Our third and final profile of the candidates for leadership of the Welsh Labour party, Carwyn Jones - the bookies’ favourite succeed Rhodri Morgan.
With just four weeks until Welsh Labour announces who its new leader will be, Left Foot Forward profiles the third and final candidate to replace Rhodri Morgan, Carwyn Jones.
Assembly Member for Bridgend, Leader of the House and Welsh Counsel General, Mr Jones is currently the bookies’ favourite to become Wales’s new First Minister. Born in Swansea, he has a strong legal background, specialising in Family, Criminal and Personal Injury Law whilst working in Gower Chambers, Swansea.
Having won election to the first Welsh Assembly in 1999, representing Bridgend, Mr Jones was appointed Deputy Minister for Local Government and Finance in February 2000. In July the same year, he was promoted to the Cabinet as Minister for Rural Affairs, a job which saw him lead Welsh efforts to combat foot-and-mouth disease in 2001.
Following his re-election in 2003, he held a range of positions as Minister for Open Government, Minister for Environment, Planning and the Countryside, Minister for Education and Heritage and now Counsel General and Leader of the House.
Launching his manifesto in Cardiff, Mr Jones pledged to make climate change and the economy his highest priorities, declaring himself to be “a Leader for the Whole of Wales”.
In his manifesto, titled “Time to Lead”, Mr Jones set out his stall as a Leader in waiting, promising to:
• Support the Defence Training Academy St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan.
• Promote Wales as a location for advanced telecommunication industries and companies.
• Encourage and support young people into business and enterprise.
• Build on the Welsh economic summits, devolved by Rhodri Morgan, to save and create jobs and boost economic growth.
• Support and develop the mutual model for doing business.
• Establish a people’s bank “to unlock sensible lending and saving in Wales” – to be delivered via the Post Office.
• Recognise the role that nuclear energy can play in reducing Carbon emissions.
• Increase recycling rates to 70 per cent by 2025, and ensure Wales is completely self-sufficient in terms of renewable electricity by the same year.
• Provide greater investment in renewables such as biomass, solar, hydro and waste energy.
• Increase the use of clean coal technology and protect the coal industry.
• Support the Seven tidal project.
• Abolish fuel poverty by 2018 by implementing in full the Fuel Poverty Charter.
• Create new, green communities and housing developments.
• Work to electrify the Welsh rail network.
• Promote the use of public transport, by establishing a Welsh system based on London’s “Oyster” card.
• Increase building of new affordable and council housing.
• Continue to support older people to pay their council taxes and tackle “the hidden epidemic of violence against women”.
• Accelerate efforts to ensure a properly integrated, affordable childcare system based on social enterprise solutions.
• Provide greater support and services for looked-after children and ensure youth services are “fit for purpose”.
• Improve access to GPs, and promote greater efficiency in the NHS, by looking to adopt the Scottish system of electronic referrals.
• Take action on alcohol pricing.
• End constant reorganisation and upheaval across the health service.
• Implement plans for new, not-for-profit nursing homes and address the concerns of those going into residential care.
• Improve investment in the Air Ambulance Service and make mental health “a high priority”.
• Continue to support the Welsh policy against GM crops, and promote the development of organic farming.
• Promote local food sourcing across the public sector.
• Increase education spending by one per cent above the block grant provided to Cardiff Bay by the Westminster Government.
• Ensure a fairer funding system for Welsh Schools, increase the number of apprenticeships and ensure stronger relationships with employer providers.
• Encourage the use of the Welsh Language.
• Provide public services based on “voice rather than choice”.
• Oppose local pay variation in the public services and facilitate equal pay audits.
Among those supporting Mr Jones for leader are Welsh Cabinet Ministers Jane Davidson and Brian Gibbons; UK Ministers David Hanson and Chris Bryant and Unison the trade union.
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