‘MY PROJECT IS NOT COM­PLETE’

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - THOMAS DEA­CON Re­porter thomas.dea­con@me­di­awales.co.uk

PLAID Cymru wants to erad­i­cate youth un­em­ploy­ment with a guar­an­teed job through a na­tional cit­i­zens ser­vice for 18 to 24 year olds.

The Plaid econ­omy and in­fra­struc­ture spokesman Adam Price will out­line a “Youth Basic In­come” at the party’s con­fer­ence in Caernar­fon.

Mr Price said Plaid would of­fer a “most com­pre­hen­sive pack­age of sup­port for young peo­ple across the en­tire world” made up of four op­tions.

The pro­posal would in­clude a “guar­an­teed” job, a na­tional cit­i­zen ser­vice, sup­port for fur­ther and higher ed­u­ca­tion and an en­ter­prise al­lowance help­ing young peo­ple start their own busi­ness.

The na­tional cit­i­zen ser­vice would be a paid 12-month place­ment sim­i­lar to the Amer­iCorps model.

For the year to the end of June 2017 youth un­em­ploy­ment in Wales was 13.1%, com­pared to the over­all un­em­ploy­ment rate of 4% be­tween June and Au­gust.

Mr Price, AM for Car­marthen East and Dine­fwr, said ahead of his con­fer­ence speech: “The depth of Plaid Cymru’s pas­sion and com­mit­ment to our na­tion will not be enough in them­selves to de­liver the change in for­tunes our coun­try so des­per­ately needs.

“The qual­ity of our ideas will be fun­da­men­tal.

“Today I will be an­nounc­ing four poli­cies Nova Cam­bria [Plaid think tank] will ex­plores.

“From ad­di­tional busi­ness sup­port for Welsh com­pa­nies, re­plac­ing the out-dated busi­ness rates, to de­liv­er­ing the most com­pre­hen­sive... sup­port for young peo­ple across the en­tire world, Plaid Cymru will de­liver the poli­cies... to en­hance the na­tion’s pros­per­ity.”

PLAID Cymru leader Leanne Wood has called on party AMs to stop mak­ing veiled or anony­mous crit­i­cisms of her and say them “to my face”. Say­ing she still has a lot to do as leader, Ms Wood made the com­ments af­ter re­ports that some Plaid AMs ex­pressed dis­quiet af­ter she an­nounced she would lead the party into the 2021 elec­tions.

Com­ments from AMs in­clud­ing Rhun ap Ior­w­erth, who said he would con­sider run­ning as leader, and Si­mon Thomas, who said the party needed to “raise its game”, have been in­ter­preted as chal­lenges to Ms Wood’s lead­er­ship.

Speak­ing af­ter the party’s two-day con­fer­ence in Caernar­fon, Ms Wood said it’s bet­ter to be “open and hon­est”.

Ms Wood said: “If peo­ple have some­thing to say to me I’d rather them say it to my face.

“I think some­times con­ver­sa­tions can be dif­fi­cult but it’s al­ways bet­ter to have the con­ver­sa­tion, so be open and be hon­est.

“There may be [a lead­er­ship race], but I want to be Plaid Cymru’s can­di­date for First Min­is­ter.”

Writ­ing on na­tion.cymru, Ban­gor Uni­ver­sity aca­demic Ifan Mor­gan Jones said: “It’s in­evitable that Leanne Wood’s po­si­tion will come un­der pres­sure within the next few years. It’s worth re­mem­ber­ing that she is the long­est-serv­ing party leader among the main par­ties at West­min­ster.

“Plaid Cymru has just come through three dis­ap­point­ing elec­tions in a row. Apart from gain­ing the Rhondda at the Assem­bly and Ceredi­gion by a whisker in June, there has been very lit­tle to cel­e­brate.

“This year’s Gen­eral Elec­tion sug­gested that Plaid Cymru are still knock­ing their heads against a brick wall in the post-in­dus­trial south-east val­leys, where Leanne Wood should have the most ap­peal.” In her speech at the con­fer­ence Ms Wood quashed any sug­ges­tions of a lead­er­ship bid, and in­sisted she in­tends to lead the party for at least the next five years.

Ms Wood added: “When I came into this job as leader it was on the ba­sis of a po­lit­i­cal project to build a na­tion and pull to­gether a team of peo­ple to get into govern­ment and progress on a whole range of ques­tions that we need to progress on as a na­tion, chiefly the econ­omy and mak­ing sure we’ve got a sus­tain­able econ­omy and jobs for peo­ple over the long run – and that project is not com­plete.

“We’ve still got a long way to go be­fore we build that na­tion and I’ve still got a big con­tri­bu­tion to make to­wards do­ing that.

“The mem­ber­ship of the party made their views very clear on Fri­day, and they are the im­por­tant peo­ple in all this.”

On the first of a two-day con­fer­ence, Ms Wood said that the Bri­tish state has been “plunged into cri­sis” due to in­fight­ing within the Con­ser­va­tive party, and called for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum if Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions re­sult in a no-deal.

She ac­knowl­edged that a ma­jor­ity in Wales voted to leave the Euro­pean Union, but said the way EU with­drawal is be­ing car­ried out is a “threat” to the Welsh econ­omy and con­sti­tu­tion and re­main­ing in the sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union is the best sce­nario for Wales.

PIC­TURE: ARWYN ROBERTS

Leanne Wood at the Plaid Cymru Con­fer­ence at the Ga­leri, Caernar­fon, left

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