Plaid Cymru have launched their general election manifesto with an insistence that protection for the vulnerable is a political priority which other parties are ignoring. Plaid, who are standing in every constituency in Wales, have pledged to focus on schools, hospitals, job protection and lifting pensioners out of poverty.
Plaid say that they believe their manifesto “reflects the conscience, values and priorities of the people of Wales”.
Plaid Cymru – whose name means “Party of Wales” in Welsh - is a socialist party committed to working towards an independent Wales within the European Union. They are currently coalition partners in the devolved government in the Welsh Assembly
Speaking in Cardiff today (13 April), the party's leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones, outlined the priorities that would guide their decisions and negotiations in a hung Parliament.
On economic issues, Plaid want to increase the state pension, close tax loopholes and introduce taxation that would take more from the rich and less from the vulnerable. In addition, they would reform the banks and cut bonuses. They insist that the Welsh budget must be protected to safeguard “jobs, hospitals and schools from the London parties' cuts”.
Other priorities include greater powers for the Welsh Assembly, help for Welsh businesses, high-speed rail links and an environmental action plan for Wales “to lead the way in the green revolution and create thousands of high-quality green jobs”.
The party also wants to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, save billions by scrapping the UK's nuclear weapons and show greater care for soldiers and veterans.
Launching the manifesto, Jones said that “the choice between Tory cuts and Labour cuts is no choice at all”.
He said that the “London-based parties” have “already decided what's important to them - the City, the banks, the votes of so-called Middle Britain”.
Jones encouraged voters to "contrast our values of looking after the vulnerable and protecting front-line services with the priorities set out by Labour and the Tories who are still prepared, even in these difficult financial times to keep spending on Trident nuclear weapons and ID cards”.
Plaid Cymru works closely with the Scottish National Party and the two parties may form a powerful block in the event of a hung Parliament.
The Plaid MP, Elfin Llwyd, acknowledged that a hung Parliament is by no means a certainty, but insisted that the party would work for the same values whatever the outcome of the election.