Plaid’s Economic Fairness Bill would tackle UK’s “most unequal in Europe” status

Plaid Cymru’s Jonathan Edwards MP has announced his party’s proposals for an Economic Fairness Bill that would tackle the UK’s “most unequal state in Europe” status and rebalance the economy away from a concentration of wealth in London and the South East.

The Bill will be included in Plaid Cymru’s Alternative Queen’s Speech which sets out progressive proposals to boost the Welsh economy and challenge the UK Government’s inaction.

Mr Edwards said that the wealth inequality in the UK had grown under successive Conservative and Labour governments and that it’s now time to look to models such as that adopted by Germany where the state deliberately pursues a policy to reverse wealth inequalities.

He added that the fact that some Welsh communities have been overtaken by Europe’s poorest nations was a symptom of the Welsh Government’s lack of control over major economic policy levers, and that this would not be resolved until these powers are transferred from Westminster.

Mr Edwards said:

“Plaid Cymru’s Economic Fairness Bill would introduce a legal duty on the government that macro-economic policy be geared towards a levelling up of wealth per head – which would make for a much fairer economy in terms of prosperity and opportunity.
“Under both Conservative and Labour UK governments, wealth has polarised incredibly both at an individual level and a regional level.

“Inner London is the richest part of the European Union whilst Welsh communities have been overtaken by former communist countries. Other parts of the state such as northern England also find themselves in a similar predicament to Wales.

“This is what happens when another country has control over your major economic policy levers.

“Service industries such as banking which are mainly located in London and the South East have overtaken the pre-crash level of 2008. The traditional strengths of the Welsh economy are still weak – industrial production is 15% below and manufacturing 10% below their pre-crash level.

“These facts are a damning indictment of the economic failures of unionism.

“Other states such as Germany have pursued a deliberate policy to reverse wealth inequalities, largely as a result of the reunification process following the end of the Cold War.

“Other measures that could flow from this legal duty include a UK convergence fund like the European Union where under-performing areas are supported, industrial policy to sector re-balance the economy away from financial services and towards manufacturing and advanced engineering, a system whereby areas with the lowest GVA are prioritised for infrastructure spending and investment.

“Whilst Wales remains within the UK, the state must be made to work for our benefit, and help ensure that we are a modern and prosperous nation. The question to our opponents in the London parties is why do they all support a core economic policy which looks after a privileged few in a concentrated area surrounding the banks of the Thames?.”

ENDS

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