Wales Election 2016: Manifestos at a glance

Still confused about who to vote for in the Welsh Assembly election?

There is just over a week to go before polls open across Wales.

All of the parties have published their manifestos – plans for what they’d do if they took control of the Senedd, or even suggesting what they might like to get from a deal with a rival party.

You can also see where parties stand on different issues here, but below we summarise the different manifestos and what the big stories were when they were launched.

Plaid Cymru

How long is the manifesto? Plaid Cymru’s manifesto, which has English and Welsh in the same document, runs to 192 pages.

What did Plaid Cymru call it? The party said it was the “most ambitious programme for government” since the start of devolution.

What are some of the biggest policy promises? They are:

  • A promise to recruit 1,000 extra doctors and 5,000 nurses
  • A major shake-up to how the NHS is run, with primary, community and adult social care fully integrated into a new community NHS
  • Replacing the current tuition fee grant scheme with a pledge to pay off up to £18,000 of debt for graduates who return to Wales
  • A plan to restore the Welsh Development Agency to promote trade and investment in Wales.

What was the big story? Plaid Cymru has gone further than other parties in saying where they would make savings to fund their pledges – particularly in the health service.

Plaid Cymru says it would “re-direct” more than £1bn of the Welsh Government’s £15bn budget through ending some schemes and finding savings elsewhere.

The most controversial part of this was a plan to have an efficiency review of the NHS aimed at finding £300m in annual efficiencies.

Have they done their sums? Plaid Cymru published costings of its policies and also commissioned two academics, Prof Brian Morgan and Prof Gerry Holtham, to assess the programme.

They said the “overall income projections and the estimated costings” seemed to be “reasonable”. But they warned the “greatest uncertainty” concerned Plaid’s efficiency savings.

“It is certainly the case raising these sums from efficiency gains is not going to be easy or painless,” they said.

What’s the most unusual thing in it? Plaid Cymru has vowed to ban Styrofoam from all shops.

Welsh Conservatives

How long is the manifesto? Both the English and Welsh versions are 57 pages long.

What did the Conservatives call it? The “most ambitious blueprint for change ever delivered in Wales”.

What are some of the biggest policy promises? They are:

  • A cap on costs and protection for £100,000 of assets for those in residential care
  • Increase NHS expenditure in real terms, every year over the next five years
  • A promise to cut income tax
  • Cut ministerial pay by 10%

Have they done their sums? The Conservatives say they have, and that the manifesto is costed.

But there is little detail on what policies cost within the document itself.

What was the big story? It is the lack of costings which proved to be the most interesting part of the manifesto.

The document did not even spell out what the Tories would cut income tax by, despite the party previously saying it would aim to cut the basic rate of income tax in Wales by 2p in the pound if they win the assembly election.

There were some figures given on the day. Scrapping the tuition fee grant would save £256m – £75m of which would be spent on a planned rent rebate for students.

What’s the most unusual thing in it? The Conservatives said they’d make the use of CCTV in slaughterhouses mandatory.

You can read more here.

Welsh Labour

What did Welsh Labour call their manifesto? A “plan for prosperity” that will “get the country moving”.

What are some of the biggest policy promises? They are:

  • Childcare support for working parents
  • £100m extra for schools
  • 100,000 all-age apprenticeships
  • A new treatment fund for the NHS,
  • A “better deal” for people who need care in old age.

Have they done their sums? Welsh Labour insisted that its manifesto was costed.

But like the Tories and UKIP, there was sparse information given on how the policies will be afforded.

What was the big story? Apart from the lack of costings, Labour made significant omissions on some of their big government policies.

The manifesto did not state explicitly which route the government wanted to build for the M4 relief road – despite the government currently consulting on the six lane motorway option over the Gwent Levels.

It also did not say how many councils a Welsh Labour government would want following mergers. That, again, is despite a consultation asking if people approved of a plan for eight or nine.

The omissions raised eyebrows and suggested it was a manifesto fit for coalition building – none of the other parties are wholly in line with the government on either of those issues.

What’s the most unusual about it? It is the shortest printed manifesto of the lot – at just 24 pages in English, although more information is available online.

Welsh Liberal Democrats

How long is it? The Welsh Liberal Democrat’s document is one of the longest manifestos of the parties, at 104 pages for the English version alone.

What did the Welsh Lib Dems call their manifesto? Kirsty Williams, Welsh party leader, said: “This is a manifesto that will deliver a Wales that works for you.”

What are some of the biggest policy promises? They are:

  • Ensure more nurses on Welsh hospitals wards.
  • Reduce infant class sizes so they contain no more than 25 pupils.
  • A promise to build an “opportunity economy” – with plans for affordable housing and more apprenticeships.

Have they done their sums? The Lib Dems provided a heap of costings at the back of their manifesto, suggest their pledges would cost £182m from the revenue budget in 2017/18 alone, and that they could find £218m in savings in the same year.

What was the big story? The Lib Dem manifesto offered a huge wealth of policies, but the focus by the party was on a rather small group of plans.

And they’re the kind of policies that could be slipped into a deal with a governing party – the kind of deals that the Lib Dems had been making during the last assembly term.

What’s the most unusual thing in it? The party has taken the nomenclature of Thatcher’s ‘Right-to-Buy’ policy and run with it. It says it “empower communities to take initiative over their local services and assets” through several policies, entitled a ‘Right to Bid’, a ‘Right to Challenge’, a ‘Right to Build’, a ‘Right to Reclaim Land’, a ‘Right to Contest’ and a ‘Right to Buy’.

You can find more detail on the manifesto here.


How long is the manifesto? The UKIP manifesto runs to 48 pages.

What did UKIP call it? The title of the manifesto is “Raising the Dragon”.

What are some of the biggest policy promises? They are:

  • MPs and councillors would assist the assembly in scrutiny work
  • Health boards would be elected
  • Schools would be allowed to become grammar or vocational schools
  • £73m climate change budget would be scrapped

What was the big story? It was what UKIP would do with the assembly – allowing politicians from other places to contribute to its work.

The party acknowledges that there is insufficient scrutiny in the Welsh Assembly, but does not support increasing the number of AMs.

So instead, the party says it would allow MPs – excluded from most England-only matters – to use their resulting free time to help the Cardiff Bay legislature. Councillors could also be involved in the process.

Is the cost of all this in the manifesto? Policies are largely not costed in the UKIP manifesto.

What’s the most unusual thing in it? UKIP says it would axe what they say the £73m Welsh Government budget for climate change projects.

It is the only party that had taken such a stance. The manifesto says UKIP questions “whether such spending will have any material impact on the climate”.

You can see more detail on the manifesto here.

Where are the parties similar?

No party says it will continue with the tuition fee grants system – where students get more than £5,000 to pay for tutition fees – as it stands. But the parties diverge on what will replace it.

Both the Lib Dems and the Tories say they’ll help pay for rent costs, and Plaid Cymru said it will pay off £18,000 debt if graduates return to Wales to work.

Meanwhile UKIP says it would replace the tuition fee grant with loans for Welsh students choosing to study in England. Fees would end for Welsh students that study science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine subjects in Wales.

Labour’s manifesto suggested tuition fee policies will be decided after the election.

The party said there will be a “better package of student support than that on offer in England based on the recommendations of the Diamond review”.

Most parties, apart from UKIP, promise some kind of action on business rates. Labour promises a cut for all small firms that would reduce business rate bills to zero for half of eligible firms.

The Conservatives say they will abolish business rates for all small firms with a rateable value of up to £12,000, and provide tapered relief up to £15,000.

Meanwhile Plaid Cymru also promises to boost small firms by cutting business rates.

On the other hand, the Lib Dems promise “a relief fund” for new occupants of empty premises and to remove plant and machinery from the rateable value of premises.

No party has tied themselves to building the black route of the M4, and all of the parties have suggested support for the South Wales Metro plan to upgrade the existing transport network.

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Team @ AberdareOnline

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