Statement from Cameron Hughes

We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.

I’m Cameron Hughes and I am 19 years old. I grew up in the Wynnstay ward and have always kept in touch with those in Caia Park. I am running for the Wynnstay Ward under Plaid Cymru due to the fact that they have done so much for Wrecsam and Wales itself, especially during the crisis we are in now, Plaid Cymru voted against the rise in council tax in Wrecsam which many voted for, and believe that this is the party for the people. I have an education in Politics and have always been very passionate about this, with an education, always being politically aware and campaigning/protesting for the environment and many other issues, I feel as if I have enough experience, and with a great team behind me, this would not be a problem.

Questions & Answers

1. What are the three biggest issues for your ward, how do you think they need to be resolved, and what will you do to achieve it?

1. One big issue in the ward are roads and paths, being out and about in the ward it is clear that the roads are not upto standards, with many having big potholes which haven’t been sorted. The policy on just filling them up is not cost effective and means spending more money in the long-term, and needs revisiting. 2. Another big issue in the ward is the cost of living crisis, knowing that many families in the ward I am standing for have already found it hard before this crisis, it concerns me that the U.K government aren’t doing enough to sort this out; with local organisations and the community helping each other out, it's great to see this sign of commitment however more needs to be done - such as reversing the motion to increase council tax in Wrecsam. 3. Lastly is housing repairs, many residents have shown me what repairs are needed to be done, bare copper pipes out, paths to houses, all have been left unrepaired, whilst helping the residents report these issues, more needs to be done. I fully understand that there is a backlog due to the Covid-19 pandemic and brexit, however more needs to be done to sort this out.

2. What do you think needs to be done to help Wrexham recover from the pandemic and what hands-on-role can you play as a councillor ?

As seen in Plaid Cymru councils such as Gwynedd, it can be seen that injecting more money into the local economy can let communities thrive. Wrexham has an annual budget of £250 million, with most of this being used for procurement, meaning a lot of this money is used for goods and services which are from other areas, such as in England. This means a small percentage is used in Wrexham itself, however if we take Gwynedd as an example, 39% of their budget is used in the local economy, using resources from within the county itself. This can be implemented in Wrexham, and Plaid Cymru have been arguing to use this for local firms. However unless there is a political will, it will not be implemented. Plaid Cymru Wrexham wants to do this, and I also want this done.

3. As a councillor you may have the chance to take on further roles eg. Lead Member, Audit, Scrutiny. What appeals to you and what skills do you bring to that role?

Audit and Scrutiny appeal to me the most. With having such a wide experience in many matters, such as lgbt issues and homelessness. This allows me to bring many skills to the table. Political relatableness needs to be brought into Wrexham, many residents allover Wrexham may feel powerless and not have their voices heard in the Guildhall, it’s very much not just about the policies, but looking at how these systems work, and if they don’t work for the community, then changes are needed to be made.

4. What do the words climate emergency mean to you and your ward?

Over the last couple of years, the climate emergency has been more prominent, and more concerning for many people in the ward and myself. Growing up in the ward, I've seen a lot of changes, and many for the good for the climate, such as two fields being planted with trees to have a natural area of beauty, but also for local wildlife and sustainability. These changes have been greatly positive for the ward and the whole of Caia Park itself. More can be done in the ward to make it more sustainable, such as litter picking and planters, to allow the whole community to thrive and get out more after the pandemic.

5. What is the biggest thing you would have done differently from the ruling administration over the last 5 years? (Or, if you were part of the Administration - what would you have done differently?)

Over the last 5 years, it is clear that transparency, accountability and accessibility have been the biggest issues for the council. I find it very disrespectful for a councillor to think they know better than those who are in the community and have a wide scale of different experiences, and need their voices heard before decisions are made in the Guildhall. If I was part of the administration, I'd be accessible for all residents in the ward and be fully accountable and transparent on what I would be doing as a councillor and around the decisions I’d made in the council.

6. Local health pressures are well documented, from delayed ambulances to issues in the hospital. How can the council help resolve those problems?

The Council can raise more awareness to other resources such as pharmacies, minor treatment units and also mental health services. Many of these issues are taken directly to the Maelor Hospital when these can be dealt with in many other ways. With more awareness/promotion of these services, some pressure can be taken off from the Maelor. Further to this, local councils can put pressure onto the Welsh Government to take action, more is needed to be done from the government to change the way we see healthcare in Wales, and this needs to be done urgently. The NHS has done an amazing job throughout the pandemic, however we also saw it come to its knees, with many gaps in services, many gaps in nurses and doctors, these issues are not being dealt with and more is needed to be done. Pressure from councils can be an enormous stepping stone for this.

7. What will you do on a local level to help support people in your ward affected by the cost of living crisis?

Growing up in the ward itself and growing up on benefits, it’s clear that the struggle has always been there. Being on Universal credit before the uplift was taken away, it was a struggle for myself and that was before the Cost of living crisis this year. Many families will continue to struggle unless more is done by the UK government. On a local level, I will be signposting those who reach out for help, so they can get the help they need and deserve as nobody should be choosing between heating a home or putting food on the table.

8. How would you improve the local education system?

With myself leaving the local education system just a couple of years ago, I have a full understanding of what improvements need to be done. Throughout my experiences, there has always been a problem with long-term attendance in Wrexham, with the majority of problems for attendance being school transport. Not enough has been done for school transport and more needs doing so children can get the education they deserve.However, more improvements are needed for the Welsh-medium aspects of education in Wrexham. With a new Welsh-medium primary school opening in September, it is clear that the Welsh language is prevailing in Wrexham, however with only one Welsh-medium Secondary school, that is more pressure for the school itself - We desperately need another Welsh-medium Secondary School in Wrexham to ensure that the pressure is taken off and must remain a priority to the next Council Administration.

9. When the public view the Full Council meeting in June, do you envision you could be part of a Party, Group or coalition, and if so, specifically who and why?

I’d be a proud member of Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales. The candidates within Plaid Cymru Wrexham are the most diverse in terms of gender and age I have ever seen, and are the most passionate and friendly people I have ever met, with such wide experiences in many fields, it brings great assets to Wrexham. And it would be an honour and privilege to sit alongside them.

10. This is a noteworthy election with 16 and 17 year olds now able to vote, what have you done to engage this new electorate and what do you think is the biggest issue for them locally ?

With myself being a similar age to them, I know how they feel when it comes to politics and how confusing it can be for them. The new generation of voters are very social media friendly, and using social media to engage this new generation has been my go-to for them, it is the way they communicate and how they get information, and I feel as if this is the way the future of politics will be. The biggest issue for the new generation of voters are opportunities, many opportunities for young adults often end at either the age of 18 or 25, and many do not know of these opportunities as they are not promoted enough for them to know. It’s more important than ever for young people in Wrexham to get these opportunities.

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