Category: Wales2016

Candidate Comments: Julie Morgan – Labour

Guest post by Julie Morgan

Julie Morgan is the Labour Party’s constituency candidate for Cardiff North.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.

Julie Morgan

In March I attended an event at Velindre Cancer Centre in Whitchurch to hear some very good news – the Welsh Government announced it was supporting the creation of a Maggie’s centre at Velindre with £1.5m funding.

This is something I’ve long campaigned for, as well as being a long-time supporter of Velindre itself. For those diagnosed with cancer and their families Maggie’s provides a ‘kitchen table’ atmosphere and free, practical and emotional support at a very difficult time in their lives.

JulieAs chair of the Assembly’s Cross-Party Group on Cancer I held a meeting to help highlight how a Maggie’s for Cardiff will benefit patients across the whole of South East Wales. Patients from Maggie’s in Swansea, which I’ve visited several times, came along and really brought home the benefits of having a Maggie’s.

I’m proud of the £200m investment by the Welsh Labour Government to redevelop Velindre to make it a state-of-the-art cancer treatment centre. And I’m pleased that, while there’s still much more we can do to help people diagnosed with cancer, the April statistics on cancer waiting times show:

  • 86.8% of patients (485 out of 559) newly diagnosed with cancer via the Urgent Suspected Cancer route started definitive treatment within the target time of 62 days.
  • 98.6% of patients (774 out of 785) who were newly diagnosed with cancer not via the Urgent route started definitive treatment within the target time of 31 days.
  • cancer survival is increasing faster in Wales than in the UK. Survival rates after one and five years are growing faster in Wales than in any other UK nation

Another health achievement I’m pleased to have played a part in was the announcement last September of £13.8m funding for life-changing new drugs for those who contracted Hepatitis C from infected blood. I’ve supported Haemophilia Wales – run by a Lisvane resident – in its long campaign for these drugs and it was very moving to meet one of the first people to be helped by the new drugs whose life truly had been changed as he was free of the disease for the first time in 30 years.

Key health achievements in the last five years

Health is such a key issue – all of us need the services of the NHS at some time in our lives – and I believe its importance can’t be overstated. Some of Welsh Labour’s achievements I’m most proud of are:

  • £63.8m second phase of Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital
  • Free prescriptions and free hospital parking
  • £85m investment to increase the number of nurse training places
  • There is no junior doctors strike in Wales and Wales was the first country in the UK to introduce a living wage for all NHS staff
  • Capped domiciliary care charges
  • £4m to support elderly and disabled people to live in their own homes
  • £7.5m revamp of the Special Care Baby / Neonatal Unit at UHW
  • £172 more per person spent on health and social services in Wales than in England

What we promise for the Welsh NHS in the next five years

  • We’ll protect the NHS in Wales from a costly and disruptive re-organisation, and protect it from privatisation
  • We’ll continue to invest in the NHS and to spend more per person on health and social care than in England, and promise to integrate health and social care
  • We’ll continue to ensure healthcare services are available closer to people’s homes – there are plans for more cancer treatment from Velindre at hospitals across SE Wales, for example, so very ill people do not have to travel such great distances
  • We’ll continue to respect hardworking and dedicated NHS staff in Wales
  • We’ll introduce a New Treatment Fund to give people in Wales fast access to new and innovative treatments for all life-threatening conditions

My personal pledges on health

If re-elected there are many more health issues I will campaign on and I’ll continue to support the redevelopment at Velindre and making Maggie’s a reality in Whitchurch.

My support for fair payments for people with haemophilia is ongoing – and in this, as in all health issues, I will always work flat-out for fairness and for  constituents who come to me with health problems. I’ve done throughout my time as your elected representative in Cardiff North and, if you give me the chance, will continue to do so in future.

By Julie Morgan

twitter.com/JulieMorganLAB

Candidate Comments: Fiona Burt – Independent

Guest post by Fiona Burt

Fiona Burt is an independent constituency candidate for Cardiff North.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.

Fiona Burt

The heart of the matter

When the National Assembly for Wales was formed in 1999 we were promised a government in Wales that would make decisions and pass laws to address the specific needs of our country. Since then, rather than a bright future, we have suffered a decline in our public services. It’s time for the Assembly to fulfil its purpose and tackle these with sensible, well-thought-through policies that get right to the heart of the issues.
Take the National Health Service, for example. I’ve worked in the NHS and I passionately support healthcare that’s free at the point of delivery, but the reality is services are currently stretched to breaking point, with ambulances queuing up outside A&E, operations cancelled due to lack of hospital beds and GP appointments difficult to get in many areas.

When Aneurin Bevan founded the NHS in 1948 with a budget of £437million (£15 billion in today’s money), the range of treatments available were somewhat limited. Since then, medical research has resulted in amazing advances in drug therapies, diagnostic tests, and surgical techniques. Unfortunately, all these come at a cost and this year the NHS budget will top £116 billion across the UK. By 2020 projections suggest a deficit of £16 billion.
The effects are not just financial, however, as our doctors and nurses are working long hours under considerable stress, with many retiring early, switching to locum work or moving abroad. And whilst I have heard many wonderful stories of excellent care by the NHS, particularly in the areas of cancer treatment and from the new children’s hospital, there are many shocking stories of people waiting for hours for an ambulance or stuck on trolleys in A&E because there are no beds available. With an ageing population, large rural areas and higher levels of social deprivation in Wales, the issues are more critical here than in the rest of the UK. Clearly something needs to be done urgently.

FionaPrevention is better than cure, so supporting healthier lifestyles, as other candidates have proposed, is worthwhile, but even if the government could get everyone to eat healthily, exercise more, lose weight and stop smoking and drinking, this alone would be insufficient. Tackling time-wasters, bed-blockers, and mismanagement are important, whilst injecting more cash will provide short-term relief, but the heart of the problem (increased demand) must be addressed.

We need proper debate around the purpose and function of the NHS. That’s why I’ve proposed a four-point plan to ‘care for the NHS’ by:

  1. prioritising frontline services and critical care
  2. tackling hygiene and infection control
  3. ensuring that basic nursing care is provided in the most appropriate environment
  4. reviewing and reforming the area of medical negligence to ensure that money (£68 million last year alone) stays in the NHS.

Education is another area where politicians are happy to ‘tinker around the edges’. Indeed, I believe that many of the problems in our school have been caused by well-intentioned government policies. For example, the desire to manage by statistics has led to crippling levels of paperwork that have demoralised staff and failed to inspire pupils.
Most worryingly, the latest PISA results placed Wales 40th out of 68 countries (behind the rest of the UK). The answer is not to change the targets, as Huw Lewis, the Education Minister, has done. Instead, we need to get to the heart of the matter and make changes that raise standards so the next generation is fully equipped for citizenship and the workplace.

I’ve brought up three children in Cardiff North and currently have teenagers in Whitchurch and Llanishen High Schools. I know whilst formal education only starts at the age of 5, children are learning from birth. We must lay the foundations for education at home because confident parenting will result in children who are equipped for learning. In particular, values such as good behaviour and pupil aspiration should be instilled from an early age.

We need to trust the professionals. Instead of being target-driven, our teachers should be free to focus on their students and our headteachers should be empowered to manage their schools effectively without generating meaningless data.
Politicians must stop tinkering with the curriculum and simplify the overly complex examination systems so that pupils can be encouraged to learn rather than pass exams. Of course, if they learn a subject they will then be able to pass their exams! The Donaldson Report published last year is going to result in further curriculum changes in 2021 and, whilst some of these might be valuable, scrapping the ‘key stages’ and introducing ‘progression steps’ is hardly going to excite my children, or their teachers.

I’ve tried to apply this principle of ‘getting to the heart of the matter’ to all the 21 areas currently devolved to the Assembly. And, if given the opportunity to represent you there, I’d work hard to ensure that it fulfils its obligations and delivers sensible well-thought-through policies that address the specific needs of this wonderful country to ensure a bright future for Wales and its people.

By Fiona Burt

twitter.com/fabburt

Candidate Comments: Elin Walker Jones – Plaid Cymru

Guest post by Elin Walker Jones

Elin Walker Jones is the Plaid Cymru constituency candidate for Cardiff North.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.

Elin Walker Jones

The city of Cardiff is a small city, compared to cities across the UK and the rest of the world. Nevertheless, the benefits of living in Cardiff, and the problems that Cardiff faces are in line with any other urban areas albeit on a smaller scale.

People love Cardiff – the amenities, the opportunities for work and leisure that our beautiful city has to offer, and on the down side, as more and more flock to live here – particularly our young people – the problems of congestion, waste, and noise increase to intolerable levels. Crime becomes a bigger problem, and the need for communities living side by side to tolerate each other’s customs becomes an increasing issue. Cardiff has always been wonderfully multicultural: this fabulous diverse rainbow of people, food, language, lifestyles and customs were some of the things that appealed to me when I was first a student in Cardiff many years ago.

We need an ambitious government to tackle the problems of urban living, taking into consideration the effects of growth on the rest of Wales, and neighbouring countries such as England.

ElinThe Urban Age programme that looks at these issues in cities across the world. It is a collaboration between politicians, professionals and academics – people who don’t normally get together. The aim is to think and plan creatively for solutions to urban issues – to reduce traffic congestion, waste, noise pollution and so on, and increase active travel, recycling, etc. If people can get together across the world to think of solutions to such issues, why not Wales?

In Wales, we have a piecemeal approach. For example, the Labour-run Cardiff City Council and the Labour-run Caerphilly Council – neighbouring councils – are building homes without thinking about the effects on each other! Cardiff’s LDP includes plans for over 40,000 houses, including building on greenfield sites north of Cardiff. OK, the green wedge has it saved for now – just until 2026. But what about after that?

Caerphilly’s LDP includes plans to build over 600 homes on Caerphilly mountain, as well as a new road. Such plans will create a complete gridlock in Cardiff North – it’s bad enough already! Petitions are not going to resolve this. We need a Welsh Government planning strategy to take an overall view of planning in Wales, to make sure that houses, roads and general transport and economic infrastructure has a Welsh plan, and not just hope that the jigsaw pieces will fit somehow.

Plaid Cymru plans to create a Welsh Planning Inspectorate, which will oversee a National Development Framework, ensuring that local development plans take account of local needs for housing, protecting greenfield sites, and planning for the necessary infrastructure such as roads etc.

Labour have had 17 years to develop a Wales- wide strategy for planning, to build homes – affordable homes for people who want to bring up their families in a safe, warm, affordable and clean place that they can call their own. Where have Labour been?

Plaid Cymru has a range of policies that can support the development of Cardiff as a successful and vibrant city.

  • Ambitious plans for infrastructure development, supporting the South East Wales Metro, and creating roads and railway transport links fit for the 21st century for the whole of Wales, in a joined up fashion.
  • Abolishing the Right to Buy scheme, so that people can access rented housing, and supporting local authorities to build council housing.
  • Progressive plans to tackle waste, by bringing the Zero Waste Wales commitment forward by twenty years, working with producers to reduce packaging, increase recycling facilities, ensure more and more items are recyclable, and make it a requirement for retailers and manufacturers to recycle, reuse, as well as reducing their food waste. Labour-run Cardiff City Council is busy closing recycling centres – making it more difficult for people to recycle their waste and increasing the likelihood of fly tipping.
  • Pushing for the devolution of police and criminal justice powers to Wales, like they are in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • Scrapping Police Commissioners and focus on much-needed community policing. The plan is to increase joint working between local authorities, housing associations and the police, so that together we can crack down in anti-social behaviour.

Wales needs change. Plaid Cymru is the only party that will put the needs of the people of Wales first. Plaid Cymru has an ambitious plan of government, fit for 21st century living.

Vote for Plaid Cymru on May 5th: the change Wales needs.

By Elin Walker Jones

twitter.com/elinmwj

Llandaff North Assembly Hustings

Llandaff North hustings

This evening saw four constituency candidates face the public in Llandaff North. The Llandaff North Residents Association organised the hustings, which was open to the public.

Jayne Cowan couldn’t make it and was, controversially, replaced with regional candidate Richard John. Chris von Ruhland sent his apologies after suffering a migraine attack and John Dixon sent his apologies too.

We recorded the first hour on Periscope before, unfortunately, it crashed on us.

Daran Hill, political consultant at Positif, expertly chaired the hustings. We live Tweeted throughout the evening, you can read them all on Twitter.

Thanks to the Llandaff North Residents Association for accommodating us and organising such a vital event.

Three Weeks until Election Day

Assembly election banner graphic

We go the polls in three weeks and the campaigns are getting into full swing. I even spotted one of the candidates out tonight knocking doors.

But what do we know about the candidates? While two of the candidates are very well known in Cardiff North, the others have lower profiles or are new to politics.

  • Julie Morgan is the incumbent AM and previously MP for Cardiff North. You’d be hard pressed to name a more well known politician in these parts.
  • Jayne Cowan has been a councillor in Rhiwbina for many years and has been campaigning for a very long time.
  • Elin Walker Jones was a candidate in the general election last year so a few of you may recall her.
  • Chris von Ruhland was the Green Party candidate for Cardiff Central in last year’s general election and for Cardiff North in 2010.
  • John Dixon has been a councillor for many years in both the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff.
  • Fiona Burt is standing as an independent candidate and this is her first time standing in an election.
  • Haydn Rushworth is the UKIP candidate and also a first time candidate.

 

Candidate graphic

 

With the election date looming, do we know what each candidate is saying? First off, you should read the articles that the candidates have written for My Cardiff North.

All of the candidates have Twitter accounts and some are more active than others. If you’re looking for more detail though, Julie and Jayne have dedicated websites and several others have Facebook pages.

You may also find your doormat swamped with election leaflets from candidates and the parties.

We’d love to know what influences your vote? Are national issues more important than local issues? Do you vote for the person or the party?

You can get in touch with us using our contact form or on Twitter. If you’d like to ask all the candidates a question, use the #ATCNC hashtag.

 

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