Jeremy Miles makes 'sustainable economic growth' top priority in First Minister manifesto

Current Eduction Minister Jeremy Miles says "sustainable economic growth" is his top priority. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Jeremy Miles says he will make "sustainable economic growth" his top priority as he sets out his vision in his bid to become Wales' next First Minister.

The current Eduction Minister, one of two candidates hoping to succeed Mark Drakeford as Welsh Labour leader, said his particular focus will be on the economy as he put forward his plan "to make Wales a more prosperous and compassionate country."His pledges include improving women’s health outcomes, particularly around the menopause, and developing a new ‘Rent to Own’ scheme to help renters buy a home.

Mr Miles told ITV Wales he believes he has a "strong vision for the future," saying his leadership would focus on the "day-to-day priorities of people across Wales."

Education Minister Jeremy Miles is competing with Economy Minister Vaughan Gething to be the next First Minister. Credit: PA Images

Mr Miles officially launched his manifesto in an event at Llandrillo Engineering College in Rhyl on Thursday.

The so-called "economy-focused measures" he set out include pledging to expand energy efficient retrofit for existing homes and exploring financial incentives for graduates to set up businesses in Wales.He also said he would want to work with an incoming UK Labour government on a “freedom from poverty” plan for Wales, with a focus on child poverty.

The other contender for Wales' top job is the current Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething.

Mr Gething launched his own manifesto on Saturday.

  • ITV Wales reporter Ian Lang spoke to Jeremy Miles MS following his manifesto launch.

Mr Miles told ITV Wales: "I'm a candidate that has a clear sense of direction, but is also good at bringing people with me."

He continued: "It's also really important to have an appetite for fresh ideas, about how we apply our enduring values in a rapidly changing context, and I think I'm the candidate that can do that."Speaking about the financial pressures facing Wales and how he would pay for his plans, Mr Miles said: "My manifesto makes it clear that we have very, very real pressures on our budget in the years ahead."But it's really important as well that when members are casting their vote... To set out a vision for the long term. In my manifesto, there are things we can do now which are affordable and there are things which are more ambitious for the longer-term."

The winner of the Welsh Labour leadership contest is set to be declared on 16 March.

Key points of the manifesto

Mr Miles' six key pledges if elected as Welsh Labour leader and First Minister are:

  • A green economy stimulus: target all Welsh Government capital and procurement spending - alongside new funding models, in partnership with local government - to create quality, sustainable jobs and tackle climate change.

  • Invest in education: increase the percentage of the Welsh Government budget spent on schools - as the best investment in social justice and in a healthy economy.

  • Cut NHS waiting lists: establish dedicated orthopaedic centres for knee and hip replacements to clear backlogs.

  • Decent housing in our communities: expand cooperative housing and tackle barriers to providing social homes.

  • Fairer fares, better transport: simpler, fairer bus fares to encourage travel as we re-regulate the bus network.

  • A stronger voice for the people of Wales: strengthen the Senedd, devolve power within Wales, and secure a fairer deal for Wales in partnership with a UK Labour Government.

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