Welsh Labour programme 'lacks meaningful targets'

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams Kirsty Williams said the programme was "vague and unambitious"

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Opposition parties have rounded on Welsh Labour's government programme, claiming it lacks promised meaningful targets.

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said without measurable targets it was "not worth the paper it's written on".

Welsh Tories and Plaid Cymru also criticised aspects of the programme.

But the first minister said his "road map" allowed people to judge whether the Welsh Government was performing.

Unveiling the document to the Senedd on Tuesday, Carwyn Jones hailed a "fresh approach" by his minority Welsh Government.

Mr Jones said annual reports, the first will be available next May, would allow people to decide whether the government was meeting big long-term challenges, such as better experiences of healthcare, higher educational achievements and a "robust" economy.

Tuesday's programme offers "indicators" to measure the government's performance between now and the next election in 2016, he said.

Analysis

Mark Hannaby, BBC Wales political reporter

Labour's 'indicators' have proved controversial.

The opposition parties were expecting targets because Carwyn Jones had promised measurable targets by which to gauge success.

The opposition parties argue the document contains indicators but not real targets.

For example, it says the percentage of people who smoke will indicate successful health policy but not how low that percentage should be to show success.

Neither does it include information about how many people currently smoke.

So you cannot easily compare where we are now with where the government wants us to be at a particular stage in the future.

Voters "will be able to see those figures year after year and then they can judge".

However Ms Williams said Wales had waited 145 days for a programme of government that had turned out to be "vague and unambitious".

"I had hoped that... we would have a picture of what delivery looks like or what success looks like by 2016 so that assembly members and the people of Wales could scrutinise the Welsh Government if they didn't meet those targets," she said.

Ms Williams added: "There isn't a single figure there to tell us what success looks like.

"There isn't a single target in here that is meaningful."

She said: "Without measurable targets with comparative figures, the Labour Government's programme for government is not worth the paper it's written on".

Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones described the programme, which he said had needed to be dragged out of Labour, as a missed opportunity.

"Now that we have a programme for government, it is largely a collection of meaningless generalisations with no detail or targets," he said.

Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said some aspects of the programme were of concern, as was the track record of some ministers.

WELSH GOVERNMENT'S KEY COMMITMENTS

Cover of Welsh Government programme
  • Establish a Welsh jobs fund
  • Increase access to GP services
  • Fund 500 new police community support officers
  • Increasing frontline spending in schools
  • Doubling the number of children benefiting from the Flying Start programme
  • Introducing statutory literacy and numeracy framework, supported by national tests
  • Moves to release more public land for affordable housing
  • Anti-poverty action plan by next year
  • Increase the number of organ donors in Wales
  • Create new marine conservation zones
  • Press for an independent review for S4C
  • Publish a five-year Welsh Language Strategy
  • Source: Welsh Government
'Time for delivery'

The first minister defended the programme against the charge that it did not contain targets, saying "delivery" would be his party's watchword during a fourth term.

Labour's programme was cautiously welcomed by Welsh interest groups.

Robert Lloyd Griffiths, director of the Institute of Directors in Wales, welcomed the emphasis on new apprenticeships and on skills and education.

But using Carwyn Jones's own words he warned: "Now is the time for delivery."

Keith Edwards of the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru welcomed the programme's approach to delivering housing solutions but said Labour's "ambitious agenda" would require all partners to "roll up their sleeves".

Tina Donnelly, director of the Royal College of Nursing, said the clear priorities detailed in the programme were "excellent".

But she added that if specialist and consultant nurse posts in vital health areas continued to be cut across Wales the programme would not be able to deliver on its health promises.

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