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Column 1st June 2017

Our local Labour candidates for the General Election have been out and about as you’d expect in recent weeks. I’ve joined them as they’ve been talking to people about what matters to them and their communities.

As a Mid and West Assembly Member I know the importance people place on thriving cities, towns and villages. That’s what leads to the main thing we hear on the doorstep: the importance of good jobs closer to home.

I was intrigued to read in the Tory manifesto that they see the mid Wales economy as part of the English Midlands. They tag Welsh coastal communities onto the end of English seaside towns.

Those of you who follow my column regularly will know I’ve been working on an economic plan specifically for rural Wales. I have shared a draft of the plan which will be published in a few weeks’ time, with Economy Minister Ken Skates. The ideas in the plan have been drawn up with the help of a group of key business leaders and academics in Mid and West Wales as well as by asking town and community councils for their views.

I’ve been along Cardigan’s High Street with Welsh Labour candidate Dinah Mulholland, and have taken my proposals to local businesses in Ceredigion, as well as Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.

I’ve been in Milford Haven with Welsh Labour candidate Philippa Thompson. As well as the need for more jobs, people speak to us about their concern over the decline in town centres in Pembrokeshire.

I’ve been in Carmarthen with Welsh Labour candidate Marc Tierney. Carmarthen is a great example of town centre regeneration. Marc has pledged to work on a plan to support other town centres in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire,

If elected both Pembrokeshire candidates will be supported by the new Labour members on Pembrokeshire County Council, where I was pleased to learn Labour’s Paul Miller has been appointed as the new Cabinet Member for the Economy and Community Development.

Joined-up Labour across Government, from Westminster to Cardiff, to Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion is how a difference for the better will be made.

Use your vote wisely on Thursday 8 June. Please vote for your Welsh Labour candidate.