Tuesday, 3 May 2016

A fresh voice for Llanelli

This column appeared in the Llanelli Herald on April 22nd

In the final week of the campaign minds will focus on what’s at stake in this election.

I’ve been very clear throughout that I’m not standing because I think everything is ok, I’m standing because I’m convinced we can do better and I want to do my bit to help.

I’m not a party hack. I’ve been ITV’s Chief Political Correspondent for Wales and now run the leading independent policy institute, the IWA. I have a mind of my own and I will not hesitate to speak up, or speak out, to fight for the whole of the Llanelli constituency.

Our National Assembly reaches adulthood next year - it will have been in existence for 18 years. And it is time for a new generation of people to energise the Assembly.

My priority will be to develop a long-term economic plan for the Llanelli constituency. In the thousands of conversations I’ve been having over recent months I’ve been struck by the despondency that has set in - too many people are resigned to decline. But we don’t need. to be. We have huge advantages in this area, and great people - so let's plan for a better future.

I will bring people together to set a vision for the type of economy we want in Llanelli in 30 years time and then work across party divides for the good of the area I’m from.

And Welsh Labour’s manifesto offers practical policies to help families too.

If we are successful we will deliver the most ambitious childcare offer in the UK. This will mean 30 free hours of childcare for working parents - covering 48 weeks worth of care for 3 and 4 year olds.

We will fund 100,000 extra apprentices by the end of the next Assembly. These won’t just be for young people but for all ages.

We’ll also help people who are worried about their hard earned savings being eaten away by care home fees. We will double the capital limit they will be allowed to keep on the sale of their home should they need to go into care.

We will give a tax-break to small businesses in Wales using our new powers on business rates. This new scheme will benefit over three quarters of business premises in Wales. Half of all eligible businesses will pay no business rates at all.

And finally, we will develop a New Treatment Fund in Wales to ensure that people suffering life-threatening conditions can have access to the latest medicine and treatment.

Taken together they amount to an ambitious plan for the next 5 years. And with fresh blood in the Assembly we will deliver this, and more.

Lee Waters is Welsh Labour’s Assembly candidate for Llanelli

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