The Flintshire Chronicle will ask all of the local candidates a series of questions in the run up to the election, here are my responses to the first round.
1) If elected, what would you do to encourage more businesses to establish
themselves in Flintshire, creating jobs and boosting the regional economy?
Plaid Cymru will make Wales a great environment in which to do business. In Flintshire we have one of the most highly skilled workforces in the world but we cannot capitalise on that without having the proper infrastructure and training to continue our development and growth. I will ensure that the people of Flintshire are given the right tools and training to get on with the job of getting our economy moving in the right direction.
As part of our manifesto Plaid Cymru is committed to create 50,000 jobs. We will do this by; creating a £500 m ‘Build for Wales’ fund, to build the infrastructure we need, a £90m fund for business loans and tax reliefs to help develop our town centres and small businesses and we will support 1,000 Welsh businesses to create 30,000 new apprenticeships.
Through these ambitious and attainable proposals Plaid will ensure that the people of Alyn and Deeside will be at the cutting edge of the world economy. Our highly skilled workforce are our greatest asset and Plaid Cymru will ensure that they have the best possible infrastructure, skills and environment to make Flintshire an attractive
2) What will your party do to help young people in Flintshire get a foot on the housing ladder?
As a young person looking to get onto the housing ladder I am fully aware of the obstacles that make it difficult for young people to buy their first home. There are so many prohibitive costs involved from getting a large enough deposit together to conveyancing fees to stamp duty. The Government can really have their most direct influence by doing something about stamp duty that is why Plaid Cymru will call for a moratorium on stamp duty for first time buyers. However it is easy for the Westminster parties to forget that home ownership is not the only way to ensure that the housing needs of our young people are taken care of; the Westminster Governments for decades have been discouraging the building of new council housing. Plaid Cymru will change the way that social housing is financed so that Treasury rules on borrowing no longer stand in the way of Local Authorities that want to build and maintain new council housing. Through these two straightforward rule changes Plaid Cymru will make it easier for young people to get on the housing ladder.
3) What can be done to improve the standard of education in Flintshire and Wales?
Plaid Cymru have pledged that no child will leave primary school without being able to read or write. In doing this we would ensure that all children would benefit from secondary education. Secondary schools should not be using their resources to make children literate. Plaid Cymru policy will mean that our primary schools are able to invest in innovative techniques to ensure that by the year 2020 all children that leaving primary education will be fully literate. It is necessary that the teaching methods being used in our schools are fit for purpose we must listen to the people who are best equipped, to tell us where improvements can be made by consulting with teachers and parents we can have a root and branch review of our education system that will ensure that we are giving our children the best possible education. These are two policies that will improve our education system. But we must also provide the necessary support structures for parents. In doing so we can ensure that all children will grow up in homes where education and attainment are truly valued.