Welsh Labour Leadership - Mark Drakeford AM
4 Oct 2018
I am grateful to the GMB for the opportunity to set
out to you the reasons why I have put my name forward for leadership of the
Wales Labour Party and for First Minister of Wales.
My personal case is simply this - the coming period
will see our country face unprecedented challenges.
The deepest and most unremitting period of
austerity in nearly two centuries is set to continue. Leaving the EU will leave
the UK, and Wales, poorer; our influence in the world diminished and our
security less certain.
As the Finance Minister in the only Labour
administration in the UK, every day I face what Aneurin Bevan called the
"religion of socialism" – the struggle to ensure our ever-shrinking
resources match Labour’s key priorities for our economy, our environment and
our public services.
If I become Labour Leader then my determination
will be to revive and reapply in today’s circumstances a set of fundamental and
enduring democratic socialist principles forged here in Wales and which have
shaped the whole of my political life.
Past record includes:
Welsh Government support to Mick Antoniw’s Asbestos Bill which was rejected in
the Supreme Court on technical grounds. Using our new tax raising powers I want
to explore how this Bill, which was passed by the Assembly, can be restored.
arrangements with the Trades Unions which made NHS Wales a living wage
supporting the Agriculture Wales Act which restored rights to Agriculture
workers in Wales.
introducing the Trades Union Wales Act which disapplied parts of the UK Tory
Governments anti-trades union legislation.
and implementing the Welsh Governments Ethical Employment Codes on procurement
and opposing blacklisting and anti-trades union activities by companies.
We have a unique social partnership in Wales
between business, government and trades unions. It has been successful and
totally contrary to the policies of conflict at the heart of the UK Tory
However we can and must go further. The growth of
economic and social inequality lies at the heart of our difficulties and
destabilises our society. We must do what we can to bring an end to:
- Unfair working practices,
- Zero hours contracts,
- Bogus self-employment and the,
- "Uberization” of employment
- Working conditions leading to
injury, ill health or death.
Nothing is more important for Wales, and the work
we carry out through the Labour Movement here, than a Labour Government in
Westminster, at the earliest possible moment. Employment, for example, is a
reserved matter outside our competence. While I am committed to stretching our
powers to their limit, with imagination and political commitment, imagine how
much more we could achieve if we were able to work alongside Labour in power at
UK level. That’s why I believe Welsh Labour needs to be led by someone
enthusiastic to bring that about.
If I become First Minister I will work with trades
unions and the Wales TUC to introduce a Social Partnership Bill to put our
social partnership on a statutory basis. It will aim to improve the quality and
delivery of public services by setting public procurement rules to achieve
ethical standards of employment in skills and training, working conditions,
health and safety and putting collective bargaining and genuine trades union
rights at its heart.
Working together, we will extend the Economic
Contract to ensure that companies wishing to tender for a share of around £5
billion of public contracts at government or public sector level will have to
comply with new ethical standards. I will also support the implementation in
Wales of Section 1 of the Equalities Act of 2010 and pursue a policy a policy
of bringing outsourced services back under public control.
As Finance Minister, in conjunction with other
ministers and the Welsh Government, I have found the money needed to develop
packages of financial support for manufacturing and steel production in Wales.
The support given to Tata in Port Talbot and other plants in Wales was
instrumental in ensuring the survival of thousands of jobs in a vital industry.
The recent announcements of funding to support skills development at Airbus,
Toyota and Ford are part of my determination, at Brexit Minister, to put the
needs of jobs and the economy at the centre of what we do. In Wales, that means
placing manufacturing at the heart of Government policy. We must protect
workers’ rights and protect the investment which leads to jobs. This means
tariff and regulatory-free access to the European Market and continued
membership of a customs union.
I welcome the GMB General Secretary’s statement ,
endorsed by the TUC, that if Theresa May
cannot deliver a Brexit deal which protects all these, there has to be a second
vote, either in the form of a general election or a second referendum.
As the person who represents Wales at the Brexit
table alongside Scottish and UK Ministers, I am intimately aware of the vital
agenda which a new First Minister will have to discharge - immediately and
urgently - on taking office.
Labour in Wales needs a leader, and Wales will need
a First Minister, as fully equipped as possible and with the experience to
discharge those responsibilities in the most testing times since devolution.
With support from across the Labour group in the
Assembly and from every part of Wales, this is what I believe I can offer.
From the moment I put my name forward to succeed
Carwyn Jones, I’ve tried to give the plainest answers I can to the questions
asked of me. If elected as both Labour Leader and First Minister, my offer is
to take Labour through the second half of this Assembly term, to fight for
every vote in the election which will follow and, if successful, to form the
next administration and work with all members, affiliates and the trades union
movement to develop the radical social and economic agenda which Wales will
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You can read the other candidate statements to GMB from Eluned Morgan AM and Vaughan Gething AM.