Wales politics

Welsh Government loses assembly vote on further education cuts

Assembly vote
Image caption The assembly voted 22 to 21 for the motion, which the government had opposed

AMs have called for an end to cuts in further education in a vote in the Senedd.

Ministers were defeated in the vote on Wednesday after they failed to muster enough support from their own benches to oppose the motion.

AMs from Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives had tabled a debate saying the sector was under pressure as a result of a reduction in funding.

A total of 22 members voted for the proposal versus 21 against.

Under a quirk of convention, Labour AMs were given a free vote on the motion which was not binding on ministers.

Three of the group - Jack Sargeant, Vikki Howells and the currently suspended Jenny Rathbone - abstained, allowing it to pass.

Five government ministers - Lesley Griffiths, Alun Davies, Rebecca Evans, Dafydd Elis-Thomas and Carwyn Jones, who was in London for talks with the UK government - were not present.

The text said proposed "that there be no further reduction in the amount of funding received by the further education sector and that its position as key to productivity, skills, training and employability in the Welsh economy be recognised".

Image caption Bethan Sayed, pictured top left after the vote, was among those who had proposed for the motion

The type of debate that the motion was tabled in is usually used to get cross-party support for a wide range of different issues, and Labour is usually given a free vote on them.

The Welsh Government chose to oppose the proposal, but it is understood that the Labour group stuck to the convention for a free vote.

Eluned Morgan, Welsh Government life long learning minister, said: "As a Government, we'll be voting against this resolution because it fails to note that the funding cuts have been caused by Tory austerity."

Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Sayed said: "The further education sector has seen a major cut to its funding and support, while seeing the demands placed upon it grow, particularly in light of Welsh Government policies.

"Therefore I am glad to see today that AMs have voted that there should be no further reduction in the amount of funding received by the further education sector - and that its position as key to productivity, skills, training and employability in the Welsh economy be recognised."

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