Plaid Cymru to make valleys conference regular event
Peredur Owen Griffiths MS
While it may be hard to define precisely, whenever the ‘valleys’ are mentioned most people have a good idea of the geographical area it covers.
For me, it represents the former coalfields in the south of the country where the cost of fuelling the British economy was a heavy one indeed.
After a childhood spent moving around Wales due to my father being a Minister, it is now the place I call home and have done for more than two decades.
The valleys are really important to Plaid Cymru. We are serious about representing each and every person in this special part of our country.
With that in mind, we held a special conference at the grand and glorious Soar Theatre in Merthyr town centre on Saturday.
As expected, there was a good turnout of local members drawn from across Merthyr Tydfil County Borough but we also attracted members drawn from the Eastern Valley all the way from the western reaches of the former coalfields in the south of our country.
The main aim of this event was to bring together people from various communities to discuss the problems they face within their neighbourhood.
Most importantly, we hope to identify potential solutions to these problems to inform future manifestos and campaigns in future elections.
The session’s presentations – many of which were led by Senedd Members – on topics like the economy, the demographics of the valleys and campaigning were incisive and inspiring in equal measure.
In addition to the six Senedd Members in attendance (which included Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth), there were councillors, activists, and members all contributing to the discussion roundtables equally.
Topics that came up during the group discussions included combatting the cost-of-living crisis, transport policy, and the need to provide opportunities and well-paid jobs.
With the state of the economy and austerity biting hard after 13 years of Tory rule in Westminster, the morning could well have taken a sombre tone.
While there was no hiding from the challenges that we face, it was an inspiring morning that provided a good analysis of where we are in 2023.
Many positive ideas for policies emerged that would, if implemented, materially improves the lives of those that live here.
The plan is for this to be the first of a series of event we hold around the valleys to gather feedback, insight and solutions ahead of forthcoming election campaigns.
After holding these valleys conferences, I am confident that our party will be in a better position to craft policies that will more likely chime with people the length and breadth of the valleys.
Plaid Cymru is serious about making inroads into the valleys at the next Senedd election.
By holding these events, listening to our representatives on the ground and taking their feedback to inform policy and campaigns, we are matching our words with deeds.
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