Heading towards the polls on June 8th, what are the main issues facing the Welsh economy? Huw Edwards and a panel of politicians discuss.
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Just over three weeks to go until the election of 2017,
and we're talking about that vital matter -
the state of the Welsh economy.
In the second of our special election programmes,
we'll be hearing from five parties and finding out what they have to
offer you as polling day approaches.
So stay with us for the Wales Report.
A very good evening.
Welcome to a special election edition of the Wales Report.
So just over three weeks to go until election day on June 8th.
This week sees the launch of some party manifestos,
for the policies and commitments to try to make the Welsh economy
prosper over the next five years.
All the parties will be making a range of policy promises but just
how effective will they be?
And how will they pay for them?
Don't forget, you can tell us what you think by getting
in touch on social media.
The hashtag is.
And if you would like to be in the audience for a live leaders'
debate taking place at the end of May, well get in touch.
The e-mail is.
Now before I introduce the guests who will be joining me this evening
let's hear from some Welsh voters.
We've been to Pontypridd to ask for views there
on the state of the economy.
You are stuck with the same pay.
Obviously the minimum wage is going up, but you don't know
what's going to happen really in the future.
Because you can see poverty at the moment,
it's just a dying town.
I used to work there and that's gone, nothing.
So it's a bit of a shame.
You see all the valleys and all the towns, just
going down and down.
I feel the country's doing OK.
I am a little bit concerned about coming out of Europe.
But, you know, got to be optimistic.
I think over the next 12 months I think things
are going to get tough.
To be honest with this Brexit and everything,
it's the youngsters I worry about.
My grandchildren, that's what I am more concerned about than myself.
You have all these politicians coming at you in all directions,
this, that, the other.
Where is all this money coming from?
You know, marvellous ideas, but where is the money coming from,
really coming from?
Tell the truth.
Is there money, is there not any money?
That's all you want.
Can they do this, can't they do that?
I think people that earn more money should pay more tax.
I worked all my life and to be honest I wonder sometimes why
they say they haven't got money for this or that.
Yet we paid into it for over 40 years.
And it's a funny thing, they seem to find money for certain
things and yet they tell us they can't find money
for other things, things that I think are more important.
I think everybody like myself, if you are working you are
paying sufficient tax.
Maybe they should look for cutting in other areas.
I mean, we are taxed anyway, I am taxed quite heavy
because I am pensionable.
So no, I think it should be cut back from other areas where they're over
spending on other things.
I am not in agreement with higher taxes.
I think that we've gone too much into a nanny state, if you like,
it's like as if the Government is responsible for everything
and I think that we need to be accountable for our own
lives, as well.
We have our deficit to pay off, and personally for the future
of my children, etc, I am concerned.
If it was my finances in my household, I would be looking
at the amount we're actually borrowing and that's going up
and I would be thinking we need to do something about that.
I am going to be honest, it always seems they make promises
when it's due for an election and then after they tell
you that they haven't got the money to do it.
You know, I don't see why they tell you that in the first place,
why don't they tell you the truth and say things are going to be
tough and I think people would accept it a lot more.
And to be told one thing and then in a couple of months tell
you they can't do it.
I don't even know who I want to be for to be truthful, to me
they're all the same.
Well, our thanks to the people of Pontypridd for sharing
their views with us.
Now we asked each of the main parties in Wales to put forward
a spokesperson for this programme.
I am pleased to say that joining us tonight for the Liberal Democrats
is Baroness Jenny Randerson.
Nick Ramsay from the Conservative Party.
For Labour, we have Wayne David.
For Ukip, we have Gareth Bennett.
And for Plaid Cymru, we have Adam Price and it's
good to see you all.
Thank you very much.
We are looking ahead to a good invigorating exchange of views.
Last week, with some colleagues of yours,
we talked a lot about Brexit and the potential impact on Wales.
I know that today's a busy day, some manifestos have
been launched, as well.
So we will pick up on some of that.
Today's about the economy and priorities for the economy.
Lots of things for us to discuss within that context.
What I want to do first of all, so that viewers have a good idea
of where you're coming from is to give each
of you a chance, just a few sentences, outlining your big
priority where the economy is concerned.
Well, the first priority is to ensure that this economy
here in Wales works for small businesses and allows
small businesses to be established and flourish.
Therefore, we have announced that we will be introducing
an allowance for people establishing small businesses.
?100 a week for six months, so that they can pay their basic
living expenses whilst they set up their businesses.
Now that should stimulate the small business community.
There are a number of other things to assist them.
In addition, the thing that Wales is crying out
for is better infrastructure, better rail and road connections.
Therefore, we have a large package, ?100 billion for the UK as a whole,
of which the due proportion will come to Wales in order
to improve our infrastructure, make it easier for people to get
to and from home and work.
We may talk what the due proportion is in a while, Jenny, thank you.
On June 8th there is going to be a very simple choice put before
the people of Wales and the people of the United Kingdom and that's
going to be between carrying on with the solid and sound economic
fiscal policies of the Conservatives that have been pursued over the last
few years or throwing all that away and going down the Jeremy Corbyn
tax, borrow and spend.
So what's your economic priority?
Our economic priority will be to make sure we carry on with that
sound fiscal management.
Yes, we still are borrowing but we are borrowing
at a level that's reasonable.
We do not want to see taxes go up in a way that would hinder
the economy and hinder investment and projects like the City Deal
in Wales, those must go forward, rail infrastructure,
as Baroness Randerson said.
Things like electrification of the main line.
These are policies we really want to see.
Over the last few years, as the people of Pontypridd have
indicated, we've seen a country and economy run for the benefit
of a small minority of people, the very rich and powerful.
What we need in this country, in Britain as a whole,
is an economic strategy which is for the many, not the few.
That means intervene in the economy, mobilising people's expertise,
their enthusiasm and creating a new kind of country
here but also it's very important that we recognise that
there is only one part of the United Kingdom which has
a Labour Government at the moment, and that is here in Wales.
That's why it's very important for us to promote
what the Welsh Labour Government is doing and also the work
of its leader, in particular Carwyn Jones, and how
a Labour Government in London might enhance that work,
might make it more effective still.
We understand the campaign talk but I am wondering, give me
a specific economic priority.
What is it?
What you want to do is achieve growth in this country
and if we have much more growth then it's important, I think,
to redistribute the wealth fairly so that everybody has a stake
in our country.
OK, thank you, Wayne.
I think it was interesting in the voxpop in Pontypridd,
the first lady was remarking that wages had remained stagnant for many
years and that's a big issue and we need to tackle that,
but we also need to look at how small firms prosper, as Jenny said,
because they are the backbone of the economy.
I think one of the themes in coming here, I know you don't want to talk
about Brexit overmuch, but one of the coming themes
with Brexit may be striking the right balance between removing
regulation to allow small businesses to flourish,
whilst at the same time protecting a certain level of workers'
rights, that would be country of the key things.
whilst at the same time protecting a certain level of workers' rights,
that would be one of the key things.
Thank you very much, Adam.
From my entire lifetime we have seen the economic gap between Wales
and the rest of the United Kingdom get bigger and bigger,
we have to reverse that decline.
It's completely unacceptable that we see the extent of the economic...
How do we do that?
We need the biggest programme of investment that we've ever seen
in our lifetime in Wales, a Marshall Plan, if you like,
for the Welsh economy, a new Welsh deal.
We have been at the end of the queue in terms of investment for too long.
We need to reverse that and we also need to use
the opportunities that will be there post-Brexit, as well.
Tax levers, for example, that we wouldn't have been
allowed to use while we're within the European Union.
We could have a variable rate of VAT to help our tourism sector
or to help our construction sector.
Lower rates for corporation tax for those parts of the UK,
like Wales, that deserve a competitive advantage so we can
attract business here and also help those that are already here to grow.
Thank you very much.
You have raised lots of issues.
It will be a miracle if we fit all of those in our programme.
I am going to start with one of the biggest ticket issues,
if you like, the biggest spending issues we have by far,
which is the health service.
And clearly, we're going to have to explain as the programme goes
on there are issues, of course, which are devolved
in terms of the UK.
There are issues Westminster is no longer responsible for in Wales
and I'm expecting you as well to be upfront about that when you talk
about the policies that are maybe less relevant or more
relevant to Wales.
Let's talk about health.
Jeremy Corbyn talking about an extra ?7.5 billion
a year over five years, Wayne, for the health
service in England.
That's a very ambitious sum, talking about ?35 billion, at least.
What would happen then, would there then be a complete
imbalance in terms of the investment levels in England and in Wales?
The first point I'd make is that we are in a situation
already where there is a contrast between the health service in Wales
and the health service in England.
I would argue that there are many things being done in Wales
which are very positive, compared to the privatisation, for
example, we see apace in England.
But the important thing to remember, I think, when we talk
about resources is that most of the resources are coming
into Wales, come from the bloc grant and what we will see under
the Barnett Formula, which will be modified, we hope,
but nevertheless it will be consequentials so Wales
will get a share of that money which is decided
by a British Government and we put it to good effect,
as I believe Welsh Labour has been putting it to good effect already.
I am going to ask each of you about health and then maybe
ask about how it's paid for because clearly if it's
a ticket that's costing, I don't know, ?37 billion,
there are issues there about how the money is raised.
Nick, your thoughts here.
Well, it's a shame that the Welsh Labour Government didn't protect
the health budget at the time that the UK Government
did and the previous coalition Government did,
otherwise we wouldn't be playing catch-up.
I listened carefully to what Wayne said.
Of course everyone will welcome more investment in the NHS
but it's vitally important that the Welsh Government
passes that on here.
Now I haven't heard a guarantee from them yet that they would.
They certainly haven't over recent years.
That has to be paid for, that 6-7 billion.
How is it going to be paid for?
There is currently a ?30 billion gap in Labour's spending plans.
So, the electorate need to ask the Labour Party very carefully
is this really going to happen?
Is there going to be an investment and will it be passed on in Wales?
The Conservative commitment, when I last looked, was an extra
?10 billion into the NHS.
This commitment is more like ?37 billion, so already we're
looking at quite a big gulf between the two commitments.
Are you saying that the ?37 billion makes sense?
No, it doesn't make sense because if you look
at the commitment to tuition fees Jeremy Corbyn has made,
if you look at the commitment to the NHS, across the board,
these add up to a huge sum of money.
Now, you know, we'd all like to live in a land where Father Christmas
would come along and give us all presents at Christmas and it
wouldn't have to be paid for but at the end
of the day this does have to be paid for so we need
to have investment in our public services.
We need to have investment in the NHS.
But the electorate are real, they know that you can only do that
gradually and you can only do that with the resources you have.
It's a question of priorities, Adam, isn't it?
It has to be a priority when we look at the pressures in terms
of an ageing society.
Then we can see, even within Wales, we should be by no means complacent.
Look at the GP crisis that we have hitting many
communities at the moment, the inability to recruit
and retain in some cases, that sort of absolutely vital
primary tier of care in a community and I think
that the Welsh Government doesn't have a good story on this.
What we have said is we need, as a matter of urgency,
to have a costed detailed plan to recruit 1,000 extra doctors
and 5,000 extra nurses, otherwise we won't be able to even
keep up with the extent of pressure that we are seeing
in our communities.
What's your estimate to what that would cost?
I mean, we have said it's about ?120 million on the doctors
but you could save money, Huw.
We pay ?100 million a year through agency fees at the moment
because we don't have the salaried staff within the health service.
Jenny, what are your thoughts on this?
Well, we've announced that we will put a penny on income
tax specifically for the NHS.
That would mean ?350 million a year coming in addition to Wales
from that alone and our view is that we have to concentrate,
not just on the health service but also on mental health
facilities, give it parity with physical health problems.
Most important of all, in terms of that additional money,
is the link between, the interface between NHS and social
care because there are far too many people sitting,
lying in beds in hospitals, who actually could go home.
They want to go home.
They want the social care, but that link isn't there.
That is increasingly a very important issue which maybe people
have been rather slow to latch on to in recent years.
You brought the tax up, the tax issue up and I think it's
a good moment for us to jsut talk about that because the Lib Dems
are openingly going into a campaign saying -
we think there should be more money on health,
we're going to put a penny on income tax.
Very quickly, are you finding that that's a popular
policy on the doorsteps?
Yes, we are because people, first of all, admire us -
picking up the theme from the film earlier on - people
admire us for the fact that we are being upfront.
They put the NHS absolutely at their top of list of priorities
and they realise that it's under huge pressure anyway.
That Brexit will mean we have fewer EU doctors and nurses,
4,000 of them are in Wales at the moment, many
of them would leave.
That would be a huge crisis.
So that's people realising there's a crisis and they admire us
for the fact that we have been absolutely upfront.
Jenny, you have a Lib Dem in Government in Wales,
you could put that tax rate up in Wales now.
So why don't you do it?
If you want to actually use a hypothecated 1p on the basic rate
to actually help the NHS, why don't you do it in the only
part of the UK where you're in Government?
Is that Plaid Cymru's policy as well?
I think we should explore these ideas.
So it's not your policy?
We have a parliamentary inquiry into this whole question of how
we build a long-term future.
It's an election, Adam, you've got a manifesto, so why
aren't you putting that forward?
We certainly support - I think that we have to address
the basic inequality in our society before we talk about raising
the basic rate of income tax.
You can't put tax up at a time when people are facing pressure.
You've got to do - That is part of the debate, isn't it?
Wayne, you're in a position where your party again is being,
you know, very open about this.
Reintroducing a 50p top rate for very high earners,
shifting maybe that threshold for the 45p rate.
So you're going into this campaign actually proposing much higher tax
increases than Jenny?
The important thing I would emphasise, right
at the start of this discussion, is that Britain is an
extremely unequal society.
We have the richest society, one of the richest in the world,
but the wealth is held by a small minority.
One of the (inaudible) over the last few years is that the rich have
been getting richer.
What we propose is, yes, taxation for people earning ?80,000
and above, but no taxation for the rest of the people.
What we want to see is those resources going, above all else,
into the National Health Service, and that is absolutely crucial.
It's those people in those higher incomes who invest in the economy.
When will the Labour Party learn that if you take too much money out
of those salaries at the top end, then there is less
investment to go around?
But, there's massive discrepancies in this country
and they're getting ever wider.
We cannot live in that kind of unequality society.
Society's breaking apart because of those extremes
and what we have to do is create a more equal society, with equality
of opportunity being at the top.
OK, Gareth, what's your perspective on this?
So we have a penny on the basic rate that Jenny's talking about.
We have a very different policy actually from Labour,
which is to do with reintrodeucing a 50p top rate and changing
the threshold for the 45.
Well, I think with taxation - before I go on to Ukip -
I think we need to look carefully at what the eventualal tax take
is going to be because there has been a lot of research into this
over the years.
We've had Labour governments in the past which have had high tax
rates, there is a point at which the actual revenue goes
down because at some point, the people who are affected by those
high tax rates take more action, in terms of tax avoidance or simply
shifting their money to another country and we are in a very
mobile, global economy now where people can do that.
So I think the voters would have to be very wary of thinking
about electing a high tax Labour government.
Is the tax take ultimately going to go up overall with those
plans or would it actually go down, that is a possibility?
That's an argument that, you know, we're familiar with.
I'm wondering, so Ukip's position on this is -
if you're going to fund very big investment, for example
in the health service, what is your tax policy behind that,
how do you fund it?
Well, the funding for the health service can come through
a variety of sources.
Adam mentioned the waste of money on agency staff and connecting
that to what Jenny said about the potential loss
of doctors and nurses who are from abroad,
ultimately, we need to train more of our own doctors and nurses to cut
down on the waste of agency staff.
So we need to look more at vocational training in those areas.
There is also the issue of the foreign aid budget.
Why are we giving such large amounts of money in foreign aid
when we are massively in debt as a country.
Surely that money should be redirected into areas
like the health service.
There is also potentially an ?8 billion per year Brexit dividend.
That is the net contribution we make to the EU budget,
some of that could be channelled into the health budget.
Going back to what Wayne referred to as the privatisation
of the health service in England, I'm not sure exactly
what area he's referring to with the term "privatisation",
but it was Gordon Brown, when when was running the Treasury
for the Labour Government, who brought in PFI's.
So that, to some people, is part privatisation
of the health service.
The health service is still burdened with massive debts
because of those PFI agreements.
Just to be clear - sorry, I'll just clear this up
and then I'll come - is Ukip going into this election
saying that it will cut taxes or put them up?
Not just to do with the health service but, basically,
broadly in terms of Government spending programmes.
What's the Ukip policy here on tax?
The Ukip policy on tax?
Well, I'm sorry to sound rather biennial, but you would have
to wait for the manifesto, but I would say there has
been attention in Ukip - as in all political parties -
between the different view points.
Traditionally, Ukip is more of a libertarian party,
kind of economically on the right.
So I would say the idea of bringing in higher tax rates probably
would go against the Ukip ethos.
I perfectly understand the manifesto point
which you made very reasonably.
However, you've given us a hint actually, Gareth,
but why don't you just underline your view on it?
If you were in charge of the policy then, going into this manifesto,
what would be your guidance?
Well, I'm not somebody who mixes with billionaires on yachts
and things like that, as people like Peter Mandelson
in the Labour Party did.
What's that got to do with your tax policy?
I will connect it, Huw.
Possibly, I'll think about giving - No.
Some guidance, where are you coming from on tax?
Well, if it was proven - well, you can't prove these things.
If you have strong impirical evidence that if you raise these tax
bands it would give us a better tax take and we could then
divert that into the areas like the health service,
I would be all in favour of it, but I'm very sceptical.
But a penny on income tax, we all know the basic
rate, Gareth, there's no debate about this.
That'll yield you at least ?4 billion.
We know that'll happen.
That would therefore be worth considering.
That would be worthy of consideration.
Your thoughts on that, Nick?
It goes back to my earlier comments that there's a very clear choice
for the British people on the 8th June, and the Welsh
people on the 8th June, between the Welsh Conservatives
and all the other parties.
My party's manifesto hasn't been published yet,
but I can quite categorically say that we do not intend to raise
taxes on higher rate earners or medium earners.
Clearly, the implication of that is, you'll have less money
to invest in the health service, for example?
Well, over time, of course, as the deficit comes down,
then we have more money anyway.
But what you can't do - I mean, this idea that you can lower
the threshold of the 45p rate down to...
40p down to 80,000 and not have an effect on the economy,
that would be highly detrimental.
At the end of the day, there will not be enough
money to pay for that.
If Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party have their way,
then ultimately the tax burden will fall on the lower
rates as well.
It always has in the past under Labour and it would again.
I'll come to Wayne.
Well, Wales is the poorest part of the UK and in Wales, from the EU,
we have benefitted to the tune of well over ?600
per person, per year.
That money's been invested in our young people.
It's been invested in infrastructure.
In 17,000 jobs created, for example.
Now, you know, I want to pick Gareth up on the bonanza
that is going to come when we leave the EU.
In your dreams, Gareth.
You know, that money is going to be sorely missed in Wales and I have
absolutely no confidence that a Conservative-run UK Government
will be replacing that money.
Before you bring either the Conservatives or Ukip in here,
let's remember actually what we were promised.
?680 million a year that Wales currently gets from the EU.
We were told that we wouldn't lose a penny on that and of course,
remember the famous bus, the ?350 million a week in Wales,
that's another ?17 million a week.
Put the two together, that's ?30 million a week
that we were promised as a result of leaving the European Union.
Where is the money?
Where is the promises in either of your two manifestos?
?30 million a week.
I mean, that's building a new District General Hospital
for Wales every month etc.
Where is the investment?
Adam, there's no point re-running the arguments
of the referendum a year ago.
The people have spoken, the choice has been made.
We've a very simple principle in a democracy, OK -
promises made to the people should not be broken.
You know, if you do that, if you allow that to happen,
then we lose all basis of trust in our democratic system.
Make your point, Wayne, then I'll come to you.
This election is about choice, it's between whether or not
you have a Labour Government or a Conservative Government.
The important thing to stress is that the emphasis
is very, very clear.
As far as the Conservatives are concerned, they want business
as usual, a continuation of what we've had in the past.
The rich getting richer.
The National Health Service being starved of resources.
If you want to see a fairer society and the NHS being developed
on the basis of an Aneurin Bevan, then people in Wales
have to vote Labour.
That's the clear choice.
...Frankly are irrelevant.
It's a clear choice between Welsh Labour
or the Conservatives.
You're making that point very clearly.
I'm just wondering, given that this was said
in the context of European money, so Labour's going into this campaign
saying what about the money that Wales potentially could lose coming
out of the EU, that you'll make it up?
That Wales won't be at a loss at all, is that you're saying?
That's right, yes.
So you're promising Wales ?30 million a week,
as a result of this?
We are maintaining our commitment to ensure that Wales continues
to get the resources from the European Union and,
more over, make sure that those resources are not channelled -
Wayne, I put a figure on it, let's hear your figure?
What is Wales going to get?
I think it's impossible to give a precise figure.
The principle initially was that whatever Wales would lose would be
made up by Westminster, a combination of Westminster
and some other means.
So, is that the commitment?
The money from Europe will be made up whatever it is.
We don't know precisely how much that figure will be because we don't
know the exit arrangements which have yet to be negotiated,
but we will make up the resources which would have been coming
from the European Union and we'll make sure that those resources go
into the areas of need and are not channelled off to relatively
rich parts of Wales, as the Conservatives
would want to do.
Let's get Jenny in.
Well, of course, Labour waved the white flag on leaving the EU
and Brexit many months ago when they decided to
vote along with Ukip and the Conservatives
for Article 50.
I'd love to see this money tree that Jeremy Corbyn
and the Labour Party are going to get their
money from because.
Well, taxes is part of the picture, they've explained that.
But they are tying up massive amounts of money in a big programme
I wanted to come on to that.
Look at the processes for renationalisation.
You buy the shares of the people who own the current
utilities and so on.
You buy the shares off them.
You're opposed to public ownership for lots of these big industries ?
You are therefore giving money to the well off, who own the shares,
which could otherwise be spent on the NHS, on our education
service, on the things that the people in areas
like Pontypridd want to see flourishing.
I'll let Wayne and others answer this.
But surely, Jenny, there'll be people in your party who take
the view as well that, for example, a natural resource
like water shouldn't be in private hands.
I know the picture in Wales, with Dwr Cymru,
is slightly different.
The policy in England with Labour is to do with English
regional water companies, but it's a very, very big policy
with clear implications for other parts of the UK.
So your Lib Dem perspective on that?
A natural resource, like water, should be
in public or private hands?
Well, to be honest, we are not that hung up on the idea
of whether something is in public or private hands as long as it
Even a vital national resource?
Now, we would not have privatised the water industry,
but we are where we are and we are in a situation of crisis
in our economy, a situation where wages are going down,
where money is very short.
So that shouldn't be a priority?
You have to choose what your priorities are.
Wayne, there's a big question on this of course which is,
given that we're going into this UK general election, what is the price
tag attached to privatising these water companies in England
because there doesn't seem to be a lot of detail around
that and it's a very, very big number, isn't it?
It's a very big commitment?
Yes, and I think the fine detail is yet to be worked out.
The principle is established firmly in the manifesto however.
We believe water is such an important resource that it
shouldn't be up to private venture to handle that.
It should be something which belonged to the people,
belongs to the nation.
It didn't bother previous Labour governments?
Well, I think it's important to recognise that we've got
a radical manifesto now and we're impirically learning from what has
happened in the past.
It's very, very important that we have a partnership in this
country between a dynamic private-sector, but also a public
sector which acts on behalf of the country as a whole.
It's not the only project, is it?
I mean you're talking about National Grid, you're talking
about the rail network.
I mean, these are exceptionally ambitious commitments and people
are quite rightly saying, if you're talking about
a fully costed manifesto, you can't go into a manifesto
without properly costed numbers.
They are ambitious.
As far as the electricity industry is concerned,
what is being suggested is not old fashioned nationalisation,
but a new form of public ownership and intervention.
As far as the railways are concerned, it's not been
suggested that on day one or day five or whatever, that
the railways will suddenly come into public hands.
It'll be a gradual thing.
What's been suggested is a gradual programme where the franchises
for different railway companies in different parts of the country
come to an end, then the state will take them over.
We are still waiting for your manifesto, of course.
You have a slight advantage on this one.
I am wondering, from your point of view when you see a policy
like privatising the rail network which by all accounts -
sorry nationalising, taking back into public ownership,
when you see that policy by all accounts is a popular one,
do you have second thoughts about whether you have
got that right?
No, because the situation is, we are where we are,
as Jenny said, and first of all, we have the commitment
to privatising the railways, now the commitment to privatising
- sorry nationalising...
It's you now!
Nationalising railways, water, having some arrangement,
we are not clear yet with the National Grid.
What strikes me, if the Government puts money into all of these areas,
that's money that isn't going into infrastructure
we need to improve.
So gradually, the money tax situation you are proposing
will make the economy worse.
There'll be less money overall and you'll be spending what we do
have on these priorities that are not the priorities
of the public.
It is like return to the 1980s.
It's not the strong and stable leadership we need.
You don't think a publicly owned railway is popular?
No, I think at the moment if you ask the public
where would you like the railways to be, national or private?
You may well in one poll get, oh, well, it would be nice
if it was in the national sector.
If you say to them would you rather have an improved public transport
system, would you rather have an improved infrastructure
and do you really mind at the end of that whether it's privatised
or nationalised, the public will opt for an improved infrastructure.
I remember, you know, when I was an MP and we were both
MPs together in Westminster, you know, your Government then
was arguing totally against these ideas of public ownership
which Plaid Cymru were promoting.
If you actually believe in the public ownership
of the railways, why is your own Government in Wales
actually negotiating with four global private companies?
Why doesn't it say, let's actually reject them,
let's have a public sector, publicly owned rail franchisee.
Why are you negotiating a franchise over 18 years?
There are massive resource implications to that, Adam.
That's nonsense, and you know it's nonsense.
In terms of resources you save money because instead of putting profit
into the pockets of these global companies you actually maintain it
Once again it's an example, isn't it, of the Labour Party
assaying one thing in its British manifesto under Jeremy Corbyn
and doing an entirely different thing here in Wales.
The kind of thing that gives politics a bad name.
The reality, Wales hasn't got the powers to do
what Adam is talking about.
And that's why Labour has...
That's not true.
...arguing for more devolution.
Gareth is listening very carefully.
I am just wondering, on this principle of taking some
of these big industries back into public ownership,
what's your stance on that?
Well, I'm glad that Wayne saw the value of empirical evidence
but perhaps he wasn't being empirical enough
because in the 60s and 70s we had a whole era of
Conservative Governments denationalising things.
Labour governments coming in and renationalising them.
My father worked in the steel industry.
It was nationalised in 1949.
It was privatised in 1953.
It was nationalised again in the late 60s and then
it was privatised again.
The cost of all of this toing and froing must have been absurd.
It's taking resources out of the economy and this argument
was essentially won by Mrs Thatcher in the 80s and it was a done deal
that the nationalised industries didn't work,
they were grossly inefficient.
They didn't respond to customer need and that was why they got scrapped
and why we had a whole era of acceptance, political consent
in the private sector and even the Labour Government only got
in in '97 under Blair with the consent that there
would be privatised...
It has been said by the Conservative Party that Ukip
is a Conservative Party mark II.
I think those comments prove that conclusively.
Isn't it sad that the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru are so busy arguing
these arguments of the past about nationalisation,
privatisation, let's move on.
Let's put the investment in the economy in our public
services because if you carry on like this, we're
going to go nowhere.
Let's talk about the future.
I referenced at the start of the programme the fact
that we have new possibilities, new opportunities as we come out
of the European Union which would be hugely useful in terms of actually
renewing and rebuilding the Welsh economy.
The power to set our own differential rates
for certain sectors in VAT and tourism and construction.
The power to have a variable corporation tax rate
which would give Wales a competitive advantage so we can
actually bring business here and build the ones we have.
Are you going to give us those powers?
The UK Government has given Wales loads of powers.
When Plaid Cymru was in power with the Welsh Government we didn't
see much action then.
Answer the question that's put to you.
Those specific tax levers which would be incredibly useful
are you going to give them to us?
in terms of building up the Welsh economy,
are you going to give them to us?
We're already getting taxation powers next April.
We're already getting income tax.
I am talking about economic powers, business taxation.
You don't want to use the powers you have got.
I tell you what, I am glad you have recognised that Brexit is happening
and there's only one party and one Prime Minister that will deliver
the full benefits of Brexit that the Welsh Government will then
be able to maximise the advantages of and that's Theresa May
and the Conservative Party.
Let's pause for a second.
The viewers will get slightly impatient.
We have a few minutes left.
I want to - you brought up the issue of leadership.
That's a very good area for us I think to bring
this to a conclusion.
The question of leadership.
Theresa May's been accused of being slightly reluctant to meet voters.
Yesterday she certainly met a voter in Abingdon who said what's happened
to welfare benefits?
I am down to ?100 a month with all the welfare changes.
I didn't like it.
I mean, it was quite a memorable encounter simply because we haven't
had many encounters of that kind.
What is Theresa May offering beyond the phrase "strong
and stable" in this campaign?
Theresa May has been out and about since this election kicked
off and before meeting voters across the country.
Not only Conservative voters.
Let Nick answer.
As Huw said, we saw her meeting that voter and answering those issues.
I don't think she was a Conservative voter!
The job of being Prime Minister is incredibly difficult.
This Government and the previous coalition Government had a hell
of a task to accomplish and of course there are people out
there who are going to find that the policies have meant
that there have been reductions in spending which has affected them.
But we have to look beyond that.
We have to look to the long-term and the only way that we can
lift this country up, particularly once we leave
the European Union, the only way we can do that is with -
I will avoid the term strong and stable leadership -
I probably just used it again!
The only way is by sound economic management.
If we can't get the economy right, we can't get anything else right.
Wayne, here's the tough question which is, do you think Jeremy Corbyn
would make a good Prime Minister?
Yes, I do.
I mean, Jeremy and myself have had differences in the past.
You are a master of understatement.
He is not my favourite person.
The important thing is it's about choice.
This is about choice, it's about comparisons and if you compare
what Jeremy Corbyn stands for, compared with Theresa May, there
is no choice at all, in my view.
He is a principled, decent man.
But the important thing here in Wales is that we've got
Carwyn Jones as the leader of Welsh Labour...
You are embarrassed of Jeremy Corbyn, aren't you?
...that's important to include as part of the equation,
it's Welsh Labour and Carwyn Jones is our leader.
What's Carwyn Jones got to do with this election, I thought
it was a Westminster election.
He is nothing to do with this, is he...
Because the policies decided in Westminster,
many of them will be devolved to Wales and it's important
to examine, like for health service, what's going to be done in Wales
with those extra resources.
That's why it's important.
It sounds like you are putting Carwyn Jones out front so that
Corbyn can hide behind him in Wales.
The reality, the most important leader in Wales is Carwyn Jones
and he is heading our campaign.
That's the reality.
Let's talk about Ukip's leadership.
Where's Ukip leadership in your estimation,
your own party leadership?
Well, our party leader is Paul Nuttall and I don't think
that people really think that we are a genuine party
of Government realistically, so we're not talking about putting
Paul Nuttall into Number 10, that would be rather odd if I tried
to make a case for that.
What Ukip has to be is a strong pressure group with parliamentary
representation so that we do hold the Government to account over
Brexit and we do get the kind of Brexit that the Leave voters
voted for, that's where we are with Ukip.
What's the point of people voting for Paul Nuttall if you don't
intend to be in power?
We would love to be in power but we're hardly likely to win
a majority of 650 seats, that would be...
So you could allow Jeremy Corbyn in?
He could allow Jeremy Corbyn in...
Well, we have a first-past-the-post system, so I understand the point
that you are making, it would be dangerous
to vote for anything other than the Tories to let Corbyn in.
I suppose ultimately the electoral...
Both sides of the same coin.
Many critics say you kind of joined forces anyway.
That's the reality.
That's the claim being made.
Adam, leadership, what is Leanne Wood offering in this campaign?
Well, you know, Nick referred to our country,
my country is Wales, you know.
The question I ask - who's going to speak up for us?
You know, Nicola Sturgeon is there for Scotland,
Theresa May may be a strong leader for England, but who
will speak for Wales?
You know, we hear Leanne, standing up there, speaking
in that working-class, authentic Welsh voice,
and I think it's resonating right across the whole of Wales
at the moment.
Because, you know, at the moment, we're invisible.
We're invisible in the political landscape.
We have to plant our Welsh flag on the 8th June and Leanne
is the one to lead us forward.
Well, you say we're invisible but, you know, time and again
it's been said that, given her profile in the last
election campaign, one thing Leanne Wood was, was not invisible.
She's been very prominent and she's maximised her prominence
in that way?
And she emerged out of that election, in opinion polling,
as the most popular leader.
What did that translate into in terms of performance?
But you, as a student of Welsh history, you, Huw,
will know that sometimes the seeds have to be planted and
the fruit will come later.
I think we will see the fruition of what -
But it's important - We'll see the fruition
of her leadership at this election because, you know,
this is the party of the status quo.
This is the -
A vote for Plaid Cymru -
Adam, wait, I'll bring you back in again.
He's trying to shout down other voices.
That time is over, it is now time for Wales to stand up
and make our voice heard.
So by fruition, you say you are going to increase the number
of seats that you have in this election?
I think we will have the best ever record number of Plaid Cymru MPs,
and that's what will make Westminster and Whitehall
sit up and listen.
Not by re-electing Labour, not through a blue wave,
it'll be actually ourselves, voting for our own party
and our own voice.
I'm going to ask Jenny because Jenny hasn't had a go yet.
Right, hang on a sec.
This is a UK election and the Liberal Democrats
are the only UK-wide party which is standing up clearly
on a pro-EU stance saying, we want to remain members
of the single market.
We want the best possible situation for leaving the EU.
And, Tim Farron has run a brilliant campaign, really putting that
absolutely centre stage.
At the moment, whether you vote Conservative or Ukip,
you get the same message, and we're in danger
of a Conservative coronation, of Theresa May's coronation.
What we need is a strong opposition and the Labour Party gave up on that
ages ago when they voted for Brexit.
So, therefore, we are in favour and we are putting ourselves forward
as being that strong opposition, a positive, constructive opposition,
making sure that the future Government really does
the best for Britain.
We are almost out of time, and I know that one or two
of you are itching to come back in.
I'm going to give you each a sentence, which is the last
message you want viewers to take away with them tonight
as they think about this polling day, which is coming up
in three weeks' time.
I'm going to start with Gareth, first of all, on this one.
I think people should seriously consider voting Ukip to hold
the Government to account over Brexit, so that the Government does
deliver the hard Brexit that a lot of people wanted,
particularly with regard to immigration controls.
Nick, your last message.
8th June, there will be a very clear choice put before the Welsh
and the British people, that is between the strong
and stable leadership of Theresa May or the coalition of chaos that
will be provided by Jeremy Corbyn.
It's as simple as that.
It's either continuum with solid economic policies and making sure
that Britain beyond Brexit is solid and strong, or it's a leap
into the dark and a Britain that will be going back to the past
and all the failures that Labour have delivered in the past.
I knew you'd get to "strong and stable" somewhere, Nick,
thank you very much.
We, as a nation, have been forgotten too long.
We've been neglected by successive governments,
Conservative and Labour.
We can change that as a nation on the 8th June if we put our
country first and vote Plaid.
Thank you very much.
The Liberal Democrats are standing on a message of hope.
We want a country that is outgoing.
We want optimism and we want prosperity in the future.
We are the only party standing on a pro-European platform,
that is fighting across the UK and, therefore, can have a real
influence in Government.
This election is a clear choice between the Conservatives
and Welsh Labour.
A vote for the Liberal Democrats or Plaid Cymru make a Conservative
Government more likely.
We know what Conservativism has meant for Wales
over the recent past.
If we don't want the Conservatives walking over Wales then
there's no alternative, people have to vote Welsh Labour.
I'm a bit exhausted after all that.
Thank you all very much for coming in.
We'll see what happens on the 8th June.
A good exchange of views and thank you all for entering
into the spirit of that.
That's all we have time for tonight.
If you'd like to get in touch about anything we've discussed,
or if you'd like to be in the audience of a special live debate
with the Welsh Party leaders, you can email us.
The address is: [email protected]
We're on social media, the hashtag is thewalesreport.
But for now, thank you very much for joining us.
Nos Da i chi.