Finance Minister Jane Hutt has made two major concessions on the spending cuts she announced in December in her draft budget for 2016/17.
The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) will get an extra £21 million for universities plus £10 million for part time studies and scientific research. The three local councils hardest hit by cuts -Powys, Ceredigion and Monmouthshire- will get an additional £2.5 million between them.
- Powys £1.93 million
- Ceredigion £0.439 million
- Monmouthshire £0.109 million
Labour does not have an overall majority in the Senedd and the Welsh Government relies on the support of the Liberal Democrats to get its budget passed. The Lib Dems are claiming today's concessions are the result of their influence.
I am delighted that we have secured this agreement. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have been clear from the very beginning that there was absolutely no way we could support these unfair cuts to rural councils. We were also clear that the severe cuts to higher education were completely unacceptable. We have worked with the Finance Minister, local government and the higher education sector to put right issues from the draft budget and we have succeeded.
There are claims that there could be fewer medical students in Wales if a cut to university funding goes ahead.
Tomorrow Assembly Members will debate Welsh Government's spending plans. They include a £21 million cut to the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, money that is used in a number of ways, including helping universities to pay for more expensive courses like medicine.
The Education Minister says universities here have enough money to deal with the cut.
Megan Boot has the story.
The UKIP councillor who criticised the party's plans for the selection of regional candidates in the Assembly election is no longer on the list of candidates. I understand that disciplinary action was taken against Kevin Mahoney for going public with his concerns about 'cronyism' in the selection process.He'd said he would resign if former Conservative MPs Mark Reckless and Neil Hamilton along with UKIP press officer Alexandra Phillips were included on regional lists.
UKIP has said that party members in Wales will be given the final say on the order in which candidates are ranked. You can see the party's leader in Wales Nathan Gill explaining the decision here.
Kevin Mahoney has issued a statement after learning of the disciplinary action at a meeting on Saturday.
It is with great regret that I must honour the pledge that I gave on national television recently that out of a sense of preserving my own personal integrity and honesty I will not associate myself with those personalities described in the media, as candidates, who have been parachuted into Wales by the UKIP hierarchy in order to leapfrog local Welsh-based activists on the regional list for the May Assembly election.
I have regularly placed on record that, along with the majority of the British public, I despise the political class from all parties. I loathe their sense of entitlement and the fact that they arrogantly view local voters as being there for their own political career enhancement, hence the cynical and parasitical hopping from constituency to constituency, pledging their undying love for any area whose constituency party will accept them as their candidate. I had hoped that UKIP would rise above the political cronyism that has always infected the other parties, but I’m afraid that this is not the case.
I am delighted that my public stand against the political cronyism within UKIP and its national and Welsh leadership has resulted in a forcing of the decision to give the entire membership of Wales a vote on the list order which had been previously been denied to them.
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