Conservatives say plan won’t lose Wales funding

Home UK News Conservatives say plan won’t lose Wales funding
Conservatives say plan won’t lose Wales funding

Welsh Secretary David TC Davies has denied that Wales will lose out on funding from Conservative plans for mandatory national service.

Tories said they would introduce 12 months of national service for18-year-olds if they win the election.

Mr Davies told BBC Politics Wales it would be funded with £1.5bn from “winding up of the Shared Prosperity Fund“, the scheme brought in by the UK government to redistribute funds around the country after Brexit and “closing tax loopholes”.

Asked whether Wales will lose out due to the end of the scheme, Mr Davies said: “I don’t think the young people of Wales will see it that way.”

Eighteen-year-olds would be able to apply for one of 30,000 full-time military placements or volunteering one weekend a month, carrying out a community service.

Conservatives said it would help ensure young people who were not employed, in education or training, or at risk of getting involved with crime, would be diverted away from “lives of unemployment and crime”.

Labour called it has “another desperate £2.5bn unfunded commitment from a Tory party which already crashed the economy, sending mortgages rocketing, and now they’re spoiling for more”.

Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville-Roberts said: “The Tories’ offer to young people in this election is to scrap investment in their futures and force them to join the army. It is not only desperate but utterly bonkers.”

Liberal Democrats accused the Conservatives of cutting troop numbers and said if they were serious about defence, “they would reverse their damaging cuts to our world class professional armed forces, instead of decimating them, with swingeing cuts to the number of our regular service personnel”.

Mr Davies went on to defend the Conservatives’ 14-year record in government.

He said: “We came through a difficult period with Covid, and then with the war in Ukraine.

“We spent £100bn making sure the businesses stayed open and individuals were looked after and we managed to bring down the inevitable inflation very quickly to around 2%.”

He attacked Labour for its running of health and education in Wales.

But Labour shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens said: “There is a reason why the Conservatives are so negative about Wales – it’s because they can’t run on their own record because it’s such an appalling record.”

She said: “What matters to people in this election is about getting change, about getting economic stability.

“That is why we have set out six steps about bringing economic stability so that people can keep mortgage interest rates down.”

Ms Saville-Roberts said Plaid will be the voice for Wales, and people “want change”.

“They look at the Tories, they look at Labour.

“That is why it is so important to make sure that the voice of a party like Plaid Cymru can talk for our constituencies concentrating on Wales.”

She also called on Plaid Cymru to be included in Welsh-specific debates during the election campaign.

Liberal Democrat councillor Rodney Berman said: “There is a recognition that we have something valid to say that we offer, perhaps a more sensible alternative, and people are turning to us more.”

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