The 2021 Senedd Election

Find out more about our candidate Alison Alexander here: https://www.montlibdems.org.uk/alison_alexander

Alison Alexander, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Candidate for Montgomeryshire.

Our full manifesto is available here: https://www.welshlibdems.wales/manifesto

Some key bullet points and local policies can be found below:

OUR PLANS TO SAVE HIGHSTREETS

  • Scrap business rates, which fall hardest on start-ups, small companies, and businesses experiencing difficulties and give online retailers an unfair advantage. Scrapping business rates would stimulate investment and breathe new life into our high streets. Both Labour and the Conservatives have both recognised at different points how outdated business rates are, yet both continue to support this analogue taxation system in the digital age.
  • A new Welsh Towns Fund of £500m over the next 5 years to invest in the future of our town centres and high streets.
  • A Job Creation Premium, offsetting the initial costs of recruitment and training through a public sector grant for businesses looking to grow.
  • A package of upfront premium grants to small and micro businesses that have been excluded from government help so far.
  • Push empty town centre buildings to be re-purposed into new community hubs, such as ‘remote working stations' and start-up hubs to bring more footfall into town centres help bring life back into highstreets.
  • Encourage banks to share resources, including their physical buildings. Keeping banking accessible to the digitally excluded.  
  • Promoting active travel options into town centres (cycling, walking etc.) as well as the greening of our towns.

THE ENVIRONMENT

  • Invest £1 billion per year to tackle the climate emergency.
  • Initiate a large-scale programme of investment in renewable energy and climate mitigation measures such as green homes and retrofitting homes.
  • Introduce a bottle deposit return system.
  • Abolish single use plastics, helping clean our oceans and rivers.
  • To introduce a clean air act within the first 100 days of the new Senedd.
  • A focus on green growth, decarbonising the economy and creating new, high-quality and sustainable employment to bring manufacturing and technology jobs back to Wales.
  • Investing in active travel, including cycling and walking routes, E-bike schemes and adopting the principles of the 20-minute community.
  • Initiate peat bog restoration and an increase in primarily native, deciduous woodland cover to increase carbon sequestration and reduce flooding.
  • To Support and further finance community energy projects and community energy generation, cutting household bills.
  • Reward farming schemes that reduce carbon emissions and increase carbon retention.
  • Promote an increase in fruit and vegetable production to reduce reliance on imports.

JOBS

  • A Job Creation Premium, offsetting the initial costs of recruitment and training through a public sector grant for businesses looking to grow.
  • Stronger rights for workers to request flexible working and home working from day one of employment.
  • An SME-led international strategy to build a strong global brand for Wales, providing businesses with access to international trade networks, export opportunities and investment.
  • Deliver high quality apprenticeships, in which time for formal training is protected, in a range of areas including the green economy.”
  • Supporting town centre employments by abolishing business rates. 
  • Investing in creating new, high skilled, high paid green jobs to bring employment in manufacturing and technology back to Wales, including in Montgomeryshire's large towns like Newtown, Welshpool and Machynlleth. 
  • Ensuring that all communities have access to superfast broadband and mobile phone signal, eradicating not-spots by 2025.

HEALTH

  • Continue to support the development of a 'Mid-Wales Health Hub' in Newtown, which will not only provide great services to local people but also take a significant amount of pressure off A&E in Shrewsbury, Telford, Wrexham and Aberystwyth. 
  • Improve access to GPs through better funding, recruitment, and technology.
  • Creating a single ‘Occupational Health Passport’ for all health and care workers, ensuring that all staff have access to the support and advice they need.
  • Equalising pay and conditions across the NHS and social care sectors, ensuring that all care workers are paid the Real Living Wage.
  • Using budgeting, commissioning, and the strategic deployment of workforces to encourage and drive collaboration between the NHS and Social Care.
  • Streamlining social care services and practices, working towards the creation of a single National Care Service, and setting out a long term plan for the integration of health and care in Wales.
  • Increasing the level and range of support available to carers at the local level.
  • Giving patients greater control over their care by introducing a single electronic health records across all health and care providers.
  • Introduce a Right to Rehabilitation that ensures everyone has access to rehabilitation services.

EDUCATION

Since the Welsh Liberal Democrats took over the education department in 2016, a 2020 OECD report which found that under our leadership, Wales now has a clear vision for its education system and for its learners. We aim to continue our national mission to give every child the highest quality education possible.

  • We will create and fund a Right to Life-long Learning, giving everyone the opportunity to face the future with confidence, access a changing economy and jobs market, and pursue their aspirations, talents and ambitions.
  • Continue to invest in creating community focused schools, including ensuring that all schools have Community Engagement Officers.
  • Continue to maintain our record of standing up for rural schools.
  • Invest in measures to tackle holiday hunger and improve engagement opportunities for vulnerable learners, including the provision of free school meals throughout all school holidays.
  • End digital exclusion by ensuring that all learners have access to their own laptop/device and schools have access to adequate broadband and technology.
  • Create summer schools, out-of-term schools, and other resources as well as solutions to allow students to catch up with lost learning after COVID-19.
  • Expand the current Personal Learning Accounts, so that everyone has the chance to continue learning and training, particularly in sectors likely to contribute to a greener, stronger economy.
  • Introduce an all-Wales framework to ensure consistency across schools and councils, investing in access to school counsellors so that more pupils are given the support they need.
  • We will reform apprenticeships, ensuring that all learners have access to high quality training, and that time for formal training is protected.
  • Working towards the introduction of the Real Living Wage for the Further Education sector.

TOURISM

  • We will oppose any attempts by Plaid Cymru or Labour to introduce tourism taxes that will deter new visitors from coming to Wales as well as putting off investment in the sector.  
  • We will continue to support the restoration of the Montgomeryshire Canal and push the Welsh Government to provide increased funding towards the project that would significantly boost the economies of Welshpool and Newtown along with other villages enroute. The Conservative's have had 10 years in power to push for this and have not succeeded. We will seek to use our influence to push the Welsh Government to provide funding for the project, as well encourage the UK government to attribute funding to the project via the new 'UK Development Fund. 
  • To push for an emergency post-covid boost to the marketing budget of Mid Wales Tourism, allowing local businesses to capitalise on the predicted growth of stay-cations in summer 2021 and assisting their recovery. 
  • To push for the establishment of a Montgomeryshire branded tourism campaign, allowing us to gain attention rather than all of it be focused on the Brecon Beacons and coast surrounding Aberystwyth. 
  • To improve transport links to the Midlands, making our tourism sector more accessible for large markets & increasing broadband speeds to increase visitor satisfaction. 

HOUSING

  • Initiate a large-scale program of investment in retrofitting homes (including the use of air- heat pumps) starting with rural homes and social housing. Making them more energy efficient, saving families money, reducing fuel poverty, creating thousands of jobs and helping tackle climate change.
  • Oversee the construction of 30,000 new affordable homes across Wales helping to tackle the housing crisis, stop young people being priced out of their communities and providing well paid, high skilled jobs to local people.
  • Enshrine the right to have access to a safe, accessible and warm accommodation in law.
  • A relaxation of planning constraints on new rural homes where substantial net environmental gain can be demonstrated by the building project. 
  • End homelessness in one decade.

POVERTY

  • Introduce a Beveridge plan for the 21st Century; to rebuild, to refocus, and to give people hope.
  • A Debt Bonfire, writing off the debt of the 200,000 poorest households who face the burden and consequences of debt improving the chances of social mobility and higher tax returns in the long-term.
  • Devolution of some elements of social security, complete with the necessary funding of some elements of Social Security, as in Scotland, to create a coherent Welsh Benefits System ensuring families in Wales are not at risk of poverty and inequality.
  • Creating a Living Wage and Living Hours nation, boosting incomes and giving greater security and certainty to workers, especially those on zero-hour contracts.
  • An overhaul of Council Tax, creating a fairer, more equitable system that is fair for households and provides fair funding for councils.
  • Working with the UK Government to roll out a Universal Basic Income, an unconditional payment to all citizens, regardless of income, to ensure nobody goes without the resources to meet their basic needs.
  • Tackle fuel poverty and create more energy efficient homes and buildings in towns and cities across Wales.
  • High-quality, free childcare and early-years education from the age of 9 months, and before-school, after-school and part-time holiday care.

MENTAL HEALTH

  • Increase the share of mental health funding to 13% of all NHS spend by 2028.
  • Takes a holistic approach to the social factors and root causes of poor mental health and wellbeing, ensuring that people have access to a range of support services both professional and community-led, ending the reliance on medicalisation.
  • Ensure that community-based first responders throughout our country are trained to understand trauma, mental health, and other issues, so that they can deliver high-quality support when and where they are needed.
  • Establishes a cross-government and public-service strategy which champions mental health services, including non-medical interventions, and which identifies the resources needed to address failures in the system.
  • The creation of a Mental Health Commissioner for Wales. An independent voice for individuals to champion their needs and advocate on their behalf.
  • Improve access and choice in psychological therapies underpinned with greater investment and more targeted support for those who have suffered most through the pandemic due to inequalities.
  • Increase funding for tiered bereavement support specifically designed to support people who have lost loved ones to Covid-19 or have been bereaved during the pandemic restrictions.

TRANSPORT

  • Push for a full hourly schedule on the Cambrian Rail Line (Aberystwyth-Shrewsbury). 
  • Seek improvements to the carpark at Welshpool train station. 
  • Look at securing funding for the introduction of electric and hydrogen powered buses and trains. 
  • Investing in active travel, including cycling and walking routes, E-bike schemes and adopting the principles of the 20-minute community.
  • Ensure the Dyfi Bridge and Carno Railway Station projects are delivered on time. 
  • Investigate the reopening of Abermule Railway Station. 
  • Reverse the Beeching Cuts in Wales, including restoring the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen Line.   

AGRICULTURE 

  • Reward farming schemes that reduce carbon emissions and increase carbon retention.
  • Promote an increase in fruit and vegetable production to reduce reliance on imports.
  • Provide an education and training programme to equip farmers with the skills needed for sustainable farming and diversification.
  • Ensure that the introduction of the new scheme based on public money for public goods is phased in as quickly as possible but in a way that recognise that farmers cannot cope with a sudden disruption to their income, and over a period of not more than ten years.
  • Replace the Basic Payments Scheme with a new system based on public money for public goods. This includes sustainable land management for biodiversity gain, to meet our climate change obligations and for improvements in water quality and pollution. Quality food production is also to be considered a public good.
  • The transition from the Basic Payments Scheme to the Sustainable Farming Scheme needs to be managed carefully and must ensure that no farmer is left without financial support during the process.
  • The UK Government should only enter into trade agreements under which imported goods meet the high environmental, food quality and animal welfare standards expected of home-produced food.