Wales Election 2016

First Minister's to-do list after Wales Election 2016

Tata Steel works in Port Talbot, South Wales Image copyright PA
Image caption The steel crisis at Port Talbot is one of several issues facing the Welsh Government after the election

Steffan Evans, from Cardiff University's Wales Governance Centre, looks at some of the issues the first minister will face after the dust settles on Welsh Assembly election 2016.


The voting is over and we don't have long to wait to see who will form the new Welsh Government.

Regardless of who it is, there are a number of issues which are set to feature prominently in the first minister's in-tray.

But what will these be?

The European Union referendum

Image copyright EPA

With only seven weeks separating the assembly election and the EU referendum, there will be little time to rest for a new first minister.

We can expect to see the first minister back out on the campaign trail almost immediately, trying to secure the votes required to earn victory for their side.

Nonetheless, the referendum is not an issue which is likely to vanish from the first minster's radar after 23 June.

Whether the UK decides to remain in or leave the EU, the first minister will be eager to ensure they play a prominent part in any negotiations which follow the results; especially considering there are significant implications for devolved matters, such as agriculture and the environment.


The steel crisis

Image copyright Getty Images

Undoubtedly, this is the issue that has attracted the most headlines during the election campaign.

The first minister elected following 5 May is likely to want to get to grips with the steel crisis as soon as possible.

With the UK government now getting involved in negotiations over the future of Port Talbot, a newly-elected first minister is likely to want to ensure the views of a new Welsh Government are also heard during this process.

With so many jobs dependent on Tata's sites across Wales, this seems set to be an issue which will dominate the first few months of the fifth assembly.


Wales Bill

Back in the autumn of 2015, the UK Conservative government published its Draft Wales Bill, which was set to change the model of devolution in place in Wales.

Following significant criticism of the bill, the then-Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb, announced in February 2016 progress of the bill would be delayed so it could undergo significant changes.

With an updated version of the bill set to be published in the summer, the heated debated of last winter seems set to reignite.

Wales' devolution settlement therefore appears set to become one of the primary issues facing the first minister very early on in the new term.


Taxation

Taxation powers are set to be devolved to Wales for the first time during the course of the next assembly.

While these powers are likely to be devolved fully until 2018, the significance of this change means it is likely that taxation is set to feature prominently on the first minister's radar after 5 May.

The first minister will be eager to develop an understanding of how the new system will work, and will wish to ensure Wales does not lose out financially as a result of these changes.

The importance of taxation as a political issue in Wales could well be one of the defining issues of the next assembly.


Health

Image copyright Thinkstock

Health has been one of the devolved areas that has attracted most public scrutiny since the advent of devolution and this election campaign has been no different.

As such, the first minister will be eager to be seen to be delivering on their party's manifesto promises during the early period of the next assembly.

Given the fact health accounts for 46% of devolved expenditure, any changes made to the amount of money spent on health is sure to have a significant impact on spending in other devolved areas.

Whatever the outcome following the assembly elections, the summer promises to be a busy period for whoever finds themselves lucky enough to be occupying the office of the first minister of Wales.

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