Tonight, the leaders of Wales’ three biggest parties went head-to-head in their final big debate of the election campaign.
We put your questions to Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, and leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, getting their answers on topics including hospital waiting times, Welsh independence, tuition fees, regenerating town centres and second homes.
In total, they answered eight questions. The video of the debate can be watched again on the WalesOnline Facebook page.
Here are the biggest talking points from the debate:
There was an argument about waiting times
Mr Price said it wasn’t right to say that waiting times were so long because of the pandemic, pointing out the long delays had been there before. He said more investment was needed.
Mr Drakeford contested that.
“One fact to put into the discussion, in the month before the pandemic, waiting times were the lowest they have been for five years and they have fallen every year of this Senedd term. It’s true of course the pandemic has made waiting times longer in Wales.”
Mr Drakeford said he was proud of Labour’s record in Wales but Mr Price said the number waiting in Wales for over 36 weeks in December, 2019, was 25,549, compared to the figure a year previously of 12,982. That’s almost a 100% increase.
“How can you say waiting times are going down?” Mr Price asked.
Mr Drakeford told his Plaid Cymru rival that he had cherry picked figures.
“The waiting time target in Wales is not 36 weeks but 26 weeks and the number of people waiting 26 weeks was going down. You can always pick a figure Adam in that sort of way and try pretend it tells the whole story. It certainly doesn’t, and you should know better,” the First Minister said.
Mr Davies denied there was a lack of funds from the UK Government hampering Welsh investment.
He said the Welsh Government took a conscious decision to not ringfence health spending in 2010-2015 and that there was a “cut” in Wales., a comment that drew a visible roll of the eyes from the First Minister.
They say high streets won’t be the same again
The leaders were asked by a reader from Barry whether they would invest in town centres.
Mr Davies and Mr Drakeford both acknowledged that town centres wouldn’t be the same again. Mr Davies said the way people shopped had changed before the pandemic and we need to “move with the times”.
He said town centres needed to become 24-hour culture with residential and social and retail facilities. Councils needed to be “more imaginative” about what could be housed in town centres, he said.
Mr Drakeford said it couldn’t go back to how things “used to be”. His party wants community banks on high streets, remote working hubs so people can live and work in town centres. He said there needed to be accommodation so people lived in town centres so “these places have liveliness after the working day is over”. He said there would be a “life for retail” but not as we’ve seen before.
The independence debate got a bit heated
The three leaders disagreed on independence. Mr Davies and Mr Drakeford both said it would be bad for Wales, but Mr Price spoke a lot about how he thought it was the right thing for Wales.
When asked to explain how he thought Wales could afford independence, Mr Price said: “We have fantastic economic possibilities as a nation, we’re just being held back at the moment.” He said there wasn’t investment at a level to create “economic success”.
“As an independent country we would be able to invest in the two most important determinates of economic success, the skills of our people and the infrastructure that our businesses have. Take away the impediments that Westminster imposes on us and you’ll see this nation excel like never before,” said Mr Price.
Mr Drakeford said: “If you ask Adam a straight forward, practical question, you’ll get another burst of empty rhetoric. Let me ask him a specific question. What currency will Wales have when we’re independent?”
Mr Price responded: “As an economist I would say the best option would be Sterling and to use a system of Index Units of Accounts”.
To that Mr Drakeford said that the idea of being independent but using Sterling, and rates set by the Bank of England was “just such nonsense”.
Mr Price responded, saying that there has been extensive work about “combining the best of both worlds” of using Sterling but being Sterling.
“Study the economics, I’m an economist, maybe I’ve an unfair advantage.”
To that, Mr Davies chipped in saying: “An economist who deals in deficits”.
Mr Price continued, telling Mr Drakeford he was “behind the times” while the First Minister said his currency idea was “cloud cuckoo land”.
Mark Drakeford told us his ‘single greatest anxiety’ was about Boris Johnson
On Friday, the UK Government is expected to release a list of the countries people can travel to with no quarantine restrictions – the so-called green list, as well as those that will need some quarantine.
Mr Drakeford has been vocal throughout that allowing travel too soon could put the UK back at risk of climbing coronavirus rates. He said the Prime Minister allowing foreign travel to resume too soon and risk re-importing the virus was his “single greatest anxiety”.
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“I urge the Prime Minister to be as cautious as he needs to be in not allowing a position where the virus can come back into Wales”.
We learnt the one thing they would do to improve Wales
Mr Drakeford said his choice would be to make sure the natural resources Wales had would be used to “create the energy of the future”. He said we would run out of oil and fossil fuels. “If I could do just one thing it would be to make Wales the renewable energy capital of the world”.
Mr Price said it would be to end child hunger. “For me, as well as it being the moral thing to do, we all gain. When you pull a child out of child hunger and poverty we all gain as a society. That child is able to reach their potential and contribute to society,” he said.
Mr Davies answered the question by saying: “To give everyone the opportunity to succeed in life”. He spoke of his own dyslexia and knowing the feeling of being “left on the sidelines”.
“That’s where Government can be a force for good. Irrespective of what you think you can bring to the table, that can be put to good use and unlock the potential we all have within.”