9 January 2024 – today’s Welsh press releases

  • “No more tinkering, we need bravery”- Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds sets out her priorities for new FM
  • Welsh Lib Dems urge for clarity over future of Bwndel Babi scheme
  • Welsh Lib Dems criticise Welsh Labour government over “lack of vision” with budget
  • “Communities must feel that they are being listened to when it comes to their safety”- Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Government

“No more tinkering, we need bravery”- Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds sets out her priorities for new FM

Today, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds has urged both Welsh Labour leadership candidates to set out a new vision for Wales.

Current Health minister Vaughan Gething and Education minister Jeremy Miles are both in the race to become the new FM following the resignation of Mark Drakeford.

Commenting, leader of the Welsh Lib Dems Jane Dodds said:

The start of a new year brings with it a chance for renewed optimism. And with a new First Minister set to take charge this coming spring, a chance for a fresh approach to how Wales is being run should in theory be just around the corner.

What we have heard from both candidates so far is that they will be taking the same “steady as she goes” approach. More tinkering, more managerialism, and not the vision for the future that people desperately need.

We don’t want to see any more conservatism from Welsh Labour, what we need is a First Minister who is willing to take a bold and brave new direction for our country.

We need a new vision for a thriving economy, a fresh start for our NHS, an innovative democracy, and creating a nation of second chances where everyone has the opportunity to get ahead. We need a fair deal for every corner and every person across our country.

For far too long now the Labour party have stood by and watched as our country, our government, and our parliament has been dragged into the mud by an indifferent UK Conservative government.

We need a Labour party, at both ends of the M4, willing to stand up and demand that Wales gets its fair share.

No more tinkering about and searching for excuses, now is the time for bravery.

Welsh Lib Dems urge for clarity over future of Bwndel Babi scheme

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Labour government to provide clarification on the future of the Bwndel Babi scheme, which has been put at risk by the cutting of necessary funds.

The Bwndel Babi, or baby bundle, scheme is due to launch this year and was originally meant to see new parents across Wales being given a bundle containing baby grows, blankets and changing mats.

However, following the announcement that the Welsh Government will be cutting £3.5 million from the programme, a shadow has been cast around the criteria needed for eligibility.

Commenting, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said:

I was disheartened to read that, as part of their draft budget, the Welsh Labour Government was aiming to cut a substantial amount of funding from the Baby Bundle scheme. A scheme that could prove to be a lifeline for thousands of new parents across Wales who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

The First Minister has previously expressed his wish that these boxes should be made available to every parent regardless of their income, but now this wish has now changed and with it the hopes of parents counting on this much needed support has been decimated.

Whilst I understand that the Welsh Government have received very little from the UK Conservative government in terms of funding, there is no excuse for the uncertainty that has been created for families across Wales with the changing of the eligibility criteria for this scheme.

I urge the Welsh Government to provide much needed clarity over who and who isn’t available for this scheme, so that we can ensure that families in need are being properly supported.

Welsh Lib Dems criticise Welsh Labour government over “lack of vision” with budget

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal democrats have attacked the Welsh Labour government over their perceived lack of vision for Wales ahead of the drafting of the annual budget.

The drafted budget for the 2024 financial year has come under heavy criticism by the Welsh Lib Dems, who view the “same old same old” approach taken by Welsh Labour as doing nothing to help get Wales out of its current economic strife.

Commenting, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said:

This upcoming budget, set by the Welsh Labour government and their Plaid Cymru partners, have no real grasp on the situation at hand, and their failure over the last two decades to create a more innovative and resilient Wales.

Whilst I welcome the commitments made to our NHS and local councils within the budget, the budget fails to even see us tread water.

Instead, the most we have been given is a scrap of spares to hold onto with the expectation that we will survive by simply staying afloat.

Simply adding a gloss of paint over the cracks does nothing to help stop the rot.

There are three areas of concern for me with this budget and they are rural affairs, schools, and dental fees.

A 10% drop in the Rural Affairs budget and a £40 million withdrawal from investment schemes means that we are at a real risk of leaving behind a vital part of Wales that needs as much support as possible.

Across Wales many of our schools are facing deficits that threaten to reduce the quality of teaching given to students due to staff burnout and redundancies.

Most concerning of all is the proposal to raise public service fees like dentistry charges, which would do nothing to solve the huge waiting times and difficulties faced by thousands when it comes to accessing dental care.

We desperately need a new vision for Wales, one that encourages investment and growth. A vision that prioritises supporting our NHS, our rural communities, our schools, and those struggling with the Cost-of-Living Crisis.

Welsh Labour’s lack of vision could prove to be a massive hindrance to the future of our nation, we desperately need a change in approach.

“Communities must feel that they are being listened to when it comes to their safety”- Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Government

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have urged the Welsh Government to ensure that Police and Crime Commissioners are properly engaging with local communities when it comes to their safety.

Back in 2021 in their Senedd manifesto, the Welsh Lib Dems pledged to pursue the devolution of policing in Wales.

Commenting, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said:

Countless cuts to services and the withdrawal of much needed funding has impacted public services right across Wales, including our police forces.

The proposed reprioritisation of funding away from PCSOs in the draft budget could potentially send a message to local communities across Wales that their safety is not a priority.

In April 2022, I held a community meeting in Aberystwyth with Cllr Mair Benjamin, Dyfed Powys police and the police commissioner to discuss the potential undertaking of several community safety initiatives in the town.

Fast forward two years ago and these initiatives have still not seen the light of day. And while the Police and Crime Commissioner claims that they are pursuing the matter, I have been told by councillor Benjamin that they themselves have received no updates.

What should have been a meaningful and beneficial two-way conversation between the local community and its police force, has instead turned stale.

PCSOs play a vital role in supporting and protecting the safety of local communities by providing a direct link between the police and residents most at risk.

In these uncertain times a good relationship between the police and the public they serve is needed now more than ever. We must focus more on strengthening this bond instead of allowing it to wither and die by a thousand cuts.

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This entry was posted in News, Press releases and Wales.
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