2011 - Let's set the course for the next decade


Plaid Cymru's leader Ieuan Wyn Jones has said that '2011 can be the year to set the course for the next decade in Wales' as he outlines how his party will place the future of our children's education at the centre of his party's priorities for the coming year. 
He said his party will present the people of Wales with an ambitious plan for Government for the Welsh General Election this May - a programme that will prioritise improving education as well as continuing the work of securing Wales' economic recovery. 
The Plaid leader also said that he believes that in the coming year a more confident Wales will show how it's ready to take more responsibility to meet for the considerable challenges the nation faces in the years ahead - giving Wales the extra tools needed to move the nation forward.

 Plaid Leader Ieuan Wyn Jones AM said:

“I believe the coming year can set Wales' course for the next decade. We have two crucial events in the coming five months - a referendum to give us a proper parliament, and the Welsh General Election in May which will give the people of Wales the chance to decide their future priorities for Wales.

“In the first three terms of our National Assembly, Wales has come along way.  The assembly is well established and ready to be given more powers to ensure that we have the tools to get so much more done for the people of Wales in the next decade. These extra tools will enable us to react more quickly and implement solutions to many of the challenges we still face in education, health, housing and transport.

Commenting on his party's preparations for the Welsh General election in May, Ieuan Wyn Jones said:

“Of course, Plaid as always will continue to stand up for Wales' interests in the coming year, especially against a Westminster government intent on following policies which risk Wales' economic recovery and put the interest of Welsh citizens at risk.  However, in this defining year, the people of Wales also expect parties to have an ambitious plan for Wales in the coming decade. They will be looking to Wales and our National Assembly for leadership to move our nation forward.

“We are currently planning our programme for Government for the next term, an ambitious yet realistic plan designed to move Wales forward in these challenging time.  My party intends to ensure that we offer not only hope in the challenging times ahead but the clear programme to create a Wales we all want to see for our children and grandchildren.

"Of course, securing the economic recovery will be central to Plaid's plans in 2011 -  We must continue to help companies to create jobs and provide assistance to people who are out of work to find new employment, but this alone is not enough if we want to set a new course for our nation.

“I have no doubt that improving our children's education is the single most important issues if we are to ensure the economic success of Wales in the coming decades.  Wales' children deserve a world-class education system and this must start with ensuring our children get the basics right.

“Sadly, there are still many children leaving school not being able to read and write which is clearly affecting their life chances. In the Assembly election we will be looking to highlight policies which will address this, and to make sure that our children are equipped with the skills necessary to lead fulfilling lives and to improve our economic performance.

“Difficult questions will need to be asked of all involved in the education process to make sure we're getting it right but as a parent and grandparent, I'm more determined than ever to ensure that future generations are given the best possible start in life.

“As part of the One Wales Government we have brought in the foundation phase, which we believe will show huge educational benefits in years to come, however we cannot be complacent, and Plaid has resolved to ensure that education, and in particular getting the basics right - reading, writing and counting, will be a central plank of our 2011 programme for government for May's 2011 elections.

“Within a decade I want to be able to look back at how 2011 set Wales on a new course -  the course of a Wales confident in our own ability to improve the lives of the people of our nation and year that we took decisive steps to further improve the educational standards that will help develop our economy and create a better society.
“This year can be a defining one for our nation. Let's make sure that in 2011 we set an ambitious course for Wales.”