Welsh Lib Dems welcome Plaid-Labour deal commitment to free school meals for all
The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats has welcomed the Plaid Cymru-Labour Senedd agreement to roll out free school meals for all.
The agreement was unveiled today in order to ensure stable government after Labour fell one short a Senedd majority at May’s election.
It includes a commitment to “extend free school meals to all primary school pupils, over the lifetime of this agreement, as a further step to reaching our shared ambition that no child should go hungry”.
“We agree that universal free school meals will be a transformational intervention in terms of child hunger and child poverty, which will support educational attainment and child nutrition and local food production and distribution, benefiting local economies,” the agreement says.
The deal is due to last another three years – which is expected to be when First Minister Mark Drakeford will transfer the reins to a successor.
Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS responded to the deal saying she welcomed elements of the deal such as “work to tackle Wales’ high child poverty levels through the expansion of free school meals and greater childcare provision” which mirrored their own manifesto.
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats will work constructively with the Government on issues such as the above and in improving our democracy and fighting for increased powers for Wales,” she said.
However, Jane Dodds said that she would also hold Labour and Plaid Cymru to account, particularly in how they intend to reach their goals of net-zero by 2035.
“I will continue to fight to make the Welsh Liberal Democrat’s budget priorities heard,” she said. “This includes our desire to see a Children’s and Young People’s Budget, a ringfenced budget for mental health, more action on the cost of living crisis and support for small businesses.
“I am also concerned the agreement does include measures to tackle long NHS and ambulance waiting times. It is absolutely vital that all parties and stakeholders work together to tackle the crisis in healthcare provision in Wales as we continue to recover from COVID-19.
“Unlike the Welsh Conservatives who take their instructions from Westminster, the Welsh Liberal Democrats will remain an independent opposition voice for Wales.
“Against a backdrop of job insecurity, the rising cost of living, and coronavirus, people across Wales need to see practical solutions to their problems and that is what I and the Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to work towards.”