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Leanne Wood, Bae watch (June 2014)

(June 01, 2014)

Bae Watch; with Leanne Wood

Leanne Wood - Senedd

In just over three months' time, the people of Scotland will vote to decide their national future.

I visited Scotland last month (May) and met First Minister Alex Salmond. We discussed future relations between our countries following the September vote. The opportunities for both Wales and Scotland in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote are enormous and it is crucial that Wales is not consigned to the margins of the wider debate about the future of Britain. It is quite clear that the sudden interest in events in Scotland from outside has happened because the people of Scotland have asserted control over their own destiny. Wales must follow suit or face a life in the margins which, in turn, will lead to a further deterioration of our public services and our economic prospects. That means the process of devolution coming to an end and making way for the process of self-government.

Self-government begins with the people of Wales determining what powers we wish to share or cede with others on our own terms. This process could conclude in the same way as it is in Scotland – with a referendum on becoming an independent country, at a point when the people decide the time is right. Unlike devolution, self-government will mean Wales determining its own policy agenda, based on its own self-granted powers, rather than waiting for others to decide what powers Wales is permitted to have and when Wales is permitted to assume such powers.

Of course, the British State is pulling out all the stops to appear enthusiastic about more devolution. But the reality is that they are working to maintain the powerbase around the supremacy of London. You only have to listen to the talking heads in Westminster to realise that they have little interest in the lives of those of us living outside the M25.

Plaid Cymru has consistently argued that the emergence of an independent Scotland would be in Wales' economic, social and political interests. Scotland is already an important trading partner, but there will be opportunities for both countries to benefit by strengthening arrangements and creating more job opportunities. I was very pleased that Alex Salmond has agreed to establish an economic forum between Wales and an independent Scotland. The economic forum could bring businesses and universities in both countries together, working on a range of economic opportunities such as renewable energy projects and natural resources.

I announced plans during Plaid Cymru's spring conference in Cardiff, for a wide-ranging consultation with the business community on how we can work together to build the Welsh economy. That has now been launched, with a set of key ideas aimed at making Wales the best business destination in the British Isles. The proposals include a one-stop shop for business advice and services, creating a new, private-sector led body to seek out investment opportunities for European funding, use capital to build a South Wales Metro at the expense of a hugely expensive new M4 route, and extending small business relief.

Plaid Cymru believes that a new overseas trade organisation is also needed to build trade links between Wales and other countries and, we believe, it is vital that it is made mandatory for public sector bodies to adhere to Welsh government procurement policy. Giving contracts to local companies could create tens of thousands of new jobs and money would be retained in our communities, rather than flowing out to what are often huge, multi-national corporations. The responses to the consultation will play a key role in Plaid Cymru's economic programmes as part of our plans for government.

The consultation document, Open for Business, can be ordered on our website at www.partyofwales.org/open-for-business, or you can obtain a hard copy by contacting our Head Office on 029 2047 2272 or by email on post@plaidcymru.org.

Leanne Wood,
Leader of Plaid Cymru and South Wales Central AM, June 2014

Also from Leanne Wood:
     Bae Watch; March 2014

     Bae Watch; December 2013

     Bae Watch; September 2013

     Bae Watch; June 2013
     Bae Watch; March 2013
     Bae Watch; December 2012
     Bae Watch; September 2012
     Bae Watch; June 2012
     Bae Watch; March 2012
     Bae Watch; December 2011
     Bae Watch; September 2011
     Bae Watch; June 2011

Leanne Wood's contact details:

     Website: http://www.leannewood.org/
     Facebook: Leanne Wood
     Twitter: @LeanneWood

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