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  1. Nick Powell

Labour say Welsh Government's achievements will be "robust shield" for Assembly election campaign

First Minister Carwyn Jones will tell AMs later that his government is on course to deliver on the promises it made to the voters in the 2011 election campaign. In his final report on his programme for government before he faces the electorate again, he's expected to say that out of more than 500 commitments, more than 95% have been delivered -or are on track to be delivered in the next few months.

Credit: PA

Welsh Labour claim that this includes all the main pledges in the the 2011 manifesto, such as Jobs Growth Wales, extra money for schools, low tuition fees for Welsh students, and longer GP opening hours. One source called Labour's record in government in Wales "a robust statistical shield" against attacks from political opponents. Nevertheless, the Conservatives say they will challenge the Welsh Government on its record.

On health – on education – on the economy – the evidence is clear; Wales continues to fall behind and Labour ministers have no answers. Don’t take it from me – listen to the experts, the independent reports and the cold hard statistics.

Over 400 thousand people are waiting to start NHS treatment in Labour-run Wales. When Carwyn Jones became First Minister that figure was just 200 thousand. Global school test performance lags behind other parts of the UK and business support is nowhere near where it should be.

This is the real programme for government update and an urgent focus is desperately needed on our schools, our NHS services, our businesses and our communities.

– Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew RT Davies AM


  1. Nick Powell

Poll shows increased Labour lead in Wales

Labour has reached 40% support in Wales for the first time in recent polls Credit: YouGov/ITV/Cardiff University Jan 24-27, Sample: 1,189

The first Welsh opinion poll of the General Election campaign shows that Labour has slightly improved its position, reaching 40% for the first time in nearly a year. YouGov's latest Welsh Barometer Poll for ITV Cymru Wales and Cardiff University still puts the party well below the 50% plus it was polling before UKIP support started to climb two years ago. But it's 4% higher than the 2010 General Election result.

If opinion doesn't shift further during the election campaign, that should be enough to deliver Labour a couple of extra seats on May 7. The Conservatives on 25% are just 1% down on the result five years ago and Plaid Cymru's 11% shows no change on 2010. Those figures put both parties on course for no overall change in the number of Welsh seats they hold.

The inequalities built into the electoral system mean that the Liberal Democrats, down 15% on 5% can still hope to hold on to at least one seat but UKIP, up 12% to 14% are not on course to break through in any Welsh constituencies. The Greens are similarly disadvantaged, despite being neck and neck with the Liberal Democrats in this poll.

  1. Nick Powell

Welsh Govt due respect and power says shadow minister

The UK Government should admire and learn from Wales, Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith will claim later. In a speech to the Welsh Labour conference in Swansea, he'll announce that the Welsh Government would be given responsibility for the Work Programme, which is aimed at the long term unemployed, if Labour gains power at Westminster.

Mr Smith will also say that Labour "has got its mojo back" under Ed Miliband, who yesterday pledged a series of new powers for the Welsh Assembly if he becomes Prime Minister.

From tax avoidance to the abuse of corporate and media power an Ed Miliband led government will deliver the fair play and fair rules - the chwarae teg that people expect in Wales - and rightly expect from Labour in particular.

Ed Miliband has also been clear that a new era of partnership and respect must be rebuilt between the governments in Wales and Westminster, after the Tory War on Wales. Instead of a Tory government that sneers at Wales, we need a UK government that admires and learns from Wales. One area where we have already learned from Wales is on job creation for young people. Carwyn's government has done an infinitely better job than the Tories with our Welsh employment programmes. A UK Labour government will recognise that expertise and invest trust in Wales to do even more in future by devolving to Wales responsibility for the Work Programme - currently run from Westminster by the Department for Work and Pensions.

– Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith MP


Plaid Cymru: No Labour commitment to funding parity

Plaid Cymru have questioned Ed Miliband's pledges over more powers and fair funding for Wales, pointing out that he gave "no commitment that a Labour government would deliver parity with Scotland."

Mr Miliband talked a lot about taking action, but the actions of his Labour MPs over the past five years speak volumes. Time and time again the Labour party has voted against the Welsh national interest, has failed to empower our National Assembly with additional powers and responsibilities, and has instead chosen to keep power in the hands of the Westminster elite. On fair funding, the people of Wales deserve nothing less than full equality with Scotland which would translate into an additional £1.2billion each year. Mr Miliband gave no commitment to Wales that a Labour government would deliver parity with Scotland.

– Plaid Cymru spokesperson
  1. Nick Powell

Miliband spells out new powers for Wales

Labour leader Ed Miliband has told the Welsh Labour conference what extra powers a Labour Government at Westminster would devolve to Wales. In his speech to delegates in Swansea, he referred to the National Assembly as "the Welsh Parliament" and pre-empted the conclusion of cross-party talks aimed at delivering an agreement by St David's Day.

On one of the issues that's believed to have caused the most difficultly during the talks chaired by Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb -the devolution of policing- the Labour leader announced that his party intended to implement a compromise solution.

Under a Labour government the Welsh Parliament will play a greater role in the lives of the Welsh people, with power over ports, elections, energy and a greater say over policing.

My Labour government will enact proposals from the Silk Commission and more. Because I believe the Welsh people should have the power to decide who gets to choose their representatives and how it is that they choose their representatives.

So powers over elections in Wales should be in the hands of the Parliament. This means that Wales will be able to choose to extend the franchise, as they did in Scotland for the referendum. And it also means more powers over public services.

An all Wales Policing plan [would be] drawn up with the Home Secretary, giving the Welsh people responsibility to shape policing in Wales. And the Welsh people should have the power to determine what energy projects are right for Wales.

– Labour Leader Ed Miliband MP

The Labour leader said nothing about the further devolution of tax raising powers but promised that the party would make sure that Wales was not " "unfairly disadvantaged" by the Barnett formula.

Miliband pledges to give Wales more powers over policing

Ed Miliband has pledged to devolve greater powers over policing to Wales, under a Labour government.

Speaking at the Welsh Labour Conference in Swansea, the party leader said Wales would get a fair funding settlement, and more powers over ports, election and energy.

Ed Miliband has promised an 'all-Wales policing plan.'

Miliband pledges 'root-and-branch review of HMRC'

Ed Miliband has told the Welsh Labour Conference in Swansea he would hold an "independent root-and-branch review of the culture and practice of HMRC" if Labour wins the next general election.

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