Wales politics

Leanne Wood: Plaid Cymru leader says 'top tax rate would not be cut'

Leanne Wood Image copyright Plaid Cymru
Image caption Leanne Wood said Mr Price had made similar calls on lowering tax before

Plaid Cymru is unlikely to make cutting the top rate of tax one of its policies if Wales ever receives income tax varying powers, its leader has said.

Leanne Wood spoke against a call by former Plaid MP Adam Price during the party's spring conference to consider the idea as a way of creating jobs.

Ms Wood told BBC Wales income tax powers for Wales were many years away.

She doubted many Plaid Cymru delegates would agree with Mr Price but added it was an "interesting debate".

Speaking on Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement, Ms Wood said Mr Price had made the suggestion before.

Create jobs

Image copyright PA
Image caption Adam Price stood down as an MP in 2010 and then worked as a research fellow at Harvard

"We're not in a position to outline our tax policy at this stage. It's very unlikely that if Wales does get tax sharing powers that we will have these powers before 2021 according to the Silk process," she told the programme.

"What we need to do in Wales is turn around the economy.

"We've got to do everything that we can to create jobs. I'm not going to stifle debate on how we do that.

"We have to have business support to create jobs. We can't do it in the public sector alone or creating jobs in charities.

"We've got to have a strong business sector; stronger than we've already got."

However, she added: "I don't agree with Adam's position on cutting the top rate of tax and I'm sure that many delegates in Plaid Cymru wouldn't agree with that either, but it's an interesting debate."

'National interest'

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Media captionLeanne Wood said income tax powers were unlikely before 2021

On Friday, Ms Wood used her conference speech to urge voters to reject "damaging Europhobia" led by UKIP in May's European elections.

She appealed to ex-Liberal and Green voters not to stay at home, and said only Plaid Cymru could "further the Welsh national interest at the heart of Europe".

She argued voting for Plaid was the way to keep issues such as climate change, international cooperation and tax avoidance on the European agenda, and said the May election could be the last of its kind in the UK if "we do not make our voices heard".

She called a vote for UKIP "a vote against Wales - a vote against the Welsh national interest".

Nathan Gill, UKIP's Welsh lead candidate for the European elections said supporters and members were angered by Ms Wood's claim that voting for UKIP meant people were against Wales.

He said recent polls showed UK were "outpolling Plaid Cymru for this May's Euro election.

"For the party to descend to gutter politics and mud slinging is bigoted and outrageous."

Former Plaid leader and former assembly presiding officer Dafydd Elis-Thomas later criticised Ms Wood for her attack on UKIP.

He said: "It is facile and assumes a kind of superiority that we decide who is Welsh and who is not Welsh.

"A party which gets votes from ordinary citizens in Wales has to be taken seriously.

"It clearly represents a point of view in Wales."

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