Too often, politicians in the Cardiff Bay bubble do not prioritise Ceredigion. I've lived in mid and west Wales for most of my life, seeing how compared to areas in South Wales, we are so frequently overlooked by decision makers who do not understand that it costs more to deliver services in large rural counties, due to the distance that hard working front line workers often have to travel.
We need fairer funding for Ceredigion Council so that local roads, schools and services, on which we all rely, can be improved. I believe that a review of the way in which funding is calculated for large rural areas is well overdue. If the Welsh Conservatives win a majority at the Senedd Elections in May, we would overhaul this funding formula and deliver fair funding for Ceredigion.
As a parent and a teacher, I know how important it is to give our young people the best start in life. Unfortunately, although we have talented children and fantastic teachers, Welsh education standards have consistently lagged behind the rest of the UK. This is because of poor education policy, a failure to tackle teacher training shortages and historic school underfunding by the Welsh Government. We must end the years of underfunding of our rural schools. This will help improve standards and ensure our children have the opportunities to be Ceredigion’s future innovators and leaders.
Our young people have had such a tough time over the last year, with time away from face-to-face teaching and their friends. It is absolutely essential that we now invest in their futures. I am committed to fighting for investment in more apprenticeships and recognise that technical and vocational skills & qualifications are just as valuable as academic qualifications. We must ensure that pupils have the opportunity to take courses that get them where they want to go.
This leads me on to a further fundamental point. Not only do our young people need educational opportunities, but they also need the increased job opportunities they deserve, having worked so hard to obtain their qualifications.
I am unashamedly proud to be pro business. By supporting businesses, we not only protect livelihoods but also improve wellbeing and increase opportunity. Crucially, by building a positive environment for business, we ensure a strong economy so there is more money for public services. This also enables more money to be spent locally, helping our high streets.
Ceredigion has so much potential: the ability to attract more high-tech firms, to showcase our quality produce and to promote sustainable tourism. But to help encourage young people to stay here and give them the opportunities they deserve, we need business rate reform. A Welsh Conservative Government will scrap business rates altogether for small businesses. For businesses to recover and thrive, we need less red tape, better transport links and improved digital access – all things that I’ll campaign for.
Yes we're proud of our Welsh identity and we are proud of the Union too. I will work WITH and not against the UK Government to ensure investment for Ceredigion. Ceredigion will benefit from the multi million pound mid Wales Growth deal that the UK Government has committed to. Ceredigion has also been ranked highly for the UK Government’s levelling-up fund - I want to seize these opportunities and ensure that our businesses benefit from them so that we have increased prosperity and opportunity for all, especially for the sake of our young people.