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A living wage for care staff and jobs and training for young people are among the Welsh government's plans for the next five years.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has set out his government's plans for the term, following his Senedd election success.

It includes building 20,000 new low-carbon "social homes" for rent, and creating a national forest.

But opposition parties said the plans did not go far enough.

The Welsh Conservatives said it was alarming that the 17-page document was the "sum total" of Labour's plan. Plaid Cymru said the plan was "thin on detail".

Welsh ministers said they would put climate change at the "heart of everything the Welsh government does".


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Mr Drakeford's programme for government incorporates pledges made by the Welsh Labour leader at the recent Welsh election.

He was returned to power in May after his party won 30 Senedd seats - one short of a majority, meaning he will need some opposition help to pass budgets and laws.

The first minister said: "We will build a fairer, greener and stronger Wales in which everyone plays a part - we don't want anyone to be left behind or held back."

Plastic straws
image captionThe Welsh government is pledging action on single-use plastics
The programme - made up of a series of short bullet point policy plans -does not say when the ideas will be implemented within the next term, which ends at the 2026 Senedd election.

The plans include giving everyone under the age of 25 the offer of work, education, training or self-employment, and a new law on air pollution, called a clean air act.

Ministers pledged to extend the entitlement to free school meals "as far as resources allow" - Welsh Labour has come under pressure from within its own ranks to expand the scheme.

How many children need free meals?
Meanwhile the document says the 20mph limit would become the default speed limit in residential areas.

Kitchen staff prepare school lunches for pupils
IMAGE COPYRIGHTGETTY IMAGES
image captionThe Welsh government said it would extend free school meals as far as resources allowed
The Welsh government said it would "seek to reform council tax", and change the way council elections work to reduce the "democratic deficit".

Under the plans mental health would be prioritised for investment, and more single-use plastics would be banned - although plans were previously announced to do this last year.

England has already banned the use of single-use plastic straws, cotton buds and stirrers - Wales has consulted on doing the same, with the original plans going further.

Other pledges include:

Creating 125,000 "all-age" apprenticeships
A new medical school in north Wales
New laws to modernise the taxi and private vehicle sector
Supporting 80 re-use and repair hubs in town centres
Create a national forest stretching from north to south Wales
Establish a peace academy in Wales
There had been calls for a pay rise for social care workers in the wake of the Covid pandemic - at the May Senedd election Labour pledged to pay the "real living wage" to social care workers.

The real living wage is higher than the national living wage, and is pegged to the cost of living. It is currently set at £9.50 outside London.

Ministers also plan an independent commission to consider Wales' constitutional future, with the Welsh government seeking control over further powers including policing.

'Absent on targets'
Welsh Conservative Senedd leader Andrew RT Davies said people and businesses would be "alarmed and concerned that this 17-page document is the sum total of Labour's plan to get Wales on the road to recovery after the pandemic".

"We desperately need this Welsh government to succeed if we are to recover from the most difficult year our country has experienced, but unfortunately this programme - combined with Labour's poor track record over the past 22 years - does not inspire confidence."

Prior to full publication Plaid Cymru deputy leader Rhun ap Iorwerth accused the programme of being "thin on detail" and "absent on targets".

He said: "What Wales needs now is a government that will tackle unemployment and NHS waiting times; a government that will address child poverty and its root causes; a government that will solve the housing crisis with the urgency that it requires and a government that will deliver positive and transformational change for everyone who calls Wales their home.

"But there's nothing transformational or ambitious about Labour's programme for government."

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