Luke Fletcher

Candidate for Ogmore constituency and South Wales West region (no. 2)

Luke Fletcher - OgmoreLuke Fletcher - South Wales West (2)

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Tell us about yourself

I'm 25 years old, born in Pencoed. I went to Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr for primary school, Ysgol Llanhari for comp and then Cardiff University for my undergraduate and Masters degrees. I worked in a bar in the hospitality sector for just shy of 5 years before becoming an Economy and Finance researcher.

What is the most important thing you think the Senedd should do in the next five years?

There are a number of issues facing Wales right now, chief among them, for me, is poverty. More and more people are relying on services such as food banks to get by. I believe it is a matter of urgency that we look to get powers over the administration of welfare devolved to the Senedd so that we can tailor our welfare system to meet the needs of people living in Wales.

We also know that Covid has amplified issues around poverty for many. The number of people who have relied on Free School Meals (FSM) during the pandemic is truly eye watering and a sober account of how the current Labour Welsh Government has forgotten about the communities that need help now more than ever. For example, current FSM eligibility criteria set out by the Labour Government has excluded 70,000 children living below the poverty line in Wales from accessing FSM.

Free School Meals should be immediately extended to any child in any family receiving universal credit or any equivalent benefit and if it's not done before the election, then after the election, it will be a priority for me. We should all want to live in a Wales where everyone is looked after in tough times.

What will you do for Ogmore / South Wales West if elected?

A priority for me is tackling poverty and its causes so I would be looking to meet and help organisations working in that field across the constituency - alongside lobbying for change with Welsh Government.

Alongside this, there is real potential in my area for us to be at the forefront of a 'green industrial revolution'. I would want to put us on the map as the place to be in Wales for the research and development of green technologies, bringing good paying jobs to our local area, ensuring people who want to stay in the local area and want good quality and good paying jobs can do so.

Finally, public transport infrastructure is not up to scratch. For example, the Ogwr and Garw valleys rely on infrequent bus services that are under constant threat of being cut. This is also true for the wider area. We must ensure that bus services are much more reliable and frequent as a starting point in order to connect communities and places of work. I would also like to look at the feasibility of building new, light rail or tram train tracks to connect our valleys not just with the mainlines but with each other.