Economy and Finance
Welsh Green Jobs Revolution
Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. The climate crisis, destruction of nature and overuse of natural resources threaten the foundations of humanity’s well-being. With declining biodiversity, polluted air and accelerating climate crisis, the time to act is now.
Wales has the natural resources to become a world leader in renewable technology and address the biggest global challenge of our time. If we are serious about tackling climate change, we need to start investing in the green economy and building the workforce we need to make it a success by investing in our people.
We believe in a Green Jobs Revolution which will ensure that Wales makes the transition to becoming 100% self-sufficient in renewable energy by 2035.
We believe in a Renewables Revolution which will create thousands of highly skilled jobs in Wales and help shift the economy away from London. This needs to be done via investment from both UK and Welsh Governments and strengthening Wales’ ability to borrow money.
We wish to create a National Reconstruction Fund to rebuild Wales. A Plaid Cymru Government will embark upon the biggest programme of reconstruction our nation has seen since devolution. We have a comprehensive plan for national infrastructure and green investment designed to reverse decades of decline.
Public Sector Procurement
When the Public Sector needs to attain goods and services from external organisations, we believe that currently far too much money is being spent on buying them from non-Welsh contractors. Huge multinational companies are doing work that could be done by local companies.
We believe that rules should be in place that means when work can be done by local companies, the public sector should use those companies. This will help the environment as people and materials will have to travel much less. It will also lead to money being kept locally, which will help boost the local economy.
We will create legislation that means every company that receives public money must pay the real living wage and we will ban Zero Hours Contracts, as we have already tried to do on many occasions in the Senedd.
Welsh Development Agency
Not enough is currently being done to tell the world about some of the great businesses we have in Wales and to promote what we make and produce here. We will therefore create a Welsh Development Agency whose role will be to sell Wales, our products and our ideas to the world in order to grow Welsh businesses and boost our exports.
Plaid Cymru and the people of Wales are fed up with Wales having lower wages and prosperity than elsewhere in the UK. You should not have to worry about your family’s future and whether you have enough money in your pockets. We will therefore help our small and medium sized businesses by cutting business rates for them. We will make sure that when public contracts are given out that more of this work will be given to Welsh firms. This will help the environment as people and materials will have to travel much less. It will also lead to money being kept locally, which will help boost the local economy.
Wales National Bank
We want to create a National Bank of Wales which will be a publicly owned bank that provides debt finance to Welsh businesses and which will take a longer-term view regarding profits and payment. This will help plug the estimated funding gap of £500m a year faced by Welsh Small and Medium Sized Enterprises. A Bank of this manner will allow co-operatives to flourish and allow small and fledgling companies to stay under Welsh ownership, rather than being sold to multinationals which has damaged so many successful Welsh companies. This will help safeguard jobs and ensure those jobs stay in Wales rather than being outsourced.
We want to increase the amount of research and development (R&D) that is undertaken in Wales and the amount of high-value products that are exported. We will therefore bring Wales’ spending on R&D up to the OECD average of 2.3% of GDP which will boost the amount of high value-added jobs in Wales. We will also offer financial incentives to innovators around the world, including members of the Welsh diaspora, who agree to develop and anchor their businesses in Wales.
Small Businesses and the Local Economy
Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and in order to relieve the burden on them, we will increase business rate relief so that more than 70,000 small and medium sized companies will pay no business rates at all. In order to enourage new startups we will not charge any business rates due in the first year of operation. We will review business rates every three years, so that they are kept up-to-date, and investigate the impact of premises investment so that businesses are not penalised for improvements that they make. We will treat small and large businesses differently, as is the case in Scotland.
We will offer business rate reliefs for larger companies that agree to meet certain criteria such as using local suppliers, paying the real living wage and minimising the amount of waste they create.
We will act immediately to set up a new fund to enable local authorities and community groups to offer two hours free car parking in towns throughout Wales, providing a vital boost to town centre regeneration.
We want to create an international policy for Wales that restores our position as a great trading nation. We will introduce a Wales International, responsible for attracting new businesses, talent and industry from around the world, but also for putting Wales onto the global map for our exports.
Plaid Cymru will continue to support strategic trade missions across the world to foster awareness of Wales in new territories and take advantage of new opportunities that this provides to create jobs. We will publish a set of trade negotiation principles, including for labour and environment standards, and protection of the rights of cultural and language minorities.
We will encourage other countries to establish diplomatic representation in Wales, taking inspiration from countries such as Catalonia and Québec, whose capital cities host dozens of Consulates-General and Consulates, and have emerged as thriving international hubs.
We will establish a formal relationship between the Welsh Government and the Consular Association in Wales as a starting point for developing a strategy to encourage more diplomatic representation in Wales, bringing together key businesses, with a shared objective of enhancing the Welsh economy.
We will call for Welsh associate membership of UNESCO, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and the International Maritime Organisation.
We want to better promote Wales and Welsh culture across the world, and work closely with international development organisations to promote empowerment of communities across the global south, supporting and developing existing links and exchange programmes with Africa and increasing awareness here in Wales.
Plaid Cymru will push at all levels for the Sustainable Development Goals to be implemented, and will ensure that Wales plays a role in that. We will also play a role in international campaigns to prevent modern slavery, female genital mutilation and to stop cyber-crime. We will support the rights of minority groups across the world to their self-determination and the right to become a nation-state, should they choose to do so through a referendum under internationally recognised standards.
Plaid Cymru recognises the importance of the tourism industry across Wales as an employer and in attracting investment into the country. We want to promote Wales as a high quality, sustainable tourism destination with activities and experiences based on our natural resources, our produce, our unique coastline and landscape, and our language, culture and heritage.
We will increase funding for tourism promotion for Wales to take its place amongst the best destinations world-wide.
Currently, the tourism industry is held back by unfair taxes and a Government that is failing to promote Wales as a global tourist destination. We want to see tourism VAT on hospitality cut to 9% to put Wales ahead in the international tourism market.
We will establish a National Academy for the Welsh tourism sector to provide hands-on learning from apprenticeships to degree level, offering world-class vocational and professional development for workers across the sector. We will also advocate associate membership of the UN World Tourism Organisation.
We will improve the tourist experience by ensuring that:
- There is joined-up services and knowledge so that tourists can stay close to events.
- Hotels have access to the latest tourism information.
- Public transport is available when required.
- Hotels provide the best quality of service, including the use of foreign languages.
- We will support the development of locally-run municipal camping sites in our towns and cities.
- We will launch a Celebrate Wales year to stimulate tourism across the country.
Finance and Taxation
The UK is one of the most unequal states in Europe. The richest region in the UK, Inner London, has a GDP of 614% of the EU average, compared to the UK’s poorest region, West Wales and the Valleys, with a GDP of 68% of the EU average. This is a shocking indictment of a financial system that has impoverished Wales for the benefit of a select few in London.
Nine of the twelve countries and regions of the UK are persistently in deficit. The current UK economic and fiscal model is broken. Policies pursued by successive UK governments, both Conservative and Labour, underpin the high concentration of political and economic power in London and south east England with public investment being disproportionately concentrated in those areas at the expense of the rest of the UK.
Public investment needs to have a rebalanced UK economy as a goal. What is needed is sustained, additional funding. It is only by pursuing such a strategy that the full economic potential of Wales and the rest of the UK outside London and south east England can be realised.
Fair Funding for Wales
The present Barnett Formula for distributing funding to the devolved nations has been largely unchanged for forty years and is not fit for purpose. Tied to an outdated population-based formula it has been widely discredited as failing to relate to relative need. Plaid Cymru believes it should be replaced by an Office for Fair Funding, with a statutory obligation to deliver geographic wealth convergence across the UK. It would be an independent and expert arbiter in disputes.
Plaid Cymru believes that everybody should pay a fair share of tax so that we can all share excellent, world-class public services. That means that those who earn most – as individuals or as companies – must make a fair contribution.
We advocate the following tax measures:
Income tax relief on pension contributions should be restricted to the standard rate of 20 per cent. This would raise revenue across the UK estimated by the Institute of Fiscal Studies at £11.5bn a year.
We should increase the employee rate of National Insurance Contributions for higher rate and additional rate taxpayers from 2 per cent to 4 cent raising an estimated £2bn a year.