Category Archives: Wales

Tories backtracking over new Powys Hospitals shows lack of honesty with voters

The admission by the Conservatives that their manifesto pledge to build two new hospitals in Powys won’t be fulfilled has been described as a disappointing breach of trust by the Liberal Democrats.

The Conservative manifesto pledges on both the inside cover and on page two that they will build “five new hospitals.” However Welsh Conservatives have now admitted that only two new hospitals will be built, neither of which will be in Powys and instead that existing hospitals in Newtown and Llandrindod will be upgraded.

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Welsh Liberal Democrat Manifesto puts recovery first

This afternoon, Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds launched the party’s Welsh Manifesto ahead of the Senedd elections on 6 May. Writing in the foreword to Put Recovery First, Jane said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been tough on all of us, and we have much to do. We understand how you feel: frustration, exhaustion, loss, disappointment, anxiety, relief, hope.

Like you, we want to focus on the things that are most important to you and your family after a tough year. To do that, we first have to get Wales back on its feet…

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats will put recovery first.”

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All female Party Political Broadcast is a first for Wales


The Welsh Liberal Democrats made television history last night with this party political broadcast (above) comprising solely of women.

The broadcast shown on ITV Wales at 18:25 (to be repeated on Friday on BBC1 at 22:35) features Party Leader Jane Dodds, education minister Kirsty Williams and three female candidates who are all running for Parliament for the first time.

Speaking about the broadcast, Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds said:

Too often politics is seen as an all-male club. I’m proud to be a leading my party in this election, and I’m equally proud to be joined in this broadcast by Kirsty Williams who’s done an incredible job as Education Minister.

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How we lie to ourselves about debt

When I started my first job, I met with our finance officer. She was looking quite stressed, so I asked what was going on. She explained she was working out how much of our ‘bad debt’ to write off as an organisation. I was confused, naively.

Turns out, this is probably what most people know, but every year companies and organisations write off debt. They decide that even if someone owes them £50, they are likely never to get that money back –  in short, it costs them more to chase the debt, than they’d ever make getting it back.

But then, some enterprising people worked out that there was a market there. Now, companies can get some of that back. So rather than writing it off completely, and getting nothing back, they can sell that debt to a debt market, for around £5 (on average, 10% of the debt value).

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Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic education report welcomed by Welsh Minister

The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has accepted all the recommendations of a report on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the new school Curriculum.

The Minister has also confirmed £500,000 will be provided to support the implementation of the report’s recommendations, as part of the delivery of the new Curriculum for Wales.

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LGBT+ people across Wales need answers from Plaid over trans rights, say Welsh Lib Dems

A press release from Welsh Lib Dems.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats challenged Plaid Cymru on the eve of their conference to provide clarity on their position on LGBT+ rights and equality.

Last week a young trans woman of colour was removed from a hustings meeting after protesting about her inability to question a panel member and sitting Plaid Cymru Senedd Member Helen Mary Jones, over her previous comments on trans rights. The young woman has since blogged about her experience.

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William Powell selected as Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire

The Brecon & Radnorshire Liberal Democrats have selected William Powell as their candidate to contest the Brecon & Radnorshire constituency at the Senedd Election due to be held on 6th May 2021

Cllr Powell, who grew up and lives in the constituency, has served as the Welsh Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Talgarth since 2004 and was Assembly Member for the Mid and West Wales region from 2011-2016. During this period, he was the Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on the Environment, Sustainable Development and Rural Affairs and chaired the Assembly Petitions Committee.

Before entering politics, he was a secondary modern languages teacher …

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Welsh Liberal Democrats come together virtually

Over 120 Welsh Lib Dem members joined our first ever virtual conference this weekend.

We welcomed Ed Davey virtually to Wales for his first Welsh conference where he spoke to us about the challenges facing the party and his burning desire that we as a nation must come out of this pandemic stronger than ever before.

This linked us nicely to our first policy motion: “Wales after COVID” which paid tribute to lives lost and calls for the dial on inequality in Wales to be reset with measures such as social care funding, universal free childcare, debt bonfires, green jobs and investment in housing.

We were then joined by Party President Mark Pack who spoke of how we need to campaign in the years to come, the changes the party is making both federally and in Wales and the exciting future we have in Wales with 16 and 17 year olds now able vote in Senedd elections from 2021 and in local government elections from 2022.

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Welsh Liberal Democrats response to Plaid Cymru’s Independence Commission report

Responding to Plaid Cymru’s Independence Commission report which has been published on 25 September, Welsh Liberal Democrats described the report as a mix of fanatical politics and pie in the sky economics.

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said:

Politics isn’t working for Wales or the UK as well as it could right now, I understand why independence looks attractive, but it isn’t the answer.

There are far too many uncertainties, too many unknowns and too many risks with independence. We don’t know nor are Plaid proposing solutions to questions such as: What currency we would use? Would we still have

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A tribute to Cllr Alun Jenkins

How many Liberal Democrat councillors can match the achievement of Councillor Alun Jenkins of Wrexham this week of fifty years continuous service as a councillor in the same ward?

Alun had spent 5 years at University in Bangor and was active in the North Wales’ Liberal Federation. He came to Wrexham in 1967 to teach physics in my old grammar school, Grove Park. Soon after his arrival, he attended a meeting of the Liberal Party in Wrexham, to support Wilf McBriar, a local trade unionist who we remember with great affection for his utter sincerity and commitment.

Alun was given a …

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Stay Alert, That’s Devolved, Save Lives

Liberal Democrats know that a clear and consistent message is the most effective, that’s why we deliver so many leaflets when campaigning. These same principles of clarity and consistency apply now in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. We are inundated with news and updates about what financial support is available, the state of our hospitals and care homes, the social distancing measures, and what is and is not open. All of the governments across the UK are holding regular press briefings, in addition to social media, to communicate these changes to people. However, it is the media from whom …

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Wales

With the establishment of the Welsh Parliament, we are sending a clear message to people across our nation that our politics is changing. Now is the time for us to learn the lessons of the past and changing the way we do things.

For too long we failed to convey a clear message of what the purpose of the Assembly was and what it had the power to do. Instead, we let it be portrayed as ineffective, a barrier to change that was little more than a glorified talking shop.

We need to cut …

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After the virus: an economic future for Wales

Our economy in Wales was already facing difficulties. The Welsh economy’s long-term problems are well-documented; low productivity, a long-term lack of investment, a declining working-age population, significant public health issues. Add to that the likely effects of Brexit – especially a no-deal Brexit, which, on the basis of the OBR’s own figures, would be likely to deliver a severe productivity shock to the UK economy – and the effects of February’s floods, and even before the effects of lockdown are considered, it is clear that Wales was facing serious economic challenges. A recent report by the Centre for Towns and …

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Dwi’n hoff iawn o gerddoriaeth Gymraeg!*

So Happy (late) Welsh Language Music Day!

Ddydd Miwsyg Cymru Hapus! Happy Welsh Music Day to everyone! With it actually being celebrated last Friday, I was a sad to see minimal party coverage. Whilst it might seem somewhat trivial, niche and irrelevant to the ‘powers that be’ inside our Westminster HQ, or ‘too unimportant’ to those leading our party in Wales itself; it is, in fact, the opposite.

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In case you missed it… How the Welsh did for Margaret Thatcher

Embed from Getty Images

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Breaking news: Welsh Lib Dems select Chris Twells as lead candidate for North Wales

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have selected local campaigner Chris Twells as the party’s lead candidate for the North Wales region at the next National Assembly for Wales election.

North Wales elected a Welsh Liberal Democrat AM at every election until 2016, when UKIP won two seats.

Chris was selected by Welsh Liberal Democrat members living in Ynys Mon, Arfon, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham in an all-member ballot.

Chris was born in St Asaph and brought up in Rhosesmor, Flintshire, attending the Alun School in Mold before going on to study Law at the University of York. He has been an active Liberal Democrat member since joining the party as a student because of its strong pro-European stance and support for human rights.

Caradog Steffan John, a fluent Welsh speaker and former researcher at the Assembly was chosen as the second candidate for the North Wales list and Wrexham Councillor Rob Walsh secured third place. Donna Lalek, a Community Councillor from Flintshire and the second-placed candidate at the recent European election, will be the fourth candidate.

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The rest of us can learn from what the Welsh are doing with education….

Two recent press releases have caught my eye. As PPC for North Devon, a rural economy where, on average, schools get £300 less per pupil than in the rest of England, I am keen on education reform. Key to that is ensuring good teaching and supporting our teachers.

So I was pleased to see that Welsh Lib Dem Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has announced the single biggest investment in Wales’ teachers since devolution. This is through a groundbreaking £24m package to help teachers deliver Wales’ new curriculum. Kirsty says,

This major investment shows how highly we value teachers’ professional learning. It is an investment in excellence and we are aiming for nothing less than a wholesale reform of how teachers learn; a process that starts from the moment they begin initial teacher education and goes right the way through their career.

The National Approach to Professional Learning (NAPL) will focus on flexible ways of learning that don’t disrupt the school day. A much more accessible blend of learning will be available through Wales’ regions and universities. This will encompass learning outside the classroom, online learning, classroom learning and coaching.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented,

This announcement is yet another example of the transformational reforms the Welsh Lib Dems are implementing in our national mission to raise standards, reduce the attainment gap and deliver an education system that is a source of national pride and public confidence.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are committed to creating a Wales where every child has the opportunity to achieve their potential and determine their own destiny. This funding will help us realise this vision.

Not only are the Welsh investing in teachers, but they are also protecting rural schools.  Kirsty Williams introduced a new, stronger code last week which includes a presumption against the closure of rural schools. This is part of a wider Rural Education Plan which also includes a Small and Rural Schools Grant.

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Welsh Lib Dems say Whole Systems Approach needed to children’s services

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have warned that a rigorous approach to children’s services is necessary to secure the quality services needed. This follows from the WLGA claiming children’s services in Wales are nearly at “crisis point.”

The past nine years have seen a 149% increase in court applications to remove children into care. Between March 2009 and March 2007 there was a 27% increase in the number of children in care in Wales.

Cllr Rhys Taylor, Welsh Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson commented:

Whilst the WLGA are right to highlight financial constraints as a key

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The Lib Dem week in Wales

welsh lib demsHere is our weekly roundup of what the Liberal Democrats, led by Kirsty Williams, have been getting up to in Wales.

In the Scottish roundup, we saw Tavish Scott condemn the late CAP payments to farmers. Labour in Wales have been just as bad, with Kirsty Williams telling Wales Online that farmers were under so much pressure that they have been calling her on the brink of suicide:

Farmers have been calling on the brink of suicide due to the financial difficulties they face.

This is on top of the fact that, because of the mishandling of the changes to farming support by Welsh Government, farmers were already only to receive 80% of their entitlement.

Like any business, farmers have bills to pay. They rely heavily on the December payments to pay those bills, so it has a knock-on effect to the wider rural economy. The Welsh LabourGovernment need to sort this mess out and they need to sort it out quickly.

Tackling Doctor shortage

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The Lib Dem week in Wales

Here is our weekly roundup of what the Welsh Liberal Democrats, led by Kirsty Williams, have been getting up to..

Labour waste money on ad campaign for a metro system that won’t be in use for 5 years

Welsh Labour metro billboard wasteEluned Parrott AM has blasted the Labour Welsh Government for wasting over £52,000 on an advertising campaign intended to promote the South Wales Metro.

Over recent months, posters, light boxes and banners simply saying “It’s approaching” have been appearing in train stations across South Wales.   The posters feature no useful information for the public, but instead just have the word ‘Metro’ and the Welsh Government’s logo on them.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are huge supporters of the South Wales Metro system, but believe money would be better spent on an information campaign that informs and consults with the public.

In response to a written question from Eluned Parrott AM, the Labour Transport Minister Edwina Hart stated that:

the total committed expenditure relating to marketing and information relating to South Wales Metro as of 30 November 2015 is £52,782+VAT.

Work is not expected to start on the Metro system until 2017 and the Welsh Government has made clear that the project will not be complete until at least 2020.

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Video – Kirsty Williams bonus

As a follow on to our earlier post, this was the video played last night at Cardiff City hall just before Kirsty Williams received her award as Welsh Assembly Member of the year. It’s worth watching. Kirsty can certainly “kick arse”.

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LibLink: Kirsty Williams – Scottish independence result will have ‘colossal impact’ on Wales and UK

rally kirsty williams 1Kirsty Wiliams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has added her voice to those calling for Scotland to remain within the United Kingdom. Here’s an excerpt of what she had to say at BBC Online:

I firmly believe that Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom. We all benefit from a stronger economy, greater national security and a powerful international voice that would be hard to match as separate states.

However, Scotland must have more powers to determine its future. To simply do nothing in the event of a No vote cannot be an option. It’s clear that the constitutional make-up of the entire UK will have to change even if the No side wins.

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Fairer funding for Wales: “Lib Dems will actually do something about it,” vows Kirsty Williams

rally kirsty williams 1Yesterday we reported plans from Lib Dem home office minister Norman Baker to restore the public’s trust in the police. Another policy within the party’s ‘pre-manifesto’ is reported by BBC News Online – to reform the funding arrangement that has long been criticised for short-changing Wales:

Wales could benefit from hundreds of millions of pounds under Lib Dem plans to change the way funds are allocated to devolved nations, it has been claimed. The current system, known as the Barnett formula, is based on population levels and has long been criticised for short-changing Wales. Suggestions to re-draw the formula have been fiercely resisted in Scotland.

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Kirsty Williams condemns sacked Welsh Labour environment minister’s “smear campaign”

Kirsty WilliamsKirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Lib Dems, has condemned Labour’s environment minister Alun Davies – sacked today by First Minister Carwyn Jones – for mounting a smear campaign. Mr Davies had asked for details of farm subsidies paid to five opposition AMs: Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies and Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams, Conservative AM Antoinette Sandbach, Liberal Democrat William Powell and Plaid Cymru’s Llyr Gruffydd.

Here’s Kirsty Williams’ response:

The actions of Alun Davies as a Minister are atrocious and completely unacceptable for anyone serving in public

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‘The Welsh Liberals’: new book published this month

welsh liberalsPublished this month: The Welsh Liberals: The History of the Liberal and Liberal Democrat parties in Wales.

Despite being Wales’ oldest political party this is the first published history of the Welsh Liberal Party or its successor, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Party.

The Welsh Liberals: The History of the Liberal and Liberal Democrat parties in Wales charts the highs and lows of an extraordinary party.

This comprehensive study includes over 40 interviews with senior figures from within the Welsh Liberal Party, the Welsh SDP and Welsh Liberal Democrat Party.

You can order it from …

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Kirsty Williams and Danny Alexander write… Wales offered tax raising powers

Welsh Dragon Swag BagToday, the Coalition Government has committed to reaching the next great milestone in Welsh devolution by taking forward the key recommendations of the Silk Commission.

As a party that believes in devolution and has campaigned for decades to deliver more power for Wales, this is a huge win for the Liberal Democrats. Can you imagine a Tory or Labour Government devolving these powers from London?

Currently the National Assembly of Wales is unique amongst the rest of the world. It can make laws, spend money, but it can’t control how much it raises through tax. For over a decade, Labour refused to let go of the purse strings. But where Labour failed, the Liberal Democrats have acted.

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Kirsty Williams writes… Welsh Lib Dems more than double Welsh Pupil Premium

nick clegg kirsty williams - 1The Welsh Liberal Democrats were delighted to announce yesterday that we are more than doubling the Welsh Pupil Premium.

Two years ago, in a similar situation, we worked with the Welsh Government to ensure that Wales would have our own Welsh Pupil Premium. This meant that each school would get £450 per child on free school meals. This was an achievement we were rightly very proud of. However, while Liberal Democrats in England continued to increase the Pupil Premium, the unambitious Welsh Labour Government refused to do the same in Wales.

We have now changed that. Thanks to the Welsh Liberal Democrats we have more than doubled the value of the Welsh Pupil Premium, increasing funding to £918 per pupil.

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Kirsty Williams AM writes: Why Welsh Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru have joined forces

welsh-liberal-democratsThis week, and much to the surprise of many political commentators in Wales, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood and I held a joint press conference announcing that we are to join forces to negotiate with the Welsh Labour Government on next year’s budget settlement.

In the National Assembly, the Welsh Government has exactly half of the Assembly Members. Therefore, each year the Welsh Government needs the support of at least one of the opposition parties to pass their annual budget. In the past, this has given the …

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Kirsty Williams on criticism of the Coalition: “It knocked my confidence.”

nick clegg kirsty williams - 1It’s the Welsh Lib Dems’ conference this weekend and Kirsty Williams will take the opportunity to argue that a “crucial turning point” has been reached, reports BBC News:

At the conference in Cardiff, Ms Williams will claim the fact the Lib Dems retained third place in the Cardiff South and Penarth by-election last November, albeit with a much reduced share of the vote, was a “sign post that things were changing” for the party.

“Eastleigh was a turning point,” she will say. “Yes, the criticisms of our

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What’s on at Welsh Liberal Democrat Conference this weekend?

A public service announcement from the Welsh Liberal Democrats follows…

With record numbers of delegates attending and five Lib Dem Government Ministers taking part, the Welsh Liberal Democrat conference taking place this weekend already looks as if it’s going to be a memorable one.

Highlights on the agenda include:

  • Keynote speeches – Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will be opening Conference, with speeches later on in the weekend also come from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and Welsh Liberal Democrat party Leader Kirsty Williams.
  • Gala dinner –Vince Cable MP will be guest speaker at the Conference Dinner. Unsurprisingly, tickets for this

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