Leanne Wood came out strongest in the last FMQ’s before the General Election last week, continually challenging the minister regarding funding for Wales in the result of a Labour Westminster government. Having queried the First Minister on the Barnett formula, which the minister refused to give a timing on when it would be reformed, she moved on asking whether he would reject any extra resources for Wales, and if not, then why he isn’t asking for more. Carwyn Jones said that Wales would be much better off with Labour than the Tories, where Plaid members shouted it would still be a net loss, but as we now know the result, it does not matter, as Tory cuts will be imposed. Wood said that the minister had nothing positive to say about his policies, and had to resort to negative answers misleading the people of Wales.
Andrew RT Davies also queried the First Minister on Labour policies, adding that the Welsh government and Labour’s main pledges were different. He quoted Ed Miliband’s now “tombstone” policies such as private rent control and stamp duty, when the Welsh government had ruled these out. Jones answered saying that devolution meant that his party could have different policies in different parts of the UK. He also asked whether he thinks Labour spending was out of control during the previous parliament, a question that Carwyn Jones avoided to answer.
The NHS was the topic for Kirsty Williams of the Lib Dems, adding that her party was committed to proper vital funding for the NHS, and Labour was not. Jones said that come Friday he is confident that his party will commit to proper resources for the health service, unlike the current government who has treated it like a political football match, but again this is set to continue.
Also discussed was the Welsh Government’s policies towards fighting gender inequality in Wales, and it was revealed a new project would support 2,750 women and work with over 400 employers to reduce the pay gap and ensure that the skills gap in industries underrepresented by women would get support.
Welsh Language Planning Bill
Last Monday 20 Cymdeithas yr Iaith (Welsh language society) members went on a one day hunger strike last Monday. They decided to do this to emphasize the importance that the Welsh language should be central in the new Planning bill that the Labour government is considering. An amendment was passed on Tuesday that met these criteria without objection meaning new planning applications must consider impact’s on the Welsh language.
Politics interfere with business
The Conservatives have called for an independent inquiry to the role of ministerial advisers after revelations the Welsh Government may have pulled business money for political reasons. Hi-tech firm Ideoba is run by ex-Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price, and there are claims the Welsh Government pulled funding for the firm because of this and his ambition to stand in next year’s Assembly elections. The Welsh Government said the suggestion was “frankly ridiculous”, but the Tories have written to the Auditor General.