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Chancellor must help build ‘Great Western Engine’

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Leanne Wood: Plaid would provide match funding for ‘rural deal’

LEANNE WOOD called on Chancellor George Osborne to help turn Wales into the ‘Great Western Engine’ ahead of his speech to the business sector in Cardiff last week.

The Plaid Cymru leader warned that Tory economic policy in its current form posed a threat to the Welsh economy with even deeper cuts over the next term likely to jeopardise jobs and lead to a rise in food and fuel poverty. She added that a Plaid Cymru Government would provide match funding for a Swansea City Dealand a ‘rural deal’ for west Wales, in addition to the Cardiff City Deal promised by the Chancellor, in order to make sure that prosperity is spread to all corners of Wales.

Ms Wood said: “Tory policies in themselves pose a threat to economic security. Basing growth on inflated house prices and rising consumer debt risk a repeat of the devastating financial crash of 2008. “Even deeper cuts over the next term will threaten jobs and lead to a rise in food and fuel poverty, and saddle the next generation with a legacy of little hope and opportunity. “The Chancellor has signally failed to rebalance the economy. The GVA gap between Wales and the rest of the UK has become wider, manufacturing is shrinking, and the balance of trade deficit is growing.

“That is why Plaid Cymru is calling on the Chancellor to help turn Wales into the Great Western Engine in order to power up the Welsh economy, address inequality and spread prosperity to all corners of the country. “A key part of this rebalancing would be empowering Wales with fiscal tools such as control over corporation tax and Air Passenger Duty. “Confirmation that the Cardiff City Deal will go ahead is welcome news but the Chancellor should also announce he is to open a Swansea City Deal and a ‘rural deal’ for west Wales to spread prosperity throughout Wales.

“Thirdly, George Osborne should agree a strike price of £168 per megawatt for the pioneering Swansea Bay tidal lagoon so Wales can grasp its green growth opportunity. “Direct Westminster control over the Welsh economy has clearly failed under Labour and the Tories. A Plaid Cymru Government would seek to end this damaging dependency and ensure that our economy can stand on its own two feet.”