7:56pm Monday 16th April 2007
Labour's achievements in the Assembly are plentiful. Free swimming for kids, free bus passes for pensioners, record employment levels, smaller class sizes, a £120million crime fighting fund - the list goes on. But we know there is more to do and we know too that the most important thing a government can help achieve is a fair start in life for every child - that is why children come first in Labour's manifesto for a third term.
A commitment to ending child poverty is something only the Labour Party would be brave enough to put before the electorate. Under the Tories, poverty rates were actually going up before we came to power and reversed that trend.
It will not be easy to beat poverty by 2020, but Welsh Labour knows that sometimes the difficult thing to do is the right thing to do. That is why we have committed to adding £50 to all Baby Bonds for children born in Wales, and £100 for those children born into low income families. We are also creating the "Mobile Mammas" childcare service to help parents manage their work/life balance. These pledges come in addition to the millions already spent on Sure Start, Integrated Children's Centres, like the one in Cwmbran and the free breakfasts scheme. These are all initiatives the opposition parties threaten to axe if they get into power.
Welsh Labour will also introduce an anti-social behaviour unit in Torfaen, co-ordinating more resources to tackle the scourge of unlawful behaviour. Our new tidy towns initiative will also help tackle the problems of littering and graffiti preventing associated low level crime.
Locally, I will continue to fight on the issues that matter to people most: saying "no" to the prison in Cwmbran, saying "yes" to the new Specialist and Critical Care Centre coming to Torfaen, calling for more money for Torfaen schools and demanding a fairer deal for patients who have to pay over the odds for parking or phone charges in hospitals.
The message is clear - if you want Labour to keep working for a safer, cleaner, more prosperous Torfaen then use your vote on May 3rd to keep a strong Valleys voice at the heart of government.
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