Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew RT Davies’ New Year Message [December 2022]

The press release issued by the Welsh Conservatives on 31 December 2022.

The changing of the year can often be seen as a time for new challenges with many of us adopting new year’s resolutions, often to lose weight, exercise more, take up a hobby or drink less. I’ll let you work out which ones are mine!

However, it is very clear that the Labour Government’s new year’s resolution will be the same as last year, and the year before – and I dare say the year before; to get to grips with our Welsh NHS.

Our NHS staff who are working incredibly hard, under increasingly difficult circumstances, do a terrific job given the situation they are in and deserve our respect.

But they have been let down by 25 years – yes, 25 years – of Labour running the NHS in Wales. Whilst the pandemic has had a major impact, Labour’s mismanagement has made the backlogs worse. Let’s not forget that it was the former Labour Health Minister who said it was “foolish” to plan for recovery after the pandemic.

In Scotland and England, they ignored his calls and now they’ve eliminated their 2 year waits for treatment. In Wales 57,000 people are wondering how much longer they need to wait having hit the two-year mark.

And in the wings waiting behind them are three quarters of a million people on an NHS waiting list, with 1-in-4 waiting over a year, while only 1-in-19 are in England, with the average wait 10 weeks shorter than in Wales.

Wales recently recorded the slowest ambulance wait times on record – with a 50/50 chance of getting an ambulance in time and we have the worst A&E waits in Britain.

The UK Government and Scotland have set up Covid inquiries to scrutinise the decisions they made. Bereaved families deserve answers and the Labour Government should not be allowed to dodge that kind of scrutiny for the decisions they took in Wales.

The only person that seems to want to block a Wales-specific Covid inquiry, is Mark Drakeford.

The most memorable moment in Welsh politics this year was probably when the First Minister lost his cool and blew his lid because I had the temerity to scrutinise his performance as it pertained to the health service.

He can flick the pages of his binder and scrunch his face up all he wants, but the Welsh Conservatives will continue to hold him to account into 2023.

The rising cost of living is a blight on Wales’ already undersized pay packets. So I will be fighting hard to hold the Labour Government to account and reminding them that they hold the levers to grow the Welsh economy.

I hope that with the Covid pandemic in the rear-view mirror, we can look to the future and prioritise delivery for the Welsh people. We want to see the green shoots of recovery, with growth in the economy, improvements in the health service and progress with educational attainment.

The Welsh Conservatives will continue our work as the main opposition party, to that end, because our role is to stand up and scrutinise where the other Cardiff Bay parties do not.

We have a great team of Senedd Members who champion all corners of Wales and I believe as leader of the Welsh Conservatives, that this has been a very positive year for our team in raising the issues that matter to our constituents and helping where we can.

We will be starting work in developing our offer to the electorate for the next Senedd election to offer that alternative that Wales desperately needs.

There is a uniquely positive part to play for my party, in that we champion high quality public service provision, while ensuring good value for the Welsh taxpayer. We need to let hard working people keep more of their own money where we can by delivering economic growth, showing how we can oppose tax rises and cut taxes where possible, while also making the sums add up.

So as we look to the new year, I hope we can reflect on what went well and what needs to be delivered for the benefit of the people of Wales. My new year’s resolution is to lead the charge to that end and fight harder than ever for the people’s priorities here in Wales. And I do sincerely hope the Welsh Government meets theirs and delivers a Welsh NHS for everyone.

I would like to extend my very best wishes to you all and wish you and your family a happy and prosperous new year.