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Plaid amendments seek to end scandal of Wales' lost billions

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As the Wales Bill returns to the Commons today (Tuesday), Plaid Cymru MPs have tabled amendments to the bill that seek to ensure fair funding for Wales and put control over Wales' natural resources in the hands of the National Assembly.

Plaid Cymru Parliamentary Leader Elfyn Llwyd MP said that while the Wales Bill was broadly welcome, it was disappointing that it hadn't gone further in addressing Wales' annual under-funding of around £400m, and had failed to deliver more robust financial powers to boost the Welsh economy.

Mr Llwyd added that progress must be made on transferring control over Wales' wealth of natural resources in order to benefit the Welsh economy and environment, rather than the UK Treasury.

Speaking ahead of the debate on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Llwyd said:

"This stage of the Wales Bill offers an opportunity to deliver a better deal for Wales and address issues which see our nation lose out on millions of pounds each year.

"Plaid Cymru has tabled an amendment calling for a review of the Barnett formula - the UK funding formula which sees Wales lose out on around £400m a year.

"The First Minister of Wales has said that Barnett reform is a precondition to the transfer of income tax powers from Westminster to Wales. If the Labour party fail to support this amendment, the First Minister will face humiliation by being backed into the anti-devolution corner by his own party.

"Another area which sees Wales missing out is the economic development of our natural resources. Wales is an energy-rich nation yet thousands of Welsh households live in fuel poverty. This is nothing short of a disgrace.

“We have tabled an amendment on the appointment of a Crown Estate Commissioner with special responsibility for Wales as per the Silk Commission recommendation.

“The Crown Estate holds a diverse range of land in Wales, with all profits from such holdings (including from onshore and offshore wind farms) passed to the UK Treasury. These are likely to grow substantially, mainly due to the demand for renewable energy.

“In the past, Wales has not fully benefited from its abundant energy resources. The Labour Welsh Government has already voiced its support for what our amendment seeks to achieve, and we therefore look forward to their Labour colleagues in London supporting it.

“Wales cannot afford to miss out on the benefits of its own natural wealth nor its fair share of funding in future.”

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