The Party of Wales has delivered extra childcare provision for three-year-olds as part of an agreement with the minority Labour Government.
In securing the key Plaid Cymru manifesto pledge in return for supporting the nomination of Carwyn Jones as First Minister, party leader Leanne Wood told the Siambr it would help to return “what has been cut from families in places like the Rhondda.”
During negotiations, the Rhondda-based Ms Wood also secured money for a new medicines and treatment fund to end the postcode lottery that currently exists in the NHS, as well as the creation of new apprenticeship places. The minority Labour Government also agreed to prioritise the recruitment of additional GPs and healthcare professionals.
“As a child growing up in the Rhondda, I benefitted from full-time education from the age of three,” said Ms Wood. “My daughter also had the privilege of a full-time education from the age of three so we all understand how important this is.
“Many thousands of parents and grandparents were angered by RCT’s cuts to nursery education. Plaid Cymru has secured major concessions from the new Labour government that will now see families all over Wales benefit from a good-quality nursery education from three-years-of-age.
“Thanks to Plaid Cymru, the postcode lottery over new treatments and medicines will end. That will hopefully bring an end to the need for people to travel to different countries for the treatment they need.
“Extra GPs will be of interest to people in the Rhondda as too many people have to wait far too long for an appointment to see a doctor. This bottleneck in the system is having an impact on the numbers of people visiting hospitals.
“New apprenticeships will provide much needed opportunities to gain better skills. Youth unemployment has been too high here in the valleys in recent years. New on-the-job training opportunities will help tackle our high youth unemployment rate and stop forcing people to move out of their own communities to find work.”
Ms Wood added: “These negotiations do not bind us to anything. It is all in exchange for a one-off vote. The party I lead has vowed to be an effective and strong opposition and we will use our position we have to maximise the benefits for people.
“We are not interested in feathering our own nests with seats around someone else’s cabinet table. As we didn’t win enough seats this time to become the largest party, we cannot lead the government.
“But we can win real gains for people in communities like the Rhondda and that is what we intend to use our position as lead opposition to do. Watch this space.”