WE’RE just days away from the most important election for a generation and I’m delighted to set out in these pages what a Conservative government would mean for North Wales.
It was great to be able to launch our Welsh manifesto in Prestatyn and George Osborne, William Hague and I have loved campaigning in this beautiful part of Wales. I know there are big concerns here about jobs and the economy – not least because unemployment in Wales is actually getting worse. But I’m also incredibly optimistic that if we make the right changes, North Wales can have a great future – a future full of change and ambition and hope.
But first, I’d like to get something straight. Labour have been trying to frighten people about a Conservative government.
They’re going around saying that we will cut the Winter Fuel Allowance, cut pension credit and TV licences for over-75s. I can promise you – these are lies. If we win the election, we will protect all of these things.
And what’s more, Conservatives in the Assembly are also committed to protecting free eye tests, free bus travel and free prescriptions for pensioners in Wales.
In addition, as George Osborne said when he visited Broughton recently, we’re big fans of Airbus. It’s a great example of the hi-tech manufacturing Wales needs.
I know that Wales has been hit hard by the decline of manufacturing under Labour and almost 70,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost.
So it’s crucial that we give the right backing to Broughton, and with a Conservative government, the money for the A350 will be guaranteed.
But in other areas, we need some big changes. Take Labour’s jobs tax for example. Labour are planning to raise national insurance contributions for almost every job and every employer starting next year. We say that’s wrong.
The last thing our economy needs now is a massive new jobs tax – and many small businesses right here in North Wales agree. One of these companies is a small manufacturing firm called Paul Bristow Associates.
They’ve been looking to expand their T-shirt manufacturing company – but the manager, Ben Bristow, is worried that if National Insurance goes up, it will make more sense for them to send work offshore rather than hire more people in Wales.
But what kind of government makes it harder for people to take on new staff? It’s crazy – and it shows exactly why we need to stop Labour’s jobs tax from happening.
Another big change you’d get with a strong Conservative government would be the unleashing of a new wave of superfast broadband.
At the moment, Britain is one of the slowest countries in the developed world for broadband. With the Conservatives, we’ll become one of the fastest and we’ll do it by busting open the BT monopoly on local loops – the circuits which connect your home to the network – and allow other operators to use this infrastructure.
This will bring new competition into the market, driving down costs, driving up standards – and helping businesses and rural communities here in North Wales to get online.
So there’s much to be excited about when it comes to Wales’ future, and so much we can achieve together if given the chance.
At this General Election, I’m asking the British people to have faith in me and the Conservative Party to bring real change to this country.
The truth is that we can’t afford five more years of dithering and uncertainty and more tired government making things worse.
A Conservative government will do much more to unleash new growth and enterprise in North Wales. Voting Conservative gives us a chance to make these changes, and together we can build a better future for Wales.