ADAM PRICE, Plaid Cymru’s Finance Spokesperson, has called for a new long-term plan to turn around the economic fortunes of Wales.
Speaking on BBC TV’s Sunday Politics programme today, Adam Price said: “We don’t have a coherent economic strategy in Wales. What we have is a ministerial chequebook and even that is not used with any logical consistency. We have an £80m deal for a conference centre in Newport. Fine, but only £30m only put on the table to save our biggest company, our biggest industry.
“Where we are putting in money on the table let us take an equity stake so the taxpayer gets a return and we are a proper partner to business. We seem to be using the same strategy of the 1970s and 1980s where it’s just governments giving out grant aid rather than working alongside companies, management and workforce together, to come up with a sustainable long-term strategy for those individual companies and the Welsh economy as a whole,” said Adam Price, who stressed the Party of Wales’s plan for a Welsh Development Agency for the 21st century.
On Tata, Adam Price, Plaid Cymru’s Assembly candidate for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, added: “We have critical of both governments (UK and Welsh Government) of them being sluggish and being a little complacent but we need all to work together.
“I would like to see the Welsh Government playing a more pro-active roll. It is good that they have sat down with Liberty Steel but they should be talking to other buyers and particularly the local management in Port Talbot that drew up the McKinsey Plan that they believe shows a credible plan to profitability. Let’s get behind the local management and unions and provide with them with all the assistance they need in turning it into a viable business plan and also possibly taking a stake as part of a long-term sustainable plan for the steel industry in Wales.”
Adam Price stressed Plaid Cymru’s opposition to a £1bn being spent on an M4 relief road around Newport. He warned that there was a: ‘real danger of Wales becoming a microcosm of the core problem of the UK economy which is an overheated corner in the south-east, relatively prosperous and the rest of Wales unfortunately sees itself declining.
“If we are going to solve our economic problems as a nation then we need balanced development. We can point to transport bottlenecks in all parts of Wales – look at the M55 and the M4 further west.
“Our strategic road network in Wales is crying out for investment and just concentrating on 16 miles of a new three-lane motorway is not going to prise us out of the economic rut we are as a nation, not just one part of Wales.
“There seems to be only one priority at the moment which is the needs of the most prosperous part of Wales. I want to see south-east Wales doing well, I love to see my capital city doing well but we need to spread prosperity westwards and north.”
Elin Jones raises Fibre Ceredigion’s connectivity with Openreach
ELIN JONES AM has attended an Openreach drop in session in the National Assembly of Wales to raise concerns about the lack of Fibre in areas of Ceredigion.
Elin Jones met with Openreach’s Partnership director in Wales, Connie Dixon, and Catherine Colloms, Director of Corporate Affairs. Elin also met with Openreach engineers and was shown the process undertaken in order to install fibres in people’s homes and businesses.
Elin Jones said:
“There are still many homes and businesses in Ceredigion that need to be connected to superfast Broadband. Many are in rural locations, but there are also whole villages and, in most cases, homes that are just at the end of the line and have fallen out of scope.
“More needs to be done to ensure that access to Superfast Broadband for premises across Ceredigion is equally available. I hope to meet with Openreach in the near future in Ceredigion in order to assess the challenges that they face in installing Fibre, but also for them to see the need in our communities for superfast.”
Connie Dixon, Openreach Partnership Director for Wales, said:
“We’re already working closely with the Welsh Government to bring fibre broadband to Wales and as a result of this partnership nearly 95 per cent of the country can access superfast broadband today. But we also know there’s more to do and we’re working hard to reach those properties that currently can’t access fibre broadband.
“We’re also committed to future-proofing the network with full fibre technology but in order to build a new full fibre network for Wales we’ll need the support from our public sector partners.
“It won’t be quick or easy, but action to reduce red tape and remove barriers will speed things up. Full fibre will open up huge possibilities for the Welsh economy and help answer long terms challenges like energy use, climate change and sustainable rural communities.”
Plaid candiate votes to fight for police devolution
AHEAD of the general election on 12 December 2019, Ben Lake, Plaid Cymru candidate for Ceredigion has outlined a commitment to continue to fight for the devolution of policing to Wales.
Between 2010 and 2018, the number of police officers in Wales fell by 9% – with rural Wales particularly hit due to the unfair funding formula used by the UK Government.
Plaid Cymru have announced that they will create a new £50m crime prevention fund to recruit 1,600 extra police officers through the devolution of policing. The proposals would see a greater police presence locally, and helping to root officers in their communities, rather than being stretched over large geographical areas with little resources.
Earlier this year a Welsh Government-appointed commission said Wales should have full control of its justice system, including powers to run policing – with further studies suggesting Wales’ four forces would be in line for £25m extra from the UK government if policing was devolved.
Ben Lake said: “Time after time, police budgets have been cut by the UK Government, meaning far fewer officers are available to police forces in Wales. Welsh forces and rural areas have been hit harder than those in the rest of the UK, due to an unfair Home Office funding formula.”
“Since my election in 2017, I have seen firsthand the detrimental impact this funding arrangement is having on Welsh police forces and communities, something I was glad to raise in Parliament.”
“We cannot expect a one size fits all approach police funding to work effectively across the whole of the UK, and as such, it is imperative that the criteria for the central Government grant are revised to reflect the demands and unique challenges faced by rural forces in areas such as Ceredigion.”
“It remains unacceptable that Wales is the only nation in the UK without powers over policing and justice, especially given the clear financial dividend that devolution would bring about.”
Conservative Candidate for Ceredigion, welcomed Lord Nick Bourne back to Aberystwyth
THIS week, Lord Nick Bourne of Aberystwyth, visited the University town to meet with Amanda Jenner, the Conservative Candidate for Ceredigion in the forthcoming General Election. Lord Bourne joined with members of the Aberystwyth University Conservative Society to support Amanda with her General Election campaign to be the next MP for Ceredigion.
Coincidently, Amanda Jenner and Lord Bourne have taken similar paths – both Aberystwyth University Law Graduates who have gone on to work in the Education sector before turning to politics.
Lord Bourne, until recently, was the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Wales Office and was heavily involved with the Mid Wales Growth Deal.
Commenting on the Growth Deal, Lord Bourne said,
“One very important thing that we have been spending a lot of time on as a Government, is to ensure we get money into Mid and West Wales, including Ceredigion, particularly to motivate businesses here.”
“I personally hope that this extends to projects involving Aberystwyth University – who are already doing tremendous work, led by Elizabeth Treasure the Vice-chancellor, to ensure we have prosperity and sustainability.”
Amanda Jenner added,
“From speaking with businesses in Ceredigion, I can see that there are some fantastic opportunities here, including in the tourism and education sectors. If elected as your MP, I would be a strong voice in Westminster, fighting to ensure that the Growth Deal stays on track and that we get the levels of funding needed for the proposals put forward by the partners of the Growth Deal.”
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