Carwyn Jones speech in full

Carwyn Jones is assembly member for Bridgend
Carwyn Jones is assembly member for Bridgend

Cadeirydd, gynhadledd.

Chair, Conference.

It's great to be back in Manchester again.

Today I want to tell you about what a Labour Government - is delivering for the people of Wales - on a daily basis.

Yes - I am proud to say - a Labour Government!

And I look forward to there being another Labour Government in 2015 – a Labour Government with Ed as Prime Minister!

Can I also welcome Owen Smith to his first Conference as Shadow Secretary of State for Wales.

I know he is a great representative for Wales around the Shadow Cabinet table.

He will be a great colleague of mine in standing up for Wales!

Chair, at the last Assembly election, our promise to voters was quite straightforward.

We offered them policies based on fairness, justice and opportunity – policies based on Labour values.

And the people of Wales responded to this promise by giving us our best result in the history of the National Assembly for Wales.

As a Welsh Labour Government, we have worked to protect the people of Wales from the worst excesses of Tory and Lib Dem devastation.

We are taking bold and decisive action to shore-up our economy, to encourage growth and create jobs.

Conference, I am proud to stand here and tell you that through our pioneering £75 million Jobs Growth Wales programme, we are creating 12,000 job opportunities for young people aged 16-24 over the next three years.

Since April this year, nearly 1,500 young people in Wales have gained employment, but more than that - that is 1,500 young people who have been given hope.

I know that the action we have taken as a Government means a huge amount to these young people.

I've spoken to some of them. I know we are doing the right thing - for them and for Wales. This is opportunity in action.

That's Labour making a difference - a real difference to the lives of young people all over Wales.

Unlike the Tories and Lib Dems, we will not fail our young people!

Our £15 billion Investment Plan for the next decades, will deliver new roads, schools, hospitals during these difficult times.

It's a clear signal that despite a 42 per cent cut in our capital budget by George Osborne, we are committed to investing in our future.

Our seven Enterprise Zones will provide us with a strong, internationally competitive offering to business, targeting growth sectors.

We're establishing two city regions based around Cardiff and Swansea and strengthening the Mersey Dee Alliance in North East Wales.

Let me share with you some of the other things we have doing to support the Welsh economy:

·  The Local Government Borrowing Initiative will see up to £170m of additional funding being invested in highways over the next three years;

·  £25m from Welsh government for investment in life sciences;

·  A £50m package to bring some of the world's top academics to Wales;

·  A £70 million package to support business growth in Wales;

·  A £39 million economic stimulus package to provide more resources for young people and social housing;

·  £30m for Skills Growth Wales to create 3,000 jobs over the next three years; and

·  We've committed £31million to support businesses to create some 1,800 jobs and safeguard another 1,600.

There is a great deal more - but this shows in Wales we are taking positive and imaginative action to defend jobs and the prosperity of our people.

That's what Governments are for - that's what a Welsh Labour Government is for - delivering for its people!

Conference, the differences between the Welsh Labour approach in Cardiff and what the coalition is doing in London, could not be more stark.

The gulf between our priorities and those of the Tories and the Lib Dems is wide.

And this gulf is shown in health and education.

Chair, I speak to people every day who cherish our NHS - both those who use it and those who work in it.

And the reason they give me for this is simple.

In Wales under Labour, we still hold true to the founding principles of our NHS - delivering healthcare from cradle to grave - free at the point of delivery.

Holding true to Nye Bevan's vision even after six decades.

Building a better NHS that continues to be safe in the future.

High care standards - yes. Privatisation - no!

Conference, I am proud to stand here today and tell you - the NHS was made in Wales and is safe in Wales under Labour!

As a Government we have put education and the future of our young people at the centre of what we do.

That's why we kept tuition fees low for students going into higher education and why we refused to axe the Education Maintenance Allowance so young people can remain in further education.

And of course in recent weeks, as you will know, we took the decision to re-grade those pupils who had been let down by the examination system in the GCSE debacle.

So why did we take that decision?

Well, the answer is simple. We want to look those young people in the eye and say "we had done right by them".

That's fairness in action.

But more importantly for Welsh children - unlike Michael Gove - we took the right action!

It's a shame English pupils didn't have the same chance.

As a Labour Government, we're utterly opposed to smashing national pay agreements and forcing public sector workers to accept wages that are less than their counterparts in other areas.

Conference - this isn't justice.

Petrol is no less expensive in Newport Gwent than it is in Newport Pagnell.

Food on the table, is no less expensive in Durham than it is in Dudley.

This plan is unfair.

Conference, we stand for fairness.

And this is why we say no to regional pay!

Conference, as you will have noticed, in Wales we don't accept those tired words of the Tories and Lib Dems that 'the only way is stagnation'.

Welsh Labour has demonstrated that there is another way when it comes to growing our economy.

Even though we had to make some tough choices, we are proving that by investing in building projects, we can keep construction companies in business and construction workers in jobs!

Even though these are very difficult and challenging financial times, Welsh Labour is still delivering - investing what we can in the future of our country.

Conference, we have proving there is a different way. A more principled way.

A way that says - difficult times should not lead to more inequality.

We are proving there is a more just way.

A way built on fairness and respect.

In Wales, we still have to take some difficult decisions as money has got tighter.

But those decisions have always been taken and measured against our Labour values - our social conscience, our sense of justice, our sense of right.

In Wales, we are showing those people who cherish their NHS, who value their communities and who want a decent future for their children and grandchildren - that there is an alternative.

I am proud that we govern Wales with Labour values.

Even though we are a small country, we have big ideas.

But more importantly - they are Labour ideas.

And as we have proven at both the Assembly elections last year and in the local elections this year - they are ideas that people like.

What we're doing in Wales, is not just about Wales - it's about all of us in the wider UK.

Wales is the living proof that as a Party we have the vision, the hope, the drive and the ambition to make a difference.

Wales has a Government that cares.

Britain needs a Government that cares.

Conference - let's go out there and say there is a better way!

Thank you. Diolch yn fawr.


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