Carwyn Jones sets out priorities for new government

May 19, 2016 at 4:16 PM

On May 18, Labour's Carwyn Jones was re-elected as First Minister and made a speech setting out priorities for the first 100 days of the Fifth Assembly, reflecting areas of immediate common ground following discussions with the main opposition party, Plaid Cymru. He said his immediate focus included: 

  • a relentless focus on securing a successful and sustainable future for our steel industry
  • the Welsh Government will maintain a firmly pro-European standpoint and will campaign vociferously for a ‘remain’ vote

'No new legislation in the first 100 days': here's why

Carwyn Jones said: "We will not bring forward any new legislation in the first 100 days, giving political groups in the Assembly some time to establish a new way of doing law making in Wales. This will allow all parties to jointly develop a scrutiny and committee procedure that’s better suited to this institution’s parliamentary responsibilities.

"Once the Assembly is in a position to better scrutinise legislation, we will look to bring forward a new public health Bill, an additional learning needs Bill, and we will take forward, on a cross-party basis, legislation that will remove the defence of reasonable chastisement. We will also seek to amend the current Welsh language Measure."

 The Wales Bill - breaking the deadlock with Westminster

 The government in Westminister promised a Wales Bill in the Queen's Speech on May 18.

Carwyn Jones said: "It’s important as well, of course, that we seek to end the Wales Bill deadlock, in order to establish a lasting legislative framework for our nation."

He added: "We will seek to establish a parliamentary review into the long-term future of health and social care in Wales, and in order to drive policy and delivery from the heart of Government, we will establish a new Cabinet office. The first priority of the new office will be to establish delivery plans for the top six pledges from the Welsh Labour manifesto."

Moving Wales forward through working together

Carwyn Jones said: "Now, we can see that the arithmetic of this Assembly is clear. For us to deliver for the people of Wales, we must seek to work together where that’s possible, and, to this end, Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru have made a compact to move Wales forward. With your permission, Llywydd, and in the interest of transparency, I believe it’s important to put on the record what we mean by this. The basis of this agreement will be the establishment of three liaison committees on finance, legislation and the constitution. These will comprise a Labour Minister and a Plaid Cymru representative, and will be staffed by the civil service. We have committed to working together on the European referendum campaign in a spirit of co-operation.

"We recognise that there are many areas where we are not going to agree, but we’ll also begin discussions on joint policy priorities where there’s common ground—common ground indeed that stretches beyond just our two parties. They will include childcare, because we recognise that this is one of the biggest challenges facing families in Wales, and we will prioritise work to deliver 30 hours of free childcare for working parents. Key to our work in developing and rolling out this offer will be the quality of provision and equity of access, both in terms of geographical reach and language.

"On apprenticeships and skills, we know that a skilled workforce is the lifeblood of our economy and we’ll honour our commitments to bring forward at least 100,000 new all-age apprenticeships in this term. On infrastructure and business finance, we’ll establish a new national infrastructure commission and a new Welsh development bank.

"On health, we’ll prioritise the establishment of a new treatment fund and we’ll commit to end the postcode lottery for new drugs and treatments. We’ll set in place plans for the recruitment and training of additional GPs and other primary healthcare professionals, and, of course, discussion on other shared policy priorities will continue once Ministers are in place.

'Wales does not want for ambition'

The First Minister ended his speech to the Assembly on May 18 saying: "Llywydd, Wales does not want for ambition. Wales does not want for brilliance, and if the last few days are anything to go by, Wales doesn’t want for excitement either. But it’s our job, collectively, to make real that ambition—to turn that brilliance into sustainable success and growing prosperity for all. Where we have excitement, let’s make sure it comes with results.

"We’ve given the media, the Welsh historians and the commentariat plenty of what they want: theatre and intrigue. But it’s time now, of course, to give our people and our nation what they want and what they expect: good governance, delivery and respect. Thank you, Llywydd."