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Leanne Wood offers Plaid conference 'better politics'

Category: Wales

Published: 23rd Mar 2012 06:52:15

Leanne Wood will offer "better politics and a better Wales" when she delivers her first big speech as Plaid Cymru leader on Friday.

A week into the job, she will tell Plaid's spring conference Wales must not accept poverty as "inevitable".

"We are done with simply surviving and with just muddling through," she will say.

Speaking to reporters on the eve of the conference, Ms Wood said she wanted to introduce herself to voters.

Ms Wood beat leadership rivals Elin Jones and Lord Elis-Thomas in what her supporters said was a decisive victory last week.

She is the ninth Plaid leader and the first female leader in the party's 87-year history.

She takes over from Ieuan Wyn Jones who announced he was standing down after Plaid was beaten into third place behind Labour and the Conservatives at last year's assembly elections.

We are finished with putting up with things as they are because that's how it has always been”

Her first conference speech will attempt to build on her campaign slogan of "real independence" for Wales with three "giant goals": build a green economy, invest in Wales' knowledge base and create infrastructure that is fit for the 21st century.

Briefing journalists beforehand, she pointed to recent figures suggesting the economy in poorer parts of Wales has fallen further behind the European average.

Wealth had not been spread throughout the UK because Wales was "tied to a bigger economy that works against our interests because it focuses on the centre".

She said she "rejected the notion that we cannot do anything for ourselves".

"We need determination and a political will and a plan to turn the situation around," she said.

Her speech will call for devolution to be taken further, with tax powers for the Welsh government - something being examined by a UK government commission - so it can "reward companies that invest in the sectors of the future".

Speaking at the Ffos Las racecourse in Carmarthenshire on Friday, she will call for "optimism, not despair".

"If we can do that, not only will we see a better politics, but we will also see a better Wales."

She will add: "We will not accept that our poverty is inevitable. We will not accept what our opposition says: that this nation cannot be successful.

"We will believe in the ability of our businesses to thrive and in our families to prosper.

"In fact we are finished with putting up with things as they are because that's how it has always been.

"We are done with simply surviving and with just muddling through. We want our people to soar."

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