Wales politics

General Election 2017: Welsh Conservative manifesto at-a-glance

Theresa May in Wales Image copyright Getty Images

Prime Minister Theresa May emphasised the importance of north east Wales as a general election battleground when she launched her party's Welsh manifesto on Tuesday.

The event was held in the village of Gresford in the constituency of Wrexham - currently held by Labour but targeted by the Tories.

Like other Welsh manifestos, the document restates many of the pledges made at a UK level. You can find more about those here.


Key messages

The Conservatives' Welsh manifesto says that Britain needs "strong and stable leadership to make the most of the opportunities Brexit brings for hardworking families".

It says that Theresa May "passionately believes in the precious bond between Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the union is at the heart of her programme for government".

A foreword by Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies and Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns says: "The strength of our commitment to Wales is seen through our determination to deliver more jobs for ordinary, working people, more investment in Welsh infrastructure and a fair funding deal for the people for Wales."


Key pledges

Image caption The Welsh Conservative manifesto front page

Specifically Welsh pledges in the manifesto include promises to:

  • boost the North Wales economy with a growth deal
  • scrap Severn bridge tolls for all traffic
  • set-up a new fund to replace EU aid following Brexit
  • give more powers to the Welsh Government post-Brexit
  • modernise rail infrastructure with new trains and stations

Economy

Image copyright PA

The Conservatives promise an industrial strategy with Wales at its "heart".

"We have the fastest economic growth per head outside London since 2010 and the value of Welsh exports has more than doubled since 1999," it says.

The Tories say they would abolish business rates for small firms with rateable values up to £15,000 and would seek to reform them - although this is devolved and the party would need to win power in the assembly elections in 2021 to do it.

The party also promises to:

  • reconvene the Board of Trade with a membership specifically charged with ensuring exports are increased from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as England
  • work with Tata, trade unions and Welsh Government to find a long-term viable solution for sustainable steelmaking in Port Talbot
  • open new offices of a British Business Bank in Newport

Transport and infrastructure

Pledges include:

  • pressing the Welsh Government to deliver the M4 relief road, and improvements on the A40 in west Wales and the A55 in north Wales
  • continuing to modernise railway infrastructure across north and south Wales
  • ensuring passengers in north Wales benefit from a hub for the HS2 high-speed rail line in Crewe
  • pressing the Welsh Government to better support broadband roll-out through planning reforms
  • calling on Welsh ministers to avoid further delays in addressing planning reform to support extended mobile phone coverage

Brexit and Wales

Image copyright Thinkstock

The party promises:

  • to put Wales "at the heart of our trade and investment policy"
  • continue to commit the same cash totals in funds for farm support until the end of the next parliament
  • create a new UK shared prosperity fund to replace EU aid, which the Tories say is "expensive to administer and poorly targeted"

Devolution and the constitution

Image copyright Philip Halling/Geograph

The document says the Conservative party has delivered on a commitment to provide a "stronger" devolution settlement for Wales, pointing to the recent Wales Act, with a recent agreement promising a "fair level" of funding.

But it adds that the UK government has in the past tended to "devolve and forget". The party promises that a future Conservative government will "put that right".

Working closely with the Welsh Government "will not be the limit of our actions in Wales", the document said.

The party envisages that the powers of the Welsh Government will increase as the UK leaves the EU, and promises that no decision-making powers devolved will be taken back to Westminster.


Education

The Conservatives claim that PISA league tables show that in Wales "life is still largely determined not by your efforts and talents but by where you come from, who your parents are and what schools you attend".

It acknowledges that education is devolved, however, and says the Welsh Conservatives will work with colleagues in the assembly "to improve standards and extend choice so that our children and young people can compete with the best in the world".

It lists a number of pledges which the Conservatives would be able to implement if the party won the 2021 assembly election, including:

  • freeing schools from local authority control
  • introducing modern foreign language learning in primary schools
  • ensuring there are more apprenticeship schemes
  • increasing the availability of the free childcare allowance for parents of three to four-year-olds and work with the childcare sector to increase it from 10 hours to more than 30 hours a week

Health and social care

Image copyright Thinkstock

Health and social care is devolved in Wales. The Tories claim that the Labour-led Welsh Government has let down doctors, nurses and hospital staff by a failure to invest.

"The founding intention for the NHS was to provide good levels of care to everyone, wherever they live," the manifesto claims.

"This has not been achieved in Wales over recent times," the document says.

The manifesto makes pledges that would need to be implemented at assembly level and would require the Conservatives to be in a position to lead the next Welsh Government after 2021. They include:

  • increasing funding for the Welsh NHS
  • supporting medical staff, reduce waiting times and improve outcomes
  • protecting rural health services
  • championing increases in spending from the Welsh block grant in real terms on mental health services
  • protecting £100,000 of assets for those in residential care

In addition there are pledges to:

  • work with Welsh Government on a national campaign to increase the number of black, Asian and ethnic minority organ donors to cut long waiting times for patients from those groups
  • work with Welsh Government on implementing policy to improve disabled access to licensed premises, parking and housing

Others

The manifesto also says the party will:

  • call on Welsh Government to support hard-pressed renters in Wales by banning letting agent fees
  • work to ensure the long term future of right-to-buy in Wales, which is devolved and is being abolished by the Welsh Government
  • committed to ensuring needs of Welsh speakers are better met by the Government Digital Service

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