A Plaid Cymru MP has called on the UK Chancellor to announce a ‘Brexit Mitigation Fund’, to make sure that Wales “is not economically decimated” by Brexit.
The party’s Treasury spokesperson, and member of the Brexit Select Committee, made the call at Plaid Cymru’s spring conference in Newport today and accused the Westminster government of pursuing “a free-market, right-wing nirvana.”
Mr Edwards accused the Tory Westminster government of being in a “state of denial” on the economic challenges posed by Brexit and called on the UK Chancellor to outline future government interventions to mitigate the damage.
The Carmarthen East & Dinefwr MP says the proposed Brexit Mitigation Fund should be used to plug gaps left in the Welsh economy as a result of the decision to sever the British State’s economic ties with the European Single Market and Customs Union. Any drop in economic growth could be offset by an increase in the Mitigation Fund and used, for example, to cover the increased tariffs on businesses exporting to the Single Market and ensure jobs and wages are protected as businesses feel the hit of Brexit.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has already said that Brexit will cost the UK around £12 billion every year, or 0.5% of annual GDP.
Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards, said in his speech:
“It was the last Prime Minister to represent a Welsh constituency, James Callaghan, who was brought down by his supposed utterance of the now famous phrase, “Crisis? What crisis?” But today it is the Tory UK Government which embodies this state of denial.
“The Chancellor on Wednesday must herald a post-extreme Brexit economic vision and outline what government intervention will be needed in future.
“Wales, with our export surplus and expansive trading relations with the European Economic Area is particularly exposed and I fear that the Budget will be nothing more than a continuation of blind ambivalence. With a Union flag blindfold, the Tories’ reckless austerity and extreme Brexit is eroding Wales' economy.
“It is for this reason that I am calling for a Brexit mitigation fund. A fund to make sure that Wales, which has benefitted so much from the EU, is not economically decimated as a result of the Tories’ search for a free-market, right-wing nirvana.