Political Editor Adrian Masters speaks to the party leaders during this year's party conferences
Presented by our Political Editor Adrian Masters, Sharp End brings you reports, interviews and analysis every Thursday
Adrian Masters talks to political leaders, public figures and extraordinary people in this series of one-to-one interviews.
UKIP has begun responding to criticism from Plaid Cymru's leader Leanne Wood. In her speech to Plaid's conference in Cardiff, she's expected to say that 'a vote for UKIP is a vote against Wales.'
UKIP's lead candidate in the European election, Nathan Gill, has taken to twitter to hit back.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats say their supporters won't be fooled into voting for Plaid Cymru in the forthcoming European elections. Plaid's leader Leanne Wood has urged disaffected Lib Dems to back her party in May's vote.
But Lib Dem Euro candidate, Alex Dauncey, says Plaid's aim of independence risks separating Wales from the EU. And he made his own appeal, urging Plaid voters to back the Lib Dems
People won’t be fooled by this. After all, Plaid’s whole existence is based on separation and isolation. If their dream of independence was realised, Wales would have to reapply for EU membership which would create huge uncertainty around our economic future and threaten our trade links. If Plaid had their way they would put thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment at risk.
While Lib Dem MEPs have been working hard in Europe to promote Welsh jobs and businesses, Plaid has consistently voted against job creating measures. For example, they opposed the EU-US free trade agreement which could bring thousands of jobs and an extra £10 billion to the UK economy. There is a world of difference between our two parties’ approaches to Europe and it is disingenuous to suggest otherwise.
– Alec Dauncey, Welsh Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are the party of ‘in’. Plaid's position on Europe is confused by their desire for Welsh independence. The Conservatives are openly flirting with exit and the Labour Party doesn’t have the courage of their convictions and won’t lift a finger to keep Britain in the EU. If you are a Plaid voter and recognise the benefits of a more devolved Wales, in Britain, in Europe, and want to send a clear message to the dangerous fringes of UKIP, then you should vote for the Welsh Liberal Democrats.
All four political parties will focus on the European Elections in their spring conferences, but for Plaid Cymru there's an extra urgency stemming from the very real prospect of losing its seat in the European Parliament, a possibility highlighted by our recent Wales Barometer poll.
Privately party chiefs acknowledge the threat of failing to return an MEP for the first time since the present voting system was introduced in 1999 and realise that it would be a big blow to Plaid and to its leader.
That, along with a strong belief that Wales benefits from being part of the EU, explains the attacks on UKIP's 'isolationist politics of division' that you can expect in Leanne Wood's speech as well as her appeal to Lib Dem and Green voters to back Plaid rather than stay at home on polling day.
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood is expected to make a strong attack on UKIP at her party's conference in Cardiff, warning that Wales risks being 'dragged to the margins' if UKIP gains a lot of support in the forthcoming European election. She's expected to say:
I say to UKIP today: your politics are un-Welsh and have no place in our country not now, not ever. Your values are not the values of Wales. A vote for UKIP is a vote against Wales. A vote against the Welsh national interest.
She's also expected to urge Liberal Democrat and Green voters not to stay at home but to back Plaid Cymru in May's election. She'll say that the vote represents a choice between 'two futures' and warn that if UKIP prevails, Wales 'faces being dragged to the margins by a wave of damaging Europhobia.'
The Plaid leader is also expected to draw a contrast between what she calls 'Labour's lack of ambition' and positive policies set out by her party. Leanne Wood is due to deliver her speech this afternoon.
Plaid Cymru's leader Leanne Wood will be the main speaker at her party's spring conference. The conference is being held in Cardiff and is expected to focus on the forthcoming European election.
Plaid Cymru has raised the prospect of full time education for all children from the age of three
The idea would be part of a package that could cost £300m. But where would the cash come from?
Mike Griffiths reports.
The Welsh Government says it will read a new report into the finances of NHS Wales "with interest."
The report by the Public Accounts Committee found that NHS Wales finances are improving, but "cannot yet be given a clean bill of health."
– Welsh Government Spokesperson
We thank the Committee for their work, and will read the report with interest. We are encouraged by their opening remarks that much progress has been made.
In addition, as the new NHS Finance Wales Bill comes into force in April this year, we know that health boards will be able to deliver better integrated service, workforce and financial planning.
A new report by a Committee in the National Assembly says the state of NHS Wales finances are improving, but "cannot yet be given a clean bill of health."
The Public Accounts Committee report also expressed "significant concerns" about the controls in place to assist Health Boards plan more flexibly.
The funding of NHS Wales remains a huge challenge and while significant efforts have been made by those working with the Welsh health service to make the immediate savings needed to break even, there is a still a great deal more that needs to be done.
The Committee welcomes some of the progress made by the Welsh Government in addressing health finances, particularly with regards to more flexible arrangements, as that is something we have called for ourselves in previous reports.
However, we have significant concerns about the controls in place to assist Health Boards in planning more flexibly, and we want to see more stringent accountability of senior managers and greater transparency regarding financial planning.
It was disturbing that a simple request for up to date figures regarding NHS Wales' financial position was not met for two months afterwards. We believe the Welsh Government should publish monthly financial updates for NHS Wales in a further commitment to transparency and accountability.
– Darren Millar AM, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.
Finally, the Committee believes that bailing out health boards, most recently to the tune of £200 million, simply isn't sustainable.
People need to have faith that their health services are being delivered effectively, within their means and without drastic measures such as surgery cancellations and closing wards to temporarily balance the books.
We urge the Welsh Government to take on board our recommendations.
A vote is expected to take place later which could see Council Tax bills rise in Pembrokeshire.
Pembrokeshire County Council is setting its budget and is having to find savings of £20m over the next two years. A Band 'D' bill could see an increase of over £25 a year.
The state of NHS Wales finances are improving but cannot yet be given a clean bill of health, according to a new report from a National Assembly for Wales Committee.
The Public Accounts Committee has welcomed Welsh Government moves towards more flexible financial planning, but is not convinced that the introduction of the new system has been sufficiently well planned to ensure it is fit for purpose.
It believes Health Boards should be provided with more assistance in developing financial plans and that there should be clear information available concerning the criteria by which they are being assessed.
The Committee was also concerned that a request for up to date information regarding NHS Wales' financial position was not met for two months, leaving members to wonder whether the Welsh Government had a sufficient handle on the situation.
Confusion also surrounded the purpose of extra funds provided to health boards in two separate payments totalling £200 million.
The Welsh Government indicated that the funding was not a "bail out" for health boards who were struggling with a combined deficit of £212 million, but the Committee concluded that the in-year payments helped to reinforce poor financial planning in the Welsh NHS.