The publication of ‘Put Recovery First’: The Welsh Liberal Democrat Manifesto for the 2021 Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament Elections has been welcomed by the Welsh Liberal Democrat candidates contesting Powys’s two constituencies.
The innovative and ambitious programme of government sets out the policy priorities of the Welsh Liberal Democrats for the next five-year Senedd term with a focus on building a sustainable and fair economic and social recovery after the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for Brecon & Radnorshire, commented:
“Everything has changed. In the past twelve months, Wales and the World have seen tragic loss of life, economic upheaval, and technological change at a disorientating pace and epic scale. Our NHS has been tested, our social fabric torn, and existing crises of deep economic inequality, unbalanced distribution of power between regions and generations, and climate emergency, have been exacerbated and exposed.
“However, we have also seen the very best of Wales and Powys: an incredible collective effort to make sacrifices and keep each other safe; people and communities rallying to help out vulnerable friends and neighbours.
“We have seen the extraordinary work of health and social care staff and other frontline workers who have faced danger to save lives, keep us fed, and maintain core public services; and a rapidly accelerating vaccination programme of which our country should rightly be proud.
“As we emerge from a time of acute crisis, the Welsh Liberal Democrat programme of action confronts the challenges Wales will face and builds on the lessons that have been learned.”
Alison Alexander, Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd candidate for Montgomeryshire, said:
“This manifesto puts community, family, and recovery first.
“Policies such as universal free childcare and free public transport use for under-25s show that we are the party willing to take bold steps to support our young people and future generations, helping them to stay in Wales and Powys, to form families, raise children, access jobs and education opportunities, and develop careers.
“Priorities such as freezing business rates, increasing investment in rural broadband and mobile connectivity, and standing up for farmers in trade negotiations, demonstrate that we are the party that will support our rural economy and communities.
“We know that the best way to thank our amazing health and social care workers is to invest in them and invest in health services. That is why we will build on the achievements of Kirsty Williams and further increase nurse staffing levels. That is why we will work towards creating a National Care Service. And that is why we will create a 24/7 mental health crisis care system available to everyone, everywhere in Wales.”
Key policies include:
- Increasing the share of NHS funding spent on mental health to 13% by 2028; creating a 24/7 mental health crisis care system.
- Extending Kirsty Williams’ Nurse Staffing Levels Act to cover mental health wards.
- Ensuring that all social care workers are paid the Real Living Wage.
- Making it is easier for unpaid carers to access information, advice and support on their legal rights and increasing the support available to carers at a local level, as well as lobbying the UK Government for a meaningful increase in Carer’s Allowance.
- Working towards the creation of a National Care Service and the full integration of health and social care.
- Continuing the provision of Free School Meals throughout the school holidays delivered by Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Minister Kirsty Williams during the pandemic crisis, as well as significantly investing in programmes to tackle hunger and isolation during the school holidays.
- Introducing ‘Personal Learning Accounts’ and ‘a right to lifelong learning’ to give every adult access to flexible and accessible courses and training opportunities to gain new skills and qualifications.
- Ending digital exclusion at all levels of education, by giving all learners access to digital resources and computer equipment.
- Passing a new Welsh Language Act, to drive investment in Welsh-language education, especially for Early Years and post-16 level; increasing the proportion of the education workforce who can teach in Welsh, including childcare professionals. Investing in the growth of Clych Meithrin and Cylch Ti a Fi in new locations to boost access to Welsh-medium childcare.
- Introducing universal free part-time childcare for children aged 9 months to school age and holiday care for 5–13-year-olds.
- Freezing Business Rates until 2026.
- Introducing a Business Rate Investment Relief Fund to support businesses to make investments, increase productivity, and take decarbonisation measures.
- Increasing Welsh Government investment in mobile connectivity and broadband infrastructure; ensuring that at least 90% of homes and businesses in Wales have access to full-fibre broadband within five years.
- Building 30, 000 new social homes.
- Putting pressure on the UK Government to only enter into trade agreements that ensure that imported produce meets the same environmental, food quality and animal welfare standards expected of British and Welsh farmers.
- Making public transport free for under-25s.
The full Welsh Liberal Democrat manifesto can be read at: www.welshlibdems.wales/manifesto2021
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