24/02/2016 The Wales Report


What will the EU referendum mean for Wales? We hear from Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood. And what are the challenges facing community energy projects in Wales? With Bethan Rhys Roberts.

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are drawn - but just how different is the political landscape in Wales


today compared to the last referendum on Europe?


We ask Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood how her party would run Wales


as we look ahead to May's assembly election.


Is Wales doing enough to harness its renewable energy?


Good evening and welcome to The Wales Report.


The EU referendum has been described as a once in a generation decision -


and true enough, the last time the British people were given


the choice was over 40 years ago in 1975.


Back then, Wales, along with the rest of the UK,


voted overwhelmingly to stay in what was then called


There are signs that Wales has become more Eurosceptic since then -


a recent surge in support for Ukip here could translate to Wales


being the only devolved region to favour Brexit.


I'll be talking to two people who were there for that first


referendum in 1975, Lord Peter Hain and economist Patrick Minford


in just a moment and you can join tonight's conversation on social


media - something not possible in 1975.


The hashtag is thewalesreport. But first we go back to the future


to see what we can learn from that vote 40 years ago.


And just a warning - there are some very serious flares


Yesterday Mr Wilson made a recommendation that we should stay


in the common market. Let me finish. I think I have got the message. Too


much detail, far too many statistics. There is a good deal of


confusion. From politics to fashion sense many things have changed since


1975 but one thing is the same. The old journalist trek of going on the


streets to get opinions of the people before the vote. I would like


the country to stay in, it would be better for all of us. It is a shame


because I have seen what the EU has done to less well off


Germany gets richer and other countries get food.


Germany gets richer and other ending up the same way. It is a good


thing. may sound familiar Wales is a


different place and in recent years there are


different place and in recent years increasingly Eurosceptic. There may


be two reasons. Many people in Wales increasingly Eurosceptic. There may


do not realise some of the benefits that come from membership of the


European Union. They do not realise that some of the European Union


funded projects in their Kennedy have been supported by the European


Union. Then there is the more political dimension. The mainstream


parties have traditionally been in favour of remaining within the EU is


now in recent years with the rise of Ukip what we see is a party


now in recent years with the rise of a different message, something


different to offer, and they have been trying to persuade


different to offer, and they have of Wales for many years that they


may be better off without of Wales for many years that they


This is set in a different context. Europe has changed dramatically. 28


member States today. Just nine European community members in 1975.


The UK is a totally different place. In the 1970s the impact of drawing


from Europe on our battered economy was at the forefront of people's


minds. But times have changed and the British economy is now one of


the strongest performers in Europe. Devolution has transformed the face


of British politics. Wheels voted overwhelmingly to stay a member of


the European community back in 1975. -- Wales voted overwhelmingly. Topic


opinion since then has been in favour of remaining eight member but


it recently we have seen a change in public opinion. Ukip is expected


it recently we have seen a change in get seats in the assembly in May.


There has been a change in public opinion. The terms of the debate may


have changed but 40 years on we may still see familiar faces on the


campaign trail. While we can all learn from history does not always


repeat itself. Joining me now is


the economist Partrick Minford and Labour's


Lord Peter Hain. Let us go back to 1975. The end


campaign had all the party leaders, all the money, all the media. It was


not a fair fight. Unlike this one. It is a different fight this time.


What is mainly different is that then we were 14 to stay in Europe


having only been in the few years. Now we have been in over 40 years.


We have seen the benefits of huge investment from outside Wales coming


into Wales in order to benefits not just from the opportunities in Wales


but to be part of the single richest market in the world, to trade our


services into the rest of the European Union. Why would we want to


leave? He won an election on the basis of a referendum. It is a huge


gamble. It is. The situation is different from 1975. We are now a


successful economy and Europe is not looking good at all. In those days


we were the sick man of Europe and Europe was successful. We hoped to


improve our performance by joining. Now the boot is on the other foot.


The problem is that Europe is a bureaucratic entity. We have no


influence ultimately on the qualified majority voting for the


single market. It brings in regulations that are hostile to our


free-market traditions here. It is trying to become a superstate in


order to create this architecture to deal with the problems of the euro.


It is now threatening as in quite a big way. Peter says it is a great


thing to be part of Europe. We have to remember that this single market


as a protectionist organisation that raises prices to the British


consumer. Back in 1975 the in the campaign was criticised for being


scaremongering. There is a danger of that again in this referendum on


both sides. There is a lot at stake. Half our trade is with the rest of


the European union. I cannot believe how Patrick and others just brush


this aside. There are around 200,000 jobs in Wales that are dependent on


being part of that giant treating block. In 1975 it was the Battle of


shopping baskets. It was about the economy. Is this going to be about


the economy or is going to be about immigration? The big issue is


self-government. It is trying to become a superstate. The British


have always wanted self-government. They want control of the borders and


economy and they have a system called democracy which the EU does


not have. But is the main thing it is about. As for all these vaunted


advantages of being in the EU, this is nonsense. It is nonsense began on


a clean because studies show the reverse is true. You want the Norway


model? I do not. I want featuring outside the EU. Back to the global


market that we once had in the 19th century and early 20th century. This


is harking back to a golden past that does not exist any more. A


golden future. You should be in favour of competing in level markets


globally not inside the protected market of the EU. We use the giant


power of the European Union to negotiate trade deals with China and


India and the rest of the world. We have the strength of Europe to do


that. We would have to negotiate individually as a single and ice


with Britain. That would weaken Wales and the UK and leave us


isolated and alone. And all sorts of ways. Security, borders, prosperity


is all tied up with our neighbours, the European Union and Patrick is


offering no clear alternative nor the other she wants to get out. It


is a leap into the dark. We do not know what the future holds.


Self-government will be set our own relationship with this mammoth


declining dysfunctional body on our borders. We have a new relationship


with them and we approach the world market as a self-governing three


cheating nation. Trade agreements as a red herring. I could explain to


him but it would take too much economics to explain to him why he


is wrong on this. If big announcement at the Vale of


Glamorgan. 750 jobs. We are in the European Union. It is irrelevant, he


says. For many businesses it is irrelevant. We are committed by


Europe. Even though many of our companies do not sell to a Europe


which is a big problem, our labour market is regulated, industry is


regulated. The structure of the economy is warped by European


protectionism. We influence those decisions. Britain is very


influential. I have been there. We are protected by those regulations


when they trade with other countries. A taste of things to


come. Thank you. Before the referendum of course,


there's the small matter As part of BBC Wales's How Wales


Works season The Wales Report is speaking to the main party


leaders in Wales to find out how they'd run things if


they won power in May. We've spoken to Ukip


and the Liberal Democrats and over the coming weeks we'll hear


from the Conservative and Labour leaders.


Tonight it's the turn of Leanne Wood, the


leader of Plaid Cymru. Her party is hoping not just


to bounce back from its worst ever performance in an Assembly election


in 2011 but to form the next Dr Bela Arora from the University


of South Wales takes a look It is interesting looking at the


project with Leanne Wood in Plaid Cymru. She has made gains that go


back to the leaders debates in 2015. She will be hoping there is still an


element where she can bounce on the back of that. But actually the fact


that Plaid Cymru have been in discussions around building a packed


in the election says a lot about the levels of the confidence. They


realise that something has to change to give them that step change and


help them move forward. This is an important time of change for Plaid


Cymru. They have potential in terms of a solid support, a good base of


support but they are looking for different ways to make extra gains.


Let's look back at devolution so far. Labour in power for 17 years.


Why do you think they have been in power for 17 years? Why have you


failed to the persuade electorate that you offer an alternative? They


have not held power alone, they have been coalitions as well. But the way


that the electoral system is configured is helpful to the support


that Labour have in the concentration of seats that they


have across the south Wales belt. But that does not mean it is a


system that is not impossible to break through and given that we have


not had any single vote cast yet and that polls have got it wrong,


particularly in last year's election, I would say that nothing


is inevitable about that result. In 2011, you slipped back. Devolution


could have been a platform for you to grow and grow. You slipped back,


why was that? We have been a junior partner in


why was that? We have been a junior we managed to get a lot of things we


wanted achieved achieved, but it is difficult for parties


wanted achieved achieved, but it is gains in subsequent elections and I


think we gains in subsequent elections and I


the country before the party when we went


the country before the party when we things are very different now. We


have had 17 years of a Labour government and they are found


wanting in so many areas. Our economy is weak, and when you


wanting in so many areas. Our at the health statistics, the


education statistics, we are failing in so many areas and people have a


clear choice in this election, either to carry on


clear choice in this election, continued failed model that we have


had for the last 17 years or to do something different and Plaid Cymru


is ready to offer that alternative and give the people an opportunity


to do something different. You said you paid the price for being a


junior partner in a coalition so you will not go there again? I am not


going to will not go there again? I am not


but I am not going to spend all our time talking about various deals.


You have ruled out a deal with the Conservatives, you are not ruling


out a deal with Labour? I have ruled out a deal with the Conservatives


because ideological lead they are completely different to Plaid Cymru.


Given the cuts they are making from London, it is difficult... Why not


rule out Labour to? You paid the price, you said that. Why not say a


vote for Plaid Cymru will not be able to proper Labour? I don't want


there to be a coalition after the next election. I wanted to be a


Plaid Cymru government and we have worked hard, put together a


programme, we have got three ambitions and nine steps to achieve


those ambitions in order to transform Welsh public services and


the economy and that is what I want people be voting on. But they are


sophisticated -- sophisticated now in terms of deals but the electorate


would like to know in principle whether you would once again for


radio with Labour and you are saying, maybe? I have ruled out a


deal with the Tories, that is clear. Everything else is on the table.


What it is ever to now is for the people to have their say in the


election, and we should not second-guess or try to decide for


them. So you might well end up propping up a Labour government? I


want there to be a Plaid Cymru government, that could be a minority


government, but I want is to go into this election with our programme and


the extent to which parties will cooperate after the election is for


people to decide. So why are we pushing for a pre-election deal with


the Greens and the Liberal Democrats last week? I wanted to get to the


point where we had the best possible option, the best possible


alternative to another five years of a Labour government. We have already


seen the damage that 17 years of Labour has caused for us. We must


have an alternative for that now. You just said it is at the people


and last week you were trying to do a deal before the election. But you


have talked about transparency as well and what I was hoping to get to


by talking to other parties was a programme that we can organise joint


lead that gave us an alternative to another five years of Labour. I


accept that given that those talks did not get anywhere, our job is


going to be made much more difficult. Nonetheless, it is not


impossible and there is nothing inevitable about this election


result and I have got an excellent team and you will see when it is


published, a fantastic, strong manifesto. We have done everything


we can do in terms of offering that alternative. Now that people can


decide what they want to do with the Welsh government. We heard about


confidence and there, the fact that you are trying to do a deal ahead of


the election, she suggests, she suggests there is not enough


confidence there. Another thing, you are standing in the Rob Verbakel you


are also standing on the list. Does that show confidence in you as


leader of the party or do you need an insurer 's policy? I have every


confidence in my programme and in my candidates and the reason I am


standing in two areas is because that is the system and that is what


the system allows. When I first announced I was standing at the


system was different and the rules have since changed. We have moved


with the times. But if you were really confident, you would not need


to be on the list. I have confidence in my programme, believe me, and you


will see why when it is published. It is an excellent piece of work and


it offers solutions to the problems people have identified


in their daily lives. It has three areas, health, education and the


economy, and we have listened to people in every part of this


country, we have not been focused in one part of the country like the


current government, look at the way they are spending on the M4, for


example. I have been out to almost every community in this country and


the programme is a reflection of what they told us. Aston Martin


today, you surely welcome that. They are getting there, aren't they, on


the economy, the Labour government? That is one piece of very good news


but if that was set in the context of a 20 year economic plan which was


designed to transform our communities, get people into


high-paid jobs, it is news to be welcomed without question, but what


we don't have with this government is that long-term plan and that


joined up thinking which is why they need to be replaced. You are on the


left of politics, it is a crowded place in Welsh politics, what is


going to make you stand up with these politics -- policies in this


election? They all stand for better public services, the Lib Dems last


week, it is difficult to disagree with that. What is going to make


Plaid Cymru standout now that you are sort of pushing independence


away? Labour have already stolen a number of our policies. We have


published them in quite some good time and with their pledges that


they announced recently. First of all, we have seen a lack of


ambition. I heard a number of their spokespeople almost saying, we are


under promising, we are not really raising expectations, is what that


says to me. What you will see when Plaid Cymru's manifesto is published


is something radically different. It is a programme for transformational


change over two terms of a government. It is achievable within


the existing powers framework and the existing financial envelope, all


of it is deliverable, but it is highly ambitious and it is designed


to seriously up our game as a nation. You have made it clear you


want to be First Minister. If you are not in May, what will you do? My


political programme is a long-term one and it involves building up a


nation and we are not going to do that overnight. This next election


is a step towards achieving that. You are going to win it? You have


said you are going to be First Minister. My project is a long-term


one and I intend to see it through. But you have always said you will be


First Minister in 2016. Are you saying maybe not now? I am going


all-out to win this election and we should not write off the result


before a vote is cast. But if it is not a good outcome for Plaid Cymru,


what then? I am in it for the long game and we have got an awful lot of


work to do before we turn around the Welsh economy and build the


institutions that every nation has and we have got an awful lot of work


to do in terms of our public services as well, our health and


education. We will not rest until these problems are tackled and they


are not going to go away just after the outcome of an election. So if


you don't make any gains, Leanne Wood stays on? I am not intending to


go anywhere. In some areas of Wales,


communities have long been making the most of natural resources


like the sun, wind and water But changes in Westminster


to the way these projects are funded Llangattock Green Valleys


is a community energy project in the Brecon Beacons,


using local streams Its chairman Andrew Fryer tells us


why he thinks these projects are important and how politics


is getting in the way Lancaster is a village of about a


thousand people based in the Brecon Beacons National Park, and being


Green has always been very important. On this property we have


got quite good scope for being Green. We have currently got a plan


to build six hydroelectric schemes and those are fully financed. We are


now looking at doing the rest of those schemes. The main natural


resource is obvious either landscape and so we have hiked and we are


ideally suited for hydroelectric. So this is one of the hydro schemes we


have built. This is the smallest one. At the top you have got a small


dam, only about a metre high, which catches the water and it goes down


this pipe and it goes down the hill into the turbine house. OK, this is


the turbine house and it is where the final transformation occurs from


water coming down the pipe into electricity and the turbine down


her, it is the generator in here. So we, in effect, sell all the


electricity into the grid. That is not really meet our aim is because


it means there is a lack of association between the provision of


the electricity and buying it. What we would like to do is to pull off a


mechanism for people to buy their local electricity. Many communities


should get involved in doing this at some level or other. It is not just


about building hydro schemes or wind schemes or anything else, it is


about taking charge of your own destiny. Without a single doubt, the


biggest difficulty that we have faced has been politics. The


politics of renewable energies. It takes about four years from, this


looks like a nice stream, being billed as a hydro scheme. In that


time we could have seven or eight major policy changes. There is


definitely a conflict now on this issue. The valley is one of our


members and they are heavily involved. They have been successful


in installing schemes. The scheme is owned by local people. How are you


doing? Very well. Come this way. Why do you think it is that Wales has


not taken this opportunity when somewhere like Scotland, which has


been under the same Westminster regime, has managed to pull off the


schemes. Scotland recognised the opportunity and in Wales we did not


recognise that and Scotland set targets for local ownership of


energy which led to more practical support from local authorities. What


is the potential if more communities did what we have done? There is huge


potential for communities in Wales. We have got the resources, we have


got dedicated people who want to see this happen. The people involved


have recognised the opportunity that is there but also selling energy to


local consumers directly from local projects is the key thing because


that really does benefit all the people in Wales because everyone in


Wales has the opportunity to buy energy cheaper from a local source


which is renewable and we can start to address some of the issues around


fuel poverty as well. We really need to make that transition now and that


should be in the next Welsh government Parliament.


I'm joined now by Grenville Ham from the Green Party


We see that project there about how cost effective is something like


that? Typically they would pay back their loans in eight or nine years.


In terms of how much energy it produces? 50 or 60 homes here and.


20%. Is this what we want across Wales that we all buy energy locally


which are back at the moment it is not being bought locally, it is


still being bought from the big energy companies. We are hoping in


long-term we could buy from local suppliers. In terms of backing


projects like this your Government is blowing hot and cold. Your Green


credentials are all over the place. I do not think they are. There has


been significant change since the general election and there are some


things I disagree with. Community energy schemes, the Government has


made an error in terms of ending the predetermination scheme and I want


the secretary of state to look at that and reintroduce that. It is not


just the amount of energy produced. Involving people in producing energy


and reducing the carbon impact. It is the message it sends out as well


as the energy it creates. We remember David Cameron, adopting the


Green oak tree. It was a fat, not a genuine commitment. It was a


specific issue. There was a lot of inevitability about what would


happen. I have been warning about what would happen over the last two


years. It was not a surprise, most of the changes, but I did not think


that removing the certainty that enables community regeneration


schemes to go forward because it takes such a long time to bring to


fruition, that is one relatively small aspect that I disagreed with.


Generally I would be supportive of the position the Government has


taken. In terms of dealing with Government on all sorts of levels,


licensing, crit capacity, planning issues, to get a scheme like this


the globe is complicated. It is actually relatively simple. It is


just that the process is congregated. If you start on a


project like this your revenue could have decreased by 70% by the time it


is completed. That has made it difficult to even raise finance for


a scheme now. A big criticism of renewable energy is dependability


and consistency, especially of wind power. Hydroelectric, that is the


issue, is at a constant stream of energy? It is not. Under the


licenses you could not work but what we do much nicely as when domestic


and energy needs are at their highest in winter, Hydro


historically always works well within the British climate. Would


you welcome a Wales where everybody buys their power locally and


community projects like this take hold? I do but to take a community


scheme forward is more difficult than a commercial scheme because


that company has got back up. It can risk a loss whereas a community


scheme cannot. That is why on the point of approving a price that will


be known to be available in three or four years' time was an important


encouragement to community regeneration schemes and I hope it


goes forward. Do you not acknowledge that politics does get in the way?


Yes, politics get in the way of everything. Everything has to be


done in a political context. You do your best to try to stop politics


getting in the way as far as you possibly can. That is what I do.


Thank you. If you'd like to get


in touch with us, email us at [email protected],


or follow us on social media.


On The Wales Report with Bethan Rhys Roberts: the date is set, but what will the EU referendum mean for Wales? In the third of the programme's interviews with the main party leaders in Wales, we hear from Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood.

And what are the challenges facing community energy projects in Wales?

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