People in Wales are concerned about “traffic, parking, rubbish”, Mark Drakeford has said ahead of the local council elections.

Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme on Thursday, the First Minister revealed what he is hearing from members of the public while talking to them on their doorsteps.

Mr Drakeford said people are most often worried about “things they can see from where they’re standing”, such as the availability of play areas for their children and access to community halls.

However the Welsh Labour leader said the cost-of-living crisis and other national issues are also on people’s minds.

“On the doorstep, things people talk to you about are what they talk to you about in any election, whichever things they can see from where they’re standing,” he said.

POLITICS Elections Councils(PA Graphics)

“Things like traffic, parking, rubbish. How can my child use the play area? When will we be able to get back to using our community hall to the fullest extent?

“In the background of it, there are always the national things. The cost-of-living crisis certainly is something that people are worried about, anxious about, want to know what help is coming their way.

“For young people, particularly on the doorstep, mental health, the recovery from the pandemic, and the global crisis in climate change.”

Mr Drakeford denied hearing concerns over his government’s decision not to carry out its own pandemic inquiry, which the local Conservative party has criticised for many months.

“Not a single person has asked me about that in the hundreds of doors that I’ve knocked,” he said.

“There is a Welsh inquiry, because we are part of the UK inquiry into what went on during the shutdown.

“The best way to get a proper understanding of the decisions we made is to see them in the wider context.”

Questioned over the state of the Welsh NHS, which has made headlines again in recent days due to its record waiting times, Mr Drakeford said people remain “grateful” for the health service.

He said: “The Welsh NHS in the minds of the public has not gone from hero to zero in just a few weeks. The major thing that people talk to you about is the heroic way in which people who work in the NHS went on day after day during the pandemic, turning up to work, providing services.

“Of course now people want to see the NHS recover. And so do we.

Mark Drakeford, Sir Keir StarmerMark Drakeford launched Welsh Labour’s election campaign with national party leader Sir Keir Starmer earlier this month (Ben Birchall/PA)

“People remain enormously appreciative of the enormous actions that people have taken.”

Health Minister Eluned Morgan announced plans this week to improve NHS Wales, including £1 billion of investment with the aim of ensuring no-one will be waiting more than a year for treatment by spring 2025.

All 22 councils in Wales are holding elections on May 5.

Labour currently has the largest number of councillors across the country and the majority control of seven local authorities.

They lost 100 seats in the 2017 elections, but will be looking to build on the success of last year’s Senedd ballot which saw them win half of all the seats in Cardiff Bay.

The Welsh Conservatives have made considerable gains in recent years but polling day comes during a difficult period for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the national Tory party.

Plaid Cymru, the Green Party in Wales and Welsh Liberal Democrats are also among the main parties striving for more seats.

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