Hi, I’m John Osmond, Plaid Cymru’s candidate in Preseli Pembrokeshire in this election. Brought up in Little Haven as well as in Abergavenny, I’ve strong roots in the county. I stood in Preseli in the 2007 Assembly election and was a leader of the successful campaign in that year to prevent the downgrading of Withybush hospital in Haverfordwest. The current renewed threat to the provision of emergency services at the hospital is one of the main reasons I’m standing once again. I’m a writer and journalist and was the founding Director of the Institute of Welsh Affairs, a policy think tank which has focused much of its work around the policies and development of the National Assembly. These are my priorities for Pembrokeshire in this election:
• Keep 24 hour A&E cover at Withybush and restore consultant-led maternity and 24-hour paediatrician services. Plaid opposes Tory privatisation of the NHS in England that will inevitably creep over the border into Wales. We oppose the Welsh Labour government’s policies in Cardiff of centralising health services in rural Wales which are hitting Withybush so hard.
• Campaign for an extra £1.2 billion for the National Assembly each year to put its funding on an equal footing with Scotland. This would ensure the equivalent of £400 a year for every man, woman and child in Wales to spend on our NHS and schools.
• Meet the demand of parents for a new Welsh-medium secondary school in Haverfordwest including a sixth form and ensure that a sixth form is included in the English-medium secondary school reorganisation in the town. The secondary school at St David’s, including its sixth form, should be maintained. Three to four year-olds should be provided with an extra year of schooling.
• Support our town centres which are the heart of our communities. Plaid’s zero business rates policy for small firms will help many town centre shops. The county council should use its planning powers to restrict out-of-town development. Local authority car parking charges should be removed.
• Create more than 1,000 sustainable jobs in the county by giving public contracts to local firms. Plaid Cymru will create a Welsh Development Bank whose primary role would be to ensure adequate credit for businesses to create additional jobs.
• Upgrade the A40 and introduce an hourly train service to Milford and Fishguard.
• Encourage transfer of investment from fossil fuels into establishing a Renewable Energy Agency to plan and fund developments. Plaid supports a ban on fracking.
• Ensure Wales stays in the EU – leaving would damage Pembrokeshire’s farmers and the wider economy.