Mark Isherwood AM: ‘Consequences of a Corbyn Government would be dire for Wales’

Speaking in today’s debate in the Welsh Parliament on Welsh Government funding, North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood emphasised that after two decades of devolved Labour Welsh Government, Wales has the highest unemployment and highest percentage of employees not on permanent contracts across the UK nations, and the lowest wages across the nations of Great Britain, and warned that the situation will only get worse under a Corbyn government.

Mr Isherwood also noted that Wales remains the least productive UK nation, and successive Labour Welsh Governments have failed to close the gap between the richest and poorest parts of Wales – and between Wales and the rest of the UK – despite the Welsh Government having blown billions on top-down programmes meant to tackle this, and that between 2010 and 2016 Labour-led Wales was the only UK nation to see a real terms decrease in identifiable expenditure on Health. 

He said:

“Successive independent reports following the banking crash showed that the last UK Labour Government ignored warnings and applied light touch regulation to the banks. By 2010, the UK budget deficit was the worst in the G20, behind only Ireland and Greece in the EU.

“The austerity inherited by the incoming UK Government in 2010 was therefore a legacy, not a choice. If the UK Government had spent and borrowed more, greater cuts would have been imposed on them. After all, those high-deficit nations, which rejected austerity, got it in full measure. 

“With the deficit now down, Wales will benefit from £1.8 billion of extra investment under a majority UK Conservative Government - on top of the £2.7bn already committed to increased spending on health and education here. In contrast, Mr Corbyn’s plans would generate higher interest rates and bigger cuts down the road.”

Mr Isherwood referred to the fact that the ‘Funding Floor’ agreed by UK Conservative Government means that the Welsh Government now benefits from the certainty that the funding it receives for devolved services won’t fall below 115% per head of the figure in England, and that  currently, for every £1 per head spent by the UK Conservative Government in England on matters devolved to Wales, £1.20 is given to Wales.  

He added:  

“Conservatives are delivering on record investment, with £790 million into Growth Deals across Wales. This included £120m for the North Wales Growth Deal, which is expected to generate total investment of £1bn. 

“The UK Government  has also supported North Wales in other ways, including awarding an £82m defence contract to a Denbighshire firm, and locating the F-35 Maintenance Program at  MoD Sealand in North Wales, which is expected to generate millions of pounds and support thousands of jobs.   

“The Welsh Government’s Superfast Cymru Broadband Programme was kicked off when the UK Government gave the Welsh Government £57m in 2011 – 11 percent of all the UK funding – followed by £56m more in 2017, and additional UK Government funding included the £7m for North Wales announced in June to introduce ultrafast broadband connectivity across the region’s public sector organisations, and create more connections to local businesses and homes.

“However, after two decades of devolved Labour Welsh Government, Wales has the highest unemployment and highest percentage of employees not on permanent contracts across the UK nations, and the lowest wages across the nations of Great Britain.

“Their A&E targets have not been met since 2009 and they spend a lower proportion of their NHS budget on GPs than any other UK nation. And, despite repeated warnings, they have created an affordable housing supply crisis which did not exist when they came to power two decades ago. 

“Let this be a warning to all those considering giving their vote to Mr Corbyn.”