North-south Wales railway improvements to be considered under Labour and Plaid co-operation agreement
The development of railway links between north and south Wales are set to be considered as part of a co-operation agreement between Labour and Plaid Cymru.
The two parties have been part of ongoing negotiations to work together in the Senedd for a number of weeks.
An agreement has today been announced after a joint policy programme was drawn up covering 46 different areas.
The pledges include asking Transport for Wales (TfW) to explore the development of transport links between north and south Wales, including how to protect potential travel corridors on the west coast of Wales.
It states they will continue to press ahead with metro developments to improve connectivity and encourage people to switch to public transport.
TfW will also be asked to work with local authorities in north west Wales and the Welsh Government to develop plans for an integrated transport system.
Meanwhile, both parties intend to collaborate to deliver free school meals to all primary school pupils, commit to take immediate and radical action to address the second homes crisis, and push forward long-term plans to reform the Welsh Parliament.
Described as “a new form of political working arrangement”, the Labour Welsh Government and the Plaid Cymru Senedd Group will work together to develop and oversee the delivery of the policies covered by the agreement over the next three years.
Setting out their ambitions for Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The Welsh Government has an ambitious programme for government, which it will deliver over this Senedd term.
“But we do not have a monopoly on good ideas and we will work with progressive parties where we have shared and common interests to benefit people in Wales.
“This co-operation agreement brings the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru together to respond to some of the most pressing issues facing Wales today, such as climate change and the energy and cost-of-living crisis.
“We can achieve more for people in Wales by working together and the co-operation agreement is both a response to the external challenges we face and a chance to build on the opportunities in our future.
“It will also help us secure a stable Senedd over the next three years, capable of delivering radical change and reform.”
Adam Price, leader of Plaid Cymru, said: “Almost a quarter of a century ago, people in Wales voted for self-government for Wales, with a promise of a new type of politics.
“They placed their trust in a new democracy with an instruction to work differently – inclusively and co-operatively.
“The challenges we face require real ambition to deliver radical ideas. The fallout from leaving the European Union, the legacy of the pandemic, and the UK Government’s determination to erode the Senedd’s powers all increase the need for transformational change.
“Taken together, the bold policy pledges will unite Wales and benefit every generation, from all primary school pupils receiving free school meals to a national care service, free at the point of need.”
As part of the agreement, a publicly-owned energy company for Wales could be created to encourage community-owned renewable energy generation.
Further investment in flood defences has also been promised alongside new measures to strengthen the Welsh language and support for young people’s mental health.
The two parties have insisted the agreement should not be seen as a coalition, with Plaid Cymru members not expected to join the Welsh Government as ministers or deputy ministers.
Funding has been put in place as part of the agreement, which will be reflected in the draft budget, when it is published in December.
All issues outside the agreement will be handled in the normal manner, the government said.
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