Plaid manifesto pledge to protect Wales from 'tidal wave'

media captionLeanne Wood said Labour MPs were too divided to fight for Wales

Plaid Cymru has launched its general election manifesto, promising to give Wales a "strong voice" during Brexit.

The document pledges to "protect" Wales from a "tidal wave" of attacks from the Tories, saying Wales cannot hide behind Labour's "crumbling wall".

Plaid promises to get the best possible Brexit deal for Welsh industry and agriculture.

The party said all future trade deals should be signed off by the National Assembly for Wales.

Party leader Leanne Wood vowed to "overcome threats and seize opportunities" that may come from leaving the EU.

Ms Wood warned a divided Labour Party and an increased Conservative mandate would see Westminster "do its worst" to Wales.

Her party's "action plan" was designed to withstand the risks of a "cruel and reckless Tory party", she said.

Meanwhile senior party figure Rhun ap Iorwerth has told BBC Radio Wales that while Wales could survive as an independent nation he believes the UK nations are stronger together.

The document is the first Welsh general election manifesto to be published.

Policies include:

  • ensuring Wales can continue to buy and sell to continental Europe without costly barriers
  • target tax discounts for new and existing businesses in Wales as a part of a new UK regional policy
  • abolishing business rates and replacing it with a turnover based system
  • open a publicly owned bank
  • devolve police and social security powers
  • fight to guarantee the triple lock on pensions
  • guarantee all rights of EU citizens living and working in Wales

At the manifesto's heart, Ms Wood said, "is a commitment to securing a resilient Welsh economy and to safeguarding the future of our treasured public services".

Ahead of the launch of the document in Rhondda she said: "Be it on tourism, farming, higher education or jobs, we are determined to overcome the threats and seek out and seize upon the opportunities which may come with leaving the EU."

media captionPlaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said Conservatives will "rob Wales" of millions of pounds

The party leader claimed Labour MPs from Wales have "too often... sat on their hands while a Conservative government pushed through measures to our nation's detriment".

Plaid demands in the manifesto that every single penny Wales loses from the EU is replaced by Westminster.

It claims it will protect Wales' economy, identity, and assembly from a Conservative "power-grab".

The document also promises a "multi-billion pound investment programme" to build new hospitals, schools, roads and railways, and a new health and social care rescue plan.

Health and social care, education and roads are devolved in Wales, while some aspects of control over the railways will be devolved in future.

The Welsh Government in Cardiff is currently Labour-led, although Plaid Cymru helped ministers pass their most recent budget.

media captionBBC Wales' Bethan Lewis talks through Plaid Cymru's "action plan" for the general election

Plaid Cymru claims its action plan is fully costed, although the document itself does not contain detailed numbers.

Ms Wood said some spending commitments fall within existing Welsh budgets, such as the plan to recruit and train an extra 1,000 extra doctors, and some had been proposed before the last assembly election.

There is a UK means to pay for additional spending commitments, she said. "For example we would scrap the Trident replacement system, saving £200bn over the course of 40 years", she said.

Ms Wood added Plaid would ensure Wales gets its fair share of the Barnett consequential from the HS2 rail, "which would give us an extra £4bn".

In January, Plaid Cymru had backed a white paper with the Welsh Government on Brexit calling for continued participation in the single market.

But this was absent from the manifesto. Asked by BBC Wales how Plaid's attitude towards Brexit had changed, Ms Wood said: "Things have moved on.

"We've moved on from the referendum. We've moved on from talking about membership of the single market," she said.

"What is vital now is that we are able to do whatever we can to protect those 200,000 jobs reliant on access to the single market."

Analysis by Vaughan Roderick, BBC Welsh affairs editor

If not now, when is probably a question Plaid Cymru activists should be asking themselves.

For the best part of fifty years Plaid have been hoping for a big breakthrough in industrial Wales, particularly the southern valleys.

Over the years there have been some close parliamentary by elections, the odd assembly seat won and councils captured for single terms.

What has not happened is the sort of permanent political shift from Labour to Plaid that the party has yearned for for decades.

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