Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Tuesday, 8 March 2011

First minister's questions

The first minister welcomed on 8 March 2011, the UK Chancellor's announcement that he is prepared to consider funding arrangements for the assembly.

Carwyn Jones AM said that it would be unnecessary to establish another commission to look at the issue because the Holtham Commission on how the assembly is financed was "very comprehensive in what it recommended".

Chancellor George Osborne MP announced in the Conservative Spring Forum on the weekend that "we can look at the financing arrangements and the Holtham floor."

He was referring to the Holtham Commission on financing the assembly that highlighted a £300m-a-year shortfall in funding for Wales.

Under the Barnett Formula, which calculates the amount of money the assembly receives from Westminster, Holtham discovered that Wales lagged behind equivalent funding for areas like the North East of England.

The "Barnett Floor" would provide a stop-gap measure to address the fact that the gap between spending in Wales and spending in England can diminish over time.

On the issue of merging local authorities, the first minister reassured AMs that his government had no intention of proposing widespread amalgamation.

Any proposals for merging local authorities would be subject to full scrutiny, he added.

The Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black raised his concern that there was no safety measure included in the Local Government Measure to ensure that this does not happen.

Mr Jones also answered questions on health services in north Wales and the free swimming scheme.

Read this in Welsh.


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