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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 16:52 GMT
Plaid school meals election plan
Children eating school dinner (library)
Plaid aims to offer practical down to earth policies
Plaid Cymru is set to offer every primary school child a free school meal in its assembly election manifesto.

It also plans to offer free laptop computers for secondary school pupils, new grants for first time buyers and to create a science academy for Wales.

Plaid said it would offer "visionary" ideas and a "radical and exciting" programme for government next May.

It insists its proposals are affordable based on UK treasury public spending estimates for the next four years.

A final consultation document - Change for the better - its time to make a difference - sets out a range of ideas the party is considering putting in its manifesto when it is published in March.

Other plans include giving all families access to affordable childcare from the end of maternity leave, at an estimated cost of 47m a year, and replacing GCSE and A-levels with what Plaid calls a "wide ranging" Baccalaureate qualification.

Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones
Ieuan Wyn Jones said the plans were 'radical and exciting'

To improve healthcare the party would set up "well-being centres" in communities with salaried doctors, dentists, nurses and therapists.

There are also plans to seek powers to reform the planning system to release unused land for local housing, introduce a Welsh Language Act and replace council tax with a local income tax.

A new contributory "national care fund" would fund a move towards free personal care for elderly people.

Plaid also intends calling a referendum on a Scottish-style parliament for Wales by the 2011 assembly election.

Entirely affordable

Party leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said that during a walk across Wales last summer people told him politicians talked "way above their heads" and did not have "practical, down to earth, day-to-day policies that mean anything in their own local communities".

He said: "That is what we've tried to do in this document - to be radical and exciting but also entirely affordable within the context of the budget."

Mr Jones said the free laptop plan was "an exciting step change in educational material in Wales, an excellent idea whose time has come".

The party estimates the laptops would cost 20m a year.


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