Election 2019

General election 2019: Tories promise Wales investments

Boris Johnson Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke at the launch in Telford, Shropshire

Wales would get "major investments" in infrastructure and industry if the Conservative Party wins the general election, its manifesto claims.

The document, launched in Telford, Shropshire, on Sunday, promises to "deliver" on the decision of the Welsh people to leave the European Union.

It says the party is "ambitious" for the Welsh economy and the union.

The 59-page manifesto comes 18 days before the general election.

The manifesto also says if there was a Welsh Conservative government in Cardiff Bay it would deliver an M4 relief road.

Road transport decisions are devolved to Wales' National Assembly, and are not the responsibility of the UK government.

First Minister Mark Drakeford axed the M4 relief road in June because of its cost and impact on the environment.

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Media captionWhat does devolution mean for voters?

The manifesto says the Conservative government worked to bring Ineos Automotive to Bridgend in September, which is expected to create 500 new jobs, and it would "continue to back Welsh car manufacturing".

It also states: "Conservatives are proud of Welsh language and culture.

"We will support Welsh institutions such as S4C, the national library and museum, the Urdd and the National Eisteddfod.

"We will support the ambition for one million people in Wales to be able to speak Welsh by 2050."

Other policies that apply to Wales include:

  • 20,000 more police officers across Wales and England
  • A "triple tax lock", ruling out increases in the UK rate of income tax and National Insurance, as well as VAT, for five years
  • Raising the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 in 2020, with an ambition to raise it further to £12,500
  • Tighter immigration controls

Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the choice facing the UK in this "closely fought" contest had "never been starker".

"Get Brexit done and we can focus our hearts and minds on the priorities of the British people," he added.

Responding to the launch, Plaid Cymru candidate for Dwyfor Meirionnydd Liz Saville Roberts said: "Unsurprisingly Wales is just an afterthought in this manifesto, with a handful of mentions.

"Boris Johnson and the Conservatives care little and know even less about what our nation needs... he wants to force Brexit through despite the fact that it would be disastrous for Wales."

And Welsh Labour's Economy and Transport Minister Ken Skates said: "The Tories have absolutely nothing to be proud about when it comes to transport investment.

"Not only have they starved the Welsh Labour government of funding, they have historically underinvested in Welsh rail infrastructure which is their clear responsibility."

Analysis by BBC Political Correspondent James Williams

Image copyright Fredex8/Getty Images

If you were looking for a long list of sparkling new projects for Wales, then look elsewhere.

The section of the manifesto dedicated to Wales is mostly a list of platitudes ("we are ambitious for the Welsh economy"), previous announcements (West Wales Parkway station), and devolved issues that are not relevant to this election (develop an M4 relief road).

Of course, many of the Tories' UK-wide tax and benefit proposals will have a major impact on people in Wales - the "triple lock" on the state pension; no increases in income tax, National Insurance and VAT; the continued roll-out of Universal Credit.

But Boris Johnson's main election pitch is summed up in just a few lines: "Only the Welsh Conservatives can end the current uncertainty by delivering on the democratic decision of the Welsh people to Leave" the European Union.

Despite the odd tax offer here and recycled pledge there, the prime minister and his team is banking everything on the public seeing this election as being about Brexit above all else.

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