Labour and Plaid Cymru approve Wales government deal

By James Williams
BBC Politics Wales

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The deal includes expanding free childcare for two year olds

Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru's ruling bodies have approved a co-operation deal between the parties in the Senedd.

BBC Wales has been told there was "solid support" for the deal at Welsh Labour's executive committee.

Plaid Cymru's national executive committee also backed the deal but it will require the support of the party's members.

The "very wide-ranging" deal includes a pledge to extend free school meals to all primary school pupils.

Some of the main points of the deal include:

  • Introducing local tourism taxes
  • Publishing proposals on rent controls to make properties affordable for locals
  • Reforming housing law to end homelessness
  • Creating an NHS style free-at-point-of-need National Care Service
  • Plans to change council tax
  • Changes to the number of Members of the Senedd
Media caption,
Parents share their experiences of paying for childcare.

It also includes plans to expand the free childcare offer for two year olds, and for all primary age children to be entitled to free school meals in Wales.

The deal includes a cap on second and holiday home numbers, amid concerns those living in seaside and rural communities are being "priced out" of buying in their areas.

There is also a commitment to "work towards" parity of "reward and recognition" for health and care workers, and to reform building safety and provide more cash to help people in flats with cladding problems.

Media caption,
It includes plans to provide more cash for people with cladding problems

Broadcasting 'should be devolved'

BBC Wales has been told the deal also includes a commitment to "explore the creation of a shadow Broadcasting and Communications Authority for Wales, to address our concerns about the current fragility in the media and attacks on its independence".

"This body would support the use of the Welsh language, particularly in digital and encourage media plurality.

"We believe broadcasting and communication powers should be devolved to Wales," the deal adds.

It comes as the process to appoint the new chairman of the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom is to be re-started.

It is expected that the deal will be published in full on Monday.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Mark Drakeford (left) had been in talks with Plaid Cymru's Adam Price over the deal

In a blog post, Darren Williams, a member of Labour's executive committee, said the agreement included free childcare for all two-year-olds, creation of a national care service, limits on second home ownership, and the creation of a publicly-owned construction company and an energy company.

He also said it would include changes in the Senedd's size, "including a statutory guarantee of gender balance".

The first minister has previously explained the talks were necessary because Welsh Labour has no overall majority to deal with "challenging and ambitious issues" as it has 30 of the 60 seats in Cardiff Bay.

Talks were publicly announced in September after Labour and Plaid Cymru had been in discussions over the summer around policies they could work together on.

In mid-October, Mark Drakeford said the "discussions need to come to a conclusion" and they could not "continue forever".

No Plaid ministers

The deal would not amount to a coalition between the parties, and Plaid Cymru members of the Senedd will not be entering government.

But BBC Wales has been told Plaid would be able to appoint special advisers to work on the deal in government.

A Welsh Conservatives spokesman said the "deal is remarkable for its absence of solutions to fix the NHS - currently experiencing its worst performance on record - or improve the economy in Wales".

"Labour's latest deal with the nationalists does not deliver on the priorities of working families across Wales, and will only cause constitutional chaos that risks holding back our economic recovery."

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