Adam Price, Leader of Plaid Cymru, writes in the Sunday Times that voting for Wales in May's election can lead to a brighter future.

Last week, as we marked the Spring equinox, where the hours of light outweigh the night, we learnt that over half of UK adults had received the coronavirus vaccine – our own medical triumph of light over dark. We have all been craving that light in our own way. Not just longing for what once was, but what is yet to be. 

For Wales cannot go back to how things were before the pandemic. Where a third of our children are in poverty. Where over half of our carers are paid less than the Real Living Wage. Where 67,000 families are on housing waiting lists.

In our heyday, 11 million tonnes of coal were exported from our docks each year, and this once powered the world. In return, the world came to Wales, making ‘Tiger Bay’ a melting pot of cultures and characters.

But more than a century later, while the black film of coal dust may have been cleared, the scars of deindustrialisation and economic decay are all too clear to see.

This is the dark reality of Wales – the prior pandemic of poverty and inequality. It’s cast a shadow over generations.

While Coronavirus has shone a light over these problems, they existed before the pandemic. When Wales already had some of the highest sickness levels and lowest life expectancies in Europe, was it any wonder our communities have been so badly hit by the virus?

Our population is older and sicker than the UK average, and this fact won’t change after the pandemic has left us. Nor will the number of children in poverty, or the people on poverty pay, unless the new Welsh Government is prepared to deliver the political equivalent of a Spring Equinox.

The election on 6th May is a moment of truth for Wales – if we want to eradicate child hunger, end poverty pay, and create an equal nation and a nation of equals, we need a government that can deliver a truly transformational programme.

We need a government that believes there is no problem that we in Wales cannot solve ourselves, that has the energy and the ideas which have been lacking under Labour over the last twenty years.

Unlike Labour and the Tories, we refuse to defer to Westminster. All too often we see the former passing the buck when things go wrong and the latter duplicitously claiming the credit as they wish.

Welsh Labour, in its reluctance to negotiate further powers, would rather leave powers over the economy, energy and the welfare state in the hands of Boris and his cronies.

We need a government that believes that the people best placed to decide our nation’s future are the people of Wales themselves. And we need a government that shares the hopes and dreams of a nation.

This is what a Plaid Cymru government would mean for Wales: Leadership committed to addressing inequality by ensuring the best start in life for every child, a fair deal for families and a seamless national health and social care service.

Free childcare for thousands of families in Wales, a reskilling grant to those made redundant by the pandemic, the launch of the most radical housebuilding programme in a generation, and an investment of billions in a green economic recovery that will serve people and planet alike.

What’s more, this is backed up by a manifesto that is fully costed and independently verified by two eminent economists.

It is often said that for people to listen, you must have a story to tell. I truly believe that my Party’s programme for government tells the story of a confident, successful Wales – an equal nation and a nation of equals. It speaks of a country which has come of age, whose next chapter will be fairer, greener, and more prosperous than the twenty years before it.

We say, if you believe in Wales, vote for Wales.

This can be Wales’s spring. Let this be the year when hope displaces despair, when poverty is replaced by plenty, and when the light really does outlast the dark.