Yesterday I had to deal with an irate woman who tried to tear into me over Welsh Labour’s promise to deliver 30 hours a week of free childcare for working parents of three- and four-year-olds.
She considered it a sign of the laziness of current parents, and of Labour’s willingness to give people “anything they want”.
She didn’t know that the Welsh Conservatives have also pledged to provide the same support to working parents.
Not only that but in Powys, where the county council has decided it is changing the point at which children must attend school to the latest date possible in an effort to save money, this service could be vital for parents who simply need the money.
I tried to explain to this lady that George Osborne’s idea of a living wage isn’t actually enough for people to survive without claiming benefits, so the extra burden of paying for childcare could break the bank for young parents, but she didn’t want to listen.
Fortunately, she was one of the few.
The majority have welcomed Labour’s integrated plan to make sure the Welsh people have every opportunity to succeed in their ambitions.
See, the plan for high-quality apprenticeships means more people will be trained in the jobs Wales needs, and should therefore be retained by the employers who trained them up, or may set up in business on their own.
The cut in business rates means small and start-up businesses will be more secure, and will have a longer period in which to get established – while the Welsh Development Bank will provide funding and advice, enabling success.
Add in the free childcare offer and you can see that these are all elements of a coherent plan. And it will work.
More and more people in Wales are agreeing on that.
In government, Welsh Labour has used every tool at our disposal to bring jobs, investment and prosperity to Wales. ‘Better jobs, closer to home’ is the call from our communities, and it is one we look to meet today as we publish our manifesto for the Assembly elections on May 5th. It is our plan for prosperity in Wales, and has a strong focus on jobs, skills and supporting business.
Now is the time to build on the record levels of inward investment and rapidly falling unemployment – we will seize this opportunity to build on our achievements of the past five years and develop a stronger, more connected and united Wales.
The plan we launch today is a plan for prosperity and success for Wales and for families right across Wales. A plan to make Wales stronger and create opportunities for everyone.
Our plan for prosperity involves the creation of 100,000 all-age apprentices, tax cuts for small businesses, a new development bank for Wales, fast broadband for every property in the country – and the UK’s most ambitious childcare offer for working parents. Along with our continued focus on schools standards and skills, this is a comprehensive package that will give extra impetus to our economy.
Welsh Labour will be here for women returning to work after having children; for young people entering the workplace for the first time and for small businesses who are the backbone of our economy.
This is a plan to get the country moving by helping people into work and creating opportunities for work.
Our aim is clear – more and better jobs, closer to home. Together we can make Wales a more prosperous place so we can all share the benefits.
Welsh Labour’s plan for prosperity:
Create 100,000 all-age apprenticeships. These will be high-quality apprenticeships to ensure major projects have access to the skills they need. We will develop the earning-and-learning approach so more apprentices learn in the workplace.
Provide 30 hours-a-week of free child care, 48 weeks of the year for working parents of three and four-year-olds. Our ambitious pledge, which goes further than child care offered in England or Scotland, is for parents who are working 16 hours a week or more.
Fast broadband to every property in Wales. By 2017, we will have enabled 96% of properties to connect to superfast broadband but we are committed to giving every property a fast, reliable broadband connection.
Tax cuts for all small businesses. We will cut the amount of business rates paid by small businesses right across Wales.
A Welsh development bank. The development bank will provide funding to micro, small and medium enterprises in Wales to create jobs and provide advice to businesses, which are looking to grow and prosper.
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: