Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood will outline five key areas for economic policy in a major speech to mark her first year anniversary as leader.
Ms Wood will tell the audience at the Pierhead building in Cardiff Bay on Friday afternoon that Plaid Cymru will develop a genuine alternative economic course to allow Wales to be “successful” and to “thrive.”
Plaid Cymru’s Economic Commission, established by Ms Wood within days of becoming party leader, has identified five keys areas for strategic interventions in the Welsh economy.
‘Connecting the Nation’ which will concentrate on improving public transport with the National Assembly taking full control of the all-Wales rail franchise, improving the road network, utilising our ports and delivering high-speed broadband and 4G access for all.‘Re-localising the local’ which will improve levels of Welsh public procurement to lock our money into Wales and create jobs, helping to support local businesses.‘A national energy agency for Wales’ which would use our resources for the benefit of the people here, investing in research and development of new projects.A Welsh financial system which will include the creation of a publicly owned Bank of Wales to invest in small businesses.Re-balancing Britain which will include devolving the welfare system and increasing the Welsh proportion of UK public procurement budgets to redress the historic imbalance between the home nations.
Ms Wood will say: “When I was elected as leader of my party I made it clear that I wanted to be judged on one issue and one issue only – the economy. The economy and the creation of jobs remains, and will remain, my steadfast focus.
“Job creation will be our top priority in the programme that we will put into action following the Assembly elections in 2016.
“People here deserve a government that does everything in its power to enable our nation to become as successful and prosperous as I know that it can be.”
She will add: “Plaid Cymru fundamentally disagrees with the course of action being taken by the UK government.
“Far from making things better, the policies being pursued by the UK government are making the problems in the Welsh economy worse.
“Plan A for austerity is disastrous for Wales. The People of Wales did not vote for it. Most people here support parties which reject it, or at least who say they do….but rejecting austerity is not enough.
“I reject the mantra that there is no alternative. For Wales, there must be an alternative
“And Plaid Cymru is building a programme that will offer that alternative.”
Reflecting on her first 12 months as Plaid Cymru leader, Ms Wood will also highlight her party’s achievements in the National Assembly which includes the budget deal struck with the Welsh Government that will see nearly 6,000 apprenticeship places created over two years and £10 million of capital investment for a science park created in north west Wales.
She will also highlight the key role her party played in applying pressure on the Welsh Government to reverse their initial decision not to fund the shortfall in council tax benefit.
“It is so disappointing to see the lacklustre Labour Welsh government repeatedly failing to stand up for the people it claims to represent,” Ms Wood will say.
“That is why I am so proud that, during my first year as leader, Plaid Cymru can point to a successfully negotiated budget deal that will see thousands of apprenticeship places created across Wales, helping not only our young people but also our small businesses.
“We also negotiated £10m capital investment for the creation of a Science Park in north west Wales which will create jobs in the short term and equip our young people with much needed knowledge and skills for the future.
“Plaid Cymru fought hard to push the Welsh government to reverse its disastrous plan to pass on cuts in council tax benefits to some of the worst off people in our communities.”
In her speech she will say: “A better Wales cannot wait. Economics and Politics go together.
“We can only get the economics right if we get the politics right and that is why I am determined that the next government of Wales will be a Plaid Cymru Government.”