Plaid Cymru uses St David’s Day to highlight Welsh contributions
Plaid Cymru, the party of Wales, has used its St David’s Day motion to highlight Wales’ past, present and future, in the fields of economy, health and education.
In the hour long debate, the party pointed to the contributions made by Wales as one of the first industrialised nations, as well as the role medical aid societies played in inspiring the creation of the NHS. In education, it was Wales which pioneered secondary education provision with the first Comprehensive School in the UK, building on a tradition which stretched back to the early 1900s.
The party then noted that for our present and future, Wales can and should do better. The party noted the performance of the economy compared to elsewhere, with GVA still lower than England. It argued that a nation that has seen so much technological innovation and was once the biggest exporter in the world should be doing better.
The party also pointed to the PISA rankings in education, where scores in maths, reading, and science were lower in 2015 than in 2006, and lower than the UK average. The party also noted the long waiting times for diagnosis and treatment in the NHS as a further area where performance should be improved.
But the party also struck a positive note, noting that 20 years is young for a democracy. The Plaid Cymru speakers noted that the achievements of the past demonstrate that once again Wales could be a leader.
Rhun ap Iorwerth said that the Welsh Government needed to demonstrate progress in the major fields by the next elections, and that more of the same wouldn’t be good enough.
Speaking after the debate, Plaid Cymru’s Cabinet Secretary for Health, Rhun Ap Iorwerth, said:
“Wales was not only of the birthplace of industry, but the birthplace of the NHS and a pioneer of secondary education. Unfortunately, due to the continued failures of Labour and Tory policy, we have lost our confidence in our ability to be a leader in these fields. Sustained poor performance in the economy, education, and health under a Labour government have lowered expectations to such an extent that that very government celebrates when a report states it is performing ‘no worse’ than the Tories in England. ”
“It’s not good enough. Wales can and should be doing better. Plaid Cymru’s recent assembly manifesto was detailed and ambitious for our country. Instead we have a government content to manage decline and whose major pitch is simply not being the Tories. Isn’t it time we used our successful past to inspire us to creating a successful and prosperous future?
“Plaid Cymru is putting the Labour Government on notice that we want to see Wales doing better over the coming Assembly term. We need to be able to look Welsh citizens in the eye and say that devolved governance is leading to better outcomes, rather than poorer outcomes.”