Monday, 2 November 2009

Carwyn publishes manifesto

Welsh Labour Leadership candidate, Carwyn Jones, today set out his vision for Wales in the future by declaring, "I want to lead our Party because I want to change our country."

The Bridgend AM and Counsel General made his remarks at the launch of his manifesto, titled "Time to Lead", in Cardiff earlier today, which builds on a series of policy announcements Carwyn has made over the last week.

Presenting a bold, progressive and comprehensive policy platform, Carwyn addressed head-on the serious challenges and opportunities for his Party and Wales in the future.

From his Party's perspective, Carwyn spelt out his 'route map' of how he intends to re-build and re-connect Welsh Labour with the electorate.

Addressing the immediate challenges that lay ahead for his Party, he said:

"Welsh Labour is at a crossroads. Politics is about change. There can be no denying that we face difficult times ahead, and we must show we have the energy and ideas to continue to lead Wales. I want to lead our Party because I want to change our country."

From the country's perspective, Carwyn set out how he will lead the nation in addressing the huge economic questions and meeting the challenges of tackling climate change.

Citing his political hero, Aneurin Bevan, he spelt out clearly the fundamental principle that will shape his Leadership of the country, when he said:

"We face real challenges in Wales over the next few years, as we try to protect public services at a time of financial stringency. We will be judged by Aneurin Bevan’s statement that ‘the language of priorities is the religion of socialism’."

Setting out his priorities for change, Carwyn said:

"My agenda for Wales will focus firmly on the issues that matter to ordinary people - public services, jobs and apprenticeships, manufacturing, our environment, housing, improving healthcare, policies for Wales’s children such as affordable childcare and school building improvements, and measures to support older people, with a review of residential care."

He makes clear that his top two priorities are the economy and climate change, and today his manifesto underlines the importance of Wales's education system in strengthening the Welsh economy.

On EDUCATION, Carwyn today publishes for the first time a comprehensive set of policies which will ensure:
  • an increase in education spending by at least 1% above the block grant Wales receives from the UK Government, to ensure the best outcomes for Welsh children, with a sharp focus on inequalities in education;
  • a re-focusing of educational investment to ensure a greater proportion reaches the frontline - schools, colleges and universities. Reform of school budgets to ensure a fairer per capita distribution of resources across Wales, guaranteed to be spent on education;
  • a fully funded Foundation Phase and greater support for the transition from primary to secondary;
  • extra money for new schools for those local authorities that match the number of schools to the number of children in their area;
  • schools as community hubs, so that buildings are used out of hours for community and educational activities, including adult education, helping to break the inter-generational poverty cycle;
  • action to address unnecessary competition between FE colleges and schools, freeing resources to tackle those most likely to become individuals not in education, employment or training;
  • ending incorporation of FE colleges, with reforms to governance structures to give proper representation to staff, students and communities, and an all-Wales contract for FE lecturers;
  • action to address take-up and provision of key school subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics and modern languages;
  • a new focused agenda on winning more research money for universities in Wales, and better matching university courses and the Welsh economy;
  • driving partnerships between HE and our major anchor companies; and
  • continuing support for Welsh medium education at all levels including teacher training, with space for more bilingual schools that reflect parental demand.
Carwyn's policies to create a dynamic WELSH ECONOMY, are far-sighted and provide a focus on growing well-paid jobs, providing apprenticeships and offer a renewed focus on modernising Welsh manufacturing with an emphasis on creating green jobs. His vision for the Welsh economy of the future will be to:

  • use anchor companies as a basis for attracting more business and more investment, using sector-based clusters such as the optoelectronics sector around St. Asaph and co-operating with universities on research and development and with colleges on skills and training;
  • help smaller Welsh companies become part of their supply chains, as Airbus is doing throughout North Wales and EADS is doing in Newport and across Wales;
  • fully support the aerospace and defence investments that are already present or are due to come to Wales, such as the Defence Training Academy, threatened by the Liberal Democrats, the Tories and the mixed messages from Plaid Cymru;
  • promote the digital economy, develop a dialogue with the private sector to encourage them to see Wales as a basis for the development of advanced telecommunications and give full support to our media;
  • increasing the emphasis on green jobs with investment in insulation and renewables to tackle climate change and to boost the construction industry;
  • enhance the commercial experience that is available to universities so that they can be a better source of new indigenous businesses;
  • encourage young people to think of business as a worthwhile aspiration, building on Initiatives like Young Enterprise and the Education Business Partnership;
  • enhance support for entrepreneurs through our investment programmes, with less focus on advisers and a simplified business support process. We need an investment culture, not a grants culture, and the Assembly Government should take stakes in businesses it supports where appropriate;
  • ensure that we win more business for Welsh companies and Welsh workers through specifying community benefits in Welsh public sector contracts. There has been great progress on this front in the transport and housing sector, but progress has been slower in education and health. We can do better, and working through our procurement arm Value Wales I will make that happen;
  • expect companies looking for support from the Welsh Assembly Government to commit to an approach based on social partnership, which embraces sustainability, good employment practices, a commitment to training and to corporate social responsibility. Unionised companies run safer factories. They are more equal companies. They are more environmentally-friendly companies. I see the trades unions in Wales as part of the formal social partnership that we have; and
  • seek to repatriate the Bank of Wales brand and use it to set up a new form of people’s bank, not for profit, working with credit unions to unlock sensible lending and saving in Wales (and delivered through post offices). We have had great success with our publicly owned investment bank Finance Wales, and this is a model we can promote.
Carwyn says that addressing CLIMATE CHANGE presents "our biggest threat and our biggest economic opportunity – to fit our economy to the challenge". Amongst other policies he is advocating are:
  • aiming for greenhouse gas reductions in excess of 3% each year, with 70% recycling by 2025 and zero waste to landfill by 2050 and making Wales more than self sufficient in renewable electricity by 2025;
  • making renewables key and building a critical mass of renewable investment, with further developments and real progress made in the future on biomass, solar, wind, hydro and waste to energy;
  • increasing the scope for clean coal technology with carbon capture and storage will ensure that coal has a future;
  • promoting a Severn tidal project that harnesses clean energy with the least environmental cost;
  • developing a comprehensive programme of retro-fitting renewables and insulation to social and private housing that will also boost the construction industry, building on schemes such as the Heads of the Valleys low carbon programme;
  • abolishing fuel poverty by 2018 by fully implementing the Fuel Poverty Charter;
  • using our new building regulations responsibilities for 100% improvement in energy efficiency for new buildings;
  • introducing a comprehensive programme of retro-fitting renewables and insulation to social and private housing that will also boost the construction industry, building on schemes such as the Heads of the Valleys low carbon programme;
  • creating new green communities across Wales, with low carbon housing, micro-generation projects, affordable renewable energy, towns designed for green living, with a renewed focus on litter and tidying up our public spaces and ensuring energy companies invest extra money in Welsh communities;
  • charging for single use carrier bags in Wales to send a clear message that my government will not tolerate a throw away society;
  • investing in a green transport strategy – working towards the electrification of the Valleys rail network and commissioning a study to examine the costs and practicality of reopening the Carmarthen-Aberystwyth line. Work with the UK Government to electrify the North Wales main line and Wrexham-Bidston line;
  • encouraging people to use their cars less we need to make the alternatives more convenient. It is now time to develop a Welsh ‘Oyster’ card, and a single technological solution to paying for and promoting public transport; and
  • turning investing in cycling into a reality, building on the Sustainable Towns initiative and the Valleys Cycling Network. It is a cheap way of improving people’s health and their environment.
Presenting an innovative series of policies for the future of the HEALTH SERVICE in Wales, Carwyn will deliver:
  • more convenient services: I would like to make access easier, enabling patients to see their GPs in the evenings and at weekends, and be able to book an appointment online. We should ensure GPs are electronically linked to hospitals and learn from the e-referral system operating in Scotland;
  • reward NHS staff for implementing new ideas and developing an all-Wales innovation team to spread good practice;
  • a re-focus on tackling diagnostic waits to speed up treatment, and ensure hospital operating theatres are used at weekends in more places to make the best use of our investments;
  • solutions to the Ambulance Service problems through working with staff and their unions;
  • more focus on tackling delayed discharges of care. Elderly people in particular are frustrated at being kept in hospital because the care services are not in place at home. Equally, people should not be kept unnecessarily in hospital for tests if they are fit enough to leave – they should not lose their place on the waiting list as a result;
  • a review of residential care for older people to try and reduce the real concerns that families have in paying for care costs;
  • action to implement our commitment to develop not-for profit nursing homes;
  • a higher priority for mental health services, which are particularly important during an economic crisis as the pressures of stress at work and unemployment come into focus; and
  • faster responses to emergencies. To ensure those in isolated rural areas in West and North Wales in particular can be confident that they can receive an emergency response fast in cases where an immediate response is needed, such as brain or spinal damage, my government will look at proper investment in the Air Ambulance service.
Carwyn's policies on HOUSING in the future would deliver:
  • more affordable housing, with local authorities able to build new council housing if they reach the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. More spending on housing, recognising that spending on construction maintains jobs in local communities.
Carwyn concluded by calling on Party members to place their trust in him by electing him as Leader, to deliver on the change Wales will need in the years ahead:

"We have done a lot as a Labour-led Assembly Government. But we can and must do better. The people of Wales know we can do better. They want us to do better. Our challenge is to make things happen.

"It is time to lead. I am ready to be that Leader – a Leader for the whole of Wales."

1 comment:

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