GOING into this election, there are fundamental differences between myself as a Labour candidate and the others who are standing.
We have different views on how to revive the economy – I do not favour cutting for the sake of it, but investing in people to balance the books.
I am supporting the Welsh jobs fund, aimed at creating 4,000 new jobs over the lifetime of the next Assembly.
That’s 4,000 extra people paying tax rather than receiving benefits, with lots of positive impact for the economy.
It’s the responsibility of politicians to ensure that the economy grows to lead us out of the downturn.
That is why I back Labour’s real reduction in business rates rather than the Tories uncosted and dangerous promises.
We are making sure that small businesses have their tax cut while our opponents are promising something they cannot deliver. But I want to go further.
I want to see small but effective changes that will make a big difference. I want to see car park charges cut to encourage shoppers into our town centres.
I want to see help for people starting their own businesses.
I want to see the people of Wales working.
I’m standing on a pledge of increasing the number of apprenticeships and training opportunities for young people.
If communities in Wales are to prosper, we need to help our young people to gain the necessary skills, equipping them for a full and active life.
I believe in education, in community and in healthy families.
That’s why our manifesto pledges more investment in schools and extra access to GP surgeries. We must also protect our students from tuition fee rises and safeguard EMA.
Labour is committed to giving children in Wales the best possible start. Flying start is one of our proudest achievements, while our record on investment in schools is something to be proud of.
From £500,000 to renovate Croesyceiliog Comprehensive to the completely new Deri View Primary, we have shown our commitment to children time and again.
If I’m elected to serve Monmouth, I will push for even more investment, like that which has regenerated the Savoy Theatre in Monmouth and the Brewery Yard in Abergavenny, Nevill Hall Hospital and also Communities First.
More than anything else, I want to help the people of the area prosper and grow.
That is why I’m standing in the Monmouth constituency.