5:55pm Monday 16th April 2007
Torfaen's potential and progress has been hindered by years of Labour's political vision. Labour has let the people of Torfaen down.
The figures speak for themselves.
The incidence of recorded crime in Torfaen is above the national average, particularly for vehicle and other criminal damage.
Labour's local record on recycling is poor.
Only 22% of municipal waste in Torfaen was recycled or composted in 2005-06, compared with the national average of 27%.
In education, the average GCGE point indicators for Torfaen pupils is 37.7%, while the Welsh national average is 40.3%. Why has Labour failed to close this gap? I am committed to working towards reducing school class sizes to 25 pupils and ensuring that all school buildings are in decent condition with the latest computerised teaching resources.
That is a firm and clear commitment. In a changing local and national labour market, I want more education and training for adults too. Is Labour proud of the fact that over a fifth of Torfaen's working population has no qualifications whatsoever? More needs to be done in equipping and staffing Torfaen's schools, colleges and training centres.
As a Welsh Liberal Democrat, I believe passionately in individual rights and liberties and how they impact on lives everyday. People must have the right to feel safe and secure at home, at work and in the community. They should have the liberty to refuse the unchecked growth of the "We are Watching You" database society and the imposition of ID cards. We need to strengthen communities for a better Wales.
The Welsh ambulance service is in a mess - the result of labour's mismanagement. Again, people in Torfaen have the right to a feel that in an emergency, an ambulance arrives within minutes and that they are not destined to spend hours in ward corridors on a hospital trolley when they arrive at hospital. Like all Liberal Democrats, I have very strong views on environmental protection and conservation. We must protect the local environment for generations to come. I am demanding answers to serious questions about the legacy of pollution and toxic contamination left across Torfaen since the 1970s. There are over 1,800 toxic-contamination sites in Torfaen - from Cwmbran to Blaenavon. I am the only candidate in this election demanding more environmental officers to speed up investigations into potentially toxic sites across the borough, including the old Panteg Steelworks near Griffithstown and the South Sebastopol Development area.
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