First Minister Carwyn Jones has told AMs that the Welsh Government will get almost no more money as a result of the UK Government's announcement of extra funding for the English NHS. Increases in England lead to matching percentage increases for Wales under the Barnett Formula but Mr Jones said they'd be cancelled out by cuts in other parts of the English health budget. The First Minister dismissed as naïve a call from the Conservative leader for any extra money to be given to the Welsh NHS.
Today the Chancellor has announced £3.8 billion worth of extra money for the English NHS in the next financial year. There will be a Barnett consequential for that uplift. Will you commit to ringfencing that money in the next budget round so that it is put into the Welsh NHS?
Is he saying to us today that there will be a full consequential to Wales as a result of the Comprehensive Spending Review? Because our understanding is entirely different. What was being trailed on the radio this morning is that there will be cuts in public health and medical education and that money will be transferred to the NHS budget. There will be no consequential if that happens. So if he thinks there will be a consequential in those circumstances, I'm afraid his naïvety overtakes his perception.
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies has signalled that his party is no longer totally opposed to an increase in the number of Assembly Members, so long as the "total cost of democracy" does not go up. Mr Davies says the Welsh Government's growing powers and responsibilities make it difficult for an Assembly with so few backbenchers to hold it to account.
Are we really going to have another five years with just 60 AMs? It's already evident that there are huge pressures on the Assembly's ability to scrutinise the government.
It's possible that an increase in AMs could be linked to a cut in the number of local councillors as part of the local authority mergers expected in the next few years. Also the Conservatives are likely to revive plans to cut the number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 30 if they're still in power at Westminster after May's election.
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies is to tell his party that he's opposed to the devolution of responsibility for the police from the Home Office to the Welsh Government. In a speech to Tory activists he'll say that there is no current evidence to support the idea and that "serious questions must be answered" before it can be considered.
Policing was one of the few areas of disagreement when the Welsh party leaders met to reach a joint position on further devolution. Any explicit reference to the police was dropped from the joint motion that they will ask AMs to debate. But it does call on the UK government to "make progress on Silk 2", meaning the second report of the Commission on Devolution, which did call for the police to be devolved.
Let’s look at the evidence on policing. Since 2010, crime in Wales has fallen by 15 per cent. In many ways, the Conservatives have gone beyond police devolution in England and Wales with the creation of Police and Crime Commissioners.
So today, I want to say clearly, the evidence is yet to be made for the devolution of policing. We know that the Welsh Labour Government and the other parties want these powers, but the question is, do Welsh Labour MPs support these moves? I think not. Just take a look at the comments of some Welsh Labour MPs and you’ll see very clearly that they disagree.
Mr Davies is not totally ruling out Welsh control of the police. Instead he says that there must be a series of "clear commitments and promises" before the Welsh Conservatives can support any change.
- Front line services must not be affected
- The Welsh Government must say how the fall in crime will continue
- The police themselves must be given a say in what should happen
- The Welsh Government must set out its priorities for the £1.2 billion Welsh police budget
Mr Davies argues that Wales has fallen behind in too many areas for which the Welsh Government is responsible and that must not happen to the police. He will also claim that the First Minister has "forgotten his day job" and is giving too much attention to constitutional reform, rather than concentrating on health, education and the economy.
The issues surrounding future devolution in Wales are hugely important. Of that there is no doubt. This week’s cross-party agreement on the broad principles to take forward and collaborate upon reflects that. There is work to do and there are discussions to take place. But constitutional change doesn’t take place overnight.
Labour’s First Minister is so wrapped up in the constitution he can’t see the wood for the trees. He’s forgotten his day job.
Carwyn – Stop diverting attention from your domestic failures. Constitutional questions must be answered but not at the expense of the economy and public services.
Carwyn Jones says he's sent a hand-written note of apology to the Opposition Leader after their angry exchanges in the Senedd last week. The First Minister had questioned Andrew RT Davies' absence from a meeting between Welsh political leaders and Prince Charles.
He apologised in the chamber after Mr Davies said he'd been ill himself and caring for his mother-in-law following a stroke. But Carwyn Jones told his monthly press conference that he followed up that apology with a personal note which the Conservative leader had 'graciously accepted.'
Conservative Assembly leader Andrew RT Davies has blamed incompetence by Cardiff's Labour council leaders for today's traffic gridlock in parts of the city after the public sector strike closed a major route.
He called it the 'selfish motives of a small cabal of trade union leaders'.
The Butetown Tunnels were closed for safety reasons after the workers who monitor CCTV cameras walked out.
The resulting traffic jam blocked the dual carriageway linking Cardiff Bay with the M4 motorway. Other roads became clogged as drivers sought alternative routes.
We have known about these strikes for some time and yet the council were unable to make arrangements to prevent the capital’s roads descending into chaos once again. The knock-on effect of the closure of the Butetown Tunnels has been enormous. Commuters from all walks of life and all professions have been hit by the ensuing gridlock, along with businesses across the city. It is difficult to find an explanation other than incompetence as to why a contingency plan was not put in place.
People are perfectly entitled to withdraw their labour, but trade unions need to think long and hard about the impact that these strikes have on people’s everyday lives. Many families have also been forced to take annual leave because their children’s schools are on strike, and some households will miss their fortnightly rubbish collections. Once again, hardworking families face mayhem as the result of the selfish motives of a cabal of trade union leaders.
The First Minister has been accused of 'dithering' over a decision over an inquiry into claims one of his cabinet members breached the ministerial code. Environment minister Alun Davies was accused of putting pressure on Natural Resources Wales, to back plans for a racetrack near Ebbw Vale.
You can read the background to the story by clicking here. First Minister Carwyn Jones ordered an inquiry by the Welsh Government's top civil servant which he received last week. Opposition Leader, Andrew RT Davies says he should announce his decision immediately.
This is extraordinary dithering from Carwyn Jones.
Another week has passed with no decision on the serious allegations against one of Carwyn Jones' ministers.
These are not the actions of a First Minister keen to deal swiftly with a potentially serious breach of the ministerial code and draw a line under this distraction from improving public services.
The First Minister received the report last week but is too weak to make a tough decision based on the facts.
He implied this alleged conflict of interest would be resolved within two weeks, but his dithering is about to enter a fourth week.
The First Minister has shown utter contempt for the National Assembly by failing to come forward to explain his indecision.
This distraction has gone on long enough - Labour's weak leader must act.
I understand the Welsh Conservatives have also tabled an urgent question on the matter. The Presiding Officer is considering whether or not to accept that. If not, you can expect it to feature heavily in First Minister's Questions.
Opposition Leader Andrew RT has used an Urgent Question in the Assembly to call for a summit of Welsh ministers and Muslim community leaders to try to find ways of tackling extremism. It follows revelations that two Cardiff men appeared in an Iraqi Islamist recruitment video.
Deputy Communities minister, Jeff Cuthbert, said he couldn't commit to holding a summit but said he would consider one as part of ongoing efforts to work with communities.