North Wales min­ster pledge by Tories

North Wales Weekly News - - NEWS -

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.”

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