno to the backdrop of Westminster chaos and Tory infighting, there was one question on our minds.

What now for Wales?

What now as our communities suffer another ‘cost of Westminster’ crisis?

What now as the clock ticks on Labour’s inaction in the face of the Tories’ destructive agenda?

Mortgages – up. Energy bills – up. Food prices – up.

All in the name of trickle down. It’s time to say ‘Enough is Enough’.

The cuts are coming – ripping through not trickling down into our public services.

Plaid Cymru’s message is clear: It doesn’t have to be this way. There is another way – the Welsh way – truly greener, fairer, more equal, and more flourishing.

Slash energy bills back to under thirteen hundred pounds by bringing in a windfall tax for the profit-guzzling energy companies and extending it beyond April next year.

Raising the National Living Wage, just as many other countries have done.

An immediate increase in Universal Credit of £25 a week and a commitment to raise benefits in line with inflation.

Fuel duty relief in rural areas where public transport is limited and a 1,000 litres of heating oil for those in many parts of Wales that are off-grid.

Crying

There are also measures we in Wales can take now, today, to protect people against the brunt of Westminster’s crisis.

First, by freezing rents. With Wales’s average rental values up by 15% in just 12 months, the Welsh Government must use the powers at their disposal right now to make sure that these bills don’t rise a penny more in the private rental sector.

And they must act on evictions too. One in 10 people in Wales are worried about the prospect of losing their home in the next three months – a sobering statistic as we enter the coldest months of the year.

Secondly, despite the soaring costs of fuel, we must keep Wales moving. So I’m calling on the Welsh Government today to freeze rail fares this year, halve the cost of more off-peak tickets and cap bus fares at £2 to ensure that public transport remains affordable in these challenging times.

Next, to alleviate child hunger we must look after secondary as well as primary pupils. Expanding the universal school meals policy to all secondary pupils, starting with those whose families receive Universal Credit will help raise attainment and lower the weekly family food bill.

Let’s also support our young people by raising the Education Maintenance Allowance which has remained at £30 for the last eighteen years. Let’s give the next generation a break after the crippling uncertainty they have endured throughout the pandemic.

Finally, and perhaps most pertinently – the Welsh Government’s public sector pay awards are derisory. Not my words but that of the Labour-affiliated union Unison.

Nurses using foodbanks. Nurses crying after their shifts because of the pressure they are under and the sense that they’re under-valued.

Those who care for the vulnerable and those who educate our children deserve so much better than this.

That’s why we’re calling on the Welsh Government to introduce fair pay right away to those on the front line in the public sector through a rise at least in line with inflation.

These are Plaid Cymru’s proposals – our People’s Plan –a fully costed, fully achievable, fully progressive plan rooted in doing as much as we can for those who have the least. It will do what’s right by our communities – fighting their battles, believing in their causes, and championing change through our deep-rooted values of ‘chwarae teg’.

Prosperous

But we must also be honest with our people too.

Wales urgently needs independence because we are trapped within a UK economy that is overwhelmingly shaped in the interests of the South East of England and the City of London. Since Brexit Wales has lost out on European convergence funding, while the UK Government’s so-called ‘levelling up’ agenda has been shown to be no more than hollow rhetoric.

The UK is stuck in an unresolved yearning for its imperial past with ancient, outdated structures. It is backward-looking and inward-looking, and slowly its economy and its institutions are collapsing.

By contrast an independent Wales would be forward thinking and outward looking, shaped by a progressive vision, dynamic and invigorating. And it would do a better job of providing to our citizens the basics of a decent life.

Our job as a party is to persuade of people of that vision, in collaboration with as many others that we can persuade to share it with us. That is why I was proud to announce a collaboration with the Wales Green Party to create a new initiative to grow the case for independence.

The Future Cymru Forum will be a detailed shared programme of research to set out the economic, social and environmental policies that the Government of a newly independent Wales will need to put in hand to create a prosperous and sustainable country – a million miles away from the broken Britain of today.

For what greater prospect is there than building a country of our own – that will be for ever in every sense for everyone our Cymru For All.


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John
1 month ago

Who can argue with that.?

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  John

Who indeed. However unless I missed something I couldn’t see any mention of how it’s all going to be paid for.

Solomon
Solomon
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

Like any other country pays for itself. Wales is no different. Get your head out of your arse Richard.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Solomon

No need to use offensive language now is there? He has made some very lavish and costly proposals so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask how he’s going to pay for them when he doesn’t seem to have said so.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

Tax the rich says Solomon and his unquestioning kind. However to balance Plaid’s plan the 20% rate will need hiking up dramatically as the population of 40% + tax payers is relatively small and is composed mainly of politicians, public servants and professional services types. Not the sort of people Adam and his cohorts are likely to go out of their way to upset. Plaid needs to formulate real workable plans for the future and cut out the gesture politics that are so easily detected by the voting public.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

Sounds great. How on earth is it going to be paid for?

Solomon
Solomon
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

Like any other country pays for itself maybe?

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
1 month ago

Plaid lost a chunk of credibility and support under Leanne by focusing on flavour-of-the-month issues of little relevance to Wales, so it’s good to see them now highlighting the real problems our country faces. It can only increase their support. Adam will now have to address the funding issue, of course.

Ivor Schilling
Ivor Schilling
1 month ago
Reply to  Rhosddu

I am guessing you didn’t join her on the so-called ‘S-L-U-T walk’.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ivor Schilling
Rhosddu
Rhosddu
1 month ago
Reply to  Ivor Schilling

A good example of one of her more worthwhile ventures, but we’re talking about issues specific to Wales.

DAI Ponty
DAI Ponty
1 month ago

People say how can we pay for it well for a start we do not have to pay for Royals Nukes the armed forces silly expensive english white elephants like H S 2 its only the english saying we cannot afford it

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  DAI Ponty

Wales’ share of the cost of the monarchy would probably fund all of these promises for about 1 day a year, if that. And are you suggesting that an independent Wales would have no armed forces?

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

We’d have a damn sight less proportionately than the UK who seem to have all sorts of expensive toys which don’t work terribly well, like that recent multi billion £ wasted on a new generation of tanks. A national defence force, lean and well trained, would be acceptable to me. HS2 is one of the biggest scams of all time. It may produce some gains in efficiency on certain journeys within the core of England but the input costs are ridiculous. Looks increasingly like a scam aimed at transferring public funds into private coffers.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

Although I echo everything Plaid Cymru Adam Price says, sadly the reality is the Welsh public cannot see past their noses when it comes to the democratic deficit Wales continues to endure as a prisoner of the false British Union created to serve England’s interests first.

And I truly believe Wales will only see the light when Scotland becomes independent and we face a stark choice ourselves. Welsh independence or English annexation. It’s do or die.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

I’m sure that the Welsh public will also be shrewd enough to ask how it’s all going to be funded and demand convincing answers to that question.

Tawelwch
Tawelwch
1 month ago

I note that there is not a word in Plaid’s plans about help for older people trying to exist on the useless state pension that they were conned into funding with decades of extortionate NI payments. 🙁

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Tawelwch

Course they didn’t say anything. Politicians don’t worry about that sort of thing as they enjoy a well padded service related pension package plus a lump sum if they get bounced out of office. Nice work if you can get it.

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