I was delighted to be able to welcome those attending Welsh Labour conference at Venue Cymru in Llandudno 28-30 March 2014. My speech is below.
Croeso i Landudno
Welcome to Llandudno
Mary Wimbury dw’i ymgeisydd seneddol yr ardal yma
I’m Mary Wimbury, Parliamentary candidate for this area and I’m delighted to welcome you here.
But do you know what would make me even more delighted?
If after 7 May 2015 I’m able to welcome you as the local MP, part of a Labour majority in Westminster delivering for the people of Britain, the people of Wales and the people of this constituency.
The people I meet on the doorstep week in and week out.
The woman who was trying to do the right thing. Her husband was working full-time but on a low wage. She wanted to set up her own business so she could work around their children. Personally, she banked with the credit union, but to get an appropriate business account she went to a high street bank. With just seven days notice they decided to call in her overdraft. At the worst possible time. What she needs is Labour’s policy of regional investment banks committed to supporting local businesses and growing the local economy.
Then there’s the man, who is a carer for his disabled wife, who I met in a village in the Conwy Valley. They’d spent their own money adapting their housing association home to meet their needs. But now they have to pay the bedroom tax. Their only alternative was to move out of that village because there were no suitable smaller properties available. But that would mean moving away from family and support networks. And the rural bus service is both expensive and infrequent. They need a Labour government that will repeal the bedroom tax.
And I don’t know how many of you drove here up the A470 – but imagine walking the last nine miles on that fast and windy rural road – without pavements – because you didn’t have the bus fare and were terrified that if you missed your job club appointment your benefits would be stopped. Hardly a shirker – but someone who needs a Government that wants to help them find work rather than demonise them for not having done so yet.
Llandudno is a lovely town. Indeed the whole of Aberconwy is worth spending time in and attracts thousands of visitors each year. But it also has challenges. It has two communities first areas, food banks and ever increasing queues for services such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. And that’s before we get onto people coping without small pleasures as a result of the cost of living crisis caused by this UK Government. First of we had tax cuts for millionaires while prices rose faster than wages for all but one month since David Cameron became Prime Minister. Now we have the Tories hoping that we’ll all be too busy enjoying beer and bingo to notice that the latest budget hits hard-working people yet again.
I hope very much you will enjoy your time here and we will have a productive conference. And I’m pleased we have good weather too.
Those of you who were here last year – and some of you who couldn’t make it – may remember the snow! But now the sun is shining. Perfect for enjoying the seaside and the mountains. And if you’re too busy attending fringe meetings to get out much, come back to visit. Llandudno has more hotels than Cardiff and they include two of the top five bargain places to stay in the UK according to TripAdvisor.
We’ll be very happy to supplement your holiday with that vital ingredient for every Labour activist: a spot of campaigning in a beautiful location!
It’s not just Llandudno that’s worth visiting. We have two castles: Conwy built by Edward and Dolwyddelan, built by Llewelyn Fawr. The constituency stretches inland past Betws y Coed and into the Snowdonia National Park. We include the peaks of Tryfan, and Moel Siabod with the fabulous Carneddau ridge running along the constituency border.
It’s a large geographic area with significant pockets of rural poverty and lack of opportunities as well as the traditional coastal problem of being on the periphery of jobs and transport links.
We need long-term sustainable jobs on a living wage. That local people have the skills and support to take up. To ensure that people here benefit from the economic improvement a Labour government will bring.
And it is small businesses that will need to be at the heart of that recovery, along with putting money in the pockets of ordinary people so that they can spend it with those small businesses. Not just our excellent hotels, but many others – such as the micro-breweries who jointly run the well-deserved CAMRA Wales pub of the year, the Albion in Conwy. Local food producers many of whose products are showcased at the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre.
It’s a great place to visit. But it could be a better place to live offering improved opportunities for people to stay here and thrive.
So enjoy your weekend and come back to help us turn Aberconwy Labour again. We are up for the fight. We hope you are too. As I’m sure you all know campaigning costs money. So, we have badges for sale to help fund our efforts.
Be an ambassador for the party. Be an ambassador for Welsh Labour. The Welsh Labour Government is doing its bit to help hard working families. We still have Communities First. We still have Flying Start. We still have Education Maintenance Allowance and Jobs Growth Wales. And this weekend we’ll be debating the policies a Welsh Government in Cardiff can deliver. But we can’t hide the fact we have a government in Westminster that is making people’s lives harder.
We’ve seen how much damage they can cause in four years – we just can’t afford another term. We need to win in 2015 and to do that we need to win in our target seats like Aberconwy.
And we know it’s going to be a hard battle. We’ve already started to see what the media will throw at us and the Tories have declared War on Wales. But we have a secret weapon – some of it right here in this hall. It’s our people – and I know we will work tirelessly and set the record straight. Formal campaigning but also speaking to our friends, neighbours and workmates to set the record straight about the change Labour can bring.
So, let’s have a good conference. And let’s leave inspired and enthused and ready to build for a gain in the European elections this May and a General Election victory next year and a Labour Government once again in Westminster.
Diolch yn fawr
Thank you very much.