Plaid Cymru has renewed its commitment to securing a Welsh economic recovery and tackling the cost of living crisis by creating meaningful, well-paid jobs and bringing down energy prices as the Chancellor unveils his Autumn Statement.
The party’s Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, said that plans to increase business investment were welcome but that Plaid Cymru would go further by establishing a Bank of Wales to lend to small businesses and local industries, and deliver business rates cuts to more than 80,000 Welsh businesses.
Mr Edwards stated his disappointment that the Chancellor was turning his back on energy efficiency measures by rolling back Green Levies and failing to offer long-term proposals to bring down energy prices and end the cost of living crisis.
He added that only the immediate transfer of job-creating powers would deliver growth in the Welsh economy and said that all parties in Wales must commit to securing these powers as soon as possible.
Mr Edwards said:
"Plaid Cymru welcomes the improving growth outlooks, the fuel duty freeze and the Chancellor's commitment at last to greater investment in businesses through diverting the Funding for Lending scheme. Business investment in the British State as a share of GDP is among the lowest in the world so this announcement is long overdue.
"Small businesses form the backbone of the Welsh economy - that is why we would go further by cutting business rates for over 80,000 Welsh firms and setting up a Bank of Wales to increase lending to businesses and local industries.
"However, despite some positive projections, we are concerned that this growth may not be sustainable in the long term, due to huge cuts to vital public services and investment still to come, and rising levels of personal debt. Many ordinary families, especially in Wales, are largely untouched by this slow recovery and still struggling with daily living costs such as food and fuel whilst their wages fall.
"Raising the state pension age when UK youth unemployment stands at a million is yet a further blow to young people - many of whom already belong to a lost generation. Wales will suffer disproportionately due to lower life expectancy and therefore Plaid Cymru will fight these proposals every step of the way.
"While a cut in energy bills is to be welcomed, it is very worrying to see the Government giving the cold shoulder to the fight against climate change by reducing Green Levies. The energy market is unreformable and we need radical change to secure long-term lower costs. That is why Plaid Cymru has proposed a publicly-owned energy company, Energy Wales that would reinvest in services and offer consumers fairer prices.
"Overall, this is a recovery primarily focused on London and the South East. Only the transfer of significant financial and policy powers from Westminster to Wales to create jobs and generate growth will secure a Welsh economic recovery.
"This remains Plaid Cymru's priority and we urge all parties in Wales commit to securing these powers as soon as possible. The Welsh economy cannot wait."