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Leanne Wood, Bae watch (March 2015)

(March 01, 2015)

Bae Watch; with Leanne Wood

Leanne Wood

Plaid Cymru's Spring Conference is in Caernarfon this year. With a wealth of talent and experience, as well as strong, progressive politics on display from our candidates, the spring conference is a great opportunity to explain to people what The Party of Wales is all about.

The choice available to people on May 7th is stark. For more austerity - more cuts, with varying degrees of speed and depth on offer from all of the Westminster establishment parties. Or stopping the cuts. For the case to be put to end austerity, to stop the unfair practice of forcing those who didn't cause the crisis to pay for it and for building the Welsh economy, with Plaid Cymru.

The political pundits are talking up the likelihood of a hung Parliament where neither Labour nor the Tories win overall control. That allows an alternative vision with Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Green Party holding the balance of power. The right wing alternative is unthinkable.

The greater the presence the Party of Wales has in Westminster - the more MPs we have - the greater the opportunity for Wales to be pushed up the political agenda.

Plaid Cymru is committed to a permanent rebalancing of power and wealth in the UK, the only G7 country where the inequality gap between rich and poor has widened.

Parts of wealthy inner London have average weekly wages ten times those of parts of the valleys in Wales.

The City of London continues to bleed the rest of the UK dry of talent and economic opportunity.

That has been the conscious and intentional policy of successive UK governments since the de-industrialisation of communities that once relied on heavy industries, such as coal and steel.

To deliver that rebalanced economy, the austerity agenda must end. It has failed by its own measures – the UK has lost its triple-A credit rating, the deficit is around £90 billion and the UK debt is growing; latest available figures show it to be over £1.4 trillion.

Plaid Cymru believes that priority must now be given to investment and job creation rather than setting arbitrary deadlines for deficit reduction. The fair way to balance the books is through focusing on generating greater revenues through economic growth rather than slashing services. Our services can take no more cuts. And it's worth remembering that under the Westminster parties the worst of the spending cuts are yet to come.

By increasing the National Minimum Wage to the level of the living wage, the Treasury would receive an additional £2.1 billion in increased tax and National Insurance contributions, as well as saving around £1.1 billion in in-work benefits.

It is through measures like this that we boost the economic activity that yields revenues, allowing the UK’s deficit to be brought down, and eventually to start paying off the debt.

Following the Scottish referendum last year, Wales has become the marginalised nation of the UK; the country to benefit least. Why is the Welsh government failing to stand up for Wales? Why is it missing opportunities to progress our democracy and our funding settlement? The opposite is the case in Scotland, a country that has a government focussed on improving the lot of the Scottish people. There are lessons here for Wales.

If we hold the balance of power in a hung parliament, Plaid Cymru’s priorities include delivering a devolution model that treats Wales on the basis of parity with Scotland. For too long, Wales has played catch-up. Yet after nearly 16 years of devolution, we still haven't closed the powers gap significantly between ourselves and the other devolved administrations.

The Party of Wales has always been willing to compromise with others to make gains in the interests of people in Wales. There can be no doubt now that as the constitution evolves it is in the interests of people here to gain parity of powers and parity of esteem with the other nations.

Parity of resources is also crucial in Wales’ quest to build a vibrant economy and public services able to deliver the best possible outcomes for those who use them.

In their last ditch efforts for a ‘No’ vote in Scotland’s referendum, the establishment party leaders committed to retain the Barnett formula. Plaid Cymru argues that Wales should be funded to the same per capita levels as Scotland, in relation to England.

That would mean an additional £1.2 billion a year for Welsh public services and towards efforts to revive the Welsh economy so we can become a country characterised by high pay levels, high skills and excellent working conditions.

Nothing is inevitable for Wales. Our poverty, austerity, more cuts - nothing. For Wales to matter in this election, and for the rejection of the notion that there is no alternative to continued cuts to public services and years of more austerity, I'd urge people to back Plaid Cymru - wherever they are in Wales - this May. Perhaps even go one step further and join us, to help us build the successful, thriving country we know we can be. If you believe in Wales, you will be more than welcome.

Leanne Wood,
Leader of Plaid Cymru and South Wales Central AM, March 2015

Also from Leanne Wood:
     Bae Watch; December 2014

     Bae Watch; September 2014

     Bae Watch; June 2014

     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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