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'Only a strong Plaid Cymru can deliver empowerment for Wales'

Leanne Wood responds to Westminster command paper

Plaid Cymru has responded with disappointment to the UK Government’s command paper on further devolution.

Click here to read our full response paper, 'Who Speaks for Wales?' [opens in new window]

The party said it has entered talks with the UK Government in a spirit of cooperation but felt unable to celebrate proposals that amounted to a row-back on a compromise.

The party said the proposals would still leave Welsh devolution languishing behind Scotland and Northern Ireland and the announcement on funding public services still leaves Wales worse off compared to Scotland.

She welcomed that powers over fracking are to be devolved to Wales after Plaid Cymru’s long campaign to protect Welsh communities from the practice until it is proven safe, but said that this was one small measure in the context of the wider powers that were being discussed. 

The Party of Wales leader Leanne Wood said:

“Throughout Wales’ devolution journey, Plaid Cymru has consistently sought the best possible deal for people here. We’ve sought to achieve as much empowerment for people as is possible so that our communities have the tools to create a vibrant economy, a just society and strong public services.

“I thank the Secretary of State for facilitating this process and Plaid Cymru entered into it in the spirit of cooperation.

“For reasons that have not been satisfactorily explained, however, Westminster has insisted that the people of Wales settle for a powers package that falls far short of the normal going-rate of devolution in the United Kingdom.

“Whilst some inclusions, such as the devolution of powers over fracking, are to be welcomed, this command paper falls well short of the powers that can help us strengthen our communities. And it goes nowhere near getting the funding settlement that Wales is owed after decades of disadvantage.

“As we enter the UK election period, it is clear that only with a strong team of Plaid Cymru MPs will the people of Wales secure the tools we need to build a fair economy, quality public services and strong communities.”