Plaid Cymru’s Jonathan Edwards MP has marked the start of Fair Pay Fortnight by repeating his party’s call for the implementation of a living wage to lift thousands people out of poverty.
Mr Edwards said that a Welsh economic recovery remained Plaid Cymru’s priority and that efforts should concentrate on changing Wales’s status as a low-wage economy through the creation of high-skilled, well-paid jobs.
His call comes as new research from the TUC shows that between 2000 and 2013, the pay gap between the top 10% of earners in London and the bottom 10% in Wales rose by 9.8%.
Mr Edwards said:
“A living wage of £7.65 outside London would lift thousands of people out of poverty and ensure a better quality of life for them and their families. It is a policy which makes economic sense as it would not only raise living standards but also boost local economies as people would have more money to shop and support small businesses.
“Today’s new figures offer just a snapshot of the challenges facing the Welsh economy and while falling unemployment is to be welcome, efforts should now concentrate on changing Wales’ status as a low-wage economy.
“Plaid Cymru has put forward proposals for high-skilled, well-paid employment through improving procurement levels – creating 50,000 jobs in Wales – and a private-sector led body to attract business and investment to our nation.
“The findings of the TUC highlighting the growing pay gap between Wales and London show the need to genuine rebalance the UK economy in order to prevent a postcode recovery.
“It was baffling to hear the Labour Welsh Government express concern over this growing gap with London. If so worried, then why not allow Wales to take greater control over her own economy as we in Plaid Cymru propose?
“It is clearer than ever that Wales will always trail behind when major economic decisions are made in London and driven by the interests of the City square mile.
“When it comes to the next General Election the Welsh people can choose between London parties and their ‘boom and bust’ politics, or Plaid Cymru whose priority is creating a Wales of skilled jobs, fair wages and a strong economy.”