Wales politics

General election 2017: Welsh Lib Dem manifesto at-a-glance

Lib Dem manifesto cover

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have launched their 2017 general election manifesto.

The party has put proposals for a referendum on the terms of leaving the European Union at the heart of the document.

Like the rest of the Welsh manifestos, they include policies that would need to be put into practice in the assembly rather than Westminster because those areas of responsibility are devolved to Wales.

The party has one AM, Kirsty Williams, who is currently education secretary in an otherwise Labour Welsh Government.

You can read more about UK pledges in the manifesto here. This guide concentrates on pledges in the Welsh document which are specific to Wales.


Key messages

"Wales simply can't afford unchecked Conservative government for the next five years", the manifesto says.

"You don't have to settle for a mean-spirited Britain, with run-down hospitals and social care. You could have a final say on the Brexit deal - with the option to stay in if you think it's a bad deal."

"If you want an open, tolerant and united Britain, if you want a strong opposition in parliament, if you want a prosperous and hopeful Wales, vote Liberal Democrat on 8th June," the manifesto adds.


Key pledges

Image caption Former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg (right) was at the Lib Dems' Welsh manifesto launch
  • a referendum on the terms of Brexit
  • giving more financial powers to Welsh ministers and increase their funding
  • transferring powers over transport, all Welsh ports, energy, broadcasting, air passenger duty, youth justice, policing and other justice powers from Westminster to Cardiff Bay
  • giving the immediate go-ahead to the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon
  • add a penny in the pound to income tax, enabling Wales to spend an extra £300m on the NHS and social services
  • give an additional £7.5m a year to local police forces in Wales

Brexit

Liberal Democrat pledges on Brexit include:

  • maintaining membership of the single market
  • supporting the principle of freedom of movement
  • opposing any moves that risk making Wales a less prosperous nation or will see powers more concentrated in Westminster
  • ensuring any powers in devolved areas of responsibility that are repatriated following Brexit be "appropriately devolved", and ensuring that such devolution of repatriated powers or responsibilities does not disadvantage the nations of the UK

Democracy, devolution and the constitution

Image copyright Richard Croft/Geograph

Pledges include:

  • delivering more powers to Wales by implementing the remaining Silk Commission part one proposals on financial powers and the Silk part two proposals
  • raising the status of the National Assembly, strengthening its capacity to scrutinise legislation and to hold the Welsh Government to account
  • allowing the Welsh Government to set its own bank holidays
  • seeking to increase the Welsh block grant to an "equitable level" over the five years of a parliament

Education

Image copyright Thinkstock

Education is devolved, and the party's only AM - Kirsty Williams - is the Welsh Government's education secretary.

The section restates existing policy on tuition fees, which will see support for living costs but end fee grants.

It also says the Lib Dems will:

  • increase school budgets and the Welsh Pupil Premium to protect against rising costs and pupil numbers, and investing in cutting infant class sizes
  • introduce new accreditation standards for teacher training courses to attract the best talent to the profession
  • introduce a new curriculum for Wales
  • increase the statutory duty on local authorities to provide a funded early education place for three-to-four year olds to fifteen hours a week
  • provide capital investment in schools and hospitals to support capacity increases and modernisation

Economy

The manifesto pledges to:

  • reform the business rates system, "prioritising reforms that recognise the development of the digital economy"
  • improve access to mobile and broadband connections across Wales, especially in rural areas
  • give additional funding to bring more private investment into renewable energy, such as the creation of the world's first tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay
  • give City Region initiatives in Cardiff and Swansea a statutory status
  • support the creation of a Welsh Development Bank
  • give local authorities a statutory duty for economic development

Transport

Lib Dem pledges in this partially devolved sector include:

  • devolving funding of Network Rail in relation to the Wales railway network
  • abolishing the tolls on the Severn Bridge, after the costs have been recouped in 2018
  • investing in the South Wales Metro
  • introducing a new improved Young Person's bus discount card, for all aged 16-21
  • electrifying the north Wales main rail line and funding a feasibility study into re-opening rail links between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen

Health

Image copyright Thinkstock

The manifesto says it recognises that powers over the running of the NHS are devolved. It states, what it calls, the Welsh Lib Dems' "vision and priorities for how the Welsh NHS should deliver effective care".

Pledges include:

  • allowing Wales to spend an extra £300m from an extra a penny in the pound on income tax, enabling the Welsh Government to give the NHS and social services a "cash injection"
  • giving mental healthcare waiting time standards to match those in physical health care
  • ensuring that there are more nurses on hospital wards and in the community
  • introducing a Welsh NHS whistle-blowing hotline
  • out-of-area placements for patients to be brought to an end, ensuring those admitted to hospital for mental ill-health are able to be treated close to home

Rural communities

The manifesto pledges to:

  • fight to prevent or counteract the adverse impacts on farmers of losing European aid from the Common Agricultural Policy and easy access to European markets
  • ensure good local services and community facilities such as schools, public transport, local shops, cultural venues and pubs, as well as more houses to meet local needs
  • boost the attractiveness of Wales as a tourist destination
  • ensure that every property and business in Wales has access to superfast broadband and good mobile phone coverage

Welsh language

The manifesto says the Lib Dems would:

  • ensure everyone in Wales must have the right to speak and learn Welsh
  • protect the funding and editorial independence of Welsh language broadcasters
  • make language impact assessments of proposed housing developments a statutory requirement
  • ensure that all children in Wales are able to access quality Welsh-language education

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