Plaid Cymru sets out demands to Labour and Tories

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Plaid Cymru said today that an increased state pension, more Treasury funding for Wales and a withdrawal of UK troops from Afghanistan would be among the demands it would put to Labour and the Conservatives in a hung Parliament.

They were included in the Welsh nationalists' seven key policies when they published their General Election manifesto.



Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones, Wales's Deputy First Minister, said his party wanted to defend the most vulnerable in society from cuts in public spending.



At the manifesto launch in Cardiff, Mr Jones said: "These priorities are determined by the values we hold in the party to protect the communities of Wales against the London cuts.



"The choice between Labour cuts or Tory cuts is no choice at all."



He said Plaid's programme, which would remove unclaimed pension credits and introduce a higher "living pension", was fully-costed.



Plaid is aiming to increase its tally of three MPs and plans to create a "Celtic bloc" in Westminster with the SNP that would negotiate a better deal for Wales and Scotland if no party wins an outright majority on May 6.



Mr Jones said Plaid was willing to talk to the Conservatives and Labour - as it did after inconclusive devolved elections to the Welsh Assembly in 2007.



"If they are not prepared to talk to us, so be it. But these are the demands we are setting out," he said.







In its seven priority areas, Plaid said it would:

* Tackle the deficit by ending "unnecessary" government spending on ID cards and replacing the Trident nuclear deterrent; raise taxes for the very wealthy and close loopholes; and separate high street banks from investment operations to stop a repeat of the financial crisis.



* Negotiate increased funding for Wales's devolved budget. The nationalists claim the Welsh Assembly Government loses £300 million a year through the Barnett formula, which allocates a proportion of Whitehall spending to the devolved administrations.



* Nurture home-grown businesses with a special venture capital fund, wider access to broadband and compulsory mobile phone network sharing so coverage is available across Wales.



* Introduce a "living pension", starting with the over-80s, by replacing pension credits and entitling a single person to an increased basic pension of at least £130 a week and couples to £202 a week.



* Develop an environmental action plan, including bringing high-speed electrified railways to Wales.



* Call on any new government to honour the Welsh Assembly's request for a referendum on devolving primary law-making powers.



* Bring the UK's troops home from Afghanistan and improve care for veterans.



Speaking at the Wales Millennium Centre, Mr Jones said the election was being fought against the backdrop of the worst financial and economic crisis for more than 60 years.



Seeking to blame Plaid's opponents, he attacked "Labour's mismanagement of the economy and the Tories' complicity in the deregulation of the banks which led to massive cuts in public spending".

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