Welsh Labour launches Senedd election campaign with six pledges

Rod Minchin, PA
·3-min read

The Welsh Labour Party has launched its Senedd election campaign with a string of pledges on jobs, building a greener economy, improving wages for care workers and helping younger people.

The key commitment is to give every person aged under 25 a job, a college or university place, training or self-employment.

Welsh Labour leader and First Minister Mark Drakeford said the Young Person’s Guarantee would include 125,000 new apprenticeships across Wales.

Mark Drakeford
Mark Drakeford said it was Welsh Labour that had ‘the practical experience to change people’s lives for the better’ (Ben Birchall/PA)

If Labour continued to lead the Welsh Government after May 6, the party said it planned to invest in the NHS and schools and establish a new medical school in North Wales.

Care workers would also receive the real living wage and there would be more police community support officers on patrol.

It would also make Wales greener by abolishing more single-use plastics and creating a National Forest for Wales.

Welsh Labour is also promising to create thousands of new jobs by building 20,000 new low-carbon homes.

It hopes the six pledges will deliver an overall majority in the Senedd for the first time since devolution in 1999.

The party has 29 of 60 seats in the Senedd and has formed an administration with the support of the sole Liberal Democrat MS Kirsty Williams, who is education minister, and independent MS Lord Elis-Thomas, as deputy culture minister.

Labour will hope its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic will be seen positively by the electorate, rather than negatively.

It will also be the first election in which 16 and 17-year-olds and legally resident foreign nationals are allowed to vote in Wales.

Speaking at the campaign launch, Mr Drakeford said: “As we emerge from the pandemic it is Welsh Labour that once again has the positive, outward looking and progressive ideas to help families and communities across Wales.

“It’s Welsh Labour that once again has the practical experience to change people’s lives for the better.”

He said Wales needed “credible leadership” to ensure the Welsh economy was rebuilt more fairly.

“At this election, one thing will define the difference between Welsh Labour and the opposition parties,” he said.

“Welsh Labour will be the only party that can and will deliver all of its promises.

“Every one of our pledges and every single promise in our manifesto can and will be delivered with a Welsh Labour government.

“No ifs, no buts. Just like we did in 2016.”

The Welsh Conservatives said the pandemic had exposed “what 22 years of Labour Government has done to Wales”.

Leader Andrew RT Davies said: “Labour broke the majority of their 2016 election promises to the people of Wales and there’s no reason to believe this time will be any different.

“They’ve failed to deliver the M4 relief road, A55 upgrade, metro systems and better paid jobs for our people. In short, when Labour make a promise to the people of Wales they inevitably break it.

“Our communities can’t afford another five years of same old Labour. Only the Welsh Conservatives will deliver change and build a better Wales, with more jobs, better hospitals and first-class schools.”

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price accused Labour of “abandoning socialist principles” and said it was a force for conservatism.

“There are two conservative forces at work in Wales – the Tory party which is actively working to undermine our nation, and the Labour party whose refusal to adopt a more radical agenda is holding us back,” Mr Price said.

“The First Minister may talk the talk on social justice, but actions suggest that Labour are abandoning their socialist principles.

“Inequality has been entrenched on Labour’s watch and only a vote for Plaid Cymru on May 6 will ensure a government for whom social justice is a priority.”