FOR 65 years now, Labour and Conservative governments have ignored the needs of North Wales.
They’ve created a tax system where the poor pay a bigger chunk of their income than the wealthy; an economy dependent on reckless risk-taking in the City of London; and a deficit we’ll all have to pay back. North Wales – and the whole of Britain – needs something different. We need a government that will deliver real fairness. The old parties have had their chance and they’ve failed. And with only a few MPs in Westminster, Plaid Cymru can’t make a difference. But the Liberal Democrats will.
Despite devolution, what happens in Westminster still matters for local people.
It’s at Westminster where taxes are set and where the economy is managed. North Wales was left out of the City’s boom.
In government, Liberal Democrats won’t leave you out of the recovery.
Vince Cable and I will break up the big banks so they can never again hold the rest of us to ransom – and we’ll get them lending again.
We’ll also create jobs by investing in new, ‘green’ industries around the country.
And by creating Regional Stock Exchanges, we’ll make sure local businesses can get capital without having to turn to London. But I want to level with you: we now have a huge hole in the nation’s finances which will have to be closed.
That means we have to decide what we can and cannot now afford.
We mustn’t return to the days of frontline services taking the hit when money is tight. Instead, let’s cut the expensive projects that don’t really help people – like the £100bn like-for-like replacement of the Trident submarine system, an outdated relic from the Cold War era – so we can spend where it really counts.
And if we make sure everyone pays their fair share, we can put money in the pockets of millions of people who need it. We’ll overhaul our tax system so no-one pays income tax on the first £10,000 they earn.
Wales will benefit more than most – 56,000 people in North Wales will be freed from paying any income tax at all and 189,000 low and middle earners will get a £700 tax cut.
We’ll pay for it by closing loopholes exploited by the very wealthy, taxing aviation fairly and bring in a ‘mansion tax’.
If we’re going to make things fair, we need a better politics too.
At Westminster, that means ending the influence of big money and giving people the right to sack corrupt MPs.
In Wales, we want the Assembly to have powers like the Scottish Parliament, so that much more of what happens in Wales is decided by Wales.
After decades of red-blue government, average incomes in Wales are lower than anywhere else in Britain. More children are living in poverty. And too many rural communities have lost local services.
But my message to you is this: there is an alternative. It’s time North Wales got a fair deal. The Liberal Democrats will provide it.
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