Election 2015 Wales

Parties clash over Welsh economy at election debate

Political debate Image copyright Matthew Horwood
Image caption Political candidates outlined their policies on a range of issues at the election debate in Llanelli

Political parties have clashed over what they were offering the Welsh economy at an election debate.

Politicians outlined their policies on a range of issues including Severn Bridge tolls, the banking system, tourism, and how Wales is funded.

The debate was hosted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Wales in Llanelli.

The panel was made up of those parties that already elect representatives to Parliament from Wales.

Policy guide: Economy

This issue includes the wider economy and deficit reduction but also employment and the role of business.

Policy guide: Where the parties stand

FSB members were addressed by Conservatives Wales' spokesman Stephen Crabb, Labour Wales' spokesman Owen Smith, the Liberal Democrats Welsh leader Kirsty Williams and Plaid Cymru's leader Leanne Wood.

One of the key issues on debate was Severn Bridge tolls.

Ms Williams said the Lib Dems would have a manifesto commitment to scrap them in 2018 when they come under public ownership.

The tolls were a tax on business, according to Ms Wood, who said she would aim to have them devolved and reduced, and possibly scrapped eventually.

Mr Crabb said they were already cutting VAT and the van rate for 2018 while Mr Smith said he was open to devolving them but they must be reduced.

Janet Jones, chair of the FSB, said: "We keep hearing that small businesses are the backbone of the country and now, before an election, is the time when politicians need to get out and speak to the people that are behind it."

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