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.

Eluned said:

This is effectively Labour Ministers spending over £50,000 of tax-payers’ money to promote themselves ahead of an election.  It is cynical way to spend public money.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are hugely supportive of the proposed South Wales Metro system and believe people need to be informed and consulted.  However, let me be clear: this isn’t money spent on a public consultation. This is money purely spent on marketing the fact that one day, years from now, there will be a South Wales Metro.

Anyone who has seen these posters will know that they reveal absolutely nothing about the Metro.  The Minister is wasting tens of thousands of pounds on a pointless poster campaign.

This is yet another example of Labour Ministers spending public money as if it grows on trees.  This spend simply can’t be justified and the Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to hold the Labour Government to account for their frivolous addiction to wasting public money.

People don’t care who’s responsible for the tolls, they just want them scrapped’

Tomorrow, the toll charges for the Severn Bridge go up. We hadn’t realised it cost nearly £20 for a lorry to cross. That has to be a disincentive to go to Wales. Welsh Liberal Democrats want to see the tolls scrapped as they were in Skye and on the Forth Road Bridge in Scotland. Kirsty Williams says:

Too much time is wasted by politicians worrying about which government should be responsible for the tolls.  They don’t seem to get that people couldn’t care less if the tolls are devolved or not, what they care about is who will scrap them.

Plaid, the Tories and Labour all want to keep the tolls as a cash-cow.  In contrast, the Liberal Democrats will completely scrap them.

It’s a disgrace that people are forced to pay £6.60 every time they enter Wales.

Scrapping the tolls would help rebalance the economy and drive growth in a part of the country that really needs it.  The tolls have been a barrier to the Welsh economy for far too long.

These tolls are a tax on entering Wales.  By scrapping them, the Liberal Democrats would boost the South Wales economy by around £107 million a year.

Kirsty Williams slams replacement of student nurse bursaries with loans

Kirsty Williams has slammed Jeremy Hunt’s plans to replace student nurse bursaries with loans. The proposal is particularly unjust given that student nurses are actually working on wards for a large part of their training. She said:

The UK already has a shortage of nurses; it’s outrageous that the Tories are now scrapping the valuable support available to student nurses.  This will likely only exacerbate the problem by putting people off training to be a nurse.

This ill thought-out decision will badly impact student numbers in England, which would then no doubt have consequences for Wales’ ability to recruit too.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats’ ‘More Nurses’ bill will deliver a safe number of nurses on hospital wards.  However, this announcement will have implications on Wales’ ability to plan and recruit our workforce to ensure safe staffing levels are met.

Student nurses spend 50% of their time in clinical practice working directly with patients.  Not only does the move to a loan system mean that nurses would effectively be paying to work, but the varied shift work required makes it near-on impossible to get a job to supplement a student loan.

Nursing is also a profession into which many people enter later in life, when they may have a family and mortgage to support.  Following this cut, there would be far less incentive for those wishing to train as a nurse to leave a paid role and take on substantial debt in order to fund their living costs.


“The Tory UK Government has already performed a u-turn with regards to recruiting nurses from overseas after sustained pressure.  This is another ludicrous decision that they must reverse, otherwise it is patients that will pay the cost through poorer hospital care.”



* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Wales.


  • Thomas Shakespeare 31st Dec '15 - 6:26pm

    Great ideas here, especially scrapping the toll. Who decided that it would be a good idea to spend £50,000 on posters saying “it’s approaching”?! It beggars belief.

  • paul barker 31st Dec '15 - 7:19pm

    Not sure about this, surely the idea is to inform those people who will inevitably have their lives disrupted while the new infrastructure is being built ?

  • Bill le Breton 1st Jan '16 - 12:48pm

    In the first Thatcher administration there were public service campaigns for the availability of Youth Opportunity (YOP) Schemes that were run around 11pm on BBC2 – not likel;y to be seen by many for 16 year old ‘youths’ one might have thought.

    The explanation? Government were actually communicating to AB voters who might otherwise have thought an uncaring regime was doing nothing for young school leavers.

    I take it that these adverts (above) are more about communicating prior to an election ‘look what we are doing’ than anything else.

  • Eluned Parrott AM 7th Jan '16 - 11:46am

    Paul – I have no problem with public information and would agree with you absolutely. The problem is that these posters contain no public information – not even a web address for further information.
    In fact, there’s no information anywhere in the public domain about what the Metro is actually going to be and where it will run – not even whether we are talking about bus, rail, trams or all of the above. There have been several glossy brochures and proposals by various groups, but nothing has been firmly decided. I would fully expect there to be a decent public consultation on the proposals when they are finalised, but can’t see the point of advertising something that is currently still a nebulous concept and not an actual thing.

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