WELSH Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds will today address her party’s Virtual Spring Conference, vowing to “Put Recovery First” by focusing on the economy, people’s mental health and the environment as Wales begins to emerge from the current pandemic.
Addressing the party’s virtual conference, she will say:
“At this critical moment in our future anything other than securing our recovery from Covid and the havoc it has reigned on every aspect of our lives would be foolish.”
Key policy announcements will include:
– committing to a trial of a Universal Basic Income
– committing to building 30,000 new affordable homes
– scrapping unfair business rates
This weekend, the Welsh Liberal Democrats will commit to a trial in Wales of Universal Basic Income. Leader Jane Dodds will say:
“In Wales 25% of our children live in poverty; we are deeply ashamed of this situation and must be bold in changing this. Families need well paid- jobs, good education to give everyone better outcomes, and to have a financial safety net so that food and basic essentials are not missed out.
“Universal Basic Income is that safety net, creating an income floor under which no-one will be without. Universal Basic Income means no-one will be left without enough money to buy what they need. We need to be clear that the wickedness of sanctions and the horrors of Universal Credit should be left behind – they are abominations. We cannot continue to just see queues of people for food banks, families desperate for hope, and children living in poverty. Welsh Liberal Democrats can and will do better for those families who deserve a dignified life, not a life of desperate existence. Wales needs the powers to trial Universal Basic Income.”
Committing the party to a target set by Shelter Cymru to build 30,000 new affordable homes Jane Dodds will say:
“In government the Welsh Liberal Democrats have used our influence to double the number of affordable homes built in Wales, with £1.5 billion spent on affordable homes over the past five years.
“But that’s not enough. Too many people of all ages are struggling to afford a house of their own to call a home. Over the next five years we will match the target given to us by Shelter Cymru of building 30,000 new affordable homes in Wales.
“And that’s not all – I want the next Welsh Government to go further. Welsh Lib Dems will invest in new housing and not just any housing – green housing utilising the latest in design, heating and insulation.”
The Welsh Liberal Democrats are also pledging to scrap unfair and regressive business rates which penalise small business in favour of large online retailers, Jane Dodds will say:
“Our high streets don’t just face the challenge of lockdown, they face the challenge of competitors who pay less tax, and contribute less to our local economies. It’s time to create a level playing field between the local retailer and the global internet retailer.
“A first step to doing that is to scrap the unfair and outdated business rates and replace them with a fairer system of tax to which all businesses contribute fairly.”
Turning to the environment an area in which the Welsh Lib Dems are pledging to spend £1 billion a year over the next Senedd term, Jane Dodds will say:
“Currently for every pound the Welsh Government spends just one penny is spent on decarbonisation – this simply isn’t enough for a country like Wales in the 2020s. I want to see more commitment to greening our economy, creating jobs and listening to people at the local level to create an impact on the environment in their communities. Farmers and businesses need to be included. I want to see a centrally funded scheme of Citizens Assemblies across Wales which will harness the ideas and commitment to tackling the climate emergency from all age groups – particularly our young people – to bring about change.”
Jane Dodds will also reaffirm the Welsh Liberal Democrats commitment to remaining part of the United Kingdom:
“Some say we should go it alone and cut ourselves away from the UK, but that would be ten times more complex and ten times more painful than Brexit. It would damage not just the next generation, but the generations which follow.”