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  1. Nick Powell

Badger vaccination suspended

Vaccinating badgers was introduced as a less controversial alternative to shooting them in an attempt to stop TB infecting cattle Credit: PA

The Welsh Government has suspended its flagship programme to vaccinate badgers against TB, which can spread to cattle. Vaccination was introduced after previous plans to shoot badgers in affected areas were abandoned. But there's a global vaccine shortage and the World Health Organisation has appealed to governments to let preventing TB in humans take priority.

Bovine TB is a serious animal health issue ... however, public health must always take priority, and until the supply situation is resolved our badger vaccination projects currently underway in Wales ... will be suspended. This does not mean that the hard work of the previous years will have been wasted. We have successfully administered more than 5,500 doses during that time.

– Deputy Minister for Farming and Food Rebecca Evans AM

The vaccination scheme was introduced after the 2011 Assembly election in parts of west Wales where TB in cattle is endemic. It replaced a planned badger cull proposed by Plaid Cymru's Elin Jones when she was the Rural Affairs Minister in coalition with Labour. Trial culls have since been held in England.

This is shocking news that will make a complete mockery of the vaccination trial. The Labour government should be ashamed that it could have let this happen.

Four years ago, many of us argued for a different approach but the government was insistent on vaccination. Now there is a risk that we will have wasted four years.

– Plaid Cymru Rural Affairs Spokesperson Llyr Gruffydd AM



  1. Nick Powell

Finance Minister: Chancellor's 'smoke and mirrors' can't hide cut for Welsh Government

The Treasury has confirmed that the Welsh Government's budget will fall by 4.5% in real terms as a result of the Chancellor's spending review. Modest cash increases in the revenue budget, which finances day-to-day expenditure will be more than cancelled out by inflation.

  • 2015/16: £12.9 billion
  • 2016/17: £13.0 billion
  • 2017/18: £13.1 billion
  • 2018/19: £13.2 billion
  • 2019/20: £13.3 billion

However, there's better news for the Welsh Government's capital budget, which pays for new roads, schools and hospitals. That's going up by 4.7% -a cash increase from £1.5 billion to £1.7 billion by 2020. So the Chancellor's promise of a budget totalling £15 billion will be kept and he's also committed to keeping overall spending in devolved areas 15% higher in Wales than in England until the next Westminster election.

People will not be misled by this smoke and mirrors approach to public finance: this is the slowest recovery in living memory and family and national prosperity is being held back on a daily basis. Today’s Spending Review shows that the people of Wales will continue to suffer from the Chancellor’s failure to meet his own fiscal targets. He gives with one hand and takes away with the other.

Although today’s commitment towards a funding floor that will ensure that in future public spending in Wales is at 115 per cent of the England average is welcome this is unhelpfully restricted to this Parliament. We haven’t got fair funding yet and it is essential that there is an inter-government agreement on the way forward. The devil is very much in the detail as to how this will work in practice.

– Finance Minister Jane Hutt AM

One month to organ donation opt-out system

Today marks one month to go until Wales will become the first country in the UK to introduce a new soft opt-out system for organ and tissue donation.

The Welsh Government is continuing to raise awareness of the legislation change, which will come into effect from December 1. Credit: Welsh Government

It will mean that you have given 'presumed consent' for your organs to be used after your death, unless you say otherwise.

Those who have had life-saving transplants are hoping that the new legislation will mean a shorter wait for donors.

"I believe that the change to the law on organ donation gives more choice to individuals as you can opt in, out or do nothing and have deemed consent for donation. It will empower people to decide what they want to happen after their death, taking the pressure off their loved ones at such a terrible time. It is the kindest and greatest gift you can give once you have gone."

– Kayleigh Old, lung transplant recipient
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