Jones challenged over Labour support for Welsh economy

Carwyn Jones AM Mr Jones says Labour is doing what it can to protect Wales from cuts

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Plaid Cymru has accused First Minister Carwyn Jones of sitting back and allowing the economic crisis to "do its worst" to Wales.

He denied claims from Plaid's leader that there had been "no action on the economy" since May's election.

Mr Jones said the Welsh government was carrying out its commitments, despite a funding cut by the Treasury.

He also clashed with opposition leader Andrew RT Davies about the NHS at question time in the Senedd.

It is the second successive week the first minister has been challenged by Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones about what is being done to support the economy.

'Spin'

The Welsh government on Monday released a list of projects that are receiving capital funding worth a combined £1.3bn - part of an attempt to show Labour is investing in infrastructure despite a budget cut imposed in Westminster.

Start Quote

I'm willing to bet that if you ask Welsh nurses where they would rather work, Wales or England, they would choose Wales”

End Quote Carwyn Jones First Minister

But Plaid leader Mr Jones said the move was "all about spin". The list contained projects announced by the previous Labour-Plaid coalition, some of which had already been completed, he said.

He said: "The only conclusion I can now draw from your failure to act is you've decided to sit back, let the economic crisis do its worst and blame the Tories for everything."

The first minister said: "It's the first time I've heard a government criticised for carrying out its commitment and the first time I've heard a government criticised for carrying out its promises."

A "substantial amount" had been committed, including for the health service, with further announcements due later this month for the coming financial year, he said.

He added that the Welsh government had done "as much as we can to protect the people of Wales against the cuts being imposed on them".

Stress

Conservative assembly leader Andrew RT Davies accused the first minister of being "flippant" about the concerns of nurses after a survey by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) found nearly half of nurses had thought of leaving the profession in the last year and 60% faced stress at work.

But Mr Jones said the RCN had supported Welsh government policies for the the NHS, "in stark contrast to elsewhere in the UK", adding: "I'm willing to bet that if you ask Welsh nurses where they would rather work, Wales or England, they would choose Wales."

He said many Labour AMs had admired the way Mr Davies's predecessor Nick Bourne built the Welsh Conservatives party "and now we've seen the leader of the opposition dismantle it in three months".

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams asked the first minister to clarify his government's position on financing businesses.

It follows a BBC Wales analysis of Welsh government spending which found companies were receiving non-repayable grants several months after an economic strategy proposed to scrap them.

Mr Jones said some commitments were made under the previous grant regime.

"Are you saying we should renege on those commitments?" he said.

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