What a UK Labour government would do for Wales
Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens
This year brings an opportunity for voters in Wales to make their voices heard.
Fourteen years of Conservative government has left people worse off. Families continue to struggle with the cost of living crisis, higher taxes and eye-watering energy bills. The Conservatives don’t have a plan for our future. They crashed the economy and now expect working people to pay the price.
So the choice at the next election couldn’t be clearer. More chaos and division with the Tories, or a stronger, fairer, greener Wales with a UK Labour government working in lockstep with our Welsh Labour Government.
That’s the message I am bringing to doorsteps across north Wales this week as I speak to residents alongside some of our fantastic Labour candidates.
But voters are right to ask us what we’ll offer. How will we reverse 14 years of decline, if voters put their trust in us once again? A mission-driven Labour government under Keir Starmer will take action on the day-to-day issues that matter most to voters.
Nothing is more fundamental than the health of our nation. Yet we are seeing health services under pressure across the UK. In Wales our Labour government continues to prioritise health spending in its latest budget despite a tough financial situation.
Despite a difficult winter, the overall waiting list is growing at a slower rate than in England and the longest waits for treatments are falling. We have more nurses and consultants working in Wales than at any time in the last ten years.
But we know there’s more to do. Labour is committed to modernising our NHS, and I saw that first-hand this week while passing through Bangor. The university’s new medical school will soon be training the NHS workforce of the future, with places funded every year by the Welsh Labour government. As the party who founded the NHS, Labour can always be trusted to protect it.
But we cannot pay for the health service we want without a strong UK economy. The Conservatives have presided over the largest reduction in living standards in Wales since the 1950s. Just over a year ago, their disastrous mini-budget deepened the cost of living crisis for hard-pressed families. This month alone, 7,000 homeowners in Wales will be hammered with higher mortgage bills, paying at least £250 extra on average.
Labour will break the vicious cycle of low growth, low wages and rising inequality. We will take responsibility for public finances with our tough fiscal rules, driving growth supported by good jobs and in partnership with business.
We’ve seen the need for a new approach only this week. The gutting news that almost 3,000 Tata jobs are at risk at Port Talbot threatens livelihoods, communities and our sovereign steel-making capability. It is yet another symptom of a UK Conservative government that has no plan for our economies and our communities.
We cannot have a repeat of the damaging deindustrialisation under Thatcher that we experienced where I grew up, when thousands of steelworkers lost their jobs at Shotton. If Labour was in government in Westminster, Port Talbot workers would have a brighter future. We have pledged long-term investment to ensure a sustainable transition to green steel comes with jobs in Wales. We need more Welsh steel not less.
But Labour will go further. We will create the jobs of the future by unlocking Wales’ green energy potential. Whether it’s floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea, or tidal energy, we will prioritise investing in green energy to create new jobs and industries to be proud of in our communities, as well as delivering cheaper energy bills.
We must also take back our streets. Dedicated police officers across Wales are doing their very best, but with very limited resources and too many people tell me they aren’t getting the response that they need. 143,000 offences went uncharged in the last year alone, with fewer people being charged for day-to-day crimes like shoplifting and possession of weapons. Labour will restore neighbourhood policing and recruit 13,000 officers and PSCOs to bring back the bobby on the beat, rebuild community confidence and tackle crime.
None of this will be achieved overnight and it will not be easy. But under Keir Starmer’s leadership, voters in Wales know that the Labour Party is back in the service of working people right across the UK.
After more than a decade of feeling like things are heading in the wrong direction, the people of Wales deserve to have their priorities addressed. So when I speak to people out on doorsteps this week, from Llanfair PG through Bangor, across the coast and on to Wrexham, I will be telling them that Britain can get its future back with Labour.
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