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Queen's Speech must address Wales' lost billions - Jonathan Edwards MP

Plaid s

Plaid Cymru Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, has urged the UK Government to urgently reform its unfair funding formula which has seen Wales lose out on billions of funding in recent years.

According to the independent Holtham Commission, Wales loses out on around £300-400m a year – money which could be used to invest in infrastructure projects, generating jobs and economic growth.

Mr Edwards said that as the Queen’s Speech is announced on Wednesday, Plaid Cymru will announce an Alternative Queen’s Speech comprised of a range of bills that would benefit Wales, including a Barnett Reform (Fair Funding) Bill.

He added that the Bill would also ensure that the Devolved Countries Unit within the Treasury is beefed up and properly staffed by legal underpinning given that it has made mistakes in the past in relation to consequential funding for Wales such as in relation to the England-only High Speed Rail 2.

Mr Edwards said:

“The chronic underfunding of Wales by successive Tory and Labour governments is nothing short of a scandal.

“Having led to Wales losing out on billions of funding over recent decades, it is high time the outdated and deeply flawed Barnett formula is reformed – even Lord Barnett himself acknowledges this.

“In addition to addressing underfunding, Plaid Cymru’s proposed Fair Funding Bill would ensure that a reformed Barnett Formula would be codified in law and not subject to the insufficient ‘convention’ which exists at present.

“The Bill would also ensure that the Devolved Countries Unit within the Treasury is beefed up and properly staffed by legal underpinning given that it has made mistakes in the past in relation to consequential funding for Wales

“The Bill would include measures to ensure that Wales automatically receives a fair share when the UK Government decides to invest in England only infrastructure such as HS2.

“Plaid Cymru would also like to see an Economic Fairness Bill to address individual and regional wealth inequalities across the British state. Deprived communities would be prioritised for funding in order to tackle the growing gulf between rich and poor – a model which has proven highly effective in Germany.

“It is clear that Wales is facing a double blow - by the stubborn refusal of the Tory government in London to address underfunding, and by the desperately poor performance of the Labour government in Cardiff which is presiding over deteriorating public services.

“While the London parties are happy to keep Wales poor, only Plaid Cymru is truly fighting to get a fair share for all the people of Wales.”

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