Plaid push alternative to austerity as Coalition plans more cuts

The Party of Wales’ Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, has advocated an alternative to austerity as the Chancellor revealed plans to make further cuts in his Autumn Statement today.

Mr Edwards said that the Statement signalled a humiliating climb-down for the Chancellor who has missed numerous debt and deficit targets and is now being forced to admit the failure of his austerity experiment.

He added that The Party of Wales’ progressive proposals for growth, ranging from reforming the Barnett formula to swift implementation of the Silk Commission recommendations, would challenge the Chancellor’s fixation with slashing public expenditure and set Wales on a path to prosperity.

Speaking after the Statement, Mr Edwards said:

“This Autumn Statement is a humiliating climb-down for a Chancellor in denial who is now being forced to admit the failure of his austerity experiment.

“Missed debt and deficit targets coupled with the OBR’s downgrading of forecasts have exposed the Chancellor’s lack of a long-term strategy for growth and he is now presented with a golden opportunity to reverse the downward spiral which is rapidly leading to increased and institutionalised poverty and unemployment.

“The Party of Wales has always advocated an alternative to austerity. Our proposals to reform the Barnett formula, devolve business rates to Wales, and implement our Build for Wales plan would all promote growth and create meaningful jobs for the 100,000 Welsh people made unemployed or underemployed since the Coalition came to power.

“While we welcome the freeze on fuel duty, we are disappointed by the failure to introduce a genuine stabiliser that would prevent, rather than postpone soaring prices at the pumps. It is also frustrating to see the Chancellor taking small steps rather than strides to tackle tax avoidance and this is why we are calling for an inquiry to investigate evasion and implement robust and rapid reforms.

“The announcement on capital investment is also to be welcomed, but for this to be funded via extra austerity will be self defeating. We also have grave concerns over the introduction of regional pay for teachers – a deeply damaging policy that The Party of Wales warned against in our 2011 manifesto.

“Most disappointing is the Treasury’s failure to make progress on implementing the Silk Commission recommendations to empower the Welsh Government with job-creating levers to boost the Welsh economy. In anticipation of this progress, we would have at the very least expected to see the transfer of borrowing powers from Westminster to Cardiff.

“As the Chancellor churns out more policies that will prolong the age of austerity and its toxic legacy, The Party of Wales remains the only party offering a workable alternative that would lead our nation along a path to fairness and prosperity.”

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