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Page last updated at 12:28 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 13:28 UK

Plaid Cymru manifesto pledge to 'protect vulnerable'

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Plaid Cymru want to see higher pensions paid for by defence cuts

Plaid Cymru has launched its election manifesto with a promise to protect the "vulnerable and front-line services".

It outlined seven areas where it would try to gain concessions from a minority government in a hung parliament.

Leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said Plaid would seek "the best possible deal for Wales" if there is a "balanced parliament".

Earlier, the party's Commons leader Elfyn Llwyd told BBC Radio Wales he doubted whether there would be a hung parliament.

The party's manifesto calls for a "fairer funding formula", giving an extra £300m to Wales, a rise in the basic state pension and the UK's phased withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Ieuan Wyn Jones
The London-based parties have already decided what's important to them - the City, the banks, the votes of so-called Middle Britain
Ieuan Wyn Jones, Plaid Cymru leader

Its priorities also include more powers for the Welsh assembly, better care for armed service veterans, and encouraging the growth of business in Wales through improved broadband and rail links.

It also called for an action plan on the environment to help create "green" jobs.

Mr Jones portrayed his party as the defender of the poorest and most vulnerable in society, while accusing the other parties of pandering to big business and the banks.

Plaid returned three MPs at the last election, and he said his party would work with its allies in the Scottish National Party to create a "formidable" bloc to protect the Celtic nations.

Mr Jones said the election was being fought on the "values and priorities" of addressing spending cuts against "the worst financial and economic crisis for over 60 years".

'Carefully costed'

"The London-based parties have already decided what's important to them - the City, the banks, the votes of so-called Middle Britain," said Mr Jones.

"Contrast our values of looking after the vulnerable and protecting front-line services with the priorities set out by Labour and the Tories who are still prepared, even in these difficult financial times to keep spending on Trident nuclear weapons and ID cards.

PLAID CYMRU'S 'KEY PRIORITIES'
Start tackling the deficit by stopping ID cards and defence project Trident, and reform the banks
Change funding formula to give Wales extra £300m a year
Create venture capital fund to help home-grown business develop
Raise basic state pension for all over time
Environmental action plan to create high-quality green jobs, with electrified railways
Referendum on greater Welsh assembly powers
Phased withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and greater care for ex-service personnel

"In this campaign we have decided to make important, but carefully costed proposals in our manifesto, based around seven key policy areas.

"They all reflect Plaid's values and priorities, and are aimed at protecting our communities in Wales from the worst impact of these spending cuts."

Plaid Cymru's parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd told BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales that he doubted there would be a hung parliament.

Asked about the possibility of a deal with a Conservative administration at Westminster, Mr Llwyd said "These are ifs and buts. I've no idea what it's going to be.

"Do we know for example if it's going to be a balanced parliament? I rather doubt whether it is."

But at the manifesto launch, Mr Jones said it looked "increasingly likely that we will see a balanced parliament after this election," and Plaid had make it clear it would seek the best possible deal for Wales in those circumstances.

Mr Jones said Plaid would "protect the communities of Wales against the London cuts".

ANALYSIS
Elfyn Llwyd can always be relied on to deliver independence of thought even if it travels some way from the party's message
David Cornock, BBC Wales

"The choice between Labour cuts and Tory cuts is no choice at all" said Mr Jones. "The greater the vote for Plaid the better the deal for Wales".

Mr Llwyd said there had been an illegal war in Iraq and now an "unwise war" in Afghanistan, and Plaid wanted a "phased withdrawal" of troops to end the "tragic loss of life".

He said: "Wales will not forget the way this government has shamefully neglected our troops and our veterans."

Mr Llwyd also called for key steps to boost the Welsh economy.

Plaid wants a venture capital fund for small and medium-sized businesses which want to start and to expand, as well as better broadband and transport links, and to create the right environment for entrepreneurship to flourish.



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