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First Minister in denial over Welsh economy as figures show growing wealth gap

MP Jonathan Edwards n

Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards has responded to the latest GVA figures by criticising the Welsh and UK Governments for allowing the Welsh economy to enter a spiral of decline and offering no meaningful route to recovery.

Mr Edwards said that the Chancellor's fixation with investing in London and the South East was now being reflected in these dire figures which show the huge wealth gap between the English capital and many parts of the British State.

He added that this was the latest reminder that Westminster austerity isn't working for Wales and that a lethargic Labour Government in Cardiff was failing to protect Welsh people from the Coalition's damaging policies.

Mr Edwards said:

"In yesterday's session of FMQs, the Welsh First Minister claimed that when it comes to the economy, “it is simply untrue” to say that Wales is at the bottom of the league.

"Today's damning GVA figures showing that parts of West London are a staggering 12 times wealthier than parts of Wales prove that the First Minister is in complete denial when it comes to not only health and education but the economy too.

"Westminster austerity clearly isn't working for Wales and the Welsh Government's complacency is only making things worse. With the Chancellor fixated with a recovery focused on London and the South East, we urgently need a Westminster Economic Fairness Bill to rebalance the economy and bring prosperity to other parts of the UK.

"Plaid Cymru has always maintained that the only route to recovery is investment in vital infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals and railways that would generate jobs and growth. This cannot be achieved unless vital job-creating powers are transferred from Westminster to Wales.

"Progress on implementing the Silk Commission's recommendations is to be welcomed but Labour in Wales must not back themselves into the anti-devolution corner by dragging their heels over the issue of an income-tax referendum.

“An income-tax sharing arrangement is vital to unlock meaningful investment powers. The Labour party needs to stop dithering and put the economy and people of Wales before their own narrow self interest.”

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