A report by the IPPR has given a damning verdict on Westminster-rule over the UK’s countries, revealing the UK to be the most geographically unbalanced economy in Europe.
The report, published today (Wednesday 6th September) shows that the UK is experiencing the longest period of economic stagnation in 150 years.
It highlights that Westminster-rule over the four UK countries has led to increasing wealth inequality, with Wales hit hardest. Wales’ share of UK GVA – a measure of economic performance – was lower in 2014 than it was in 1997, and that Welsh incomes are 35% lower than London – the largest gap between any of the UK’s countries or English regions.
The report recommends substantial transfer of responsibilities away from Westminster and to the devolved countries, including greater fiscal devolution.
Commenting, Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, said:
“The report is a damning verdict on Westminster-rule over Wales and lays bare the gross inequality that the British Government has presided over and encouraged for decades.
“The figures show that the economy is approaching a state of emergency, and the uncertainty of Brexit will only intensify this.
“It is clear from this report that it is ordinary people who are paying the price for Westminster’s failures, with people’s wages taking a severe hit despite profits increasing. The share of national income going to wages is at its lowest since the second world war – that is an outrageous statistic, considering the steep economic growth seen since then.
“The only way to deal with these major challenges is to radically decentralise the British State. Direct Westminster-rule over Wales has failed.
“Wales must demand an unprecedented transfer of economic powers to allow our own national government to have control over our economy and ensure the wealth gap is bridged.
“There is no reason why the people of Wales should be paid less than their counterparts over the border – this wealth inequality is a consequence of Westminster-rule. The only way to turn this around is to take our future into our own hands.”