A WELSH Labour leadership contender has promised to install a Minster for North Wales if he is elected.

AM Mark Drakeford launched his bid to become the Leader of Welsh Labour at an event at Coleg Cambria's Northop campus on Saturday, the day after he received the backing of members of the Unite Union.

The winner of the election will be announced on December 6 with the vote being decided by a one member one vote system, with Mr Drakeford the current favourite to win ahead of fellow AM's Vaughan Gething and Eluned Morgan.

Prof Drakeford acknowledged there was a feeling within the whole of Wales of a political tip towards the South East of the country and although geography does make a difference, he hopes to help change that by appointing an existing North Wales based cabinet member to the role of Minister for the region if he's successful.

He said: "What I want to make sure of is that there is somebody who is identifiably the voice of North Wales in the cabinet and particularly were there are decisions that cut across a number of different ministerial portfolios.

"But when an idea is being decided on, that person can draw those ministers together so there is a real focus on the way that decision is made in the best interests of North Wales.

"I also think it's important to have a visibility in the region, so that decisions that affect peoples lives are actually being made here and they can see those people are here and that they're listening.

"I would also be looking for that person to strengthen the bonds between the North and South because what we have in common is far more important than what divides us, but you need to be able to demonstrate that and make it visible and make it real."

In the wake of recent Conservative claims that austerity is coming to and end, Prof Drakeford said that Wales now has £800m less to spend on public services than it did ten years ago and the rising demand in that time due to an ageing population as well as the extra pressures placed on local authority budgets made it impossible to protect absolutely everybody, but that an extra £60m had been given to local authorities last year.

He said: "We've done our very best to protect local authority services and the reduction of local authority budgets in Wales and even the ones in the hardest position, are nothing like what are being faced across our border.

"Last year we got more money half way through our budget making process through the UK annual budget and if the same were to happen after this year's announcement on October 29, my priority will be ensuring this money goes to local authorities.

"And if austerity really is over and Prime Minister is as good as her word and we get some of that £800m back then I will do my best to help local authorities, including those in North Wales, to be in a better position to face the challenges, that I absolutely recognise are there for them."

Prof Drakeford also touched on Brexit and its potential implications for the region and said he'd been very grateful to Airbus for having the courage to speak out and be clear about what the impacts on their business would be of a hard line "crash out" style Brexit.

He said: "It's absolutely unacceptable to us in Wales that in order to deal with divisions in the Conservative Party, that the Prime Minister could take us down a path that could do such damage to us.

"Airbus rely on parts being able to cross boundaries without any tariffs or barriers and they rely on people having to come in and share their expertise and any barriers put in place for people travelling across Europe would be disastrous."