Nick Servini

Nick Servini Political editor, Wales

My take on what’s happening in Welsh politics and how it affects your life

Christmas cheer?

Stephen Crabb, Baroness Randerson and Alun Cairns
Ministers Stephen Crabb, Baroness Randerson and Alun Cairns get in the festive spirit

The Welsh Secretary and his ministers may have been donning their festive jumpers but there wasn't much goodwill towards Carwyn Jones when they spoke to reporters for their end of year briefing.

Let's start with Wales' under-funding. The economist Gerry Holtham wrote a report in 2010 saying that the Welsh government was short-changed by £300m.

There are a variety of figures now bandied around. As well as £300m which is the most popular, the shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith talks about half that, Plaid says it is £1.2bn while the Wales Office now says it is zero.

I'm told the treasury is working on a new assessment which will be published by St David's Day, which will be a significant day in the political calendar next year (more on this later).

Stephen Crabb rounded on the First Minister, accusing him of using the alleged under-funding as a smokescreen.

Read full article Christmas cheer?

Carwyn Jones: Five years in

So did we learn anything new from my interview with the First Minister on his fifth anniversary?

One of the more striking things he said was that he doesn't know what the NHS and education services would look like in 2020 after another five years of Conservative-led austerity.

Read full article Carwyn Jones: Five years in

The art of persuasion

Was it ever realistic to expect a major shake-up of councils to be carried out as a result of negotiation and persuasion?

This seems to me the key question we should use in how we judge the First Minister's attempts to re-organise them.

Read full article The art of persuasion

Tax and spend

I don't suppose it was foremost in George Osborne's mind when he put together the Autumn Statement but his transformation of stamp duty has rained on the parade of the new Welsh treasury team.

Stamp duty is due to be devolved in three years and it was going to be the first high-profile Welsh-designed tax that would have been far more progressive than in England.

Read full article Tax and spend

What's on offer

We have finally got an answer to a question many of us have been trying to get from the first minister for a while.

The question is whether he actually wants control over income tax?

Read full article What's on offer

The pub test

The big question now is whether the Independent Remuneration Board will listen to any of the concerns expressed so far about the proposed 18% pay rise for assembly members after 2016.

The clue is in the title. It's an independent body so it is not obliged to listen to the concerns before it makes its final recommendation next year.

Read full article The pub test

Fly on the wall over pay

It's not often I say this but I'd love to be a fly on the wall at the party group meetings at the Assembly on Tuesday morning.

That will be the first chance for AMs to discuss the recommendation of the independent remuneration board to give them a £10,000 rise in basic pay.

Read full article Fly on the wall over pay

Pandora's box on pay?

The Welsh government has been given a baptism of fire in settling pay disputes.

It's never really had to do it before.

Read full article Pandora's box on pay?

Importance of certain key people in Welsh health service

We were given an interesting glimpse into the NHS, and the importance of some individuals within it, during this week's First Minister's Questions.

Carwyn Jones was asked about urology cancer patients treated by the Betsi Cadwalader University Health Board. This covers prostate, kidney and bladder cancer.

Read full article Importance of certain key people in Welsh health service

Sealing the split

With the exception of public health, there aren't many Welsh government promotional campaigns more important than the one launched this week about Wales-only GCSEs.

There will inevitably be concern among parents that an education system which has performed so poorly in the Pisa international league tables is now going down the route of having its own bespoke GCSEs.

Read full article Sealing the split

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About Nick

Nick became political editor after a six-year stint as the business correspondent, during which he covered the full impact of the recession and the financial crisis in Wales.

Born in Aberdare, Nick studied philosophy at Southampton University before training as a newspaper reporter. He worked at the South Wales Echo and the Welsh Mirror.

He joined the BBC in 2001 and worked in the radio newsroom in London before moving to Cardiff and reporting extensively for the Good Morning Wales programme on Radio Wales.

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