Welsh Lib Dems plan their comeback after near wipeout

After a series of poor election results that have left the Welsh Liberal Democrats with one AM and no MPs, Jane Dodds, who became their leader last November, will set out today how she thinks the party can rebuild its support.

As well as making the traditional leader's speech, she will urge the Welsh Lib Dems' spring conference in Cardiff to adopt a programme called "A Liberal Wales", which sets out the issues on which she thinks the party can win back public support. It's modelled on the 1942 Beveridge Report, which had a huge influence on social policy after the Second World War.

She will argue that not only are each of Beveridge's five "giant evils" still with us but that there is now a sixth -loneliness and isolation.

  • Nearly 1 in 4 people in Wales are living in poverty, including 200,000 children - 60% of those in homes with parents who work.

  • A 15 year gap in healthy life expectancy between those living in the most and least deprived areas of Wales -and 800,000 people in Wales living with a long-term illness.

  • Rough sleeping up by 30%, with 42% of the poorest households spending over a third of their income on housing and 9,000 people waiting more than 5 years for social housing.

  • Around 26,000 children at risk of leaving primary school unable to read well.

  • Wales’ Gross Vale Added per head is only 73% of the UK average, with Wales’ unemployment rate 0.6% above the UK average at 4.9%.

  • Half a million people in Wales report feeling lonely, affecting physical and mental health.

Jane Dodds will commit the Welsh Liberal Democrats to setting out a plan to tackle all six evils and build what she calls a "socially liberal Wales that creates opportunity, unlocks talent, harnesses entrepreneurialism, and creates a strong, inclusive economy".