FMQs 28/02/17 Mixed subtitles (Welsh & English) / CPW 28/02/17 Is-deitlau cymysg (Cymraeg a Saesneg)


FMQ Verbatim
Y Llywydd / The Llywydd: Yr eitem gyntaf ar ein agenda ni y prynhawn yma yw cwestiynau
iír Prif Weinidog, ac rwyf wedi cael gwybod, o dan Reol Sefydlog 12.58, y bydd arweinydd
y ty, Jane Hutt, yn ateb y cwestiynau heddiw ar ran y Prif Weinidog. Y cwestiwn cyntaf, Simon Thomas. Simon Thomas: 1. A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog ddatganiad am drafodaethau
diweddar gyda Llywodraeth y DU ynglyn ‚ pholisÔau amaeth a chefn gwlad yn dilyn y penderfyniad
i adael yr Undeb Ewropeaidd? OAQ(5)0468(FM)[W]
Jane Hutt: We continue to actively engage with the UK Government in relation to agriculture
and countryside policies. Most recently, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment
and Rural Affairs met with Ministers from both the UK Government and devolved administrations
on 23 February in Edinburgh. Simon Thomas: I thank the Minister for her
reply. Iíve been interested in what happened in
that meeting in Edinburgh. The Scottish rural economy Secretary, Fergus
Ewing, said Simon Thomas: ëTodayís meeting did not achieve
anything. There was no factual information whatsoever
on any of the serious matters that have been raised by farmers.í
Simon Thomas: Roseanna Cunnigham, who is the environment Secretary in Scotland, said that
there had been a deflection at the meeting by Andrea Leadsom whenever the devolution
issue was raised, and Scotlandís Brexit Minister, Mike Russell, said that Andrea Leadsom may
have been at a different meeting than everyone else. Does the UK Government actually understand
what devolution of agriculture and environmental policies means, and is the Minister, in place
of the First Minister, able to give assurances that the Welsh Government will not allow any
land grab of our devolved policies by the UK Government? Jane Hutt: I can certainly assure Simon Thomas
of that. And, of course, he would agree with me and
the Welsh Government, in relation to the future of agriculture and environment policy in Wales,
that, as a Government, weíve been extensively engaging with stakeholders for the last six
months through our round-table meetings on the implication of exiting the European Union. Weíve underlined how essential it is that
devolved administrations play a full part in discussions to ensure that any negotiating
position reflects the collective position of the UK as a whole, and, of course, the
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government attended the EU joint committee council only
10 days ago with colleagues, of course, from the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland
devolved administrations. Jenny Rathbone: Health experts are now telling
us that we shouldnít just eat five a day, but we need to eat 10 a day if we want to
live a long life. I just wondered what discussions have been
had around food security, in the light particularly of the reduction in the value of the pound,
and particularly in relation to making us more self-sufficient across the UK in the
production of fruit and vegetables, and I wondered whether that has been at all discussed
in these UK negotiations. Jane Hutt: This is crucially important, and,
of course, we have got our action plan for the food and drink industry, working closely
with food security and food safety stakeholders and partners to sustain and enhance the food
production base in Wales, and actively working with the industry. And thatís about improving resilience, productivity,
competiveness of food and farming businesses, and adding value to our supply chains. And, clearly, food production does put Wales
at a competitive advantage, ideally suited in terms of increasing the variety of food
products, but also looking to our own needs. And thatís where Walesís farming businesses
make a critical contribution to safeguarding the UKís food security. Paul Davies: Arweinydd y ty, maeír Ysgrifennydd
Cabinet syín gyfrifol am amaethyddiaeth wedi dweud y gall fframwaith amaethyddol ar lefel
y Deyrnas Unedig fod yn briodol. Felly, yn sgil hyn, a allwch chi ddweud wrthym
ni ba fath o fframwaith yr hoffaiír Llywodraeth ei weld yn cael ei gyflwyno, ac a allwch chi
ddweud wrthym ni beth yw nod Llywodraeth Cymru pan ddaw hi iír fath fframwaith? Jane Hutt: We will play an active part in
developing frameworks with the UK Government, and also with the other devolved nations. I think we need to look at where UK frameworks
and structures are needed to replace those currently set by the EU, but we see these
as being collectively developed and agreed. Thatís crucially importantócollectively
developed and agreed, and not imposed, and, most importantly, there must be an independent
arbitration mechanism to resolve disputes over interpretation. Lee Waters: Secretary, the Library of Wales
series, thanks to Welsh Government investmentó Y Llywydd / The Llywydd: You need to ask the
question on the order paper. Lee Waters: Oh, Iím very sorry. Lee Waters: 2. Beth sy’n cael ei wneud i hyrwyddo’r gyfres
Library of Wales mewn ysgolion? OAQ(5)0474(FM)
Jane Hutt: The Welsh Government continues to fund the Library of Wales series, through
the Welsh Books Council. As part of our aim to promote the series,
gift sets of one copy of each title are being sent to all secondary schools, colleges and
library authorities when new titles are published. Lee Waters: Thank you very much. Thanks to the Welsh Government investment
of some £600,000 over the last 10 years, 46 important literary works are now back in
print in English. The two most recent books, ëRide the White
Stallioní and ëFarewell Innocenceí, by Llanelli-born author William Glynne-Jones,
are an impressive addition to that canon. Just before the recess, Jon Gower and I held
an event in Coleg Sir G‚r, where we discussed these books with local sixth-form students. Having invested so much in these titles, itís
vital now that local people get to know about these works about these communities. And Jon Gower is of the very firm view that
every community in Wales has a title within this series that can tell them something about
their community and about their past, to help us reflect on our common heritage. So, Iíd welcome any further initiatives,
to make sure that schools and colleges make use of the copies they now have, so we can
reflect on this important investment. Jane Hutt: Well, Iím glad that the Member
for Llanelli has drawn attention to that most interesting, Iím sure, visit with Jon Gower,
and also drawn attention to the fact that Llanelli author William Glynne-Jones is featured
in the new series. It is important that it isnít just gift sets
going to schoolsóclearly, those books have to be used widely, they need to be borrowed,
read, shared, discussed throughout schools, libraries and colleges. And I think, as the Member has said, the fact
that weíve brought this new generation of a series to readersó46 titles being publishedóis
vitally important. But it actually is also crucial that we see
this as part of developing our world-class education system, geared to equipping our
children and young people to thrive amid the challenges of the twenty-first century. Darren Millar: Cabinet Secretary, whilst I
welcome the continued commitment to the Library of Wales series, are you aware of the report
that was published last week that talked about the reading trends and reading ability of
pupils across the UK? In that particular report, it demonstrated
that Wales had seen a slump in reading ages, so that, actually, in terms of the situation
against chronological age, pupils in secondary schools are a full year behind, on average,
than their actual chronological ages. And I wonder what action the Welsh Government
is going to take to address this particular problem, in terms of addressing these reading
ages in our secondary schools. Jane Hutt: Well, in March, of course, we published
our national literacy and numeracy programme, and that plan does give a very clear vision
of our strategy for literacy and numeracy, going forward. It ensures that thereís significant ongoing
support for literacy and numeracy across the curriculum. And Estynís 2015 annual report showed that
standards are improving in Wales, and we will work to maintain that momentum. Y Llywydd / The Llywydd: Cwestiynau nawr gan
arweinwyr y pleidiau. Arweinydd y Ceidwadwyr Cymreig, Andrew R.T. Davies. Andrew R.T. Davies: Thank you, Presiding Officer. Leader of the house, we were all horrified
by the story about Ellie-May Clarkís death over the weekend and the tragedy that led
up to the sequence of eventsóthat her mother, obviously, went to the GP surgery, ultimately
sought the appointment and, given the medical history of little Ellie, she should have been
seen by the GP. No right-minded person could fail to be horrified
by what led to those tragic events. Iíd be grateful to understand what the Welsh
Government is doingóand Iím not blaming the Welsh Government here. What Iím saying is, as the Government of
Walesóand this happened in Walesówhat is the Welsh Government doing to work with the
regulator to address the matters that were raised in the report that looked into this
incident? Jane Hutt: I thank Andrew R.T. Davies for that question, because we are all
aware here today of the tragic death of Ellie-May, and my thoughts are with her family at this
difficult time. It is a professional regulatory matter for
the General Medical Council, who oversee such cases at the UK level, as the leader of the
Welsh Conservatives will recognise. And, as youíve acknowledged, itís what role
we can play. It would be inappropriate for the Welsh Government
to intervene, but I do think we have to say that, from our understanding, the GMCís investigation
of the GPís actions underlines the need for high standards of care to be delivered at
all times. Iím also aware that the coroner is now investigating
and an inquest is due to be held. Andrew R.T. Davies: Leader of the house, it is quite clear
that if the ëMail on Sundayí hadnít undertaken its investigation, this report would have
been buried in the deep, deep recesses of the GMC report and wouldnít have come to
light. We owe the ëMail on Sundayí a great debt
of gratitude because they have informed the family of the outcome, because, as I understand
it, the family had not been informed of the outcome of the investigation. But it cannot be right that, when you look
at these circumstances, these types of investigations are conducted behind closed doors, and that
the family and those concerned with these matters are not fully informed of the process
and the outcome. Do you believe, like me, leader of the house,
that the GMCís procedures in these matters leave a lot to be required and addressed,
and are not fit for purpose? Jane Hutt: I think the case was reviewed in
accordance with the current GMC procedures. And it is important also to say this afternoon
that the health board took the action to refer the doctor to the GMC, following their own
internal investigation. So, I think that is, again, where we must
recognise that responsibilityóthat action that was taken. I also notice that Sir Donald Irvine, the
former president of the GMC, himself was calling for greater transparency as a result of this
tragic case. Andrew R.T. Davies: Maybe what Iím trying to elicit from
you, leader of the house, is a proactive approach from the Welsh Government to identify that
these processes are not fit for purpose, as youíve identified that Sir Donald identified
in his own assessment of this procedure. Many times, the Welsh Government is called
to make representations on various matters. I would look to you to try and encourage the
Cabinet Secretary for health to write to the GMC to address its protocols and procedures
because the GMC is there not to look after its own, but to look after everyone. In this case in particular, it has fallen
down. I hope that, in responding to my third question,
you will indicate that the Welsh Government will be writing to the GMC to ask them to
address the deeply, deeply, deeply held concerns of members of this institution, but the wider
public in this specific case, which really has let the family down and, above all, is
letting Ellie and Ellieís memory down. Jane Hutt: Well, the Cabinet Secretary for
health and well-being is certainly going to be looking at this case in terms of the GMCís
role and procedures, but I think it is important that youíve put your point on the record
today, and Iím sure that those points can be made, and will be made, across this Chamber. Y Llywydd / The Llywydd: Arweinydd Plaid Cymru,
Leanne Wood. Leanne Wood: Diolch, Lywydd. Leader of the house, youíll be aware that,
over the past few years, I have pressed the First Minister on the question of widening
access to drugs and treatments in Wales. Today, weíve got some people in the public
gallery who are living with multiple sclerosis, and Iíd like to welcome them to the Senedd. Theyíve asked me to take forward an issue
that is of utmost importance to their quality of life. Everyone in the Chamber is aware of the difficulties
of accessing drugs and treatments specifically for MS. Leader of the house, what is the Welsh Governmentís
view on the availability of those drugs and treatments? Jane Hutt: Well, thereís clearly an opportunity
now, and as a result of the discussions that weíve had, to look very carefully at the
opportunities for those drugs to be made available. Of course, this is part of the way forward
in terms of the review of the prescribing of those drugs. Leanne Wood: Thank you, leader of the house. We know that Wales was the first country in
the UK to approve Sativex, which is a cannabis-based drug, and that was approved back in 2014. The evidence from patients who are prescribed
Sativex is consistent and clear: itís effective, it reduces pain, it reduces spasms, but access
to the drug is patchy. A survey for the MS Society found that only
1 per cent of people who said they were eligible for Sativex actually had access to it. The survey also suggested that the number
of people living with MS who take disease-modifying therapies appears to be lower than in Scotland
or England. Thereís a real concern that other new drugs
and treatments coming through the system will be equally as difficult to access. If you accept that there is a patchy availability
of these drugs, and that that is a major obstacle to the quality of life for citizens in Wales,
what resources is the Welsh Government prepared to allocate to the infrastructure around MS,
around MS nursing and neurology in order to help patients get the support that they need? Jane Hutt: Well, I very much welcome the engagement
of the MS Society, an organisation that has represented patients with multiple sclerosis
so effectively in Wales, and of course their evidence is vitally important to inform us
in the considerations of very clear clinical arrangements in terms of the prescribing of
drugs. But it is very important that we look particularly
to the effect and beneficial impact, and also availability and access in terms of those
medications such as Sativex, which you have just raised. Jane Hutt: I think your second question also
relates to the wider services that we can provide to MS sufferers. Much progress has been made in terms of availability,
in terms of research, drugs and appropriate treatment, but it also has to be the wider
care pathway as well. Leanne Wood: Well, I very much hope that we
do see extra resources for this, leader of the house. The lack of availability of Sativex has led
people to pursue alternatives of their own. I recently met with a 64-year-old woman from
Cwmbran who has primary progressive MS. She experiences pain and spasms on a daily
basis, and her daily drug regime includes morphine, codeine, paracetamol, pregabalin
and diazepam. Because Sativex isnít available in her area,
she uses cannabis as a replacement, obviously risking problems there with the law. How is it okay to take morphine, but by buying
cannabis she risks prosecution? Leanne Wood: On 10 February, following a Government-commissioned
review, Ireland joined Canada, the Netherlands, Germany and many other countries around the
world in recommending that cannabis should be legalised for medicinal use. Thereís also support for this in Scotland,
and weíve heard at least one police and crime commissioner from Wales recommend that the
same thing happens here. Will the Welsh Government follow our Irish
and Scottish counterparts and advocate the decriminalisation of cannabis to relieve the
symptoms of multiple sclerosis and other conditions? Jane Hutt: What I would like to do is to ensure
that we can make those medications, those drugs, available, such as Sativex, which obviously
has proven benefits. I certainly would want to ensure, from your
questions today, leader of Plaid Cymru, that we look very carefully at access to and the
availability of those clinically proven and beneficial medications for people with MS
in Wales. Y Llywydd / The Llywydd: Arweinydd grwp UKIP,
Neil Hamilton. Neil Hamilton: Diolch, Lywydd. Two weeks ago at First Ministerís questions
the leader of Plaid Cymru raised the dispute thatís going on in Llangennech over the conversion
of their primary school from bilingual to Welsh-medium instruction only, and described
the atmosphere in the village as toxic. The First Minister appealed for calm. Since then, the leader of Plaid Cymru has
interpreted calmness in a rather unusual way. Plaid Cymru have set their internet trolls
upon the activists who want to maintain dual-stream education in Llangennech and have twisted
innocent Facebook posts in an attempted character assassination of their opponents. Jonathan Edwards, the Member of Parliament
for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, supported by the leader of Plaid Cymru, has engaged
in a public campaign of intimidation of one of those activists for having the temerity
to seek my help as one of their AMs in the fight against Plaid Cymru intolerance. Indeed, the leader of Plaid Cymru has even
published on her Facebook page a photograph of one of them, following which this lady
has been verbally abused in the street and spat at. Neil Hamilton: As leader of the house, will
you defend our collective rights as Members in this Assembly, as representatives of the
people of Wales, to seek redress of grievances on behalf of all our constituents, regardless
of their political views, and condemn the attack on the constitutional right of all
my constituents to seek my help on the future education of their children? Jane Hutt: Well, I have to say that Iím a
bit concerned that the leader of UKIP is not helping to reduce the toxic situation that
has been described. I think this is something where, in terms
of our responsibilities, indeed, your responsibilitiesóand we must be very clear here, and perhaps the
leader of UKIP needs to be reminded of this: the Welsh Government canít comment on any
proposals for change that are under consideration by a local authority. It is the responsibility of local authorities,
the planning of school placesóit rests with them. Neil Hamilton: I fully accept that, but the
process by which the decision was arrived at in Carmarthenshire County Council has wider
implications and calls for a change in legislation. There was a consultation exercise that was
carried out, which was a complete sham. There were 1,418 responsesó698 responses
were in support of the proposal and 720 were against it. But, one of the responses against had 757
signatures and that was regarded as one vote out of the 1,418. You donít have to provide an address or a
post code if you respond to the consultationó27 of these were anonymous, there wasnít even
a name. Neil Hamilton: In these circumstances, given
that there is clearly very substantial opposition within the catchment area of the school to
the imposition of Welsh-medium only instruction, surely there is a case here for a stay in
the proceedings whilst we consider whether this changeówhich in the longer term may
well be desirableóshould be brought in? Letís take public opinion with us rather
than fight it. Jane Hutt: These are, as Iíve said, matters
for Carmarthenshire council. As a Government, weíre supportive of the
Welsh language. We want to see an extension of Welsh-medium
education and more children involved in it. It is for Carmarthenshire council to justify
the decisions it takesóclearly, sensitive to the fact that local authorities must comply
with the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 and the code and look at
the range of factors when proposing change. Neil Hamilton: It is certainly true that they
must comply with the legislation, but they can comply with the letter of the law whilst
wholly ignoring its spirit, and that is exactly what has happened in this case. There hasnít been a consultation, thereís
been a ënon-sultationí, because the decision was arrived at even before the consultation
exercise was begun. Is it not time now for Carmarthenshire County
Council to have a proper consultation exercise, which is independently conducted, with all
those within the catchment area of Llangennech alone, and ignoring the responses that have
nothing to do with the area that is most concerned? Jane Hutt: Again, I have to say, Llywydd,
itís not a matter for Welsh Government to intervene. Of course itís important that any local authority
does take into account the views of those who live locally and, indeed, a consultation
was held between 28 January 2016 and 18 March, to which there were 267 responses. It is now for us to let the process progress
in terms of the legislation, the school standards Act 2013 and the school organisation code. Dawn Bowden: 3. A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog ddatganiad am gymorth
Llywodraeth Cymru i fusnesau sy’n cychwyn? OAQ(5)0479(FM)
Jane Hutt: We continue to provide support for start-up businesses through the Business
Wales service and we encourage business start-up from a young age through our Big Ideas campaign. Dawn Bowden: Thank you for your response,
Cabinet Secretary. Last week, I met with representatives from
Merthyr county borough council and Tydfil Training to talk about the support that they
give to new businesses starting up in the Merthyr area, in particular their town centre
enterprise development initiative, operating at the Merthyr Tydfil enterprise centre. One of their successes is the meanwhile use
programme, which uses Vibrant and Viable Places funding. Dawn Bowden: Under that scheme, the enterprise
centre encourages local landlords with vacant properties to let them out to new businesses. Potential start-up businesses are supported
with payments of the rental on the property for an agreed period. That enables new enterprises to test out and
amend their business models, based on working experience, and allows the landlord to realise
the potential benefit of letting out vacant premises for business development. This has enabled seven new businesses to start
up in vacant premises in the town centre. Dawn Bowden: Additionally, through the Effect
programme, Merthyr Tydfil Enterprise Centre has given support to around 170 businesses
in the area, created 51 jobs and safeguarded a further 151 jobs. Does the Cabinet Secretary agree with me that
it is support like this that has contributed to the situation where Merthyr Tydfil has
become the leading growth centre for new business in Wales? Can she give an assurance that funding under
Vibrant and Viable Places, which has been so crucial to the success of these schemes,
will remain a key component of the Welsh Governmentís strategy to encourage new start-ups for small
businesses? Jane Hutt: Dawn Bowden does illustrate a very
good way, a constructive way, in which we have been able to invest the Vibrant and Viable
Places investment in the regeneration programme in Merthyr Tydfil, obviously in partnership
with the local authority and other partners. I think, in terms of the way forward, this
is a flagship regeneration programmeóover £124 million of capital funding to support
regeneration activities in 18 areas across Wales, forecasting that the programme will
deliver more than 2,000 jobs, support 9,000 people into work and lever in £300 million
in additional investment. So, this, of course, now takes us forward
with regard to the future, particularly of the capital regeneration programme, as the
current funding round draws to a close in March. Russell George: Leader of the house, data
from BankSearch for Lloyds Bank show that the number of new businesses starting up across
Wales has fallen by a staggering 26 per cent over the last five years. Can I ask what the Welsh Government is doing
to reverse this trend? Also, can I ask what the Welsh Government
is doing to encourage younger people to consider starting up their own business as a positive
life choice following leaving school? Jane Hutt: I donít know where those figures
that Russell George quotes this afternoon are emanating from, in terms of the evidence. I would like to put the record straight that
the latest data show that the number of business births in Wales has grown every year since
the financial crisis, and in 2015 reached a record high of 11,525. Iím sure that Russell George would agree
with me that these results are extremely encouraging, and they demonstrate a climate in Wales where
businesses are confident to start, grow and thrive. Adam Price: A group of London-based investors,
Accelerate Me, are looking to create a new fund with £4 million of their own money,
hopefully backed by £6 million of Welsh Government money, to back Welsh start-ups and create
a home-grown version of the highly successful Start-up Chile accelerator programme. Does the leader of the house agree that this
kind of approach, supporting indigenous businesses and connecting them with external capital
and knowledge, should be at the heart of the Welsh Governmentís new economic strategy? On that basis, would she urge her Cabinet
colleagues to meet with the proposers of the idea? Jane Hutt: I donít think thereís a word
that I would disagree with, Adam Price, and I think the Cabinet Secretary would be only
too delighted to meet with the London-based investors. I think that itís important that you mentioned
indigenous businesses. We are continuing to support indigenous business. Weíve got a record number of active enterprises
headquartered in Wales. The latest figures show that Wales has the
highest number of new businesses in over a decade. To date, £13 million has been invested in
1,703 start-ups in Wales through the Start Up Loans company. So, this is very encouragingóthat there are
more who want to invest in Wales. Y Llywydd / The Llywydd: Tynnwyd cwestiwn
4 [OAQ(5)0464(FM)] yn Ùl. Cwestiwn 5, John Griffiths. John Griffiths: 5. Pa gamau y bydd Llywodraeth Cymru yn eu cymryd
i gryfhau cysylltiadau rhyngwladol Cymru? OAQ(5)0469(FM)
Jane Hutt: Building international relationships is core Welsh Government activity. This week, the First Minister hosted the London-based
diplomatic corps and is visiting the United States of America. The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and
Rural Affairs and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government are in Dubai
and will be in Brussels this week. Last week, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy
and Infrastructure visited China. John Griffiths: Thank you for that. Cabinet Secretary, the European Union is a
great economic, social and political force in the world, and leaving the European Union
threatens to greatly diminish the standing of Wales and the UK in the world. So, could you reassure me that as far as Wales
is concerned, the Welsh Government must find new ways of working with the European Union
and European Union member states in the run-up to Brexit and beyond, and that the UK Government
should commit, through its Brexit negotiations, to securing continuing participation in key
European Union programmes open to non-member states, such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+,
and, indeed, to securing continued participation in trans-national economic development programmes,
particularly with our close neighbour, the Republic of Ireland? Jane Hutt: I thank John Griffiths for that
question because we make it very clear in our White Paper, ëSecuring Walesí Futureí,
that Wales is leaving the EU but not Europe, and we strongly believe that Wales and the
UK should continue to participate in those key EU programmes. You mention Horizon 2020; thatís supporting
research and development projects between higher education and private sector partners. Erasmus+: again, those education exchanges
can transform the prospects and opportunities of young people. We want to see a far-reaching and far clearer
commitment from the UK Government to securing this outcome from the Brexit negotiations
and, of course, they form part of the negotiations, which Cabinet Secretaries are engaged with. But you also mention Ireland. That is also crucially important because we
have the Ireland-Wales programme, the directly managed programme, which we are responsible
for, which also includes a number of very important R&D projects and, indeed, projects
and initiatives that can improve and constructively help Wales as well as Ireland. Nick Ramsay: Leader of the house, itís clearly
vital that we develop stronger economic links across the world in the wake of the vote to
leave the European Union and if we could still in some way access schemes such as Horizon
2020 and similar programmes following Brexit in some way then that would be a bonus, so
I was pleased to hear you mention that. However, I would say a trade missionóand
obviously the First Minister is away on a trade mission at the momentóonly works if
enough planning has gone into it and the right companies have been invited in good time and
the mission is clear about its objectives. That didnít happen entirely back in 2012
on the previous US mission of that time. Has it happened this time around? Who is on that mission with the First Minister
and have they been given adequate preparation time? Jane Hutt: Well, Iím disappointed that you
speak of trade missions disparagingly and donít welcome the trade missions. For exampleóand I will go on to your point
about the US trade mission. But, last week, Iím sure you would welcome
the fact that the Cabinet Secretary, Ken Skates, actually had an important visit to Chinaóobviously
heís responsible for economy and transportówith two new investments announced, including Acerchem
International establishing an European HQ and R&D facility in Wales with the creation
of 38 high-tech jobs, and two new stores in Wales by Flooring REPUBLIC. Of course, there are clear links with the
US in terms of the fact that we have not only those US companies based in Wales who are
informing our trade mission, but also demonstrating the impact that we can have with a leader,
a Welsh Labour First Minister, going to the States, saying that Wales is clearly open
for business. Rhun ap Iorwerth: Fel cadeirydd y grwp trawsbleidiol
Cymru ryngwladol, mae wedi bod yn dda gweld consensws yn datblygu ar draws y pleidiau
ynglyn ‚’r angen i ddatblyguír berthynas a datblygu potensial cysylltiadau clos rhwng
Cymru aíi diaspora. Yng nghyfarfod diwethaf y grwp, mi oedd yna
gytundeb ar yr angen i Lywodraeth Cymru ddatblygu strategaeth glir ar sut i sicrhau hynny, a
hynny ar ben y math o gysylltiadau rhyngwladol y maeír Llywodraeth yn ymwneud ‚ nhw ar
hyn o bryd, ac ymweliadau masnach ac yn y blaen. A ydy arweinydd y ty yn cytuno efoír grwp
ar y pwynt yma a pha gamau syín cael eu rhoi mewn lle gan y Llywodraeth i sicrhau bod y
cyswllt yna efoír diaspora yn cael ei ddatblyguín effeithiol? Jane Hutt: Itís very welcome that we have
a cross-party group, and Rhun ap Iorwerth you are chairing that and bringing together
that consensus that we need here in this Chamber to support our First Minister, who is in the
US. Welsh Government has always promoted Wales
around St Davidís Day and that is a key focus of these visits, and also indeed not only
in terms of visits to the USA, China, Dubai, Brusselsóthere are also events happening
in embassies and high commissions across Europe and elsewhere. I think it is important that we recognise
that, for example, the First Minister isóhis programme in the US includes business and
political meetings. Heíll make a statement, as Cabinet Secretaries
always do on their return from these trade missions, and recognising that it is with
the diaspora that we engage, so, it is with those companies in Wales that are the US companies,
but also that the trade mission and cultural delegation visiting China also provided a
profile. So, Iíve already given you some outcomes
from the Chinese trade mission. Iím sure we will have outcomes from the US
visit by the First Minister in due course. Neil Hamilton: 6. A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog ddatganiad am yr
hyn y mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei wneud i helpu trigolion cartrefi mewn parciau sy’n
wynebu talu ffi comisiwn o 10 y cant ar werthu eu cartref? OAQ(5)0471(FM)
Jane Hutt: The Welsh Government played an active role in supporting the Mobile Homes
(Wales) Act 2013, which delivered important safeguards for park home residents. Neil Hamilton: As the Cabinet Secretary knows,
there will be a review of the 2013 legislation this year. Will the Welsh Government be contributing
to that, and will the Welsh Government intend to do anything about this 10 per cent commission,
which is compulsorily extracted from those who want to sell their homes, in exchange
for which mobile home park owners do absolutely nothing, because, since the 2013 Act they
have no role whatsoever in the sale of these mobile homes? Itís a significant inhibition upon people
from selling their homes, especially if, as is usually the case, they tend to be elderly
and on low incomes; itís a significant problem. Jane Hutt: I appreciate that Neil Hamilton
wasnít here during the session when we supported, when the Welsh Government supported, the mobile
homes legislation presented by Peter Black. It then became the Mobile Homes (Wales) Act
2013, which you refer to. I just need to remind the Member that this
legislation consolidates previous legislation relating to park or residential mobile homes
and goes much further than comparative legislation in England. For example, we required all sites to be relicensed,
and Iím sure that you would welcome that, and for site managers to pass a fit-and-proper-person
test. But, subsequent to that, the Welsh Government
did commission an independent review of the economics of the park home industry in 2015,
and the report has been published, and, clearly, the Cabinet Secretary is looking at that and
the options. David Melding: Leader of the house, I think
itís very important that we have a system that is transparent and fairly reflects the
costs that site owners have, and also the ability for the residents of mobile homes
to have a knowledge of what those costs are and to challenge them if necessary. At the moment, it is very opaque and it seems
very unfair, and, in terms of where the power is, itís loaded against the mobile home owners. Jane Hutt: Well, David Melding does give a
balanced view about the site owners and those, of course, who are purchasing those homes
on the park home sites. I am aware that there is a lot of concern
thatís been raised; thereís a petition thatís also come forth. I think it is very important to again repeat
that we have done more to protect home residents, which is crucial, than other parts of the
UK. All park home sites in Wales have had to apply
for a new licence, and Iíve said also about the fit-and-proper-person test. And weíve allowed time for a stricter regulatory
regime resulting from the Mobile Homes (Wales) Act 2013, which, again, Iím glad to say was
supported by the whole Assembly as it came through. In fact, I remember Peter Black was congratulated
by Mark Isherwood when the Bill went through. But we must clearly look at the points that
have been raised this afternoon, and thatís what the Cabinet Secretary is doing. Bethan Jenkins: The majority of park home
residents in Wales, as has been mentioned, are over the age of 55 and the most recent
report suggests that they are, on average, 71 years old. The vast majority of these residents donít
envisage leaving or selling their homes in the foreseeable future. Will you therefore agree with me that increases
in pitch fees to cover losses incurred by park owners that would result from the abolition
or reduction of sales commissions is not a good long-term solution, and what consideration
has your Government given to this? Jane Hutt: Well, the report, the independent
report, didnít actually recommend the removal of the commission rate, but the Cabinet Secretary
obviously is looking at the recommendations of the report; heís not bound by them. Heís considering a range of options on whether
further action is merited. Dai Lloyd: 7. A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog ddatganiad am gynlluniau
teithio rhatach? OAQ(5)0463(FM)
Jane Hutt: Our concessionary bus travel scheme is hugely popular, with some 760,000 older
or disabled pass holders resident in Wales, and weíre also continuing to support the
existing discounted bus travel arrangements for 16, 17 and 18-year-olds throughout Wales
while we design a different scheme over the coming months. Dai Lloyd: Diolch yn fawr am yr ateb yna,
ac ymhellach i hynny, yn naturiol, mae yna bryder wedi bod, yn enwedig ymysg pobl ifanc
ar draws Cymru, yn dilyn yr ansicrwydd yna rydych chi wediíi olrhain yn barod o amgylch
cynllun mytravelpass, felly roeddwn iín falch o glywed datganiad yr Ysgrifennydd Cabinet
dros seilwaith yr wythnos diwethaf yn sÙn bod y Llywodraeth wedi ymrwymo i greu cynllun
tebyg, fel rydych chi wedi sÙn, i annog pobl ifanc i ddefnyddio bysys. Nawr, mae angen sicrwydd yn y maes, felly
pryd allwn ni ddisgwyl iír ymgynghoriad ar y cynllun newydd yma ddechrau? Jane Hutt: Well, as you say, the Cabinet Secretary
for Economy and Transport did issue a written statement on 21 February. He outlined his plans for the future of young
personsí discounted bus travel. Weíve agreed with local authorities and the
bus industry that the existing discounted travel arrangements will continue, as I said
in answer to your first question. Weíve accepted the Confederation of Passenger
Transportís offer to come forward with proposals for a new marketing campaign, because we know
we needed to increase the uptake and use of passes, but we intend to launch a new travel
pass from 2018. Weíll be consulting over the summer. Russell George: Leader of the house, can I
ask what assurances you can give that, in the preparation for the end of the current
funding agreement on concessionary fares next year, discussions with the bus industry and
with local authorities will begin in plenty of time so that the stability of the scheme
is maintained? Jane Hutt: I think, in terms of the commitment
weíve made to concessionary bus fares over the years, the fact that weíre estimating
that local authorities will reimburse bus operators in 2016-17 between £65 million
and £70 million, including £10 million from their own budgets for carrying older and disabled
pass holders would beó. Weíre continuing, of course, with our scheme
for young people and, clearly, this is an important plank of Welsh Labour Governmentís
programme for government. Gareth Bennett: We had a petition delivered
to the Assembly last year by a pupil at Treorchy comprehensive in the Rhondda. This petition was calling for rail travel
to and from school to be restoredófree rail travel, I should sayóby Arriva Trains, who
had decided to end the scheme. With the rail franchise up for renewal next
year, I wondered if thought might be given by the Government to giving Arriva a shove
towards restoring the free school fares scheme that they previously offered. Jane Hutt: I think, while concessionary travel
is very important, particularly where bus services are limited, itís of courseó. Concessionary travel passes can be used on
certain train lines; the Welsh Government has ensured that. Concessionary rail travel is available on
some routes, which youíll be aware of, particularly in Wrexham, Llandudno, Blaenau Ffestiniog,
Swansea and the Heart of Wales line. As you know, Gareth Bennett, we have no powers
to introduce mandatory concessionary fare schemes on Wales services, but we do fund
the voluntary concessionary scheme with Arriva Trains Wales. But, clearly, this is an area where we will
be looking at future prospects. David Rees: 8. Pa gamau y mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn eu cymryd
i gefnogi pobl o gymunedau difreintiedig i gael cyflogaeth a chodi allan o dlodi? OAQ(5)0466(FM)
Jane Hutt: We will take forward a cross-Government, all-Wales approach focused on helping people
into decent jobs, giving children the best start in life, and ensuring that local people
are engaged in the design of local services. David Rees: Thank you for that answer, leader
of the house. On 14 February, the Cabinet Secretary for
Communities and Children made a statement regarding Communities First and his actions
in that statement also highlighted the ambition to actually get to those furthest from the
labour market and move them forward. But, unfortunately, some of those who are
furthest from the labour market skills-wise are also physically furthest from the market
because they live in communities that are not well served by public services. What are you doing to actually get jobs closer
to them or actually get them to jobs by improving public services and public transport? Jane Hutt: The national transport finance
plan, published in July 2015 does, of course, set out investment for transport infrastructure
services across all parts of Wales. It has to provide comprehensive solutions
for local transport needs and connecting communities, but, as the Member, David Rees, says, itís
about improving local public transport, and I think the integrated transport hub in your
area will be of major significance and importance. We also, of course, have our very important
Better Jobs, Closer to Home initiative, which enables people to access jobs, but you will
hear more from the Cabinet Secretary for economy and transport very shortly in terms of the
future of bus services. Joyce Watson: 9. A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog ddatganiad am orchmynion
amddiffyn anffurfio organau cenhedlu benywod yng Nghymru? OAQ(5)0470(FM)
Jane Hutt: The Ministry of Justice collects this information and we understand that, until
September 2016, no protection orders were issued in Wales. The Welsh Government does not tolerate any
form of violence against women, including female genital mutilation, and, together with
our partners, we are working hard to tackle this heinous crime. Joyce Watson: I thank you for that answer. It is somewhat amazing that there have been
no protection orders whatsoever issued and, consequently, no prosecutions for FGM in Wales. It is a crime against the person and it is
the brutal abuse of minors, and we need to, in my opinion, call it out for what it is:
it is child abuseónothing more, nothing less. So, what Iím going to ask, Cabinet Secretary,
is: according to the charity BAWSO, they currently support 788 families who are affected one
way or another by FGM in Wales; will the Government work more closely with them to see if that
support can be increased to allow those people to move forward, if it is required, to seek
some protection orders and also, to work with the prosecution services, so that we can actually
start prosecuting people in this country and send a very clear message that this will not
be tolerated? Because it seems at the moment that it is
being tolerated. Jane Hutt: I thank Joyce Watson for the leadership
she has taken in terms of addressing this and, indeed, also, I thank Jenny Rathbone,
who chaired a recent event that was attended by many Members here today, and BAWSO was
involved in that. Itís crucial that we enable and support our
all-Wales honour-based violence leadership group. Thatís about data collection and about ensuring
that we have FGM safeguarding leads in all our health boards; itís about ensuring that
we develop an effective FGM care pathway for Wales so that we can have referrals into primary
healthcare or third sector provision. Public Health Wales is revising and updating
NHS Walesís safeguarding training, and also we have the social services and well-being
Act strengthening safeguarding procedures in Wales. All of this, of course, will lead to the point
where we feel that mandatory reporting and the ability to take things forward to protection
orders will be much more easily facilitated. Y Llywydd / The Llywydd: Diolch i arweinydd
y ty. Y Llywydd / The Llywydd: Pwynt o drefn yn
deillio allan o gwestiynau. Rhun ap Iorwerth. Rhun ap Iorwerth: Diolch, Lywydd. Iíd like to raise a point of order under
Standing Order 13.9. Earlier in the Chamber this afternoon, the
leader of UKIP in the Assembly made accusations about the conduct of both the Assembly Member
for Rhondda and the Member of Parliament for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr relating to the
campaign for the future of the school in Llangennech. Specifically, he accused Jonathan Edwards
of engaging, and I quote, Rhun ap Iorwerth: ëin a public campaign of
intimidation of one of those activistsí. Rhun ap Iorwerth: These are comments that
could well be considered libellous, perhaps, outside this Chamber. For the record, the Member of Parliament did
not name a single member of the public; his letter to Jeremy Corbyn, which was published
on his website, did not include any names of campaigners. Actually, the name of an individual was only
published by another party when it was confirmed that they had suspended a member. I believe the misleading and factually incorrect
comments should be withdrawn. Y Llywydd / The Llywydd: Diolch iír Aelod
am y pwynt o drefn. Maeín gywir, wrth gwrs, bod ein Rheolau Sefydlog
niín mynnu ein bod niín dangos cwrteisi ar bob achlysur yn y Cynulliad yma. A gaf i ofyn iír holl Aelodau i ystyried
bod y cwrteisi hynnyín angenrheidiol, yn arbennig iín cyd-Aelodau etholedig yma yng
Nghymru, yn cynnwys yr Aelodau Seneddol? Nid wyf yn credu bod mwy i ddweud ar y pwynt
o drefn yna, dim ond i atgoffa pob Aelod i fod yn gwrtais ar bob achlysur ac i osgoi
cyhuddiadau carlamus. Julie Morgan: 10. Pa gynlluniau sydd gan y Prif Weinidog i gynyddu
nifer y meddygon teulu yng Nghymru? OAQ(5)0477(FM)
Jane Hutt: We launched a national and international recruitment campaign last October aimed at
attracting doctors, particularly GPs, to train, work, and live in Wales. This phase of the campaign is just the start
of a longer term approach aimed at increasing the number of healthcare professionals working
in primary care in Wales. Rhianon Passmore: 11. A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog amlinellu pa gamau
y mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn eu cymryd i ddarparu cymorth ychwanegol i fusnesau’r stryd fawr
yn Islwyn? OAQ(5)0476(FM)
Jane Hutt: We continue to provide a wide range of support to all high-street businesses in
Wales, including actions that improve business conditions. Janet Finch-Saunders: 12. A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog ddatganiad am gydraddoldeb
mewn darpariaeth gwasanaethau llywodraeth leol? OAQ(5)0478(FM)
Jane Hutt: Local authorities have a range of statutory equalities duties, most notably
those included in the Equality Act 2010. Jayne Bryant: 13. A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog ddatganiad am ddull
gweithredu Llywodraeth Cymru parthed gofal canolraddol ar gyfer pobl hyn yn ardal Casnewydd? OAQ(5)0475(FM)
Jane Hutt: The intermediate care fund supports partnership working between health, local
authorities, housing and the third and independent sectors to enable older people to maintain
their independence. Over £11 million has been made available
to the Gwent region for 2016-17. ëTaking Wales Forwardí commits to retaining
this important fund. Angela Burns: 14. A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog amlinellu cynlluniau
Llywodraeth Cymru i leihau’r marwolaethau sy’n ymwneud ag yfed yng Nghymru? OAQ(5)0473(FM)
Jane Hutt: We are investing almost £50 million a year in our substance misuse agenda, which
includes taking a range of actions to help reduce drink-related deaths in Wales. Details are set out in our latest substance
misuse delivery plan for 2016-18. Gareth Bennett: 15. A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog ddatganiad am Raglen
Ysgolion yr 21ain Ganrif yng Nghanol De Cymru? OAQ(5)0472(FM)
Jane Hutt: Band A of the twenty-first century schools and education programme will see investment
of over £356 million in schools in South Wales Central over the five-year period ending
2019.

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