Guarantee Delivery

Liberal Democrat Manifesto

for the

National Assembly for Wales1999



  1. Foreword
  2. Principles and Values
  3. Family Life
  4. School Life
  5. Healthy Life
  6. Business Life
  7. Rural Life
  8. Young People’s Life
  9. Older People’s Life
  10. Visitor’s Life
  11. Making the Assembly Work
  12. Summary of Proposals


Politicians often talk about making history. Most of the time, they are talking rubbish! On Thursday 6th May it will be different.

I am determined to make our historic new Assembly work. After all, the Liberal Democrats are the Party which has campaigned for devolution for more than 100 years.

And the policies in this manifesto were made in Wales for a better Wales.

Labour still takes its lead from London as the election of its leader proved. The Conservatives campaigned against the Assembly and are looking for it to fail. And Plaid Cymru sees the Assembly as the first step to an independent, socialist Wales, separated from the United Kingdom.

We, however, understand that devolution will strengthen Wales in a united Britain and a decentralised Europe.

We will make devolution work for a better education in Wales. For better health services. And for a new, open politics where people’s voices get heard.

We guarantee that all primary school classes should have no more than 30 pupils.

We guarantee that all patients should wait no more than six months for any operation.

And, you have my personal guarantee that, if I and my Liberal Democrat colleagues in the Assembly cabinet fail to deliver on these promises, we will take a cut in our wages.

Our policies are fully costed and in the appendix to this document, you will find where we will get the money to pay for them.

That’s the new, honest politics. That’s how you can guarantee delivery.

Best wishes




Michael German

Liberal Democrat Leader Designate, National Assembly for Wales

P.S. Remember. Under the new voting system, every vote counts. So every vote for the Liberal Democrats will be a vote for better education and health services in Wales.

Principles and values

"The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity."

Preamble to the Liberal Democrat constitution.

Liberal Democrat Wales policies for the National Assembly are rooted in enduring values.

It is these values which will direct Wales into the new millennium. They will overcome the dangers of separation and centralisation, allowing the people of Wales to shape their own destiny with confidence in an inter-dependent world.


Liberal Democrat policies will give people in Wales the liberty to shape their own lives and to fulfil their own potential.


Wales is a country of strong communities. All are different. We are determined that the Assembly should allow them to thrive.

It is in strong communities that individual liberty is maximised for mutual benefit. It is from our sense of community that Team Wales will succeed.

Social Justice

We live in a world where there is injustice all around us. The Assembly is one instrument for people to use to free themselves from prejudice, inequality and poverty.


The Assembly brings decision-making closer to people but it must not stop there. Liberal Democrats will look to devolve further, to encourage participation and partnership and to give power away.


Liberal Democrats want Wales to have a voice in the United Kingdom, in Europe and across the world. Our vision of devolution is not parochial. It is outward-looking.


Government for people not politicians

Government touches people’s lives in different ways but rarely in the way Government organises itself.

This manifesto is written for people, not government departments. Policies are given as they affect people in Wales, not as civil servants would like them.

Family Life

Reducing class sizes for all primary school children

"It all comes down to education. The jobs we get. The opportunities we take. The contribution we make to our communities. The quality of our lives.

"The plain fact is that, in this country, we do not invest enough in education and training. The Liberal Democrats understand this. They are committed to making the change. That’s why it’s so important that we give them our support."

Mr and Mrs Family

Liberal Democrat Wales education guarantees

"Our children’s education will benefit from being in smaller classes. Their teachers can do a better job if they have smaller classes to teach.

"That’s why Labour’s policy of reducing class sizes for children under eight, at the expense of increasing class sizes for older children is such bad news.

"The Liberal Democrats have got it right. We need smaller class sizes for all primary school children."

Mr and Mrs Family

Liberal Democrat Wales health and social services guarantees

"As a family we depend on the National Health Service. When we need treatment we want it quickly, effectively and close to home.

"It doesn’t matter how many people are on a list. What matters is how long we have to wait. That’s why, unlike Labour, who are concentrating on lists, the Liberal Democrats have got it right when they say they will reduce the time people have to wait. "

Mr and Mrs Family

Liberal Democrats Wales crime prevention guarantees

"We want our children to be able to go out and see their friends in safety. More bobbies on the beat are essential but Labour’s record here is poor and the Assembly has limited powers. However the Assembly can help prevent crime in the first place. That’s what we like about the Liberal Democrat proposals."

Mr and Mrs Family

Liberal Democrat Wales housing guarantees

"We want the choice and flexibility to decide on a home that best suits our needs.

"The Liberal Democrats want to build more homes and improve the quality of existing housing. They believe that both home owners and tenants deserve a better deal. They will encourage mortgage lenders to support people in arrears; and promote rented housing to provide greater overall choice and flexibility."

Mr and Mrs Family

Liberal Democrats Wales environmental guarantees

"We want our family to grow up in a healthy Wales with clean land, air and water. We like the way Liberal Democrats look at the green implications of all policy making."

Mr and Mrs Family

Liberal Democrat Wales arts, culture and media guarantees

"We are proud of Wales’ artistic heritage. Films, plays and concerts are a part of our lives and, with the Assembly, we hope they will be more accessible to everyone."

Mr and Mrs Family

Liberal Democrat Wales local government guarantees

"Our council is out of touch. We never see our councillor and decisions are made without asking for our views.

"However, we don’t want all decisions made in Cardiff or London. That’s why we like the Liberal Democrat policies for making councils more open and responsible."

Mr and Mrs Family

Liberal Democrat Wales better government guarantees

"We’re fed up with politicians bickering. They argue for the sake of arguing and, once they’re elected, they forget about the people they are meant to represent and the promises they have made.

"We’ve always felt that the Liberal Democrats are different. They want politicians to work together.

"What’s more, Liberal Democrats say they will keep their promises and, if they don’t, they expect their pay to be cut."

Mr and Mrs Family


School Life

Mending leaking roofs and getting rid of temporary classrooms.

"My job carries a big responsibility. I want Wales to be proud of the pupils I teach. To do this I want to be a member of a profession people respect.

"I need the tools to get on with the job. The Liberal Democrats understand this. That’s why they get my support."

Mr School Teacher

Liberal Democrats Wales education guarantees

Liberal Democrat Wales sports guarantees

"I support Liberal Democrat plans for a standard system of qualifications for those engaged in sport and a register of recognised sports coaches. There is need for a more formal career structure in this area and qualifications in which employers can have confidence."

Mr School Teacher

Liberal Democrats Wales arts, culture and media guarantees

Liberal Democrats Wales better government guarantees

Healthy Life

Reducing hospital waiting times to no more than six months.

"The health of the people of Wales is not as good as it should be. Life expectancy is about one year less than in England. The death rate from heart disease in Wales is nearly a fifth higher and one-in-ten more people die from cancer.

"As a nurse working in the South Wales valleys I see poor health which is nearly twice as bad as the healthier parts of Wales. It’s down to poverty, the lack of jobs, poor housing and low education standards.

"That’s why the Liberal Democrats are right to deal with the root causes, not just the symptoms of ill health."

Ms Nurse

Liberal Democrats Wales health and social services guarantees

"Both the Tories and Labour have constantly re-organised the way the NHS is managed. Every re-organisation has stopped me from getting on with my job. That’s why the Liberal Democrats are right to leave us alone. Their proposals to open up decision-making will improve accountability without disruption."

Ms Nurse

Liberal Democrats Wales better government guarantees

Business Life

Developing a business birth rate strategy for Wales.

"Wales is the second poorest part of the UK. So, the greatest challenge facing the Assembly is to increase our economic prosperity. Its success will be judged on this.

"Our economic prosperity will be dependent on Wales having a highly educated and trained work-force. That’s why I agree with the Liberal Democrats emphasising education and training.

"It’s important that we should not put all our eggs into one economic basket. Inward investment, support for existing small businesses and the creation of new enterprises are all needed if Wales is to prosper."

Ms Small Business Owner

Liberal Democrat Wales education and training guarantees

"Education is the bedrock of economic prosperity. For too long Wales has been a low wage, low skill economy. That’s why the Liberal Democrats are committed to Lifelong Learning which opens up opportunities at every stage of life."

Ms Small Business Owner

Liberal Democrat Wales transport guarantees

"A sound transport policy is key to economic regeneration. Road improvements should continue to remain an important part of the development of the transport infrastructure.

"That’s why the Liberal Democrats are right to assess the road building programme in the light of the strategic importance to Wales."

Ms Small Business Owner

Liberal Democrat Wales local government guarantees

"Too many councils in Wales are bureaucratic and inefficient. They do not understand enterprise. That’s why Liberal Democrat plans to open them up and make them more accountable are so welcome."

Ms Small Business Owner

Rural Life

Giving a future to rural communities in Wales

"I don’t want the countryside to be a museum. I don’t want it to die. That’s why I like the Liberal Democrat proposals for rural Wales. They want to revive the farming industry. And they also see the importance of keeping our village schools open, maintaining access to the NHS and developing public transport."

Farming family

Liberal Democrat Wales agriculture guarantees

"The supermarket control of the British food market, the burden of the Government’s refusal to pay Green Pound compensation payments, the milk quota crisis and the BSE crisis have made Welsh agriculture weaker than I have ever known.

"The Liberal Democrats have practical proposals for making the most of the expertise and industry of our farmers. With their lead, I look forward to handing on a prosperous business to my children."

Farming family

Liberal Democrat Wales environment guarantees

"As farmers we have a responsibility for the beautiful Welsh countryside. Liberal Democrats respect this beauty. They are committed to maintaining it for the future."

Farming family

Liberal Democrat Wales public service guarantees

"Like the village post office and shop, schools, health services and other public services lie at the heart of rural community life. They cannot be rationalised and centralised as may be the fashion in towns and cities. Government action is needed to preserve and develop these services and Liberal Democrats are committed to this action.

"Public transport in particular requires co-ordination and planning. Thank goodness the Liberal Democrats will ensure that road, rail and bus services are linked."

Mr Old Farmer

Liberal Democrat Wales community development guarantees

"There is much poverty in rural communities. However, neighbours do much to support each other. It is this voluntary effort which Liberal Democrats seek to cherish and support."

Farming family

Liberal Democrats Wales better government guarantees

"Cardiff can seem a long way away. I hope Assembly members will make every effort to keep close to people wherever they are in Wales. If Liberal Democrat proposals for using technology and the holding of committee meetings are brought in, it’ll be alright."

Farming family

Young People's Life

Giving young people the opportunity to participate in a vibrant Wales

"I am proud to be Welsh. I want to benefit from a world class education system in my own country. I want to have my say and contribute to a confident and outward-looking Wales.

"The Liberal Democrats have that vision and they want me to join in."

Ms Student

Liberal Democrat Wales education guarantees

"Only the Liberal Democrats can be trusted on education. It is their top priority. "

Ms Student

Liberal Democrats Wales housing guarantees

"Liberal Democrats believe that all people should have a roof over their head, They should be entitled to safe, secure and permanent accommodation."

Ms Student

Liberal Democrats Wales transport guarantees

Liberal Democrats Wales jobs guarantees

Liberal Democrat Wales Welsh language guarantees

"Wales is a bi-lingual society. Liberal Democrats respect both languages and refuse to let it divide Wales. They would encourage the Welsh language to prosper and thrive."

Ms Student



Liberal Democrats Wales sports guarantees

Liberal Democrats Wales better government guarantees


Older People's Life

Public services to allow me to grow old with dignity and independence

"All my life I have done my bit. I worked and paid taxes. I raised a family and helped others. I still have a lot to contribute to the new Wales but I don’t want to lose my dignity.

"The Assembly can’t increase my pension but it can make sure I have access to the basic public services which allow me to be independent. The Liberal Democrats understand this."

Mrs Pensioner

Liberal Democrat Wales housing guarantees

"I have lived in my home most of my life. Unfortunately, like many, it is running into poor repair. Thank goodness the Liberal Democrats are committed to investment in home repairs."

Mrs Pensioner

Liberal Democrats Wales transport guarantees

"I no longer have a car so I rely on the bus to get my shopping done and the train if I want to visit my children and grand children. But the services are awful and it’s difficult to find out when the buses are meant to arrive. That’s why the Liberal Democrat idea for a travel information help-line would be such a help."

Mrs Pensioner

Liberal Democrat Wales health and social services guarantees

"I’m having to use the NHS more now than I have done all my life. It’s a wonderful service but I don’t want to have to wait for treatment when I’m in pain. That’s why the Liberal Democrat pledge to reduce waiting times, rather than lists, is right.

"Also, I use the many ‘hidden services’ provided by unsung heros you never read about in the papers – the community nurses, occupational therapists and other community staff. The Liberal Democrats will protect their services with the new NHS Contract for Wales."

Mrs Pensioner

Liberal Democrats Wales crime prevention guarantees

"I know the Assembly will not be directly responsible for the police in Wales. However, Liberal Democrats say there is considerable potential for co-operation between the police, the council and voluntary organisations, such as Help the Aged and Age Concern. That’s what will prevent crime and put my mind at rest."

Mrs Pensioner

Liberal Democrats Wales community and urban regeneration guarantees

"Communities are not as strong as they once were. But Liberal Democrats put community at the heart of their policies. That’s how it should be in such a busy, modern world."

Mrs Pensioner

Liberal Democrat Wales voluntary sector guarantees

"My life would be poorer without the amount of voluntary work put in by other people. The voluntary sector makes a major contribution to Welsh society: in the economy, in areas such as caring, education and training, and community development, culture and sport.

"Yet at the same time, this work often goes unnoticed - especially by politicians and policy makers - and is undervalued.

"Liberal Democrats intend to change this. They wish to see a voluntary sector in Wales which is strong, and which is better resourced."

Mrs Pensioner

Liberal Democrat Wales environmental guarantees

"All the new shops round here are being built on the new retail park outside the town. That’s no good to me because I don’t have a car. I want action to keep my local stores open."

Mrs Pensioner


Visitor's Life

Galvanising 10,000 enterprises.

"We run one of thousands of micro-businesses, from taxi firms, to museums and theme parks, which form part of the tourist industry.

"To give it coherence, the industry needs a new structure to facilitate communication between the trade, the Wales Tourist Board, local authorities and other key bodies."

Mr and Mrs Hotelier

Liberal Democrat Wales tourism guarantees

Making the Assembly work for Wales

"The establishment of the National Assembly will lead to a significant change in relationships with the UK Government in Whitehall. The fullest co-operation will be required if the Assembly is to be the success that Liberal Democrats want.

"The Assembly, too, will need to establish links in its own right with the other Celtic Parliaments and, indeed, with Brussels when matters relating to Wales are under discussion."

Michael German

Liberal Democrat Wales Assembly guarantees



220 ideas guaranteeing delivery for Wales



Liberal Democrats will:

Better Government

Liberal Democrats will:

Community and Urban Regeneration

Liberal Democrats will:

Crime Prevention

Liberal Democrats will:

Culture, Arts and Media

Liberal Democrats will:

Disability rights

Liberal Democrats will:

Economic Development

Liberal Democrats will:

Education and Training

Liberal Democrats will:


Liberal Democrats will:

Health and Social Services

Liberal Democrats will:


Liberal Democrats will:

Local Government

Liberal Democrats will:


Liberal Democrats will:


Liberal Democrats will:


Liberal Democrats will:

Voluntary Sector

Liberal Democrats will:

Welsh language

Liberal Democrats will:

ISBN ……………..

This manifesto is available in large print or on tape. Please contact the number below to order a copy in your chosen format.



For further information about the Liberal Democrats please contact:

Liberal Democrats Wales

Bay View House

102 Bute Street


CF10 6AD

Tel. 01222 313400

Fax. 01222 313401