Tag Archives: kirsty williams

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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12 November 2018 – today’s press releases

This feature is now back on UK time, and so, here’s what we’ve got for you this evening…

  • Welsh Lib Dems Investing in Teachers
  • Brexit can be stopped but Corbyn must get out of the way
  • Ed Davey: Hostile environment must be completely scrapped
  • Brake: Corbyn must listen to Brown

Welsh Lib Dems Investing in Teachers

Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has announced the single biggest investment in support for Wales’ teachers since devolution through a groundbreaking £24m package to help teachers deliver Wales’ new curriculum.

The National Approach to Professional Learning (NAPL), announced today by the Education Secretary, will focus on professional learning and …

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1 November 2018 – today’s press releases

We’ve got a veritable torrent of press releases today, starting with an example of the Party being rather more radical than Labour…

Cable: £1.3 billion for higher-rate payers should be used to reverse welfare cuts

The Liberal Democrats have announced they will be voting against the Government’s plans to raise the higher-rate tax threshold to £50,000.

The policy – announced in Monday’s budget – will cost an estimated £1.3 billion pounds next year, money which could instead be used to reverse cuts to Universal Credit or end the benefits freeze a year early.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince …

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WATCH: Kirsty on introducing inclusive sex education in Wales

Kirsty Williams is the Lib Dem representative in the world of Government at the moment and she’s doing great liberal things. This week, she announced that Welsh schoolchildren will receive inclusive sex and relationship education from the time they start school.

From Walesonline

The new version – which will see the topic become relationships and sexuality education (RSE) – places an emphasis on “forming and maintaining healthy, happy and fulfilling relationships”.

Announcing the change the Welsh Government added: “Learners will also be given a much broader understanding of sexuality that is fully inclusive of LGBTQI+ learners and includes wider issues such as consent, domestic abuse, and respecting diversity.

“The decision to change the focus of this area of study to relationships and sexuality, as well as the decision to make it statutory, reflects its immense importance in terms of how learners understand themselves, each other, their community and society.”

Watch Kirsty talking about it below:

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Liberal Democrats mark World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day.

For me it’s a day to reflect on how far we have come since I started to suffer from mental ill health as a child. Forty years ago, nobody understood the desperate, isolating, all-engulfing Depression that I couldn’t shake off, that took every ounce of my energy just to get through the day. I remember trying to talk about it to a friend once, and she scared the living daylights out of me, telling me I’d be locked up in a hospital if anyone found out.

There was the exhausting anxiety which punctuated every day – not helped by the fact that round every corner there might be another bully lurking to shout “Yak” at me. That’s what they called me at school. I just wish I’d had Google then to reassure me that, whatever my tormentors meant, these beasts were actually kind of cute.

My teens were a struggle and because I didn’t get the help I needed, I either didn’t cope very well or developed some fairly unhelpful strategies to deal with it. Comfort eating for one.

We can perhaps be a little bit proud of ourselves as a society that four decades on, we are at least attempting to tackle the stigma around mental health, so that no young person need fear that they are going to be locked up.

However, we should also be ashamed that this new openness has not been accompanied by the provision of sufficient support services for people with mental ill health.

There is one area I want to focus on – the transition from child to adult mental health services. Once you get into the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, you can actually get some pretty reasonable support. It’s arranged in a fairly logical way with consultants, psychologists and nurses working together to support young people. Unfortunately not every young person who needs help can get it at all, and most have to wait far too long.  It is not uncommon to wait for more than a year to even see a specialist.

Mental health issues generally aren’t resolved overnight, so you have a year of turmoil while you are waiting to be seen and, maybe another couple of years of reasonably intensive support – and then you turn 18. All the effort put into helping you is now at risk as you are put into the virtually non-existent twilight world of adult mental health services which are disparate, insufficient and as suitable for the scale of the problem as  trying to surf the Atlantic on a My Little Pony lilo.

This country is being robbed of the talents of some wonderful individuals simply because it does not invest in the services they need to stay well.

Even the most cruel and heartless government should surely recognise that the cost of not supporting these people is enormous to both our economy and our society.

I’m incredibly proud that Nick Clegg and Norman Lamb have done so much to improve mental health services and tackle the stigma around mental health. One of the most horrible things about the run-up to the 2015 election was the almost certain knowledge that Norman wouldn’t be mental health minister any more.

Today, Liberal Democrats have been marking Mental Health Day in a variety of ways:

Kirsty Williams made this video highlighting mental ill health in the workplace:

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LibLink: Kirsty William: It’s not about whether we charge tuition fees. In Wales, we’ve found a third way

The one Liberal Democrat left in national government, Kirsty Williams, has written an article for the Guardian in which she sets out what she is introducing in Wales – a plan to help students with living costs which will support part time and postgraduate students too:

The new support package in Wales will cover those who start their course in 2018/19, wherever in the UK they choose to study. Every student will be entitled to support equivalent to the national living wage. This means that eligible full-time students will receive maintenance support of £11,250 if they study in London and £9,000 per year elsewhere if they live away from home.

This will be delivered through a mix of loans and grants, unlike in England where zero maintenance grants are available. Very small, limited grants are available in Scotland, but they too are currently reviewing the system.

Welsh students from the lowest household income will receive the highest grant – £8,100 in their pocket, and more in London. Our estimates suggest that a third of full-time students will be eligible for that full grant.

Furthermore, our data shows that the average household income for a student in our current system is around £25,000. Under the new system such a student will receive around £7,000 a year in their pocket.

However, potentially the most radical element of our reforms is to provide equivalent support for part-time and postgraduate students. Wales will be the first in Europe to achieve this. For the first time, part-time undergraduates will receive similar support for maintenance, pro-rata to their full-time counterparts.

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Kirsty Williams on the “divisive” political atmosphere

Former Welsh Lib Dem Leader Kirsty Williams has spoken out about the unpleasant divisiveness of our political atmosphere after one of her team was racially abused and she had the unsettling experience of a man making a shooting gesture and telling her Liberals should be shot.

From Wales Online:

Describing the change she has seen since the EU referendum, she said: “I think ever since the Brexit vote I think politics has become very divisive in a way I haven’t witnessed in all these years and I think in some ways that has unleashed something where the country is very, very, very divided and that’s to be regretted and unfortunately I don’t see how that divide is going to be healed.”

Acknowledging the responsibility of politicians to take care in the language they use, she said: “I think all politicians at all times need to be mindful about how they express their arguments.

“There are legitimate arguments to be expressed but words are powerful and the influence politicians have is powerful and therefore there is a responsibility on all of us to be very mindful about how we conduct ourselves and the language we use.

She described what had happened to her volunteer and the effect that has on people:

“Unfortunately it just seems that this kind of discourse is becoming the norm. We’ve had a volunteer racially abused this week.

“She feels that she can’t go and deliver any leaflets because she was racially abused while just out delivering leaflets.”

The volunteer was someone who wanted to “do her bit in support of the values she believed in and unfortunately feels she won’t be able to do that again”.

The AM fears such experiences will stop people from getting involved in politics.

“That’s the issue, isn’t it,” she said. “Why would people want to put themselves and potentially their families through this?

Read on to find out how she reacted to a Conservative sign being planted in her hedge.

I do agree with Kirsty that politics can be pretty vicious at the moment. I am not sure it’s any worse than when I started out back in the 80s, though. It did calm down for a while in the late 90s. It used to be Labour who were the worst. Power came too easy to them and they responded with an aggressive arrogance to anyone who tried to take it from them. 

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Today at Welsh Conference

Welsh Liberal Democrats gather in Swansea this weekend for their first Spring Conference since the disastrous election last year which saw them lose four of their five AMs. The party has had to pick itself up from that heartbreaking and thoroughly undeserved defeat. It has re-organised its resources and is ready to fight the Council elections in May. They also have the only Liberal Democrat Minister standing, in Kirsty Williams, who is doing a great job as Wales’ Education Secretary. Below is their agenda for the day.

They are having discussion sessions with their party spokespeople, motions on students and the community, ending the right to buy and community banking and  a long debate on their council elections manifesto. The details are below.

Morning session

09:15 Opening of Conference
9:40 Party Spokespeople: Cllr Peter Black: Finance, Local Government, Heritage, & Housing Jane Dodds: Communities & Social Justice

10:00 Topical/Emergency Motion

10:20 PM1: Students and the Local Community

Conference notes:

  1. The positive impact of students and universities on the local economy
  2. The transient nature of student communities
  3. The tensions that can arise between long-term residents and the changing studentpopulation

Conference believes:

  1. Collaboration between groups leads to the most effective and sustainable solutions to the issues and challenges transient communities face
  2. That it is the responsibility of students, landlords, and local authorities to keep the local areas tidy
  3. More can and should be done to improve community relations between long-term and student residents

Conference calls for:

7. Local authorities to work with students unions and universities on a variety of projects including:

  1. Creating an information pack for students and landlords detailing what resources are available to them within the community. This can include material and adverts from local businesses and groups, guidance on contacting the council, guidance around bin collection and local events.
  2. Informing students of their rights as renters through online materials and workshops
  3. Run community building projects such as Cardiff Digs and Love Bangor
  4. Promote and work with Communities 1st and similar groups
  5. To recognise work done by students in the local community through the useof Higher Education Achievement Report or other award schemes

10:50 PM2: Standing up for our Local Communities

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Kirsty Williams on building last year’s elections and building an education system that inspires pride and confidence

Kirsty Williams has been speaking to the South Wales Argus about her role as Education Secretary in the Welsh Government. She has great ambitions for the role.

I want to have an education system that the profession are proud of and parents and learners have confidence in.

That is quite a high bar, and she wants to work in partnership with those groups, unlike a certain former English education secretary whose tenure in office seemed to alienate everyone.

I am confident that by working together we can achieve my ultimate goal, which is to have a first-class education system for Wales and one which people around the world will want to come and look at, what were the changes we undertook and what were the reforms we put through that led to that system.

But I can’t do it on my own. I can only do it in partnership with parents, learners and educators.

What was it, though, that inspired Kirsty to get involved in politics as a young woman?

Growing up in Llanelli, Ms Williams cited watching family members working in the steel industry lose their jobs and seeing a lecture by Social Democratic Party (SDP) MP Roy Jenkins, later a Lib Dem peer, as one of the biggest influences on her political development.

“I just remember listening to the lecture and thinking ‘I can’t say it in the same words he can but that’s the kind of community and society I want to live in’,” she said.

Being brought up in a family where politics was discussed and debated sparked her interest:

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What do you do when you want to distract from your party driving the country off a cliff?

Well, if you’re Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew R T Davies, you point out to anyone who will listen that Liberal Democrat Welsh Education Secretary voted in accordance with Liberal Democrat policy in the Article 50 debate in the Senedd as if this should be some sort of issue.

Labour AMs were whipped to vote for Article 50 to be invoked.

Davies argues that this broke cabinet responsibility. The BBC has the story:

The Liberal Democrat AM voted with Plaid Cymru against Article 50 despite the Labour group opposing the motion.

Mr Davies suggested some Labour AMs were “sore” over the Senedd vote.

Mr Jones’s spokesman said it was recognised the Lib Dems were in a different position on the matter.

Article 50 of the European Union Lisbon treaty is the trigger that would allow UK ministers to start the process to leave the EU.

The UK government wants to set Article 50 in motion by the end of March.

Mr Davies himself campaigned for Vote Leave at the referendum last year – his group joined Labour and UKIP in voting against the Plaid Cymru proposal in the Senedd on Tuesday.

Only 10 AMs supported the motion to oppose Article 50 being triggered without assurances over the single market, versus 46 against.

The vote if passed would have been advisory and would not have affected the process.

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Conference Countdown 2016: Looking forward to Lib Dem Disco?

For those of you heading to Conference in Brighton this weekend, I hope word has reached you by now that Cambridge Lib Dems are once again hosting the hugely enjoyable Lib Dem Disco in association with UK Music.

It was such fun last year that even Buzzfeed was astounded.

This year will see defending champion DJ Jo Swinson taking on the challenge from Kirsty Williams, Simon Hughes and the ALDC’s own Abi Bell. As before, your MC for the evening is one Julian “J Huppz” Huppert.

Things kick off at 10:30pm in the Balmoral & Buckingham Room, Hilton Metropole, Brighton on Saturday 17th September.

Please note that in previous years a special online discount was offered. This year tickets are all £10 each. We would like to apologise if this was incorrectly stated elsewhere. Naturally you can trust this now that you’ve read it on Lib Dem Voice!

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In Full: Kirsty Williams’ challenge to Welsh universities over Brexit

This week, Kirsty Williams, the Liberal Democrat Welsh Education Secretary, made a speech at Cardiff University about the challenges facing the sector caused by Brexit. She called on universities to strengthen their links to the community at this very difficult time. Here is her speech in full.

Prynhawn da pawb. Good afternoon everyone.

Thank you Colin, and many thanks to colleagues here at Cardiff University for hosting this event today.

It’s great to be here in the Postgraduate Teaching Centre, where professionals from industry and masters students mix and study in the same great location. It is a real state-of –the art facility, one which reflects ambitions to engage strongly with the local and global economy.

One of Cardiff University’s main purposes is to “contribute to the social, cultural and economic development of Wales”. It says so in the university charter (so it must be true…!)

Such civic ambition, in common with our other universities, was the product of a national, political and educational awakening.

As the Aberdare Committee of 1881 noted, there was a “widespread desire for a better education system in Wales” in the second half of the 19th century. The establishment of our own university colleges was central to the fulfilment of that desire.

I know that ambitions for an even better education system in Wales are shared, and demanded, across the country even now. Our national mission is to ensure that all citizens benefit from an equal opportunity to reach the highest standards. I am ambitious, and optimistic, about our collective ability to shape a system that is modern, excellent and innovative.

Universities are critical to that national mission. They should be open and outward-looking, connecting the civic, social and economic.

I want to take the opportunity today to share some thoughts on the role of universities as civic institutions.

  •   The challenge and necessity of civic engagement following the EU referendum;
  •   The role of universities as stewards of community, city and country;
  •   And the importance of innovation, a start-up culture and international links.

    Just before I move on, I’d like to congratulate the sector in Wales for achieving it’s highest-ever student satisfaction level in the National Student Survey last month – outperforming England in fact.

    Although we don’t take the narrow view of students as just a set of consumers, delivering the best possible student experience is a fundamental priority.

    BREXIT NEXT STEPS

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Kirsty Williams on supporting teachers, pupils and students: her vision for Welsh education

Kirsty Williams has been talking to Wales Online about her plans on education secretary. Here are some of the best bits:

On supporting teachers

She used tact and sensitivity, unlike some education secretaries in Whitehall. You are not going to get anything done in schools without getting teachers onside.

“I think there is some excellent practice,” said Ms Williams.

“I think that there are schools and other education institutions that are doing amazing work and children that are having a great education experience, but my concern is that it is not universal.

“There are too many variables between schools – even between schools that find themselves in the same local authority.

“What I want to do is focus on making sure that good practice, that undoubtedly exists within the system in Wales, is shared and adopted by all schools so all of our children, regardless of where they live, have access to the very best education.

“What I have been struck with in recent weeks is that the profession in many areas does not feel valued and I want to raise the status of the teaching profession.

“We are going to be asking a lot of them, it is they that will make the difference to school standards in Wales, not me in an office in Cardiff Bay – so we need to support them to do the job that we expect of them.”

Curriculum reform

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Holding Kirsty to account

When set against the backdrop of our worst performance in a National Assembly election, Kirsty Williams’ elevation to the Welsh Cabinet is nothing short of remarkable. It is no exaggeration to say that she is one of the most powerful Assembly Members in the Senedd Chamber; she may be a lone Welsh Lib Dem voice, but the power to make or break the Welsh Government is hers.

With Kirsty’s support the Welsh Government can command 29 votes, the same as the opposition (less the presiding officer and deputy). A tied no confidence vote results in the presiding officer voting in favour of the status quo. Simply put, Labour’s First Minister Carwyn Jones loses his insurance policy if he doesn’t keep Kirsty onside.

The Welsh Party overwhelmingly endorsed the agreement at a special conference by more than 4 to 1. It is a huge, huge gamble, but it has nothing left to lose. With a Cabinet post comes profile, coverage and exposure that a sole backbench Lib Dem would never have. If you think the Party struggles to get coverage at the UK level, our Welsh coverage is next to nil outside of an election. Frankly, it gives the Welsh Liberal Democrats relevance in Welsh Politics when we should, according to our vote share, be irrelevant.

Without an Assembly group from which to take counsel, or to hold her to account, it also places Kirsty in a very powerful position in her relationship with the Party. With the Party’s endorsement under her belt, she can effectively operate as an independent and take decisions as she sees fit. So what measures will she be judged against, and who will hold her to account?

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+++Breaking: Welsh Special Conference to debate whether Kirsty Williams should enter Cabinet as Education Secretary

Kirsty Williams 2We knew last weekend that Kirsty Williams was talking to Welsh Labour about accepting a Cabinet position and now we know what it is and what she will be bringing to the Cabinet table, subject to the approval of the Welsh Party at a Special Conference on Saturday.

From the Welsh Liberal Democrat website:

Kirsty Williams and the First Minister have reached a Progressive Agreement between the two parties to work together in Government.

The First Minister has invited Kirsty Williams to serve as Cabinet Secretary for Education and subject to ratification by the Welsh Liberal Democrats this weekend, she has accepted.

The agreement enables the implementation of key Welsh Liberal Democrat policy priorities that the party campaigned on during the recent election, ensuring that:

Infant class sizes are reduced to a maximum of 25;
There are more nurses, in more settings, through an extended nurse staffing levels law;
20,000 extra affordable homes are funded;
A new ‘Rent to Own’ housing model is introduced;
Mental health discrimination is ended.
Members of the Welsh Liberal Democrats will be asked to endorse this agreement at a Special Conference will take place this Saturday (21 May).

Commenting on the invitation to be Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams AM said: “Government in Wales has entered a new era. Where there is common ground, we must have the confidence and ambition to work together for the good of its people.

“The test of our new approach is not the warmth of our words, but our commitment to get things done.

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Could Kirsty Williams end up in the Welsh Cabinet? Should she?

After Wednesday’s fun and games in the Welsh Assembly, it has emerged that Kirsty Williams has been approached about possibly taking a seat in the Welsh Cabinet.

From the BBC:

BBC Wales also understands Mr Jones has discussed appointing Lib Dem AM Kirsty Williams as a cabinet minister.

Meanwhile the Welsh Tories suggested they will not support Leanne Wood for first minister again without a deal.

Neil Hamilton, UKIP assembly group leader, called on the smaller parties to “stick together” against Labour arrogance.

The Plaid Cymru leader was backed by the Conservatives and the seven UKIP AMs, as well as her own party,

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It all kicks off in Wales…

I suspect there may be a bit of buyers’ remorse setting in amongst the Welsh electorate soon if this afternoon’s shenanigans in the Welsh Assembly are anything to go by. Call me bitter if you like, but I think that swapping a conscientious Liberal Democrat group with its heart absolutely in the right place with a whole bunch of UKIP is not the wisest thing they could have done.

I go out for a couple of hours expecting that when I return, Carwyn Jones will have been elected First Minister. The only alternative would be for Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams, the Tories and UKIP (who have just ditched their Welsh leader and elected Neil Hamilton, yes, THAT Neil Hamilton as leader of their Assembly Group to gang up and outvote Labour. Then they could all govern together. That wouldn’t be awkward at all.

Incredibly, that, believe it or not, is what happened. Not Kirsty, of course. She was much too sensible, as you would expect.

That meant that the vote for First Minister was tied leaving an unholy mess for Elin Jones, the brand new Presiding Officer in her first session in the chair, to sort out. 

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Kirsty Williams stands down as Leader of Welsh Lib Dems

Kirsty WilliamsKirsty Williams has announced that she is standing down as Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, following the bruising results in the Assembly election. She explained here:

I can’t tell you how much of a privilege it has been to serve this party as leader over the last eight years, but with that privilege comes responsibility. Despite our best efforts, and a positive campaign, it has not been enough.

And for that, I must take responsibility.

In these new circumstances, the party will want to reflect and consider the way

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Wales: The Results – another open thread

 

Like Caron in Scotland I will be trying to track results, this time for the National Assembly of Wales. I have to admit that here at Lib Dem Voice we are at a bit of a disadvantage because none of us lives in Wales nor are we fully conversant with all the issues (although I can sing Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau rather better than John Redwood, having learnt Welsh for a couple of years at primary school).

So be gentle with us, and help us out. We would very much welcome input from readers in beautiful Wales on @libdemvoice, or [email protected], or in the comments below.

But before the results start appearing on @britainelects, or your channel of choice, here is some essential background information.

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Kirsty Williams: Vote Lib Dem to make more nurses and smaller class sizes a reality

Kirsty Williams has made her final pitch for Lib Dem votes in Montgomeryshire, supporting candidate Jane Dodds, where she will say that the Welsh Liberal Democrats are the only party to consistently work to achieve results and put narrow party-political interest aside, their leader Kirsty Williams has said today on the eve of the Assembly election.

Tomorrow’s vote is your chance to make a difference for your community. Before you cast it, I want you to ask yourself: who has delivered the most for you and your family?

More often than not, the people I talk to across Wales aren’t interested in the cheap party-political point-scoring. What they always ask me is, ‘What have you done to make my life better?’ As a Welsh Liberal Democrat, I always have a long list of things to tell them about.

When Labour wanted to cut the numbers of apprenticeships in Wales, we used our influence to stop them. When rural councils were getting a raw funding deal, it was us who secured more money. When our poorest pupils were consistently underachieving in our schools, it was us who stepped in and gave them that extra support.

Unlike the other parties, we’re not content with whinging from the sidelines. Welsh Liberal Democrats always roll up our sleeves and get things done for our communities, and for the people of Wales.

If our record over the last five years shows anything, it’s that a vote for the Welsh Liberal Democrats is a vote for our policies being put into action. Tomorrow will be no different – your vote could help make our ideas a reality.

If you support smaller class sizes, if you want more nurses on hospital wards, if you want an Opportunity Economy that enables people to get on life, then you have to vote for it – you have to vote Welsh Liberal Democrat. Only then can we begin to deliver a Wales that works for you.

The last few days of her campaign have been a whirlwind of campaigning that has seen her everywhere from Ceredigion to Cardiff to North Wales to her home patch of Brecon and Radnorshire.

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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:

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Jenny Randerson urges Welsh Labour voters to support the Lib Dems to stop Ukip

WalesOnline reports some interesting comments from Jenny Randerson ahead of next week’s Welsh assembly elections. Jenny said:

The truth is that Labour voters can stop Ukip gaining large numbers of Assembly Members. The power, so to speak, is in their hands.

Even Labour insiders know, in their heart of hearts, that it’s unlikely that they will pick up regional Assembly Members. Therefore, Labour voters must consider lending their regional vote to the Welsh Liberal Democrats to stop Ukip.

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Welsh Lib Dems say AM pay rises must be linked to public sector pay

Kirsty Williams on Radio WalesFrom May, AMs in the Welsh Assembly will get a whopping 18% pay rise, awarded by an independent pay review body. Only the Welsh Liberal Democrats voted against that and they have said that it must never happen again.

From the BBC:

Kirsty Williams has promised to peg AMs’ pay to general rises in the public sector.

AMs will get a salary of £64,000 from 5 May, up from £54,000, following an independent remuneration board decision.

The Lib Dems pledge would apply to the Senedd term after the 2021 election.

Ms Williams said: “It’s outrageous that, at a time when public sector workers have had their salaries either frozen or rise only slightly, politicians are getting a salary hike of 18%.

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What they said about Kirsty in the Welsh Leaders’ Debate

Last night, ITV held a debate for the six Welsh party leaders.

As expected, Kirsty Williams put in a strong performance on education, taking on UKIP’s Nathan Gill on the folly of his education policies, emphasising Liberal Democrat successes such as the Welsh version of the Pupil Premium which was implemented because of Liberal Democrat influence and Kirsty’s More Nurses Bill. She was also keen to emphasise that the stark choice voters face on the list, with key seats being a choice between Kirsty’s Lib Dems and UKIP.

You can see for yourself by watching the whole thing here:

Here’s what commentators in the press and on Twitter had to say about Kirsty’s performance. 

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Cooking with Kirsty

Kirsty Williams faces her ITV leaders’ debate on ITV Cymru tomorrow at 8pm.

Away from the formalities of the campaign, she has been cooking with ITV Cymru’s political editor Adrian Masters. He’s been doing this with all the party leaders. I do hope he asked the men what their families thought of them being party leaders as well.

He helped Kirsty make Sloppy Joes.

Kirsty had a great story about being brought back to earth after meeting President Obama. If it had been me, I’d have wanted to talk about nothing else for about a year. Her husband, Richard, had something else he needed to ask, though:

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LibLink: Kirsty Williams: Cancer care in Wales

Kirsty Williams 2All the parties in Wales have been asked to write a blog for the Tenovus Cancer Care charity’s website. This is what Kirsty Williams had to say:

Cancer is something that will touch the life of everyone in Wales at some point. So when it does, the system needs to be ready to step up and give the treatment and care patients, and their families, need.

Yesterday the Welsh Liberal Democrats launched our manifesto for the next Welsh Government which contained a number of commitments that would transform cancer care. Cancer causes more than one in four deaths, yet Wales is the only UK nation without a cancer awareness campaign and there are huge variations in cancer outcomes within Wales, we must address this.

In government we would develop an all-Wales Individual Patient Funding Requests panel and remove the ‘exceptionality’ hurdle which prevents many patients’ access to drugs that their clinician thinks could help them. Your clinician should choose your medication, not your postcode.

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Welsh Lib Dems launch manifesto – A Wales that works for you

At a Penarth health centre, Kirsty Williams launched the Welsh Liberal Democrats’ manifesto:

Kirsty talked about its “relentless focus” on public services:

People want good schools, good hospitals and a vibrant economy – a strong future for Wales. After 17 years in office, people recognise that the Labour Government still fails to get the basics right.

We are launching our vision today in a GP surgery to send a clear message: we are relentlessly focused on better public services.

Our manifesto is a roadmap for an ambitious, optimistic and pioneering Wales, based on our values and our nation’s needs. Our priorities are the people of Wales’ priorities: more nurses on hospital wards, smaller class sizes for our children, and an Opportunity Economy so that people can get on in life.

It’s time Wales had a government that actually listened to people – this is a manifesto that will deliver a Wales that works for you.

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Kirsty Williams: We go into this election as the smallest opposition party which has delivered more than anyone else

Kirsty Williams on Radio WalesKirsty Williams came in for some pretty aggressive questioning from BBC Radio Wales’ Jason Mohammad the other day. He was not interested in giving her any opportunity to explain what she stood for. All he wanted to do was to talk about how badly the Liberal Democrats were doing in all sorts of elections.

She handled it all very coolly, talking about how Brecon and Radnorshire was now lumbered with a Tory MP who was perfectly happy to vote for cuts to tax credits and disability benefits. She talked about what the Liberal Democrats has achieved in the Assembly despite being the smallest opposition group and how we were winning council by-elections again.

You can watch the whole thing here:

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The world of puppet politicians

Here is last night’s Welsh Liberal Democrats’ election broadcast:

The world of puppet politicians

We've all heard the hot air of puppet politicians… but who will get the basics right and create a Wales that works for you?

Posted by Welsh Liberal Democrats on Thursday, 7 April 2016

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Kirsty Williams slams Tories and Labour over steel failures

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams has slated the Conservative Government at Westminster and the Labour Government in Wales for its failures over the steel industry. She says it’s time to put British industry first.

She said that the Conservative Government had allowed the UK steel industry to “shrivel on its watch”, in response to the announcement that councils must now consider UK providers when when carrying out procurement for steel. She also blasted the Labour Government for doing nothing to ensure Welsh steel was used on infrastructure projects.

Once again the UK Government is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. It’s no good asking councils to use UK steel now after letting the industry shrivel on their watch.

Of course councils and the UK Government should always be considering UK steel, but this is just a basic requirement to support our industry. It’s time this Tory Government put British industry first, rather than just kowtowing to the Chinese Government.

Labour’s record is no better. The Labour Government in Wales has completely failed to support Welsh steel. Time and time again Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for an audit of Welsh procurement, yet the Labour Government has done nothing. We called on Labour to publish new guidance when investing in steel, again nothing has happened. For 18 months we’ve called for reduced business rates on heavy machinery, again nothing. People are absolutely fed up of governments that offer warm words, but seem incompetent to realise how serious this crisis is.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Raw 12th Dec - 10:35am
    Is it too Machiavellian to suggest that Mrs May was the 48th Tory MP to send in a letter ?
  • User AvatarAndrew Melmoth 12th Dec - 10:23am
    I hope she gets 52% of the vote.
  • User Avatarpmknowles 12th Dec - 10:15am
    That should have been "I will be out in Bedale on Saturday"!
  • User Avatarpmknowles 12th Dec - 10:14am
    I have been campaigning for a Peoples Vote and will be out in Became on Saturday morning. I don't want a Peoples Vote though because...
  • User AvatarMartin 12th Dec - 10:05am
    At any other time, a PM in this position would not be able to continue. Joe Otten's assessment that roughly three quarters of Conservative MPs...
  • User AvatarBill le Breton 12th Dec - 9:51am
    Am tempted to write, "It's the DUP, st*pid". I wouldn't like to predict this vote, but for Conservatives remaining in office is the absolute priority....