The Youth Vote UK
What are they saying to get into the Senedd?
On the 6th of May 2021, the people of Wales will vote to decide who they want to elect to the Senedd Cymru, also known as, the Welsh Parliament. There are 60 seats up for grabs and if 1 party gets 31 or more seats, they can form a majority government. This will be the first Welsh election in which people aged 16 and 17 are allowed to vote.
Welsh Labour Manifesto 2021: ‘Moving Wales Forward’
Welsh Labour’s manifesto is called ‘Moving Wales Forward’. They want to promote social solidarity so that Wales can come out of the pandemic stronger and more united. The manifesto looks a lot at how they can get Wales back on its feet post the pandemic by looking at how to create more jobs, protect the NHS and also tackle the climate emergency.
Welsh Labour is a branch of the United Kingdom Labour Party. It is the largest and most successful political party in modern Welsh politics. Mark Drakeford is the party’s current leader.
This summary will look at the policies of Welsh Labour and how they relate to young people regarding the economy, health, education, crime and justice, environment and the future of Wales.
· Young person’s guarantee
o Work, education, training or self-employment for all under-25
· Create 125,000 all-age apprenticeships
o Expand the use of shared and degree apprenticeships
· £500 million Wales Flexible Investment Fund
o Support economic recovery
o Expand the development Bank of Wales’ patient capital fund
§ Provide long-term lending to small and medium sized enterprises, entrepreneurs and start-ups
o Secure the creation of a Community Bank for Wales
§ Community banks are banks that primarily serve businesses and individuals in a small geographic area
· Develop masterplans for towns and high streets
o To coordinate and focus economic opportunities and services, so more people work and spend time in these vibrant centres
· Tackle inequalities in work experienced by BAME communities
o Make Wales a genuinely Fair Work Nation
· Create thousands of jobs in a low carbon house building revolution
o Deliver 20,000 new low carbon social homes for rent
Welsh Labours economic plan revolves a lot around giving people the skills they need to find jobs as well as financially supporting local communities. There are some policies here which revolve a lot around young people, such as the young person’s guarantee. Welsh Labour want to provide the opportunities for young people to learn and develop new skills.
Furthermore, Welsh Labour plan to make thousands of jobs through their low carbon house building revolution.
· New medical school in North Wales
o Raise the numbers in medical training
o Increase training funding by 8%
o Train 120,000 new doctors, nurses, allied health professional and psychologists over the next five years
· Keep prescriptions free
· Prioritise investment in mental health services
o Prioritise service redesign to improve prevention, tackle stigma and promote no-wrong-door approach
· Rolling out child and adolescent mental health services ‘in-reach’ in schools across Wales
o Working with arts, sports, and voluntary organisations so support mental wellbeing across communities
· Ensure care workers are paid the real living wage
o The real living wage is £9.50 across the UK
o The wage is calculated according to the cost of living, based on a basket of household goods and services
o The real living wage is in contrast to the minimum and national living wage
· Build apprenticeships in care and recruit more welsh speakers
A key aspect of Welsh Labours manifesto is their covid-recovery plan. Part of this plan heavily revolves around health and social care. At the core of this is plan, Welsh Labour are looking to invest more funding into the NHS and recruit more staff and keep the NHS affordable and free for all at the point of need.
Welsh Labour are also heavily investing in mental health services. Young people’s mental health has been heavily impacted by the pandemic. According to a report from the Children’s Society in 2008 10% of children and young people (aged 5-16) have a clinically diagnosed mental health problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age. Investing more into mental health services is thus a crucial step in tackling this issue.
· Funding up to 1,800 additional tutoring staff
o Makes sure no one is left behind after the pandemic
o Part of the Young Persons Guarantee (Look at Economy section)
· Invest £1.5 billion in the next phase of the 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme
o Transform learning environments, develop net-zero carbon schools and open up school facilities to local communities
· Work with schools to meet their mental health challenges
· Continue investing in the Pupil Development Grant
o This grant aims to support those pupils whose families are facing the greatest financial challenges
· Explore reform of the school day and the school year
o Bring education in line with contemporary patterns of family life and employment
· Continue to invest in learning, teaching and research in colleges and universities
Welsh Labour are looking to modernise and reform the education system in Wales. They aim to repair the damage done to young people and their education throughout the pandemic. Because of this they want to support pupils by improving school facilities, and funding additional tutors to make sure that no one is left behind post-pandemic.
Looking forward Welsh Labour aim to reduce educational inequalities. They want to engage more with students so they can reform the system to ensure the best outcomes for the pupils.
Crime & Justice
· Maintain funding of 500 police community support officers and expand their number by 100 over the term of the next Senedd
Welsh Labour believe that the PCSOs are a vital tool in building a strong relationship between the police and local communities. PCSOs allow for better communication between the police and the local people. Labour sees this as the best way of empowering local communities to solve problems at a local level.
· Abolish more single-use plastics
· Create a National Forest for Wales
· Opposing the extraction of fossil fuels
· Regulation of animal welfare
· Create or significantly enhance green spaces
o Pollinator habitat sites
o Habitat creation scheme
o Sensory gardens for therapeutic purposes delivered in partnership with health charities and the Welsh NHS
· Introduce a Clean Air Act
Welsh Labours main aim is to abolish single-use plastics to reduce pollution. Along with this they aim to protect and even create more forests, parks and natural habitats.
· Work for a more federal United Kingdom
o Federalism is a form of government where the power is divided between state and national levels. In this instance between Westminster and the Senedd
· Pursue the devolution of policing and justice, as set out by the Thomas Commission
· Argue for closer economic and research ties with the EU
· Tax devolution
Welsh Labour aims to move more power away from Westminster and to the Senedd. Welsh Labour want to have more devolved powers when it comes to taxation so that wales can have more control over their own matters. Welsh Labour also want policing and justice to be devolved. Unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland, certain policy areas such as criminal justice and prisons have been reserved from Wales. However, many of devolved powers that the Senedd does have overlap with crime and justice.
Plaid Cymru – Party of Wales Manifesto Analysis
Plaid Cymru is a Welsh nationalist and socially democratic party that primarily advocates for Welsh independence from the UK. Their leader, Adam Price, could become First Minister if they win the election.
Here is a summary of their policies affecting young people on independence, the economy, health, education, justice and equality and the environment.
Seek immediate devolution of power over currently reserved matters, including rail, welfare, broadcasting, energy projects, and the Crown Estates
Hold an independence referendum during their first term in government
Draft a Welsh Constitution
Although Westminster has relinquished some powers to the Senedd, there are some areas, like those mentioned above, which are withheld by Westminster. Plaid Cymru would seek immediate transfer of these powers to the Senedd. With this, they would want an independence referendum like the Scottish had in 2014. Simultaneously, they would get the statutory National Commission to draft a constitution for an independent Wales.
Create a £6bn Green Economic Stimulus to generate 60,000 jobs over the five-year term
Establish a national Youth Job Guarantee for every 16 to 24-year-old with at least a ‘Real Living Wage’ for those not in full-time education
Create 50,000 public homes over the next five years – 30,000 council houses or other social housing, 5,000 cost rental homes at intermediate rent, and 15,000 genuinely affordable homes to buy
The £6bn plan comprises of £4bn extra investment in infrastructure and £2bn extra on the foundational economy over the next 5 years to help recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes plans like electrifying the rail network, developing a sustainable Welsh farming system and investing in decarbonisation of industries like steel. To finance this plan, they state they need an expansion of economic powers to the Senedd by Westminster. Primarily they want increased power to borrow money. Should this request be denied, they have an alternative plan for a national Green Growth Deal in conjunction with local authorities, building using the existing City and Growth Deals, which was set out recently in the UK Budget.
Their manifesto does not give a number as to what a ‘Real Living Wage’ is, but they plan to expand jobs in health, social care, childcare and education, in construction and in the low carbon economy.
Plaid Cymru state there are 67,000 households currently on housing waiting lists across Wales while 11,500 households presented as homeless in 2018-19. Therefore, they will build and use the 26,000 empty homes and flats across Wales to help remove this backlog and help young people buy affordable housing. Their aim is to make publicly built housing mainstream.
Provide 6,000 extra healthcare professionals for Wales - 4,000 nurses, 1000 doctors and 1000 allied health professionals such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists
Plan for the recovery of health and social care services from Covid-19 to:
Treat patients most in need, especially those with Long Covid
Support staff in dealing with ongoing stress
Prepare for possible future pandemics
Make health equality their goal in Government, with an emphasis on preventative measures that improve mental health and encourage physical activity
Introduce a Clean Air Act
They want to recruit these extra healthcare professionals over the next 5 years. Their strategy is to educate healthcare students in a way that provides the consultants and specialists we will need in twenty years. However, their manifesto does not state how they will fund this huge healthcare recruitment program. All they have said is their manifesto has ‘fully costed policies.’
Plaid Cymru state only 1 in 3 people with mental health problems receive treatment; therefore, they state they will allocate more resources to mental and emotional health year on year over the next 5 years.
The Clean Air Act would focus on creating Clean Air Zones, in high pollution hotspots and enable local authorities to introduce pollution targets.
· Recruit 4,500 extra teachers and specialist support staff in schools across Wales by the end of their first term
· Phase out GCSEs, A Levels and BTEC and replace them with a Welsh version of the International Baccalaureate
· Replace the existing school leaving age of 16 with a new ‘skills participation age’ of 18
· Reduce the maximum tuition fee chargeable to Welsh-domiciled students at Welsh universities to £7,500
Plaid Cymru state they will deliver a 3-year budget for education, so schools and further education can better plan and utilise their resources. The Welsh Baccalaureate will shift away from the ‘narrow academic route’ and give equal status to vocational or technical education where greater emphasis will be put on continuous assessment over examination. By implementing the ‘skills participation age’, they say ‘this means the whole cohort will either be in education, or a job with training.’
As for universities, they are aiming to make Welsh universities among the best funded in the UK by expanding the number of students studying and increasing government investment into Research and Development. By reducing the maximum tuition fee to £7,500, they believe this is the first step towards their long-term goal of making university education free again.
Justice and Equality
Press for full devolution of the criminal justice system – the police, prisons, probation and the courts
Implement a Race Equality Action Plan for Wales aimed at eradicating systemic racism
Create a Cabinet-level post of Minister for Equalities and Women’s Empowerment
Committed to promoting LGBT+ inclusion throughout society, including in all workplaces
England and Wales use the same criminal justice system, therefore Plaid Cymru want all criminal justice powers transferred to the Senedd. They believe if this is completed, they can create a fairer and more equal justice system. This includes commitment to combating Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-migrant sentiment, anti-Gypsy and Roma Traveller sentiment, and all forms of racism and bigotry in politics, their party, on Welsh streets, online, in Welsh media.
By implementing a Race Equality Action Plan, they hope to eradicate systemic racism. They state the gender pay gap in Wales is 14.5% and is unacceptable. So, by implementing a cabinet position dedicated to empowering women, this figure could possibly be reduced.
Set a Wales 2035 Mission to decarbonise and to reach net zero emissions
Establish Ynni Cymru as an energy development company with a target of generating 100 per cent of electricity within Wales from renewables by 2035
Introduce a Nature Act with statutory targets to restore biodiversity by 2050
Ban non-essential single-use plastics in 2021, ensure zero waste ends up in landfill and end all waste incineration by 2030
Provide good quality and safe green space within a five-minute walk of all Welsh households
Calling the environment, a ‘Climate and Nature Emergency’, they say they will ensure all department budgets within the Government will be aligned with nature and climate restoration. The current target for a Net Zero carbon emission Wales is 2050, which Plaid Cymru state is not fast enough and want to forward it to 2035. To achieve this, they believe independence is required so they can control their own policies.
The Welsh Conservatives Manifesto 2021: ‘A Plan For Recovery and Change – Lets Build a Better Wales’
The Welsh Conservatives have announced their new policies and promises for if they would be elected as the majority party in their manifesto. This also outlines the issues that are key to the party and what they will fight for in the next parliamentary session.
The Manifesto is titled “A plan for recovery and change – let’s build a better Wales”. This demonstrates a key focus of the manifest, recovering after the coronavirus pandemic. Its call for change, highlighting how traditionally the conservatives have been unable to challenge Welsh Labour to become the majority party in Wales. With this manifesto they wish to change that.
The Welsh Conservatives are a regional division of the wider UK Conservative party. Its leader for the coming election is Andre Davies who hopes to become the first Welsh Conservative First Minister.
Here is a summary of their policies affecting young people on independence, the economy, health, education, justice and equality and the environment.
Creation of 65,000 new jobs, 15,000 being in the green sector
Cut to the basic rate of income tax
First time buyers not required to pay land transaction tax (stamp duty) and threshold risen to £250,000
A £2.5bn ‘Covid bounce back pledge’ to boost the economy
Continuation of the 5% cut to VAT for tourism businesses
Abolish business rates for small businesses
Giving welsh firms priority for government contracts
Creation of a freeport at Holyhead
No new taxes
Build the M$ relief road and upgrade the A55 and A40
Cardiff airport to return to the private sector
Deliver rail improvements with the UK government
With recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, a key theme of this manifesto is tackling the economic challenges Wales face is a crucial part of the manifesto. The manifesto reflects this with a series of tax reliefs and funding for small to medium businesses. It also recognises the severe pressure the tourism industry has had over the past year with an entire section focused on rebuilding welsh tourism industry. The welsh Conservatives hope to achieve this through a reduction of taxes these businesses will have to pay as well as the creation of a welcome back to Wales festival in 2020.
An expansion of Welsh transportation and infrastructure is another area of focus for this election manifesto. The welsh conservatives believe that this will help boost the welsh economy creating greater trade connections, faster commute times, green transportation and increase tourism to the nation.
Health and Social Care
Delivering 1,200 more doctors and 3,000 more nurses and other professionals
Creating a network of mental health crisis centres
Establishing and publish targets on waiting times for mental health treatment
Preventing hospital closures and downgrades for the next Senedd term
Welsh Conservatives said they would introduce a minimum wage of £10 per hour for care workers.
The document says the Welsh Conservatives would increase the capital limit to £100,000 for those accessing residential care and would appoint a chief social care officer for Wales.
The coronavirus has also put a huge amount of stress on the welsh healthcare system. The welsh Conservatives recognise this within their manifesto and wish to rebuild a better healthcare service which works for everyone in Wales. Their plan focuses on a joint effort with the UK government to commit to an expansion of healthcare services in Wales matching the planned expansion across the UK. The Conservatives say they would ensure that no one should wait more than a year for treatment and promises to make NHS Wales independent from the Welsh government and establish a fund to modernise hospitals and primary care facilities.
5,000 more teachers
Improving standards by reducing class sizes
Guaranteeing more funding gets "directly" to the classroom
Scrapping the Welsh Baccalaureate
Refunding tuition fees for those who choose to work at least five years as doctors or nurses in the Welsh NHS
Providing all newly qualified teachers with a guaranteed first year of employment
Delaying new curriculum in Wales until September 2023
Cutting tuition fees in half for Welsh students studying STEM and modern foreign language subjects at Welsh universities
Giving 16-24 year olds free bus travel and discounted rail travel
The manifesto also makes a strong point of appealing to young people, calling it an opportunity for a "real comeback programme for our young people”. They plan on achieving this through a range of policies throughout education. In schools they wish to improve standards by reducing class sizes, increasing teachers as well as creating new schools. Highlighting this with the pledge to make “Wales a nation of excellence”. For universities it wishes to cut tuition fees in stem subjects and modern languages to incentivise skills which the economy most needs in Wales.
Scrap Natural Resources Wales and create two separate organisations in its place.
Introducing a Clean Air Act to tackle pollution and reduce the incidence of respiratory diseases
Increasing penalties and improve enforcement for fly-tipping
Ban single use plastics for non-medical use
Deliver a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans
Double investment in flood defences in Wales to £120m a year
Reverse the Wales-wide Nitrate Vulnerable zone
Guarantee financial support for Welsh farmers at a level of no less than that previously provided for the EU
As well as the economic and health focus of the manifesto, the welsh conservatives wish to “build back greener” with a collection of policies which help tackle the climate crisis. They wish to ensure that Wales meets its net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050. The manifesto pledges policies which look to reduce carbon emissions, plastic use and promote the expansion and maintenance of welshes areas of natural beauty. It also wishes to back welsh farmers and the fishing industry in meeting economic and environmental challenges.
Post curated by Jonas Volkwein (Head of Policy and News Analysis), Matthew Esam, and Sam Ward, (Policy & News Associate)