Conservative solution to economic woes outside London is to ‘stick a Union Jack on things’, says Plaid Cymru MP

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Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts. UK Parliament Image / Jessica Taylor.

A Plaid Cymru MP accused the UK government of simply “putting a British flag” on things instead of dealing with the economic problems faced by comparatively poorer parts of the UK outside London.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Liz Saville-Roberts accuses ministers of keeping nations and regions out of south-east England “beyond economic privilege”.

Criticizing the UK government’s economic approach to austerity, leveling off, transport, Ms Saville Roberts said her approach is to “stick a British flag on it and sing a song of praise to past glories” adding that ” nostalgia does not make an economy do”.

He criticized the government’s approach to rail infrastructure funding, telling the House of Commons: “Instead of correcting Wales’ underfunding of HS2 of over £5 billion, Wales gets, wait, Great British Railways.” .

“Instead, rather than working with Transport for Wales, our own publicly owned transport body, it appears that Westminster’s solution to the historic underfunding is to overturn our solution without correcting the underlying problems that need fixing.”

He later added: “It seems that where there is a problem, the UK government’s response is to cobble together a UK-branded institution, a wallpaper on the self-perpetuating vortex effect of research funding, public investment and targeted tax relief that keeps the South East of England within the limit, and the rest of the regions of England, Northern Ireland, and the nations of Scotland and Wales to remain as always outside the limit of economic privilege”


MP Dwyfor Meirionnydd also criticized the Conservatives for what she said was failing to deliver on the manifesto’s promises to ensure that “Wales will not lose any power or funding as a result of our leaving the EU”. She pointed out that the Welsh Government has calculated that post-Brexit financing arrangements for Wales fall short by £772m of structural funds for the period 2021 to 2025 alone.

Conservative decisions, from austerity to a hard Brexit, are “ideological choices” that “have combined to exacerbate the cost of living crisis”, according to Ms Saville Roberts.

“From the banking crisis to today, the Conservative Party has looked for every opportunity to impose austerity, to deliver a hard Brexit of its own making, which together have combined to exacerbate the cost of living crisis,” he said.

“These are ideological choices that will go down in history as conservative creations. Out of ideas other than centralizing what they don’t have and blaming what they don’t know, the Conservatives sit idly by as the economy fails for households and businesses across the UK.

“First of all, the leveling and regeneration bill does nothing to right the wrongs of the past or for the future. The Welsh Government has stated that this Government’s post-Brexit funding arrangements for Wales fall short by £772m of structural funds for the period 2021 to 2025 alone.

“This is not just an ‘assault on Welsh devolution’ (words of Labor Finance Minister not mine) but a broken promise. More generally, sources including Bloomberg illustrate a lack of upkeep of current standards, let alone improvement, let alone maintenance of current standards, in most of the UK and especially in Wales.

“This is not what was promised on page 15 of the Welsh Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto, ‘no part of the UK losing out by withdrawing EU funds’, and certainly not what was promised in page 29, that ‘Wales will not lose any power or funding as a result of our leaving the EU’”.

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