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Senedd21: Sioned Williams | Plaid Cymru | Neath

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SIONED WILLIAMS
PLAID CYMRU CANDIDATE – NEATH

1. Tell us about yourself:

Brought up in the Gwent valleys, I live with my husband Daniel and two teenage children in Alltwen in the Swansea Valley in the Neath Constituency. A former BBC journalist, I currently work as Communications and Development Manager at Swansea University’s Academi Hywel Teifi, a centre of excellence for the promotion of Welsh-medium teaching and research across the University and south-west Wales. My work includes organising public events and community courses on Welsh history, culture and literature and the management of Tŷ’r Gwrhyd in Pontardawe, a community hub which supports Welsh speakers and learners of all ages.

I am a Community Councillor for Alltwen and Chair of Cilybebyll Community Council. Having served as Chair of Governors at Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Pontardawe for five years, I’m now a governor at Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera Bro Dur. I’m also a well known Arts and Media commentator for Welsh language television, radio and magazines.

2. What is the most important thing you think the Senedd should do in the next five years?

There is so much work to do. Our society is riven by inequality – just as we saw the poorest shoulder the burden for the austerity agenda, so will they be the hardest hit by the recession that is already upon us.

I started a volunteer community group during the first wave of the Covid crisis and I have witnessed how fragile and economically vulnerable so many are in every community – the safety net is full of holes, and it’s not just the Tories who are to blame. The shameful legacy of the failure of decades of Labour Welsh Government is an unacceptable level of child poverty in Wales. We know this will only get worse as the economic consequences of the twin catastrophes of Covid and Brexit hit. The ambitious policies put forward by Plaid Cymru such as direct payments for low-income families and universal free school meals and childcare will help eradicate the social injustice that blights Wales. This is also the time finally to act rather than endlessly discuss social care reform. There can be no argument, following the terrible lessons of the Covid crisis, against combining the health and care services. When my father was suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, I saw at at first hand the effects of an underfunded, undervalued and under resourced social care service.

Plaid Cymru’s vision of free and equal care provided to all at their time of need, with an emphasis on early intervention to keep people within their communities, and care workers valued, trained and paid equally with those in the NHS, is a crucial step in ensuring a more caring and fairer Wales for all generations.

3. What will you do for your constituency/region if elected?

My priority will be to address the shameful levels of poverty and neglect in the Neath area, which include tackling the lack of transport infrastructure and connectivity, digital poverty, a loss of social amenities and a need to address the cynicism which is taking root – resulting from unrealised promises and unsuitable initiatives.

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