Conservatives Outline Future For Wales

Welsh Conservatives will today unveil key election pledges at a conference in North Wales.

Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew RT Davies, will on Friday March 11 outline five of the party's key pledges for the Assembly elections in May. 

The announcements come in a keynote speech to delegates attending Welsh Conservative conference in Llangollen.

In the speech, Mr Davies will outline his vision for a Welsh Conservative Government.

Mr Davies will also announce a package of support for people in residential care, capping weekly charges and protecting up to £100,000 of assets.

The five key pledges claim to:

-    Protect the NHS - guaranteeing more investment in our health service each and every year

-    Create more jobs - by backing small businesses and improving infrastructure

-    Deliver excellence in education -  transforming teacher training and directing more funds to the classroom

-    Provide security for the elderly - setting a cap on costs and protecting £100,000 of assets for those in residential care

-    Increase free childcare to 30 hours a week - ensuring affordable and accessible support for families

On social care, Mr Davies will announce plans to cap care costs and offer additional support to those in residential care.

The measures make up a £50million commitment to set a weekly cap - of £400 - on care costs, and aim to protect £100,000 of assets for those entering residential care. 

He will say, "Too many older people see a life's hard-work spent on care costs. It's deeply unfair, and a scandal that deserves greater focus by Wales' decision-makers.

"A Welsh Conservative Government would prioritise support for those entering residential care. We'd protect capital assets of up to £100,000 - quadrupling the current threshold - and we'd allow people to plan for their future with certainty as to their anticipated care costs setting a maximum weekly cap of £400 for residential and nursing care. 

"A nation which offers individual's dignity and security, and a party that is delivering fairness to the social care system."

"Labour are bad for your health"…

Mr Davies will also highlight discuss the Welsh NHS record, describing Labour as "bad for your health".

He will say, "Let's be clear, Labour are bad for your health. They've run the Welsh National Health Service since 1999, with the dawn of devolution.

"And throughout those 17 years the shape of our NHS has changed beyond recognition, mostly for the worse. In the last five years alone, we have seen emergency departments threatened with closure, hospitals downgraded and closed, services axed, and minor injury units given the boot.

"It's hardly a picture of health. 

"There are now more people than ever waiting over nine months for a hospital appointment. NHS waiting lists have doubled on Carwyn Jones' watch, and the four hour A&E waiting time target hasn't been met here in Wales since 2009.

"Patients are seven times less likely to be able to access vital cancer treatments here than in England, and that's simply unacceptable.

"Just like the people of Wales - the NHS is our number one priority. 

"So, I am so proud to confirm that a Welsh Conservative Government will guarantee more investment in our health service each and every year. No reorganisation. No hospital closures. And never privatisation. A new start for our NHS."

"Just one seat away from securing real change"

The Welsh Conservative Leader will also reassert his party's position as the only party which can secure the real change Wales needs, stripping Labour of power after 17 years of devolution.

In the General Election last year 408,000 people voted Welsh Conservative; more than have ever voted for Labour in an Assembly election. And despite the length of time  in which Labour have held office, just one seat needs to change hands in May to bring their reign to an end.

Mr Davies will say:

"We are just one Assembly seat away from real change, and the UK becoming a Labour-free zone. 

"This isn't simply about saying Labour's had a long time to give it a go - it's someone else's turn - because their record in office speaks for itself.

"Labour have been clinging onto power in the Assembly since it opened in 1999, have never had a majority, and are only one seat away from losing control.

"Time and time again they've been propped up by cosy deals with Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems - both of whom plan to do the same again in May. 

"Labour have proved, time and time again that they're bad for your business, bad for your health, and bad for your school."

In addition to the above pledges, Mr Davies will highlight Labour's neglect of North Wales and announce plans for a 'North Wales Powerhouse'.

Working with local authorities, business groups, and the voluntary sector, Welsh Conservatives say they would devolve key economic levers and deliver "true devolution" to North Wales.

He will say, "I'm proud to announce today that the next Welsh Conservative Government, led by me, would work to establish a true North Wales Powerhouse.

"So we'd work with Local Authorities, businesses and the voluntary sector; pool Welsh Government efforts and resources, and devolve powers to a regional North Wales Board delivering clear economic growth levers to North Wales, and letting people and businesses here take control.

"As local devolution in England surges forward, Wales cannot risk being left behind. North Wales needs true devolution.

"But devolution is not about hoarding power at Cardiff Bay - it's about empowering communities and regions to have a direct say over their own affairs.

"We know North Wales faces distinct challenges, but powers - over business rates, planning and - via an independent body - integrated transport, could act as a game changer for North Wales."

The conference begins at 10:30GMT in Llangollen, North Wales. 

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