Election 2016 – The Manifestos: UKIP

 

Raising the Dragon – English (pdf); Cymraeg (currently unavailable but was available in 2016)

Health & Social Services
  • Would conduct a Keogh-style independent inquiry into the Welsh NHS.
  • Would appoint a chief inspector of hospitals.
  • Reduce the number of self-standing organisations within the NHS.
  • Support and re-establish community and cottage hospitals.
  • Develop an enhanced cancer strategy for Wales and ensure everyone diagnosed with cancer has a full needs assessment.
  • Introduce elected local health boards, with a cap of 11 members, six of whom would be elected via STV. One of those would be a champion for mental health.
  • Ensure everyone who needs access to palliative/end of life care accesses it.
  • Would retain nursing bursaries and would allow health care assistants to train to become nurses without undertaking a degree course.
  • Establish a single “performers list” of GPs covering England and Wales.
  • Equalise the availability of drugs between Welsh and English patients.
  • Ring-fence mental health funding at a higher level than currently available.
  • Allow carers of dementia patients to access wards and participate in treatment decisions.
  • Maintain the current care costs cap of £60 a week for people in their own homes.
  • Develop centres of excellence for social work and streamline the bureaucracy associated with social work.
  • Pilot the integration of fire and ambulance services and train fire personnel to operate as paramedics.
  • Opposes minimum pricing for alcohol.

Education & Young People
  • Will reintroduce grammar schools and introduce university technical colleges (as in England). Entry to grammar schools will be dependent on passing an exam, which can be taken at age 12, 13 or 16 for “late bloomers”.
  • A minimum of 10% of places in the new grammar schools will be retained for pupils from deprived backgrounds.
  • Change the Welsh Baccalaureate to include business skills/economics, foreign languages, debating skills, philosophy, and world cultures.
  • Introduce special needs modules to teacher training courses and implement an“autism curriculum”.
  • Increase the number of primary school hours dedicated to literacy.
  • Introduce modern foreign language teaching from age 7.
  • Give greater prominence to sport in the school curriculum and would protect school playing fields.
  • Will ensure parents are made aware of sex education materials before they’re used and will maintain the right for parents to withdraw children from sex education lessons.
  • Supports the right to home school.
  • Abolish the Education Workforce Council.
  • Streamline inspection and performance management to redirect funds towards teaching.
  • Introduce local authority teaching banks for supply teachers, with some supply teachers appointed on a two to three year contract to cover a cluster of schools. Will ensure supply teachers are paid in accordance with their position.
  • Will reduce teachers’ paperwork by scrapping individual lesson plans, data collection, internal assessments and dialogue-based marking schemes.
  • Will protect further education budgets in real terms.
  • Abolish tuition fees for Welsh-domiciled undergraduates studying science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical subjects (costing £29million).
  • Replace the tuition fee grant with loans for Welsh students studying in England (saving £62million), and establish bursaries to enable students from poorer backgrounds to study at “more prestigious” universities outside Wales.
  • Encourage universities to keep part-time tuition fees low.

Economic Development
  • There will be no single economic development strategy for Wales, but instead UKIP would seek to build closer economic ties with adjoining regions in England.
  • Will devolve the economic development budget and staff from the Welsh Government to local authorities.
  • Will encourage tax breaks for small breweries.

Transport & Infrastructure
  • Will abolish Severn crossing tolls; ongoing maintenance costs would be negotiated between Welsh and UK governments.
  • Opposes the Newport M4 bypass and supports the “Blue Route” (A48 upgrade).
  • Will seek to widen the most congested sections of the A55, and take actions on “pinch points” on north-south links like the A470.
  • Will push for speedy electrification of the south Wales mainline and start scoping option to electrify the north Wales mainline.
  • Supports a single-level station at Shotton to enable services from Wrexham and Bidston to run on the north Wales mainline.
  • Supports the South Wales Metro, but not at the expense of projects that can be completed now.
  • Assess whether demand justifies reopening the Carmarthen-Aberystwyth rail line.
  • Will freeze rail fares across Wales for the first two years of the next franchise (2018-2020).
  • Will sell Cardiff Airport “as soon as possible” and opposes devolution of air passenger duty.
  • Take a zero-tolerance approach to dangerous cycling.

Finance & Tax
  • Supports lower council tax.

Environment, Energy & Rural Affairs
  • Opposes wind farms.
  • Opposes building in greenbelt areas.
  • Climate change spending has “little material impact”, so will be scrapped, saving £73million.
  • Give local people more control over planning decisions, including the option to call local referendums on controversial planning applications.
  • Supports dredging to prevent flooding and improved land management to prevent silting.
  • Will prevent new building on flood plains – unless they’re a brownfield site, in which case developers will be expected to provide flood-proof buildings.
  • Incentivise locally-sourced food in the public sector, particularly high-grade organic food.
  • Supports CCTV in abattoirs as well as “method of production” labels on meat, fish and dairy products – including information as to whether animals were stunned before slaughter.
  • Opposes “mega dairies” and would introduce stricter regulation of greyhound racing.
  • Lobby the UK for a ban on live animal exports.
  • Consolidate and update wildlife laws to ban the use of free-running snares.
  • Lobby for a UK-wide ban on “sky lanterns”.
  • Ban puppy farms from killing bitches at the end of their breeding life, and track down and close illegal puppy farms.
  • Fisheries policy will be fully-devolved in the event of an EU leave vote in June.

Local Government & Public Services
  • Will seek to “devolve powers” down to local councils.
  • Support “joint working” between bordering councils in Wales and England.
  • Scrap the cabinet system in local government and replace it with committees.
  • A reduction in the number of councils “may be appropriate”, but local authority mergers should fully take into account local opinion.
  • Would cut councillor allowances and “golden handshakes” in the public sector.
  • Establish joint council scrutiny committees to scrutinise local health boards.
  • Appoint a commissioner to ensure public consultations are “not worthless” and have properly taken into consideration the views of the public.

Housing & Social Justice
  • Will incentivise brownfield development by offering grants of up to £10,000 per housing unit to developers to remediate brownfield land.
  • Will scrap minimum social housing requirements for major housing developments.
  • Resist new building regulations that would increase cost or complexity for house builders.
  • Establish a “more efficient” housing benefit system.
  • Adopt a zero-tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour.

Culture
  • Would make St David’s Day a bank holiday.
  • Improve Welsh language provision for end of life care and dementia in areas where Welsh is the first language.
  • Will ensure public services are available in Welsh.
  • Will advocate access to paperwork in “a language of choice” rather than bilingualism.
  • Opposes direct funding of the press by the Welsh Government, and will instead explore how Welsh media outlets can be supported by a means other than subsidy.
  • Retain free museum entry.
  • Support devolution of S4C if there’s demonstrable support from Welsh-speakers.
  • Lobby for a cut in VAT for the tourism industry.
  • Will seek to abolish Cadw within two years and devolve responsibility for its properties to local councils. Ancient and scheduled monuments will transfer to Visit Wales.
  • Will support a zero VAT rate to restore churches and listed buildings.
  • Reclaim land to improve sports facilities in deprived areas.
  • Campaign for a Cardiff Commonwealth Games bid in 2026.

Constitutional Reform
  • Opposes a reserved powers model and Welsh legal jurisdiction.
  • Opposes any increase in the number of AMs and instead proposes MPs and local councillors “assist” the Assembly in pre-legislative scrutiny.
  • Introduce Single Transferable Vote (STV) for local authority elections.

 

Major Faults :

  • Apart from their tuition fee proposals and axing climate budgets, there are very few costings. I’m not singling out UKIP; it seems to be an annoying running theme in most of the manifestos.
  • We don’t elect MPs and councillors to get involved in devolved matters, and involving MPs in the legislative process would partly overturn the 2011 referendum result – though additional pre-legislative scrutiny isn’t a bad idea in itself.
  • Public holidays are currently non-devolved, and it seems the only way to get that power is to support the Wales Bill they oppose and its reserved powers model.
  • Housing benefits (and welfare generally) are non-devolved.
  • If there were a referendum held on every single controversial planning application there would be one or two held every week at great expense. There’s a good reason decisions on things like that are delegated to officers and councillors.
  • Having elected local health boards scrutinised by (elected) joint council scrutiny committees is overkill. Pick one or the other.
  • Grammar schools : Absolutely no details on the cost, geographical or staffing implications. Which schools would become grammars? Why set minimum number of places for disadvantaged pupils when grammars are, by definition, academically selective?
  • Road traffic laws are non-devolved (re. dangerous cycling).
  • Why abolish Cadw and transfer responsibility for ancient monuments to Visit Wales?

Minor Faults :
  • There’s a fair bit of repetition – “devolving powers down” appears umpteen times. However, they don’t outline in any great detail what powers they would like devolved down to local councils (except economic development and Cadw functions).
  • I’m surprised by their weak economic development proposals (infrastructure aside), particularly as the economy will be front and centre in the EU referendum debate. There’s nothing on energy generation either except some references to heather burning.
  • It’s obvious UKIP opposes further powers to the Assembly and still, at heart, opposes devolution, but they don’t explain why they believe the conferred powers model is better than reserved powers.
  • Support lower council tax – to what level?
  • The public can already “have their say” on major planning applications.
  • Cut councillor allowances and golden handshakes – to what?
  • “Recognise that people gain economically and socially useful skills through learning”– No shit, Sherlock.
  • The way rail fares are regulated is complicated. Some are set by the Welsh Government, but others aren’t so it’s unclear whether all rail fares could be frozen or not.
  • Labelling whether animals have been stunned or not before slaughter : targeted at Muslims (halal) and Jews (shechita)?