North Wales minster pledge by Tories
A NEW Minister responsible just for North Wales would be created to stop the focus on the south if the Tories get into power next year.
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, has vowed to create the new top job saying the “Cardiff Bay bubble mentality needs to burst”.
Mr Davies promised to create the position just days after First Minister Carwyn Jones came under fire in Rhyl for “neglecting” North Wales communities in favour of the south.
Carwyn Jones was accused of focusing on the NHS and infrastructure around Cardiff, as residents shouted health care was better in the south during a Q&A.
Mr Jones said: “Everybody says the money is spent in Cardiff now, the north-south issue is always going to be there, it’s the same in every country.”
Last month, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board became the first health board in Wales to be placed in Special Measures by the Welsh Government.
But Mr Jones said: “You have access to Alder Hey, you have access to the Liverpool women’s hospital, the Welsh health service pays for that. We have the general hospitals, there is nothing to suggest the health service is better in north or south.”
South Wales is due to get a new Metro, costing potentially £1.1bn from Wales, UK and EU funds, and £1bn was earmarked to be spent on a the M4 relief road in Newport.
The Welsh Government has pledged £52.5m of improvements to the A55 in the National Transport Plan, which hints at plans for a third Menai bridge.
Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies has now told our sister paper, the Daily Post, he would create a North Wales Minister in his cabinet if the Conservatives are in power next year.
Mr Davies said: “There is no question in my mind that the Welsh Labour Government is overly south Wales focused, and that’s why we would create a minister for North Wales.
“Welsh Labour needs to break out of the ‘Cardiff Bay Bubble’ mentality because the North Wales region and its business community needs and deserves a stronger voice in Welsh Government.”
Due to the pay increase, the salary for the new position would cost the taxpayer £100,000 and could be merged with other portfolios.
But during the public meeting in Rhyl, Mr Jones insisted the voice of North Wales was heard strongly as four out of the 10 Ministers represented the north.
They are poverty minister Lesley Griffiths, deputy tourism Minister Ken Skates, natural resources minister Carl Sargeant and farming minister Rebecca Evans.
Plaid AM Llyr Gruffydd criticised the Welsh Government for using all its borrowing power to improve a single stretch of the M4 in Newport.
The North Wales AM said: “People will remember that decision right up until there is a change of government in Cardiff.”
Lib Dem AM Aled Roberts said: “The North is the only region in Wales that has a health board in special measures. People deserve better than this.”