Plaid Cymru is on a mission to rebalance Wales – that will be the message today from Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood when she addresses the party’s spring conference in Newport.
The Rhondda AM is expected to say that addressing regional inequality is one of the biggest challenges facing modern Wales.
She will say that the Labour Government in Wales had committed the same mistake as the UK Government by cultivating an “overheating centre at the expense of everywhere else.”
She will argue that jobs, wealth and prosperity are not being spread evenly throughout Wales and that Plaid Cymru is determined to do something about it.
The Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood AM is expected to say:
“Plaid Cymru would ensure every part of Wales gets the chance to succeed. Existing plans lack the ambition needed to rebalance the country.
“In this corner of Wales- the south-east- hopes are being pinned on a City Region Deal which spreads a small pot of money amongst almost half of our country's local authorities, and half of our population.
“That won’t rebalance the economy. It's not good enough. The Welsh Government had a chance to show they wanted to rebalance Wales with the new Welsh Revenue Authority.
“Porthmadog and Wrexham were overlooked, despite having 400 existing tax workers between them. The Revenue Authority will be a relatively small organisation, with just 40 posts initially.
"But that number of jobs will grow, and even forty jobs would have made a far greater impact in a smaller town.
“As it stands, the decision has been made to locate the body in Treforest. When I called for as many of those jobs as possible to be filled locally, what was the First Minister's answer?
“That most of the jobs will go to specialists from London. That we don’t have the skills here.
“Well, when you are responsible for skills, doesn’t that say it all? Conference, doesn't that sum up Labour's lack of ambition for Wales?”
She is expected to add: “Plaid Cymru, through making Wales more equal, is aiming to unite the country. Inequality is what divides people and regions.
“That is why we are on a mission to rebalance Wales. And we’ve started already. We've put the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth rail link on the agenda, securing a £300,000 feasibility study and bringing it closer to reality.
“When completed, Plaid Cymru will have secured the most significant railway in Wales since the Beeching Cuts of the 1960s. We'll be doing everything in our power to get that delivered.
“In south-east Wales, we are pushing for the City Deal to include guaranteed investment in the former coalfield communities, and a specially designated role for Newport. We’ve said work should begin at those points further away from the centre.
“We don't back a City Deal which sucks people and even more traffic into Cardiff, where Plaid Cymru councillors have been campaigning against congestion and over-development.
“We will back a City Deal which shares the wealth. We want the next Admiral, the next Welsh success story, to be headquartered somewhere like Aberdare, Treherbert or Maerdy.
“We see this as a way of giving a future to the people in our former industrial areas north of the M4. At the moment, we have an unbalanced Wales. An unequal Wales.
“Anyone who travels around this country can see first-hand the problems we have with our transport infrastructure. Too many people are still without broadband communications.
“Jobs, wealth and prosperity are not being spread evenly throughout the country. I hear the same feelings of neglect in the coalfield as I do in Newtown and Wrexham, in Porthmadog and Bangor.
“At Westminster under the Tories wealth is being redistributed the wrong way- Robin Hood in Reverse.
“And the same is happening in Wales. The Labour Government is recreating the problem of an overheating centre at the expense of everywhere else.
"Plaid Cymru is providing an alternative. We would share wealth and investment right across the country and make sure no community is left behind."