CHILDREN and young people are at the heart of Welsh Labour's manifesto for a third Assembly term, with policies designed to give every young person the opportunities they need to succeed and reach their full potential.
From tackling child poverty and broadening educational opportunities, to ensuring that communities have access to facilities for young people - Welsh Labour has the vision to make a radical difference.
Labour understands that tackling child poverty is about more than just raising incomes. Our focus will be on raising the aspirations of children from the poorest backgrounds by providing opportunities and experiences normally denied to them.
A Labour Government after May 3rd will provide a free nursery place for every two year old in deprived communities in Wales, boost investment in the youth service, and make sure that every child has the chance to take part in a rewarding extra curricular activity.
First Minister RHODRI MORGAN said:
"Labour understands that children and young people are central to building stronger and safer communities. That's why we want to give them more facilities within the communities. Our commitment to a £20 million national fund for the youth service is a radical new improvement for the service."
"We're also going to make sure that resources, such as school halls, computer rooms and sports facilities become a resource for the community, rather than being locked up once the school day has finished. This will give young people more opportunities to use these facilities in the evenings and at weekends."
"Labour is also going to build on one of our most popular policies - the free swimming during school holidays - and make sure that every child in Wales gets the chance to use their local sports or leisure centre at weekends free of charge."
Children's Minister JANE HUTT said:
"Labour is going to build on its record in giving children the best possible start in life. Our schools are being transformed with record investment in school buildings; average class sizes of 25, school uniform grants; innovative new teaching for early year's education; the new Welsh Bacc and free healthy school breakfasts."
"Our pledges put child poverty at the heart of our manifesto, with an extra children's bond and extra childcare which will make a real difference in the lives of our children and young people."
If Labour wins the Assembly elections it will:
- Use the new powers of the Assembly to tackle child poverty and support our most vulnerable children;
- Create a £20 million national fund for youth service;
- Create 23,000 apprenticeships for young people;
- Roll out the pioneering, activity based Foundation Phase for 3-7 year olds in schools and early year's settings, backed by £10 million of investment each year;
- Offer quality new vocational courses for 14-19 year olds with the same status as GCSE's;
- Ensure that the opportunity to study for the Welsh Baccalaureate exists in all parts of Wales;
- Keep schools open in the evening and at weekends for extra sports and after-schools activities;
- Make sure every child can use their local council leisure centre on the weekend without charge;
- Increase investment in school sport, green gyms and exercise equipment in playing grounds;
- Support young people aged 16-19 and not in employment or education to re-engage in education and training;
- An extra children's bond for all children entering school;
- Provide a free, part-time nursery place for every two year old in deprived communities;
- Provide extra support for child care for those who most need it;
- Fit all new and refurbished schools with fire sprinklers;
- Provide direct funding to improve the school environment;
- Expand the healthy free school breakfast scheme;
- Improve the quality of food in schools and increase investment in school kitchens.