Plaid Cymru launched its manifesto today (16 May), with the party aiming to improve on its 2015 general election performance that saw it win 3 of Wales’ 40 Westminster constituencies.
If the latest polls are to be believed, this will present something of a challenge for the party, which has struggled to emulate the successes of its sister party in Scotland, the SNP.
Nevertheless, the manifesto – entitled Action Plan 2017 – sends a signal of the party’s intent to use the vote on 8 June as a springboard for further Welsh devolution – including in the area of tax policy.
Key pledges on taxation included in the 51-page document include:
- A call for powers over corporation tax, air passenger duty and VAT to be devolved to Wales in order to boost economic growth and attract businesses to the country
- Alongside the devolution of tax raising powers, support for the creation of an independent commission tasked with reviewing the allocation of block grant funding from Westminster
- Targeted tax discounts for new and existing businesses in Wales, alongside reductions in VAT to help boost the Welsh tourism industry
- A review of the existing system of business rates, with the party’s preferred option being the introduction of a tax regime based on business turnover
- Opposition to the centralisation of HMRC offices in Wales
- Support for retaining the pensions triple-lock and the devolution of social security powers to Wales, enabling action in areas including ending the bedroom tax and limits on child tax credit eligibility
Plaid Cymru has also reaffirmed its commitment to the policies contained in their 2015 General Election and 2016 National Assembly documents, which they argue “retain a relevance and pertinence” to the challenges currently facing Wales.
Those particular documents confirm the party’s support for, among other things, the devolution of income tax powers to Wales, the introduction of a 50p top rate of tax, increases to the national insurance threshold, action on tax avoidance and increases to the stamp duty threshold.
Plaid leader Leanne Wood said the manifesto represented “a commitment to securing a resilient Welsh economy and to safeguarding the future of our treasured public services". The Welsh Conservatives responded by saying that the manifesto showed that Plaid would unite with the Labour Party – who also launched their manifesto today – to cause “chaos”.