Return to site

#Wales2016 What will be in the manifestos?

Head of Monitoring Liz Silversmith gives her run down on the known knowns in the party manifestos expected next week.

We are undoubtedly in election season. Politicians are tweeting enthusiastically about the great reception they are getting on every doorstep. The usual fliers advertising takeaways and supermarkets are supplemented with party political leaflets and every news report is 4 more interviews longer than usual, as broadcasters attempt to maintain balance across their political coverage.

And a handful of printing firms across Wales will be putting the finishing touches to a limited number of party manifestos. Plaid Cymru have already confirmed they will launch their blueprint for government on Tuesday 5th April. The other parties are likely to publish their own plans in the days which follow.

But much of what will be contained in these manifestos will not come as a surprise. Below is a quick run-down of the known knowns.

Welsh Labour

With the campaign slogan ‘Together for Wales’, they have actually revealed the least out of all the parties. But given that they are likely to be the largest party on May 6th, perhaps they think they can take their time. Or maybe Labour are just old-fashioned and like to save the surprises for the actual document.

Here’s their key pledges:

  • Health: A new treatments fund and they would double the capital limit older people can keep from the sale of their home, should they need to go into care. The limit would be raised to £50,000.
  • Education: £100m School Standards fund, 30 hours free childcare for 48 weeks a year, continuing reforms of the New Deal and the new curriculum.
  • Economy: 100,000 apprenticeships, small business rate relief.
  • Local Government: Continue with mergers and repeal the UK Trade Union Bill.
  • Housing: End Right to Buy, continue building social housing.

Welsh Conservatives

Campaigning on ‘Securing Real Change for Wales’, the Welsh Conservatives are hoping to still be the largest opposition party, although are unlikely to be able to form a government. Their pledges have been formed mostly in reaction to Welsh Government ones over the last 5 years, correcting where they see fit.

Here’s their key pledges:

  • Health: Cancer Patients’ Fund, an Autism Bill, stay-at-home assessments for social services, a Rights of Older People Bill, a Deputy Minister for Public Health.
  • Education: Scrap tuition fee subsidy and pay half of students’ rent, embed public health in the school curriculum, bring in University Technical Colleges, reform teacher training, create a FE and HE institutions for new teacher training.
  • Economy: Lower income tax, a new Small Business Strategy, scrap Visit Wales and replace with another Wales Tourist Board, extend business rate relief, ensure universal broadband by 2019, ‘Destination Cymru’ – a strategy for inward investment, return Cardiff Airport to private ownership with an economic dividend for every Welsh taxpayer.
  • Local Government: Rural Stabilisation Grant, introduces the community Right to Bid, a Welsh Localism and Citizenship Bill with changes to the remit of councils.
  • Housing: 6-month Council Tax holiday and scrapped Stamp Duty for first-time buyers, explore a Starter Home initiative, extend Right to Buy and invest sale proceeds in social housing, explore Rent to Buy and other models like shared ownership and mortgage guarantee schemes.

Plaid Cymru

Plaid set out a nine-point plan at a campaign launch event last month in a bid to give their key pledges longer to percolate in the minds of the Welsh public. They face a tricky election campaign as they try to carve out their messages in a media which is keen to talk about a coalition with Labour in which they are an obvious partner. They’re calling for a ‘Well, Well-Educated, Wealthier Wales’.

Here’s their key pledges:

  • Health: Recruit 1,000 doctors and 5,000 nurses, sugar tax, scrap health boards and replace with a Community NHS with one national hospital body, integrate health and social care, bring in a Cancer Contract, new treatments fund, HPV vaccine for both boys and girls, outlaw zero hours for care workers, minimum time periods for care visits, scrap social care charges for older people.
  • Education: free pre-school childcare for children from 3 years, 10% Teachers Premium for those at Masters level, pay off some student debt if they work in Wales within 5 years of graduation, a new Child Poverty Action Plan.
  • Economy: 50,000 apprenticeships, lower business rates, new Welsh Development Agency, for SMEs create a National Bank of Wales, give more public contracts to Welsh firms.
  • Local Government: Retain the 22 local authorities and ensure they work together as combined regional authorities, introduce proportional representation like STV.
  • Housing: Rent controls, ensure social rents go straight to authorities and not the Treasury, a ‘Build 4 Wales’ programme, convert empty buildings, extend HomeBuy, higher council tax for second homes, a new Green Deal, strengthen tenants’ rights, establish minimum tenancy lengths to 12 months.

Welsh Liberal Democrats

The smallest Assembly party, the Welsh Liberal Democrats are fighting for as many seats as they can hold on to. They promise ‘A Wales that Works for You’ and also have a lot of existing and detailed pledges. They’re in a good position in that some have already been achieved through budget deals and private Member Bills.

Here’s their key pledges:

  • Health: Access to GPs scheme with a £10m fund for surgeries, end mental health discrimination, concessionary bus fares for people with mental health disabilities, end zero hour contracts in care, make HIV preventions drugs available on the NHS for vulnerable groups; a new health watchdog.
  • Education: Smaller class sizes of 25, continued Pupil Premium, a Welsh Academy of Leadership for struggling schools, abolish regional consortia, elect teachers to Education Workforce Council, scrap tuition fee subsidy and create a Student Living Support Grant for Welsh-domiciled students, Hardship Fund for HEIs.
  • Economy: Look to reduce income tax, reform Stamp Duty to help first-time buyers, expand apprenticeships, 50% relief on business rates for formerly empty premises.
  • Local Government: Devolve more power, implement a fairer voting system, support Business Improvement Districts, council tax reductions, enabled council tax of 200% on second homes, Tax Increment Finance schemes for regeneration.
  • Housing: Build 20,000 new affordable homes over the next 5 years, Rent to Own scheme, a charter of obligations for landlords and letting agents, an independent online resource on housing, extend Residential Property Tribunal powers, cap letting agent fees, cap rent increases in line with CPI, expand remit of Welsh Tenants.

UKIP Wales

UKIP are yet to have much detail out about their pledges to secure ‘Real Change in Wales’, having been quite late to finalise their candidates. They have made a few commitments however, although they are unlikely to form any kind of Welsh Government as most of other parties have said they do not wish to work with them.

Here’s their key pledges:

  • Health: Oppose any privatisation of the NHS, make health boards elected, and halve the number of NHS managers getting six-figure salaries.
  • Education: Would introduce University Technical Colleges and reintroduce grammar schools.
  • Economy: Want to scrap the Severn Bridge tolls.
  • Local Government: More devolution of economic development to local councils.

Wales Green Party

The Wales Green Party call for ‘A Better, Fairer, More Democratic Wales’. Their new leader, Alice Hooker-Stroud, with their UK-wide leader Natalie Bennett, have been touring Wales on public transport for their campaign.

Here’s their key pledges:

  • Health: Put a greater emphasis on public health, keep the NHS in public hands, bring greater attention to mental health services and develop new approaches to social care.
  • Education: To stop school closures, support learning throughout life, reinvest in FE and prioritise having no tuition fees for Welsh students studying in Wales.  
  • Economy: Generate ‘energy, income and jobs’ with community-owned renewable energy, shift emphasis of funding to public transport, support the South Wales Metro, bring back a North-South rail link, oppose the M4 relief road.
  • Local Government: To protect frontline services, improve democracy at all levels and make renewables a core strategic priority.
  • Housing: To build 12,000 affordable homes a year to carbon-neutral standards, increase social housing, strengthen tenants’ rights, and enact a 10-year plan to make housing more energy efficient.

newsdirect wales is a bespoke political monitoring service. We’ll be providing summaries of the Labour, Conservative, Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrat, UKIP and Green manifestos to our clients on the day of publication. We’d be delighted to help your organisation too! Find out more here or email

All Posts

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!

OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly