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Liberal Democrats’ plans for a green sustainable economy – Clegg and Williams

2010 Ebrill 19 11:06 AM

The Liberal Democrats have today set out radical plans to create jobs that last by stimulating a green, sustainable economy.

The plans target £3.1bn of public spending that can be stopped and the money used to create jobs and protect the environment.

In the first year of a Liberal Democrat government in Westminster, increased spend on jobs and infrastructure package will see the Welsh budget increase by over £125 million. This money would be directed into a one-off jobs package helping to deliver a fair, green economy.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said:

Labour has let people down, in Wales and across Britain. Over a decade of mismanagement of the economy has left too many families struggling. Labour simply can't be trusted with another four years of our economy.

The Liberal Democrats will begin our term in office with a one-year job creation and green economic stimulus plan.

We have identified £3.1bn of public spending that can be stopped and the money used to create jobs and protect the environment.

All parts of the UK will benefit from our stimulus plan through the devolved settlement. Wales' budget will increase by over £125 million and we believe that this money should be used to boost the struggling Welsh economy.

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:

We need a new sort of economy in Wales, an economy that is different from the old and an economy that is financially and environmentally sustainable.

We plan to invest £125 million, which will be offered to Wales in the first year of a Liberal Democrat government, in creating jobs though investing in insulation and bringing empty homes back into use. We'd also build a sustainable economy by investing money in disused industrial sites and ensuring our schools are energy efficient.

We have credible and costed plans to get Wales out of this economic hole and ensure that it is protected from future economic downturns.

A hundred years ago, the Welsh economy was a powerhouse of the world. After decades of Labour and Conservative policies, Wales is at the bottom of all the wrong league tables. We want to see Wales at the forefront of a green and sustainable economy.

Notes: Our green stimulus plan will create hundreds of jobs. We would argue that this money be spent as follows:

  • Deliver a wide-ranging plan to make our homes green by: a) Expanding the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme in Wales to ensure that it helps deliver money-saving environmental changes to houses needed to make sure people can keep warm. We will also refocus the Scheme to ensure that it helps people who are suffering from fuel poverty. (£20 million) b) Delivering an 'Eco Cash Back' scheme, for one year only, which will give you up to £400 if you make eco-friendly improvements to your home. Through Westminster, we will ensure that if you choose micro-generation, you will be able to sell the energy back to the National Grid at a profit, with a more attractive feed-in tariff. (£15 million)
  • Fund a one-off expansion of the Social Housing Grant to ensure that more and more homes are brought back into use. We will offer grants or loans to encourage homes that are currently empty to be brought back into use grants for social housing, loans for private use. We will reform the process to ensure that Empty Dwelling Management Orders are easier to obtain. (£50 million)
  • Release money for developing of sites across Wales for green industries, particularly renovation of disused industrial sites and ports. We will offer one-off capital investment grants for companies working in the green sector. (£12 million)
  • Give a one-off boost to the Schools Modernisation Fund, ensuring that it is prioritised towards the oldest and most draughty schools. (£12 million)
  • Investing £3 million in a bus scrappage scheme that helps bus companies to replace old polluting buses with new low-carbon ones and creates jobs. (£2 million)
  • Distributing an additional £15 million pounds to FE colleges in order to alleviate immediate pressures on funding. We would work with colleges to use this money to increase access to skills learning for young people. (£15 million)

Wales will benefit from its fair share of nearly a million opportunities for young people affected by the recession. A work placement scheme with up to 800,000 places will ensure young people get the opportunity to gain skills, qualifications and work experience even if they can't find a job. Young people on the scheme would be paid £55 a week for up to three months

There is also money built in for a contingency fund in case of overdemand.