The First Minister of Wales confirmed he would leave his post at the next Senedd elections. Speaking at his press conference today he said that his plans to step aside had not changed.
We asked the First Minister if he took full or part responsibility for the crisis in the NHS in Wales given that Rishi Sunak claimed the NHS in England was in a better state. We also asked if the First Minister took responsibility for the economic crisis in Wales.
The First Minister replied: “Anybody who is involved in the sort of job I do has a responsibility for the conduct of the public services here in Wales. I am not going to get drawn into a sort of it’s worse over there than it is over here sort of discussion. It helps nobody who is waiting for treatment in England or in Wales and it is often very inaccurately played out.
“If you want a hard fact based simply on information that is not published by the government but is in the public domain in each of the last three months the performance of each of the emergency departments in Wales has exceeded the performance of those departments in England. That is just a matter of the record.
“I take responsibility for what happens here in Wales together with my ministerial colleagues and with all those people who work in the health service in every part of Wales who as I said work very determinedly sometimes under very challenging conditions to make sure the people in Wales continue to have a health service they can rely on.”
We asked the First Minister if he could categorically say that a Labour government at Westminster and a Labour Government in Wales will make a difference not just with sticking plasters but restoring the equilibrium and putting an end to the excuses for failings in the governance of Wales.
The First Minister replied: “Having a Labour Government at Westminster would be transformative experience for a Labour Government in Wales. I have said in the past the history of the two decades of devolution is a game of two halves. In the first decade of devolution when there was a Labour government in Westminster the budgets available to support public services in Wales grew in real terms every single year throughout the whole of the decade.
“The second decade has been one of austerity where the resources available for public services across the United Kingdom have been squeezed and squeezed and squeezed every time on the promise that provided we took that medicine the promised land was around the corner, it would all be over.
“I remember hearing George Osbourne say before 2015 and here we are again on the same path, further cuts further austerity highest taxes for 70 years. That is the reality facing people in Wales. That explains why Labour is in the position we are in in the opinion polls. And a chance to work with a government even in those challenging circumstances with a different set of values with a different set of purposes of course it would make the most enormous difference to us here in Wales.”