I AM proud to say that that Wales is an integral part of the most successful union in the world. 

The United Kingdom. 

From culture and sport to our country’s beautiful landscapes, Wales has so much to offer the United Kingdom. 

We also benefit substantially from this union. 

In Wales alone, over 466,000 jobs were supported through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and loans worth over £2 billion over the course of the pandemic. 

The future of Welsh steel has also been supported through half a billion pounds worth of funding provided by the UK. Without investment 8,000 jobs would have been put at risk. 

The people of Wales will also benefit from the Chancellor’s latest announcement that the National Living wage is set to rise in April to at least £11 an hour. 

This will benefit two million of our lowest-paid workers ensuring that a full-time worker on the national living wage will increase by £1,000 a year. 

The UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund is helping to transform communities across Wales with the second round of funding providing £208 million allocated to 11 projects. 

These are just a few of the ways in which Wales is stronger as part of the United Kingdom. 

At a time where families across Wales are seeing a rising cost of living due to global events, like the war in Ukraine or the impact of the pandemic, we must see increased cooperation from the Welsh Government. 

Issues such as the health and social crisis in the Welsh NHS should be above politics, not used as a political football. 

The UK Government has offered support to the Welsh Government in reducing the waiting list backlog allowing patients in Wales and Scotland who are waiting for lengthy periods to choose to be treated at providers in England, NHS or independent sector - building on the current arrangements for cross-border healthcare. 

It is support like this that must be accepted by the Welsh Government if we really want to see Wales take every opportunity that our Union provides. 

Our Union provides so many opportunities for the people of Wales. It is down to the Welsh Government whether or not it wants to make the most of them.