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First Minister tribute to Denis Healey

Former Chancellor Denis Healey has died, aged 98 Credit: PA, Adam Edler

The First Minister has paid tribute to the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Denis Healey, who's died at the age of 98. Carwyn Jones said:

I am very sorry to hear about the passing of Denis Healey - a true great of the Labour movement. He continues to inspire and inform our politics today.

– Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister
  1. Adrian Masters

Welsh Election 'toughest' ever says Carwyn Jones

Carwyn Jones shaking hands with Jeremy Corbyn Credit: ITV News

Next May's Welsh election will be 'the toughest [Labour] has ever faced' according to the First Minister Carwyn Jones.

The Welsh Labour leader was speaking to the party's UK Conference, the first under new leader Jeremy Corbyn.

He told delegates in Brighton that Labour will face challenges from all sides in the 2016 Assembly election, but he assured them that the party can be proud of its 'secret weapon: a record of delivery.'

I have no doubt whatsoever that the next Welsh General Election will be the toughest we have ever faced.

We slipped back in Wales in May, when we were fighting to win.

Next year the Tories will, of course, out-spend us and will use their Westminster megaphone to once again trash the record of the Welsh NHS.

And there’s danger on the fringes too – the frantic nationalism of UKIP and fantastical nationalism of Plaid Cymru will be competing hard for the votes of the disaffected.

It will be tough.

But, as Welsh Labour, we have a secret weapon. A record of delivery.

Every promise we made, we’ve delivered.

– Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister



Cameron 'expects' Wales Bill in Queen's Speech

The Cabinet meets for the first time since the General Election, with Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb expected to have a Wales Bill ready for the Queen's Speech Credit: Dan Kitwood/PA

Welsh Government sources say David Cameron has told Carwyn Jones that he expects the Queen's Speech to include a Wales Bill devolving further powers to the Welsh Government and Assembly.

The Prime Minister and First Minister had a "cordial" phone conversation, in which David Cameron seemed surprised by suggestions from opposition parties that the bill won't be included in the legislative programme read out by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament.

The two men are said to have spoken about the work they need to do together to secure the future of the United Kingdom, as well as other devolution issues. Carwyn Jones will meet Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb later this week for the first time since the election.

  1. Nick Powell

Chancellor pre-empts Welsh Government on Severn tolls

George Osborne's promise of a cut in the tolls on the Severn Bridges suggests that if he stays in office after the election he'll deny the Welsh Government control of the crossings when they return to public ownership. First Minister Carwyn Jones has said that if he had the power, he would reduce but not abolish the tolls, using the income to pay for M4 improvements as wells as maintaining the two bridges.

  1. Nick Powell

Labour should set timetable to end unfair funding says First Minister

First Minister Carwyn Jones has called on the Labour party, as well as his opponents, to set out a timescale for delivering on the promise of fair funding for Wales, made in the St David's Day agreement on further devolution. He told his monthly news conference that it was important to know not just the value of the so-called funding floor but when it would be introduced.

The principle has been accepted and is welcome but then the principle was accepted a long time ago. What we need is a timescale now to see how Wales' underfunding will be addressed and that is true of all the parties, including my own. As a party we need to outline exactly how we will now take forward the issue of Wales' underfunding and that we could do that according to a set timetable.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Carwyn Jones added that he expected that the degree of unfairness in how Wales is funded, compared to the rest of the UK, is now less than the £300 million a year calculated by the Holtham Commission. He said adding a minimum proportion of public spending for Wales -a floor- to the Barnett Formula was the best way of stopping any future reduction in the Welsh share of Treasury money.

Meanwhile a survey of 7,000 people across the United Kingdom by Edinburgh shows that 68% of Welsh people believe that Wales receives less government funding than it is due. Only 43% in England think their country's treated unfairly, as do 44% in Scotland. in Northern Ireland, it's 37%. The figures have been seized on by Plaid Cymru, which is calling for funding parity with Scotland and says that could be worth an extra £1.2 billion a year to Wales.

This extensive survey vindicates Plaid Cymru’s unique position in making the case for Wales to have parity with Scotland – in terms of funding and powers. Everyone accepts that Wales is the poor relation in the UK in terms of funding for schools and hospitals, but only Plaid Cymru demands that Wales is treated on the basis of equality. The Barnett Formula was introduced in 1978 – by Labour – and ever since, our funding disadvantage has been entrenched. That’s decades of Wales not receiving its fair share of resources. The Westminster parties have all signed up to retaining that formula. Plaid Cymru says it’s unjustifiable for Wales to continue to be short-changed.

– Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood AM
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