Labour Clueless on Economy

With the toxic economic legacy of Gordon Brown living on in the Labour party, Wales can expect to get little help from Labour, Plaid Cymru’s economic spokesperson Jonathan Edwards MP said today.

Mr Edwards slammed the shadow cabinet for being ‘clueless’ over the economy adding that with the economic portfolio in the hands of the ‘sons’ of Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, both advisors to the former prime minister, Wales would have been equally damned.

In their 2009 Budget, Labour had planned to cut the Welsh Block by £1.5bn per annum over the next three years and capital investment was to be cut by 45% over the next three years – Labour’s plans were actually worse than the ConDems’ 41%.

Mr Edwards argued that instead of supporting Wales, even in Opposition, the Labour party has refused to back positive proposals for Wales, and has stated that they are opposed to differing rates of corporation tax for the poorest communities in Wales.*

Under their watch, Labour opposed scrapping the funding formula for Wales; failed to reform the injustices of the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy Scheme, and are still silent on the recent robbery of the End of Year Flexibility, a cumulative loss to Wales of £785m this year.*

Plaid has argued that economies more exposed to public sector cut backs require a fiscal climate that will offer them a competitive advantage otherwise private sector growth will be predominantly based in the South East of England.

Treasury spokesperson Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“For some bizarre reason, the Labour party has decided to make the economy the battleground for the forthcoming Welsh election. Considering their toxic legacy and their lack of any ideas about tackling these challenges it seems a strange political strategy.

“Economic growth under the last Labour UK Government was based solely on their unbending loyalty to City of London and the stimulation of unsustainable bubbles in house prices and personal debt.

“The Labour years also witnessed huge wealth polarisation at both an individual and regional level, with the rich getting richer and the poor poorer.

“With two of Gordon Brown’s ‘sons’ now holding the two most important offices in the Labour party at UK level, it is little surprise that we have seen no change in approach from Labour at UK level.

“Welsh communities face significant challenges as a result of the public sector cuts planned by the UK Government. We need urgent action.

“First we need to create the conditions to stimulate private sector growth by ensuring that our poorest communities have a competitive advantage. Secondly, we need to secure financial justice for the people of Wales. On both these fronts, the London branch of Labour are vehemently opposed to any progress.

“Plaid has called for countervailing measures from the UK Treasury to stimulate economic growth in Wales. The case has been accepted for Northern Ireland. Yet the Labour party in Wales seems opposed to lower corporation tax in west Wales and the Valleys – or anything that would provide a leg up.

“The Labour party are unwilling to fight the corner of the Welsh Government in London. Ed Balls is a Barnett denier, Labour failed to address the injustices of the great rent robbery, and we haven’t heard a squeak about the injustice of the End of Year Flexibility scandal.

“We are talking about nearly a billion pounds here, money Wales can ill afford to lose.

“The reality is that the Labour party has a paucity of ideas how to meet the economic challenges we face in Wales. All Labour appears ready to do is whinge and cry crocodile tears.

“What plans do they have to overcome the straightjacket of the block grant? Crying wolf about the Tories and Lib Dems in London isn’t going to save or create a single job. The reality is that Labour are a no idea – no solution party.”

ENDS / DIWEDD

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