Penarth Times – View from the Assembly (27.04.2017)

Next week people across Wales will go to the polls and vote to decide who will run our local councils. The local elections will be held on Thursday, May 4. Our local councils are responsible for services including education, social care, libraries and transport. These are services that affect our everyday lives, our families and our communities. Since my re-election in 2016 my team and I have worked closely with our Labour councillors and MP’s office to help thousands of constituents. Health, housing, education and transport are issues that feature heavily in my postbag and I expect to see these issues come up on the doorstep.

However it’s not just the local elections we have to fight. Last week Theresa May, in a massive u-turn on her previous position announced a snap General Election, which will take place on 8 June. Here in Wales, the Labour Welsh Government has been able to mitigate some of the damage being done by the UK Government. The Tory and Welsh Labour visions for the NHS are a prime example of this. Welsh Labour has continued to put the health service at the heart of the Welsh Government. The Welsh Labour Government spends over half its budget on the NHS Wales – a record amount, and more per head than in England. We do not believe that the UK Government’s privatisation agenda in England will deliver improved care.

Indeed figures recently published show that on the quality of care Wales is doing as well as, and in a number of areas better than, other UK nations. The Health Quality Indicators report looked at 13 different areas of healthcare. In 8 of 13 quality areas we match the UK average. In 1 area NHS Wales has ground to make up with the rest of the UK. However, in 4 areas we are better than the UK average. This underlines why we made different choices to England on how we fund and organise health and social care in Wales.

The Labour Welsh Government will continue to protect vital services and fight for a fair deal for Wales. We will continue to support small businesses, build new homes, invest in our local schools and support young people into employment.