Comprehensive Spending Review

The announcement of the Comprehensive Spending Review last week has confirmed our worst fears. First Wales suffered as a result of Labour’s financial and economic mismanagement, and now we have been dealt this hammer blow as the Tories and Lib Dems cut spending too quickly and too deeply.

Few would argue that there is no need for some measure of fiscal consolidation, but I believe we need to see a number of consecutive quarters of strong and sustainable growth before taking any decisions to cut at this scale. Plaid Cymru Ministers have worked tirelessly in the Welsh Government to help us climb out of the economic mess; the action of the ConDems is threatening to drag us back into recession.

The Chancellor last week epitomised the UK Government’s attitude towards Wales in announcing the disproportionate, significant geographical unfairness at almost every level of this review. Even amongst the devolved nations, Wales is worst off, taking a bigger hit than Both Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Many workers in Wales, from communities like Carmarthenshire, rely heavily on the public sector. But whilst we knew that thousands of public sector jobs would go, the cut in capital spending means that private sector jobs will also face the axe. The UK Government’s promise of private sector immediately filling the void has been exposed to be wrong. This is devastating news for Carmarthenshire and the whole of Wales.

The inevitable consequences of this CSR will be increasing poverty levels and accelerated regional and individual wealth inequality – even worse than the Labour years. The UK Government is taking a seriously risky gamble on the economy and I for one suggest that the UK Government prepares a Plan B and puts it on standby.

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