Plaid call for ‘Plan B’ Budget as economy shrinks again

Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, has responded to the latest GDP figures by insisting that the Chancellor must change course and announce radical growth measures in his Budget to be delivered on 20 March.

The latest figures show that GDP fell by 0.3% in the last quarter of 2012, giving further confirmation that the Coalition’s austerity experiment is failing and prompting calls for a change of approach from all quarters, including the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Mr Edwards said that current austerity measures are strangling any sustained recovery and that investment in infrastructure and the creation of meaningful jobs are key to getting the economy back on track.

He added that the Chancellor must adopt a progressive alternative to drastic cuts, such as that proposed by Plaid Cymru, in order to stop the UK sliding back into recession and avoid a decade of decline.

Mr Edwards said:

“These latest GDP figures signal the latest disaster for a Chancellor whose ideologically-motivated policies make him deaf to all warnings and cautions.

“Tackling the Government deficit and debt should only be done when the economy is growing and confidence is high. Current austerity is strangling any sustained recovery.

“It looks increasingly likely that the cherished AAA credit rating is in jeopardy making the pain of the Government debt pointless. There is now a real threat of a triple-dip recession and the Chancellor has no choice but to change course.

“We must invest in infrastructure and focus on creating meaningful jobs if we are to get the economy back on track – this is what Plaid Cymru outline in our plans for a Bank of Wales to support SMEs and what we achieved in our recent Budget deal with the Welsh Government.

“Wales is suffering disproportionately as a result of the Coalition’s austerity experiment. The Bevan Foundation recently announced that welfare cuts would wipe £100m from the Welsh economy. Real terms cut to benefits will suck demand out of local economies as ordinary families are forced to tighten the purse-strings even more.

“As the Chancellor announces his Budget in March, we in Plaid Cymru will present our alternative economic vision that would generate growth, tackle unemployment, and equip Wales with the powers necessary to have meaningful control over its own economy.”

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