Carrie Harper – Plaid Cymru – Wrexham

North Wales news and information

All views on this page are from the candidate unedited.


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We first asked them to tell us a little about who they are, any political history, about their political leanings and what skills you have to be a top level politician in Wales?


1 – Aside from Covid and Covid recovery, what do you feel is the top issue for this constituency  in the forthcoming parliament term, and briefly explain how you would like to see your desired outcome achieved?

People locally regularly raise health as a major concern. Betsi Cadwaladr health board was until very recently in special measures and still has fundamental problems, especially regarding mental health care.

We also have a shortage of GPs locally, with many residents concerned about waiting times and access to appointments. The solution is better planning for long-term workforce recruitment. The Labour Government’s failure to do this, whilst being in direct control of our health board, is a key cause of the current problems. That’s why Plaid Cymru have been calling for an additional 1000 doctors and 5000 nurses and allied health care workers for some time and for a North Wales Medical School.

2 – What is your plan for helping residents and businesses in your constituency in the coming years to recover from the pandemic?

Plaid Cymru would place the economic recovery front and centre of our programme for government, implementing a Welsh Green Deal, creating 60,000 jobs in low-carbon industries, the foundational economy and our vital public sectors like health and education.

We are an energy-rich nation and can lead the way in terms of the green industrial revolution. North-east Wales in particular is well placed to take advantage of this. On a more local level, I also want to see a long-term and ambitious recovery plan for the town centre, with a focus on prioritising the local economy through a robust ‘buy local’ policy in the public sector. We also need business rate reform to help our smaller traders compete.

3 – The pandemic has highlighted to many for the first time the powers that the Senedd have under devolution. How has the pandemic changed your views of devolution?

The pandemic has raised awareness of the powers that are devolved to Wales as well as their limitations. When Wales went into a firebreak before Christmas, the UK Treasury refused to contemplate furlough payments. They only kicked in when England went into lockdown, confirming that Westminster is run in England’s interests not ours.

Wales has a unique chance at this election to show that it wants to steer its own course and make decisions that are best for Wales here in Wales.

The current UK Tory Government is becoming sleazier and greedier by the day – I think we deserve much better.

4 – What would you have done differently on the Welsh covid response?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but Wales should have moved more decisively into lockdown and should have done more to limit overseas travel to reduce new infections. The decanting of elderly people from hospitals into care homes early in the pandemic remains a scandal that needs investigating – I think in part it was a panic measure to try to protect the NHS because it was so vulnerable after a decade of cuts.

Investing in public services is not a nice thing to have – it’s been shown to be essential.

Countries such as New Zealand showed the way in many respects and their experience of covid has been totally different in terms of fewer deaths and less of a lockdown.

5 – Would you support legislation to hold an independence referendum for Wales? How would you vote in such a referendum and why?

I’m for independence and would vote for that in a referendum. Independence means breaking free of a broken state that’s focussed on looking after the interests of the rich and powerful.

6 – What actions would you take, or support, as a MS to encourage Welsh language use growth? Or, if you are against this, why?

I believe passionately in the idea that everyone should have the opportunity to speak Welsh. I’m a learner and still on that journey but I’m proud to have raised two children bilingually, thanks in part to our local schools. It’s also important that people have the chance to learn later in life and to use the language socially. That’s why venues such as Saith Seren are so important to raise the profile of the Welsh language int the community and make it a natural part of our everyday lives.

7 – What does “climate emergency” mean to you, and why?

There are communities in Wales at risk due to the climate emergency and it’s a race against time to reduce our carbon emissions before the earth’s temperature reaches a point that will cause irreversible damage to all our lives. An increase of global warming at current rates will significantly increase the risk of drought, floods, extreme heat, and climate-related poverty for millions of people across the world.

Describing is as an emergency underlines the urgency with which we need to respond – just in the same way as the world has responded to the pandemic.

Plaid Cymru believes the current Welsh Government target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is too slow. That’s why we’ve set out a plan to meet the target by 2035.

8 – There can be a perception that politicians are too “South Wales focused” and can see a north south divide. Do you think this is the case, and realistically if elected which of your North Wales specific goals do you think you can deliver?

You only need to compare and contrast the investment made in various conference and sporting venues along the M4 corridor with the 15 years of promises to redevelop the Racecourse to know that this Labour Government has failed to play fair with the North. When that happens, you have to change the driver of the car to ensure chwarae teg and that means putting Plaid Cymru behind the wheel.

We need to see more government institutions and jobs devolved to Wrexham and the North generally.

9 – What are your views on a LGBTQ+ plan for Wales?

I support a LGBTQ+ Action Plan for Wales which is expected to be published for consultation following the elections in May. I also believe it’s vital that the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people guide the content and actions of the plan throughout its development.

Plaid Cymru is committed to ensure that LGBT+ voices and experiences are heard and affirmed and will continue to actively promote LGBT+ rights. On education for example we will require schools to keep a register of bullying incidents related to sexuality, to take action where necessary and to involve students in anti-bullying initiatives.

10 – Children and young people have missed almost a full year of regular education – what are your plans to make sure that children who have missed out on academic and social experiences are not left at a disadvantage in the next few years?

Plaid is committed to recruiting an extra 4,500 teachers to help make up ground for pupils affected by the pandemic. Many schools in Wrexham are facing unpalatable cuts to staff due to ongoing austerity over the past decade – if we value our children’s education, we have to ensure we have the teachers and teaching assistants there to make that happen.

11 – Local services such as libraries, leisure centres and community centres have been badly affected in recent years due to lack of funding – how would you support local authorities? 

For the past decade locally we’ve fought battle after battle with both Labour and Tory-led councils against cuts and closures – many of them short-sighted but many because they had no choice because of a decade of cuts from the UK Government. We won some battles – including the one for Plas Madoc Leisure Centre, which re-opened as a community-run venture. Councils can do much better by listening to the people but they’ve been put in an impossible position by relentless cuts.

12 – How would you resolve issues at the local health board that are emerging from special measures?

The pandemic has overtaken all health services to an extent but also highlighted that Betsi faced huge problems even before then. The special measures were introduced because of managerial failings – frontline NHS workers were over-stretched and had to perform miracles with too few staff and resources. We have to invest in a long-term plan to recruit, train and (crucially) retain staff.

There are many doctors and nurses with huge experience and ability who are on the point of retiring because they’re tired after papering over the cracks for too long. Knowing that extra resources are on the way, that there is a government committed to enhancing the health and care service, could work wonders to keeping them in work for a critical few extra years while we get the next generation of health professionals trained up.

13 – What are you planning to do to help those who are finding it hard to find work?

For everyone aged 16-24 we’ll provide a guarantee of a job, education or training. We’re also committed to a Green Jobs stimulus that allows us to employ the skilled workforce we have in the north-east to create answers for the 21st Century. The world is changing very quickly and we need an agile and inventive government to meet those new challenges – a Plaid government can achieve that.

14 – You’ve run as a candidate in Wrexham in four consecutive elections, along with the Alyn and Deeside by-election but the number of votes has roughly stayed the same each time. Is this a rejection of you as a candidate and if not, why would this time be any different?

There’s a Welsh phrase ‘dyfal donc a dyrr y garreg’ – many strikes break the stone. Some people get into politics for power at any cost. I’m in this for the principles and I’ll stick by those principles. We’ve seen opinion shift very quickly on independence in the past couple of years and I think we’ll be proved to  be on the right side of history.

15 – A lack of bus services, a poor road network, a need for more active travel and an improved train service are some of the more contentious issues in Wrexham. If elected what would you campaign for and deliver for your constituency?

There’s a growing acceptance that the privatisation and deregulation of bus and rail services has led to a poorer and more costly public transport system. Public subsidies now go to shareholders not on services. We need greater integration and investment in public transport because that’s part of the greener economy we’re looking to develop. Wrexham has the potential to be far better connected by public transport and deserves better than a rebranding exercise as the current government is proposing. I would like to see investment in developing hydrogen-powered buses (as in Manchester and Aberdeen) as well improved rail services for Wrexham to connect better to towns and cities across Wales and England.

16 – In your manifesto you pledge free school meals by the end of your first term for all primary schools, provide free personal care for the elderly and reform the council tax system – how would this be funded and is this realistically achievable?

Banks were bailed out in the financial crisis of 2007-8. Businesses were funded (quite rightly) in the pandemic lockdowns of 2020-1. These cost billions. We have a costed manifesto proposal to ensure children are lifted out of poverty and for the elderly to be properly cared for with a new health and care service for a fraction of the cost we face as taxpayers having to fund HS2 and Trident nuclear missiles. These are my priorities and they’re achievable.

17 –  Plaid are keen on Welsh Independence, but also want to remain part of the EU. Is that position true independence, or is the policy really just independence from Westminster?  

Plaid accepts that the UK has left the EU. However we want to remain effective trading partners and good neighbours with our European friends. Any decision on Europe by an independent Wales would be down to the people of Wales.

18 – If you change political allegiance from what you are currently seeking election for (eg. resigning from, or joining another party or group) will you trigger a by- election? If not, why not?

If I was elected and subsequently left Plaid, I would call a by-election.

19 – At the time of writing where has the top three sources of funding for your campaign come from, and are there any funding sources you feel would be relevant
to voters to know about? 

All my funding is paid for by Plaid Cymru activists in Wrexham – we can’t compete against the billionaires who back other parties but it does mean we’re not in hock to those donors either!

20 – In a few lines to wrap this up, why are you the best candidate compared to your competitors?

I want my home town to be a better place to live for everyone here. I believe we can make that happen with the right government for Wales, one that prioritises the people and has the vision to provide well-paid work, a rejuvenated town centre, decent and affordable housing and a better environment. As part of a Plaid Cymru team, and as someone who will raise Wrexham’s profile at every opportunity, I think I’m best placed to make a difference

You only need to compare and contrast the investment made in various conference and sporting venues along the M4 corridor with the 15 years of promises to redevelop the Racecourse to know that this Labour Government has failed to play fair with the North. When that happens, you have to change the driver of the car to ensure chwarae teg and that means putting Plaid Cymru behind the wheel.

We need to see more government institutions and jobs devolved to Wrexham and the North generally.


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