Wales 'Must Align Economic Policy with UK's' ASSEMBLY GOVERNMENT CHALLENGED BY SECRETARY

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), February 28, 2013 | Go to article overview

Wales 'Must Align Economic Policy with UK's' ASSEMBLY GOVERNMENT CHALLENGED BY SECRETARY


Byline: DAVID WILLIAMSON Political Editor david.williamson@walesonline.co.uk

THE Welsh Government must align its economic and housing polices with those of the UK Government, Welsh Secretary David Jones said yesterday.

The Clwyd West MP fought back against a full-throttle attack on the coalition's record on the economy at Welsh Questions, days after Moody's stripped the UK of its AAA credit rating.

Mr Jones said the downgrade demonstrated the need to stick to the Government's deficit reduction strategy.

He said: "Moody's decision to downgrade the UK Government bond rating is a reminder of how important it is to fix the country's finances and a warning to those who think that we should simply borrow more."

Arguing that the Government had succeeded in creating jobs, he threw down a challenge to Labour ministers in Cardiff, saying: "[The] Welsh Assembly Government are responsible for economic development in Wales. They should therefore align their policies closely with those that this Government are pursuing."

He took a second shot at the Welsh Government, referring to concerns that the chairman of housebuilder Redrow that new regulations could add PS11,000 to the cost of a three-bedroom house.

He said: "At a time when Welsh builders need work and Wales needs more homes, that cannot be right. I consequently urge the Welsh Government to align their policies with those of [Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles]."

But Labour Neath MP Peter Hain kicked back at claims the coalition had successfully boosted employment in Wales. He said: "His new jobs are a mirage. One new worker in 10 is underemployed.

"They are part-timers seeking full-time work or temporary workers who want a proper job. There are underemployed breadwinners who are struggling to put food on the table and heat their homes. That is contributing to the 200,000 children who are living in poverty in Wales. Why does he not apologise for that shameful record?" Mr Jones said he would take "no lessons" from a party that "oversaw the trashing of the British economy and was responsible for the mess that we are having to clear up".

Plaid and Conservative MPs clashed during Welsh Questions over whether responsibility for the criminal justice system should be given to the Welsh Government. …

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Wales 'Must Align Economic Policy with UK's' ASSEMBLY GOVERNMENT CHALLENGED BY SECRETARY
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