Wales politics

Plaid Cymru calls for regional development agencies

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionLeanne Wood says she has 'little faith in the government to deliver' for Wales by itself

Regional development agencies are needed to boost areas "neglected" by Welsh and UK governments, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has said.

The call came as she launched her party's "programme for opposition", at Treorchy in the south Wales valleys.

Ms Wood said she would ensure the Welsh government delivered for the whole of Wales, not just the M4 corridor.

She said help should be given first to places most likely to lose EU funding in the wake of Brexit.

The Plaid leader said the priority areas were the south Wales valleys, and rural and west Wales.

'Targeted and focused'

"Regional Development Agencies will have sole focus on areas that have continued to be neglected by successive governments on both ends of the M4," said Ms Wood.

"We know that with the uncertainties arising from the decision to leave the EU, the Welsh Government now needs to look at alternative ways of improving the economies of areas in Wales that have been left behind by successive UK and Welsh Governments.

"We propose that this work is started in the areas that are set to lose out the most from the changes to the structural funds that will occur as a result of the decision leave the EU.

"In places like the Rhondda, almost 9% of people are unemployed and more than a quarter of people are economically inactive.

"That's why we need specific targeted and focused measures if we are to improve prosperity levels."

Ms Wood said Plaid had "agreed in principle" several policies with Labour, including extra free childcare and a national development bank.

She said funding for the policies would be set during negotiations over the assembly budget.

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies dismissed the announcement as "richly steeped in irony", in light of the deal between Plaid Cymru and Labour to re-instate Carwyn Jones as first minister.

"Leanne Wood lost the moral right to call herself an opposition leader when she signed up to put Labour back in office in May," he said.

A Welsh Government spokesman said the administration was "open, confident and willing to work with others for the good of the country".

"We will shortly publish our programme for government, which will set out how we aim to deliver our commitments to the people of Wales," the spokesperson added.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites