What is Plaid Cymru pledging for Wales in its manifesto?

Plaid Cymru has pushed for fairer funding for Wales from a Westminster government and Welsh independence as they released their manifesto

For Fairness, For Ambition, For Wales” reads the cover of Plaid Cymru’s green manifesto booklet.

Inside is a pledge to demand “fair funding” for Wales from Westminster.

Its leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth, says 14 years of Tory cuts and “weak opposition” from Labour means only Plaid Cymru offers a “real alternative” in Wales.

ITV News Wales Reporter Rhys Williams explains what Plaid Cymru is proposing to offer voters after launching its General Election manifesto

The manifesto contains six headline pledges:

1. Secure the £4bn owed to Wales from HS2 to invest in improving public transport infrastructure and reverse local bus cuts.

2. Demand a fair funding system for Wales, “based around our needs, giving us the public services we deserve."

3. Recruit 500 GPs into Wales through “fair funding from Westminster."

4. A new cancer strategy to ensure cancers are caught and treated earlier, and ending Wales’ postcode lottery for treatment.

5. Increasing child benefit by £20 per week to lift 60,000 Welsh children out of poverty.

6. Devolving the Crown Estate and use the proceeds (and windfall taxes) to create green jobs.

This is clearly a primarily economic pitch to Welsh voters from Plaid Cymru. Many of the promises are based on the scrapping of the Barnett Formula - the system by which money is allocated to governments in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.

Mr ap Iorwerth told journalists his party is the only one advocating for the abolition of the formula in favour of a “needs-based model.”

On a similar theme, Plaid Cymru is pledging to secure the £4bn it says is owed to Wales from the building of HS2.

This is because the UK government classified the London to Birmingham line as an “England and Wales” project, rather than an “England only” project.

Were Wales to be treated in line with both Scotland and Northern Ireland through the Barnett Formula on HS2 funding, Wales would receive £3.9bn in consequential cash.

This is a call also made by both the Welsh Conservatives and Welsh Labour, but the UK Government has rejected the demand.

Both Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves have refused to commit to releasing the cash to Cardiff.

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth launched the party's manifesto on June 13. Credit: PA

The party promises to prepare a Green Paper on the path to independence, but it takes 42 pages of the manifesto before the subject is mentioned in any detail.

That decision perhaps comes as no surprise when a recent poll showed independence was only the 15th most important subject mentioned by Welsh voters.

Other highlights from Plaid’s manifesto include a pledge to re-introduce a cap on bankers’ bonuses and to equalise capital gains tax with income tax. The party is also promising to support the introduction of a “wealth tax”.

Plaid is promising a “Welsh Green New Deal” creating “rewarding, meaningful and fair work” in the emerging green and net-zero sector.

In this chapter, the manifesto calls on the UK Government to “nationalise the Port Talbot steelworks” (the UK’s single biggest carbon polluter), and failing that, the Welsh Government should explore a compulsory purchase of the plant while future options for making steel production greener are developed.

One of Plaid’s headline promises is to take full control over the Crown Estate in Wales. The estate has already been devolved to Scotland, and Plaid say the proceeds of energy projects, including offshore wind farms, should flow to the Welsh Government, rather than to Westminster.

Plaid Cymru tend to find general elections difficult. History shows many of the voters who lend them their votes in Senedd Elections defect to Labour or the Conservatives in UK-wide polls.

This means that the party has failed to make inroads beyond its traditional heartlands in the west of the country in general elections.

This time around, merely maintaining the four seats Plaid currently hold in Westminster will be challenging because constituency boundaries have been changed in Wales, and the party are arguably the biggest losers.

The slightly adapted seats of Dwyfor Meirionydd and Ceredigion Preseli on the west coast should be safe, but the party faces a challenging three-way battle with the Tories and Labour in their next two target seats of Ynys Môn and Caerfyrddin.

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