Aberavon AM condemns Plaid leaders distasteful Tata job loss jibe.

Aberavon’s David Rees AM today slammed the thoughtless comments of Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood.  The AM was reacting angrily to Ms Woods using the 1000 steel jobs lost mainly at Port Talbot’s Tata plant in his constituency, to score a political point over Higher Education funding in the Welsh Government’s budget. Ms Wood made her comment during today’s FMQ’s

Mr Rees, a former Assistant Dean of Faculty at a University, described Ms Woods’s comments as not only “wide of the mark,” with regards to HE but “highly distasteful and insensitive”.  He has met with many worried constituents since the announcement David’s and his constituent’s focus is upon both supporting those who will lose their jobs and on securing the future of the steel works and the local economy.

The Welsh Government who had previously warned the UK Government about the need to act to support the Steel industry, have been working hard to support the industry and to work with those who have lost their job.

Despite challenging economic circumstances and overall funding cuts from the UK Government overall funding to the HE sector in 2013/14 increased by over 13% and in 2014/15 by over 12%.  The draft budget included a £20m cut to what is a £1.2bn sector.  Ms Woods felt it appropriate to suggest that this situation was probably worse than a 1000 job losses.

David Rees said:

“This is political game playing at its most outrageous, people in my constituency have been knocked sideways by these job losses and Leanne should apologise for her attempts to use these difficult circumstances for many local people to attack the Welsh Government on its Higher Education policy.”

“At best they show a complete lack of understanding of what is happening in Port Talbot at worst scant regard for what is happening.”

“Of course cuts have to be managed, but to compare it to the situation that the community of Port Talbot is facing is disgraceful.  Frankly these comments are not only wide of the mark but highly distasteful and insensitive”

“My focus is upon helping those who will be losing their jobs and growing our local economy to address the losses we will experience from this. I will keep working to meet those goals and my constituents deserve better from Plaid Cymru.”