LibLink: Kirsty Williams’ pitch for Welsh Assembly votes

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams has set out the party’s stall in an article for Wales Online.

First of all, she says that devolution hasn’t delivered what it should have done. She highlights the key problems:

The Labour Welsh Government is the longest surviving government in Europe. It is bankrupt of ideas, tired and with flawed priorities – 17 years in power, yet no vision for Wales’ future.

One needn’t look any further than Labour’s crusade to ban the use of e-cigarettes, all while NHS waiting lists continue to grow and health services are failing.

People, rightly, expect their Welsh Government to deliver effective public services and economic stability. Yet NHS waiting lists in Wales remain the longest in the UK, our schools’ standards have fallen in the international league tables and our economy continues to lag behind that of our counterparts.

She wants a Parliament that listens to people:

People have had enough of politicians lecturing them. I want to turn that on its head; for the Assembly to be centred on action, with Members listening to a variety voices. Welsh Liberal Democrats consistently put our community first and take a stand on issues neglected by others: be that human rights, the environment, or mental health.

One recent example of our approach was when the Welsh Liberal Democrats voted against the outrageous £10,000 Assembly Member pay hike – the only party to do so.

Similarly, in February a Welsh Liberal Democrats’ initiative, the ‘More Nurses Bill’, became law, making Wales the first country in Europe to introduce safe staffing levels for acute health services. We will build on this success by extending this bill to include maternity wards, children’s wards and community care. We want Wales to be a leading example to others on how to deliver the very best services.

Investing in education at all levels to create that “opportunity economy” is a key plank of the Lib Dem plan:

Our priority for education will be to cut class sizes to a maximum of 25 pupils, enabling teachers to deliver a first-class education for our children.

I want my daughters’ generation to grow up and live in a Wales where people can fulfil their ambitions and prosper. But for that to happen a dramatic change is needed. The Welsh Liberal Democrats’ focus is to deliver an Opportunity Economy for Wales.

We will give young people the skills they need to get on in life by providing an extra 140,000 apprenticeship starts, more than any other party. We will establish a Small Business Administration that will bring independent advice and finance together, giving growing businesses the best chance of success. Our offer on childcare is unique; as we are the only party offering free childcare to help working parents as soon as paid parental leave ends.

She highlights how Lib Dems will help people to buy their own home and will invest in broadband:

And unlike Labour’s almost sneering attitude to the idea of supporting aspiration, we will help people achieve their dream of getting on the housing ladder by enabling them to buy their own home without needing to pay a deposit.

As we all know, the digital revolution has changed every aspect of our lives over the past 25 years, from learning or working to shopping and socialising. Yet Wales has the lowest level of superfast broadband of anywhere in the UK and unacceptably poor levels of mobile coverage.

I am determined that Wales should be able to take advantage of its historical passion for innovation and hard work in the digital age, but to do that we need to improve our infrastructure and digital inclusion across Wales.

You can read her whole article here.

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary published in print or online.

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3 Comments

  • Eddie Sammon 29th Apr '16 - 2:51pm

    I read this to see if it was more inspiring than Tim Farron’s simplistic stop the Tories pitch, and whilst there seems to be more ideas it seems there’s lots of plans for spending without plans for revenue raising?

    I don’t mind borrowing to invest, but is this what is happening? How much borrowing?

  • All good stuff if the money is there, but like Eddie Sammon says she hasn’t made it clear how it will be funded.

  • Eddie & Malc – Welsh Lib Dems were only party to list “cuts” they would make in their manifesto to pay for their key policies. Worth over £200m.

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