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BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: PLAID CYMRU LEADER IEUAN WYN JONES, 3RD MAY, 2001
Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.
DAVID FROST: Now the last week of the election so without further ado let's talk to the leader of Plaid Cymru, Ieuan Wyn Jones. Ieuan, welcome back.
IEUAN WYN JONES: Thank you very much David.
DAVID FROST: Now you've been quoted as talking about your party's unprecedented strength and a serious threat to Labour, but that was referring more to Assembly voting in Wales, wasn't it? Westminster's rather different, you won't do as well there, will you?
IEUAN WYN JONES: Well obviously the Westminster election is a different election but what we're looking to do, obviously, is to increase substantially on the vote that we achieved at the last Westminster election in 1997 and I think that all the opinion polling that's happened since then and our canvassing returns show that we will return to Westminster with more Plaid Cymru MPs and we'll have a substantially increased share of the votes and that's the message I've been getting during the last few days.
DAVID FROST: But what, apart from prestige, pr and so on, and not proportional representation but public relations, apart from those things, does it really matter any more - Westminster?
IEUAN WYN JONES: Yes it does and it matters very much because all the important decisions about legislation affecting Wales' law-making or the economy, particularly the money that comes to the Welsh Assembly and all other matters, international obligations and we have many things to say about that, all those are dealt with at Westminster and it's vitally important that we have more Plaid Cymru MPs there to argue the case for Wales and, if I may say so, for other parts of the United Kingdom who have suffered under four years of, of a Labour government. In other words those that believe in progressive policies on the economic and social agenda.
DAVID FROST: Now sometimes you've said and members of your party have said that you're not in favour of total independence for Wales but Wales playing a strong role in a decentralised Europe, what's the difference exactly?
IEUAN WYN JONES: Well let me make it clear that we do have long-term aspirations for the future of Wales and we say that Wales should have full national status within the European Union. But what people will want to know in this election is what is in our manifesto and what we've said is that we want Wales to have the same powers as the Scottish Parliament, law-making and tax-varying powers which would enable us to do things that they have been able to do in Scotland on tuition fees, long-term care for the elderly and that sort of thing. In other words that the National Assembly should have strong powers so they can begin to tackle the economic and social problems affecting our country.
DAVID FROST: You've said you want fairer taxation and your definition of fairer taxation includes 50,000 plus a hike in the rates of that level, yes?
IEUAN WYN JONES: Yes it does, in other words we believe that income tax is the fairest tax and what we have seen under Conservative governments and particularly under the Labour government, that the lowest 20 per cent of, of incomes, a substantial proportion of that is taken in income tax, 38 per cent, whereas the top 20 per cent only pay 35 per cent of their income in income tax. We want a much fairer system so that people pay more according to their incomes for our public services, not the sort of taxes through the back-door which Labour have introduced during the last four years.
DAVID FROST: And what about foot and mouth, we talked about that last time you were with us, how bad has it been, has it turned out to be for the tourist industry in Wales, there was one report that, in fact that the tourist industry and the tourist board had requested, appealed to the Assembly for a £10 million disaster recovery fund, how bad is it?
IEUAN WYN JONES: I very much support that because what we must now do is to market Welsh tourism, tourism in Wales substantially between now and the end of the year so that we actually do not turn this year, do not see a major disaster in that industry. What we want therefore is investment in it but I am pleased to say that the restrictions on foot and mouth are easing, last time of course I was mentioning, particularly Anglesey, my own constituency, I'm very pleased to say that the restrictions have now been lifted, we are turning the corner, I'm looking forward much more optimistically than when I last spoke to you.
DAVID FROST: Well that's good news and finally one other question that's of vital interest to the people of Wales, how on earth did Ryan Giggs manage to miss that goal yesterday?
IEUAN WYN JONES: Well I'm afraid that I was out canvassing yesterday and I saw some very disappointed faces as I was knocking on the door, not that they wanted to support my party but they were pretty disappointed at that miss, I haven't even seen a replay yet, unfortunately.
DAVID FROST: Well everyone's going for victory next Thursday, thank you very much for joining us Ieuan.
IEUAN WYN JONES: Thank you David.
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