Since devolution, the Welsh Assembly Government has initiated some major improvements for the people of Wales, sometimes with different policies to the rest of the UK.
Business and economy
- Created a new flexible support system for Welsh businesses and cut business rates.
- Leading Wales out of recession, fighting hard to support families and protect businesses from the effects of the global economic downturn.
Children and young people
- Wales was the first UK country to appoint a Children's Commissioner with powers to champion the rights of children and young people and investigate allegations of child abuse.
- Free breakfast for every primary school child in Wales. 900 schools have signed up to the scheme.
- Plant is a scheme to plant a tree for every child born or adopted in Wales. The families of children are sent a certificate telling them where their child's tree is planted and how they can visit the site.
Culture and Sport
- Free swimming for children and over 60s. Since its introduction more than 20 per cent of over 60s swimmers are new users.
- Free entry to our National Museums and galleries. Visitor figures rose by 87 per cent in the year following the scheme.
- Free entry to Cadw historic sites for children and pensioners.
Education and skills
- Ended testing for school pupils at Key Stage 1. Key Stage 2 and 3 tests are now optional.
- Established the Foundation Phase, Wales' unique teaching model for 3 to 7 year olds. This new approach to learning has an emphasis on structured play, active involvement and the development of skills and their application.
- Introduced the Welsh Baccalaureate. It gives broader experiences than traditional learning programmes, to suit the diverse needs of students.
- All Wales Convention established, to gauge the public's opinion regarding the powers of the National Assembly for Wales.
Health and social care
- Opened 9 new hospitals.
- Free prescriptions for patients living in Wales. Wales was the first country in the UK to do this.
- Creating new laws to protect the rights of carers and vulnerable children.
- Wales became the first UK country to vote in favour of a smoking ban in public places. The ban was implemented in 2007.
- Free hospital car parking.
Housing and community
- Invested tens of millions of pounds in creating new, affordable housing.
- Wales was the first country in the world to appoint a Commissioner for Older People, to ensure that public services enable older people to live as full a life as possible and ensuring that they are engaged as active citizens in society.
- Opened new railway lines, created new rail services and increased investment in public transport.
- Free bus travel for over 60s and concessionary rates for people with disabilities. This has been hugely successful, with local authorities issuing more than 600,000 free travel passes since the scheme's introduction.
- Supported the development of a new Welsh Language News Service.
- Improved access to Welsh Medium Education, working towards creating a bilingual Wales