1. ITV Report

It's time to rebalance Wales, claims Plaid leader

The Welsh party conference season gets underway today, with Plaid Cymru meeting in Newport.

Leanne Wood is expected to attack Labour's record in both local government and Cardiff Bay. Credit: Plaid Cymru

Like the other parties who'll gather this month, Plaid's emphasis will be very much on May's local council elections.

With so much political uncertainty since the Brexit vote, the elections are an important test of the parties' standing with the public.

They're also a one in five year opportunity for voters to pass judgment on their councillors.

Plaid Cymru doesn't have overall control of any local authority but has forged alliances to secure the leadership of Gwynedd, Conwy, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.

Plaid's hoping for gains in May. The top targets are Caerphilly, where the party lost power to Labour five years ago, Rhondda Cynon Taf, which it ran between 1999 and 2004 and Anglesey, where Plaid's already the biggest party but independents run the council.

Of the councils it's defending, a particularly hard fight looks likely in Carmarthenshire, where Plaid only took control after the independents switched their support from Labour.

Leanne Wood's emphasis will be very much on May's local council elections. Credit: PA

Labour's fighting back, with most of its Carmarthenshire councillors opposing the decision to make Ysgol Llangennech an entirely Welsh medium school.

Plaid's leader, Leanne Wood is expected to use her conference speech to point out it's Welsh Government policy that more schools should teach through Welsh. She'll suggest that Labour council candidates should either back their ministers' strategy or stand on a different ticket.

But the main emphasis of the speech will be on what Leanne Wood says is Plaid Cymru's mission to rebalance Wales.

She will claim that the Welsh Government has made the same mistake as the UK Government and cultivated an “overheating centre at the expense of everywhere else.”

We are on a mission to rebalance Wales. And we’ve started already. We've put the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth rail link on the agenda, securing a £300,000 feasibility study and bringing it closer to reality.

When completed, Plaid Cymru will have secured the most significant railway in Wales since the Beeching Cuts of the 1960s. We'll be doing everything in our power to get that delivered.

In south-east Wales, we are pushing for the City Deal to include guaranteed investment in the former coalfield communities, and a specially designated role for Newport. We’ve said work should begin at those points further away from the centre.

We don't back a City Deal which sucks people and even more traffic into Cardiff, where Plaid Cymru councillors have been campaigning against congestion and over-development.

We will back a City Deal which shares the wealth. We want the next Admiral, the next Welsh success story, to be headquartered somewhere like Aberdare, Treherbert or Maerdy.

– Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood AM