Addressing the annual Welsh Conservative Party Conference in Llangollen, Nick Ramsay AM, Shadow Minister for Finance, said:
(Check against delivery / Gwirio gyda’r cyflwyniad)
Conference, when the Conservatives entered Government in Westminster in 2010 we inherited a mess –no change there then!
As Liam Byrne’s now infamous note said “There’s no money left”.
Public spending was too high, business confidence too low, the deficit spiralling out of control and the National debt ballooning.
The Labour Party had maxed out the national credit card and didn’t fix the roof when the sun was shining.
6 challenging years on and thanks to the Conservatives’ long term economic plan, things are back on track. Thanks to the Chancellor’s efforts, the UK is once again held up as a beacon of sound economic management.
Spending has been reined in. The deficit has been slashed. The one-time British disease, inflation is at an all-time low along with families’ mortgage rates.
At the same time we have commitments to a ground-breaking city deal in Cardiff and major infrastructure projects underway including the electrification of the Great Western Main Railway Line.
That’s what you get after 6 years of a UK Conservative Government. Of course here in Wales we never had a change. Labour have now been in power for 17 long years. And guess what - they want 5 more.
5 years to do what? Well it’s actually far worse than people realise. The truth is Comrade Corbyn wants to use Wales as an experiment, an incubator for true socialism. Socialism didn’t work in the past because it wasn’t pure enough. All we need is one more heave to the left and everything will be fine!
Well Conference, it won’t be fine. Not only does Corbyn threaten our UK national security by opposing Trident renewal, his socialist policies would turn the clock back in Wales.
A new Year Zero, a Wales moulded by an outdated socialist mindset and make no mistake we would all pay the price.
It’s bad enough at the moment. Our rural economy is faltering. Rural authorities like Monmouthshire County Council are receiving the joint worst funding settlement again whilst wasteful Labour valleys authorities get the bulk of the cash.
Labour have made no secret of the fact that they will put taxes up in Wales.
Because of course the one thing Labour is very good at is spending other people’s money.
Let’s look at their record over 17 years.
They abolished the Welsh Development Agency, Wales’ tried and trusted brand overseas, responsible for a huge amount of inward investment.
They dragged their heels on setting up enterprise zones even when they were springing up just across the border in England and were clearly needed here too.
And to cap it all they’ve been selling off public land at a fraction of the market value and at a considerable loss to the taxpayer. So much for their principle of public ownership!
We are the only party in the Assembly which has never had our hands on the levers of power. And doesn’t it show. How would a Welsh Conservative Government be different?
Well we would reform Finance Wales for a start. That’s the government’s business support agency that half of Welsh businesses surveyed by the Federation of Small Businesses don’t even know exists! Clever marketing!
We would reform business rates, taking small businesses out of business rates altogether, leaving them more money to invest in the future.
And we would establish “Destination Cymru”, a new body to boost exports and provide a proper level of aftercare to keep businesses here in future.
The Welsh Conservatives are putting forward a positive programme for government, a programme designed to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
More of the same.
Conference, enough is enough.
Wales can’t take 5 more years of this.
Let’s go out and campaign for every Welsh Conservative vote in May and finally, finally change Wales for the better.