Writing for the Western Mail, Jeremy Corbyn said twice this week we've seen the difference a Welsh Labour government can make.
“On Monday, leading charities were asking the Tory Government in Westminster to follow the Welsh lead on tackling homelessness. The ground-breaking Housing Act introduced by Wrexham’s Lesley Griffiths is making a real difference by having tougher legal duties on preventing homelessness, and helping those people who are made homeless, in much quicker time. Crucially, councils in Wales are being spared the huge cuts we’re seeing in England, which means they can get on with the job of helping vulnerable people. By ending the Right to Buy, Welsh Labour is improving social housing.
“Secondly, and much higher up the news agenda has been the Junior Doctors Strike. The disgraceful Tory attacks on the Welsh NHS pre-dated my time as leader, but I just couldn’t understand how they were allowed to get away with such base smears, at a time when the NHS in England was coming under severe pressure. When the OECD produced its authoritative comparative study it dismissed once and for all the notion that the NHS in Wales was in some way lagging behind England – they said that quality is at the heart of the Welsh NHS. It’s there in black and white, Jeremy Hunt even paid for the report. Vindication for hard working staff. Then came the Tories’ attack on hard working junior doctors.
“It should tell Welsh voters all they need to know about Welsh Labour and the health service, that there have been no strikes in Wales. I was proud to stand with those doctors standing up for the NHS in England and say that in Wales, the Welsh Labour Government are not imposing a contract, preferring to working with health staff, not against them. This builds on the delivery of a Living Wage for all NHS workers in Wales. Things are different in Wales. England can be led by what we do in Wales. But, these things haven’t happened by accident. They’ve happened because Labour is in Government – making different decisions, based on fairness, based on what’s right for families.
“When I stood for leader many of the people who got behind my campaign felt that politics had left them, and their communities behind. They came from all walks of life, different ages and different political backgrounds. In addition to the huge backing from Labour members, others had in recent elections supported the Greens, Liberals or Plaid Cymru – some had not voted at all for many years. What I would say to those people in Wales is that there’s a big choice, and a lot at stake in this election. The Tories are making no secret of their plan to do a deal with UKIP to try and form a Welsh Government. If that happens, all that progress on issues that matter to you goes under a bus. The NHS, the environment, decent pay, support for young people – a basic commitment to fairness – these are all things that Welsh Labour fight for, day in, day out.
The Tories and Plaid Cymru have said they will charge students in Wales £9,000 fees; they're also talking about massive changes to the NHS which will undermine everything our hard-working doctors and nurses are doing on the front-line. So, I say to all progressive people in Wales – especially those living in those seats that are a straight fight between Labour and the Tories - now is the time to stand with us and give Welsh Labour your support.
“We cannot give David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt a free pass to do to Wales what they’re doing in England.
“There is simply no protest vote available in this election; too many seats will be too close to call. In the General Election the Tories won in the Vale of Clwyd by 237 votes - and yet 3,401 voted Liberal and Plaid. In the Gower, the Tories won by 27 votes - and yet 5,764 voted Liberal, Plaid and Green. All our polling and canvassing says these seats will be really tight again, coming down to just a handful of votes. Things can, and will, change. So the choice for the progressive voter is really clear – to make sure there are no UKIP and Tories around the cabinet table in Wales, you need to give your support to the local Labour candidate.”