The Welsh Government's spending plans have been given the thumbs up by Assembly Members. Carwyn Jones managed to get his draft budget passed despite not having a majority of votes in the Senedd by reaching a deal with Plaid Cymru which will see at least £40m spent on apprenticeships.
Plaid AMs abstained in today's vote on the draft plans. Welsh Liberal Democrats voted against the budget this year despite supporting it last year when they did their own deal with Labour. The final vote comes on December 4th.
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I reported earlier on rumours that the First Minister is planning a reshuffle of his cabinet and was able to ask him directly if he is planning to change his top team. You can see his answers in the video below.
He insisted that there is no reshuffle but you'll notice that he adds 'before Christmas' and when I push that point says that he's always looking at 'what shape the government can take to benefit the people of Wales.' A new year reshuffle perhaps?
In a speech this evening, the First Minister is expected to outline two big changes he wants to see to the way devolution works. During a lecture to the London School of Economics he's due to reveal what his government will tell the Silk Commission which is looking into the Assembly's powers.
He's expected to call for a move to what's known as a 'reserved powers model' of devolution, similar to the arrangement for Scotland. This would set out what the Welsh Government CAN'T do rather than setting out what it CAN do as is currently the case.
Carwyn Jones will also call for a Welsh judge to be appointed to the Supreme Court. With legislation from Wales being examined by the Supreme court to see if it's lawful, the First Minister is expected to say that it's unfair that Wales isn't represented there.
The First Minister says he supports the inquiry that the Prime Minister has announced into whether child abuse allegations about children in care in north Wales were properly investigated. Carwyn Jones says it is 'entirely appropriate' that the inquiry is carried out at a UK level.
Serious allegations about child abuse in North Wales during the 1970s and 80s have been made in the media over the weekend, and calls have been made for a fresh inquiry. The Welsh Government takes these allegations very seriously. In the first instance, victims of abuse who feel that the abuse they suffered was not investigated properly should report their cases to the police. My officials have been in touch with North Wales Police to ensure they are aware of and considering these further allegations.
The report of the extensive judicial inquiry chaired by Sir Ronald Waterhouse into child abuse in North Wales – entitled “Lost in Care” often known as the Waterhouse Report - was published in 2000. It was commissioned (before devolution began) by the then Secretary of State for Wales, the Rt. Hon. William Hague, and reported to the Rt. Hon. Paul Murphy, as Secretary of State, in 2000. It made extensive recommendations for improving child protection, many of which were subsequently implemented by the Welsh Government.
The Prime Minister has announced an inquiry to examine the extent to which the Waterhouse Report did what it was supposed to do. Given that Waterhouse was commissioned by the UK Government and reported to the UK Government, and that lines of enquiry cover non-devolved as well as devolved issues, this action seems entirely appropriate. I have asked for urgent advice on what was included in the terms of reference of the Waterhouse Inquiry. In due course that will enable me to consider, alongside any other relevant information, any action that might be necessary by the Welsh Government.
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