Jack Sargeant – Welsh Labour – Alyn & Deeside

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Welsh Labour

Website: https://www.jacksargeant.wales/

Manifesto: Welsh Labour Manifesto 2021 – Moving Wales Forward

Candidate Video: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=320608932781208

We first asked them to tell us a little about who they are, any political history, about their political leanings and what skills you have to be a top level politician in Wales?


From preparing food packages and checking on neighbours to having the fastest vaccine rollouts across the UK – we have stood together.

I have been supporting individuals and businesses to get grants and championing the case for manufacturing support from government, I have fought alongside small businesses who successfully won a court battle to get their insurers to pay out and worked with the Health Board to promote the incredibly successful Lets Vaccinate Flintshire campaign. As I write Wales has given 10 more doses per 100 people than any other part of the UK.

I am an independent minded person and will seek change whoever is in charge. I challenged the Welsh Government and won on the licensing of vital drugs for Cystic Fibrosis patients and have stood up to the Prime Minister when he was caught out over his false promise to deliver 62 new police officers for Deeside – we have had none. I sought to organise politicians of every stripe to get a bailout for the aerospace industry because that’s how I work; it’s not party first but my community first.

The next Welsh Labour government has pledged to deliver new rail stations, new schools, better pay for carers and for our NHS staff. I will also defend free prescriptions and free bus travel that are only safe with Labour, residents in England pay £9.35 per prescription item.

Most of all I promise to be what I have always been, a local person who loves his community.

1- Aside from Covid and Covid recovery, what do you feel is the top issue for Alyn and Deeside in the forthcoming parliament term, and briefly explain how you would like to see your desired outcome

The top issue for me is protecting and creating jobs and safeguarding our local economy. This will require investment in infrastructure in order to capitalise on a whole wave of new technology to bring achieve our goals of net-zero carbon emissions.

I’m an engineer and will use my understanding of industry to work with organisations and businesses to bring opportunities to our local area. We have the Advance Manufacturing Research Centre here in Deeside and one of the most highly skilled workforces in the UK – we must protect and build on this.

If you have only ever worked in politics, you cannot understand the importance of industry to our local area – as an engineer who trained locally and has lived here all my life, I certainly do.

2 – What is your plan for helping residents and businesses in your constituency in the coming years to recover from the pandemic?

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic I have worked hard to support businesses large and small to access the support they have needed. My team has secured thousands of pounds in vital grants and funding for local businesses and supported them to receive payouts from their insurers. I have also supported individuals and families to access the support services they have needed.

If re-elected I will continue to stand our community as we recover from the pandemic, calling for the funding and opportunities we need. Again, this comes down to knowing the area and having worked in industry locally.

3 – The pandemic has highlighted to many for the first time the powers that the Senedd have under devolution. How has the pandemic changed your views of devolution?


For me, the pandemic has further highlighted how vital devolution is for Wales and that devolution shouldn’t stop in Cardiff, we need to empower our communities in North Wales as well.


The Welsh Labour Government has provided the most generous financial support packages in the UK, supporting businesses at this difficult time and our incredible Welsh NHS has delivered the most successful vaccine programme in the whole of Europe.


At the same time the UK Tory Government has failed Wales, refusing the provide the sector specific support necessary to back industries such as the aerospace sector and providing inadequate assurances for those on furlough.


Devolution has shown we can and must do better to deliver a brighter future for Wales. I personally would like to see as many decisions as possible affecting North Wales, made in North Wales.


4 – What would you have done differently on the Welsh Covid response?

We must not ignore the successes we have had here in Wales we have the 3rd fastest vaccination programme in the world, significantly faster than any other UK Nation and at present coronavirus rates are lower in Wales than the rest of the UK.


 As this pandemic has gone on we have had to put more and more support to keep things closed, we did not realise how long this would go on for and some of things such a business support should have been made more permanent to give people certainty – this is the UK Government as well.


People got the impression from the PM last summer that we were over the worst of it when we weren’t. Some people say we should have stuck to Boris Johnson’s strategy rather than taken different decisions in Wales, but his dangerous behaviour from the start of the pandemic, boasting about shaking hands with covid patients, and dithering on lockdown shows how dangerous this would have been.


In hindsight I wish I had been stronger on people who were mischievously spreading false information and conspiracy theories.

5 – Would you support legislation to hold an independence referendum for Wales? How would you vote in such a referendum and why?


No, as a proud Welshman, I believe now is a time for us as to come together and build back stronger following this incredibly difficult time. A costly and divisive independence referendum is not how we achieve this. My focus will be on protecting jobs and rebuilding our healthcare system.


The border between Wales and England in Alyn and Deeside is either side of a road – Boundary Lane – the idea that now is the time to split these communities further shows a real lack of understanding of what people here want.

6 – What actions would you take, or support, as an MS to encourage Welsh language use growth? Or, if you are against this, why?


As an avid Welsh learner, I agree we should encourage the growth of the Welsh language and the Welsh Labour manifesto sets out plans for a Cymraeg 2050 Welsh Language Education Bill to strengthen and increase our Welsh language school provision across Wales. The National Centre for Learning Welsh will ensure anyone who wants to can learn Welsh.

7 – What does “climate emergency” mean to you, and why?


The climate emergency declared by the Welsh Labour Government highlights the severe and imminent risk that climate change poses. I have been a vocal advocate for a Green New Deal whereby we invest in green technology to create high quality jobs and forge a path to our net carbon-zero goals. I want the highly skilled workforce we have here in Deeside to be at the heart of this economic shift, developing the next generation of green technology as well as opening new train stations and encouraging greener ways of working.


I’m pleased that this has been recognised in the Welsh Labour manifesto with a low carbon housing revolution, as an MS I will continue to lead this agenda.

8 – There can be a perception that politicians are too “South Wales focused” and can see a north-south divide. Do you think this is the case, and realistically if elected which of your North Wales specific goals do you think you can deliver?


A Welsh Labour Government can deliver new stations in Deeside, continue significant investment in local schools like those in Shotton, Connah’s Quay and Penyffordd. I have also worked hard to deliver Wales’ first community bank to Buckley and a Welsh Labour Government will establish a North Wales medical school.


I also want powers devolved from South Wales to the North to ensure our communities have a say on the issues that impact us.


At the same time, we have to be realistic about where the big divide in this country is. Wales as a whole gets a raw deal in the UK, whilst London and South East England is a black hole sucking money out of the communities that most need support. The UK Government spends £903 per head on transport in London, where Boris Johnson’s constituency is, whilst the rest of the UK has to rely on scraps – Wales gets just £395 per head in funding.


To not give us funding because we ‘benefited’ from a train line from London to Manchester is ludicrous. We deserve our fair share; I have never been afraid to say this and I will continue to stand up for my community.

9 – What are your views on an LGBTQ+ plan for Wales?


I welcome the Welsh Government’s work alongside the LGBTQ+ community to develop an action plan for Wales. The report contains recommendations for removing discrimination and inequality across a range of issues including health services,


It is vital that the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people guide the content and actions of the plan throughout its development. The recommendations laid out should be pursued and acted upon.

10 – Children and young people have missed almost a full year of regular education – what are your plans to make sure that children who have missed out on academic and social experiences are not left at a disadvantage in the next few years?


A Welsh Labour Government will make sure that no-one is left behind by funding up to 1,800 additional tutoring staff in our schools for as long as they are needed. We will also continue investing in the Pupil Development Grant, focusing on support for the pupils whose families are facing the greatest financial challenges.


The First Minister has spoken about the need to closely monitor the performance of year groups affected and ensure measures are in place so that they are not disadvantaged when it comes to gaining qualifications.


But we have to hear the voices of parents, pupils and teachers on this to invest where they say it is needed – no one knows better than these groups where resources need targeting.

11 – Local services such as libraries, leisure centres and community centres have been badly affected in recent years due to lack of funding – how would you support local authorities?


Since the Tories were elected in 2010 and the start of austerity many of these services have closed across the UK. This has been a deliberate political decision to reduce funding for Wales. Wales is not fairly funded, and I would call on politicians of all parties to drop the party line, call it out and demand our fair share.


A Welsh Labour Government will strengthen the autonomy and effectiveness of local government to make them more successful in delivering services.

12 – How would you resolve issues at the local health board that are emerging from special measures?


I welcomed the announcement that BCUHB has been taken out of special measures but recognise improvements are still necessary. A new Chief Executive was appointed, and this was right to do – now is the time to be bold.


North Wales has led Wales and the UK in delivering the vaccine rollout with huge success. This real triumph for our area shows that our health services can succeed and we need to make sure this momentum is carried forward.


As we emerge from the pandemic, one of the key priorities will be funding NHS services to recover and provide the delayed treatments people are waiting for.


Welsh Labour plan to establish a new medical school in North Wales to raise the numbers in medical training and over the next five years we will train 12,000 members of NHS staff across Wales as well as continuing the NHS bursary to support those training.


We will also Invest in and roll-out new technology that supports fast and effective advice and treatments and deliver better access to GP, dental and optometry services.

13 – What are you planning to do to help those who are finding it hard to find work?

Under 25s have been hit hardest by the pandemic in terms of unemployment rates. A new Welsh Labour Young Persons Guarantee, will give everyone under 25 the offer of work, education, training, or self-employment.


As a former apprentice I know how important these opportunities are for building skills and kick-starting careers, a Welsh Labour Government will create 125,000 all age apprenticeships.


Protecting jobs and skills is key to helping people find work. I will continue to push for next generation of jobs to be based locally. The aerospace industry has been hit hard, and UK Government ministers have not even had the courtesy to reply to letters from the industry and its supporters. This is a vital industry for our area, for jobs, but also for Britain’s national security and the Tory approach of “stand back and stand by” is dangerous.


As our local motto says, we gain success through industry.

14 – Many feel that North Wales doesn’t get the same levels of investment as south Wales, a north Wales minister role was created to address some of the issues, has this been a token gesture?


North Wales accounts for 25% of our population, we should get our share, that means investment in local rail infrastructure and bus networks, more funding for our schools and colleges and further investment in our healthcare system – a Welsh Labour Government will deliver this.


This also means increasing the role of Minister for North Wales, making sure decisions that impact us are made in our interest.


Let’s be clear – more investment will come when Wales gets its fair share from England only major infrastructure projects. I’d like to see some of that money come directly to North Wales through the North Wales Minister.

15 – There are calls to review the controversial Deeside ‘Red Route’ traffic scheme in light of the pandemic. Do you still believe the proposed scheme is the right one for the area?


Yes, I support the red route, because these are extremely specific circumstances and we have a road in North Wales that is unfit for purpose. This decision does not mean we should support road building elsewhere and we should mitigate the environmental impact through the Welsh Transport Strategy.


At present, emissions from congestion and HGVs in particular pose a threat to public health and something must be done to resolve this we cannot sit back and do nothing.

16 – What is your plan to regenerate ailing High Streets in Alyn and Deeside

I’ve worked closely with the hospitality sector as Chair of the Cross Party Group on Beer and Pubs and understand the challenges they face. I will stand up for them as we come back after Covid.


Tory calls to target support like business rates relief at Supermarkets was totally wrong. This financial assistance must be targeted at small businesses like those on our High Streets.


The most important levers in this respect do not lay in the hands of the Welsh Government – the fact that huge multinationals operating online can avoid taxes that small local businesses must pay is crippling. The UK Government have got to start levelling this playing field.


If re-elected I will also deliver a Community Bank for Buckley. The high street banks have let us down and a community bank will provide essential financial services residents and businesses need.


17 – The prime minister said there would be an extra 62 police officers will be on the streets of Deeside, clearly the figure is wrong, do we need more police on the streets of Deeside and what will you do to raise the numbers needed.


We absolutely do and it erodes trust in politicians that he came here specifically to tell this lie. We must recognise that our streets are less safe as a direct result of police cuts. Anyone who denies this clearly does not live here or understand the situation we face, we have been badly let down by more than 10 years of Tory austerity.


I took your views to the top to call for the resources we need, so far, the UK Government has done nothing.


Despite not being devolved, the Welsh Labour Government have funded 500 Police Community Support Officers across Wales to plug that gaps left and keep our streets safe. A Welsh Labour Government would increase this number to 600 whilst the Tories have made clear they would scrap this funding entirely – this is a real concern.


18 – If you change political allegiance from what you are currently seeking election for (eg. resigning from, or joining another party or group) will you trigger a by-election? If not, why not?


I will not be leaving the Welsh Labour Party.

19 – At the time of writing where has the top three sources of funding for your campaign come from, and are there any funding sources you feel would be relevant to voters to know about?


My campaign has been funded solely by Labour Party members and supporters living in Alyn and Deeside and trade unions representing workers here. Our party is for people, not for profit, so we rely on contributions from local people like you, not big bucks from big business.


I believe all politicians should be upfront about their funding and I will fully declare everything in line with the Electoral Commission guidance.

20 – In a few lines to wrap this up, why are you the best candidate compared to your competitors?


I have always lived here, I trained and worked as an engineer here and understand our communities because I am from these communities. I am proud to have experience of representing our community and it is my belief that we need a local experienced politician who has done more than simply just worked in politics.


I am not afraid to challenge power, whether it is my own party or another. I showed this by fighting for Cystic Fibrosis drugs and challenging the Prime Minister over Police cuts. I am also willing to work with everyone to put my community first and deliver my ambitious plans for new train stations, schools and jobs.

Full list of candidates standing in Alyn and Deeside - and links to their profiles below:

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