Rent freezes and cuts to energy bills: Plaid Cymru's plan to tackle cost of living crisis
Plaid Cymru’s leader will use his conference speech to set out plans to ease the cost of living crisis, paid for by an increase in the Welsh levels of income tax.
At the conference in Llandudno, Adam Price will also repeat his call for a UK General election, saying that the fall of Liz Truss shows that the Conservatives “have no mandate, no credibility and no legitimacy left.”
He’ll set out a series of measures aimed at dealing with some of the worst effects of the cost of living crisis in what he’s calling a “People’s Plan.”
That plan includes:
Cutting energy bills back to the lower price cap of £1,277 a year which was in place last winter.
Giving an extra £25 to those on Universal Credit
Introducing a rent freeze in the private rental sector and a ban on evictions
Freezing rail fares for 2023
Capping bus fares at £2
Extending free school meals to all secondary school pupils
Increasing pay in the public sector
Adam Price has been criticised by the First Minister for calling for spending beyond the means of the Welsh Government which has an annual budget of around £18bn, made up of a direct grant from the UK Government and receipts from Welsh income tax levels.
It has very limited powers to borrow no more than £1.5bn - and then only with strict conditions.
It does, however, have the power to vary the Welsh section of income tax rates.
In recent weeks, Adam Price has called for the Welsh Government to increase income tax at the higher levels, calling it a “solidarity tax” and saying that the “Welsh Government has the power to act to protect our most vulnerable from the worst effects of the cost-of-living crisis – they should use that power, without further delay.”
In his conference speech he is expected to step up that call, along with a criticism of Welsh Labour for resisting it.
He is expected to say, “If the Welsh way is to mean anything it must involve made in Wales solutions too."
“Too frequently and inexcusably - ministers here have sought the solace of relative political safety by criticising others rather than affecting change themselves.
“Where has Labour’s radicalism gone? We know we won’t find it with Keir Starmer but we hoped to find it closer to home. Where is their signature of solidarity in these most urgent of times?
“Make no mistake, this is an emergency - the blue lights are flashing, and we can be the first responders. The first with ideas, the first with solutions, the first to demand action.”
Plaid Cymru has been working with Welsh Labour after reaching a cooperation agreement to deliver certain parts of Welsh Government policy together.
Adam Price is expected to offer a continuation of that agreement to deliver the priorities he’ll set out in his speech.
“I make this offer to the Labour Welsh Government."
"Work with us and we will work with you – phase two of our Cooperation Agreement can be the ‘People’s Plan’ – if we are all for Cymru and want a Cymru for all let us find common ground for the common good – people before politics, nation before party.
"The Tories won’t but we can. Though not enough, we have the tools to make a difference – there is a way – all we need is the will.”
Speaking ahead of the conference in Llandudno, he repeated his call for a UK General election following the resignation of Liz Truss as Prime Minister.
“The Conservative UK government contempt for democracy, their fratricidal scheming, their sacrifice of everything and everyone on the altar of their own greed and personal ambition has culminated in the shortest premiership in the history of UK Prime Ministers.
“The first and hopefully last act of the next Conservative Prime Minister has to be to call a General Election. They have no mandate, no credibility and no legitimacy left. The Tories face A wipe-out at the next election in Wales. The choice we face is between getting rid of them for a few years with a UK Labour government or getting rid of them forever with independence.”