Taking action and making a difference to people’s lives
Leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price writes for The Sunday Times
This article was published in The Sunday Times, 10 April 2022
“As we look out over the Conwy estuary, a green tide is making its way through Welsh politics.” EXCLUSIVE - Adam Price, Leader of Plaid Cymru, shares his thoughts following his speech at the launch of the Plaid Cymru local election campaign, overlooking the beautiful Conwy Estuary in the north of Wales.
From Holyhead to Carmarthen, the way Plaid Cymru councils have gone the extra mile to work hard and resourcefully monitor and prevent the spread of Covid, to protect the elderly and school pupils, and to support local businesses at a time of grave concern clearly shows how we are making a difference.
Because that is what Plaid Cymru is about – making a difference.
As the pandemic began, Ceredigion council authority devised and implemented a progressive tracking system that ensured that the county had the lowest rates of Covid anywhere in the UK at the start of the pandemic.
In fact, their contact tracing system made UK headlines. If ever there was an example making a difference and acting for communities and people, in their hour of need, then this was it.
There are similar stories I can share from other Plaid-led councils. Over on Anglesey, the council acted quickly to ensure that local schools could be kept open as hubs to support vulnerable pupils including those eligible for free school meals and the children of key workers.
And Carmarthenshire was at the forefront more than once, setting up Wales' first field hospital at Stradey Park, and creating the first Covid Recovery Plan of its kind by any Local Authority to protect 10,000 local jobs.
Our record of action and making a difference dates back to before the pandemic. In Gwynedd, the local authority piloted its Keeping the Benefit Local strategy which was all about finding the best way to keep money in the area. Over the past four years, the amount of council spending that has remained in the county has increased from £56m to £78m - an increase of 39%.
Plaid Cymru-led Local Authorities have a great deal to be proud of, but as a party and as people, we never rest on our laurels.
That is why I know that our manifesto published this week offers solutions to the structural problems of our communities.
As we look out over the Conwy estuary, a green tide is making its way through Welsh politics.
Not content with negotiating free school meals to primary school children by the end of this Senedd term – we, the Party of, and for Wales, want to do even more for our Nation’s children.
That’s why Plaid Cymru-led councils elected this May will aim to extend universal Free School Meals to secondary pupils within the next council term.
Because this is what Plaid Cymru is about – making a difference.
Making a difference in tackling Wales’s housing crisis - by building more energy-efficient and carbon-positive social housing, more genuinely affordable homes, taking radical action on second homes and ending homelessness.
Making a difference in harnessing Wales’s potential for renewable, community-owned energy schemes, as part of a target to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030.
Making a difference in strengthening local supply chains and supporting local businesses thereby safeguarding local jobs and incomes in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis that many simply can’t absorb.
Make no mistake – this cost-of-living crisis is no accident – it is a direct consequence of Tory choices.
Just like the cruel austerity which crippled the late 2000s, rocketing energy prices and gaping holes in vital safety nets such as Universal Credit are a manifestation of Conservative values.
Our Local Authorities are still suffering the side-effects of those Tory cuts at a time when they are in desperate need of extra funds to secure a real post-Covid recovery.
Levelling up? More like holding Wales down.
And what of Labour?
Keir Starmer has back-tracked on his leadership pledge to bring energy companies back into public ownership. He has capitulated to the big bosses, the most privileged in society, yet again – even in the face of eye-watering rises in energy bills which punish the least well off.
But this is where Plaid Cymru can make the difference. This is the Plaid Cymru family at its best, the party of fairness and social justice – the party that does right by our future generations by making a difference today.
Extending a helping hand from the Plaid family to families in every corner of the country – the party for the whole of Wales.
By acting for our communities, we are the difference.