Lyn Ackerman is the candidate for Plaid Cymru- The Party of Wales for the Torfaen seat in the Senedd Election on Thursday 6 May 2021. Cwmbran Life readers suggested some questions to go the candidates. Here are Lyn’s answers. Visit Cwmbran Life to read the answers from the others who took part. Visit Torfaen Council’s website to see the full list of candidates.
Q. Very simple question to start, why should voters in Torfaen put the X in the box next to your name?
A. A cross next to my name would mean a passionate, hard working person to care for Torfaen
Q. There are many ‘play parks’ in Torfaen, but they are such basic provision. The newest one local to me has a wobbly pirate ship and a stack of logs. This counts as a play park? It has been a hard year entertaining children and keeping them physically healthy, play parks are more important than this basic provision. What plans do you have to add more equipment to current play parks and increase the quality of our local open spaces to encourage play and exercise for a generation that is happy in front of a TV/computer, when the alternative entertainment is a wobbly pirate ship and a stack of logs?
A. Parks are run by the Local Authority. They decide the spending on parks. I would be happy to approach the council to voice local people’s views. I would also push to see what funding could come from the Assembly.
Q. Will you push for a huge increase in support for mental health awareness in schools? This is more than the ‘wellbeing’ buzzword.
A. Mental Health is so important for all ages and getting the right help by the right people is essential. Plaid are planning to establish a network of Youth Wellbeing Centres for mental and physical health and support for young people. A promise to promote emotional resilience and good mental health in schools and post-16 education providers and youth centres.
Q. With the amazing support over the last year these professionals have provided pupils around Wales, will you support a pay rise for our amazing Teaching Assistants?
A. Pay rises are important to all constituents. I would be happy to campaign to make sure teaching assistants are recognised in all pay awards, I recognise that teaching assistants have taken a large role in keeping things going throughout Covid.
Q. Do you think there is a need for clinics to combat the number of people suffering from Long Covid? Many of us have been unable to work or have lost jobs. The advice from doctors only seems to be “it takes time” but no investigation into whether the symptoms we are experiencing are associated to Covidand /or have any lasting damage.
A. Long Covid is still emerging and I would be prepared to join a working group to understand the whole area around long covid and the consequences to known suffers.
Q. Is the council tax ever likely to be reduced as it’s a lot to pay for what services we actually get. Eg change to the fortnightly collection but no reduction in bills. We tend to take most of our own rubbish to the tip.
A. Council Tax is set by the Local Authority. Plaid are committed to change and cutting bills of average Council Taxpayers
Q. Are you prepared to take a lead on action for climate change and tackle the important issues? What do you think the important issues are in respect to climate change and the environment?
A. I am keen to work towards climate change and champion this at the assembly. Plaid plan to:
A. Again reducing litter and removal is undertaken by the Local Authority. Policy is set by the Assembly and this links to the previous answer. Education is my favoured way to reduce litter, if we save on littering more money can be spent on improvements in other areas like parks.
Q. What do you personally do in your life to ensure you are leaving the smallest environmental footprint on our planet?
A. I am a keen recycler and I try to buy items that last and I am not a fan of new for the sake of it.
Q. How do you plan to support local produce businesses to reduce plastic and carbon emissions?
A. Our agricultural sector will be key component of an increasingly localised food system, an arms-length development agency, to focus on growing small and medium-size Welsh firms. Plaid will legislate to make companies that produce packaging financially responsible for their environmental impact and create a Deposit Return Scheme for bottles and cans. To prevent waste we will introduce a levy on all single use cups filled at the point of sale, payable by the consumer, in order to encourage the uptake of reusable alternatives. Any products that cannot be reused, repaired, refilled, recirculated or recycled will be designed out of the system. We will tackle the issue of plastic waste by immediately banning non- essential single-use plastic in2021, including plastic bags, straws, cutlery, Styrofoam and non-biodegradable wet-wipes
Q. Why is it that we (Constituents) only get asked opinions and greeted with smiles and false promises when there are local elections or general elections?
A. It is really hard for candidates that don’t get elected to stay in touch with constituents. Plaid are available and can be contacted via the Cardiff office and all social media platforms and someone will try and support you. Myself, I always try to help and support people or signpost people to people who can help.
Q. Do you think Wales should: a. pursue independence; b. reverse devolution; c. maintain devolution?
A. I favour maintain devolution and when Wales is ready to pursue independence. Wales has different needs to other parts of the United Kingdom and I believe we have to find our own ways to fix them.
Q. How important do you think it is to live in the constituency you represent to truly understand the needs of the people in the three very different towns of Torfaen?
A. I do think it’s important to live in the constituency but it is not always possible. If I was to be elected I would make it my business to understand all the areas. I worked in Pontypool in my working life and I only live in nearby Newbridge.
Q. What are your passions on the decriminalisation of drugs in Wales?
A.I have mixed feeling on all drugs. I would study all the facts if I was in the position to decriminalise drugs.
Q. Do you support the idea of a Universal basic income?
A. Plaid are looking to a Welsh economy to be locally owned and pay high wages.