Posted: Tue 15th Jun 2021

A stronger, greener, fairer Wales – Mark Drakeford to outline his party’s programme for government

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jun 15th, 2021

Mark Drakeford has outlined his party’s programme for government over the next five years later today.

This Programme for Government is being published much earlier than has been the case in previous years “as I want to demonstrate to the people of Wales that they can have absolute confidence that their government is moving quickly and purposefully to turn the commitments that we made during the election into prompt action.” The first minister said.

The five-year plan shows how the new Welsh Government aims to deliver it the big challenges in Wales.

Climate change and the environment is at the heart of the new government – a new “super-Ministry” has been created, bringing together the big policy areas to help Wales reach its legally binding target of reaching Net Zero by 2050.

Transport, planning, housing and energy are brought together for the first time, with the environment, to tackle the climate and nature emergencies, making sure climate change is firmly on the agenda for every public service and private sector business.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We will build a fairer, greener, stronger and ever more successful Wales that we all want for ourselves and for each other.

“But I am determined that as we move Wales forward, no one will be left behind and no one will be held back.

“People in Wales look after each other, and this programme is built on exactly that principle.

“These plans will help move Wales forward beyond the pandemic which has affected every part of our lives. They focus on the areas where we can make the greatest difference to people and communities.

“We will help our learners catch up and help people into new jobs. We will restore capacity in the NHS and help our industries and businesses prepare for the opportunities that lie ahead of us.

“It is a transparent and achievable plan but recognises the need for radical action and innovative thinking in the face of unprecedented challenge.”

Commenting on the publication of the Welsh Labour Government’s Programme for Government, Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies said:

“Last month, Labour secured a new mandate from the people of Wales through the power of incumbency and continuity, not the pull of their manifesto.

“Families, workers and businesses across the country will therefore be alarmed and concerned that this 17-page document is the sum total of Labour’s plan to get Wales on the road to recovery after the pandemic.

“We desperately need this Welsh Government to succeed if we are to recover from the most difficult year our country has experienced, but unfortunately this programme – combined with Labour’s poor track record over the past 22 years – does not inspire confidence.”

The program for Government is ‘thin in detail’ and ‘absent of targets’  Plaid Cymru Deputy Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said.

Responding to the Labour Government’s program for government, he said “What Wales needs now is a government that will tackle unemployment and NHS waiting times; a government that will address child poverty and its root causes; a government that will solve the housing crisis with the urgency that it requires and a government that will deliver positive and transformational change for everyone who calls Wales their home.

“But there’s nothing transformational or ambitious about Labour’s program for Government.

“There’s no economic strategy to support and help small and medium Welsh businesses grow or any detail on how they will deliver high-skilled, well-paid jobs in all parts of Wales. There’s nothing here that comes close to tackling child poverty – nor any concrete commitment to extending free school meals. And there’s nothing here that addresses the ever-growing housing crisis that is pricing young people out of their communities.

“This program, thin in detail and absent of targets, almost certainly does not provide the new start that Wales so desperately needs and is not the plan needed to take Wales forward to recovery and beyond.

The Programme for Government highlights the cross-cutting commitments and the Welsh Government’s wellbeing objectives including:

 Provide advanced, effective healthcare closer to people’s homes

  • Prioritise investment in mental health
  • Establish a new medical school in North Wales
  • Roll out child and adolescent mental health services in schools across Wales.

 Protect, re-build and develop our services for vulnerable people

  • Pay care workers the real living wage
  • Increase apprenticeships in care and recruit more Welsh speakers
  • Fund childcare for more families where parents are in education and training.

 Build an economy based on the principles of fair work, sustainability and the industries and services of the future

  • Deliver the Young Person’s Guarantee, giving everyone under 25 the offer of work, education, training, or self-employment
  • Create 125,000 all-age apprenticeships
  • Develop a Tidal Lagoon Challenge Fund and support ideas that can make Wales a world centre of emerging tidal technologies
  • Seek a 30% target for working remotely.

 Build a stronger, greener economy as we make maximum progress towards decarbonisation

  • Launch a new 10-year Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan for a zero-carbon economy
  • Upgrade our digital and communications infrastructure
  • Work towards our new target of 45% of journeys by sustainable modes by 2040, setting more stretching goals where possible.

 Embed our response to the climate and nature emergency in everything we do

  • Legislate to abolish the use of more commonly littered, single-use plastics
  • Create a National Forest to extend from North to South Wales
  • Introduce legislation to deal with the legacy of centuries of mining and ensure coal tip safety; strengthening local authority powers to protect the public and the environment
  • Introduce a Clean Air Act, consistent with World Health Organisation guidance. Extend the provision of air quality monitoring.

 Continue our long-term programme of education reform, and ensure educational inequalities narrow and standards rise

  • Fund up to 1,800 additional tutoring staff in schools
  • Continue to meet the rise in demand for Free School Meals and review the eligibility criteria, extending entitlement as far as resources allow
  • Explore reform of the school day and the school year.

 Celebrate diversity and move to eliminate inequality in all of its forms

  • Explore legislation to address pay gaps based on gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, and other forms of discrimination.
  • Pilot an approach to basic income
  • Ensure public bodies and those receiving public funding address pay disparities
  • Implement targets around gender budgeting
  • Ensure the history and culture of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities are properly represented by investing further in our cultural sector and museum network
  • Make our Welsh public transport system more accessible to disabled people.

 Push towards a million Welsh speakers, and enable our tourism, sports and arts industries to thrive

  • Establish a National Music Service
  • Consult on legislation permitting local authorities to raise a tourism levy
  • Introduce a Cymraeg 2050 Welsh Language Education Bill to strengthen and increase Welsh language school provision
  • Promote equal access to sports and support young and talented athletes and grassroots clubs
  • Develop plans for a Museum of North Wales.

 Make our cities, towns a villages even better places in which to live and work

  • Build 20,000 new-low carbon social homes for rent
  • Improve building safety so people feel safe and secure in their homes
  • Make 20mph the default speed limit in residential areas
  • Ban pavement parking wherever possible.

 Lead Wales in a national civic conversation about our constitutional future, and give our country the strongest possible voice on the world stage

  • Establish an independent, standing commission to consider the constitutional future of Wales
  • Establish a Peace Academy in Wales
  • Seek to reform council tax to ensure a fairer system for all
  • Put in place a £65m international learning exchange programme.

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