Welsh Labour’s manifesto for the 2015 General Election was a replica of the UK Labour manifesto, with a distinctly Welsh feel, which promised, “hope not despair” to Welsh voters. Ed Miliband’s foreword had been altered slightly to include mentions of a future UK Labour Government working in partnership with a Welsh Labour Government. A picture of Ed alone, was replaced with him pictured with First Minister Carwyn Jones, who played a key part in the campaign in Wales, with Party strategists keen to capitalise on his popularity among the Welsh public.
Having faced a barrage of criticism and an apparent unravelling of its economic record in Government, the Party was obviously eager to present itself as a Party that could, once again, be trusted on the economy, with its emphasis on the record investment in schools and hospitals, investment in public services and job creation and opposed to the slash and burn policies of the Conservative Liberal Democrat UK Coalition Government.
Key points included a budget responsibility lock with no policy being paid for by additional borrowing; an economy that works for working people; world class health and education services; helping families and communities thrive through housing and social policies and standing up for Wales’ interests in Europe and the rest of the world. With immigration high on the agenda “Stronger” border controls to tackle illegal immigration with “proper” entry and exit checks were proposed. Wales would also receive an extra £375m a year from a “mansion tax” and a 50p tax rate on incomes above £150,000. Welsh Labour also confirmed, for the first time, that it would devolve control of Severn Bridge tolls to Wales when the crossings pass into public ownership. The Party also promised a new funding floor, to deliver fair funding for Wales.