Welsh referendum: ‘Yes vote would be economic suicide'

Reporter:

Rebecca Cole

COMMUNITY leaders are uniting to voice fears that greater law-making powers for the National Assembly of Wales would be “economic suicide”.

About 20 councillors have pledged to vote against the move and many are expected to state their case at a public meeting in Wrexham today.

Councillors will appear in a personal capacity as regular citizens and say they will leave their political allegiances at the door.

A referendum on changes to law-making powers for the Assembly is to be held on March 3.

According to Phillip Wynn, councillor for Brynyffynnon, the ‘yes’ campaign leaves questions unanswered and could subject residents to poor laws that have not faced proper scrutiny.

He said: “The professional politicians of the Welsh Assembly, who are all publicly backing the ‘yes’ campaign, have yet to demonstrate how Welsh legislation emanating from the Assembly will be scrutinised effectively.

“We fear allowing the Welsh Assembly Government to pass primary legislation without any checks and balances will result in fast-tracking of Welsh legislation, ultimately resulting in the introduction of poor laws.”

Cllr Wynn said the current method of agreeing proposed laws “may seem cumbersome” but insisted time delays reported by the ‘yes’ campaign were exaggerated.

He claimed the referendum was really about the Welsh Assembly Government “grasping more power for itself” and that Assembly Members have yet to explain the consequences of a successful ‘yes’ campaign.

Cllr Wynn said his biggest concern for the people of Wrexham, alongside a criticism of a perceived North-South divide, was the potential damage to the economy.

He said: “The economic well-being of the residents of Wrexham is closely linked to our ability to trade freely with our neighbouring Welsh counties to the west and English counties and cities to the east.

“The attitude of the nationalists in Wrexham is one of automatic challenge to any joint initiatives Wrexham Council enters into with its English counterparts.

“A ‘yes’ outcome in the referendum will feed the Welsh nationalists’ agenda in Wrexham to deliver an independent state of Wales and our departure from the Union, the consequences of which will be economic suicide for the people of Wrexham.

“Our wishes are to see Wales better governed and for fairer representation of the needs of the people of North Wales and Wrexham at the Welsh Assembly.”

The open meeting will begin at 1pm in Wrexham’s Memorial Hall.

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