A senior Welsh Conservative has claimed she knows “loads” of young people who would like to take part in a compulsory scheme involving military or non-military service.

The Conservatives have pledged that all 18-year-olds will carry out “national service” if they win July’s general election.

Wales Office minister Fay Jones said the proposals were proof “that we are investing in our young people”.

Labour and Plaid Cymu have criticised the proposal.

The Conservatives said the scheme would involve 30,000 selective military placements where “the brightest and best” volunteers would get involved in cyber security, logistics or civil response operations full-time for a year.

Everyone else would do 25 days, or one weekend a month, with non-military organisations including the fire service, the police, the NHS or charities.

The plans would be partly funded with £1.5bn from scrapping the Shared Prosperity Fund by 2028 – the scheme brought in by the UK government to redistribute cash after Brexit.

Speaking on Radio Wales Breakfast, Ms Jones said: “I have got no issue whatsoever with ensuring that young people across Wales have the life chances that they need.

“I think investing in them, providing them with opportunities, ways to volunteer or serve their military, as so many people want to do, I think that’s something that everyone across Wales will welcome.

“I know loads of young people who like to play their part.”

Labour’s Nick Thomas criticised the plan as an “ill thought-out, back of the envelop policy” which “raids the Shared Prosperity plan”.

“Once again the Conservatives are saying they are going to invest in communities and then on the other saying they are going to take it all away,” he said.

“That is not the way we should be moving forward.”

Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts added that money from the Shared Prosperity Fund should spent strategically, with the Welsh government and Senedd deciding where it went.

She also called for a debate on Brexit: “This election is about one thing: The economy. And we need to face a hard truth – Brexit is wrecking it.

“Plaid Cymru isn’t scared of telling it as it is. The evidence is clear: Brexit isn’t working.

“It has caused inflation to skyrocket, import costs to surge and critical sectors like the NHS, hospitality, and tourism to suffer severe worker shortages.”



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