Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood has today criticised the Welsh First Minister for “distorting reality” when it comes to the issue of immigration of Wales.
Leanne Wood used today’s session of First Minister’s Questions to challenge the First Minister over his comments that the UK Labour Leader’s stance on immigration is playing into UKIP’s hands.
The Party of Wales Leader cited figures showing that only 2.6% of the entire Welsh population come from other EU countries and that EU migrants in Wales are more likely to be in work than the rest of the population.
Leanne Wood said:
“The debate surrounding immigration in the UK as a whole has been whipped up into a fear-driven frenzy.
“In light of this, there has been no rational discussion about the distinct situation in Wales where the Labour government has decided to pander to myths rather than deconstruct them.
“Today, I challenged the First Minister over the differences between himself and the UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn on immigration.
“Last week the First Minister accused Mr Corbyn of playing into UKIP’s hands following his refusal to “fan the flames” on immigration, yet he could point to no differences between the positions of the two.
“The reality in Wales is that emigration is a bigger problem than immigration. 2.6% of the entire Welsh population come from other EU countries, while figures show that EU migrants in Wales are more likely to be in work than the rest of population.
“Meanwhile, too many younger and skilled people are leaving the country to seek opportunities elsewhere. There is an imbalance within Wales, with jobs and prosperity not spread evenly enough across the country.
“Rather than deflect from his own poor performance by picking internal fights, the First Minister should be opposing the Tories who through their austerity cuts have driven down wages and led to job losses – issues which people from overseas are too often scapegoated for.”