2014 must be the year when Wales stops expecting to find itself languishing at the bottom of the league tables and aims higher to reach its potential, Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats has argued.
Last year it was revealed that Wales is under performing compared to the rest of the UK with regards to education, health and the economy. Kirsty Williams has expressed her concern that such poor performance has started to simply be accepted by some and considered inevitable. She is calling on the Welsh Government to be more ambitious.
Kirsty Williams AM said:
"The last few months of 2013 highlighted all that is wrong with the Welsh Labour Government. Wales was making much of the UK news headlines, but for the wrong reasons. It really started to feel like the rest of the UK was waking up to the colossal failings of the Welsh Labour Government.
"The news that Wales' PISA results were the worst in the UK was of no surprise to many of us. Sadly, we've come to expect such realities under Labour. Yet, what was particularly disappointing was that we actually went backwards in maths, reading and science. These are the essential building blocks of learning.
"Then we saw headlines describing how Welsh patients spend the most amount of time stuck in the back of an ambulance waiting to get seen in A&E. Again, not news to us, but seeing these headlines in the UK media really brought it home just how poorly we are preforming compared to other countries.
"As for our economy, we have a higher jobless rate and lower economic growth than the rest of the UK. The number of apprenticeships in Wales has dropped 30% in five years whilst at the same time tripling in England.
"Wales is a fantastic country and we have so much to be proud of. But the fact is that Labour's poverty of ambition is holding Wales back. We're not being allowed to reach our potential.
"I'm concerned that being bottom in every public service table is now just becoming a habit. It's what we've come to expect and, even worse, what people, in many cases, are starting to accept. The people of Wales deserve better. The Welsh Government must get out of this rut and I hope that 2014 will be the year things start to turn around."