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Plaid MP hits out at Labour Shadow Chancellor cuts commitment

Jonathan Edwards MP

Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards has hit out at Shadow Chancellor Edward Balls following further confirmation that Labour would pursue Tory cuts should they gain power after the next election.

In an interview with today's Financial Times, Mr Balls announced that he has instructed colleagues to start identifying spending cuts and that "no area is exempt" as far as public spending is concerned - including the NHS.

Mr Edwards said that Labour's austerity agenda and talk of "iron discipline" on the economy should set alarm bells ringing among Welsh voters who face a future of further cuts regardless of whether the next Westminster government is red or blue.

He added that what Mr Balls had to say posed a huge challenge to the Welsh First Minister who must now seek clarification of what these cuts will mean for Wales.

Mr Edwards said:

"Edward Balls' announcement that Labour have started identifying spending cuts now proves that it's not just the Tories who are happy to balance the books on the backs of the poor.

"Labour have joined the ConDems as parties of the privileged and with the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions saying that her party would be "tougher than the Tories on welfare", none of the London parties can claim that they're committed to social justice.

"Mr Balls' confirmation that "no area is exempt" from cuts, including the NHS, is particularly worrying for Wales. The amount Wales receives through the block grant for spending on vital public services is determined by the size of budgets of key departments in England - cuts to the English health service will result in a heavy knock on effect.

"This poses a huge challenge to the First Minister who will be forced to attempt to protect the Welsh budget from his own party's austerity agenda.

"At the next election, Plaid Cymru will be the only anti-austerity party committed to protecting the Welsh people from policies made in London to serve the interests of the City square mile.

"Whether the government is red or blue, Westminster only offers Wales one future - cuts, cuts and more cuts. While London holds the purse strings, there is little hope for the Welsh economy. That is why progress on transferring job-creating powers and other key policy areas to the National Assembly is so vital.

"In every constituency throughout Wales, Labour candidates must now clarify whether they are signed-up to London's cuts consensus, or whether they will challenge their party to change course and put the people of Wales before damaging Westminster politics."

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