2016 is a referendum on the future of the NHS

The Leader of the Welsh Conservatives has labelled next year’s Welsh General Election a ‘referendum on the future of the National Health Service’ during his keynote speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester today.

Andrew RT Davies will highlight Welsh Conservative plans to increase investment and boost access to treatments across the country:

Speech Extract 1:

A Welsh Conservative government would protect the NHS budget in Wales.

And we would invest - in more paramedics, in better access to cancer treatments, in more accountability.

And in better patient choice.

We know our treasured National Health Service is no 9-5.

It’s 24/7. 365 days a year.

When we need it urgently – it’s there. And we should all be grateful for the work it does.

But in Wales – more than anywhere – it needs innovation.

New measures. To bring down waiting times

New ideas. To improve patient care.

And a plan that ensures not only more access – but more patient-friendly services.

After 17 years of Labour-run Wales, our communities deserve nothing less.

Next year’s election, then, will be a referendum on the Welsh National Health Service.

More of the same with Labour.

Or better access, more investment, and a brighter future with Welsh Conservatives.

Speaking in the main conference hall during the ‘UK session’, the Welsh Conservative Leader will also set the party out as the only alternative to five more years of Labour – and the only party capable of providing a ‘fresh start’ – and ‘A New Wales’:

Speech Extract 2:

Conference, the Welsh Conservatives are Wales' anti-establishment Party. We are the real Party of Wales. And we are the clear alternative.

We’re the only Party that won’t prop up another five more years of Labour rule.

And only the Welsh Conservatives can stop Carwyn Jones becoming First Minister again. It’s me. Or him.

The math is simple – only the Welsh Conservatives can do it.

May 2016 offers the chance of a fresh start – A new Wales.

Let’s grasp it with both hands.

Mr Davies will also pledge to fund schools directly in Wales, significantly boosting the amount of money that goes to frontline teaching and empowering staff, parents and governors:

Speech Extract 3:

There are 1,600 schools across Wales – packed full of passionate, hardworking teachers and pupils who deserve the best possible chance to succeed.

Yet Labour has let them down for too long.

I am sick, tired and saddened by Wales being outperformed by other UK nations on education. Year after year.

Labour is letting schools down. Teachers down. And pupils down.

And what did our Education Minister say recently about pay and conditions for teachers?

Apparently, it’s a matter “above his pay grade”.

Can you believe that? No ambition. Tired. Lazy. And out of ideas.

Well, speaking of pay grades, next May – Wales has a chance to give the lazy Labour Government its P45.

Conference, I believe in Wales’ teachers. That’s why I want to empower them. They know best for our pupils – not Labour Ministers.

That’s why a Welsh Conservative Government will fund schools directly.

That could mean hundreds of thousands more pounds reaching the frontline in every single school.

And that’s great news for teachers. More resources. More power. More freedom.

Business and the economy will also form a key part of Wednesday’s speech. Mr Davies will promise to lead a ‘government that unashamedly backs our small businesses’:

Speech Extract 4:

Here in Manchester, you're adjusting to Labour's selection of a new hard-left Marxist as leader – Jeremy Corbyn.

But – in Wales – we’ve had Marxists at the helm for years!

Conference – we’ve got a Business Minister who "regrets” capitalism…

… who got the taxpayer to pay for her copy of the Morning Star! Can you believe it, comrades?

The election of Jeremy Corbyn tells you everything you need to know about the true DNA of today’s Labour Party.

 Labour presides over a Welsh economy over reliant on the public sector and propped up by European Funding. A Government without ambition.

 But, Conference, I know Wales can do so much better than that.

 I want to unleash our nation’s entrepreneurial spirit.

 Forget a Marxist revolution – I want a small business revolution.

 We need a Welsh Government that truly backs Welsh businesses.

 A Government that rewards the grafters. The workers. The risk-takers.

 And, Conference - I'd lead a Government that unashamedly backs our small businesses.

 From our long-standing commitments on business rates…

… to providing localised access to finance …

… and reviving the Welsh High Street …

 But we won’t stop there.

 Conference, the benefits of economic growth must be felt by all communities, and in all corners of Wales.

 That’s why a Welsh Conservative Government would ensure North Wales thrived at the very centre of a truly Northern Powerhouse. 

 And the people of Wales need a Welsh Government that will give them opportunities.

 Opportunities to work. Opportunities to impress. Opportunities to achieve.

 Conference, Mine would be that Government of opportunity -

 … strengthening ties between education, employment and local business…

… diversifying apprenticeships …

… and - crucially – improving access to paid work placements so people have that chance to shine …

 Opportunities for all. A new Welsh economy.