PLAID: “UK Government budgets are wrong way around”

Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesman, Jonathan Edwards MP, has today argued that the UK Government should have concentrated on growth rather than cuts in their first Budget last year. He will say that announcing an “austerity” budget before a “growth” budget has been bad economics.

Looking forward to Wednesday’s Budget, Mr Edwards said that the UK coalition had got their financial policy fundamentally the wrong way around and that cuts in capital investment, and snatching £385million away from the Welsh Government’s funds, have left Wales in a weak position in securing the recovery.

Mr Edwards also contrasted this with the ambitious economic plans for Wales as outlined by Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones AM in recent days. Plaid Cymru have launched their proposal for a “Build for Wales” investment vehicle would ensure capital investment in new schools, new hospitals and new roads while creating up to 50,000 jobs in Wales.

Mr Edwards said:

“The Office for Budget Responsibility is set to lower growth expectations in the UK in this Budget, while figures from the Office of National Statistics show higher than expected UK government borrowing.

“This is the scenario we set out a year ago – that cutting too much and too early would lead to the situation where the tax-take falls, and more people are out of work and claiming benefits after losing their jobs.

“The UK Government should have pushed for growth in the economy first and secured the recovery, before making massive cuts to public sector jobs and investment.

“Quite simply, they got it the wrong way around.

“Capital investment, in new schools, new hospitals and new roads, is key to making our economy work in Wales, by creating jobs for our construction industry and developing vital infrastructure.

“On top of that, the Treasury has mugged Wales by taking back £385m End Year Flexibility that we were keeping to use for just this purpose.

“Clearly Plaid is the only party interested in a better future and a credible economic plan for Wales. Plaid’s Build for Wales investment vehicle, for example would allow us to raise money to counter the cuts and to create up to 50,000 jobs.”

ENDS / DIWEDD

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