Wales politics

'Living wage' for all public sector workers pledge by Davies

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Media captionAndrew RT Davies urges a living wage for 'a hard day's work'

All public sector workers in Wales should earn the "living wage", Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies has told his party's Welsh conference.

Mr Davies will seek to make the change by 2021 if the Conservatives win next year's assembly election.

The living wage outside London, calculated to cover the basic cost of living, is £7.85 an hour - higher than the £6.50 minimum wage.

About 313,000 workers would be affected at an annual extra cost of around £18m.

Mr Davies said: "We're not going to be on the wrong side of the of the argument on this.

"We're going to empower private businesses to deliver the living wage, we're going to deliver it in the public sector, so that in 2021 we can truthfully say that Wales is the first country in the United Kingdom to be the living wage country in the United Kingdom."

It is estimated one in four Welsh workers earn less than the living wage.

Mr Davies told party activists meeting in Cardiff that major issues facing health, education and the economy in Wales would never be addressed without removing Welsh Labour ministers from power.

"It will never change unless you remove the problem, and the problem in Wales is Welsh Labour and their contempt for the electorate," he said.

'Plots stopped'

Opening the second day of the conference earlier, Home Secretary Theresa May defended the security services after criticism that they failed to stop Mohammed Emwazi, known as "Jihadi John", from joining Islamic State militants in Syria.

Image caption Theresa May denies claims that the security services are failing to intercept extremists

"You might not see the work they do, you might not know about the risks they take, you might not be told about the plots they have stopped and the lives they've saved," she said.

"But these remarkable men and women are true heroes and they deserve the support and respect of every single one of us."

During the afternoon session, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson described her party as the "backbone" of last year's successful campaign for a No vote in the Scottish independence referendum.

She said the lesson from the poll was that "when you stand up for your values, when you unashamedly make your case, then people sit up and take notice".

On Friday, Prime Minister David Cameron told the conference, at Cardiff's Swalec Stadium, the Conservative Party was doing more for Wales than any of its rivals.

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