THERESA MAY: Speech at the Welsh Conservative Manifesto Launch

Read the Prime Minister's speech at today's Welsh Conservative Manifesto Launch in Wrexham.

 

It is good to be here in Wrexham today with just 17 days to go until this crucial General Election.

 

Just 11 days after that the European Union wants the Brexit negotiations to begin.

 

The UK’s seat at the negotiating table will be filled by me or Jeremy Corbyn. The deal we seek negotiated by me or Jeremy Corbyn.

 

There will be no time to waste and no time for a new government to find its way.

 

So the stakes in this election are high.

 

Our future prosperity, our standard of living, our place in the world, and the opportunities we want for our children – and our children’s children – are either in the strong hand you grant me by supporting my candidates in this election…

 

…or the weak hand of Jeremy Corbyn backed by the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the SNP who don’t want Brexit to succeed.

 

It is your choice, your decision.

 

Every vote for me and my team in this election will be a vote to strengthen my hand in the negotiations to come.

 

Every vote for any other party – Labour, the Liberal Democrats or Plaid Cymru – is a vote to send Jeremy Corbyn into the negotiating chamber on our behalf.

 

That is the stark reality of the choice that we face – the choice we must focus on over the next 17 days.

 

Because our future prosperity depends on getting the next five years right.

 

That is why we need someone representing Britain who is 100% committed to the cause.

 

Not someone who is uncertain or unsure, but someone utterly determined to deliver the democratic will of the British people.  

 

Because if we don’t get this right, the consequences for the United Kingdom and for the economic security of ordinary working people will be dire.

 

If we do, the opportunities ahead are great.

 

WHO I’M IN THIS FOR

 

The Welsh Conservative manifesto I launch today is a plan to make the most of the opportunities together. It is a plan to make Wales and our Union stronger.

 

For this manifesto sets out a vision for Britain around which I believe we can all unite.

 

It’s the mainstream manifesto of a mainstream party, determined to deliver for mainstream Britain.

 

And to all those who work hard and make this country what it is, I say this:

 

If you have a job but don’t always have job security, I’m backing you…

 

If you own your home but worry about paying the mortgage, I’m backing you…

 

If you can just about manage but worry about the cost of living and getting your children into a good school, I’m backing you…

 

If you feel you have been let down and left behind by politics and government for far too long, I’m backing you…

 

To all the decent men, women and families you meet on the streets of places like Wrexham, Bridgend, Cardiff and Newport – and countless towns and villages across Wales and across the country – I’m backing you…

 

To those for whom life is often much harder than many seem to think or realise, I’m backing you…

 

To those who want to get on with their lives, to do their best for their children, and to be given a fair chance to get on, I’m backing you…

 

I’m backing those that want a more secure and full life. I’m backing those whose only wish is that their children will do better than themselves. 

 

And to those that look to their government and their politicians for a little help and support, I’m backing you too.

 

Because too often in the past, ordinary working people have found the help and support they need just isn’t there.

 

LABOUR HAVE TAKEN WALES FOR GRANTED

 

And I know that sense of disenchantment is particularly acute here in Wales.

 

We saw that when people here in Wrexham and across Wales chose to ignore the hysterical warnings of Labour, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrat politicians in Cardiff Bay, and voted to leave the EU.

 

We see it now in the way those same politicians refuse to respect that vote as they try to find new ways to put obstacles in our way.

 

And the cause of that emerging gulf is clear.

 

It is because the Labour Party has taken people in Wales for granted for decades - just as it has in other communities across Britain.

 

They have been in charge in Cardiff Bay for nearly twenty years. Some parliamentary constituencies have returned nothing but a Labour MP for a century or more. Welsh Labour have come to believe they have a right to govern.

 

Yet during their time in charge, the performance of Wales’s vital public services has fallen further and further behind.

 

The Welsh NHS is failing because Labour cut its budget. The A&E waiting time and urgent cancer treatment targets haven’t been met for nearly a decade. Wales’ schools are falling further and further behind the rest of the United Kingdom. 

 

It is little wonder that Welsh voters chose to send a message to their politicians in the referendum last June.

 

That should have been a wake-up call, but it wasn’t. Labour, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrat politicians ignored Wales instead.

 

Worse, they closed ranks, with Plaid Cymru propping up Labour in Wales in order to defend the status quo, as they are determined to do in Westminster too.

 

That would put Jeremy Corbyn in power in a weak and unstable coalition of chaos.

 

And you don’t negotiate the right Brexit deal for Britain from a position of weakness.

 

THE RISK OF CORBYN’S COALITION OF CHAOS

 

Jeremy Corbyn’s coalition of chaos would deliver higher taxes, higher debt and higher unemployment.

 

Labour’s policies may have been written by Jeremy Corbyn in London, but the people of Wales will get the bill.

 

But it’s not just that Jeremy Corbyn is too weak and shambolic to get the right deal for Britain in Europe.

 

It’s not just that his fantasy manifesto would leave families across Wales picking up the bill. 

 

It is also that even traditional Labour supporters…

 

…people like those here in Wrexham and across Wales who have loyally given the Labour Party their allegiance for generations…

 

…people taught by their parents and grandparents that Labour was a party that shared their values and stood up for their community…

 

…look at what Jeremy Corbyn believes and are appalled.

 

They see a party that once believed in hard work now headed by Jeremy Corbyn who wants to crush aspiration and desert those who hope for a better life.

 

A party that once stood for our Union of nations now headed by a man who is willing to collaborate with separatists in order to get into power.

 

A Labour party that first established our independent nuclear deterrent to keep our country safe, now led by a man who wants to get rid of it and even talks about abolishing our Army.

 

The prospect of him walking through the door of Number 10 - flanked by an avowed Marxist like John McDonnell and an incompetent Diane Abbott - all propped up by the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and others, should scare us all.

 

This risk is real and the stakes are high.

 

A loss of just 6 seats will cost my Government our majority and create a hung Parliament.

 

Just 6 fewer MPs means a hung Parliament in which the minor parties will flock to prop Jeremy Corbyn up.

 

That will deliver nothing but chaos. 

 

It means Jeremy Corbyn imposed as Prime Minister propped up by the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and SNP – all of whom oppose the decision to leave the EU and want to fight to keep us in.

 

Who knows what deals Jeremy Corbyn will do to get their support.

 

Because we know he would do anything to get their support.

 

And, after the weekend, we now know the tactics he is prepared to adopt to get into Number 10.

 

He has no strong plan for Britain, which takes on the country's long-term challenges, like I have. 

 

No, he wants to sneak over the line by manipulating the fears of old and vulnerable people - and falsely claiming that families will lose their house as a result of our social care policy.

 

That is shameful - and it is a shameful abdication of responsibility.

 

So today I want to put an end to Jeremy Corbyn’s fake claims and clarify any doubts about our social care policy and the family home.

 

My manifesto is honest and upfront about our challenges.  It includes plans to strengthen the social care system with more and sustainable funding to cope with the long-term pressures caused by the fact that we are an ageing society.

 

Jeremy Corbyn wants to duck this reality - and play politics.  But there will be two million more people over 75 years old in Britain over the next decade alone.  Our social care system will collapse unless we make some important decisions now about how we fund it.

 

That is why we have to act.  And it is why - to give people security - we included in our plans measures to make sure nobody has to sell the family home to pay for care.  And we also said that we would protect £100,000 of your savings so, however expensive your care, you can pass something on to your family.

 

Let’s be clear.  This plan replaces the existing system where people often get poor quality care - and stand to lose almost all their savings and assets, including the family home.  This plan addresses the worry people have when they have a loved one with a long-term condition, and they don’t know how they’re going to afford to care for them.

 

So these are good and sensible plans.  They provide the beginning of a solution to social care without increasing taxes on younger generations.

 

And, I should say, we are the only party in this election prepared to face up to the reality of our ageing society and offer a long-term solution.

 

But since my manifesto was published, the proposals have been subject to fake claims made by Jeremy Corbyn.

 

The only things he has left to offer in this campaign are fake claims, fear and scare mongering.

 

So I want to make a further point clear.

 

This manifesto says that we will come forward with a consultation paper, a government green paper. 

 

And that consultation will include an absolute limit on the amount people have to pay for their care costs. 

 

So let me reiterate.

 

We are proposing the right funding model for social care.  We will make sure nobody has to sell their family home to pay for care.  We will make sure there’s an absolute limit on what people need to pay.  And you will never have to go below £100,000 of your savings, so you will always have something to pass on to your family. 

 

And what is Jeremy Corbyn’s plan?  He promises a nonsensical, fantasy policy that can only be funded through massive tax rises on younger generations.  In fact, just recently he threatened to increase the basic rate of income tax for millions of people from 20 to 25 per cent to fund social care.  That tells you everything you need to know about Jeremy Corbyn’s answer to the problem.

 

The alternative is that he sticks to the status quo, which too often provides poor care and leaves old and vulnerable people having to sell their family homes.

 

A BETTER WAY

 

This manifesto provides a better way. With it I’m leading Britain, while Mr. Corbyn is simply scaremongering among the elderly and the vulnerable.

 

It is a plan for a stronger Union and a stronger Wales. A plan to respond to – and deliver on – the concerns of ordinary working people everywhere. A plan to build a country that works for everyone, not just a privileged few.

 

It is a detailed programme for government – rooted in the hopes and aspirations of ordinary working people in towns and cities across the country.

 

A clear plan to meet the big challenges we face together.

 

Because unlike the other parties, we are being upfront and honest with the British people about the scale of the task we face.

 

That’s what leadership is about. Not ducking the big decisions, painting grand and fantastical visions, pretending you can have something for nothing and no difficult decisions need to be made. Leadership means being straight with people about the challenges ahead and the hard work required to overcome them.

 

That is what this manifesto does. It sets out the five great challenges faced by our country:

 

ONE: the need for a strong economy…

 

TWO: responding to Brexit and a changing world…

 

THREE: tackling enduring social divisions…

 

FOUR: responding to an ageing society…

 

And FIVE: facing up to fast-changing technology.

 

And it sets out what we will do to address each one.

 

These are challenges that we all face, right across our United Kingdom.

 

And the lesson of Britain’s history is that we all do best when we tackle challenges together, united.

 

That is how we have overcome obstacles in the past, and that is how we will make a success of our future.

 

In setting out our plan, we are offering a vision for our United Kingdom – not just for the next five years, but for the years and decades beyond.

 

A country where everyone has the economic security they need and the chance to live a secure and full life.

 

A prosperous country where each generation can do better than the last.

 

BREXIT FOR THE WHOLE UK

 

But that all starts with getting the right Brexit deal – one that works for the whole United Kingdom.

 

When I sit down with the Prime Ministers, Presidents and Chancellors of Europe, I will do so as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

 

When I fight for the best deal, it will be a deal that works for the whole United Kingdom.

 

When I talk about a better future for our country, I mean the whole United Kingdom.

 

Because unlike Jeremy Corbyn, I believe heart and soul in this great union of nations.

 

And if you give me your backing to represent you at the negotiating table in Europe in the months ahead, I will fight for every person in this United Kingdom: young and old; rich and poor; city, town, country, and all the villages and hamlets in between.

 

It is my fierce determination to get the right deal for every single person in this country.

 

And every vote for me and my team in this election will strengthen my hand in the negotiations and help me deliver the right deal for Britain.

 

A vote for anyone else is a vote to send Jeremy Corbyn to represent us in Europe instead…

 

…because it may say Labour, Liberal Democrat or Plaid Cymru on the ballot, but it’s Jeremy Corbyn that gets the vote.

 

A BETTER DEAL AT HOME

 

And if we get Brexit right – if we are strong in our negotiations with the EU – we can do more to build a stronger Britain and a stronger Wales here at home.

 

Too often in the past, UK Governments have tended to ‘devolve and forget’.

 

The government I lead will put that right.

 

That is why this manifesto contains clear commitments to spread opportunity and prosperity beyond London and the South-East and to improve the economic security of people here in Wales.

 

Why it includes a specific commitment to bring forward a North Wales Growth Deal, connecting north Wales with northern England to encourage cross-border working…

 

…building on the success of the Cardiff City Deal and Swansea Bay City Deal I signed in South Wales just a few weeks ago.

 

It is why we are committed to bringing down the barriers to trade and commerce between South Wales and the wider UK, by scrapping the tolls on the Severn Crossings for good…

 

…helping 25 million drivers who use the crossings every year and providing a £100 million boost to the local economy.

 

It is why we will introduce a new UK Shared Prosperity Fund, replacing ineffective and restrictive EU structural funds with a new targeted scheme, whose sole purpose will be to reduce the inequalities that exist within and between the four nations of our United Kingdom.

 

And it is why as we leave the European Union, we will ensure that power sits closer to the people of the UK than ever before.

 

That is why as powers are repatriated to the UK, we expect to be able to increase the decision-making powers of the Welsh Government…

 

…as long as no new barriers to living and doing business within our own union are created.

 

It is why the Government I lead will ensure the modern industrial strategy that we are pioneering will benefit people, towns and businesses across Wales.

 

That will help to create the high-skilled, high-paid jobs of the future and give our young people every chance of getting on and leading a full and happy life.

 

As Prime Minister of this United Kingdom, that is what I want for everyone in our country.

 

That is because of a simple truth.

 

Across the United Kingdom, we may be four nations, but at heart we are one people and we achieve more together.

 

We all have a stake in each other’s success.

 

We all have a stake in our shared future.

 

CONCLUSION
 

That is why this election is so important – because this election, more than any other, is about the long-term future of our country. 

 

Not just about the next five years, but the years beyond.

 

Not just about our future, but the future of our children and our grandchildren too.

 

We can get the best possible deal from Brexit.

 

We can redouble our efforts to make things better here at home.

 

And we can show that – with hard work, with a clear vision and the right plan – a mainstream, active, determined government can deliver a better, more secure future for ordinary working people across this land. 

 

We need strong and stable leadership to do it.  

 

There are just 17 days to go.

 

11 Days after that the Europeans want the Brexit talks to begin.

 

And the UK’s seat at the negotiating table will be filled by me or Jeremy Corbyn. The deal we seek negotiated by me or Jeremy Corbyn.

 

There will be no time to waste and no time for a new government to find its way.

 

So focus on that choice. Support my candidates here in Wales.

 

Give me the strong hand I need to deliver Brexit…

 

Give me that strong hand and I will deliver for Britain…

 

Give me your support and with confidence in ourselves and a unity of purpose in our country, we can – and we will – go forward together.