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Welsh Labour launch general election manifesto

21 Jun 2024 5 minute read
First Minister – Vaughan Gething launching Welsh Labour’s manifesto.

Emily Price

Welsh Labour have launched their general election manifesto which includes promises to tackle NHS waiting lists, plans to recruit new teachers and a new Border Security Command.

The ‘Welsh Manifesto’ was announced on Friday (June 21) in Wrexham by Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens and First Minister Vaughan Gething.

It features six steps for change in Wales including cutting NHS waiting times, tough spending rules, a new Border Security Command, setting up Great British Energy, cracking down on anti-social behaviour and recruiting more teachers.

Future

Speaking at the Llay Miners Welfare Institute, Mr Gething said the manifesto explains how two Labour Governments can work together “for Wales’ future”.

Images of Vaughan Gething appear in the ‘forward’ section of the document but the subsequent eight sections mostly include images of Sir Keir Starmer.

Ms Stevens said: “The manifesto Vaughan, Keir and I have agreed reflects our desire to restore hope and deliver change.”

Ms Reeves – who will be the first female Chancellor if Labour wins the election on July 4 – said Wales has suffered 14 years under a Conservative government “that disrespects devolution and disregards Welsh interests”.

Plaid Cymru says the manifesto “lacks ambition for Wales” and “undermines devolution”.

The party criticised the document for being “written by UK Labour” and not including calls for devolution of police and justice and the Crown Estate, or fair funding for HS2 – all of which have been called for by Labour in the Senedd.

The manifesto is not located on the Welsh Labour website – but can be found on the UK Labour website.

Schools

Presenting Labour’s education promises for Wales, Mr Gething said the recruitment of new teachers in state schools would be funded by Starmer’s plans to add tax to private school fees if he becomes Prime Minister.

Under the current UK Government, private schools do not have to charge VAT on their fees because of a legal exemption for education organisations.

The UK Labour Party manifesto pledges to end this exemption as ministers in London decide VAT policy.

There are around 2,500 private schools in the UK and fewer than a hundred in Wales.

Mr Gething said: “Today Welsh Labour presents our plan for a brighter future for the people of Wales. We will invest in the crucial first thousand days in a child’s life.

“We’ll recruit more teachers for key subjects. We will fund extra investment in education by ending tax breaks for private schools.”

Shadow Education Minister Tom Giffard criticised the pledges because education is devolved and is already the responsibility of the Welsh Labour Government.

He said: “Perhaps the First Minister has forgotten that education is devolved in Wales and he has the ability to recruit more teachers.

“The Labour Government have overseen a decline in standards over their 25 years in charge and for every £1.20 that Labour receive for education, they are only spending £1.05.

“Labour’s record on education in Wales is a stark warning for the rest of the UK on what a Labour Government will look like in Westminster.”

Health

Launching Welsh Labour health pledges, the First Minister said: “We make no apology for investing in our NHS – for keeping our NHS safe from Tory privatisation.

“We are already spending a billion pounds to tackle the NHS’s pandemic backlog. We’ll take more action on cutting long waits. We’ll open a new medical school in Bangor.”

Health is devolved meaning the Welsh Government is responsible for policy and spending decisions on the NHS in Wales.

Data released yesterday (June 20) revealed that hospital waiting times in Wales have hit a record high.

Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru candidate for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, accused Mr Gething of being “too weak” to stand up to his “London boss”.

The embattled First Minister has found himself embroiled in several scandals since coming into office in March.

Ms Saville Roberts said: “It’s no wonder that there is so little ambition for Wales in this manifesto – it’s all they could get past London Labour HQ.

“No commitment to HS2 consequential funding, no devolution of justice and policing, no control over the Crown Estate, and one hand tied behind their backs on post Brexit cash.

“Keir Starmer has already told Vaughan Gething what to expect – more austerity, £18bn cuts to public services and pernicious policies like the two child benefit cap.

“Vaughan Gething is too weak to stand up to his London boss and too mired in scandal to stand up for Wales.

“As Keir Starmer and Jo Stevens form a tag team to undermine devolution Plaid Cymru will always put the interests of Wales first.”

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said Welsh Labour’s manifesto offers “minuscule funding”,

She said: “Both Welsh Labour and the Conservatives manifesto’s offer the same old message of nothing new for Wales.

“Welsh Labour once again taking the Welsh voter for granted by offering a minuscule amount of funding to Wales, nothing close to matching the required amount needed to fix the mess created by their two decades stay in power.

“Meanwhile the Conservatives can only offer broken promises to a nation that they’ve neglected for far too long.”


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Old Curmudgeon
Old Curmudgeon
23 days ago

Well if Vaughan Gething is associated with this then I feel that everything is ok and above board and we can believe it all…

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
23 days ago

Why is he still here?

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
23 days ago

“We’ll recruit more teachers for key subjects…”

How do they plan to do this, when for the past year, several schools have been deprived of funds, and have been forced to make redundancies, or teachers have been asked to go for voluntary redundancy?

Now an election is coming up, all of a sudden, …… “recruit more teachers”? Anybody else angry too?

Last edited 23 days ago by Mr Williams
Old Curmudgeon
Old Curmudgeon
23 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Yes it makes me cross too. How long have Welsh Labour been responsible for education?

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
22 days ago
Reply to  Old Curmudgeon

Agreed. There was plenty of money for their consortia, but not enough for the front line, apparently.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
22 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

It is supposed to be from charging vat on private school fees, according to the article.

I read on the BBC website that this vat won’t be introduced until September 2025, so there won’t be any new teachers for well over a year, if ever!

Just like you, I’m angry with how little any of the parties are proposing in their manifestos! Things are heading in one direction, getting worse!

Why vote
Why vote
23 days ago

Always new he was a comedian. The first minister of a country endorsing a foreign political party above his own country. Does he understand what he is doing.

Adrian
Adrian
23 days ago

So the scientifically-baseless gender identity fairy tale is still going to be taught to Welsh school children as if it is fact, and Welsh Labour will still be fine with keeping the parents of ‘gender questioning’ children out of the loop. They’ll keep piling money into the NHS with no questions asked about how it’s spent, and keep hiring staff for all the DIE non-jobs. Same old same old.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
23 days ago

Pathetic. A question for our upstanding and environmentally aware First Minister. Why haven’t you done all this by now?
A second question. You could have taken the opportunity to ask your leader and puppet master about the (quiet, don’t mention it) £200billion he plans to spend on maintaining and expanding the nuclear submarine fleet.

Gareth
Gareth
22 days ago

Vote for a unionist party, and you get the same old unionists attitudes towards Cymru, which is basically, accept what we give you and be grateful, we know what’s best for you, and it’s not what you think you want, because you want what we are willing to give you.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
22 days ago

Gething will do exactly as he is told by Westminster masters. Shameful

Valley girl
Valley girl
22 days ago

Why is. Gething wearing the Union Jack flag on the BBC tv debate for Wales? Is he representing Wales or Westminster?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
22 days ago

First Minister Vaughan Gething had the cheek tonight during the leaders debate to look into the camera and say to the electorate watching at home, ” Vote Labour for change” when they have been in power for 25 years. Tragically nothing’s going to change for the better under UK Labour rule. There’s still going to be austerity. Disrespect of Wales. Labour leader Keir Starmer only cares about becoming Prime Minister, securing Westminster power and all that it entails. Screw Wales. Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens is basically Tory David TC Davies twin sister, who will continue where he left off… Read more »

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
21 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Noticed in several reports of the Manifesto Launch that they are going to set up a new Border Force. Could this be for the proposed Cymru/England border once we get the Independence Movement supported by a majority of Cymru residents?

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