While a large number of Plaid members made the trip to Bangor’s Pontio Arts Centre this weekend for the Party’s Spring Conference, many also ventured to Cardiff to watch Wales begin their Euro 2020 qualification campaign (with a win against Independent Slovakia). YesCymru and Welsh Football Fans for Independence banners could be seen throughout the capital as the ‘Red Wall’ made the short trip from St Mary’s Street to the Cardiff City Stadium.
At the same time, Adam Price AM was busy giving his first Spring Conference Speech as leader of Plaid Cymru, as the Party look towards the next Assembly election in 2021. Price made clear that his Party would be seeking a referendum on independence if Wales loses out on the £2.5bn in EU structural funds that would be due in the funding round post-Brexit. Reaffirming the Party’s support for a second referendum on exiting the EU, the Plaid Cymru leader said Wales could join the EU as an independent member state.
In light of the recent discussions and publications with regards to climate change, energy and Wales’ renewable future, Llyr Gruffydd AM, the Party’s allocated spokesman on environment, energy, rural affairs and planning, was quick to criticise the lack of action being taken by the Welsh Government.
Gruffydd claimed that Plaid Cymru would establish a publicly owned non-profit energy company, and that the Party has created a policy development group to look again at the challenges of climate change. Additionally, a cut to VAT for the construction industry was highlighted as a commitment if the Party is elected to govern.
Speaking on planning, Gruffydd warned that the system is working against communities, with thousands of homes being built on the basis of “faulty” estimates from the Government.
Other headlines from the weekend included Plaid’s commitment, if in Government, to training 1000 more doctors and 5000 more nurses, call for the devolution of air passenger duty and a cut to VAT for tourism, to raise spending on education from 4% to 6% of GDP and the introduction of a Welsh Language Act to restore the national language.
While it will remain to be seen whether Plaid can now challenge Labour’s longstanding hegemony in Wales, recent times have seen them undoubtedly garnering support under the leadership of Adam Price. With Price ruling out a coalition with either of the other two main parties, it will be interesting to see how the Welsh National Party approach the first election under their new leader.
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