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Election response 2019: Plaid Cymru

09 Dec 2019

Read Plaid’s response to CaSE’s letter, setting out the party’s commitments that are relevant to science and engineering

In the 2019 UK General Election, CaSE wrote to the leaders of all the political parties, inviting them to set out their party’s policies on science and engineering by answering a series of questions on how they would:

Ensure that high quality science, technology, engineering and maths education and training is sustainably funded, fit for purpose, and open to all?

Ensure the UK has a migration system that supports science and engineering mobility for excellence, skills, education and collaboration?

Maintain and build on the UK’s leadership and collaboration in research and innovation internationally?

Invest at a level and in such a way as to enhance the UK’s research and innovation environment?

Uphold and champion the use of evidence and science advice in all Government decisions, documents and messaging?

Ensure the regulatory environment facilitates trade and access to markets, and promotes innovation?

This comes after CaSE published its policy recommendations for the political parties to adopt. 

Response from Plaid Cymru

1. Plaid Cymru has developed a skills strategy which consists of raising general education levels by bringing school standards, teaching and attainment up to world-class levels. This means working with employers to expand apprenticeships and create high quality vocational education at all levels. We believe in providing financial support for students resident in Wales who wish to study science, engineering and technology at universities in Wales. We believe this will encourage more students to study these subjects and reduce the skills shortage in Wales. We also believe in supporting women in STEM fields by creating mentorships to improve engagement in these fields by women.

2. Plaid Cymru strongly believes in protecting the rights of the 1,360 non-UK academic staff in Welsh universities to uphold the quality of our research institutions. Plaid Cymru disagree with the unworkable and illogical immigration policies that the UK Tory Government is proposing. We will create a Welsh Migration Advisory Service so that we can have a system that plugs skills gaps, especially in agriculture and social care, and protects our health service from staff shortages. We want a logical immigration policy that works for Wales, where students and job creators can come, but wages aren’t undercut and communities are protected. We also believe in protecting the status of all international students by removing them from the net migration targets.

3. We believe that Wales’s institutions and businesses can lead the way internationally in research and innovation. Plaid Cymru’s industrial strategy includes creating clusters of more specialised high-tech and innovative companies, extending the UK’s southern ‘arc of innovation’ and ‘northern powerhouse’ westwards. This includes the development of indigenous spin-out and start-up firms plus the targeted attraction of international innovative companies, creating high-skill jobs in high-tech firms with high-growth potential.

4. Plaid Cymru will build a global reputation for Wales as a centre for research and innovation. We will establish a National Innovation Body, working in partnership with the private sector, to fund a national network of sector-led Research and Technology Centres. This would be based on the Fraunhofer or Catapult model, where research efforts are geared entirely to people’s needs: health, security, communication, energy and environment.

5. Plaid Cymru is committed to evidence-based policy-making, subjecting all new policies to randomised trials, wherever possible, and discontinuing those that fail faster than at present. We believe in the importance of having the greatest possible public engagement with the policy-making process. This not only means better communication from Government, but also a Welsh media that represents the people and policy-making of Wales.

6. A debilitating trade deal with the EU where Wales’s interests are last on the agenda risk businesses and jobs moving from Wales. Wales must have an equal say when decisions are made which have major implications for our country. All future free trade deals, for instance, must be endorsed by the National Assembly for Wales. We will also seek to develop a real international policy for Wales, so that we can restore our position as a great trading nation. Through representation in embassies across the world, Plaid Cymru will ensure Wales’s economic and cultural links are maintained and promoted at home and abroad.

Plaid Cymru

You can read all CaSE’s 2019 election work and other responses to our letter