Welsh Labour has revealed its plans for the next five years in Wales in its manifesto for the Senedd Elections on May 6.
Labour has been the dominant party in all five Welsh Governments since 1999 and has been governing with the support of Lib Dem Kirsty Williams and independent Dafydd Elis Thomas after winning 29 seats at the last election in 2016.
It says it has the “experience and the vision” to lead Wales in the recovery from coronavirus.
In his foreword to Welsh Labour’s 69-page manifesto, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The people of Wales look out for each other; we care for those in difficulties, and we understand how much more we can achieve when we work together. Welsh Labour shares the same values and your Welsh Labour Government has shown how to put those values into action. No other party in Wales comes close to demonstrating that it can be trusted to do the right thing for all the people of Wales.”
There are six pledges at the beginning of the document:
- ‘The biggest catch up programme in our NHS and schools’: 1,800 extra tutoring staff to help schoolchildren catch up and a new medical school for North Wales
- Everyone under the age of 25 will get an offer of work, education, training, or self-employment
- A guaranteed Real Living Wage for social care staff – currently £9.50 an hour
Abolish the use of single use plastics and extend the new National Forest for Wales
Continue to fund 500 police community support officers
Build 20,000 new low carbon social homes
Plaid, in its manifesto, pledged to scrap A-levels and GCSEs, set up an energy company for Wales and cut council tax by £200. Our Political Editor at large Martin Shipton has argued that despite leader Adam Price’s protestations that he wants to be First Minister, Plaid’s manifesto lays the groundwork for a coalition.
These are the policies in Labour’s manifesto:
Health and wellbeing
Welsh Labour says it will create a new medical school in North Wales, increase funding by 8% in 2021 and train 12,000 doctors, nurses, health professionals and psychologists.
It will provide the delayed treatments people are waiting for after the pandemic, invest in mental health services and redesign that service to improve prevention, tackle stigma and promote a “no wrong door” approach to mental health support.
Primary care – access to GPs, dentists and opticians – will be reformed and new health and social care centres are promised across Wales.
A HIV action plan will also be drawn up along with an autism statutory code of practice.
Care workers will be paid the real living wage and a Chief Social Care Officer for Wales will be appointed to “bring national leadership and greater esteem to the care profession”.
The costs of non-residential social care will be capped at £100 maximum per week and capital limit maintained at £50,000.
A National Social Care Framework will be set up “to set fair commissioning, fair workforce conditions, and a more balanced care market between public, voluntary,and private providers”.
Labour promises to “pursue” a UK solution to the care funding crisis. . “If the Conservative UK Government breaks its promise again and fails to bring forward a fully funded scheme within the current UK parliament, we will consult on a potential Wales-only solution to meet our long-term care needs.”
A £1m Covid hardship fund for carers in 2021 will be set up and £3m short-break respite scheme set up.
A £40m investment into the integrated care of older people is promised, along with £20m for children with specialist needs.
Baby bundles will be rolled out for new families and childcare funded for families who are in education and training.
Jobs and skills
Every young person under 25 will get the offer of work, education, training or self-employment and 125,000 all age apprenticeships will be created in the next Senedd term.
Personal Learning Accounts will be expanded to allow flexible study.
The £500m Wales Flexible Investment Fund will support economic recovery and expand the Development Bank of Wales’ patient capital funds to provide long-term lending to small and medium sized enterprises, entrepreneurs and start-ups.
A Community Bank for Wales will be set up with 30 branches over the next decade.
Masterplans will be drawn up for towns and high streets including a register of empty buildings and small businesses given help to move into empty shops.
A 30% target for working remotely to achieve a better work life balance and hubs in communities for people to work remotely.
Labour promises to launch a new 10-year Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan for a zero carbon economy.
It promises to complete major projects including the £1bn dualling of the Heads of the Valleys road.
Transport for Wales will get new powers to better integrate rail, bus and active travel and regulate for them to meet Welsh language standards. We will also work with local authorities to develop new Regional Transport Plans.
On the M4 relief road, Welsh Labour say it will “take forward the Burns Commission report for Newport, pressing the UK Government to help us realise its exciting vision for transport integration and for easing M4 congestion.”
£800m of new rolling stock will be delivered for railways and major new bus infrastructure projects,including dedicated bus lanes and new rapid transit routes that make bus travel easier.
They want buses and taxis to be zero-emission by 2028 and 20mph to be the default speed limit.
A new law will abolish the use of the plastics most commonly littered.
A new system of farm support will be created, “farmers will only receive public subsidy for producing food that delivers additional environmental outcomes”.
Councils will be given new powers to ensure coal tip safety.
New flood protection funding will help 45,000 homes.
A Clean Air Act for Wales will be introduced and there will be a new national park for the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley.
Re-use and repair hubs will be set up in 80 town centres.
CCTV will be required in all slaughterhouses as part of reforms to regulation of animal welfare.
New pollinator sites (2,000), community food growing sites (1,000), community orchards (200), tiny forests (100), habitat creation schemes at bus and railway stations and 50 sensory gardens with health charities and the NHS.
An extra 1,800 tutoring staff will be employed to help children affected by the pandemic.
The party say its wants to explore “reform of the school day and the school year to bring both more in line with contemporary patterns of family life and employment”.
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A promise of £1.5bn in the next phase of school regenerations.
Free Schools Meals will be extended if possible, and the party promises to provide free breakfasts for all primary school pupils.
Recommendations from the Race Equality Action Plan will be put in force to tackle the significant inequalities and racism faced by Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities.
There will be a focus on violence against women in the street and workplace.
“Ensure the history and culture of our Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities are properly represented by investing further in our cultural sector andmuseum network. We will address fully the recommendations from the Monuments and Street Names Audit and from the Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group.”
Welsh Labour will become a sponsor to Pride Cymru, expand free period product provision and make public transport more accessible to disabled people.
Welsh language, sport and culture
A National Music Service will be set up so all young people can learn an instrument.
Work with councils to raise a tourism levy used to support local economies.
A Welsh language housing plan will be set up and young people helped to buy homes.
Young Welsh speakers returning from University will be encouraged to help teach Welsh in schools for the final weeks of term.
There will be free access to the Urdd Eisteddfod in 2022, and a commitment to Theatr Clwyd, a football museum and contemporary art gallery. Plans for a museum of North Wales will also be looked at.
Homes, communities and councils
There is a pledge of 20,000 new low carbon rental homes.
The 1% increase in land transaction tax will continue to be charged on second homes and there could be local rates brought in to “ensure the interests of local people are protected”.
Building safety will be “improved”.
Zero waste shopping will be encourages with more recycling facilities in town centres. Public spaces will be used for events, markets, parks and “parklets”.
Labour promises a reform of council tax and says that income tax will not go up “for at least as long as the economic impact of coronavirus lasts”.
An independent commission will be set up to “consider the constitutional future of Wales”.
Welsh Labour want the Health and Safety Executive powers to be devolved to Wales and want to look at the devolution of policing and justice.