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Summary

  1. Huw Edwards hosted the final six-way leaders' debate before next Thursday's election
  2. The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Labour, UKIP and the Green Party took part
  3. Health was the main issue on which the leaders clashed
  4. The future of the steel industry and efforts to boost education were also in the spotlight

Live Reporting

By Andy Roberts and Sophie Gidley

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Thank you and goodnight

Thanks for following the BBC Wales leaders' debate with us.

See our Election 2016 website for more reaction and campaign coverage in the run up to polling day.

Look back at Labour-Tory clash over health

Time's up: Debate is brought to a close

We don't get to the fourth question, but Huw Edwards tells viewers about the follow-up programmes starting at 22:00 BST on BBC Two Wales and BBC Radio Wales. 

'We're not forcing students to stay in Wales'

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood denies wanting to force young people to study in Wales - "that's a lie".   

She also points out that it was the former Labour UK government which introduced tuition fees.

Welsh taxpayers were inadvertently funding universities in England with Labour's current tuition fee policy, she claims. 

Carwyn Jones responds by saying Welsh students should not be denied the "best experience possible".

Tory leader Andrew RT Davies says the key was helping with upfront living costs and to support part-time learning - FE colleges have been "robbed" to support university education, he claims.

Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams says no party had a good record on student finance, including hers. She pledges £2,500 grants for living costs. 

UKIP's Nathan Gill promises free tuition for science, technology, engineering, and medical students.   

Leaders
BBC

BBC Wales political editor's view

'We will always look after our students'

Geography student Carys Fry asks a supplementary question about student finance, saying more help is needed with living costs.

Alice Hooker-Stroud says the Greens think education should be free for everyone and there should be help with living costs.

Carwyn Jones says Labour "will always look after our students", wherever they go to study and work. He also points to Lib Dem broken promises on tuition fees in England. 

Geography student Carys Fry
BBC

Party leaders on steel, the NHS and employment

Labour-Tory spat on education

Carwyn Jones tackles Andrew RT Davies on Tory plans to scrap the educational maintenance allowance which helps less affluent students.

Mr Davies says he would put the money into post-16 school transport.

'One size doesn't fit all'

UKIP's Nathan Gill defends his plans for grammar and vocational schools when challenged by the other leaders, saying "if one size fits all, why are we behind Estonia?"

Tory Andrew RT Davies says the English model of academy schools would not work in Wales but he wants to give parents and communities a bigger stake. 

Lib Dem Kirsty Williams says academy schools in England don't put more money into the classroom, and she also calls for measures to prevent rural school closures.  

UKIP's Nathan Gill
BBC

BBC Wales' leaders' debate trending on Twitter

'Falling behind Vietnam and Estonia'

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood says Wales has fallen behind Vietnam and Estonia in education standards.

She wants more investment in scientists and engineers.

She also pledges more money for early years education, better rewards for skilled teachers, more apprenticeships and a debt-write off system for graduates who work in Wales.  

Tories want to directly fund schools

Tory Andrew RT Davies claims there was a lack of political leadership from Labour over 17 years on education.

He wants to give more money directly to schools and give them more freedom to run their own affairs, as long as they offer the national curriculum.

Wales also needs more people with vocational qualifications, he adds.   

Andrew RT Davies
BBC

'It's about leadership'

Labour's Carwyn Jones says he wants teachers' pay and conditions devolved so they can be improved in Wales.

He says he wants there to be no difference in the performance of schools in the richest and the poorest areas of Wales.

Lib Dem Kirsty Wiliams agrees leadership was key, so she was shocked when Education Minister Huw Lewis admitted Labour had "taken its eye off the ball".  

She wants teachers to have the time to teach their pupils with smaller class sizes.

What are other parties' policies?

Education should 'inspire children'

UKIP's Nathan Gill calls for the return of grammar schools for academic children, and vocational schools for those more inclined in that direction.

Alice Hooker-Stroud of the Greens says education should inspire children, not just "put them on a treadmill" for a job.

She calls for more effort to save rural schools from closing, saying they are the heart of their communities.

Parties on stage
BBC

'How will you support teachers and schools?'

Daxa Patel, a mother of school age children, asks the third question: "How will you support teachers and schools to deliver a 1st class education system for Wales?"

Question asked by audience
BBC

Other parties' messages broadcast

A pause from the debate for recorded messages from other parties standing in the election.

Shaun Cuddihy from the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party says the measure would save money.

Shaun Cuddihy
BBC

Robert Griffiths of the Welsh Communists says the steel crisis shows the need for a powerful Welsh Government which can invest in vital industries.  

Robert Griffiths
BBC

Lady Lily the Pink of the Monster Raving Loony Party says it will reduce the number of assembly seats from 60 to 5 and rename it the "Welsh Ensemble"   

Lady Lily
BBC

Confused over who to vote for?

Views from the spinroom

'Half an hour left of debate'

Huw Edwards informs the audience there is roughly 30 minutes left of the debate.

Huw Edwards
BBC

Opportunities have been 'squandered'

Carwyn Jones for Labour defends their plans for the M4 relief road but also calls for electrification of rail lines in south and north Wales.

Lib Dem Kirsty Williams says we "can't blow the whole budget on one road in south Wales", and calls for the re-opening of old railway lines and better rural bus services.  

Rural areas also need decent broadband so people don't need to move to the cities, she says.

Tory Andrew RT Davies claimed Labour had "squandered" many opportunities over its 17 years in power to improve transport links around Wales.

'Don't blow the budget on one road'

A follow-up question asks what the parties would do to improve the nation's infrastructure.

Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood and UKIP's Nathan Gill both cast doubt on the £1bn plans for an M4 relief road around Newport, saying the money could be better spent more evenly across Wales.

Alice Hooker-Stroud of the Greens wants a fund for national infrastructure - local council money invested in fossil fuel companies around the world - about £500m - should be re-invested in Wales.

Alice Hooker-Stroud
BBC

Audience thoughts on steel and the economy

A man in the audiences raises the issue of enterprise zones, claiming the aerospace zone in the Vale of Glamorgan has been an "abject failure", creating a mere handful of jobs.

Another man points to a Labour government in 1978 closing his father's steelworks in Treorchy, claiming the party's record is "not unblemished".

A woman points out that Prime Minister David Cameron said all parties needed to work together to save the steel industry but he hadn't invited Carwyn Jones as Wales' First Minister to his meeting with Tata management in Port Talbot yesterday. 

Audience member
BBC
Audience member
BBC

'Shame on you', says Lib Dem leader

Kirsty Williams claims there is a "brighter future" for the blast furnaces of Port Talbot.  

She says it would be a "foolish government" which did not save its own steel industry, in the same way that a nation needs to produce its own food.

Ms Williams also accused UKIP's Nathan Gill of voting against anti-dumping measures in the European Parliament as an MEP - "shame on you!"

Lib Dem Kirsty Williams
BBC

'I can't imagine Wales without steel'

Carwyn Jones says he grew up near steelworks and cannot imagine Wales without a steel industry, pledging to do all he can to save it.

We need to deal with energy costs, he says, and claims the UK government has opposed tougher EU tariffs on cheap Chinese steel.  

He too calls for the use of Welsh steel in British infrastructure projects.

Carwyn Jones
BBC

Steel market and models of ownership

UKIP's Nathan Gill says the UK cannot save its steel industry unless it leaves the European Union.

Green leader Alice Hooker-Stroud says there is no reason why Indian-owned Tata should care about the communities their workers come from. 

She calls for other models of ownership, such as by the community itself, using Welsh steel for renewable energy projects.

Nathan Gill
BBC

'Party leaders addressed by first names'

  BBC Radio 5 Live reporter Mark Hutchings tweet:  

View more on twitter

'Ripple effects' of industry closures

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood speaks of the "ripple effect", saying her father lost his job as a result of the closure of coal mines.

She calls for the use of Welsh steel in major projects such as the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon. 

"We called for action back in January", she says, adding "we're losing valuable time".

If we can bail out the banks, we can help the steel industry, she adds.

'Steel has a future'

Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies insists there is a future for the Welsh steel industry, pointing to the UK government's pledge of a 25% stake in any rescue plan.  

He also says there needs to be help on energy costs, business rates and the need for a thriving economy.

Second question focused on steel

Steel worker Neil Woodcock asks the second question: "What are you going to do to save the steel industry in Wales?"

Second question
BBC

'No imposing contracts on junior doctors'

Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies is adamant when asked by a man in the audience if his party would impose a contract on junior doctors as the UK government had, leading to strike action.

"No," he said. 

Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies
BBC

'Integrate health and social care'

Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood says health and social care need a closer relationship - she claims all parties agree but only hers is advocating it.

She claims it's a "scandal" that some treatments available elsewhere in the UK aren't available in Wales.

But Andrew RT Davies claims Plaid voted against a cancer drugs fund for Wales.

Ms Wood says her preferred fund would look at other rare treatments too.

Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood
BBC

Did they answer the question?

BBC Wales political editor Nick Servini on the parties' responses to the NHS. 

View more on twitter

Spin room 'quiet and tense'

'Aneurin Bevan would hang his head in shame'

Guardian journalist Elena Cresci tweets:

View more on twitter

'Second rate health care'

A woman claims Wales is getting "second rate health care" with some treatments available in England but not in Wales. 

Carwyn Jones says people will get cancer treatment more quickly in Wales, and says the cancer drugs fund in England has ended. He proposes a fund to cover all life-threatening treatments, not just cancer.

Tory leader Andrew RT Davies insists the cancer drugs fund in England has worked but admits that cancer is "a tough nut to crack". 

Lib Dem Kirsty Williams says Welsh cancer patients also need advanced radiotherapy of the kind available in England. People are forced to shout loud for the care they need, she claims.

Woman in the audience
BBC

Questioner responds to the leaders on NHS

The questioner, Dr Maaz, says Plaid Cymru's points are "closer to his heart".  

"It's still not working," he says of Labour's efforts to improve NHS performance.

More treatment needs to take place outside A&E to relieve the pressure on the department, he says.

Dr Ata Maaz
BBC

Labour has 'put more money into NHS'

Carwyn Jones defends Labour's handling of the NHS, saying they're spending a bigger share of the Welsh Government's budget on health than ever before.

A&E is a challenge - demand goes up every year, he says.  

We're doing more to prevent a situation where people such as the elderly go to A&E because it's the only option, he adds.

Greens want 'healthier society'

Green leader Alice Hooker-Stroud says she wants to take it back to basics by encouraging a healthier society, with people in warm homes and secure employment, safer walking and cycling routes.

She says this will tackle the "root cause" of poor health, before people seek treatment.

Ms Hooker-Stroud also says health services should have the resources they need, which Labour had not delivered.