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Thursday, 10 May, 2001, 13:25 GMT

Labour's pledge card for Wales

The Wales Labour Party has launched its "pledge card" for Wales promising low mortgages, school funds and extra nurses.

The wallet sized card being handed out to the public, was unveiled in Cardiff on Thursday by Welsh Assembly First Minister Rhodri Morgan and Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy.

Labour's Welsh pledges

  • Mortgages as low as possible, low inflation and sound public finances
  • Fund 290m of improvements to schools in Wales
  • Invest in over 1,000 extra nurses
  • New powers to seize the assets of drug dealers
  • Pensioners' winter fuel payment retained, minimum wage rising to 4.20

    It promises to keep mortgages as "low as possible"; 290m school improvements; 1,000 new nurses; new power to tackle drug dealers; a rise in the minimum wage to 4.20 and the retention of the pensioners' winter fuel payment.

    The substance of the pledges on schools and nurses have already been unveiled by the assembly.

    The assembly administration has already indicated its intention to fund school building improvements as a result of the comprehensive spending review.

    And Welsh Health Minister Jane Hutt has already set out her pledge to invest in extra nurses as part of her health plan.

    Post-devolution balance

    The party said it had decided not to repeat the English pledges to boost teacher and police numbers as there were not shortages in Wales.

    The launch linking Labour leaders at both Westminster and the assembly underlines the difficult balancing act facing politicians post-devolution.

    Mr Morgan sitting alongside Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy was quick to emphasize he would not be happy to negotiate the future of the assembly's budget with the Tories.

    "Our plans reflect our common Labour values and are based on the settlement delivered by Gordon Brown in the July 2000 spending review," said Mr Morgan.

    He said the biggest ever sustained investment in Wales and its public services meant the assembly would be able to honour the pledges.

    At the last general election Labour made pledges on cutting primary school class sizes, introducing legislation for a Welsh Assembly in the first year, cutting NHS waiting lists by an extra 100,000, getting 250,000 under-25s off benefit and into work (around 13,000 in Wales), and setting tough rules for government spending and borrowing.

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