Wales politics

First Minister Carwyn Jones promises assembly results

Carwyn Jones arriving at the Senedd with Prince Charles
Image caption Carwyn Jones arriving at the Senedd with Prince Charles

The Queen's official opening of the Welsh assembly marks the beginning of a new chapter in the nation's politics.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said his minority Labour government will need to prove that it is making a difference as it takes on new powers.

A new delivery unit will ensure "outcomes people can measure" and judge Welsh Labour by, he said.

But Mr Jones said seeking more devolution powers would depend on the finance being available.

Ahead of the royal opening, he told BBC Radio Wales his party had not always convinced the voters of its achievements over 12 years in power.

"The big challenge for us is to make sure people know what we're doing and can measure what we're doing - perhaps we haven't been as good at doing that in the past," the first minister said.

"It's important that you don't just do things for the betterment of society in government but (that) you actually make sure people understand what you're doing and can measure what you're doing."

He said the delivery unit would be setting targets and other measurable outcomes to show people that manifesto promises and government strategies were leading somewhere, whatever the challenges.

"Many of the things that influence those targets are outside our control, for example policies being pursued by the UK Government, and the world economy.

"It doesn't mean we sit back and do nothing, and that's why I'm very keen to have targets that are achievable and can show that this Welsh government is making a difference."

With exactly half of the assembly's 60 seats, Mr Jones said he is confident that Welsh Labour could rule without the need for a formal coalition.

"I think it's possible to govern effectively by working with other parties and coming to agreements from time to time.

"If the other parties frustrate every single thing we try to do I think the people of Wales will have some questions for them."

This assembly is the first to have direct law-making powers but Mr Jones was cautious about the prospect of seeking further powers without assurances on funding.

"Devolution is a fluid process. There's no point demanding more powers unless the money is there to pay for them.

"What I won't do is accept anything that puts us in a permanently disadvantaged position when it comes to finance.

"There's no point accepting some kind of tax package if it simply meant the underfunding we have at the moment is entrenched permanently."

Tuesday's ceremony is being boycotted by four Plaid Cymru AMs, but Mr Jones said he was happy to welcome The Queen.

"I believe the majority of the people of Wales would want to see an event like this, an official opening of a fourth assembly all ready to take Wales forward over the next five years.

"It's something that shows the assembly in a good light and also means that once again the eyes of Britain will be on Wales, and that's no bad thing."

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