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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Plaid Cymru: Budget fails to deliver for Wales

Plaid Cymru's Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, has responded to today's Budget by accusing the Chancellor of hiding behind headlines while sharpening the axe for billions more cuts to public services. Mr Edwards, whose party last week outlined its fiscal proposals to grow the economy in a fair and equitable manner, said that austerity had failed on its own terms and that substantial investment in infrastructure was required to generate jobs and growth.

Mr Edwards, attacking the Chancellor's austerity policy, said: "This was a 'jam tomorrow' Budget from a Chancellor who is busy sharpening the axe ready for the next parliament. The pre-election giveaways designed to pander to the Tory core vote mask the reality that in the next Parliament, our public services are set to suffer billions more austerity cuts supported by Labour. It is highly likely that another Budget will be announced after the election, much in the same way as happened in 2010, meaning that this one is mainly window dressing."

Turning to the Swansea tidal lagoon announced by George Osborne, Jonathan Edwards said: "Plaid Cymru fully supports the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project to generate jobs and sustainable energy. However, we would have preferred to see direct capital investment for the project instead of a financing model that will place the cost of the project on energy consumers.

Commenting on what the budget does for Wales, Mr, Edwards said: "Overall, this Budget has seen Westminster fail to deliver for Wales. Plaid Cymru wants to see an end to austerity, an increase in infrastructure investment, and for Wales to receive parity of funding with Scotland. The big challenges facing the UK and Welsh economy are low levels of productivity and low levels of business investment.

Talking about Plaid Cymru's economic plans Jonathan Edwards said: "Our proposals to increase infrastructure investment by 1% of UK GDP a year would rebalance the economy and ensure that the recovery reaches every corner of Wales. This modest increase alone would bring nearly £1bn to our nation each year." 

"As Labour and the Tories promise billions more cuts that will hit Welsh communities hard, Plaid Cymru has responsible plans to grow the economy and stop Wales being treated as a second class nation." Mr Edwards added.