Wefan Gymraeg

Welsh Lib Dems Launch Regeneration Plan for Mid Wales at Royal Welsh Show


The Welsh Liberal Democrats have used the first day of the Royal Welsh Show in Llanelwedd, Powys to outline their proposals for a Regeneration Plan for Mid Wales.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Mid & West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds.

The Party argues that Mid Wales is all too often the forgotten region of Wales, and neglect by both the Conservatives in Westminster and Labour in the Senedd has contributed to a cycle of decline over the last few decades.

The proposals by the Party focus on transforming the economy of the region to take advantage of the changing patterns of employment and economic models following COVID-19.

The plan includes:

  • Drastically improving connectivity, in both digital and physical infrastructure, making sure people and businesses can take advantage of the rise in home working and tourists can access the region easily.
  • Expanding the Rural Fuel Duty Cut to Mid Wales and doubling the discount to 10p per litre, easing the cost-of-living crisis and ensuring people can still get to work.
  • Protecting access to physical banking, applying pressure on large banks to invest in bank hubs for rural communities where multiple banks work jointly to share physical spaces to offer cash services and in-person banking.
  • Improving healthcare access in Mid Wales, advocating for more health services to be returned to local communities, higher investment in social services and travelling NHS dentists to help clear backlogs.
  • Introducing measures to help businesses in the region grow, including a town rejuvenation fund, streamlining the planning process and establishing a Job Creation Premium, offsetting the initial costs of recruitment and training for businesses looking to grow.
  • Tackling the housing crisis in Mid Wales. Many young people are being priced out of the communities they grew up in, we will ask local authorities to set council tax at the maximum possible level for all homes other than someone’s primary residence and seek to close loopholes that allow people to designate second homes as businesses.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Senedd Member for Mid & West Wales Jane Dodds said:

“For decades Mid Wales has consistently been neglected by both the Labour Government in Cardiff and the Conservative Government in Westminster.

“Mid Wales deserves to be an economic force in its own right, connecting North and South Wales, as well as Wales to the Midland, rather than the forgotten territory its allowed to have become by the Tories and Labour.

“Despite years of Conservative representation in Powys, they have failed to deliver a number of key priorities for the region. Most notable is the abject failure to have the rural fuel rebate expanded to Mid Wales, something which the Welsh Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for over 10 years and have seen blocked by the Conservative Government throughout that time.

“Likewise Conservative promises to improve the regions internet access haven’t materialised, with figures released this month showing Powys has the worst internet speeds in the whole of the UK.

“On the other hand, Labour continues to fail Mid Wales, particularly in healthcare access. NHS dental services are near impossible to access and ambulance waiting times are through the roof. We need investment in community healthcare and social services to avoid crisis points building up at A&E.

“While both Labour and the Conservatives have neglected Mid Wales for decades, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have always had strong roots in Mid Wales and people know when given the chance we will be a loud voice for the region in both Westminster and Cardiff Bay.

“I am proud to put forward this plan today that has something for everyone in Mid Wales and would go some way towards addressing the problems our region faces.”

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

A more detailed copy of the six points is located below:

  • Drastically improving connectivity, in both digital and physical infrastructure, making sure people and businesses can take advantage of the rise in home working and tourists can access the region easily. Home working offers a real opportunity to attract new workers and businesses to Mid Wales, providing a potential new lease of life for villages and towns that have suffered depopulation, but slow connection speeds hamper that opportunity. We need far greater capital investment from Westminster in rolling out ultra-fast broadband to Mid Wales. Likewise, rail and bus services in Mid Wales need to be interlinked and bus services increased. The Welsh Government & local authorities should examine the viability of ‘dial-a-ride’ minibus services.

  • Expanding the Rural Fuel Duty Cut to Mid Wales and doubling the discount to 10p per litre, easing the cost-of-living crisis and ensuring people can still get to work. Recent research by the Countryside Alliance has found rural households will spend over £2,440 a year on filling up their cars, £800 more than those in urban areas. Many depend on using their cars for work due to a lack of public transport in Mid Wales and some people have even considered giving up their jobs due to recent rises at the pump in rural areas. While the rural fuel relief scheme is present in parts of Scotland, Yorkshire and Devon – the Conservatives have always resisted expanding the scheme to Mid and rural Wales. 
  • Protecting access to physical banking, applying pressure on large banks to invest in bank hubs for rural communities where multiple banks work jointly to share physical spaces to offer cash services and in-person banking.

  • Improving healthcare access in Mid Wales, advocating for more health services to be returned to local communities, higher investment in social services and travelling NHS dentists to help clear backlogs. Local community hospitals need to be able to provide a greater range of services and have the capacity for patients who are no longer sick enough to be in emergency departments but still require some degree of care or recuperation.

  • Introducing measures to help businesses in the region grow, including a town rejuvenation fund, streamlining the planning process and establishing a Job Creation Premium, offsetting the initial costs of recruitment and training for businesses looking to grow. If we are to halt depopulation in Mid Wales, we must build an economy that can retain our young people.

  • Tackling the housing crisis in Mid Wales. Many young people are being priced out of the communities they grew up in, contributing to depopulation and then cuts to public services. We will ask local authorities to set council tax at the maximum possible level for all homes other than someone’s primary residence. We will close loopholes that allow people to designate second homes as businesses and ensure that they pay their way to support the communities locally.

 


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