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Plaid warn Benefits Bill will damage Welsh economy

08/01/2013

Plaid Cymru Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, has warned that the Welfare Uprating Bill, due to be discussed in the House of Commons later today, will create lasting and disproportionate damage to the Welsh economy and widen the wealth gap between the nations and regions of the British state.

Mr Edwards repeated his party's call for investment in growth and the creation of meaningful jobs to counter the demand that's being sucked out of the economy as ordinary people are forced to budget more and spend less in their local areas.

He added that the Labour and Tory parties' fixation with out-flanking each other on the right means that the real challenge of addressing the root causes of unemployment and poverty is being ignored, and that this was a clear reminder that the interests of the Welsh people will never feature high among Westminster priorities.

Mr Edwards said:

"There is no question that the proposals included in the Welfare Uprating Bill will have a disproportionate impact on the nations and regions outside the South East of England.

"Wales will be hit particularly hard as a far greater percentage of our population are recipients of Tax Credits and/or benefits.

"Therefore, the real-term cut in these entitlements will inevitably have a dramatic effect on the amount of money spent in local economic across Wales, clearly highlighting the entirely self-defeating nature of the Coalition's economic experiment.

"In recent years, we have seen a significant drop in how benefit rises are calculated - from RPI to CPI to just 1%. Against a backdrop of soaring prices for daily essentials such as food and fuel, this change has created a devastating spiral of decline that is polarising wealth across the British State at both regional and individual level, and institutionalising poverty and unemployment in many areas.

"The Bevan Foundation has today announced that over £100m will be lost from the Welsh economy in benefits payments alone if this flawed Bill is passed. This will be a significant blow to local economies throughout Wales and will inevitably hit local cash circulation. 

"Plaid Cymru has recently delivered on its promise to create thousands of apprenticeships in Wales and repeatedly called for the immediate implementation of the Silk Commission recommendations. The economy remains our main priority and we will continue to offer progressive plans that challenge Westminster's destructive agenda."