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Cofnod y Trafodion
The Record of Proceedings

Dydd Mawrth, 12 Gorffennaf 2011
Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Cynnwys
Contents

Anerchiad gan y Prif Weinidog, y Gwir Anrhydeddus David Cameron
Address by the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable David Cameron

Cwestiynau i’r Prif Weinidog
Questions to the First Minister

Cwestiwn Brys:Cartrefi Southern Cross
Urgent Question: Southern Cross Homes

Datganiad a Chyhoeddiad Busnes
Business Statement and Announcement

Cynnig i Gymeradwyo Cyllideb Atodol
Motion to Approve a Supplementary Budget

Cynigion i Gymeradwyo Gorchymyn (Diwygio) Gorchymyn Eithrio Contractau Adeiladu (Cymru a Lloegr) 1998 (Cymru) 2011 a Rheoliadau Rheoliadau Cynllun Contractau Adeiladu (Cymru a Lloegr) 1998 (Diwygio) (Cymru) 2011
Motions to Approve the Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Exclusion Order 1998 (Amendment) (Wales) Order 2011 and the Scheme for Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Regulations 1998 (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2011

Cynnig i Gymeradwyo Rheoliadau Trwyddedu Amgylcheddol (Cymru a Lloegr) (Diwygio) 2011
Motion to Approve the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2011

Cynnig i Atal y Rheolau Sefydlog
Motion to Suspend Standing Orders

Cynnig Cydsyniad Deddfwriaethol Atodol—Bil Senedd y DU ynghylch Lleoliaeth
Supplementary Legislative Consent Motion—Localism Bill

Cam-drin Domestig
Domestic Abuse

Datganiad am Raglen Ddeddfwriaethol Llywodraeth Cymru 2011-16
The Welsh Government’s Legislative Programme 2011-16

Cyfnod Pleidleisio
Voting Time

Dadl Fer:Llyfr Blegywryd Newydd? Adfer Awdurod Cyfreithiol i Gymru
Short Debate: A New Book of Blegywryd? Restoring Legal Authority to Wales

Yn y golofn chwith, cofnodwyd y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y Siambr. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir cyfieithiad Saesneg o gyfraniadau yn y Gymraeg.

In the left-hand column, the proceedings are recorded in the language in which they were spoken in the Chamber. In addition, an English translation of Welsh speeches is included.

Anerchiad gan y Prif Weinidog, y Gwir Anrhydeddus David Cameron
Address by the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable David Cameron

Y Cofnod

Y Llywydd: Prynhawn da. Croeso i Gynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru.

The Presiding Officer: Good afternoon. Welcome to the National Assembly for Wales.

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On behalf of my fellow Assembly Members, I welcome the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Wales. When you last visited the National Assembly for Wales in 2010, you said that you would like to return, and I am very pleased that you have been able to do so so early in the fourth Assembly. I invite you, Prime Minister, to address the Assembly.

The Prime Minister: Presiding Officer, thank you for your kind invitation to speak to the National Assembly today. I already feel that this is many times more civilised than the sessions that we sometimes have in the Westminster Parliament.

Standing in this great building, I am conscious of the role that Wales has played in shaping the United Kingdom. Whether it was mining copper or coal, iron or slate, Wales richly deserves its title as the world’s first industrial nation. It was a Welshman who created our most cherished public service, the national health service. Events like the National Eisteddfod remind us of the precious nature of Britain’s rich culture, and the Mabinogion shed a light on our Celtic and early medieval history, which spreads far beyond the borders of Wales. Now, of course, while many traditional industries may have gone, Wales’s international reputation is today earned in other areas. The mountains of Gwynedd, the beaches of Gower and Pembrokeshire, and the rolling hills of Powys attract tourists from far and wide. World-leading research at places like OpTIC in St Asaph and the Institute of Life Science at Swansea University put Wales at the forefront of advances in technology. The wings of Airbus and the engines of Toyota and Ford, built right here in Wales, keep the world moving.

While speaking about the part that Wales has played in our past and present, I want to put on record, here and now, my gratitude to the brave Welsh regiments. From the trenches of northern France to the mountains of South Korea, they have fought and died in defence of our nation and values. Today, in Afghanistan, they continue to serve with courage and distinction, and I pay tribute to them. For them, and for all the people of Wales, I will always be an advocate of this country and everything that it has to offer.

However, Presiding Officer, being an advocate of Wales does not mean ignoring the huge challenges that Wales faces today. We know of those challenges. Wales has some of the poorest parts of the United Kingdom, unemployment remains unacceptably high, too many people are trapped in benefit dependency and thousands of children are growing up in severe poverty. This is an affront to everything that we know that Wales can and should be. The task for everyone in this room is to pull Wales from this predicament and give it a future as glorious as its past.

Today, I want to speak about what we must all do to achieve that. There are some things that we must do together and there are some things that you, as Assembly Members, are responsible for. I want to say a few words about each. However, before I do so, let me say something about the constitutional future of Wales. Four months ago, Wales held a referendum and the people of Wales spoke decisively. The Assembly will no longer have to ask permission from Westminster to legislate on devolved matters. It is clear: there is no turning back from devolution, nor should there be. However, I believe that, with this new level of power that you hold, there should be new levels of accountability. So, as we promised, we will establish a process similar to the Calman commission in Scotland. The strength of Calman was that it worked by consensus—Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats in Scotland coming together and agreeing a way forward. I am, therefore, asking all political parties to seek consensus on the future direction of devolution. Whatever the outcome of this process, I want you to know that I will always be here to work with you for the good of Wales as part of a strong United Kingdom.

1.15 p.m.

I welcome the co-operative approach that the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, is taking, and look forward to further discussions—we have had some today and we will have more in the future—and for the relationship to continue in a spirit of mutual respect. It is in that spirit of co-operation that we must work together to strengthen the Welsh economy. The drive for growth, jobs and wealth for Wales is a task that we must do together. As I have said, Wales is a country with industrial flair and enterprising people, yet when a former Labour Secretary of State has accepted that the private sector in Wales is too small, we must all recognise that the Welsh economy is far too dependent on the state. When we are dealing, as we are, with the largest budget deficit in our peacetime history, this is simply untenable. Of course, I recognise that for Wales to develop a more sustainable economic future, we in Westminster must act responsibly and thoughtfully. That is why we made sure that Wales was less affected than other parts of the United Kingdom in the spending review. By the end of this Parliament, the Welsh resource budget will have gone down by 7.5 per cent, which is less than the 8.3 per cent UK averageand much less than the average cuts to most Whitehall departments of around 19 per cent. As well as that, we have taken some vital steps to protect the poorest. We are restoring the link between pensions and earnings, which will benefit 630,000 pensioners in Wales. We are increasing child tax credits, helping more than 215,000 families in Wales, and our decision to increase the personal tax allowance will benefit over 1 million Welsh taxpayers. Indeed, 52,000 people in Wales will be taken out of tax altogether.

At the same time, we are trying to protect the investments that you need to grow. We are electrifying the Great Western main line from London to south Wales, and remain committed to working with the Welsh Government on the case for electrifying the Valleys lines to and from Cardiff. We will continue to keep the case for electrification to Swansea under review. Last month, we announced the sites that we consider as suitable for new nuclear investment, including Wylfa on Anglesey, and today I have a new announcement. We know that broadband is vital if businesses are to grow and create new jobs, especially in rural areas. That is why, today, I can announce that Wales is set to receive £56.9 million to help take superfast broadband to 90 per cent of homes and businesses in Wales.

So, yes, we are acting responsibly in Wales, and, yes, we are making the necessary investments, but that does not mean that there can be blank cheques. The simple truth is this: the size of the fiscal deficit that we inherited—larger than the deficit in Greece or Portugal—means that the days in which you could just ask the Treasury for more money are over. Our focus must be on all the areas where we can drive growth: skills, education, business start-ups and deregulation. It is the responsibility of all of us to think of new and more imaginative ways to boost enterprise and jobs in Wales. The issues are the same as in England. Where Wales has good ideas, we should learn from them in Whitehall, and, I hope, vice versa. Already our two Governments are working well together. The Secretary of State and Lord Green are working closely with the Welsh Government and the Ministers to promote trade and investment in Wales. There is regular dialogue between the Secretary of State and the First Minister on creating new enterprise zones in Wales, and the decisions that we have taken at Westminster to cut corporation tax, plus your commitment to invest in training and skills, will help businesses here too.

Working together, I know that we can bring lasting prosperity to the Welsh people. That is a job that we must do together, but let me briefly talk about a job that is yours alone. With the powers that you have come immense responsibility—responsibility to the children in your schools, to students in your universities, and to doctors, nurses and patients in your hospitals. They are looking to you to provide dramatic improvements to their lives. However, let me be frank: as in many other parts of the UK, some public services in Wales are currently too bureaucratic to deliver those improvements. I fundamentally believe that now is the time to modernise our public services, and, in England, that is what we are doing. We are opening up choice in the schools that we send our children to and in the hospitals that we are treated in. We are breaking open the state monopoly and inviting new providers in. We are making the whole system more transparent. Together, I believe that these changes will revolutionise public services in England and improve people’s lives. I also believe that more open public services could do the same in Wales.

Let me put it another way: devolution of power from Westminster to Cardiff is not enough. We need real devolution, where power is passed from here in Cardiff to patients and parents, doctors, nurses, teachers, charities and social enterprises. Collectively, they have the ideas, the energy and the commitment to improve our schools, build a fantastic NHS and make Wales a better place in which to live for everyone. Let me be clear: it is not my intention to interfere in decisions relating to devolved matters. That is your responsibility. However, it is my duty to give my opinion where I feel that it could benefit the Welsh people, and, just as I believe that Cardiff can learn from Westminster, so we in Westminster can learn from you. Your decision to appoint the UK’s first older people’s commissioner to raise the profile of the elderly, to end age discrimination, and to give our pensioners the security and dignity that they deserve, sets a positive example to the rest of us. I believe that this is what healthy, mature devolution should be about: mutual respect, the sharing of ideas and the spirit of collaboration.

Presiding Officer, it has been a privilege to address the National Assembly today. I would like to end by saying this: I know that devolution will not always be easy, and I know that we will not always agree, but I know that we share common aims to work together to make life better for the people of Wales to give them a more prosperous future, a stronger future, and a better future. Thank you. [Applause.]

The Presiding Officer: Thank you very much, Prime Minister. Assembly Members will have noted with interest what you have said today. As you say, following the referendum in March, which provided us with primary law making powers, it is important that we maintain a constructive relationship as we deliver another significant stage in the history of devolution.The people of Wales delivered a decisive 'yes’ vote in March because they believed that the Assembly should make laws on issues that matter to them most—laws that affect their daily lives. Their expectations of us are very high and we will work hard to meet those expectations.

Where responsibility for matters affecting Welsh interests falls with the UK Government, such as a review of the Barnett formula and arrangements for funding Welsh broadcasting, we will do all that we can to ensure that you are working hard on our behalf. What you have said today about the Calman-style commission on devolution is of particular interest and we look forward to hearing more details about that in due course.

Prime Minister, thank you on behalf of all Assembly Members for being here today and for the interest that you continue to take in our work.  

Cyfarfu’r Cynulliad am 1.30 p.m.gyda’r Llywydd (Rosemary Butler) yn y Gadair.

The Assembly met at 1.30 p.m.with the Presiding Officer (Rosemary Butler) in the Chair.

Y Cofnod

Y Llywydd: Prynhawn da.

The Presiding Officer:Good afternoon.

Cwestiynau i’r Prif Weinidog
Questions to the First Minister

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Janet Finch-Saunders:Thank you, Presiding Officer, for the warm courtesy that you have just extended to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Just before I ask my question, as  a new Member—

The Presiding Officer: Order. Can you ask the question on the paper please?

Janet Finch-Saunders: The Conservative Government in Westminster holds meetings around the United Kingdom, and today is evidence of that.

The Presiding Officer: Order. Can you ask the question on the paper please?

Janet Finch-Saunders: You have previously talked of holding Assembly or committee meetings in north Wales.

The Presiding Officer: Order. Can you ask the question, please?

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Blaenoriaethau

Priorities

1. Janet Finch-Saunders:A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog amlinellu ei flaenoriaethau ar gyfer y Gogledd yn y Pedwerydd Cynulliad. OAQ(4)0096(FM)

1. Janet Finch-Saunders: Will the First Minister outline his priorities for North Wales for the Fourth Assembly. OAQ(4)0096(FM)

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The Presiding Officer: Thank you very much.

The First Minister: When someone asks a question for the first time, it can be a nervous occasion; I understand that very well. However, the question has been asked and I will answer it: we will get on with the programme set out in our manifesto, to the benefit of all our communities, including those in north Wales.

Janet Finch-Saunders: Sorry, Presiding Officer. Just before I proceed, I would like to say, as a new Member, how disappointed I was at the rudeness that was just extended to our Prime Minister. As a new Member—

The Presiding Officer: Order.Can you move on with the question please? [Interruption.] Order. You were very well behaved previously; can we just carry that on for the rest of the afternoon please? Your comments are very much appreciated but are not appropriate, so can you please move on with your question? Thank you.

Janet Finch-Saunders: First Minister, you have previously talked about holding Assembly or committee meetings in north Wales. In the first and second terms of the last Assembly, meetings were held in north Wales on quite a regular basis and this made people feel more engaged with the Assembly. The lack of Assembly activity in north Wales now has led to feelings of disenfranchisement among the people of north Wales, and this was highlighted in particular to me by many people during my election campaign, in particular by the business and farming communities, which are eager for you to engage with them in north Wales.

The Presiding Officer: Order. Have you asked the question yet?

Janet Finch-Saunders: I believe, First Minister, that you are losing an opportunity to engage with our electorate, and I seek some reassurance that you will, at the very least, consider holding Assembly meetings in north Wales during the fourth Assembly.

The Presiding Officer: Order. You have asked the question now, thank you.

The First Minister: These are matters for the Commission and the Presiding Officer, not for the Government. Whether the Assembly or its committees meet outside Cardiff is not a matter for the Government. However, a Cabinet meeting will be held in Llandudno Junction at the end of this month.

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Alun Ffred Jones: Mae aelodau o’r gwasanaeth sifil yn swyddfa’r Llywodraeth yn Llandudno yn adrodd bod uwch was sifil wedi bod yno ar ymweliad yn ddiweddar a chyhoeddi y bydd un o swyddfeydd y Llywodraeth yn y gogledd yn cau yn y dyfodol agos. Pa swyddfa fydd honno?

Alun Ffred Jones: Members of the civil service in the Welsh Government’s office in Llandudno have reported that a senior civil servant went there recently and announced that one of the Government’s offices in north Wales will close in the near future. Which office will that be?

Y Prif Weinidog: Os oes rhywun wedi dweud hynny, nid oedd ganddynt yr awdurdod i ddweud hynny.

The First Minister: If someone has said that, they had no authority to do so.

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Sandy Mewies: First Minister, I ask for your assurances, despite what we have heard previously, that your priorities for north Wales will not include the privatisation of the health service?

The First Minister: We are not looking to privatise the health service, or indeed to introduce the private sector into what should be a public service.

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Aled Roberts: Brif Weinidog, a ydych yn ymwybodol o unrhyw gynlluniau gan y Grid Cenedlaethol i ddiweddaru ei rwydwaith yng ngogledd Cymru?

Aled Roberts: First Minister, are you aware of any plans by National Grid to update its network in north Wales?

Y Prif Weinidog: Deallaf y bydd Grid Cenedlaethol yn edrych ar y rhwydwaith ym mhob rhan o Gymru er mwyn sicrhau bod y rhwydwaith yn gallu delio gyda’r system sy’n bodoli ar hyn o bryd. Mae cwestiynau’n codi ynglŷn ag atomfa niwclear Wylfa a beth fydd yn digwydd pan fydd yr adweithydd newydd yn cael ei adeiladu, ond mae hynny’n fater i Lywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig.

The First Minister: I understand that National Grid is looking at the network in every part of Wales in order to ensure that it can deal with the current system. Questions arise in relation to the Wylfa nuclear power station and what will happen when a new reactor is built, but that is a matter for the Government of the United Kingdom.

Ynni Adnewyddadwy

Renewable Energy

2. Elin Jones: Sut y bydd Llywodraeth Cymru yn blaenoriaethu ynni adnewyddadwy yng Nghymru. OAQ(4)0094(FM)

2. Elin Jones:How will the Welsh Government prioritise renewable energy in Wales. OAQ(4)0094(FM)

Y Prif Weinidog: Mae 'Chwyldro Carbon Isel’ yn pennu’r camau a fydd yn cael eu cymryd er mwyn cyflymu’r broses o newid i system ynni carbon isel gadarn drwy hyrwyddo technolegau adnewyddadwy eraill, gan gynnwys ynni’r gwynt, ynni biomas ac ynni morol. Byddwn hefyd yn manteisio i’r eithaf ar botensial y sector ynni ar gyfer pobl Cymru yn economaidd ac o ran gwaith.

The First Minister: 'A Low Carbon Revolution’ sets out the actions that will be taken to accelerate the transition to a resilient low-carbon energy system through the promotion of diverse renewable technologies including wind energy, biomass and marine energy. We will also maximise the economic and employment potential of the energy sector for the people of Wales.

Elin Jones: A allwch egluro polisi eich Llywodraeth o ran datganoli pwerau dros benderfynu ar gynhyrchu ynni adnewyddadwy? A ydych o blaid datganoli penderfynu ar ddatblygiadau hyd at 100 MW yn unig, neu a yw eich Llywodraeth o blaid datganoli penderfynu ar bopeth dros 50 MW?

Elin Jones: Could you clarify your Government’s policy in terms of the devolution of decisions on renewable energy production? Are you in favour of devolving decisions on developments of up to 100 MW only, or is your Government in favour of devolution of decisions on everything over 50 MW?

Y Prif Weinidog: Yr ydym o blaid datganoli prosiectau ynni adnewyddadwy hyd at 100 MW.

The First Minister: We favour devolving decisions on renewable energy projects up to 100 MW.

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Russell George: I want to clarify the message that has arisen regarding the energy capacity limits for the strategic search areas. The indicative capacity limits for onshore wind generation set out in technical advice note 8 are collectively 1,120 MW although the technical advice note states that these should not be seen as capacity for the areas, but should, instead, assist the planning process. According to your Government’s energy policy statement, published last year, your target is to achieve 2 GW of energy capacity for onshore wind by 2017, but in your statement on 17 June, you clearly indicate that the indicative capacity set out in TAN 8 should be regarded by developers as the upper limits. However, the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development’s letter to planning officers last week refers to the maximum capacity targets, as stated in the 2004 GL Garrad Hassan report of 1,700 MW.

The Presiding Officer: Order.Areyou coming to the question, Russell?

Russell George: You wonder why some communities and companies in the sector think that you are moving the goalposts. Is 1,700 MW now your final answer for generating capacity within the strategic search areas, or would you like to phone a friend?

The First Minister: The correct figures are the GL Garrad Hassan figures.

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Cwestiynau Heb Rybudd gan Arweinwyr y Pleidiau

Questions Without Notice from the Party Leaders

Arweinydd Plaid Cymru (Ieuan Wyn Jones): Ar 10 Mehefin, dywedodd Cyngor Cyllido Addysg Uwch Cymru ei fod yn gwrthod cynlluniau sefydliadau addysg uwch i godi ffioedd i £9,000. Ddoe, dywedodd y Gweinidog Addysg a Sgiliau y bydd wyth  prifysgol yn codi £9,000. Beth sydd wedi newid yn ystod y mis diwethaf?

The Leader of Plaid Cymru (Ieuan Wyn Jones): On 10 June, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales stated that it rejected the plans of higher education institutions to raise tuition fees to £9,000. Yesterday, the Minister for Education and Skills said that eight universities would charge £9,000. What has changed over the last month?

Y Prif Weinidog: Mae hynny’n benderfyniad i Gyngor Cyllido Addysg Uwch Cymru, nid y Gweinidog.

The First Minister: That is a decision for the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, not the Minister.

Ieuan Wyn Jones: Mae’n flin gennyf, Brif Weinidog, ond cyhoeddodd y Gweinidog ddatganiad ar hyn ddoe, felly, credaf ei fod yn berffaith briodol i mi godi’r mater. Mae’n sôn yn y datganiad am gynlluniau’r prifysgolion. Oni bai ein bod yn gwybod y gwahaniaeth rhwng cynlluniau’r prifysgolion, sut yr ydym i fod i gynrychioli pobl Cymru o ran asesu a yw’r penderfyniad yn un doeth neu beidio? Yr ydych yn dweud mai mater i’r cyngor cyllido ydyw, felly a wnewch drafod gyda’r cyngor y posibilrwydd o ryddhau’r wybodaeth ynghylch cynlluniau pob prifysgol er mwyn i ni gael barnu ar y gwahaniaeth rhwng y penderfyniad ym mis Mehefin a’r un a wnaethpwyd ddoe? Gan fod modelu ariannol wedi’i wneud ar sail ffioedd o £7,000 ar gyfartaledd, a wnewch gyhoeddi model ariannol sydd yn dangos y gwahaniaeth ariannol gyda ffioedd o £9,000?

Ieuan Wyn Jones: I am sorry, First Minister, but a statement was issued by the Minister yesterday about this, therefore, I think that it is perfectly appropriate to raise the matter. He mentions in his statement the universities’ plans. Unless we know the differences between the plans of those universities, how are we supposed to represent the people of Wales in terms ofassessing whether the decision is wise or not? You say that it is a matter for the funding council, so will you discuss with it the possibility of releasing the information about the plans of each university so that we can make a judgment on the difference between the decision in June and that taken yesterday? As financial modelling has been undertaken based on fees of £7,000 on average, will you publish a financial model that shows the financial difference with fees of £9,000?

Y Prif Weinidog: Mae’n hollol resymol gofyn am fwy o fanylion ynghylch sut ygwnaed y penderfyniadau. Byddaf yn sicrhau bod y manylion hynny’n cael eu darparu. Yn ail, yr ydym yn hyderus bod modd talu am y polisi, ac mae modelu wedi cael ei wneud ar sail ffioedd o £7,000 a £9,000.

The First Minister: It is entirely reasonable to ask for more details on how decisions were reached. I will ensure that those details are provided. Secondly, we are confident that the policy can be paid for, and modelling has been done on the figures of £7,000 and £9,000.

Ieuan Wyn Jones: Mae’n ddrwg gennyf, Brif Weinidog, ond er y dywedwch eich bod yn credu bod y setliad newydd yn fforddiadwy, ni all neb arall farnu ar hynny. Y cyfan sydd gennym yw cyhoeddiad byr gan Gyngor Cyllido Addysg Uwch Cymru a’ch sylwadau byr heddiw. Sut y medrwn farnu a yw hyn yn fforddiadwy ai peidio? Credaf fod gennym yr hawl i gael yr holl wybodaeth er mwyn penderfynu ar hynny. Pan gyhoeddodd y Gweinidog ei gynllun ym mis Rhagfyr 2010, dywedodd ei fod yn fforddiadwy oherwydd bod modelu wedi cael ei wneud ar godi ffioedd i £7,000 ar gyfartaledd. Cyhoeddwyd ffigurau gan y Gweinidog ar sail hynny. A wnewch gyhoeddi’r modelu ar sail ffioedd o £9,000 ar gyfartaledd er mwyn i ni gael gweld a yw’r cynllun presennol yn fforddiadwy?

Ieuan Wyn Jones: I am sorry, First Minister, but although you say that you believe that the new settlement is affordable, no-one else can make a judgment on that. All we have is a brief statement by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and your brief comments today. How can we judge whether this is affordable or not? We have the right, I believe, to have all of the information in order to decide on that. When the Minister announced his plan in December 2010, he said that it was affordable because there was modelling on raising tuition fees to £7,000 on average. Figures were announced by the Minister on that basis. Will you publish the modelling based on fees of £9,000 on average so that we can see whether the present scheme is affordable?

Y Prif Weinidog: Mae hynny’n hollol bosibl, ond yr hyn sy’n fy synnu yw bod Plaid Cymru’n cefnogi’r polisi hwn cyn yr etholiad, ond yn awr nid ydyw’n siŵr. Mae’n bwysig dros ben bod myfyrwyr Cymru’n gwybod beth yn union yw polisi Plaid Cymru ar hyn. A yw o blaid sicrhau bod taliadau myfyrwyr yn isel neu beidio?

The First Minister: That is entirely possible, but what surprises me is that Plaid Cymru supported this policy before this election, but now it is not so sure. It is very important that the students of Wales know exactly what Plaid Cymru’s policy is on this issue. Is it in favour of ensuring that we keep student payments low or not?

Ieuan Wyn Jones: A ydych yn ceisio dweud wrthyf, felly, nad oes dim wedi newid ers mis Rhagfyr y llynedd? Mae pethau wedi newid. Er mwyn bod yn berffaith glir, cyhoeddodd y Gweinidog ddatganiad ym mis Rhagfyr y llynedd yn cynnwys ffigurau a gafodd eu modelu ar y disgwyliad y byddai ffioedd yn codi i £7,000. Cyhoeddwyd y ffigurau ar y sail honno. Yr ydym yn gwybod yn awr y bydd ffioedd yng Nghymru yn codi i £8,800 ar gyfartaledd. Mae hynny’n golygu i’r ffigurau gael eu modelu ar sail sydd bellach yn anghywir. Felly, y cyfan yr wyf yn ei ofyn yw eich bod yn cyhoeddi ffigurau sydd wedi cael eu modelu ar sail y ffigurau sydd wedi cael eu cyhoeddi. Rhoddaf enghraifft i chi o pam mae hyn yn bwysig. Yn ei ddatganiad ym mis Rhagfyr, dywedodd y Gweinidog, ar sail ffioedd o £7,000 ar gyfartaledd, y bydd yn rhaid i ni dalu costau myfyrwyr yn Lloegr o £70 miliwn erbyn 2015. Dyna oedd y ffigur yn seiliedig ar gyfartaledd o £7,000. Gan fod ffioedd yn Lloegr wedi codi i £8,100 ar gyfartaledd, bydd £80 miliwn yn mynd allan o gyllideb Cymru, sy’n sicr o effeithio ar eich ffigurau. A wnewch chi felly gyhoeddi’r ffigurau newydd, os gwelwch yn dda, fel ein bod i gyd yng Nghymru yn cael gwybod ar ba sail yr ydych yn dweud bod y cynllun diweddaraf yn fforddiadwy?

Ieuan Wyn Jones: Are you trying to tell me therefore that nothing has changed since December last year? Things have changed. To be perfectly clear, the Minister made a statement in December last year that included figures that had been modelled on the expectation that fees would rise to £7,000. Those figures were published on that basis. We now know that fees in Wales will rise to £8,800 on average. That means that the figures were modelled on a basis that is now inaccurate. Therefore, all I am asking is that you publish figures that have been modelled on the basis of the figures that have been published. I will give you an example as to why this is important. In his statement in December, the Minister said, on the basis that fees would be £7,000 on average, we would have to pay £70 million to cover the cost of students in England by 2015. That was the figure based on an average of £7,000. As fees in England have increased to £8,100 on average, £80 million will leave the Welsh budget, which will certainly affect your figures. Will you therefore publish new figures please so that all of us in Wales will know on what basis you are saying that the latest scheme is affordable?

Y Prif Weinidog: Wrth gwrs y gwnawn hynny.

The First Minister: Of course we will do that.

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The Leader of the Opposition (Paul Davies): In 1997, manufacturing accounted for 28 per cent of the Welsh economy, but by 2008, that figure had fallen to 17 per cent. When can we expect the First Minister’s much delayed manufacturing strategy?

The First Minister: As you know, our manufacturing strategy was published by the Deputy First Minister in the previous Government. It was a strategy that was supported by industry. The point is that we have the economic renewal programme and we have a strategy to attract investment into Wales and to increase business start-ups and successful businesses in Wales, whereas the party opposite has no strategy.

Paul Davies: The First Minister is referring to the Wales manufacturing forum’s 12-page document, which clearly states—I have it here—that it is important to note that this is not a Government strategy. The Welsh Government should take responsibility for setting out a framework within which Welsh manufacturing can compete and grow. I will ask the First Minister again: when can we expect the manufacturing strategy from his Government?

The First Minister: Again, you fail to make reference to the economic renewal programme, which was published and well-publicised before the last election. The Government is looking to implement the programme in order to ensure that we have a sustainable and sound manufacturing base in Wales.

Paul Davies: Let us talk about the economic renewal programme. We do not yet know what form the economic renewal programme will take. The programme currently has six sectors. Three years ago, your Government strategy had 14 sectors. The Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science has suggested that more sectors could be added to take the total to nine. Can the First Minister confirm that he plans a Back to the Future approach by taking the number of key sectors that his Government intends to support up to nine?

The First Minister: We have six key sectors. We will always look to see whether other key sectors emerge from time to time. This contrasts sharply with the policies of his Government, which are simply to try to attract investment into Wales on the basis that we are cheaper than anywhere else. Perhaps it would like to see the abolition of the minimum wage and see those Back to the Future days return.

Paul Davies: On this side of the Chamber, we want to create enterprise zones. On enterprise zones, First Minister, you told me

'it is right to say that the Minister and I are looking in particular at the principle of clustered enterprise zones in different parts of Wales.’

Can you update the Assembly as to what preparations are now being put in place to introduce enterprise zones in Wales?

The First Minister: You are quite right; that is exactly what we are doing. We are awaiting clarification from the UK Government as to the nature of the capital allowances that will be involved in enterprise zones.

The Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats (Kirsty Williams): First Minister, do you agree with Estyn, which has today said thatsupport in schools should be targeted at our poorest children?

1.45 p.m.

The First Minister: We have a good record of supporting our poorest children, whether that is through schemes that have been implemented in years gone by by previous Governments or the funding formula, which I believe looks to help schools that need help.

Kirsty Williams: While I welcome the Government’s stated intention to look at raising school funding across the board, Estyn has made it clear in its report this morning that poverty is the biggest obstacle to a good education for a child. Will you take that on board and provide extra support for the poorest children in our schools?

The First Minister: Local authorities are already providing that support for our schools. There are some schools in Wales that do not have the most affluent catchment areas doing very well—Treorchy Comprehensive School is one example. However, we will not take money from other schools to fund a policy such as the pupil premium, which is what is happening in England.

Kirsty Williams: You will be aware that there is a significant amount of money in unallocated budgets within the Welsh Government and there is a significant amount of money that is being spent on hypothecated grants to local government across the piece. I am not surprised that, two weeks ago, your Members and Plaid Cymru Members voted against the Liberal Democrats’ motion that called for additional resources to be spent on the education of our poorest children. However, it is not just the Welsh Liberal Democrats who are saying that now: your own Government inspector is saying that too. Will you reconsider your position?

The First Minister: I do not think that anybody—except for you—is suggesting that a secret pot of money exists that we can draw on to pay for services that may be much needed as a result of the cuts that have been imposed on us by the UK Government that you are part of. That is simply not the case.

Kirsty Williams: There is no secret pot of money, as you say, but there are unallocated resources within your Government and the Welsh Liberal Democrats would choose to spend those unallocated resources on the education of our poorest children. We would do so because we believe that it is the right thing to do. It is also what the chief inspector, Ann Keane, believes we should do. She said,

'Learners from poorer families or who are in care are more likely to attain at lower levels than other learners.’

We believe that additional resources should be spent on the poorest children. Why does the Labour Party not agree?

The First Minister: We are the only party that included a specific commitment in its manifesto to protect school spending as best as we could. We introduced a formula as one of our five pledges to make sure that school spending was protected—unlike the party opposite which wanted to cut education spending by at least 20 per cent.

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Blaenoriaethau

Priorities

3. Llyr Huws Gruffydd: Beth yw blaenoriaethau Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer y diwydiant ffermio. OAQ(4)0091(FM)

3. Llyr Huws Gruffydd:What are the Welsh Government’s priorities for the farming industry. OAQ(4)0091(FM)

Y Prif Weinidog: Mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi ymrwymo i sicrhau dyfodol cynaliadwy ar gyfer amaethyddiaeth Cymru.

The First Minister: The Welsh Government is committed to securing a sustainable future for Welsh agriculture.

Llyr Huws Gruffydd: Dywedodd Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd a Datblygu Cynaliadwy yn ei gyhoeddiad ar TB mewn gwartheg y dylai’r grŵp adolygu arfaethedig gael ei sefydlu cyn gynted â phosibl. Wythnosau yn ddiweddarach, nid oes gennym syniad beth fydd aelodaeth y grŵp hwnnw, beth fydd ei gylch gorchwyl na beth fydd ei amserlen. Yn y cyfamser, mae TB yn cael ei ganfod mewn mwy o ffermydd ar hyd a lled Cymru, gan arwain at gannoedd o wartheg yn cael eu difa. A ydych yn rhannu fy mhryder i, Brif Weinidog, nad yw’r broses hon yn digwydd yn ddigon cyflym ac a ydych yn meddwl bod yr oedi yn dderbyniol?

Llyr Huws Gruffydd: The Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development said in his announcement on bovine TB that the proposed review group should be established as soon as possible. Weeks have passed and we still have no idea about the membership of that group, what its remit will be or what the timetable will look like. In the meantime, TB is being found on more farms the length and breadth of Wales, which is leading to the destruction of hundreds of cattle. Do you share my concern, First Minister, that this process is not moving swiftly enough and do you think that the delay is acceptable?

Y Prif Weinidog: Mae hwn yn fater i’r prif ymgynghorydd gwyddonol.Mae gwaith yn cael ei wneud ar hyn o bryd i sicrhau bod y grŵp hwnnw yn gallu dechrau ar ei waith. Rhaid inni gofio y byddai wedi bod yn anodd dros ben difa’r flwyddyn hon beth bynnag oherwydd problemau ymarferol, yn enwedig problemau cyhoeddus o ran difa yn ystod y tymor twristiaeth yn sir Benfro. Felly, man a man inni ddefnyddio’r amser hwn i sicrhau bod y gwyddonwyr yn edrych ar hyn unwaith eto er mwyn sicrhau bod y dystiolaeth yn gadarn.

The First Minister: This is a matter for the chief scientific adviser. Work is being undertaken currently to ensure that that group can start its work. We must remember that it would have been very difficult to have a cull this year anyway due to practical difficulties, especially public problems in terms of culling during the tourism season in Pembrokeshire. Therefore, we might as well use this time to ensure that the scientists look at this again in order to ensure that the evidence base is firm.

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Antoinette Sandbach: I find your previous answer regarding the tourist season somewhat surprising. I doubt that there are many tourists out at night. [Laughter.] That is, I doubt that they are out at night in the Pembrokeshire countryside near the badger setts.

First Minister, one of the other concerns of farmers is the difficulty caused by the six-day whole-farm standstill for animal movement, which comes up time and time again. I appreciate that these restrictions were completely justified in the aftermath of the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. However, they now appear disproportionate to the current risks to animal health. Can you confirm that your Government will say that it is prepared to look into the relaxation of the six-day rule, while maintaining robust disease surveillance, when it responds to the Macdonald report on farming red tape?

The First Minister: I am surprised to hear that there are no tourists in Pembrokeshire in August. I can inform the Member that there are plenty of tourists who are out at night in Pembrokeshire—they do not all go to bed at 7 p.m. There are many who enjoy the countryside in the day and want to enjoy the Pembrokeshire wildlife at night. There are many tourist organisations that are in the business of providing tours to see wildlife at night; it is naïve to say that tourists are not around after a particular time. With regard to the six-day standstill, you are right to say that it was introduced to deal with the issue of foot and mouth disease, but we will be guided by the advice of the chief veterinary officer in terms of what precautions should be in place to deal with the disease. We should bear in mind that nothing should be done to jeopardise the freedom of our farmers to export to the rest of the world.

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Blaenoriaethau

Priorities

4. Andrew R.T. Davies:Beth yw blaenoriaethau Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer Canol De Cymru. OAQ(4)0095(FM)

4. Andrew R.T. Davies:What are the Welsh Government’s priorities for South Wales Central. OAQ(4)0095(FM)

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The First Minister: We will implement our manifesto for the benefit of all communities, including those of South Wales Central.

Andrew R.T. Davies:Thank you for that answer, First Minister. One of the planks of business support that you alluded to earlier in response to the acting leader of the opposition was the economic renewal programme. Last week, in my region, Sogefi Filtration announced a three-month consultation into the viability of 190 jobs. As recently as June, the economic renewal programme identified that company as being of strategic importance. Does this show that there has been a lack of consultation on the economic renewal programme and therefore a lack of understanding as to what is happening in Welsh manufacturing?

The First Minister: The council for economic renewal is supportive. I can tell you that because I met the council last week and it supports the approach that the Government is taking. It very much values the fact that it is involved in a full consultation. There will be occasions when some manufacturing plants experience difficulties, and we know what happened with Bosch, of course, some months ago. We also know that the Bosch site has now been purchased with a view to creating more jobs on that site. We have seen some good examples of job creation in Wales over the last month or two. I was pleased to be at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff last week, which is in Jane Hutt’s constituency, where I was told that new apprentices had been trained and were all being taken on. That is a sign of the robust health of most of the Welsh economy.

Jenny Rathbone: Residents of south Wales and elsewhere are extremely concerned about the collapse of Southern Cross. Is there anything that you can say to the residents of these homes and their relatives, given that the UK Government seems to be reluctant to give assurances that people will be able to remain in their homes?

The First Minister: We have raised concerns over Southern Cross and it is inevitable that residents, families and staff will be worried about their futures. We have looked to ensure continuity of care for residents, continuity of employment for staff, and that the company will address its financial difficulties. The company has promised that no homes will close during the transitional period, and the objective must now be to ensure that, while Southern Cross is restructured, there is no effect on residents and staff, and that there is a swift and seamless transition to new ownership that will secure the future of the homes.

Leanne Wood:First Minister, you just referred to the Bosch plant in Miskin, which recently had its last day of production. There were around 900 people employed there when the company announced 18 months ago that it was going to move production to Hungary, which was a hammer blow to the local area. There is a glimmer of light, thankfully, for former employees as a new firm, Renishaw, is planning to take over the site from October. I wonder if you can tell us what discussions you plan to have with that firm to encourage and promote the best use of that site, so that the most is made of that excellent location and the maximum number of people can be employed there.

First Minister: It is a sign of the skills of the Bosch workforce that so many of them were snapped up by other companies. I know of a number who were taken by Ford in Bridgend and there were other factories that used their skills when they became available. I know that a number of people have found employment utilising the skills that they have. I am seeking an early meetingwith Renishaw to explore the possibilities because, as you say, it is an excellent and well-connected site, and a prime site for employment.

Eluned Parrott: As you know, First Minister, South Wales Central contains some of the most economically active areas of Wales, but also some of the least active. There is huge variance in levels of deprivation across the region. It has been stated by the Wales Audit Office that the Assembly Government was unable to assess whether Communities First, your flagship programme, was meeting its objectives, and, according to the previous Public Accounts Committee, there is

'little evidence about the extent to which the £214 million spent on the programme has, in of itself, delivered improvement to the livelihood and wellbeing of people in Communities First areas.’

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation also stated that there are

'questions over whether Communities First as an isolated programme can be expected to deliver the wider outcomes needed to improve the conditions of people living in the most deprived neighbourhoods in Wales.’

Given this chorus of disapproval, what assessment have you made of the likely impact of your new Communities First reforms and what systems have you put in place to monitor their progress?

The First Minister: I now understand that it is Lib Dem policy to criticise Communities First. I was not previously aware of that. However, we will not be ending Communities First. We will be seeking to improve the Communities First programme as it moves forward into the future. I have visited many successful Communities First partnerships, and I advise any Member to go to their local Communities First partnership, as I have done in my own patch—Brackla Meadows, Marlas in Cornelly and Wildmill in the centre of Bridgend—as well as others across Wales, such as in Wrexham, to see what work has been done. I have seen the real difference that Communities First makes to so many communities and the people who live in them. There have been occasions when some partnerships were not as well-managed as they might have been, but that is not a reason to condemn an entire programme that has given so much hope to so many people.

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Datganoli Swyddogaethau’r Llys Apêl

Decentralising the Functions of the Court of Appeal

5. William Powell:Pa drafodaeth y mae’r Prif Weinidog wedi’i chael ar ddatganoli pwerau’r Llys Apêl i Gymru. OAQ(4)0101(FM)

5. William Powell:What discussions has the First Minister had on decentralising the powers of the Court of Appeal to Wales. OAQ(4)0101(FM)

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The First Minister: I do not know what you mean by 'decentralising the powers of the Court of Appeal’. If you are suggesting that the Court of Appeal should sit in Wales when dealing with Welsh appeal cases, then I would agree with you on that. In fact, that is what the Court of Appeal has been doing over the past few years. However, if you are suggesting that there should be a separate Court of Appeal for Wales, then that question would be bound up in any future discussions about the creation of a legal jurisdiction.

William Powell: I thank the First Minister for that answer. It was, in fact, the former of his two interpretations that I meant in my question. I was particularly picking up on the comments made by the Honourable Mr Justice Roderick Evans, in his lecture last year at Swansea University, when he advocated this route. I ask the First Minister to use his influence to accelerate and facilitate the development of this work because of the benefits that would accrue with regard to access to justice for people across Wales in the language of their choice and, in addition, with regard to the regeneration potential and the career opportunities that would arise for the profession and associated professions across Wales, particularly in Cardiff and Caernarfon.

The First Minister: The professions have a chequered history when it comes to taking advantage of the courts that sit in Cardiff. The Mercantile Court, for example, has sat for many years in Cardiff, but is serviced almost entirely from Bristol, and the Administrative Court now has a full-time office in Cardiff, but, again, is frequently serviced by professionals from outside Wales. That has to change and I have made the point many times to the legal professions in Wales that they need to ensure that they have sufficient expertise to represent people in the courts that now have offices in Wales.

With regard to the Court of Appeal, it is absolutely right that the court sits in Wales as often as possible and when dealing with Welsh cases. In fairness, that has developed over the past few years, whereas, not so long ago, the Court of Appeal almost never sat outside London. Given the fact that it remains an England and Wales jurisdiction, it is right that the Court of Appeal should sit in Wales when dealing with Welsh cases.

Nick Ramsay: May I ask you more generally about the issue of a legal jurisdiction for Wales? You may be aware that the previous Lord Chancellor, Jack Straw, said that

'there are overwhelming arguments against a move towards separate jurisdictions. No one should underestimate the enormous practical implications.’

2.00 p.m.

First Minister, is it not the case that, unlike Scotland, Wales has no legal jurisdiction of its own, and that it operates as a distinct but not separate part of English law? Would you agree that, while there is a case for distinctness—my party put forward in our manifesto a case for a White Paper on how we can make the Welsh jurisdiction more distinct—we should recognise that Wales and Scotland are quite different, and should not seek a separate legal jurisdiction here?

The First Minister: Northern Ireland has an identical legal system, but it is a separate jurisdiction. It is possible for members of the profession here to practice there relatively freely, and vice versa. That would need to remain the case whatever happened in the future. This is the only part of the world where there is a legal jurisdiction in which there are two primary Parliaments or law-making bodies, and that is unsustainable in the long run. If there is a primary-law-making body, it makes sense to have a court system that regulates and enforces the laws that are passed by it. It cannot be right, as is the case now, for two people to come to court in Norwich, for example, in a case that is dealt with under Welsh law. Clearly, thought will need to be given to what any potential jurisdiction or quasi-jurisdiction might look like, while bearing in mind that the last thing that we should do is create a system of law in Wales that is so different and so separate that it is not possible for practitioners in England and Northern Ireland to practise here. That would not be the right way forward. However, there are serious issues that need to be addressed now given the fact that the Assembly has primary-law-making powers.

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Simon Thomas: Mae eich diddordeb yn y pwnc yn argoeli’n dda ar gyfer fy nadl fer ar ddiwedd y Cyfarfod Llawn—estynnaf groeso i bawb iddi. Mae’r Prif Weinidog wedi sôn am y ddwy agwedd ar ddatganoli yn y maes hwn: y swyddogaethau, a gweinyddu cyfiawnder yng Nghymru. Gwnaeth y Prif Weinidog lawer o waith yn y Llywodraeth flaenorol ar ddatganoli gweinyddu cyfiawnder, yn enwedig ym maes plant a phobl ifanc. A yw’n fwriad gan y Prif Weinidog fwrw ymlaen â datganoli’r system gyfiawnder, yn enwedig ym maes plant a phobl ifanc?

Simon Thomas: Your interest in this subject bodes well for my short debate at the end of this Plenary session—everyone is welcome. The First Minister has mentioned the two aspects of devolution in this area: functions and the administration of justice in Wales. The First Minister did a great deal of work in the previous Government on the devolution of the administration of justice, especially in the area of children and young people. Is it the First Minister’s intention to take that forward and to see the devolution of the justice system, particularly for children and young people?

Y Prif Weinidog: Mae hynny’n rhan o’r ddadl ynglŷn â’r system gyfreithiol yng Nghymru. Mae sawl rhan i’r ddadl honno; un rhan yw’r cwestiwn a ddylai Cymru fod yn wahanol yn gyfreithiol. Nid dyna’r sefyllfa ar hyn o bryd. Pe bai hynny’n digwydd, byddai’n rhaid cael system wahanol o weinyddu’r llysoedd yng Nghymru. Mae’r ddau beth yn cydredeg, yn fy marn i, a rhaid cael dadl ar y ddau beth ar yr un pryd.

The First Minister: That is part of the debate on the legal system in Wales. There are a number of elements to that debate; one of which is the question of whether Wales should be a distinct legal jurisdiction. That is not the situation at the moment. If that were to happen, we would need to have a different administration system for Welsh courts. Both issues run parallel to each other, in my opinion, and we must debate both together.

Blaenoriaethu Cynlluniau

Prioritise Initiatives

6. Julie Morgan:Pa gynlluniau sydd gan Lywodraeth Cymru y mae’r Prif Weinidog yn bwriadu eu blaenoriaethu i wella iechyd y cyhoedd yng Nghymru. OAQ(4)0097(FM)

6. Julie Morgan:What Welsh Government initiatives does the First Minister plan to prioritise to improve the public health of the people of Wales. OAQ(4)0097(FM)

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The First Minister: Our priorities are set out in our manifesto. We continue to tackle the public health priorities, such as smoking and obesity, which are important, and we are addressing health inequalities through our strategic action plan to reduce inequities in health.

Julie Morgan:I thank the First Minister for that reply. Could the First Minister outline the timetable for regulating the display of tobacco behind shop counters? I visited Ireland with the charity Action on Smoking and Health about 18 months ago, where a ban on tobacco displays behind the counter had been introduced; it had gone well and there were no problems. We all know how important that is in preventing young people from starting to smoke.

The First Minister: We remain committed to introducing regulations in Wales to ban the display of tobacco products at the pointof sale. There are ongoing legal challenges to the equivalent regulations in England, which inevitably have an impact on the timing of the Welsh regulations. We are following the legal challenges carefully, with a view to making the regulations as soon as possible, once the legal position is clear.

Mohammad Asghar: First Minister, obesity remains one of the biggest public health concerns in Wales. Figures from earlier this year suggest that Blaenau Gwent, in my region, is the second-hardest-hit area for obesity in Great Britain. Encouraging an active lifestyle is key in tackling the problem. I know that the Welsh Government’s walking and cycling action plan aims to secure a walking and cycling culture in Wales, which is essential. Sadly, some of the results of the initiative have been disappointing. During the last Assembly, Jane Davidson admitted that the lack of improvement in getting more adults to walk or cycle to work vexed her hugely. How will the Welsh Government tackle this issue during the fourth Assembly, given the impact that making progressin developing a walking and cycling culture can have on improving public health?While I am aware that the next monitoring report of this initiative is due shortly, what discussions will you have with the responsible Minister to ensure that the implementation of this initiative has greater success in Wales?

The First Minister: If people travel to work by walking or cycling, it is important that they find the experience pleasant and safe. That is not necessarily the case in all parts of Wales. I would advise you to listen carefully to the statement that I am to make in the Chamber later today, as it contains matters that may be of interest to you with regard to this issue.

Christine Chapman: In March, I mentioned in a debate the number of young people, some as young as 11 years of age, who consume alcohol. Some 7 per cent of boys and 4 per cent of girls in Wales said that they drink at least once a week. Recently, Alcohol Concern announced that a survey had found that there has been another rise in the number of young teenagers who have never had a drink. This news is encouraging, and I am pleased that the Welsh Government has included tackling alcohol as one of the five priorities for public health. In an attempt to discourage future alcohol abuse, what is the Government’s clear message with regard to alcohol and young people? Is the message one of zero tolerance towards alcohol use by young people, or is it about taking a much more continental approach, in which a moderate intake of alcohol is ingrained in society from an early age? Has the Welsh Government plans to do more to publicise the dangers of alcohol abuse among young people?

The First Minister: The evidence is clear from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, namely that children under the age of 15 should not drink alcohol. I think that it is important, however, that parents talk to their children to demystify alcohol. We know that, for teenagers, something that has an air of mystery can often become attractive. Certainly, with regard to substance misuse, our strategy includes a public awareness campaign based on guidance from the CMO to help parents to talk to their children about the risks associated with alcohol. Also, the all-Wales school liaison programme to tackle anti-social behaviour, substance misuse and issues of personal safety is being delivered in 98 per cent of schools.

Kenneth Skates:First Minister, the mental health charity Mind Cymru recently found that, across England and Wales, seven of the top 10 areas for the prescription of anti-depressants are here in Wales. We know that talking treatments are effective means of helping people to overcome emotional difficulties and that, crucially, combination therapies, in which drugs are prescribed alongside talking therapies, have proven to be exceptionally good. What work is the Welsh Government doing to tackle waiting lists for talking therapies and to improve access to such treatments?

The First Minister: One of our manifesto commitments was to undertake a review of access to a range of talking treatments in Wales. Work has been ongoing with a group of representatives from the health boards to seek to improve access to psychological services. This work will assist in taking forward those manifesto commitments.

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Tlodi Tanwydd

Fuel Poverty

7. Vaughan Gething:Beth y mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei wneud i fynd i’r afael â thlodi tanwydd yng Nghymru. OAQ(4)0089(FM)

7. Vaughan Gething:What is the Welsh Government doing to tackle fuel poverty in Wales. OAQ(4)0089(FM)

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The First Minister: Our proposals for tackling fuel poverty were set out in our fuel poverty strategy, which was published last year. Nest, our new fuel poverty programme, is a key action in the strategy. It started on 1 April and targets support for fuel-poor households.

Vaughan Gething: Everyone will by now be aware of the impact of the winter fuel allowance cut on pensioner households, but there is also the very recent announcement by energy companies that they will hike up fuel prices this year. This could see households pay up to an extra £190 a year. We know that improving energy efficiency is something that the Assembly could help to do something about, thereby helping those in fuel poverty. New homes are already more energy efficient, and they may be more so after building regulations are devolved to the Assembly. The biggest challenge is obviously in the older housing stock, which makes up much of my constituency. What steps will the Welsh Government take to ensure that as many households as possible access the funding support available to help homes to improve energy efficiency?

The First Minister:The scheme includes a number of actions to assist people, such as advice and support for householders to reduce fuel bills and to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and maximise their incomes, but it also contains help for householders who are in receipt of a means-tested benefit and live in an energy efficient home. There are also grants towards the cost of loft or cavity-wall insulation for some vulnerable householders. A number of actions are included in the Nest scheme to target those people who are most in need when it comes to fuel poverty.

Mark Isherwood:Nest’s predecessor, the home energy efficiency scheme, provided a partial grant of £500, which could be used for heating or insulation, to any person aged over 60. It could be combined with any other offer, including that from CERT, the carbon energy reduction target programme funded by utility companies. However, I am advised that, if people now ring up Nest, they are told that they cannot combine the funding available with CERT, with the consequence that they can no longer fully fund insulation for their homes. If they go for the Nest funding, I am told that they get something like £125 to £150. If they go for CERT, they get between £300 and £500, which in effect means that they do not go for Nest. Can you clarify whether this is correct and, if so, why? Will you look further at this apparent anomaly?

The First Minister: I will write to you with an answer to that question. It is a specific question that needs a detailed answer.

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Keith Davies: Yn ôl ffigurau diweddaraf Llywodraeth Cymru, mae dros 300,000 o deuluoedd mewn tlodi tanwydd. Ffigurau ar gyfer 2008 oedd y rhai hynny. Mae Llais Defnyddwyr Cymru wedi awgrymu y bydd 90,000 yn fwy o deuluoedd yn syrthio i dlodi tanwydd y gaeaf hwn oherwydd prisiau tanwydd uwch. Mae penderfyniad Nwy Prydain yr wythnos diwethaf i gynyddu prisiau yn tanlinellu tueddiad peryglus gan y chwe chwmni ynni mawr. O ystyried y cynnydd yn y pwysau ar gyllid i lawer o gartrefi yn fy etholaeth i, a yw’r Prif Weinidog yn cytuno bod system bresennol prisiau tariff yn drysu cwsmeriaid, yn enwedig y rhai sydd mewn perygl o dlodi tanwydd? A all y Prif Weinidog ein sicrhau y bydd Llywodraeth Cymru yn parhau i lobïo Ofgem i sicrhau’r fargen orau i ddefnyddwyr?

Keith Davies: According to the most recent figures from the Welsh Government, more than 300,000 families are in fuel poverty. Those are the figures for 2008. Consumer Focus Wales has suggested that 90,000 more households will fall into fuel poverty this winter because of higher fuel prices. The British Gas decision to increase its prices last week highlights a very concerning trend from the six major fuel companies. Does the First Minister agree that the current system of tariff prices is confusing for consumers, particularly those at risk of fuel poverty? Can the First Minister assure us that the Welsh Government will continue to lobby Ofgem to get the best deal for consumers?

Y Prif Weinidog: Mae’r system brisio bresennol yn rhy gymhleth o bell ffordd. Yr wythnos diwethaf, cafodd Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd a Datblygu Cynaliadwy gyfarfod gydag Ofgem, a thrafodwyd prisiau tariff yn y cyfarfod hwnnw. Mae Ofgem yn cytuno bod y system yn rhy gymhleth, ac mae’n gwthio’r cwmnïau ynni i ddelio â’r mater.

The First Minister: The current pricing system is far too complex. Last week, the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development met Ofgem, and the issue of tariffs was debated at that meeting. Ofgem agrees that the tariffs are too complex and it is now putting pressure on the energy companies to deal with this issue.

Simon Thomas: Mae llawer o gartrefi yng nghefn gwlad yn dibynnu ar danwydd sy’n cael ei gludo ar danceri—olew neu nwy—ac nid oes ganddynt fynediad at danwydd ar y rhwydwaith. Mae nifer o’r cartrefi hynny yn gartrefi i bensiynwyr. Maent yn wynebu dwy ergyd y gaeaf hwn—colli lwfans oherwydd penderfyniad y Ceidwadwyr a’r Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol yn San Steffan ynghyd â’r prisiau amrywiol ac uchel ar y farchnad rydd am danwydd sy’n cael ei gludo ar danceri. Pa gamau sy’n rhan o’r strategaeth a beth mae’r Prif Weinidog yn mynd i’w wneud fel arweinydd y Llywodraeth i sicrhau bod cymorth ar gael i bobl yng nghefn gwlad nad ydynt yn defnyddio’r dulliau traddodiadol o wresogi eu cartrefi, ond sy’n defnyddio olew a nwy a thanwydd sy’n cael ei gludo ar danceri?

Simon Thomas: Many homes in rural Wales are dependent on fuel—gas or oil—that is brought in by tankers, and do not have access to network energy. Many of those homes are pensioners’ homes. They are now facing two blows this winter—losing their allowance because of the decision taken by the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives in Westminster and the high and varied costs on the free market for tanker-borne fuel. What steps does the strategy contain and what is he going to do as the leader of this Government to ensure that assistance is available to people in rural areas who do not use the traditional means of heating their homes, but use oil, gas and fuels that are brought in by tanker?

Y Prif Weinidog: Ar hyn o bryd, mae prisiau olew yn cwympo, ond mae’n rhaid cofio eu bod yn rhy uchel. Mae’n bwysig sylweddoli bod hwn yn fater y mae Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig yn gyfrifol amdano. Y Llywodraeth honno benderfynodd dorri’r budd-dal hwn. Mae dyletswydd ar y Llywodraeth i sicrhau nad yw pobl ar eu colled oherwydd y penderfyniadau y maent yn eu gwneud.

The First Minister: At present, oil prices are falling, but we must remember that they are much too expensive. It is important to bear in mind that this comes under the jurisdiction of the UK Government. It was that Government that decided to cut the benefit. The Government is duty-bound to ensure that people in rural areas do not lose out because of the decisions that it has taken.

Polisïau

Policies

8. Angela Burns:Pa gamau y mae’r Prif Weinidog yn eu cymryd i sicrhau bod Llywodraeth Cymru a’i pholisïau yn agored ac yn dryloyw i bobl Cymru. OAQ(4)0092(FM)

8. Angela Burns:What steps is the First Minister taking to ensure the Welsh Government and its policies are open and transparent to the people of Wales. OAQ(4)0092(FM)

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The First Minister: We have for many years been committed to maximising openness and accountability through commitments made in our code of practice on access to information to proactively publish information such as Cabinet papers. Most recently, I announced a decision to publish details of payments made by the Welsh Government over £25,000.

Angela Burns: Thank you for that answer, First Minister. I listened very carefully to what you said to Ieuan Wyn Jones about the issue of modelling for fees of £9,000. In fact, he was not entirely correct because I have that information. However, with regard to the assumptions, they are not so well published. The Government says that disclosure of this information is considered to be likely to cause substantial harm to the formulation of Assembly Government policy, but it does not go on to say why. So, it is very hard for us to look at the assumptions to establish whether that £9,000 stacks up. Likewise, with regard to the TB debacle that has been going on—90 days or so before the last vote, it was absolutely fine, there has been no new evidence, but now it is not okay; neither decision was entirely transparent. So, I wonder, First Minister, how you will ensure that all portfolio holders practice transparency in their decision making so that we are able to carry out right and proper scrutiny, which your Government claims it is very keen to have happen.

2.15 p.m.

The First Minister: I believe that our transparency is second to none. So many papers and correspondence are disclosed, as are the figures regarding tuition fees that you mentioned. For many years, Cabinet meeting minutes have been made public and we are publishing details of any expenditure over £25,000; taken together, we have a very good record on transparency.

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Bethan Jenkins:Gydag adolygiadau ar gyfer y techniums, y strwythurau benthyciadau grant a’r byrddau cynghori sector—y gallent fod wedi dyfeisio polisïau, ond sydd yn awr wedi eu hisraddio i baneli sector—ar y gweill, a fedrwch amlinellu’r meddwl y tu ôl i’r symudiad yn y polisi hwn o wneud penderfyniadau sydd wedi arwain at rannau o’r rhaglen adnewyddu’r economi yn cael eu diystyru, eu hisraddio neu eu newid? A fydd hyn yn rhan o’ch datganiad y prynhawn yma ynghylch yr hyn y mae’r Llywodraeth yn mynd i’w wneud o ran datblygu’r economi yng Nghymru?

Bethan Jenkins: With reviews in the pipeline of the techniums, the structures for grant loans and sector advisory boards—which could have developed policies, but which have now been downgraded to sector panels—can you outline the thinking behind the movement in this policy of taking decisions that have led to parts of the economic renewal programme being ignored, downgraded, or changed? Will that be part of your statement this afternoon on what the Government will do in terms of developing the economy here in Wales?

Y Prif Weinidog: Nid yw’r sefyllfa wedi newid ers i’r Dirprwy Brif Weinidog a Gweinidogion Plaid Cymru fod yn y Llywodraeth. Felly, os oes beirniadaeth o’r hyn a ddigwyddodd cyn mis Mai, mae hynny’n feirniadaeth o’ch plaid chi.

The First Minister: The situation has not changed since the Deputy First Minister and the Plaid Cymru Ministers were in Government. Therefore, if you are criticising anything that occurred before May, then you are criticising your own party.

Setliad Cyllideb

Budget Settlement

9. Leanne Wood:A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog ddatganiad am y setliad cyllideb i Gymru gan Lywodraeth y DU. OAQ(4)0098(FM)

9. Leanne Wood:Will the First Minister make a statement on the budget settlement for Wales from the UK Government. OAQ(4)0098(FM)

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The First Minister: By 2014-15, the Welsh Government’s budget will decline by 12 per cent in real terms. Cuts to the capital budget will be especially severe, as there will be a real-terms reduction of 42 per cent.

Leanne Wood:Last week, a Joseph Rowntree Foundation study found that child poverty would need to fall four times faster than it has fallen over the last 10 years if the Welsh Government aim of eradicating child poverty by 2020 is to be realised. Almost one in four children in Wales is defined as living in poverty. When he was here earlier, David Cameron talked about respect. He also talked about the challenges faced by the Welsh economy. When you next have the opportunity, will you impress upon David Cameron the fact that decisions made by his Government, particularly its fast and savage budget cuts to the Assembly, are undermining your Government’s aims to eradicate child poverty and are undermining attempts to turn around the Welsh economy? Would you support a different devolution settlement for Wales, so that the UK Government would not be able to undermine Welsh Government policy in this way?

The First Minister: The points that I have made many times to the UK Government are as follows: there is a need to give the Welsh Government borrowing powers, to ensure fair funding for Wales and to investigate the issue of tax devolution. If there is to be a commission to do the latter, it needs to start work this autumn, with a view to reporting back by next autumn. We cannot have a commission that will take many years to report back, especially given the fact that the Holtham commission has done most of the work already. It is important that the Welsh public now sees progress on this so that we can develop a more suitable and fairer financial package for Wales.

Mick Antoniw: Does the First Minister agree that the recent interventions on funding by Plaid Cymru Members of Parliament in Westminster to use this issue to propose changes to the boundaries of existing Assembly seats and to the voting system by increasing the proportion of Assembly Members elected by a proportional system are unhelpful, contrary to the outcome of the recent referendum on proportional representation, and, furthermore, undermine devolution? Does he agree that these matters should be determined only with the consent of the Assembly, and that Plaid Cymru in Westminster should stop trying to manipulate the Assembly from London?

The First Minister: I do. The reality is that no party has a mandate to change the Assembly’s election system; no party mentioned the issue in manifestos, either for Assembly elections or Westminster elections. It would be wrong for this to be imposed upon Wales without the consent of this body as a whole. It would be wrong, as has been advocated by Jonathan Edwards, the Plaid Cymru MP, for this to be imposed on Wales from London; I find that an extraordinary and an amazing position for a Plaid Cymru MP to take. Should there be any changes to the electoral system of this institution, it is essential that, at least, there is the consent of this institution.

The Presiding Officer: I call on Byron Davies to speak and hope that his question is on the budget.

Byron Davies: Indeed, it is. Good afternoon, First Minister. I very much welcomed your constructive language following your meeting with the Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer last week. That refreshing approach, as you put it, must be in stark contrast to the 12 years of refusal to discuss or admit to any problem, given that an independent inquiry established by the previous Welsh Assembly Government warned in 2009 that the formula risked depriving Wales of £8.5 billion over a decade. It is also worth noting that, early into this fourth Assembly, the Prime Minister has announced a Calman-style commission to address these real concerns—a Cymru Calman. Do you now regret that this important funding issue for Wales was not taken seriously by the previous UK Government?

The First Minister: I remain to be convinced that there is a timetable in place for this Calman-style process. I welcome the commitment to a Calman-style process, but we need to ensure that there is a timetable in place. In my view, the process must begin this autumn and end after 12 months to ensure that we have a proposal in place that can be taken forward by the Assembly Government, this institution and the UK Government. We have had some good meetings and some warm words, but it is important that they are now translated into firm commitments with regard to a timetable.  

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Diweithdra Ymysg Pobl Ifanc

Youth Unemployment

10. Mark Drakeford:Pa asesiad sydd wedi’i wneud gan Lywodraeth Cymru o’r hyn sy’n achosi’r cynnydd mewn diweithdra ymysg pobl ifanc yng Nghymru. OAQ(4)0090(FM)

10. Mark Drakeford:What assessment has the Welsh Government made of the causes of the rise in youth unemployment in Wales. OAQ(4)0090(FM)

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The First Minister: The main factor behind increases over the last few years has been the recession. Tackling youth unemployment and supporting young people continues to be a priority for us as a Government.

Mark Drakeford: During the 1980s, when youth unemployment rose so rapidly in Wales, at least young people in that position had the comfort of knowing that, as far as the Government of the time was concerned, it was a price worth paying and something about which it had no regrets. The tone of voice may be different today, but the effect of Government policies at Westminster is no different, as we can see from the rapid rise in youth unemployment in Wales. Will you give an assurance that, as far as the Welsh Government is concerned, the unemployment of any Welsh young person is not a price that we would willingly pay, and that this Government will do everything that it can to address what surely is the single most urgent policy priority facing the fourth Assembly?

The First Minister: You are absolutely right. The level of youth unemployment is unacceptably high, and we have committed to establishing a Wales jobs fund, which will enable 4,000 young people to receive training or an apprenticeship. It will also ensure that the opportunities that were available under the Future Jobs fund continue to be available in Wales, despite the UK Government’s unfortunate decision to end the Future Jobs fund.

Darren Millar: First Minister, do you welcome the fact that the number of young people not in employment, education or training fell according to the most recent UK statistics? Do you accept that that number rose dramatically in Wales over the past 10 years, only one year during which time we had a UK coalition Government, with your party in Government in Westminster in the previous years? Given the fact that the Future Jobs fund failed to stem the rise in the number of NEETs in Wales and elsewhere in the UK, why are you pursuing such a failed policy again in this country?

The First Minister: The proportion of 16 to 18-year-olds who are NEET in Wales has remained about the same since the mid 1990s. The proportion of 19 to 24-year-olds who are NEET in Wales was falling until the recession, and has increased since. The policies being pursued by the UK Government will not help to reduce youth unemployment. We will ensure through the Wales jobs fund and the youth enterprise scheme that opportunities are made available for our young people, while those in the party opposite have no response to youth unemployment other than to shrug their shoulders.

Lindsay Whittle: First Minister, statistics show that disabled young people are four times as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled young people. For those in work, their earnings are less than those of non-disabled young people in comparable jobs. That goes against the important principle of equality of opportunity. First Minister, I am sure that you agree that that is totally unacceptable. Will you tell us how this problem is being addressed, and, in particular, with regard to the youth engagement and employment action plan, which was introduced by the Assembly Government in 2009 to tackle youth unemployment in Wales, can you provide any statistics to show what effect, if any, that that action plan has had on the level of youth unemployment in Wales?

The First Minister: The youth engagement and employment action plan was published in January this year, and it outlines our approach to preventing children and young people from disengaging from learning and supporting them with entry to the labour market. It is still a new scheme, but we are hopeful and confident that this scheme will help young people.

With regard to disabled young people, and disabled people in general, entering the labour market, I would not agree with a reduction in the minimum wage in order to make it easier to employ them, as was proposed by a member of the Conservative party.

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Addysg Ariannol

Financial Education

11. Ann Jones:Sut mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn bwriadu hyrwyddo addysg ariannol yn Nyffryn Clwyd. OAQ(4)0100(FM)

11. Ann Jones:How does the Welsh Government plan to promote financial education in the Vale of Clwyd. OAQ(4)0100(FM)

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The First Minister: We have set out our financial inclusion strategy, 'Taking Everyone into Account’. The programme of work being taken forward across Wales to support young people and adults in developing the knowledge and skills required to manage money effectively is being effective. We are keen to ensure that it is rolled out across Wales to help our young people to know how to handle money.

Ann Jones: Thank you very much for that response. I am pleased to see that action is being taken. Now more than ever it is important that people understand their finances. We have already seen savage cuts to the benefits of those who are perhaps more disadvantaged, who will not be able to understand and will fall prey to loan sharks offering loans with extortionate annual percentage rates. Will you ensure that, as a Government, you will continue to promote financial education at every opportunity to enable those people to have a full understanding of what loans from loan sharks and high annual percentage rates will do to them in the longer term?

The First Minister: The Government has a project funded by the European social fund, 'Reach the Heights’, which is designed to raise the aims and aspirations of young people, including those who are not in employment, education or training. Part of that project includes ensuring that young people develop the financial capability to exercise better control over their personal finances.

Mark Isherwood: The leader of the north Wales financial capability forum, Les Cooper, has recently stood down, after having been its leader for several years and a great champion of financial inclusion and capability. Will you join me in congratulating him on the work that he has done and thanking him for it? That work will now be carried forward by the forum under its new chair. Will you also tell me, in the context of the Communities and Culture Committee’s report, 'Financial Inclusion and the Impact of Financial Education’, about the action that your Government is taking to encourage financial organisations to fund financial education programmes? That was a recommendation accepted by the previous Minister. Reference was made, for example, to work by Marks & Spencer, Bank of America, Nationwide’s education resource, and Barclays Money Skills, and the potential to broaden that work in the future.

The First Minister: We are looking to see how we can put systems in place to develop our young people’s ability to deal with money. That also applies to adults, of course. With adults, the Money Advice Service is delivering the national UK strategy for financial capability, and we have been working with MAS to bring its financial capability, resources and expertise to Wales. We are also working with the credit unions to extend their activity and to ensure that all secondary school pupils in Wales, for example, have access to sustainable credit union services.

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Tai Cymdeithasol

Social Housing

12. Mike Hedges:Pa gynlluniau sydd gan y Prif Weinidog i ddelio â phrinder tai cymdeithasol yng Nghymru. OAQ(4)0099(FM)

12. Mike Hedges:What plans does the First Minister have to deal with the shortage of social housing in Wales. OAQ(4)0099(FM)

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The First Minister: Improving the supply of housing is one of the three priorities in our housing strategy. Our plans extend beyond using the social housing grant to build more affordable homes to bringing the many empty homes that can be seen in communities across Wales back into use.

Mike Hedges: Thank you for your response, First Minister. As you are well aware, some 90,000 households in Wales are on waiting lists for social housing, and there are an awful lot of people—our hidden homeless—who are moving around, staying in people’s spare bedrooms, hopping from house to house. 'Sofa surfing’ is one of the terms used for that, whereby someone does not have a home of their own, and it means that a number of those people disappear from the electoral registers in Wales. That, in itself, has an effect on funding for local authorities, as well as on the number of people that can take part in elections. What specific measures do you have to support local authorities and housing associations to bring more of the empty properties in Wales back into use?

The First Minister: We are promoting best practice and flexibility, ensuring that local authorities get advice and assistance to ensure that owners bring empty homes back into use. In addition, we are currently looking at the possibility of developing a loan scheme to provide additional funding for bringing empty properties back into use. We know that local authorities have a range of enforcement measures that they can use to bring these empty properties back into use. Five hundred and ninety-six empty homes were brought back into use during the year through direct action by local authorities.

2.30 p.m.

Mark Isherwood: I strongly support action on empty homes. In the first 12 years of devolution, approximately 12,000 new affordable homes—primarily social housing through housing associations—were delivered in Wales, compared to 28,000 in the last 12 years of Conservative government up to 1997. Your Government has now been given £12 million, related to the budget in England, under the Barnett consequential, for affordable housing for first-time buyers. Will you, or will you not, put that money towards the social housing grant in Wales, which you are cutting by a further 49 per cent? Can we have a categorical answer, and do you agree that that should be prioritised in this area, given the linkages between housing, health and wellbeing, educational attainment and economic activity?

The First Minister: Between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2010, a total of 6,707 affordable housing units were delivered, exceeding the 'One Wales’ target of 6,500. As you know, money is not hypothecated to the Welsh Government as a result of Barnett consequentials, and if there are any Barnett consequentials, it is for the Government to decide how that money is allocated. If that money is allocated elsewhere, then it is important that you indicate where the money should come from, and where the cuts should be made to pay for what you want.

Mick Antoniw: Does the First Minister agree that appropriate borrowing powers without Treasury penalty would enable the Welsh Government to engage in a far more extensive programme of building social housing than exists under the current regime, and that if we are to be able to make any significant inroads to the shortage of social housing, borrowing powers are essential?

The First Minister: They are essential for a number of reasons; housing is one and the transport infrastructure is another. There are great difficulties involved if Wales is the only part of the UK where it is not possible for the Government to borrow to finance large capital projects. It would mean that projects that could go ahead in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland could not go ahead in Wales because of a lack of such a power on the part of the Welsh Government. That would put us at a severe competitive disadvantage.

Peter Black: First Minister, the previous One Wales Government, over which you also presided, had a commitment to introduce the Welsh housing investment trust to tackle the shortage of affordable housing. Will you confirm whether your current Government maintains that commitment, and if so, will you tell us what progress has been made and when you envisage that trust being up and running?

The First Minister: We retain that commitment, and we are working to ensure that even at a time of difficult capital and revenue funding, we find a way to ensure that the Welsh housing investment trust becomes a reality.

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Neilltuo’r Refeniw A Gynhyrchir Gan Ffermydd Gwynt

Ring-Fencing Revenue Generated By Windfarms

13. Antoinette Sandbach: Pa ystyriaeth y mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi’i rhoi i neilltuo’r refeniw a gynhyrchir gan ffermydd gwynt yn yr Ardaloedd Chwilio Strategol. OAQ(4)0093(FM)

13. Antoinette Sandbach: What consideration has the Welsh Government given to ring-fencing revenue generated by windfarms within Strategic Search Areas. OAQ(4)0093(FM)

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The First Minister:It is important that any application for energy generation carries a significant community benefit.

Antoinette Sandbach:The Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development confirmed to me, when I asked him about ring-fencing the tens of millions that the Welsh Government will receive from windfarms, that, wherever possible, the Government would seek ways to ensure that communities benefit, particularly when there are very obvious impacts upon them. Given the considerable hardship and disruption to be faced by the communities affected either by the construction and operation of the TAN 8 windfarms, or the high-voltage grid connection, will you give a firm commitment to ring-fence the money generated to the public purse to invest in the communities whose quality of life will be reduced as a consequence of these developments?

The First Minister: These are not matters for us as a Government; these are non-devolved matters for the UK Government. I notice, however, that the talk is only about onshore windfarms; when it comes to other forms of energy, you are not interested. For example, the people of Port Talbot will tell you, as they have told me and others, that they see before them a gas-fired power station and biomass power stations, and feel equally as strongly in this regard. The question then is where does it all end; do you ring-fence all monies for particular areas, or do you contribute to the general pot that can be used for the benefit of all?

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Elin Jones: PrifWeinidog, gan mai dim ond o blaid datganoli grym dros ynni adnewyddadwy hyd at 100 MW yr ydych, a allwch egluro pam mae’n well gennych weld cais fel cais Nant-y-moch yn fy etholaeth i, sy’n 128 MW, a rhyw bump o geisiadau ffermydd gwynt eraill yn y Cymoedd a Phowys, sydd dros 100 MW, yn cael eu penderfynu gan Weinidog yn Llywodraeth San Steffan, yn hytrach na Gweinidog yn eich Llywodraeth chi?

Elin Jones: First Minister, as you are in favour of devolving responsibility for only those energy projects that are below 100 MW, can you explain why you would prefer an application such as that from Nant-y-moch in my constituency, which is 128 MW, and some five other windfarm applications in the Valleys and Powys, which have an output greater than 100 MW, being decided by a Minister in Westminster rather than by a Minister in your Government?

Y Prif Weinidog: Y peth cyntaf y dylem ei wneud yw sicrhau bod mwy o ddatganoli—hyd at 100 MW. Wedyn, dylem edrych eto ar  yr achos dros ddatganoli mwy o bwerau yn y dyfodol. Un maes lle na fyddem eisiau datganoli yw ynni niwclear. Dim ond un orsaf niwclear sydd gennym yng Nghymru, a byddai costau anferth pe bai’r maes hwnnw’n cael ei ddatganoli.

The First Minister: The first thing that we should do is to secure further devolution—up to 100 MW. We should then look again at the case for the devolution of further powers in the future. One area in which we would not want devolution is nuclear energy. We have only one nuclear station in Wales, and the costs would be huge if that area were devolved.

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Cydweithio

Joint Working

14. Nick Ramsay:A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog ddatganiad ar y cydweithio rhwng Llywodraeth y DU a Llywodraeth Cymru. OAQ(4)0088(FM)

14. Nick Ramsay:Will the First Minister make a statement on joint working between the UK and Welsh Governments. OAQ(4)0088(FM)

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The First Minister: We are committed to seeking the best outcomes for the people of Wales and we continue to work constructively with UK Government to that end.

Nick Ramsay: Thank you for that answer, First Minister. I am sure that you will agree that, following the Prime Minister’s excellent statement to the Chamber earlier today, it is excellent that the UK Government has made a commitment to delivering not just electrification of the Great Western line—which we did not have under 10 years of the previous Government—but also super-fast broadband. Given that the UK Government is providing £56.9 million to help to take broadband to everyone in Wales, how will you help, by working in partnership with UK Government, to see that the people of Wales receive the maximum benefit from this excellent commitment from the UK coalition Government?

The First Minister: We have just received the news, which we welcome. We have been working to deliver next-generation broadband to all homes in Wales by 2015. We made that commitment in our manifesto back in May and we welcome any extra funds that will help us to deliver that target. With regard to the commitment on electrification, it is not a new commitment, but one that was made some months ago. I now look forward to ensuring that we see progress on delivering a fair funding solution for Wales. That means that that work must start in the autumn and finish next year in order for there to be a proper and fair financial package for our country.

Cwestiwn Brys
Urgent Question

Cartrefi Southern Cross
Southern Cross Homes

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Lindsay Whittle: Yng ngoleuni’r datblygiadau diweddaraf, pa drafodaethau y mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi’u cael ynghylch lles y rhai sy’n byw mewn cartrefi sy’n cael eu rhedeg gan Southern Cross. EAQ(4)0019(HSS)

Lindsay Whittle: In view of the latest developments, what discussions has the Welsh Government had with regard to the welfare of residents in homes operated by Southern Cross. EAQ(4)0019(HSS)

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A civilised society is judged by the way that we care for the elderly and vulnerable, 1,800 residents—

The Presiding Officer: Order. You should just ask the question at this point.

The Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services (Gwenda Thomas): Thank you for that. My officials continue to be in close contact with the company over its plans while the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales is closely monitoring the quality and standard of care provided to ensure that they are not compromised while the company seeks to resolve its financial difficulties.

Lindsay Whittle: Thank you for that, Deputy Minister. I have read your statement. It says 'ooh’ and 'ah’ in all the right places, but I disagree with you. This is a matter for the Welsh Government, because it has a duty of care. Will you give an assurance that the Welsh Government will not follow the policy of the Westminster Government in proposing to offer up the various public services, including social care, to what amounts to a market economy of care? Will you please reassure Members that, should the situation deteriorate further with Southern Cross, the Assembly will be recalled during the recess to update Members fully?

Gwenda Thomas: Our way forward for social services is clearly set out in 'Sustainable Social Services for Wales’, which achieved a good degree of consensus across the Chamber. With regard to the recall of the Assembly, the statement outlined the position of the company. It did not say that Southern Cross is going into administration or that it would be closing any care homes during the transition period. I think that you would all agree that it is important to get that message out to residents, their families and the staff of Southern Cross homes. In the statement, Southern Cross provided an update that its landlords had made their intentions known to seek to provide care themselves in the future, either as an existing care provider or through a care provider, if they are not already one. The company reaffirmed its commitment to maintain the continuity of care in its homes.

Vaughan Gething: Thank you for that response and for your earlier statement, Deputy Minister. As you know, two Southern Cross homes are based within my constituency in Rumney and Butetown. You have spoken already of business continuity, but it is important that the staff that provide care are still available because that is part of the standard of care that residents receive—bonds are formed with those who provide care. I am also interested in what you have to say about discussions with the landlords. The GMB union has looked at where the landlords are based—many are in jurisdictions that are well-known tax havens and cannot be trusted to have the best interests of residents at heart. What contact have you had with landlords in Wales about their current intentions and how that impacts on the standard and quality of care that Southern Cross residents will continue to receive?

Gwenda Thomas: We have been in constant contact with Southern Cross and various stakeholders. You mentioned business continuity and I agree that that is very important to avoid disrupting the lives of vulnerable elderly people. Therefore, we will not be taking any precipitate action. The issues affecting Southern Cross are unique, but we are confident that the plan Southern Cross has to move to a planned, managed and consensual transfer of the operations of its homes to other care home providers will ensure the continuity of care. As regards staffing, Vaughan, I agree that we cannot value the input and commitment of staff enough. Staff provide quality care, and Southern Cross has confirmed that staff based in care homes will transfer to any new provider on their current terms of employment and it is writing to staff with the details. It is too soon to speculate as to what may happen when new providers have had a period of operating their new homes.

Janet Finch-Saunders: The financial issues of one provider—even such a large company—must not be allowed to undermine the principle of independent care provision. Public sector organisations can fail too. It is important to ensure that there are appropriate checks and balances in place and that people can always access the services that they need. Good or effective public services should have a range of providers, including the independent sector, which offers diversity and choice. Deputy Minister, what consideration have you given to ensuring that checks and balances are in place to protect the residents of care homes in the future, in particular in north Wales?

Gwenda Thomas: As regards Southern Cross and its funding, we would not wish to be involved in any financial negotiations or arrangements regarding the company. We are concerned with the public service provided to the residents concerned and seeing restructuring of the company proceeding in a planned and orderly way to ensure a satisfactory outcome for residents and their families. I am sure that you will have noted that I have made clear my intention to set up a task group to look at the future provision of care and accommodation in Wales, and I think that that is the way forward.

Peter Black: Deputy Minister, you will know that there are a number of Southern Cross homes in my region. The transition process is going to be particularly difficult and will involve the careful attention of each local authority social services department to ensure that staff are protected and that residents receive assurances and are able to remain in their homes. How are you liaising with each of the local authorities involved to ensure that they are paying due attention to this and are able to provide assurances to staff and to the residents of the homes.

Gwenda Thomas: I have met the Welsh Local Government Association and the Association of Directors for Social Services. We have sought to ensure that there are robust contingency plans in place. Local government has responded to that across Wales. As regards the protection of residents’ needs, the Welsh Government has issued statutory guidance escalating concerns about the closure of care homes and providing services for adults, which was issued in 2009, and has reinforced the statutory duty placed on local authorities and local health boards to ensure that residents’ needs are protected.

2.45 p.m.

Jeff Cuthbert:I speak as the Assembly Member for the Caerphilly constituency. I do so because there are six Southern Cross homes in my constituency, which I believe is the largest number in any constituency in Wales. It is right to stress the concerns of residents and their families, but I would suggest that they have been well articulated, and my particular concerns are to do with the staff. I am pleased to see that TUPE will be applied, but I hope that the staff in those six homes, who are, in the main, my constituents, can be reassured at this time of great worry that the Welsh Government has their best interests at heart, will keep a close eye on the situation and would be prepared to work with the trade unions and that, if necessary, the provisions of ReAct II would apply.

Gwenda Thomas: Thank you for that, and for your commitment to the welfare and concerns of the workforce, which is well known. I have, in reply to Vaughan Gething, outlined the position with regard to the staffing of homes and, as you say, the staff would be protected during this transitional period in accordance with TUPE arrangements. We will be keeping a close eye on this: the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales will look at the quality of care provided by Southern Cross, and we will continue our open and regular dialogue involving my officials, the UK Government and the company.

Bethan Jenkins: Minister, with regard to the task and finish group that you will be setting up, I urge you to ensure that it looks into the future prospects of care homes, and how they are run in Wales. We have councils that are currently looking to privatise care homes and it is not a unique case—other areas of Wales are looking into this very situation. I therefore urge you to look at this, because I do not think that we can look at Southern Cross in isolation, and I do not think that you adequately responded to my colleague Lindsay Whittle in this regard.

Gwenda Thomas: I agree that we have to look at all aspects of this. I think that you are referring to market stability and, of course, the task group will look at the absolute need for that. It is already the case that the regulation of care providers under the Care Standards Act 2000 includes considering their financial ability to offer care. That said, the experience of Southern Cross has raised important questions, as you say, both in terms of commissioning and the regulation of services. We will, as part of our social services reforms, be examining what steps need to be taken to develop a better understanding of commercial risk, and what changes need to be made both in relation to commissioning practice and the regulatory framework to manage this. Of course, as you say, I have announced the setting up of a task group to examine the future care and accommodation needs of older people in Wales.

Datganiad a Chyhoeddiad Busnes
Business Statement and Announcement

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The Minister for Finance and Leader of the House (Jane Hutt): I have two changes to make to this week’s business. The First Minister’s statement on the Government’s legislative programme later this afternoon will be extended by 30 minutes so that it will now run for 90 minutes. The Minister for Education and Skills will make a statement to Plenary tomorrow afternoon following the publication of a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education and Training in Wales, Estyn, on Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s education services. Business for the three weeks following recess is shown on the business statement and announcement that can be found among the agenda papers available to Members electronically.

Darren Millar: I wonder whether we could have a statement from the Minister for Health and Social Services on the future of maternity and neonatal services in Wales. Your Government has promised to focus on delivery and, of course, this relates to delivery of quite a different kind. There is concern over the future of consultant-led maternity services at a number of hospitals in Wales, not least in north Wales, at those hospitals that serve my constituents. This is also the case in west Wales and I visited Withybush hospital just last week with the leader of the opposition. I understand that a debate is to take place after the summer recess, but some clarity on the future of maternity services is certainly needed in some parts of Wales at the moment.

Jane Hutt: You clearly welcome the fact that a debate has been tabled on maternity and neonatal services, and of course good work has already been done. We have worked with a range of organisations, including the Royal College of Midwives, to develop our maternity neonatal plans and to continue to enhance services for the benefit of mothers and babies. Indeed, £2 million-worth of Welsh Government funding has gone into improving the care for sick and premature babies, which improves clinical safety and neonatal intensive care services.

Jenny Rathbone: Could the Minister tell us how it might be possible to keep Members informed about matters relating to Southern Cross during the recess? We are reassured by the Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services’ statement, but it is important that, during the recess, we are kept informed as to what the Welsh Government is doing to protect the interests of these vulnerable residents.

Jane Hutt: This important point has been raised by Members across the Chamber. I know that the Deputy Minister will want to ensure that Members are kept informed. I can assure the Member for Cardiff Central that that is something that we will be taking into account as Ministers.

Bethan Jenkins: Would the Welsh Government be able to provide us with a statement as to whether it will have any input into the regulatory pathway that exists with regard to the BSkyB saga, which has now been referred to the Competition Commission? Sky broadcasts in Wales, although it does not take much interest in Wales. I would like to know what the Welsh Government will be doing, given that we may not be able to have as much input as we would have liked to that process during the recess period.

In addition, could the Welsh Government tell us whether it intends to comment on the UK Government’s statement yesterday on removing the reference to S4C from Schedule 4 of the Public Bodies Bill to a new statutory funding clause, which would amend how S4C is funded? Does the Government intend to take part in consultation on that?

Jane Hutt:The fact that the First Minister met the Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt when he went to London to meet the Chancellor, and that S4C was on that meeting’s agenda, is important in terms of our responsibility. There will be no shortage of news over the summer months with regard to the other matters that you raised, which are not devolved.

Peter Black: You know that there is some concern when the Minister for Education and Skills makes statements and speeches outside the Chamber rather than to Assembly Members. I note that a speech will be made tonight by the Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage on the housing, regeneration and heritage agenda for the fourth term. Given that Members would like to quiz the Minister on his views on that agenda, are you likely to schedule a statement from that Minister on these subjects, so that we will be able to deal with those in the sort of detail that we would like to?

Jane Hutt: The Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, as a Minister in the Cabinet, is driving forward the Wales programme of government. I am pleased that housing is a priority, not just in terms of Cabinet support, but in terms of the work that the Minister is now doing in engaging with stakeholders and answering questions in this Chamber, not only during question time, but in terms of statements made.

Mark Isherwood: I call for a Welsh Government statement on respite care, following the figures that were obtained and published last week from 21 of the 22 local authorities—excluding Anglesey—which showed that nine of the Welsh local authorities had reduced how much they plan to spend. I know that you fully appreciate that respite care is essential for carers who need to take a break from caring for their families and loved ones. That statement could include reference to the role that the broader third sector in communities can play, given the workshops delivered last October and November in Bala and Cardiff by the Wales participatory budgeting unit for the Social Services Improvement Agency in Wales on devolving proportions of respite care budgets in Wales. Those workshops were attended by 14 local authorities, Disability Wales and others who were impressed by the solutions that could be delivered, which were identified by carers themselves and proposed by service users, rather than service providers, and could make existing funds go further.

Jane Hutt: I know that Mark Isherwood would recognise that the important role that respite care plays in supporting individuals and families is at the top of the Government’s agenda. We are demonstrating that by protecting the social services budget and through the local government settlement, and funding for social services will increase in cash terms by £35 million by 2013-14. As Mark Isherwood said, it is a matter for local authorities to ensure that they have the necessary respite placements. It is about consulting, as we have done, on improved access to respite care, and we are considering responses from local authorities.

Andrew R.T. Davies: Minister for Finance and Leader of the House, the First Minister commissioned a report from the Food Standards Agency into food hygiene as a result of the findings of the Pennington inquiry and Consumer Focus Wales’s progress report, which was presented here in the Assembly some 12 or 18 months ago. I understand that the Food Standards Agency’s report arrived in the First Minister’s department in May. Are you aware of any intention on the part of the First Minister, or, indeed, of the Welsh Government as a whole, to make a statement about the report and the actions that the Government might take given that it is now in possession of it? If you are unaware of such an intention, could you write to me to let me know how the report will be dealt with in Government departments?

Jane Hutt: This is a cross-cutting matter for a number of Ministers, and I will ask the First Minister to report on the progress that has been made following the receipt of the report.

Nick Ramsay: I am sure that the Leader of the House is aware that, last week—I think it was last Tuesday—a very successful event was held in the Pierhead building, which was the launch of the report on Parkinson’s. It was attended by a large number of Assembly Members. I sat at a table with Gwyn Price and the Plaid Cymru Member for South Wales East. We were most concerned to hear that, with regard to service provision for Parkinson’s patients, throughout south-east Wales there is only one dedicated nurse. Following on from what Lindsay Whittle, Gwyn Price and I heard there, could the Minister for health make a statement about the action that is being taken and the guidance that is being given to the Aneurin Bevan Local Health Board to see that everything is being done to ensure that sufferers of Parkinson’s disease in south-east Wales have equal access to the treatment that they require? Although Parkinson’s is an incurable condition, having a dedicated Parkinson’s nurse as opposed to a normal nurse can make a huge difference to the quality of life of a Parkinson’s sufferer.

Jane Hutt: The Member for Monmouth will know that this is an area of concern for Assembly Members across the Chamber. We have the Wales care pathways, which were proposed by the Welsh neuroscience expert group. That was done as part of an independent review, which recommended that the generic characteristics that local health boards need to ensure are embedded in the care pathways include Parkinson’s disease. The Wales care pathways were published in August 2010. It is for Members to ensure that they are kept up to date by their health boards on the delivery of those important care pathways.

Cynnig i Gymeradwyo Cyllideb Atodol
Motion to Approve a Supplementary Budget

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Cynnig NDM4748 Jane Hutt

Motion NDM4748 Jane Hutt

Cynnig bod y Cynulliad, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 20.30, yn cymeradwyo’r Gyllideb Atodol ar gyfer y flwyddyn ariannol 2011-12, a osodwyd yn y Swyddfa Gyflwyno ac a e-bostiwyd at Aelodau’r Cynulliad ddydd Mawrth 21 Mehefin 2011.

To propose that the Assembly, in accordance with Standing Order 20.30, approves the Supplementary Budget for the financial year 2011-12 laid in the Table Office and emailed to Assembly Members on Tuesday, 21 June 2011.

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The Minister for Finance and Leader of the House (Jane Hutt): I move the motion.

It is our usual practice to have two in-year supplementary budgets each year, and I am continuing with that arrangement this year. I laid the first supplementary budget on 21 June. The main purpose of this supplementary budget is to align 2011-12 budget structures with the changes to ministerial portfolios and responsibilities that were announced by the Welsh Government in May. It is worth noting, however, that the changes are entirely structural and have no impact on the total resources that are allocated overall to Welsh Government departments as set out in the final budget that was approved by the Assembly in February.

The supplementary budget also makes a small number of allocations from reserves that have been agreed since the final budget was approved by the Assembly in March. This includes an additional £21.5 million to cut orthopaedic waiting times this year and £5 million for Adapt, which is a scheme to help the public sector to meet workforce challenges. A total of £18.4 million has been allocated to environment and sustainable development for animal health and welfare, and £200,000 has been allocated to central services and administration for running costs associated with the devolution of animal health and welfare.

Finally, £8.8 million has been allocated for the cost of the Assembly elections, and £150,000 has been allocated to the National Botanic Garden of Wales. These changes are an uplift in departmental allocations as set out in the final budget. Other changes include adjustments to our resource and capital baselines as a result of consequentials and transfers received since the final budget and revised annually managed expenditure forecasts.

3.00 p.m.

An explanatory note providing a detailed description of all of these changes, along with a detailed schedule of budget transfers, was published alongside the budget motion. Bringing forward a supplementary budget now, rather than waiting until later in the year to include those changes in a single supplementary budget, which would be after the draft budget, will, I hope, ensure greater transparency of the changes to budget structures in line with ministerial portfolios. Restating the indicative allocations for 2012-13 and 2013-14, based on the new structure, will also, I hope, help to facilitate scrutiny of next year’s draft budget.

Finally, I thank the Assembly’s Finance Committee for its scrutiny of the supplementary budget and for its report, which was published last week. As I said at the committee, I very much value its role in scrutinising budget proposals. I welcome the committee’s positive comments, particularly on the presentation of the supplementary budget and the constructive suggestions for further improving transparency.

I also welcome the committee’s position on the new budget exchange system, which replaces the end-year flexibility scheme. It is essential that the new system fully recognises the realities of devolution and the responsibilities of the devolved administration to deliver for the people of Wales. Under the new system, we would have to notify the UK Government of any planned underspend by November each year. In 2010-11, we ensured that we maximised the use of our resources, and we achieved our best ever outturn against budget. Provisional figures show that we underspent by a small residual amount of £3.5 million in capital and nearly £19 million in revenue. This relatively small underspend, which equates to only 0.14 per cent of revenue and 0.2 per cent of capital, is a credit to strong financial management within the Welsh Government, and we feel that this is money that we should be able to retain. Under the new scheme, this is money that we would lose.

The Ministers for finance of the devolved administrations share our concerns, and we will be pressing for greater flexibility in how the scheme operates at our quadrilateral meeting on Thursday.

Ieuan Wyn Jones: I do not have any substantial questions on the supplementary budget. As I think the Minister has indicated, this is an exercise that needs to take into account the new ministerial portfolios, together with the allocation of resources that had been agreed by the previous Government.

I have two short questions. In committee, you gave us an indication that the changes to the way in which student finance is to be calculated are the result of changes in the way that the Treasury calls for those payments to be shown in the accounts. Can you confirm that that will not impact in cash terms on your budget? Also, do the announcements that have now been made on the issue of student fees call for you to revisit some of your projections for spending in future years?

Jane Hutt: As Ieuan Wyn Jones said, the supplementary budget is mainly administrative in nature. It is important that we align the budget structures to the changes in ministerial portfolios before we publish a draft budget.

I replied to the Chair of the Finance Committee, Jocelyn Davies, on the matter of student finance on 7 July. I can confirm that the change is technical in nature; there will be no impact on student finance. There is an annex to indicate this—

The Presiding Officer: Order. This is a debate on a motion, and not a statement. I call Mike Hedges.

Mike Hedges: I welcome the supplementary budget. The importance of making full use of available resources is something that the Minister appears to have recognised, and it is something that I hope will be carried forward. The alignment with ministerial portfolios will make the budget transparent to scrutiny by the Finance Committee and the Assembly. Will the Minister ask the Minister for Local Government and Communities to ask local authorities to do the same things when they change their budgets, to make them easier to scrutinise?

I strongly support the transfer of £21.5 million targeted funding to reduce waiting times for orthopaedic services. It is something that I believe will be of great benefit to my constituents. I also strongly support the transfer of £5 million in respect of funding for Adapt, the career transition single point of contact service. These are examples of using resources for the benefit of the people of Wales, and I strongly support the motion.

Peter Black: I also support the motion. The supplementary budget is largely a technical one. I just want to reinforce the point that the Minister made in relation to what used to be known as end-year flexibility. It is important that the Assembly once again reaffirms the need for the Welsh Government to have the flexibility to carry money forward. The committee had a particular concern about the deadlines that were being imposed by the Westminster Government with regard to when the Government here needed to decide whether money should be carried forward. There was unanimity in the Finance Committee that that needed to be later in the financial year, to give the Welsh Government some flexibility, and that the current deadline was very difficult to work with and could well lead to underspends—money that would not be spent and that would have to be returned to Westminster. That point needs to be underlined and sent back to Westminster. I am happy, on behalf of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, to add my voice to that concern.

The only question that I have for the Minister—I know that this is a motion and not a statement, but perhaps she can address it in her summing up—relates to whether there might be a need for a further supplementary budget with regard to the announcement yesterday on setting tuition fees of £9,000 as opposed to the limit of £7,000 on which the Government’s calculations have been based. Given that the Government used the figure of £7,000 to ensure that its sums added up, the fact that we are now looking at an average of about £8,800 means that further moneys may need to be found. Can the Minister confirm whether a further transfer will be necessary? If so, is she likely to be bringing back another supplementary budget or will she incorporate that in the second supplementary budget of this financial year?

Nick Ramsay: The Welsh Conservatives will be supporting the supplementary budget. As the Minister for Finance has said in comments to the Finance Committee and in the Chamber today, and as we recognise, this is a broadly technical supplementary budget, in part due to the realignment of portfolios. Following on from previous comments—I am also probably treating this like a statement; I will try to 'motionise’ it—I have two questions that I would like the Minister to respond to in summing up. The one recommendation of the committee was that steps be taken to improve transparency and presentation of the budget. Can you clarify, Minister, how you intend to improve transparency? Although good steps have been taken, there is still some way to go.

Secondly, with regard to a point that has been broadly made by Peter Black about the issue of the new budget exchange system by which we access money that has been underspent, in previous years, the Finance Committee has often criticised end-year flexibility and suggested that it could be done better. However, there are clearly issues with the new budget exchange system, primarily, as Peter Black has said, with regard to the fact that the Welsh Government has to notify the Treasury of underspends so far in advance. You have told the Finance Committee that you intend to enter a dialogue with the Westminster Government about the ability to access this money to ensure that it is not lost. In summing up, can you tell us what progress you have made in that dialogue with the Westminster Government and how you think underspends can be protected? It is on both sides that we need to make progress. It is not just a case of the Westminster Government accepting that the current system is not perfect; we need the Welsh Government to put forward a coherent case so that we ensure, as Peter Black said, that we are able to access those underspends in difficult financial times.

Julie Morgan: I also wish to express concern about Wales and the Welsh Government being treated in the same way as a UK Government department with regard to the budget exchange system. Most of the comments that I was going to make have already been made, but it is obvious that the Welsh Government will clearly be disadvantaged if planned underspends are to be agreed in November. As the Finance Committee’s report says, public expenditure is volatile and November is very early to make a decision about planned underspends. So, I urge the Minister to continue that struggle.

The Minister for Finance and Leader of the House (Jane Hutt): I thank Members who have contributed. I have provided clarification on Ieuan Wyn Jones’s point on the technical nature of the provision of student loans; the issue is also highlighted in the letter to the Chair of the Finance Committee. I wish to reassure Ieuan Wyn Jones and Peter Black that we are confident in our costings on tuition fees up to 2016-17. We have done considerable financial modelling to ensure that these pioneering changes are sustainable. There is no indication that a further supplementary budget would be needed.

Peter Black: Thank you for taking an intervention. The costings that were published when the announcement was made were based on a figure of £7,000. Have you reworked your costings? If so, when will they be published? Are you going to have to carry out further costings?

June Hutt: In his response to questions, the First Minister provided an assurance that we would give an update on the financial modelling; that will be shared with the Assembly as appropriate.

I also thank Nick, Peter and Julie for making clear their support for negotiations on the negative impact that the new budget exchange system would have on flexibility. I will be discussing this on Thursday with fellow Ministers for finance at our quadrilateral meeting. As Julie Morgan pointed out, we should not be treated like another Whitehall department. I am grateful to Mike for his recognition that the transfer of £21.5 million in orthopaedic funding will make a difference to the lives of people in Wales; that is part of an allocation of £63 million that we will make over the next three years to improve orthopaedic services.

The Presiding Officer:The question is that the motion be agreed. Are there any objections? I see that there are none. In accordance with Standing Order No. 12.36, I therefore declare the motion agreed.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Motion agreed.

Cynigion i Gymeradwyo Gorchymyn (Diwygio) Gorchymyn Eithrio Contractau Adeiladu (Cymru a Lloegr) 1998 (Cymru) 2011 a Rheoliadau Rheoliadau Cynllun Contractau Adeiladu (Cymru a Lloegr) 1998 (Diwygio) (Cymru) 2011
Motions to Approve the Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Exclusion Order 1998 (Amendment) (Wales) Order 2011 and the Scheme for Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Regulations 1998 (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2011

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The Presiding Officer:It is proposed under Standing Order No. 12.24 that these two items be debated together, but voted on separately, unless any Member objects. I see that there are no objections.

Y Cofnod

Cynnig NDM4781 Jane Hutt

Motion NDM4781 Jane Hutt

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 27.5:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 27.5:

Yn cymeradwyo bod y fersiwn ddrafft o’r Gorchymyn Hepgor Contractau Adeiladu (Cymru) 2011 yn cael ei llunio yn unol â’r fersiwn ddrafft a osodwyd yn y Swyddfa Gyflwyno ar 21 Mehefin 2011.

Approves that the draft The Construction Contracts (Wales) Exclusion Order 2011 is made in accordance with the draft laid in the Table Office on 21 June 2011.

Cynnig NDM4782 Jane Hutt

Motion NDM4782 Jane Hutt

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 27.5:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 27.5:

Yn cymeradwyo bod y fersiwn ddrafft o’r Rheoliadau Rheoliadau Cynllun Contractau Adeiladu (Cymru a Lloegr) 1998 (Diwygio) (Cymru) 2011 yn cael ei llunio yn unol â’r fersiwn ddrafft a osodwyd yn y Swyddfa Gyflwyno ar 20 Mehefin 2011.

Approves that the draft The Scheme for Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Regulations 1998 (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2011 is made in accordance with the draft laid in the Table Office on 20 June 2011.

Y Cofnod

The Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development (John Griffiths): I move the motions.

I welcome this opportunity to introduce the two statutory instruments before you. The Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 sought to address common co-ordination failures between contractors. It gave parties to a construction contract the right to refer a dispute to adjudication, provided entitlement to stage payments and required that contracts should have an adequate mechanism for dealing with what should be paid and when. Where construction contracts do not comply with these requirements, the relevant provisions of the Scheme for Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Regulations 1998 applied. Part 8 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 followed extensive consultation undertaken jointly by the Welsh, Scottish and Whitehall Governments with industry stakeholders in 2005 and 2007. It amended the 1996 Act, where weaknesses had been identified to deal with common areas of disputes, to reduce burdens and to yield cost savings to both contractors and subcontractors. These amendments were passed in primary legislation in 2009 and are to be accompanied by related changes to secondary legislation. These changes are the subject of the two statutory instruments that we are considering today, and equivalent instruments are to be made in Scotland and England.

The changes proposed in the Scheme for Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Regulations 1998 (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2011are intended to increase transparency and clarity over payments to assist management of cash flow and encourage the parties to resolve disputes by adjudication wherever that is appropriate.

3.15 p.m.

The Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Exclusion Order 1998 (Amendment) (Wales) Order 2011 is intended to supplement the Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Exclusion Order 1998. The 2009 Act supplements the 2006 Act’s prohibition of 'pay when paid’ clauses. It does this by preventing contracts from making payment conditional on the performance of an obligation under another contract. The 1998 exclusion Order already excludes private finance initiative contracts from the relevant provisions of the 1996 Act. The new exclusion Order supplements that by excluding construction subcontracts entered into by the non-public body party to a PFI contract from the provision of the 1996 Act.

PFI construction contracts are different from general construction contracts. The contract is often a standard one, developed by Government, which addresses issues of clarity and certainty of payment. Different incentives exist in PFI contracts. The construction contractor is, in almost all cases, part of a PFI special purpose company. Excluding PFI subcontracts from the provision of the 1996 Act removes the need to provide a contingency for funding a payment from a special purpose company to the construction contractor, which reduces the amount of capital required by the special purpose company.

The Presiding Officer: Thank you for that clarity, Minister. [Laughter.]

Andrew R.T. Davies: Yes, thank you for that clarity, Minister. We do not object to the regulations before us, but I understand that the Government undertook a consultation exercise between March and May of this year, and that its outcomes were due to be published on the Government’s website by 24 June. Sadly, no such consultation outcomes have appeared on the website. So, while I take everything that you said at face value, Minister, it is a little difficult if those consultation outcomes have not appeared so that they could have been read with vigour and any issues that came up could have been raised. Therefore, I ask you take note of that, inform us of what went wrong, and ensure that it does not happen again.

John Griffiths: There has been extensive consultation on the changes that the statutory instruments will bring, and the response has been very positive. So, this has been generally welcomed in the industry, but I take on board the comments that Andrew R.T. Davies made. I will look into those matters and ensure that they are rectified.

The Presiding Officer:The proposal is to agree the motion to approve the Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Exclusion Order 1998 (Amendment) (Wales) Order 2011. Are there any objections? I see that there are none. In accordance with Standing Order No. 12.36, I therefore declare that motion agreed.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Motion agreed.

The Presiding Officer:The proposal is to agree the motion to approve the Scheme for Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Regulations 1998 (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2011. Are there any objections? I see that there are none. In accordance with Standing Order No. 12.36, I therefore declare that motion agreed.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Motion agreed.

Cynnig i Gymeradwyo Rheoliadau Trwyddedu Amgylcheddol (Cymru a Lloegr) (Diwygio) 2011
Motion to Approve the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2011

Y Cofnod

Cynnig NDM4783 Jane Hutt

Motion NDM4783 Jane Hutt

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 27.5:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 27.5:

Yn cymeradwyo bod y fersiwn ddrafft o’r Rheoliadau Trwyddedu Amgylcheddol (Cymru a Lloegr) (Diwygio) 2011 yn cael ei llunio yn unol â’r fersiwn ddrafft a osodwyd yn y Swyddfa Gyflwyno ar 21 Mehefin 2011.

Approves that the draft The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 is made in accordance with the draft laid in the Table Office on 21 June 2011.

Y Cofnod

The Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development (John Griffiths): I move the motion.

The regulations that we are debating today amend the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. The environmental permitting regime requires businesses in Wales that may cause pollution to apply to the Environment Agency or to local authorities for an operating permit. These permits impose limits on emissions to air, water and land and impose conditions on the operation of those businesses.

This environmental permitting regime aims to replace a range of different environmental licensing and permitting regimes that had grown up over time with a single effective and coherent permitting system. The first elements of this came into force in Wales and England in April 2008 and brought together pollution prevention and control permitting with waste management licensing into a single piece of legislation. The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 took this further and added other waste, water and radioactive substances regulations.

The environmental permitting regime has streamlined the procedural parts of this highly technical and complex legislation. It has enabled the simplification of the operation of the permitting system without compromising environmental or human health standards. This environmental permitting regime also transposes and enacts, in whole or part, a significant number of European directives.

The regulations that we are considering today take this forward in two areas: first, in updating the radioactive substances exemption Orders, and, secondly, in the transposition of the carbon capture and storage directive. The provisions relating to the regulation of radioactive substances in the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 were to provide a more modern, transparent and user-friendly system for the regulation of radioactive substances, while, at the same time, strictly applying the best standards of radiation protection. The new regulations add to that by considerably simplifying and updating the often complex system of regulation that applies to the use of some radioactive substances and which has hardly changed over the past 50 years. That will be particularly important for those users of radioactive substances that present a very low risk to human health and the environment, while, at the same time, fully maintaining the necessary level of protection.

These amendments update and bring in a new regulatory framework for the 18 exemption Orders that define the levels of radioactivity that are exempt from permitting. They replace 18 statutory instruments, mostly dating from the 1960s and written in archaic language, with a single modern, logical exemption provision in the environmental permitting regulations. The new exclusion and exemption levels are underpinned by rigorous radiological assessments by the European Union and by the UK’s Health Protection Agency.

Where we have relaxed limits, that reflects the low toxicity of the radioactivity concerned, and, where we have had to tighten limits, that reflects the need to comply with modern radiological protection standards. We expect more users of radioactive substances to fall out of regulation than to come into it, therefore, the overall impact should be deregulatory. We estimate a saving of up to £1 million to stakeholders who require an operating permit.

The new regulations will meet modern requirements of practicality, durability, flexibility, legal robustness, and a proportionate, risk-informed regulatory approach for stakeholders. They will also demonstrate clearer compliance with the European Union basic safety standards directive than the present legislation. In addition, for the first time since 1982, the revised regime will be supported by clear guidance. Stakeholders and regulators have welcomed the changes.

The carbon capture and storage directive is a significant strand in our means of mitigating the contribution of fossil fuel emissions to global warming. The process is based on capturing carbon dioxide gases from large point sources, such as fossil fuel power plants, and storing it in such a way that it does not enter the atmosphere. The captured carbon dioxide can then be injected into geological formations. Pilot installations are beginning to come online as this technology develops. It is important that these technologies, which mitigate climate change, do not cause pollution to the local environment. Therefore, article 37 of the carbon capture and storage directive appropriately amends the integrated pollution prevention and control directive. In addition to mitigating any local pollution caused, article 32 of the carbon capture and storage directive amends the water framework directive. It adds a prohibition of direct discharges of pollutants into ground water. The new amendment adds to the exceptions the injection of carbon dioxide streams into geological formations that, for natural reasons, are permanently unsuitable for other purposes, which is important. That is a vital amendment, without which carbon dioxide storage in geological formations would be prohibited. It thus removes what would otherwise be a regulatory obstacle to most future carbon capture and storage schemes.

I hope that Assembly Members agree that these regulations are much needed. I very much support them.

The Presiding Officer: I have no speakers to call and you have no time left in which to wind up. [Laughter.] The proposal is to agree the motion. Does any Member dare to object? [Laughter.]I see that no-one does. In accordance with Standing Order No. 12.36, I therefore declare the motion agreed.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Motion agreed.

Cynnig i Atal y Rheolau Sefydlog
Motion to Suspend Standing Orders

Y Cofnod

Cynnig NDM4790 Jane Hutt

Motion NDM4790 Jane Hutt

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheolau Sefydlog 33.6 a 33.8:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Orders 33.6 and 33.8:

Yn atal Rheol Sefydlog 12.20 (i) er mwyn caniatáu i NNDM4785 gael ei ystyried yn y cyfarfod llawn ddydd Mawrth 12 Gorffennaf 2011.

Suspends Standing Order 12.20 (i) to allow NNDM4785 to be considered in Plenary on Tuesday 12 July 2011.

Y Cofnod

The Minister for Finance and Leader of the House (Jane Hutt): I move the motion.

The Presiding Officer:The proposal is to agree the motion. Are there any objections? I see that there are none. In accordance with Standing Order No. 12.36, I therefore declare the motion agreed.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Motion agreed.

Cynnig Cydsyniad Deddfwriaethol Atodol—Bil Senedd y DU ynghylch Lleoliaeth
Supplementary Legislative Consent Motion—Localism Bill

Y Cofnod

Cynnig NNDM4785 Huw Lewis

Motion NNDM4785 Huw Lewis

Bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 29.6, yn cytuno dylai Senedd y DU ystyried y darpariaethau pellach hynny y daethpwyd â hwy gerbron yn y Bil Lleoliaeth sy’n ymwneud â Chynlluniau Adneuon Tenantiaeth a thrwyddedu tai amlfeddiannaeth, i’r graddau y maent yn dod o fewn cymhwysedd deddfwriaethol Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn ychwanegol at y darpariaethau y cyfeirir atynt yng nghynigion NNDM4642 a NNDM4722.

That the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 29.6, agrees that, in addition to the provisions referred to in motions NNDM4642 and NNDM4722, those further provisions which have been brought forward in the Localism Bill relating to Tenancy Deposit Schemes and HMO licensing, in so far as they fall within the legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales, should be considered by the UK Parliament.

Y Cofnod

The Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage (Huw Lewis): I move the motion.

Thank you for the opportunity to explain the background to this supplementary legislative consent motion in relation to the Localism Bill, Presiding Officer. We have had an active discussion with the UK Government on the contents of the Bill and areas of particular interest to Welsh Ministers. This supplementary legislative consent motion is required because several of the Government’s amendments to the Bill’s provisions fall within the Assembly’s legislative competence in relation to devolved areas. The supplementary consent motion refers to a number of relevant provisions within the Localism Bill. First, it refers to tenancy deposit schemes and, secondly, to the licensing of houses in multiple occupation. The Welsh Government holds the view that a supplementary legislative consent motion is required on the issues identified and I will briefly explain, as best I can, why these legislative proposals are being sought.

In relation to tenancy deposit schemes, it is proposed that the Housing Act 2004 is amended to make minor technical amendments to sections of the Act covering the protection of tenancy deposits paid in connection with assured short-hold tenancies of dwellings. The intention is to ensure that the legislation protects fully tenants’ deposits and closes loopholes in the current legislation as drafted. The new provisions are also intended to make the law fairer to landlords by changing the way that penalties for non-compliance are calculated. In accordance with Part 4 of and Schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Act 2006, the National Assembly for Wales has legislative competence in the subject area of housing. As tenancy deposit schemes relate to privately rented housing, it is considered that the new provisions are within the legislative competence of the Assembly and, therefore, they must be the subject of a legislative consent motion.

Peter Black: There has been a huge increase in the number of privately rented properties given the difficulties with the housing market. The number has virtually doubled in Wales over the last few years. The protection of tenants’ deposits is a critical part of ensuring that tenants are able to access that accommodation. As the new Minister taking over responsibility for housing, do you have any plans to review the way that tenants’ deposits are dealt with across Wales and to look at this particular aspect of how we can improve the experience of tenants of privately rented properties and their security?

Huw Lewis: I thank Peter for his intervention. We are concerned with a narrow technical discussion today about small areas of legislative change that we can use to push things forward just a little. However, I assure Peter and all other Members present that the discussions surrounding housing will be comprehensive. The proposals that the Welsh Government will be making very soon are very exciting and I urge Peter to have a little more patience with regard to how that agenda will open up. Perhaps we can have discussions between now and then that might calm him down a little. Tenants’ deposits will be a small part of the comprehensive agenda that we must approach.

To turn to the provisions in the Bill in respect of HMOs, these are also minor technical changes to the existing provision in the Housing Act 2004, which create a scheme for the licensing of houses in multiple occupation.

3.30p.m.

The intention of the new provisions is to exempt from the licensing requirements buildings managed or controlled by fully mutual housing co-operatives. These are buildings occupied and managed by a co-operative’s members, so the occupiers are effectively the owners. Applying the full rigour of HMO licensing regimes to such buildings is unnecessarily onerous. In accordance with Part 4 and Schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Act 2006, the Assembly has legislative competence in the area of housing, as I have said. As such, it is considered that the Assembly could legislate for Wales in connection with the licensing of HMOs that is provided for within the Bill.

As these provisions are within the legislative competence of the Assembly, they must also be the subject of an LCM. I considered it appropriate to deal with these provisions within this UK Bill, as it represents the most appropriate and proportionate legislative vehicle to enable these provisions to apply in Wales and an ideal opportunity to enable those provisions and apply them at the earliest possible opportunity. It will also allow Welsh Ministers to introduce appropriate legislation in accordance with Welsh priorities and concerns. The tenancy deposit protection legislation is very important, as it protects the interests of vulnerable people, and therefore, this legislative consent motion, I hope, will be supported.

In summary, this LCM is placed before the Assembly for approval on the terms that I have outlined and I move the motion.

The Presiding Officer: Thank you. I have no speakers. The proposal is to agree the motion. Does any Member object? I see that no-one does. The proposal is therefore agreed in accordance with Standing Order No. 12.36.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Motion agreed.

Daeth y Dirprwy Lywydd (David Melding) i’r Gadair am 3.32 p.m.
The Deputy Presiding Officer (David Melding) took the Chair at 3.32 p.m.

Cam-drin Domestig
Domestic Abuse

Y Cofnod

The Deputy Presiding Officer: I have selected amendment 1 in the name of Nick Ramsay and amendment 2 in the name of Jocelyn Davies.

Y Cofnod

Cynnig NDM4784 Jane Hutt

Motion NDM4784Jane Hutt

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

1. Yn ystyried y cynnydd a wnaed yn y flwyddyn gyntaf yn erbyn blaenoriaethau Strategaeth yr Hawl i fod yn Ddiogel; ac

1. Considers the progress made in the first year against the priorities of the Right to be Safe Strategy; and

2. Yn nodi ymrwymiad Llywodraeth Cymru i wella diogelwch unigolion a’u teuluoedd sy’n destun cam-drin domestig ac i roi cefnogaeth iddynt.

2. Notes the Welsh Government’s commitment to improve the safety of and support for individuals and their families who experience domestic abuse.

Y Cofnod

The Minister for Local Government and Communities (Carl Sargeant): I move the motion.

I will support the proposed amendments. The role of all partners, both statutory and voluntary, has enabled us to deliver effectively in line with 'The Right to be Safe’ strategy. Progress is reviewed by the violence against women and domestic abuse working group. This includes key third sector organisations. Therefore, I accept Nick Ramsay’s amendment today. Improving the response of criminal justice agencies is one of our four key priorities in the strategy. We also therefore accept Jocelyn Davies’s amendment.

Last year, I launched 'The Right to be Safe’, our six-year integrated strategy tackling violence against women and domestic abuse. I am pleased today to be able to provide Members with an update on the progress achieved during the first year. I will also take the opportunity to reaffirm the Welsh Government’s commitment to improving the quality of services and support for individuals and their families who are victims of domestic abuse. 'The Right to be Safe’ identified four key priority areas: prevention and raising awareness; providing support for victims and children; improving the response from the criminal justice agencies; and improving the response of health services and other agencies. During the last year, we have raised public awareness through two publicity campaigns—One Step too Far and Stop Blame. These campaigns were developed to challenge attitudes and behaviours towards women and generated significant interest and debate on the website, with hits from almost 80 different countries.

The Welsh Government is committed to further campaigns to raise awareness. Later this year, One for the Summer will focus on tackling sexual violence against women and there will be another campaign at Christmas to raise awareness of the impact of domestic abuse on children. We have also developed our website to include online directories of support services across Wales, and this information can be easily accessed and used by individuals seeking help; a friend or family member, or by professional or front-line staff. The Wales domestic abuse helpline has been extended to enhance support and advice for victims of sexual violence. The 24-hour helpline provides an essential service to people in desperate need of support. During the last year, there were almost 15,000 calls to the helpline.

We need to educate our young people about domestic abuse and healthy relationships. We have published guidance on safeguarding children and young people for use by professionals working in education and youth settings. We have also developed online guidance to assist teachers in covering domestic abuse within the personal and social education programme.

To raise awareness of forced marriage, we have funded a training package that has been delivered within health, education, social services and voluntary organisations. We have also worked with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to encourage employers to develop workplace policies. We hosted a very successful anti-domestic abuse conference in February this year. That brought together some of Wales’s largest public and private sector employers, including Marks and Spencer and Admiral, human resources specialists and trade unions. The feedback was extremely positive. We are building on this success, and another event will be held in north Wales in September.

It is estimated that 75 per cent of women who experience domestic abuse continue to be harassed at work by the perpetrator. This costs the UK £2.7 billion in lost economic output every year. The Welsh Government is therefore committed to ensuring that all relevant public sector bodies have a strategy in place to tackle domestic abuse and violence against women.

Human trafficking is widely regarded as the fastest growing black market crime across the world. The Welsh Government is determined to make Wales a hostile environment for human traffickers. We have funded the first anti-human trafficking co-ordinator in Wales. The co-ordinator will initially scope the extent of the problem in Wales and will then develop a co-ordinated multi-agency approach to prevent and tackle human trafficking in Wales. For perpetrators wanting to change their behaviour, we have supported a number of programmes including NSPCC’s Caring Dads programme; Choose2Change, which is run by Relate Cymru in north Wales; and the Move on to Change initiative, which is run by Relate and Carmarthenshire domestic abuse forum. We have also established an access to justice pilot project in Swansea, to support elderly and vulnerable victims of domestic abuse. This is the first of its type in the UK.

Our first 'The Right to be Safe’ annual report will be launched on our website on Thursday. This will provide progress against the four priority areas and an implementation plan. Members will be provided with a link to this report. I am sure that you will join me in acknowledging the good progress made during the first year. The implementation plan included 90 actions for delivery and, to date, 41 have been completed. Work has progressed on a further 40 actions and these are at varying stages of delivery; work on the remaining actions will also commence shortly.

Delivery has been achieved by working in collaboration with key partners and agencies. I am committed to ensuring the provision of high-quality services and am pleased to announce today the roll-out of the domestic abuse 10,000 safer lives project. This project will ensure that any man, woman or child who experiences domestic abuse will receive effective support to ensure their safety and minimise the risk of further abuse. The project will build on work undertaken in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr and Newport and existing best practice to further improve services. Workshops will be held throughout Wales with key front-line staff and professionals. These will identify opportunities for further improvements to service delivery and greater collaboration between service providers. I want Wales to be a country where people are safe in their local communities and where people can live their lives free from domestic abuse. The Welsh Government is committed to achieving this and will work with partners and agencies to protect and support victims of domestic abuse and violence. This is imperative. I present the motion to you and I look forward to a healthy debate in the Chamber.

Y Cofnod

Gwelliant 1 Nick Ramsay

Amendment 1 Nick Ramsay

Ychwanegu pwynt newydd ar ddiwedd y cynnig:

Add as new point at end of motion:

Yn nodi ymhellach:

Further notes:

a) Rôl ac arbenigedd mudiadau’r Trydydd Sector o ran mynd i’r afael â thrais yn erbyn menywod a cham-drin domestig, yn ogystal â darparu cymorth i ddioddefwyr a phlant;

a) The role and expertise of the Third Sector organisations in tackling violence against women and domestic abuse and providing support for victims and children;

b) Yr angen i ymgysylltu â mudiadau’r Trydydd Sector yn llawn wrth fesur y cynnydd a gyflawnwyd yn erbyn blaenoriaethau Strategaeth yr Hawl i fod yn Ddiogel.

b) The need to fully engage with Third Sector Organisations in measuring progress achieved against the priorities of the Right to be Safe Strategy.

Y Cofnod

Mark Isherwood: I move amendment 1 in the name of Nick Ramsay.

Our amendment notes the role of third sector organisations in tackling violence against women and domestic abuse and providing support for victims and children, and the need to engage fully with third sector organisations in measuring the progress achieved against the priorities of 'The Right to be Safe’ strategy. When gathering evidence for the Communities and Culture Committee report on domestic abuse in the last Assembly, I had the privilege of visiting several of the third sector organisations—including Women’s Aid refuges—which were delivering front-line services and had real knowledge of what was going on. Although the Police Family Protection Unit on Deeside advised me that the number of domestic abuse offences has increased over the last decade, Women’s Aid figures for domestic abuse, including serious cases, are not always reflected in police statistics.

In February, the Minister told the Communities and Culture Committee that the scale of the problem is not growing; it was already there, but it is increasingly being identified. However, the police told me that increases in domestic abuse offences over the last decade reflected greater confidence in reporting, higher incidence, or both. Unfortunately, we just do not know; all we know is that it is going up.

Speaking in the October 2009 debate on domestic abuse, I referred to a statement by the coalition of charities comprising the Wales violence against women action group; it said that the new strategy then being considered by the Welsh Government was not fit for purpose, not gender-specific, it was not a cross-Government strategy, and did not tackle all forms of violence effectively. The group added that it had no minimum standards or targets for reducing violence against which progress could be measured. That group has now welcomed progress since the introduction of the strategy, but also identified areas where more progress is required—tackling what the group calls a postcode lottery of services, providing secure funding for key services, ensuring that someone in every school is trained to advise young women, and working effectively across all Welsh Government departments and with the UK Government.

The group states that, although there are areas where progress has been made, the strategy contains no measurable targets or outcomes, so we cannot say that women in Wales are safer in 2011 than they were in 2010—which is surely what we are all working towards. Chillingly, the group also notes that in just one month in Wales, 150 women are likely to enter refuge following abuse, with 160 turned away. Some 35 sexual assault cases will be taken to court, with over 150 victims of rape or sexual abuse seeking counselling, help and support from the voluntary sector. Five women will be victims of trafficking, and three will report forced marriage. It is also quite likely that a woman will die this month at the hands of a family member or partner.

Welsh Women’s Aid believes that there is a lot of commitment from the Minister, but adds that, unfortunately, that is not mirrored across the Welsh Government—especially as this was billed as a cross-departmental strategy. It acknowledges significant progress during year 1, but asks what mechanism there is for cross-departmental working, so that the aims of the strategy are met. It asks whether the Minister will work with others to ring-fence budgets for domestic abuse provision, including supported housing, and support for children affected by domestic abuse. It also asks when the pledge to monitor local authorities’ compliance with public sector equality duties will happen. Welsh Women’s Aid highlights research showing that male and female victims of domestic abuse have different levels of need, often requiring different kinds of services where gender-neutral responses are not helpful. In order to provide the best possible service and protection to all domestic abuse victims, we need to take into account context, consequences and different-gendered need.

A repeated theme during the domestic abuse inquiry of the third Assembly’s Communities and Culture Committee was the lack of sustainable funding for third sector posts. I recently visited the north Wales sexual assault referral centre, or SARC, which welcomes self-referral and notes that a steering group is trying to co-ordinate funding from three different sources. However, the third sector north Wales rape and sexual abuse support centre, which received referrals from police, the NHS and the SARC, still needs £20,000 to meet budget requirements for this financial year. It hosts the only independent sexual violence adviser in north Wales, who has to go part-time due to a lack of funding. With the demand for services being so high, I am sure that the Minister would agree that unsustainable funding should not marginalise services. I hope that he would therefore agree that a mechanism needs to be put in place to address that.

Y Cofnod

Gwelliant 2 Jocelyn Davies

Amendment 2 Jocelyn Davies

Ychwanegu pwynt newydd ar ddiwedd y cynnig:

Add as a new point at end of motion

Yn galw ar Lywodraeth Cymru i gymryd camau i sicrhau bod dioddefwyr trais domestig yn parhau i gael mynediad at gyfiawnder.

Calls on the Welsh Government to take action to ensure continued access to justice for victims of domestic violence.

Y Cofnod

Jocelyn Davies: I move amendment 2 in my name, and on behalf of Plaid Cymru, relating to access to justice.

In doing so, I welcome 'The Right to be Safe’ and its action plan, and the progress outlined by the Minister today, although I am sure that we have a great deal more to do. It is well known that domestic abuse often results in contact with the justice system, and I am sure that we would all agree that our justice system must be based on an established number of principles if it is to serve us well. No-one can be allowed to be above the law, and it must be fair to all parties. However, to be fair and effective, it must be well-organised and adequately resourced. Therefore, the availability of legal aid has been a vital component. Proposals to change the legal aid system to exclude some cases that are currently funded and restrict others will have far-reaching consequences and will affect some of the victims of domestic abuse that this strategy seeks to protect. The loss of entitlement to legal aid will affect a staggering 71 per cent of cases in Wales, as there is a higher proportion of Welsh people relying on legal aid at the moment. Some of those affected will, of course, be the victims of domestic abuse.

3.45 p.m.

I of course welcome the UK Government announcement that domestic violence cases will still attract legal aid, but the criteria have been too narrowly drawn and will only be available where physical violence has been proven, where there is a criminal conviction or a non-molestation order, where a multi-agency risk assessment conference has concluded that there is a high risk of harm or where there is a child protection plan in place. Does this mean that non-physical abuse is somehow less deserving? This is in direct conflict with the Minister’s strategy that is in front of us today, which has adopted the UN declaration on the elimination of violence against women, which states that it means that

'the term "violence against women” means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty’.

These changes will therefore result in victims being denied the support of professional lawyers and will then have to represent themselves. This is wholly inappropriate in domestic abuse cases. In those cases, mediation is highly unlikely to be effective, and we already know that in a high proportion—over half—of contested child contact cases, domestic abuse is a feature.

Survivors of domestic abuse do not routinely seek protection from the courts, nor do they secure convictions through the criminal justice system, as we heard earlier from Mark Isherwood. They often go to refuges or relocate, and even though they are domestic abuse victims, no legal aid will be available to them for other family law proceedings. It simply cannot be right for them to be forced to face their perpetrator by becoming litigants in person.

The UK Government’s own equality impact assessment demonstrates that legal aid cuts will affect women more than men, in a ratio of 6 to 4. Therefore, there is every likelihood that a disproportionate number of those women will be Welsh and will need this strategy to be as effective as possible. I therefore urge the Minister to re-examine its contents to identify whether there is anything that he can do to mitigate the UK Government’s plans to deny access to justice for our most vulnerable women.

Finally, I would like to place on record my thanks to Julie Morgan, Mark Isherwood and Peter Black for agreeing to join me in setting up an all-party group on violence against women and girls, and I look forward to returning to this important topic in future.

Rebecca Evans:I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in this important debate this afternoon. I welcome the fact that a key aim of 'The Right to be Safe’ strategy is to build a society where violence against women is never acceptable and where people are prepared to challenge the abusive behaviour of others. However, if we are to achieve this aim, children and young people must be engaged from an early age and must be supported to learn about acceptable behaviour and healthy relationships, and I am glad to hear that the Minister has acknowledged this in his opening remarks.

To that end, I warmly welcome the all-Wales schools programme, which has been developed in partnership with the Welsh police forces. That programme includes a module on domestic abuse and is being delivered in virtually all primary and secondary schools in Wales, including pupil support units. I also welcome the Government’s commitment to look carefully at the reviews into the links between sexualisation and violence, and how sexualised images and messages may affect the development of children and young people and, in turn, influence cultural norms and ideas of what is acceptable.I ask the Government to considerthis matter carefully when it next reviews the personal and social education curriculum, and to ensure that it is dealt with comprehensively so that we do not end up with a generation of young women who think that it is okay to be treated like an object, and a generation of young men who are unable to establish healthy relationships with women.

Clearly, schools and colleges have an important role to play in challenging attitudes and in raising awareness. Professionals need to be able to recognise the signs of violence, intimidation and control, and to then assess the level of risk and respond appropriately. I welcome the conferences that the Welsh Government has provided for PSE teachers and healthy schools co-ordinators to promote best practice in dealing with domestic abuse education in schools. I also welcome the production of the online guidance for professionals, which the Minister has spoken about. However, we can go further.

I back the calls for gender awareness and education about violence against women to be embedded in teacher training. I am pleased that the Government has said that it will ensure that all school-based counsellors are able to identify and support victims, and I would ask for that to be prioritised as the plan moves into its second year. I would also like to see that expertise being extended to school nurses, and to see schools being directed to develop specific policies on domestic abuse that clearly address the known causes and types of abuse and the identification of victims, along with clear pathways to support. That is particularly important because some girls and young women whose boyfriends abuse them physically, emotionally or sexually may not recognise themselves as being victims of domestic abuse.

Recent research undertaken by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children found that a quarter of girls aged 13 to 17 had experienced physical violence from a boyfriend, and a third had been pressurised into taking part in sexual acts that they did not want. Those figures are alarming and it will require a sea change in attitudes to address them. We have come a long way in a year, putting in place a range of positive initiatives and measures to help to tackle domestic violence. Going forward, we must continue to prioritise prevention through education, information and leadership to ensure that girls and young women are treated with respect and can feel safe.

Nick Ramsay: I am pleased to contribute to the debate today and to support the motion and amendment 1 that was tabled by my party in my name. In putting forward the amendment, we decided to augment the motion by recognising:

'The role and expertise of the Third Sector organisations in tackling violence against women and domestic abuse and providing support for victims and children.’

We also call on the Welsh Government to engage with third sector organisations, which is a point that was well made by my colleague Mark Isherwood at the start of the debate. Another point that he made related to the concern about the lack of Wales-specific data on abuse. One statistic is clear and chilling, that one in four women experience abuse at some time or another. As we have discussed in previous debates on this issue, on average, a woman will be assaulted 35 times before reporting it. That is a staggering statistic for many of us, but it shows how difficult it is, if you are not in that position, to understand the mental anguish in which many of those who are suffering domestic abuse find themselves. Often, it is not possible for women in particular to face up to an abusive situation unless they feel that they have support and that the Government has appropriate mechanisms of support for them.

For a long time, the consequences of domestic abuse were simply not recognised by society and I am extremely thankful that has changed. I am pleased that initiatives have been brought forward and that several groups have been set up over the last few years that focus on the issue of supporting women, men and, indeed, children who are victims of abuse. Another statistic that I saw was that 90 per cent of domestic abuse incidents take place with children in the same room as the perpetrator or in the next room. That is horrific.

I visited recently a care centre in my area that is run by the Abergavenny branch of Women’s Aid. It was humbling to see the work that has been done by Women’s Aid over the past few years in raising the profile of this issue and in providing much-needed support and safe havens for the women and children who are victims of abuse.

I welcome the roll-out of the 10,000 safer lives project—I think that that is what it was called. We will certainly be keeping a close eye on how that progresses. We are grateful for anything that is done to support the victims of abuse.

I was a bit disappointed by Jocelyn Davies’s remarks. I think that they overemphasised the issue of legal aid, and that broke with the spirit of the debate preceding them and the motion tabled by the Government, which we are happy to support. I will not, therefore, support the Plaid Cymru amendment. There are issues to do with access to legal aid that Plaid Cymru oversimplified, and I hope that they can be clarified during the course of this debate.

Jenny Rathbone: As others, including Nick Ramsay, have remarked, this issue is widespread. That is why it requires a whole-system approach. It is therefore absolutely right that we include the voluntary and community sectors in our strategy as much as the public sector, because all organisations that serve the community must be aware of abuse and be able to deal with it when they hear of it or see it.

I particularly welcome the strategy’s focus on honour-based violence, forced marriages and female genital mutilation, which, in Cardiff, is not an uncommon concern. I recall the tragic death of Aamir Siddiqi in April 2010 in Ninian Road. He was the innocent victim of attackers who had mistaken him for somebody else. They were endeavouring to carry out a so-called honour-based killing. I am aware that it happens and it is therefore something that we need to be concerned about, and we need to ensure that services are fit for purpose and alive to these issues so that, where possible, they can take preventative action.

Female genital mutilation is carried out on girls as young as seven. It is therefore particularly important that teachers and teaching assistants are fully aware of the potential risks to girls, because they are members of what is probably the only organisation that a girl might come across that might be in a position to do something, were she to be taken abroad to be put through this illegal practice. I would like to know from the Minister what training is given to teaching assistants and teachers to ensure that they are aware of this possible risk. Additionally, do we have a midwife who specialises in the care of women who have had to endure female genital mutilation, as these women require specialist care when they become pregnant?

I would also like more detail on how the Welsh Government is ensuring that community safety partnerships and the multi-agency risk assessment conferences are effective in dealing with these new responsibilities. I noted that a report on domestic violence that the Assembly published in December 2008 called for community safety partnerships and MARACs to be evaluated within six months, but I have not been able to find these evaluations. I would be very interested to know the outcome of those evaluations, if they have been carried out.

Peter Black: On behalf of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, I welcome the progress that has been made with regard to the 'Right to be Safe’ strategy, although we do recognise that a lot more needs to be done.

The Labour manifesto—we are all waiting to hear how that will transform into a legislative programme later today—recognises the fact that much more work needs to be done. The manifesto outlines a number of policies that the Government intends to implement. It would therefore be helpful if the Government could provide an evaluation of the progress that it has made, along with its implementation plan. That will give a clear view of how many actions have already been implemented and of how much more work needs to be done.

4.00 p.m.

The Government’s implementation plan includes 90 action points, the majority of which are to be taken by the Government or the public sector. The remaining 11 action points are to be taken by the voluntary sector. So, there is a substantial amount of work that needs to be done outside the direct control of the Government, so the Government needs to work much more closely with the voluntary sector and the voluntary organisations concerned in order to achieve the greater result that is needed.

Given that Welsh Women’s Aid has raised concerns about the Government’s internal cross-departmental working, there will obviously be some concerns about how effectively the Government is able to work with those outside organisations, particularly if they are outside the Government’s direct control in terms of grants and so on. So, I would be interested to hear how the Government intends to improve its cross-departmental working in the Minister’s response.

The Minister has focused much of his attention lately on trying to improve collaboration between local authorities. So, in theory, addressing this need to work collaboratively between different departments within the Government should be fairly simple by comparison. However, I note from the briefing that we all received from the Wales violence against women action group that there is concern that the commitment of the Welsh Government to tackling violence against women and girls has not been mirrored at local authority level across Wales. It is suggested that there is a need for stronger guidance to local government, which was promised but which has not been delivered. It says that, in some instances, local authorities continue to misunderstand equalities legislation, endangering much needed specialist support services within the women’s voluntary sector.

I think that there is also an element of misunderstanding of the impact of certain decisions taken by local government in relation to equality legislation. A good example of that is the fate of the Swansea Women’s Aid office, which I understand is currently under threat. There seems to be a huge amount of confusion about exactly why that is. I think that it boils down to the fact that the grants that the council gives it for rent are being stopped. I know that discussions are under way as part of that. However, that is a good example of a decision that has been taken by one arm of local government having an impact on the policy imperatives of the council and of the Welsh Government. That needs to be addressed. Perhaps the Minister can say whether he has been involved in that and whether he is having discussions with the council in that regard. I have written to the council on this, and I hope that the Minister will be able to support that action.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats support all policies to tackle domestic abuse, and we are pleased that the Government is taking the issue seriously. However, there are a number of other approaches that could be taken, things that are not included in the Labour manifesto, difficult as that is to understand. For example, the Government could introduce a training strategy for professionals working in the education and health sectors and could provide additional information for schools on domestic abuse. The Wales violence against women action group identified the need to focus more on preventive work, and it seems that these policies could make some significant progress in that area. We would be interested to know whether the Government could consider adopting approaches such as these in its overall strategy.

It is important to remember that domestic abuse affects men as well as women, but the nature of that abuse can often be quite different. In the Welsh Liberal Democrat manifesto, we said that we believed that strategies for tackling domestic abuse against men and against women should be kept distinct and always based on evidence. I would be grateful if the Minister could confirm whether that is the approach that his Government is taking.

This is a huge agenda and one that the Government is clearly taking seriously. I have already outlined a couple of things that were in the Welsh Liberal Democrat manifesto that were not in the Labour manifesto, but the progress that has been made so far is good. However, more certainly needs to be done, and I am grateful that this debate is being undertaken in a constructive atmosphere. I hope that the Minister can take my remarks in that context as well.

Julie Morgan: I congratulate the Minister on the progress that has been made so far. I want to focus briefly on three issues. One is the issue of women living in Wales who have been abused who have no recourse to public funds. Another is the effect of legal aid cuts on women in particular, which Jocelyn Davies has already alluded to. The third is the importance of looking at the needs of children, which has already been mentioned by other Members. I want to highlight the work of the Black Association of Women Step Out, which is the voluntary organisation providing specialist services for black, Asian and minority ethnic women and children experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic abuse. For many years, there has been a huge problem with providing a service for abused women living in Wales who have no access to public funds. These women are from other countries, mainly outside the European Community, who are victims of domestic violence and were either married to British citizens or had partners who had settled in the UK. BAWSO has been running the sojourner project in Wales since November 2009, and I know that the Welsh Government is assessing the success of that project. Before it was introduced, women from other countries with no recourse to public funds were not able to access benefits such as housing benefit and income support, they were much more vulnerable and their children suffered in particular.

The money for this project was initiated by the Labour UK Government in November 2009, and funding has been extended until March 2012. There is a continuing need for the project to tackle a continuing problem for women living in Wales whose children need to receive Welsh services and who do not have access to resources. BAWSO has long supported women in this position from its own resources. Up to 1 April, BAWSO received 117 referrals of women with no recourse to public funds, and 65 of those were eligible for help. BAWSO statistics show that many of those women have experienced other types of abuse as well; they have been trafficked, subjected to forced marriages, undergone female genital mutilation or have been raped. BAWSO has produced a report that describes these statistics. I ask the Minister to tell us what assessment the Government has made of the situation. It is important that pressure is kept on the UK Government to continue this programme; I hope that the Minister will be able to reassure us on that.

Jocelyn Davies covered the issue of legal aid. Even though the UK Government says that domestic violence cases will still receive legal aid, poorer women will be disproportionately hit by the general cuts. As Amnesty International points out, poverty and marginalisation are both causes and consequences of violence against women.

Other Members have mentioned the effects on children of being able to see and hear domestic abuse, and we are all aware of those awful situations. I welcome the initiatives to make it a key part of the strategy in schools and with professionals so that they can recognise when abuse has occurred. The right to be safe is an important statement to make, and this right extends beyond women to cover children as well.

Mohammad Asghar: Violence against women cannot be tolerated in any civilised society, and I welcome any progress made since this strategy was published. I am aware that this is a six-year strategy with a three-year implementation plan, so there is still a long way to go in terms of the targets that the Welsh Government has set itself. Worryingly, domestic abuse is under-reported and estimates suggest that, on average, a woman will be assaulted 35 times before reporting abuse to the police. It is terrible to learn that, in nine out of 10 cases, a child is either present or in the next room when domestic abuse takes place. Clearly, this can have hugely damaging consequences on the child and adds another dimension to this distressing issue.

As our amendment suggests, the invaluable role that the third sector plays in tackling violence against women cannot be underestimated. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the work that so many third sector organisations do in tackling the problems that exist in Wales. Those with the experience of working closest with the victims are best placed to offer effective support. Specialist third sector organisations can also offer invaluable input to ensure that this strategy is based on the most relevant and up-to-date research available. I hope that the Welsh Government will outline how it intends to fully embrace the expertise that the third sector offers and how it will engage with the sector as the strategy is taken forward.

Welsh Women’s Aid has raised concerns about cross-departmental work on the strategy. We raised this issue in the build-up to the election in May, when we highlighted the importance of a cross-departmental approach in our manifesto. Given the concern that exists, I hope that the Minister can outline how different Welsh Government departments are working together to ensure that the objectives of this strategy are realised. As it stands, it is concerning to hear lobby groups accuse many Welsh Government departments of not having considered the matter at all. The Minister must work with other departments to ensure that they are engaged with this hugely important strategy, and that they understand their responsibilities.

I am also concerned to hear evidence from the Wales violence against women action group that suggests that there has been only minimal progress of raising awareness of all forms of violence against women in schools. While I am aware that new personal and social education guidance on domestic abuse is now available, it seemsthat more needs to be done in schools to raise awareness and to extend advice.

I also wantto briefly focus on rural communities. The strategy’s implementation plan says that the Welsh Government will develop and issue publicity based on the accessibility of services and support in rural areas, and implement local plans to improve access to services in Wales’s rural communities. Unfortunately, the Wales violence against women action group says that there are areas of rural Wales with little or no service provision. Given the common problem in our rural communities of isolation, knowledge of, and access to, abuse services, it is clearly vital that the Welsh Government needs to take action here.

To conclude, there are many areas that Julie eloquently mentioned, as did some of my colleagues, that I will not mention again. However, you should seriously consider that the people who handle local domestic abuse must be local people, such as Neighbourhood Watch and many other elements. Most people know each other in local communities, so being local helps them to know what is going on in each house, especially during crucial times when, for example, a drunk person comes home and abuses the victim soon after before coming to their senses the next day. If the family is taken away, most abuse can be avoided. Similarly, we have to look seriously at different cultural values in order to sort it out.  

Joyce Watson: I welcome the progress that has been made on the 'Right to be Safe’ strategy. It has been mentioned that we are only in year one of what is, after all, a six-year strategy, as the Minister and others said. In that first year, we have completed 41 out of the 90 actions set out in the plan. Therefore, I pay tribute to the Minister’s decision to protect the budget for tackling violence against women in this term. Over the last six years, funding in this area has gone up by nearly £5.5 million. By protecting the budget, the Minister has taken an important and commendable decision, especially in the face of the worst funding settlement since devolution.

The Minister will be well aware of the particular barriers to getting end to violence against women services into rural communities. For example, there is a mobile sexual assault referral centre currently active in the Dyfed Powys area, which will be monitored and evaluated for the next six months. I look forward to an update report in six months’ time to see how that has worked.

4.15 p.m.

The Government has also invested in raising awareness of domestic abuse among small rural organisations that are not necessarily specialist, but which may come into contact with victims—organisations such as the Women’s Institute, the National Farmers Union, the Women’s Food and Farming Union and community councils. Therefore, there has been progress. However, what is most important is that funding for the sort of specialist support services that are delivered by the women’s voluntary sector are supported in that community. Unfortunately, the commitment in the Minister’s department, and across the Welsh Government, to tackling violence against women and girls is not always entirely mirrored at local authority level. The danger is that if local authorities do not understand these issues fully, vital services will be put at risk as councils look to cut costs. I would ask the Minister to ask any local authority considering cutting its budget to help to end violence against women to put forward a business case justifying any such proposed cut. I also urge the Minister to issue strong guidance for local government and to ensure that front-line services are prioritised.

I would ask for another step forward—I have a wish list—and would ask that the Minister recommend training on ending violence against women for all councillors, and to make it a statutory requirement to become a councillor. All too often it is all too easy to remove a service and funding if you do not understand what the funding and the service does.

As others have mentioned, earlier in the year, the Welsh Government published a review of domestic abuse education in schools, highlighting a need for age-appropriate preventive education. I understand that the Government intends to consult on this, and include it within personal and social education lessons. However, given that no date has been set for a review of the curriculum, how can we introduce this issue into schools in the near future?

I thank the Welsh Government for the commitment it has shown. All secondary schools in Wales now have access to counselling services, and a primary school pilot scheme is running in Pembrokeshire, as well as in other places, to support early intervention. I look forward to the evaluation that will emerge from those projects when the pilot scheme ends in April.

Antoinette Sandbach: I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak in this debate as someone who prosecuted and defended domestic abuse cases for some time. I have a number of matters that I wish to raise.

Perhaps I could assist the Minister in relation to some of the queries raised by Joyce Watson. I know that local councils are now required to carry out an equality impact assessment of any new policies that they introduce. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has provided a useful guide in that respect.

One of the principal concerns is that men are significantly more likely to be repeat offenders when it comes to domestic abuse. A recent study found that 83 per cent of male perpetrators had at least two incidents recorded. From my experience of working in the justice system, a key aspect is the way that these incidents are recorded and the very first actions of the police on the scene. I say that because there is evidence to suggest that, sometimes, men are reporting as victims when, in fact, they may be perpetrators. Welsh Women’s Aid has indicated that approximately one third of men who initially present as victims would appear to be perpetrators. Therefore, the first actions taken on arrival at those incidents are crucial. Even if incidents are not reported initially, the recording of those incidents can be used later, as was referred to with regard to concerns about the Plaid amendment, to justify actioning legal aid. I therefore do not agree that the legal aid changes will, in effect, target this group of women.

The list that you read out, which Jocelyn Davies referred to, is pretty comprehensive in terms of use of the courts. There are offences, such as those under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, that can be used to address behaviour in the home that is not actual violence. Fear of violence or the threat of violence and actions taken by any member of the public that would constitute harassment would be sufficient for a criminal prosecution and, potentially, would bring the case into that domain.

Jocelyn Davies: The point is that yes, courts would take action in that case, but the fact is that women do not report it, and this strategy is intended to cover a much wider range of abuse than domestic violence alone.

Antoinette Sandbach: I accept that, but, therefore, there is a role for education and a need for notes to be made. A report could be made, for example, to Welsh Women’s Aid. An incident needs to be reported to an independent third party and contemporaneous notes made. That could be sufficient to count as a report; it would not necessarily need to be reported to a police officer.

I echo the concern raised by both Mohammad Asghar and Joyce Watson that there is a particular need for services in rural Wales, as has been identified by the Wales Violence Against Women Action Group. Furthermore, that group has indicated that the commitment within the Welsh Government to tackling violence against women and girls has not been mirrored at the local authority level across Wales, and that stronger guidance for local government was promised by the Welsh Government but has not been delivered. Therefore, I would be grateful to hear an update on that.

I would also like to hear whether the Minister is proposing to support the roll-out of a domestic violence protection order in Wales that would give police and courts the power to exclude perpetrators from the victim’s home for up to 28 days and whether or not the Government is looking at the performance of the specialist domestic violence courts. It is clear that a dialogue is needed within local authorities and within Wales, but also between the Welsh Government and Whitehall, including with regard to the immigration system and in relation to aspects of the criminal justice system to which I have just referred.

This is a major issue and one that many women face. I am grateful that the Government has brought forward these measures so that progress can be monitored and we can have a debate of this kind, but, clearly, there are issues that still need to be addressed.

Ann Jones: Like many across the Chamber, as an Assembly Member, I have been around my constituency and I also pay tribute to all those who work closely with the victims of domestic abuse, and, in particular, to those at the North Wales Women’s Centre in Rhyl. I am proud to have brought many Ministers to the centre to see the excellent work carried out there. I am pleased that working to support the third sector experts in this field has always been the focus of Welsh Labour in Government. The funding that backs up 'The Right to be Safe’ strategy is testament to that approach. That financial backing is incredibly important, because it is not possible to do this work when it is under-resourced or if you have concerns about funding. People working in this field need to know that they can concentrate on the victims of domestic abuse rather than worrying about whether they will have a job next month, which, inevitably, would take their focus away from their work and expertise.

Despite Welsh Assembly Government support, victims of domestic violence in England and Wales are set to become less safe because of the UK Government’s proposed cuts to legal aid. I have heard the Tories try to defend that, but there will be cuts to legal aid for the very women who need that support. In addition, there are cuts in the funding for independent domestic violence advocates in Denbighshire, Monmouthshire, Torfaen and Anglesey. IDVAs help women through the criminal justice system, and support them, and perhaps also their families, emotionally in often complex andextremely traumatic circumstances. You do not have to listen to me: it is quite telling that in a survey of women who have used these services, women called for IDVAs to be present in accident and emergency departments.

Antoinette Sandbach: You may want to direct the independent domestic violence advocates to the People and Places funding available from the Big Lottery Fund. It supports projects such as this and is available for advocacy projects of all kinds, including mental health advocates and other independent advocates. Ultimately, those funding issues relate to local council funding.

Ann Jones: I accept that, but the Home Office and the Welsh Government match-funded the IDVA posts. The callous proposed actions of the Home Office make me very angry—not as a politician, but on behalf of all those women and victims of domestic violence who will be hopelessly let down by the UK Government. I thought that there were going to be limits as to what would be deemed okay for the chopping block, but we have plans here that will possibly contravene the United Nations convention on human rights. The IDVAs offer high-quality intervention for among the most traumatised people in society and we should support them. Furthermore, they have a record of real success. A study by the London Metropolitan University showed that, with the help of an IDVA, the majority of victims do not experience any further violent abuse. The report states that

'the cost per service user of between £363-£711, with the majority not experiencing further violence, is undoubtedly aworthwhile investment.’

It is incredible that the UK Government does not share that view and seems content to risk the lives of even more victims in order to save a few hundred pounds each time. Even that arithmetic is wrong, because we all know that the NHS and the criminal justice system will incur higher costs. I have mentioned the cuts in legal aid. I still do not know how the Tories on the other side of the Chamber can defend them. The NSPCC and Women’s Aid have issued strong warnings to the coalition Government about the consequences of the cuts, which will undoubtedly undermine the help that the Welsh Government can provide, however good its strategy is. Welsh Women’s Aid revealed that the new restrictions on legal aid will leave many women who are experiencing violence having to represent themselves in proceedings involving the perpetrator of their abuse. Women will now be expected to get advice from the so-called community legal advice helpline, which goes against all the advice from professionals that people who have suffered from domestic violence are more likely to want to see somebody face-to-face than to talk to them over the telephone. Instead of the Tories here trying to amend the motion today, I suggest that each and every one of them—particularly those who represent the four affected authority areas—talk to the Home Office and to their colleagues in London and ensure that we have funding for IDVAs. That is the least that they can do for their constituents with regard to this debate today.

The Minister for Local Government and Communities (Carl Sargeant): Thank you, Members, for your contributions today. There is clearly a great deal of consensus in the Chamber recognising the scourge of domestic abuse and violence against women. We have made good progress but there is still much to be done. One in four women and one in six men will be victims of domestic abuse or violence at some time in their lives. I will pick up on some of the points that have been raised today and I will write to Members with regard to those that I cannot comment on now. I will take the comments in the spirit that they were made—such as with Peter Black’s comments earlier.

First, with regard to Jocelyn Davies’s comments on concerns about legal aid, I share her concerns about that issue. I have spoken to Jonathan Djanogly, the relevant Minister, about this, because domestic abuse does not often come alone. There are related issues of housing, benefits, and family and children matters being taken out of the scope of legal aid. I have written to the Minister about that process.

Mark Isherwood mentioned funding and working across Government. I meet all my colleagues to discuss domestic abuse issues. An example of that is working with the Minister for Education and Skillson getting the profile of personal and social education online.

4.30 p.m.

I recognise some of the issues that Members have raised, in particular those raised by Rebecca Evans. I would be pleased if she would write to me regarding the teacher-training element of this, and I thank her for her positive response. Jenny Rathbone mentioned female genital mutilation; in the report that will be issued on Thursday, recommendation 1.7 relates to the issuing of specialist guidance and leaflets to professionals; that is, front-line staff in health and education. I can inform you that we issued the direction on 29 March in collaboration with Black Association of Women Step Out, and so that action is completed.

Peter, regarding 'The Right to be Safe’ plan that will be issued later this week, I have tried to make it easy reading for people, because we need to work on this with our partners. Across the 90 action points, I have used a traffic-light system to show what we have achieved and to show where there is work still to be done; that might be helpful in terms of the detail. There are issues around the provision of services beyond the Welsh Government. Local authorities need to tackle this issue as well, and recommendation 2.26, advises the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and the National Community Safety Partnership about the actions that they should take in tackling domestic abuse. Later, in the First Minister’s statement, there will be a more interesting discussion around local authorities, which I am sure you will wait to hear.

Julie Morgan touched on many issues that I know she has championed across Wales, not just in the Assembly, but elsewhere. It is about working with partners; Welsh Women’s Aid is a partner that gives me a lot of help, support and guidance, and I would not be able to do a lot of my work without that support. That is also true of many others, such as BAWSO, Children in Need, Hafan, and so on. There are many organisations out there that have people’s best interests at heart. However, going back to a point that Peter raised, we have to better understand the art of co-ordinating activity. Often, individual organisations are offering support in areas that could join up, providing much better cover across both rural and urban areas, which I know has been a concern for Members today. That is something that I look forward to working on.

Joyce Watson mentioned putting this on a statutory footing, and there will more on that from the First Minister shortly. What I would like to say today is that I am pleased with the work that we have completed over the last 12 months. There is much still to be done, but I still have my eye on the ball, and with the support of colleagues across the Chamber, I will continue to press this case. Let us hope that we can put an end to domestic abuse and violence against women in Wales and in the UK.

The Deputy Presiding Officer: The proposal is to agree amendment 1. Does any Member object? I see that no-one does. Amendment 1 is therefore agreed in accordance with Standing Order No. 12.36.

Derbyniwyd gwelliant 1.

Amendment 1 agreed.

The Deputy Presiding Officer: The proposal is that amendment 2 be agreed to. Does any Member object? I see that there are objections, and therefore voting is deferred until voting time.

Gohiriwyd y pleidleisio tan y cyfnod pleidleisio.
Voting deferred until voting time.

Daeth y Llywydd i’r Gadair am 4.34 p.m.
The Presiding Officer took the Chair at 4.34 p.m.

Datganiad am Raglen Ddeddfwriaethol Llywodraeth Cymru 2011-16
The Welsh Government’s Legislative Programme 2011-16

Y Cofnod

The First Minister: It is with great pleasure that I announce the Welsh Government’s legislative programme for the next five years. This Government will be doing its utmost to improve public services and create opportunities for everyone.

Sustainability lies at the heart of the Welsh Government's agenda for Wales; it also lies at the heart of this legislative programme. Taken as a whole, it will promote economic, social and environmental wellbeing, and enhance people’s quality of life in Wales. Our approach to sustainable development has been to focus on fairness, social justice and the protection of our outstanding culture and heritage. However, sustainability is more than just a green idea. It is about defining the long-term development path for our nation. It means healthy, productive people; vibrant, inclusive communities; a diverse and resilient environment and an advanced and innovative economy. This legislative programme provides new powers, duties and institutional capacity to advance our goals of building a sustainable Wales.

We will legislate to embed sustainable development as the central organising principle in all of our actions across Government and all public bodies, by bringing forward a sustainable development Bill. The approach will set Wales apart as a sustainable nation, leading from the front. We were disappointed at the UK Government’s decision to withdraw funding for the UK Sustainable Development Commission, which led to its closure. That commission served us well in Wales, and the Bill will provide for the establishment of an independent body to continue the legacy of the Sustainable Development Commission in a way that best reflects Welsh interests and needs.

We will also introduce a duty to provide cycle routes in key areas. The highways and transport (Wales) Bill will be a short Bill that will legislate to put a duty on local authorities to provide and maintain cycle paths in key areas. The Bill is intended to make walking and cycling a more practical and enjoyable option for people in Wales. Benefits from this will include the promotion of sustainable travel, and the resultant reduction in carbon emissions and improvement in air quality; the health benefits of a more active nation; and the economic benefits from recreation, tourism, and the wider rural economy. We intend to bring forward this legislation within the next two years.

Historic buildings and monuments are an important part of our heritage, helping to make Wales distinctive and the special place that it is. There is currently a wide range of controls to help protect historic assets, but they have been in place for many years and would benefit from streamlining and modernisation. We are therefore seeking to introduce a heritage Bill, which is more fitting to modern-day issues, which reduces bureaucracy and is specifically geared to the needs of Wales. There is scope to encourage a more positive, engaged approach with owners and specific interest groups, while at the same time addressing issues associated with neglectful owners who might leave significant aspects of our heritage to deteriorate and decay.

Before we introduce any proposals formally, we want to have a full discussion with a wide range of interested parties. This period of debate will help us to refine initial ideas, and perhaps attract new ones, on what is needed to provide a clear and simple system that not only protects our heritage, but is also easy to understand by owners, third parties and the Government. We therefore intend to bring this Bill in the fourth year of our legislative programme.  

Throughout history, we have modified and managed the environment to secure food, shelter, energy and livelihoods, providing great benefits to the people of Wales, but also increasing risks that we damage the very ecology on which we depend. Developing a new natural environment framework to enable more integrated management of the environment in Wales is a Government manifesto commitment. Our aim is to ensure that Wales has increasingly resilient and diverse ecosystems that deliver economic, environmental and social benefits. We are therefore aiming to introduce an environment Bill during the life of this Assembly.We want the proposed Bill to enhance environmental protection and deliver ecological gains, while easing the regulatory burden. Further development of these proposals for legislative changes are likely to evolve from the ongoing 'A Living Wales’ development work over the next 12 to 18 months.

There has also been an increase in demand over recent years for allotment plots. In many parts of Wales, the demand for allotments is not met by supply and there are vast differences in waiting times for plots across Wales. Therefore, to support local communities in becoming more sustainable and healthier, we will seek to use the environment Bill to legislate on the amount of land to be used for allotments. It will also ensure a minimum standard across Wales.

We cannot underestimate the importance of planning for sustainable economic renewal, and we intend to bring forward a planning Bill that will consolidate existing planning legislation, making it more transparent and accessible. It will also provide an opportunity to reconsider roles and responsibilities, helping us to ensure that we have a planning system that can help deliver economic renewal. A White Paper setting out our proposals will be published towards the end of 2012, and that will be followed by the introduction of a planning Bill in 2014.

We want to ensure better life chances for our young people by helping them to achieve their potential. Education is fundamental to building a just, inclusive and fair society. The Minister for Education and Skills has already set out his 20 action points to improve standards and performance in Wales and, in the early part of next year, we will introduce our first education Bill, which will focus on schools and standards. The schools and standards (Wales) Bill will put in place actions to drive up school improvement. It will also make changes to the process of reorganising schools following our extensive consultation earlier this year. The Bill will also make provision for statutory Welsh in education strategic plans, fulfilling another of our manifesto pledges, and will enable the streamlining of a number of grantspayable to local authorities.

The second education Bill, the structures, governance and special educational needs (Wales) Bill, will be introduced in year 2. The Minister for Education and Skills has been very clear about the value that the Government places on excellent teaching. To that end, the Bill will include provisions in several areas of teaching, including performance management and continuing professional development. We are committed to consortia working as the model for delivering educational services in the future, and we expect our local authorities to commit to working together to deliver the regional working agenda. The Bill will support that collaborative model. It will also deliver the changes in the law that are required to reform our higher education sector, realising our manifesto commitment of bringing coherence and efficiency to higher education in Wales. We will also use the Bill to take forward changes to the governance of further education institutions and to reform the existing system of statements for children and young people with special educational needs, following our extensive pilot programmes.

We want to improve the status of children and young people who are made vulnerable through offending. International research has shown a correlation between offending behaviour among children and economic exclusion and poverty. We want to see significant changes to the environment in which youth justice operates, and to increase the Welsh Government’s influence over the delivery of youth justice services in Wales. Over the next two years, we will consult on a prevention of youth offending Bill, which would strengthen the delivery of services to children and young people who are entering and leaving the youth justice system. It would do so by making clear the vulnerabilities of those within the system and by establishing duties on local partnerships to address them, thus conferring equivalent entitlements on those entering juvenile custodial detention to those for children and young people who are currently looked after.

In the second half of the legislative programme, we will also introduce the children and young persons (Wales) Bill, which will build on the Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011, which was introduced during the last Assembly, and which will expand the role of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.

We have said that the economic challenges that will inevitably occur will put additional strains on families in Wales.The Government wants to introduce a series of Bills that provide for the right kind of support when it is needed. The first Bill to be introduced, the social services (Wales) Bill, will provide, for the first time, a coherent Welsh legal framework for social services that is based on the principles that we hold dear in Wales. It will ensure a strong voice and real control for people, of whatever age, enabling them to maximise their wellbeing. It will set the legal framework and infrastructure to transform services to meet changing social expectations and changing demography. Developing a Bill of this scale and importance will take time to get right. We will therefore consulton the content of the Bill from the winter onwards, building on the vision and commitments in 'Sustainable Social Services for Wales’, with a view to introducing it in October 2012.

Our proposedhousing Bill will also protect our most vulnerable citizens and help to improve their health and wellbeing. The Bill will enable us to meet our manifesto commitments, which include tackling homelessness, as well as improving standards and tenants’ rights in the private rented sector. It will also build on the three strategic priorities identified in our national housing strategy, which was launched in April 2010: increasing the supply of housing; improving its quality; and improving housing-related services, particularly for those who are vulnerable or homeless. With more people having to opt for accommodation in the private rented sector as a result of continuing difficulties in obtaining mortgages, we will seek to improve the quality of accommodation to enhance the sector’s image as an acceptable housing choice. We will publish our proposals for inclusion in the Bill in due course.

TheGovernment wants to do more to tackle the social problems of domestic abuse. Therefore, we will introduce, in the next two years, the domestic abuse (Wales) Bill, which will be designed to place a duty on relevant public sector bodies to have in place a strategy to tackle domestic abuse and violence against women. The Bill will not seekto address criminal justice issues; rather, the purpose of the provisions will be concerned with social welfare and the prevention, protection and support elements of a strategy to deal with domestic abuse and violence against women.

Protecting the health of our citizens remains a priority for this Government. The E. coli outbreak in south Wales in 2005 showed how important food safety is. While the voluntary scheme has achieved good results, it suffers from a lack of coverage. Since food hygiene is essential to improving food safety, we will be bringing forward a draft food hygiene rating scheme (display of information) (Wales) Bill for consultation at the end of this year. It will allow the Welsh Government to make mandatory arrangements for providing consumers with easily understandable, at-a-glance information on the hygiene standards of the food business, so that they can make better informed choices about where they eat out or shop for food.

There are nearly 300 Welsh residents on the active waiting list for a transplant. Last year, roughly one person a week died in Wales while waiting for an organ donation. The shortage of human organs continues to cause otherwise preventable deaths and suffering. We will therefore launch a White Paper consultation on an organ donation (Wales) Bill before the end of this year. The Bill will provide for an opt-out system of organ donation, backed by a comprehensive communication programme.

We will be considering further the legislative basis for delivering improved life expectancy and wellbeing and for reducing health inequality in Wales, as we promised in our manifesto and in our policy document, 'Fairer Health Outcomes For All’. We plan to consult next year on a public health (Wales) Bill, with a view to introducing the legislation in the second half of our legislative programme.

Cosmetic piercing has become increasingly popular in recent years. Over a quarter of the people who undergo a cosmetic piercing procedure other than in their earlobes experience complications. Informed parental consent will ensure that parents are aware of their child’s desire to have a cosmetic piercing and the possible implications of that. We intend to consult on the introduction of a cosmetic piercing (age of consent) (Wales) Bill shortly.

We want a strong public service ethos in Wales, and one that is not prevented from delivering good quality services by unnecessary bureaucracy or governmental control. After the summer recess, we will therefore bring forward a draft Wales Audit Office Bill, with the aim of strengthening the Wales Audit Office’s governance and accountability arrangements without restricting the Auditor General for Wales’s crucial independence to examine whatever subjects he or she chooses. Provisions in the Bill will establish the Wales Audit Office as a body corporate, with the majority of non-executive members appointed by public appointments procedures, including pre-appointment hearings in the Assembly. The Bill will also set out the relationship between the Wales Audit Office and the Auditor General for Wales, who will become the accounting officer for the Wales Audit Office. The Auditor General for Wales, whose terms and conditions of service will be set by the Assembly, on the recommendation of the Public Accounts Committee and independently of the Welsh Government, will become the chief executive officer of the Wales Audit Office.

To further the aims of this Government to reduce complexity and the burdens being placed on local authorities, this year, we will introduce a local government (bye-laws) (Wales) Bill, which will reform bye-law procedures and include the removal of Welsh Ministers’ roles in confirming certain proposed bye-laws. This is designed to simplify the process, resulting in greater responsibility for, and ownership of, these local laws. We will also propose alternative enforcement proceedings through fixed penalty notices. The aim is to facilitate enforcement through a more direct approach, and these proposals are in keeping with the Welsh Government’s well-established recognition of the community leadership role of local authorities.

We will also introduce a local government (collaborative measures) (Wales) Bill. This will facilitate the process of local authorities making joint appointments, requiring them to consider doing so for posts of specified seniority, and create powers for the Auditor General for Wales to inspect and report on compliance with this duty, and for the Welsh Ministers to intervene in cases of failure.

We also wish to bring greater transparency to the appointment, status and funding of returning officers, so that the public can be satisfied that elections and other polls are run efficiently and cost-effectively. To this end,in the second year of this legislative programme, we will bring forward thedemocracy and elections (Wales) Bill,which will redesign the rules within which the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales will operate. The Bill will make reforms to the structure and functions of the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales and to the process of appointing and funding returning officers.   

We will also consult on legislation that would make third sector compact arrangements between local authorities and third sector intermediary bodies a statutory requirement.  Currently established on a voluntary basis, most local authorities have embraced the ethos of establishing formal relationships with the third sector. However, the scope and make-up of compacts differ from area to area, with varying degrees of engagement and effectiveness. If the evidence and consultation suggest that it is necessary to place compacts on a statutory basis, we will bring forward a statutory third sector compacts Bill towards the end of this Assembly.

It is very true that with Government comes responsibility, and Plaid Cymru above all will understand when I say to the other parties in this Chamber that we all have a responsibility to the people of Wales. It is inevitable and proper that the opposition will seek to hold this Government to account. However, it should not be about political point scoring, but working together and finding consensus where possible in developing distinctive Welsh policies for the betterment of the communities we all represent. The Welsh Government will keep to its end of the bargain in ensuring that we carry out robust regulatory impact assessments, consult appropriately, engage meaningfully with our business and other social partners, and provide sufficient time for you to scrutinise the Welsh Government’s legislation. My Ministers and I will make ourselves available to attend committees to explain our policy decisions when appropriate. In return, we ask the Assembly to play its part by considering the legislation that comes before it in committee in a timely manner.

I commend the legislative statement to the Assembly.

Paul Davies: I thank the First Minister for his statement this afternoon. I think that the Government statement today must be read in the context of three factors. First, given the failures over the past 12 years, it is clear that we need to see a dramatic improvement in public services and in the Welsh economy over the next five years. The Minister for Education and Skills has said that there has been a systemic failure in the Welsh education system. We have recently seen an increase in waiting lists in the Welsh NHS and independent commentators are warning that next to nothing has been achieved with Government spending on economic development. The Welsh Government needs to show and prove that it has the ideas and policies to turn around this state of affairs. Secondly, it will be able to do so with primary law-making powers. Thanks to the historic vote in March, the Welsh Government now has the tools at its disposal to do the job of improving the life chances of the people of Wales. The time for excuses has passed. Thirdly, I think that we must be conscious of the fact that most people in Wales did not vote for this programme. Indeed, the First Minister himself has made reference to this in previous statements. Obviously, the Welsh Government does not have a majority of seats, and it does not have a majority of votes. It is worth remembering that five in six people in Wales did not vote for Welsh Labour, so it needs to work hard to convince the vast majority of people in Wales that its policies are worth while.

I have made it clear that, when the Welsh Government brings forward legislation that is well crafted, well thought through and fully costed, the Welsh Conservatives will work constructively and in the national interest to support the Government in steering the legislation through the Assembly. It is now crucial that the Government concentrates on outcomes and that it delivers for the people of Wales. That is what the First Minister promised during the Assembly election campaign.

Turning to some specific questions on the Government’s legislative programme, announcing his legislative priorities on 14 June, the First Minister told the Assembly that the Welsh Government would be,

'reflecting upon lessons learnt from our experiences in taking legislation forward over the past four years.’

Given his statement today, can he tell us what lessons his Government has learned in particular and how he proposes to implement these lessons? The First Minister also told us in June of his laudable aim to create communities that are safe, sustainable and attractive places for people to live and work—something that he has confirmed in his statement today. Can he outline in more detail how exactly he believes that allotments and cycle lanes will create such communities in Wales, given what he has said in his statement?

There are key areas that we, on this side of the Chamber, would wish to see being prioritised that were missing from the previous statement; I am afraid to say that they are missing from today’s statement as well. The Welsh Government’s legislative priorities fail to prioritise job creation, for instance: something that was picked up on not just on this side of the Chamber, but by several other Assembly Members. The First Minister’s statement is certainly lacking in detail on how the Government intends to support the creation of jobs and how it will support the expansion of the private sector. The First Minister has said that legislation alone cannot create investment and jobs. I accept that, but it can help, so what does the Welsh Government intend to do to boost enterprise and create jobs?

I agree with the First Minister that we need to see urgent improvements in the delivery of public services in Wales as well as in the opportunities that are provided by the Welsh economy. The First Minister has told us that his Government’s focus remains on improving public services. Given his statement today, perhaps the First Minister would be kind enough to tell us what specific improvements he expects to see in the Welsh NHS and in the education system by 2016. What particular targets and improvements has he set for the Welsh education system and health service for the next five years? How will outcomes against these targets be measured?

All of us in the Chamber wish to see people’s health getting better. I note that the First Minister said that his Government will bring forward a public health (Wales) Bill, with a view to introducing legislation in the second half of its legislative programme. Perhaps the First Minister would be kind enough to expand on that, given the importance of this issue for the health and wellbeing of our nation. Can he confirm, for example, whether his Government intends to legislate on minimum alcohol pricing and the banning of smoking in cars?

I also note that the First Minister’s Government will bring forward a planning Bill, which intends to consolidate existing planning legislation. In the circumstances, will the First Minister confirm whether this will include a wholesale review of the planning process? This is important, given the fact that planning plays a key role in all of our lives, individually and collectively.

On education, my party has supported the work of the Minister for Education and Skills to raise standards in our schools. We need to close the attainment gap in our schools; that is what parents want this Government to do. We shall be a constructive opposition in word and in deed. I wish however to seek clarification on three points today. I note the proposal to bring forward a school and standards Bill. The First Minister has pledged to increase spending on education by 1 per cent above the block grant. Is it his intention to enshrine this pledge in law? The Welsh Labour manifesto also commits the Welsh Government to establishing teaching as a master’s level vocation. On 2 February, the Minister for education confirmed that he had asked officials to examine whether initial teacher training could be revised to become a two-year master’s qualification. Can the First Minister update us on what advice the Minister for education has been given on future changes to teacher training? Can he tell us which key stakeholders, such as teaching unions, have been consulted on these proposals and whether they back the Government’s plans? We also heard yesterday that Welsh universities will now be allowed to charge £9,000 in tuition fees. How confident is the First Minister that this policy can be afforded over the next five years and beyond?

Finally, I thank the First Minister once again for his statement. I welcome some of the points made in today’s announcement and I hope that the Government will now focus its efforts on delivering for the people of Wales.

5.00 p.m.

The First Minister: I was disappointed to hear the leader of the opposition question the Government’s responsibility to bring forward a legislative programme. I am aware of the arithmetic in this place as well as he is, but to suggest that the programme does not have the support of the people of Wales is rich, coming from someone leading a party that commanded the support of one in six of the Welsh population. We heard earlier from the Prime Minister; he also had the support of one in six of the population, yet he is Prime Minister, but I did not question his right to be Prime Minister. Apparently, the same cannot be said of the side opposite. If his party had genuinely wished to do better in the election in May, it would have ditched its commitments to privatisation and to making swingeing cut of 20 per cent in the education budget, which we heard the previous Conservative leader say live on Wales Today.   

I will deal with the questions relevant to the statement that were put by the leader of the opposition. What have we learned? First, the need to put forward a detailed programme—which we have done; there are 19 Bills included here. Secondly, the need to put forward a programme that lasts for the full five years of the Assembly. I emphasise that there is scope for other Bills to come forward during the course of this Assembly, and I do not suggest that these are the only Bills that will come forward, nor that there is no scope for Bills from other parties to be considered as well. Nevertheless, this is the programme of Bills that the Government wishes to see passed over the next five years.

On creating sustainable communities, I am surprised that the leader of the opposition decries cycling and attacks allotments. It is clear that many people gain pleasure from allotments and cycling. Cycling is important in creating a more sustainable form of transport—a form of transport that is accepted in many other European countries but which has had difficulty gaining acceptance here. I also made mention of the prevention of youth offending Bill, among others, that seeks to address the problems of anti-social behaviour and offending in our communities.

In terms of job creation, I have said it before and I will say it again—you cannot create jobs by making laws. You create jobs through policy and through funding. It is not realistic to suggest—unless he has any suggestions to the contrary—that you can legislate to create jobs.

In terms of two other points that he made, we lack the powers over minimum alcohol pricing. If we had the power, we should consider one issue carefully: if there was a significant price difference between Wales and England, there is no question that we would see smuggling. That would mean employing our own customs officers. So, there are effects that need to be considered carefully when it comes to minimum alcohol pricing, sound though the policy is.

When it comes to smoking in cars, the Minister for Health and Social Services and I will tomorrow attend an event that will look at the issue of smoking in cars with children under the age of 16. If needs be—if voluntary action is not effective—we will look to legislate.

In terms of the planning process, the planning Bill is looking to improve and simplify the planning system in Wales. It will look at all aspects of planning—there is no area of planning that is off limits as far as that Bill is concerned. We need to ensure that the planning system that we have inherited is right for the people of Wales, and we will produce a Bill that will provide greater transparency and simplification.

With regard to the suggestion that there should be a budget commitment included in primary legislation, that is not appropriate. Budgets are budgets and legislation is legislation. If we were to include a specific funding pledge on education, that would also bind subsequent Governments, which would be forced to produce a new Bill and to pass a new Act to deal with it. It is right that these issues are dealt with through budget commitments rather than legislative commitments.   

I was disappointed not to hear some suggestions from the leader of the opposition as to which Bills he feels are important and which Bills he thinks deserve the support of this Assembly and the people of Wales, but I look forward to listening to him or his successor in the future providing us with more detail as to what Bills might be suggested by the Conservative Members here over the next five years.

Y Cofnod

Ieuan Wyn Jones: Yr wyf finnau, hefyd, yn diolch yn gynnes iawn i’r Prif Weinidog am y datganiad. Mae’n rhaid inni ein hatgoffa ein hunain fod hwn yn ddatganiad hanesyddol—y tro cyntaf i Brif Weinidog allu sefyll mewn corff etholedig yng Nghymru a chanddo’r hawl i gyflwyno rhestr o Filiau y mae’n dymuno eu cyflwyno ar ran y Llywodraeth. Mae’r ffaith ei fod yn gallu rhestru nifer o Filiau fel hyn yn dangos bod y frwydr a gafwyd yn ystod y refferendwm i roi’r hawl i bobl Cymru ethol Llywodraeth i ddeddfu wedi bod yn werth chweil.

Ieuan Wyn Jones: I, too, thank the First Minister for the statement. We need to remind ourselves that today’s statement is a historic one—it is the first time that a First Minister has had the right to stand up in an elected body in Wales to introduce a list of Bills that he wishes to see put forward on behalf of the Government. The fact that he is able to list a number of Bills demonstrates that the referendum campaign to give the people of Wales the right to elect a Government that could legislate was worthwhile.

Mater arall, wrth gwrs, yw cynnwys y Biliau. Yr wyf yn siŵr y bydd y Prif Weinidog yn falch o glywed bod nifer o Filiau y byddem yn dymuno eu cefnogi—a’u gwella, efallai. Mae gennyf nifer o gwestiynau ar rai Biliau eraill.

The content of the Bills is another issue, of course. I am sure that the First Minister will be pleased to hear that there are a number of Bills that I would wish to support—and, perhaps, improve. I have a number of questions on other Bills.

Dechreuaf drwy gyfeirio at baragraff olaf ei ddatganiad, lle mae’n gosod her i’r pleidiau eraill yn y Cynulliad gydweithio â’r Llywodraeth i gyflwyno’r rhaglen hon. Mae wedi cydnabod bod Plaid Cymru bob amser yn rhoi buddiannau pobl Cymru yn gyntaf, ac, yn naturiol, byddwn am gydweithio â’r Llywodraeth lle bo hynny’n bosibl ac yn ymarferol a lle bo hynny’n cryfhau’r ddeddfwriaeth. Yr wyf yn gobeithio y bydd yr ymrwymiad hwnnw yn cael ei roi gan y gwrthbleidiau eraill hefyd.

I start by making reference to the final paragraph of his statement, which is the challenge that he has set for other parties in the Assembly to collaborate with the Government to deliver on this programme. He has recognised that Plaid Cymru always puts the interests of the people of Wales first, and, naturally, we wish to collaborate with the Government where that is possible and practical and where that strengthens the legislation. I hope that that commitment can also be given by the other opposition parties.

Un mater yr wyf wedi’i godi gyda’r Prif Weinidog sawl tro yw’r angen i gael dadl lawn ar raglen y Llywodraeth. Mae’r Prif Weindiog wedi gwneud datganiad heddiw, ac mae mwy o fanylion yn hwn nag a gafwyd yn y datganiad blaenorol, ond yr wyf yn dal i gredu y byddai trafodaeth eang ar raglen ddeddfwriaethol y Llywodraeth yn adeiladol. Byddem wedyn yn gallu adeiladu consensws go iawn y tu ôl i rai o’r Biliau hyn.

One issue that I have raised with the First Minister on a number of occasions is the need for a full debate on the Government’s programme. He has made a statement today, and there is more detail here than in the previous statement, but I still believe that a broad-ranging discussion on the Government’s legislative programme would be constructive. We would then be in a position to build real consensus behind some of these Bills.

Un peth y mae’n rhaid i’r Prif Weinidog ei wneud—yr wyf yn siŵr ei fod yn sylweddoli—yw sicrhau bod y wybodaeth, y gwaith cefndir a’r gwaith paratoi i gyd yn nwylo’r Llywodraeth. Y tro cyntaf y mae gwrthblaid yn gweld unrhyw beth yw pan fo’r Bil yn cael ei gyflwyno yn gyhoeddus. Yr wyf yn estyn gwahoddiad iddo: os yw’n teimlo bod angen cefnogaeth i Fil penodol—a bydd arno angen hynny; yr unig ffordd y bydd yn sicrhau llwyddiant rhai o’r Biliau hyn yw drwy adeiladu consensws—yr ydym yn hapus i drafod cynnwys Biliau cyn iddynt gael eu cyhoeddi. Gobeithiaf y bydd yn derbyn hynny yn yr ysbryd yr wyf yn gwneud y cynnig.

One thing that the First Minister must do—I am sure that he realises—is to ensure that the information and the background and preparatory work is all in the Government’s hands. The first time that an opposition party sees anything is when the Bill is made public. I extend an invitation to the First Minister: if he feels that he needs support for specific Bills—he will need that support; the only way to get some of these Bills through is by building consensus—we are happy to discuss the content of Bills prior to their publication. I hope that he accepts that in the spirit in which it is proposed.

Un mater yr wyf yn ei gael yn rhyfedd, o ran terminoleg, yw bod y gair 'Cymru’ yn cael ei gynnwys yn nheitlau rhai Biliau drafft ond nid mewn rhai eraill. Pam, er enghraifft, mae gennych 'Fil cynllunio’, tra bo Bil arall yn 'Fil priffydd a thrafnidiaeth (Cymru)’? Byddwn yn meddwl mai Cymru yw tiriogaeth amlwg y ddeddfwriaeth, felly pam nodi hynny? Os oes angen ei gynnwys, pam nad yw wedi’i gynnwys yn nheitl pob Bil? Gobeithiaf y byddwch yn gallu ateb y cwestiwn hwnnw ar derminoleg.

One issue that I find quite strange, in terms of terminology, is that the word 'Wales’ is included in some draft Bills, but not in others. Why, for example, do you have a 'planning Bill’, while another Bill is the 'highways and transport (Wales) Bill’? I would have thought that Wales was the obvious subject of the legislation, so why does it need to be noted? If it does need to be included, why is it not included in all Bills? I hope that you will be able to respond to that question on terminology.

Mae yma gyfuniad o Filiau: rhai yn strwythurol, rhai yn drefniadol ac eraill yn cynnwys cynigion polisi. Un mater yr oeddwn yn ymwybodol iawn ohono—yr oedd y Prif Weinidog hefyd yn cyfeirio at hyn—oedd bod nifer ohonynt yn ymwneud â llywodraeth leol. Yr ydym i gyd yn ymwybodol y bydd pwysau ariannol ar lywodraeth leol, yn yr un modd â Llywodraeth Cymru a chyrff cyhoeddus eraill yng Nghymru. Tybed a fyddai’r Prif Weinidog yn gallu dweud wrthym a yw ei Lywodraeth a’i swyddogion wedi gwneud asesiad o beth yn union yw’r gost ychwanegol ar lywodraeth leol o gyflwyno nifer o’r Biliau hyn. Yr wyf yn gobeithio y bydd yn cael trafodaethau buan â chynrychiolwyr llywodraeth leol er mwyn sicrhau bod unrhyw ddeddfwriaeth newydd sy’n effeithio ar lywodraeth leol yn cael ei hystyried o safbwynt cost cyn ei chyflwyno.

We have here a combination of Bills: some are structural, others are procedural and some make policy proposals. One issue of which I was very aware—the First Minister also made reference to this—was that a number of these relate to local government. We are all aware that there will be financial pressures on local government, as is the case for the Welsh Government and other public bodies in Wales. I wonder whether the First Minister could tell us whether his Government and his officials have carried out an assessment of the additional cost for local government in introducing many of these Bills. I hope that he will have early discussions with representatives of local government in order to ensure that any new legislation that impacts on local government is considered for cost implications before it is introduced.

Mae’r Prif Weinidog hefyd wedi ei gwneud yn glir y bydd rhai Biliau yn cael eu cyflwyno’n uniongyrchol, rhai Biliau yn cael eu cyflwyno ar ffurf drafft a rhai Biliau y ceir ymgynghori arnynt cyn eu cyflwyno. Beth yw’r amserlen ar gyfer rhai o’r penderfyniadau hynny? Os yw’n mynd i ymgynghori, mae’n amlwg na chyflwynir rhai Biliau—os o gwbl—tan ail hanner y Cynulliad.

The First Minister has also made it clear that some Bills will be introduced directly, some Bills will be introduced in draft form and some Bills will be consulted upon prior to their introduction. What is the timetable for that? If there is to be consultation, it is clear that some Bills will not be introduced—if at all—until the second half of this Assembly.

Yr wyf am sôn yn gryno am rai o’r materion sydd wedi dod i’m sylw; unwaith eto, yr wyf wedi cael ychydig amser i’w hystyried. Mae’r Bil y mae’n cyfeirio ato fel Bil priffyrdd a thrafnidiaeth yn ymwneud, mewn gwirionedd, â cherdded a seiclo. A yw wedi ystyried y posibilrwydd o ehangu’r Bil hwnnw i gynnwys ymrwymiad llawnach o blaid trafnidiaeth gyhoeddus a thrafnidiaeth integredig? Mae’n ymwybodol bod mwy o gytundeb yng Nghymru, bellach, ar yr angen i ddatblygu system drafnidiaeth gynaliadwy ac integredig, gan ddefnyddio trafnidiaeth gyhoeddus mewn ffordd lawer mwy blaengar, nag unrhyw wlad arall yn y Deyrnas Gyfunol. Felly, a yw’n fodlon ystyried ehangu’r Bil hwnnw i gynnwys ymrwymiad ehangach?

I will briefly mention some issues that have come to my attention; once again, I have only had a short time to consider them. The Bill that he refers to as the highways and transport (Wales) Bill is, in fact, a Bill on walking and cycling. Has he considered the possibility of expanding that Bill to include a fuller commitment to public transport and to integrated transport? He is aware that there is, now, greater agreement in Wales on the need to develop a sustainable and integrated transport system, using public transport in a far more innovative way, than in any other part of the United Kingdom. Therefore, is he willing to consider the expansion of that Bill to include a broader commitment?

Hoffwn gael mwy o wybodaeth ynglŷn â’r Bil treftadaeth. Nid wyf yn siŵr fy mod yn deall yn llwyr beth y mae eisiau ei gyflawni yn y maes hwnnw.

I would like more information about the heritage Bill. I am not sure that I fully understand what he wants to achieve in that area.

O ran y Bil amgylchedd, nid oeddwn yn siŵr, o ddarllen yr hyn a ddywedodd a gwrando arno’n siarad, pam yr oedd angen Bil i gyflawni’r amcanion a nodwyd. Yr oedd yn sôn am bethau y gellid eu cyflawni heb ddeddfwriaeth, felly nid wyf yn hollol siŵr pam mae angen deddfu ar y meysydd hynny. Yr wyf yn gweld pam y byddai angen Bil cynllunio, a byddwn yn cefnogi’r Bil hwnnw, ar yr amod ei fod yn gynhwysfawr. Yr wyf yn cytuno â’r hyn a ddywedodd Paul Davies ar hyn. Mae’n rhaid i’r Bil gynnwys adolygiad o’r bôn i’r brig o’r system gynllunio. Gobeithiwn y bydd y Llywodraeth yn fodlon mynd i’r afael â hynny. Mae ganddo ein cefnogaeth lwyr ar y sail y bydd hynny yn sicrhau adnewyddiad economaidd Cymru.

Turning to the environment Bill, I was not sure, from reading what he said and having listened to him speak, why a Bill was needed to achieve the aims that he mentioned. He talked about things that could be achieved without legislation, so I am unclear as to why legislation is needed in those areas. I can see why a planning Bill would be necessary, and we will support that Bill, on the condition that it is comprehensive. I agree with what Paul Davies said on this matter. The Bill must include a root and branch review of the planning system. We hope that the Government is willing to do that. He has our full support on the basis that that delivers Wales’s economic recovery.

Caiff ein cefnogaeth hefyd ar y Biliau addysg, ond hoffwn gael sicrwydd y bydd yn fodlon derbyn rhai o’r syniadau a gyflwynwyd gennym yn ein maniffesto ar wella lefelau llythrennedd, cyllido ysgolion, trefn archwilio ysgolion ac yn y blaen. Mae angen cynnwys yr holl bethau hynny mewn Bil addysg. Yr wyf yn gobeithio, os bydd eraill yn dal eich llygad, Lywydd, y bydd modd trafod hynny’n fanylach. Fodd bynnag, mae lle amlwg, fel y dylai fod, yn y rhaglen i Fil yn ymwneud ag addysg.

He will also have our support for the education Bills, but I would like an assurance that he is willing to accept some of the ideas that we put forward in our manifesto on improving literacy levels, school funding, school inspections and so on. All those things need to be included in an education Bill. I hope that, if others catch your eye, Presiding Officer, that can be debated in more detail. However, the programme includes a prominent place for an education Bill, and that is as it should be.

Yr wyf yn teimlo y gellid bod wedi rhoi mwy o wybodaeth ynglŷn â thai. Gwelaf ei fod yn canolbwyntio’n benodol ar y sector rhentu preifat, ond hoffwn wybod faint o waith paratoi sydd wedi’i wneud ar hynny. Fy argraff, o ddarllen yr hyn a ddywedodd, yw bod tipyn o ffordd i fynd cyn y gellir cyflwyno Bil tai. Fodd bynnag, hoffwn wybod pa fath o bethau y mae’n ystyried eu cynnwys. Un o’r pethau amlwg yw lefelau rhent yn y sector preifat. Dyna sydd yn golygu bod nifer o bobl yn methu â chael mynediad i’r sector—mae rhenti, ar hyn o bryd, yn rhy uchel ac mae cymhorthdal tai yn cael ei gwtogi.

I feel that more information could have been included on housing. I see that he is concentrating specifically on the private rented sector, but I would like to know how much preparatory work has been done on that. My impression, having read the statement, is that there is some way to go before a housing Bill can be introduced. However, I would like to know what kind of things he is thinking of including. One obvious issue is rent levels in the private sector, which is what makes it impossible for many people to access the sector—rents are, at the moment, too high and housing benefit is being cut.

Caiff ein cefnogaeth ar y Bil cam-drin domestig (Cymru). Yr wyf yn hollol sicr o hynny, a gobeithiaf y gallwn i gyd gytuno ar ei gynnwys.

He will also have our support on the domestic abuse (Wales) Bill. I am sure of that, and I hope that we can all agree on its content.

Gan ruthro ymlaen at y Bil iechyd, yr wyf yn synnu braidd ei fod yn cael ei adael tan ail hanner y rhaglen. Hoffwn gael mwy o fanylion yn ei gylch. Pam nad yw’r Llywodraeth yn gallu cyflwyno Bil mor bwysig tan ail hanner y Cynulliad? Mae tuedd mewn llywodraeth i’r ddeddfwriaeth lai pwysig ddod yn ail hanner y rhaglen ac i’r ddeddfwriaeth bwysicaf ddod ar y dechrau. Y Bil cynllunio, y Bil addysg a’r Bil iechyd yw’r ddeddfwriaeth yr hoffwn ein gweld yn symud arnynt yn fuan. Yr wyf yn hynod o ddiolchgar i’r Llywydd am ganiatáu imi ofyn nifer o gwestiynau ar y datganiad.

Moving on quickly to the health Bill, I was surprised that it was being left to the second half of the programme. I would like more information. Why is the Government unable to introduce such an important Bill until the second half of the Assembly? Governments tend to introduce less important legislation in the second half of their programmes, dealing with the more important legislation first. The planning Bill, the education Bill and the health Bill are the pieces of legislation that I would like to see us moving to deal with quickly. I am very grateful to the Presiding Officer for allowing me to ask a number of questions on the statement.

Y Prif Weinidog: Dechreuaf drwy ddweud bod lle ar gyfer deddfwriaeth arall. Bydd amser ar gael yn ystod y pum mlynedd nesaf ar gyfer deddfwriaeth sy’n dod gan y pleidiau eraill. Credaf ei fod yn beth synhwyrol i’w wneud. O ran yr hyn sy’n mynd i ddigwydd yn weddol gyflym, hynny yw cyn y Nadolig, yr ydym am ymgynghori ar Fil drafft ynghylch Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru ym mis Medi, ac, ym mis Hydref, yr ydym yn bwriadu cyhoeddi Papur Gwyn ynglŷn â Bil ar roi organau. Hefyd, yr ydym am gyflwyno Bil ar is-ddeddfau awdurdodau lleol i’r Cynulliad ym mis Hydref. Yn ein barn ni, mae’n Fil gweddol syml, felly, gallwn ddod â Bil gerbron y Cynulliad y gall y pleidiau eraill ei gefnogi heb inni orfod cyhoeddi Bil ar ffurf drafft. Ym mis Rhagfyr, byddwn yn cyflwyno’r Bil ynghylch y cynllun sgorio hylendid bwyd cenedlaethol. Caiff ei gyhoeddi cyn y Nadolig er mwyn ymgynghori arno.

The First Minister:I will say at the outset that there is room for further legislation. There will be time available during the next five years for legislation from other parties. I think that it is a sensible thing to do. On what will happen relatively soon, that is, before Christmas, we will consult on a draft Bill on the Wales Audit Office in September and, in October, we intend to publish a White Paper in relation to the organ donation Bill. We also intend to introduce to the Assembly a Bill on local authority bye-laws in October. In our opinion, it is quite a simple Bill; therefore, we will be able to bring a Bill before the Assembly that the other parties will be able to support without us having to publish a draft Bill. In December, we will introduce a Bill on the national food hygiene rating scheme. It will be published before Christmas so that we can consult on it.

Nod y Llywodraeth, lle bo Biliau yn weddol gymhleth neu gyflawn, yw cyflwyno Bil drafft er mwyn caniatáu i’r Aelodau a’r cyhoedd fynegi barn ar yr adeg honno. Byddwn yn cyhoeddi Papurau Gwyn mewn perthynas â rhai o’r Biliau—er enghraifft, bydd hynny yn digwydd ym mis Hydref mewn perthynas â’r Bil ynghylch rhoi organau. O ran y teitlau, bydd y gair 'Cymru’ yn ymddangos yn nheitl pob Deddf a gaiff ei phasio gan y Cynulliad. Mae hynny o ganlyniad i’r ffaith bod yr un peth yn digwydd yn yr Alban. Yn swyddogol—o’r hyn yr wyf yn ei ddeall—bydd pob Deddf a gaiff ei phasio gan y Cynulliad yn cynnwys y gair 'Cymru’ yn y teitl.

It is the Government’s intention, where a Bill is quite complicated or complete, to introduce a draft Bill in order to allow Members and members of the public to express their views at that time. We will publish White Papers in relation to some Bills—for example, that will happen in October in relation to the organ donation Bill. On the titles, the word 'Wales’ will appear in the title of every Act that will be passed by the Assembly. That is a result of the fact that the same thing happens in Scotland. Officially, from what I understand, every Act that will be passed by the Assembly will include the word 'Wales’ in the title.

O ran awdurdodau lleol, ni fyddwn yn dymuno iddynt fod mewn sefyllfa lle byddai’n rhaid iddynt wario mwy o arian heb inni gwrdd â’r costau hynny. Felly, ni fydd awdurdodau lleol yn cario baich costau ychwanegol o ganlyniad i ddeddfwriaeth. O ran y Bil ynghylch priffyrdd a thrafnidiaeth, yr ydym yn barod i’w ehangu neu edrych ar Fil arall er mwyn hybu’r syniadau y gwnaeth yr Aelod sôn amdanynt. O ran y Bil ynghylch yr amgylchedd, y nod yw iddo fod yn Fil mawr a chyflawn ac felly bydd manylion ynghylch y Bil hwnnw yn dod gerbron y Cynulliad dros y blynyddoedd nesaf.

On local authorities, we would not wish for them to have to spend more money without us meeting those costs. Therefore, local authorities will not have to bear additional costs as a result of legislation. On the highways and transport Bill, we are ready to extend it or to look at another Bill in order to promote the ideas that the Member mentioned. On the environment Bill, the aim is for it is to be a large and complete Bill and therefore the details of that Bill will be brought before the Assembly in the next few years.

O ran y Bil ynghylch ysgolion, unwaith eto, yr ydym yn barod i ystyried unrhyw welliannau a allai sicrhau gwell deddfwriaeth. O ran y Bil ynghylch tai, y nod yw sicrhau y bydd Papur Gwyn mewn perthynas â’r Bil hwnnw yn cael ei gyhoeddi rywbryd yn 2013, felly bydd cyfle i Aelodau fynegi barn unwaith eto. O ran y Bil ynghylch iechyd cyhoeddus, mae’n cael ei ddatblygu ar hyn o bryd. Mae’n wir dweud bod sawl Bil yn barod i fynd ar hyn o bryd, ond mae mwy o waith i’w wneud ar y Bil hwnnw. Rhaid cofio hefyd y bydd y Bil ynghylch hylendid bwyd yn barod i gael ei gyflwyno i’r Cynulliad ym mis Mai 2012 a bydd Bil drafft yn cael ei gyhoeddi ym mis Rhagfyr.

On the Bill on schools, once again, we are ready to consider any amendments that could lead to better legislation. On the housing Bill, the aim is to ensure that the White Paper will be published some time in 2013 and therefore Members will once again have an opportunity to express their views. The public health Bill is currently being developed. It is true to say that several Bills are ready to go at the moment, but there is more work to be done on that one. You should bear in mind that the Bill on food hygiene will be ready to be introduced to the Assembly in May 2012 and a draft Bill will be published in December.

Y Cofnod

Kirsty Williams: I consider it to be a huge privilege to be present in the Assembly Chamber listening to this legislative statement. For the first time in many years, the laws that affect only Wales will be made in Wales. A huge responsibility has been placed upon the Welsh Government and the National Assembly. We must demonstrate to the people of Wales that their putting their trust and faith in us in March was the right thing to do and that all the arguments deployed by those of us who campaigned for a 'yes’ vote in the referendum were right. We now have to live up to those expectations. There can be no more excuses. The days of Governments being able to come here and say that they would like to do something about a problem but do not have the powers are over. As a National Assembly, we have to demonstrate that we can scrutinise this legislation properly, hold the Government to account, and amend legislation for the better, where necessary. We need to demonstrate that our legislative choices are the right ones and will transform the society in which we live, driving the better outcomes for our citizens that, collectively, we all desire.

The First Minister and his Government have made it clear that those Bills that are outlined before us in this statement are the legislation that they believe will transform our society and make Wales a better place in which to live. Whether those are the right choices, and whether they will succeed, we will see in the years to come. However, I welcome the fact that the Government has now set out its stall, and I welcome the commitment from the First Minister, in response to a question from Ieuan Wyn Jones, that he intends to be flexible in his legislative programme. We cannot predict what events will happen in the next five years, and so it is wise to ensure that the Government can remain fleet of foot and bring forward legislation in response to events. I also welcome the mixture of approaches, with the Government sometimes intending to simply bring forward the legislation, and, in others, to bring forward White Papers so that there can be pre-legislative scrutiny. I think that that will make all the difference in getting the legislation right first time.

There is a strong emphasis in the statement on placing duties on bodies to make a difference. I do not know that there is a huge amount of evidence to show that simply placing a duty on someone to do something is a catalyst for a huge amount of change. It certainly focuses attention, but with an ever growing list of duties placed upon organisations, one wonders whether we are in danger of diluting that focus. After all, if you have too many priorities, you have none at all. However, at this stage I do not rule out the possibility that this mechanism will effect change; it is just that I would like to see the evidence, as these pieces of legislation progress, that that is what is required to make the difference.

I will go through each section quickly, Presiding Officer, and ask some questions. On the face of it, I have no objection to the sustainable development Bill. Goodness knows there needs to be a body that keeps an eye on the Government in this regard. The evidence given to the Sustainability Committee in the third Assembly suggested that Ministers who understood their responsibilities in this area were few and far between. In fact, with the exception of the then Minister for Health and Social Services, there seemed to be a lack of understanding and acceptance across the Cabinet of their responsibilities in this area. If this body is to keep the Government to its word, then I welcome this Bill.

On highways and transport, I do not want to denigrate cycling, but I hope that we can persuade the Government to look at the re-regulation of bus services. If we are to make a dent in the issue of the availability and attractiveness of public transport, re-regulating the buses would bring more benefits than simply creating more cycle routes. One wonders whether simply placing a duty on councils to do that will really make a difference, given the budgetary constraints upon them.

As for the heritage Bill, in principle I think that it is right to look at legislation in this area. Members will be aware of the issues around the Vulcan pub in Cardiff, and the fact that there are too many limitations on what can be listed and what is seen as of value within our communities. If this Bill goes some way towards addressing that, then I welcome it, but I would like to see further details.

The environment Bill is a curious one. When we were taking evidence as a Sustainability Committee in the third Assembly on why Wales had missed its biodiversity targets so badly, not one person said that we needed a new law to address the situation. What they said was that we need concerted action to make the bodies that are already out there, supposedly doing this job, do the job. I wonder whether legislation in this area will make a difference, unless it will do something about the structures of the Environment Agency, the Countryside Council for Wales and the Forestry Commission, but that has not been laid out in the statement this afternoon.

As I said in response to the previous statement by the First Minister on legislation, I hope that the planning Bill will not be a consolidation exercise; what we need is a transformation in our planning laws.

On education, I believe, on the face of it, that it is right to look to legislate in the area of school standards, as well as of structures and governance. While it is impossible, given the lack of detail before us today, to know whether we will want to support the legislation, we certainly think that the Government is right to look to legislate in this area. I look forward to seeing the detail, because it will be crucial.

On the prevention of youth offending Bill, could the First Minister give more detail in relation to what he said about wanting the Welsh Government to take more of a role in this area and tell us whether that Bill will look to address issues around restorative justice? Again, we have very little detail on the children and young persons (Wales) Bill.

On the social service (Wales) Bill, I think that the Government is right to look to consult significantly on this before bringing forward the legislation, because it will be a massive piece of legislation that will have consequences for huge sections of our society, and it will have to tackle big issues.

On the housing Bill, I am disappointed that there is no specific mention of the need to address those who live in park homes, and perhaps the First Minister could comment on that. The Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage gave a large hint during his last question time that he would seek to legislate in this area, something that I have long campaigned for, and something that I know that the Minister himself feels strongly about. Therefore, I would welcome some clarification on that.   

We look forward to seeing the details of the domestic abuse Bill, which I think that we would look to support, as we would the food hygiene rating scheme Bill. The current system is clearly inadequate. Consumers should have access to that information, and so I welcome that. It is impossible to say whether we will be able to support the public health Bill until we see the details of it. However, the focus on public health is welcome, as is the focus on the statutory third sector.

I am in danger of sounding far too positive about this legislative statement, therefore I will finish with the legislation that gives me the most cause for concern, which is the local government (collaborative measures) (Wales) Bill, which I think should be renamed 'the reorganisation of local government by the back door Bill’. It will be the third piece of primary legislation on local government that we have had since 2009. If the Minister for Local Government and Communities is convinced that the current local government structure in Wales is not fit for purpose, then he should do the right thing and publish a White Paper and consult upon it, rather than bringing forward pieces of legislation such as this that state, 'Do as I say or I will force you’. That is not the kind of relationship that we need between this National Assembly and the Welsh Government and local government. The Minister should be upfront about what he truly wants, which is a reorganisation, and publish a White Paper and consult on it properly, rather than bringing forward pieces of legislation such as this.

The First Minister:I thank the leader of the Liberal Democrats, in the main, for her comments. [Laughter.] On occasions such as this, it is impossible to have published full draft Bills in every area. Therefore, there will be some areas where Members may think that the devil is in the detail, which is inevitable. Those Bills will be published in due course.

5.30 p.m.

I was accused of not being detailed enough in June, but now I am being accused of being too detailed about the Government’s programme. Several issues were raised by the leader of the Liberal Democrats. They are all issues that are perhaps best dealt with as the Bills go through the Assembly, but I can talk about one or two of the issues. On the issue of cycling, in this country, cycling is not seen as a form of transport in the way that it is in other countries in Europe. It is important that we have in place a system of transport that enables people to get to work, so that they are not dependent on cars.

On the heritage Bill, we know of situations where historic buildings are not being kept in a good state of repair, and the present legislation makes it difficult to enforce the fact that the owners should be keeping those buildings in a good state of repair. There have also been issues regarding some buildings not having listed status, whereas other structures are listed in a way that is often difficult to see. Therefore, we want to see legislation passed that simplifies the system.

With regard to planning, you are right to say that it is not simply a consolidation Bill; we want to put in place a planning system that is appropriate for the needs of Wales.

With regard to the prevention of youth offending Bill, the basis of the legislation is to secure equality of provision for those who are vulnerable and not in the criminal justice system and those who are made vulnerable because of their offending. That is where the legislation is coming from: it aims to strengthen the entitlements of children and young people who are made vulnerable through offending, thus reducing the number of children presenting with complex needs that are associated with involvement with the criminal justice system.

With regard to the point on park homes, again, that issue can be considered as part of the housing Bill, and we will see what can be done to accommodate that.

There are a number of issues in relation to local government reorganisation, but a major issue is the cost. There is a significant cost associated with it; some estimates place it at around £490 million. The Government must be mindful of the cost of wholesale reorganisation. However, it is our strong view that local authorities in Wales are simply not able to provide every service themselves, and therefore there is a need to collaborate with other local authorities. While there has been much discussion on collaboration, the evidence of actual collaboration has been disappointing. That is why there is a need to introduce a Bill, to ensure that collaboration happens. It is worth saying that, if collaboration does not happen, there will be little choice but to reorganise, even though significant costs are associated with reorganisation. Duties will be imposed on bodies as a result of the Bills—that is what law is; it imposes duties on organisations or people, and, as a result, behaviour changes. Bear in mind that, where a statutory duty is imposed on a body, that duty is then potentially enforceable in law in a way that is not possible in the case of more informal obligations that are placed on public bodies.

Christine Chapman: First Minister, I thank you for your statement on the legislative programme. It is based on Labour’s ambitious and comprehensive manifesto, which was backed by the people of Wales in May. As other Members have said, this is a truly historic occasion.

I want to ask a question on the heritage Bill. I am aware that the Government is committed to delivery and that more information will be provided on the delivery unit. Could you comment on how the heritage Bill can assist in town and village regeneration? A well-loved historical landmark can help to encourage residents to enjoy public space and enhance tourism. Will there be scope in the heritage Bill in that respect?

As Chair of the Children and Young People Committee, I am sure that I speak for other Members in saying that we are looking forward to scrutinising aspects of the legislative programme over the next few years.

I have a few questions on the two education Bills. You will be aware of the Estyn report published earlier today that sets out some of the challenges facing schools and learners with regard to underachievement. At the heart of the Bills is the need to support all of our young people to reach their potential. Clear indicators are vital in allowing us to monitor the achievement of our objectives. Again, it comes down to delivery. We need to realise when we have achieved this, because there could be a lot of young people slipping through the net if we do not. Can you give any more information on how we can assess performance in meeting these priorities? Of course, these are long-term aims.

I would just say something about teachers, as they were mentioned. We must recognise the pivotal role that teachers play. We know that a good teacher can give his or her pupils a lifelong enthusiasm for learning and really make a difference to a young person’s life chances. We know that Wales has some excellent teachers, but we want them all to reach the standards of the best. What more, First Minister, can be done within this legislative programme to ensure that we attract the very best to a profession that is regarded as a good career choice?

As was mentioned last week, we need to have the highest ambitions for our children to stop the cycle of underachievement. In particular, there is the known danger of teenage boys in particular losing interest in school and succumbing to peer pressure and ideas that education is not cool. Could you give a response on this? What plans do you have to tackle underachievement, particularly among teenage boys?

The First Minister: With regard to the heritage Bill, the intention is to ensure that communities do not lose much-loved buildings. They may not be of particular architectural merit on occasion, but they may nevertheless be much loved within their communities. It is right to say that, in the 1960s, Carmarthenshire lost a large number of manor houses—plastai in Welsh—which, in this day and age, probably would have been saved, despite the money needed to preserve them. In the 1960s, a large number of our town and village centres were effectively destroyed by a form of architecture that has since been discredited. We know that anything that won a design award in the 1960s has probably fallen down by now. However, a number of buildings were lost at that time, and we do not want to see that situation continue.

With regard to education and teaching, the structures, governance and SEN Bill will provide the power to determine the future of the General Teaching Council for Wales. A number of options will be put forward with regard to how that should be dealt with in the future, and there will be consultation on what the future of the body should be. Several options are being considered, from abolition to strengthening, and whether a different body should be put in its place.

Many of the issues of standards revolve around school reorganisation. At the moment, more than half of the school reorganisation proposals put forward by local authorities end up on the desk of the Minister to be decided. That cannot be right. There will be some occasions when the Minister needs to take a decision, such as on some major school reorganisations, but it cannot be right that one objection can lead to a decision on school reorganisation being taken, not by the local authority proposing the reorganisation, but ultimately by a Minister.

With regard to failing schools, we are looking to ensure that we strengthen the provision for dealing with them. We know that many young people do not get the education they should because of a particular problem in some schools in Wales. We want to ensure that the role of Ministers is strengthened in early intervention in failing schools and that Ministers have a full range of powers to ensure that schools are turned around as quickly as possible.

I think that I dealt with some of the other issues that you raised in my opening statement. Of course, we are in the exciting position now of being able to produce, for the Assembly’s consideration in due course, two education Bills for the first time.

The Presiding Officer: Well, this is obviously a historic day, and there is a huge amount of interest, with people wishing to speak on this statement. We have already had a speaker from each party and a lot of this area has been covered, so I ask the next speakers to be as concise as they can so that I can try to fit everyone in who wishes to speak.

Nick Ramsay: I look forward to seeing the detail of all of the Bills that have been mentioned by the First Minister. Until we get that, I wish to ask him some specific questions. First, on the planning Bill that he referred to in his statement, I am all for making planning more transparent and accessible, which seems to be the motive behind the Bill. This is clearly the holy grail in terms of developing planning policy. I wish you well in that endeavour. Will you undertake to engage fully with local authorities during that process to ensure that local authorities’ opinions about the way that the planning process can be progressed are included? Will this also apply to the appeals process part of the planning process? We have had freedom of information requests from this side of the Chamber in the past that have shown that a very large number—the percentage escapes me, but I think that it might be a third—of planning refusals are overturned on appeal. In many cases, this leads to a large degree of disillusionment locally with the planning process. Therefore, I would be grateful if you could comment on that.

Following on from the debate earlier, with regard to the domestic abuse Bill, which would place a duty on relevant public sector bodies, following up Kirsty Williams’s comments, can you guarantee that, following this first historic legislative statement, there will not be a range of areas placing undue requirements on local authorities at a time when funding is tight?

You mentioned the organ donation (Wales) Bill—and I understand fully the reasons for Wales being mentioned in the titles of the Bills—pushing for an opt-out system of organ donation. As we said previously when your Government was seeking a legislative competence Order on this system, we will have a free vote on this side of the Chamber when it comes to that. I have asked you previously about this, and I note that, today, you spoke about backing this process up with a comprehensive education programme as well as liaising fully with the public because, clearly, if we are to increase organ donation rates through this method, the public needs to be brought along with that because some people remain unconvinced.

Are you also planning on engaging fully with the UK Government, because concerns were previously expressed by the UK Government about whether this is actually within our competence? It may well be within our competence; I suspect that it probably is, but I would like to know from you that you are going to have discussions with the UK Government to ensure that it is. I grudgingly accept that an opt-out system of presumed consent is probably the best way at this juncture to increase organ donation rates, but I want to have confidence that you have liaised fully with the UK Government on what would be a very important piece of legislation and one that certainly requires the support of the public and Members in this Chamber.

On the cosmetic piercing age of consent (Wales) Bill that you mentioned, I am tempted to ask whether you have any piercings yourself, but I will refrain from that, First Minister, and indeed from asking whether you had consent from the Chief Whip for that. You mentioned the age of consent, but there is nothing in this that tells us what the age of consent would be. Clearly, we need to know what age is being talked about, because there will be issues with regard to relationships between young people and their parents in relation to that process. Although there are certainly very good reasons for telling people about the consequences of cosmetic piercings, again, we need to ensure that the public, including children, are taken along with that process and that we are not causing undue concern.

Finally, I am all for us working together on this. It is a historic day, but there are many areas here that need to be clarified, and certainly with regard to the issue of placing extra duties on local authorities at this time.

The First Minister: A planning White Paper will be published towards the end of next year. The planning Bill is designed to look at all aspects of planning. We are not looking to impose new unfunded duties on local authorities. With regard to the organ donation Bill, it is a matter for the Assembly to pass the Bill, but we will of course consider any issues raised by the UK Government with regard to competence. However, we are confident that we have the competence to take this Bill through to become an Act. On cosmetic piercing, the proposal we will put forward is that the age of consent should be 16.

5.45 p.m.

Simon Thomas: As a former earring-wearing, allotment-holding and cycling Member of the Assembly, I welcome this statement. However, turning to more specific matters in the statement, I draw the First Minister’s attention to some of the legislative proposals for education. It is good to see that education has a central place in the statement. Indeed, it seems that the education proposals are a little more worked up than some of the Government’s other proposals. We will give our support to the proposals, but we will want to test the legislation on its ability to deliver outcomes and improvements in educational attainment; that is what we will be looking for. I reiterate what my leader said: that we will be happy to discuss with the Government how the education Bills can set out to achieve improvements in education in Wales. We particularly welcome the proposal to put the Welsh-in-education strategic plans on a statutory footing; that was foreseen by the previous Government and has now been taken forward by this one.

The proposals for changes to higher education will need some care. There was mention in the statement only of regulatory changes in that area. We will need to look at that with care and see where we will need to take action to intervene and where collaboration between institutions will deliver for us.

I turn to two specific things that might need to be examined. First, the First Minister will know that a lot of what the Government is setting out to achieve in improving school standards depends on the regional agenda and on working along those lines. In this statement, he has proposed that this will be part of the structures, governance and special educational needs Bill. Will he say a little more about how he foresees this regional agenda working under the legislation? In the short term, is he proposing to force education authorities to collaborate? The second question is in relation to further education, which is a bit of a Cinderella in the education system in Wales at the moment, and perhaps it has not had the attention that it deserves. There is talk of introducing changes to the governance structures of further education in the Bill. Is it his Government’s proposal to stop the incorporation of further education colleges and to seek a different way of working between FE and HE? What are the outcomes that he is seeking to achieve with this legislation?

With those questions, and a promise to work with him as much as possible on this legislation, as well as being a critical friend in seeking to get the best possible legislation before the Assembly, I hope that he will take this opportunity to say a little more about the education proposals in the statement.

The First Minister: On the regional approach to delivering education, Members will know that the Minister published a report in March of this year regarding the structure of education services in Wales. The report concluded that the development of regional consortia would be a positive way forward. As part of the structures, governance and special educational needs Bill, there will be provision for ensuring that those consortia are brought together.

On FE, Members who were here previously will be aware that an FE governance review was commissioned. The consultation exercise ended on 27 June and was positively received by the sector and key stakeholders. On the basis of that review, we will then look to legislate with regard to ensuring that the level of scrutiny, challenge and accountability in the FE sector in Wales is right, that the voice of learners and employers in governance is enhanced and that there is increased responsiveness by further education institutions to learners, employers and communities. That means making the system of governance of FE more responsive to local communities, and the Bill will contain proposals as to how that will be done.

Vaughan Gething: I too am particularly pleased and proud to be here for this historic statement, having campaigned in both devolution referenda and finally seeing a much more comprehensive result. I am not going to talk much about the overview and outline because you have heard an awful lot about that. However, one of the things that I was interested in was not just the cycling and walking Bill, but the proposals and points that were made by other speakers on that Bill. I am interested in whether cycling will be part of the transport plans that local authorities need to produce and whether they are going to have a duty to consider cycling as part of making transport easier. The duty that you announced mentioned that they would need to think about it in key areas, but how comprehensive will that be in terms of the transport planning that local authorities need to undertake?

In looking at the planning Bill, planning is hugely important not just to the economy, but to transport as well. In looking at your deadline, I am thinking about the local development plans that are currently being considered by local authorities. Sadly, Cardiff expects to have its local development plan in place in 2014, about 18 years after its last plan was put in place, so it is hugely late. Will the planning Bill look at the potential for a wider regional planning role to benefit the economy and transport as part of the plan, or are we still looking at having 22 local structures potentially in place?

I was particularly pleased, as were Christine Chapman and others, to hear about the focus on education in the announcement. We should never accept that a lesser level of achievement is expected or tolerated from different communities based on their socio-economic background. How will the consortia figure in the legislation? Will it be part of the primary legislation or the powers given to Ministers to look at what those consortia will be? I am concerned about the current proposals on the shape of the consortia, and whether there will be an opportunity to look again at what their final shape will be. I have no difficulty with looking at four consortia, for example, but will there be an opportunity to look again at whether the Cardiff and Gwent authorities, for example, are the right mix to have? I was particularly pleased to hear was what you said about FE governance in answer to Simon Thomas, because I also want to see a greater role for learners, staff and wider members of the community in FE governance.

I agreed with most of what Kirsty Williams said, but I do not agree with her about local government. Now is the time for local authorities to take this seriously; perhaps it is because Carl Sargeant has been too soft and reticent about collaboration that they have not quite got the message. [Laughter.] I believe that it is right to legislate again in order to say clearly to local authorities that if they do not take the collaboration message seriously, the only alternative will be more comprehensive reorganisation. In terms of action, the way in which other services are organised means that we need to be careful not to allow local authorities to create a structure that makes it difficult to look at an alternative structure in the future.

I am especially proud to see a Labour Government putting its values into action in this legislative programme, and I look forward to working with other parties on delivering it during the next five years.

The First Minister: I reprimand the Member for not taking part in the first referendum, although he may have only just been born in 1979. [Laughter.] I did not take part in it either. I was once criticised on the doorstep for not having voted in the first referendum, despite the fact that I was 12 at the time. There are some who remember the first referendum and it was part of the process that led us to where we are now.

With regard to the highways and transport Bill, the intention is that it should be a fairly straightforward Bill dealing primarily with walking and cycling. However, issues have been raised by Members in this Chamber that deserve further consideration, possibly as part of that Bill or through another Bill.

With regard to planning, a number of planning issues need to be resolved. You raise an important issue in that local authorities are required to have a new development plan every 10 years, but there is no sanction if they do not put one in place. It is one of the oddities of the planning system that if there is no development plan, nothing else can be done. I know of one local authority in Wales that had no development plan for nearly 30 years. One of the issues that would need to be addressed in the planning Bill is the creation of a mechanism to ensure that development plans are delivered in good time.

On the consortia, the key is to ensure flexibility with regard to their structure. It seems to me that that would be best achieved through secondary legislation rather than primary legislation, because that would provide the flexibility needed for Ministers to be able to arrange the consortia in such a way that will deliver the best educational outcomes.  

Andrew R.T. Davies: I thank the First Minister for his statement. Westminster Governments used to try to aim for Mondeo man, but after listening to Simon Thomas’s remarks it seems as if the First Minister has got Cardi boy on side for his legislative process, which may be a sign of things to come in the medium to long term.

I wish for the First Minister to clarify two issues. With regard to the draft food hygiene Bill, on which I have pressed him on several occasions, I am a little disappointed that this is not a ready-to-go Bill, as it were. As I understand, the First Minister has had comprehensive discussions with the Food Standards Agency and that report is with the First Minister now. It arrived in May, so I am a little disappointed to hear that the draft Bill will not be coming forward until—as I think I heard earlier—May next year, but I will stand to be corrected. Will the First Minister indicate why he is not confident enough to bring a Bill forward in a hasty manner, on the basis that the cycling Bill can come forward, as can the sustainability Bill? I would argue that this is not a contentious Bill; it has had considerable preparatory work put into it and it would receive a broad spectrum of support around the Chamber.

However, I also endorse the comments of the leader of the opposition who took the First Minister to task with regard to there being no enterprise Bill in the legislative programme. There are fields in which a Bill could enhance the competitiveness of Welsh companies, particularly in the field of public sector procurement. I raised this with the First Minister on 14 June and he was sceptical whether the Government had the ability to bring forward legislation on that. There is scope for legislation to be brought forward, especially for contracts worth under £100,000. There is also scope to improve the situation with regard to apprenticeships and the skills level. Therefore, will the First Minister indicate whether the Government gave any thought to bringing forward an enterprise Bill that could have legislated in those particular fields?

The First Minister: With regard to the food hygiene Bill, it is being published in draft form in December, so there is no question of it being delayed. The report that I received from the FSA arrived in the middle of May; a Bill, if it is going to be effective, cannot be drafted in that short space of time, but nevertheless the Bill is among the first three that will be produced before the Assembly for consultation in December. With regard to enterprise, many of the issues raised by the Member are important, but none of them, to my mind, require legislation. They are issues that can be addressed by Government, but we should be careful about producing legislation where none is needed. One of the exercises that have been conducted in producing this legislative programme is an exercise to ensure that the legislation is required before it received the approval of Cabinet so that it can then be put before the Assembly for its approval.

Llyr Huws Gruffydd: I also welcome your statement today, although it is a shame that it has taken two legislative statements and over two months to drag this detail out of the new Labour Government. You have wasted precious time in getting going, but at last now, we have a programme against which we can judge this Government’s delivery. Thank you for the statement.

Y Cofnod

Croesawaf nifer o elfennau yn y datganiad, yn enwedig, wrth gwrs, y cyfeiriad at y Bil ynghylch cynaliadwyedd; mae hynny’n ddatblygiad nodedig ac arwyddocaol iawn. Gofynnaf am eglurder o safbwynt y corff annibynnol y soniasoch amdano. A wnewch gadarnhau y bydd ganddo sail statudol i fod yn eiriolwr cryf dros yr amgylchedd a thros genedlaethau’r dyfodol yng Nghymru? Mae cyfeiriad, wrth gwrs, at Fil cynllunio. Yr ydych yn sôn am gydgyfnerthu deddfwriaeth gynllunio sy’n bodoli eisoes. Fel y clywsom yn barod, mae angen diwygio’r ddeddfwriaeth bresennol o’r bôn i’r brig, a byddwn yn gofyn i chi ystyried hynny fel rhan o’r broses.

There are a number of elements that I welcome in the statement, particularly, of course, the reference to the sustainability Bill; that is a notable and significant development. I ask for clarity regarding the independent body that you have mentioned. Will you confirm that it will be on a statutory basis so that it can be a strong advocate for the environment and future generations in Wales? There is reference of course to a planning Bill. You are talking about consolidating existing planning legislation. As we have already heard, there needs to be a root-and-branch review of current legislation and I would ask you to consider that as part of the process.

Clywsom gyfeiriad hefyd at y cynlluniau datblygu lleol. Oes, mae angen sicrhau bod y cynlluniau hynny yn cael eu datblygu ar amser, ond mae hefyd yn bwysig bod y cynlluniau hynny yn rhai addas. Ar hyn o  bryd, nid yw’r system cynlluniau datblygu lleol, fel ag y mae, yn creu nac yn annog datblygu cynaliadwy. Felly, byddwn yn gofyn i chi edrych ar hynny fel rhan o’r broses,i gyflymu’r broses a rhoi mwy o flaenoriaeth i’r Bil cynllunio er mwyn sicrhau na fydd rhai o’r datblygiadau anaddas hyn wedi cael eu cloi i mewn pan ddaw hi’n adeg diwygio’r ddeddfwriaeth.

We also heard reference to local development plans. Yes, we need to ensure those plans are developed in a timely manner, but it is also important that those plans are appropriate. At present, the LDP system as it currently stands does not create or encourage sustainable development. So, I would ask you to look at that as part of the process, to hasten that process and to give more priority to the planning Bill in order to ensure that some of these inappropriate developments will not have been locked in when it comes to time to amend the legislation.

Yr wyf yn siomedig nad oes bwriad cyflwyno Bil penodol ar goedwigaeth. Byddwch yn gwybod am gyfraniad y sector coedwigaeth wrth gwrs, yn rhoi gwaith ac yn cynnal diwydiannau coed a thwristiaeth. Mae’n help o safbwynt taclo newid hinsawdd, mae’n atal colli bioamrywiaeth ac, wrth gwrs, mae’n darparu llawer o bleser o safbwynt mynediad y cyhoedd. Hoffwn weld deddfwriaeth a fyddai’n sicrhau bod stad goedwigaethgyhoeddus Cymru yn aros mewn meddiant cyhoeddus, yn gwreiddio mynediad i’r cyhoedd i’r stad honno, a hefyd yn creu gwell defnydd o’r stad honno o safbwynt budd economaidd, amgylcheddol ac ynni. Felly, byddwn hefyd yn galw arnoch i ystyried ychwanegu Bil o’r fath.

I am disappointed that there is no intention to introduce a specific Bill on forestry. You will know of the contribution made by the forestry sector of course, providing work and supporting timber and tourism industries. It helps to tackle climate change, it prevents biodiversity loss and, of course, it provides a lot of pleasure in terms of public access. I would like to see legislation that will ensure that the public forestry estate of Wales stays in public ownership, rooting public access to that estate and making better use of it from the point of view of economic, environmental and energy benefits. I would, therefore, also call on you to consider adding such a Bill.

6.00 p.m.

 
Y Cofnod

The First Minister: Dealing with the issue that was raised first by the Member in his grudging praise of the Government for its programme, I will simply say this: with regard to his own party’s manifesto, can he name three Bills that were proposed in it? [Interruption.]

The Presiding Officer: Order. That was a rhetorical question.

The First Minister: The manifesto on which my party stood contains a number of new Bills—far more than was the case with his party’s manifesto. [Interruption.] I am told that this is not a competition; it is about who had the most ideas.

Y Cofnod

Trof at y materion eraill a godwyd ganddo. Yn gyntaf, ar y corff stadudol ar gyfer datblygu cynaliadwy, wrth gwrs y bydd y corff hwn yn gorff statudol—dyna pam mae’n rhan o ddeddfwriaeth. Yn ail, ar gynllunio, rhaid inni gael system gynllunio sydd yn addas i bobl Cymru. O ran coedwigaeth, nid wyf yn gweld pam mae angen Mesur coedwigaeth. Nid oes neb yn dweud y dylid gwerthu coedwigoedd Cymru ac nid oes neb yn dweud na ddylai coedwigaeth fod yn rhan o eiddo pobl Cymru. Ar y pethau eraill y soniwch amdanynt—er enghraifft, sicrhau bod mwy o bobl yn gallu mwynhau coedwigoedd Gymru—mae’r gwaith sydd wedi’i wneud dros y degawd diwethaf yn sicrhau bod mwy a mwy o bobl yn gallu defnyddio coedwigoedd er eu lles eu hunain ac, wrth gwrs, yn eu hamser hamdden.

I turn to the other issues that he raised. First, on the statutory body for sustainable development, it will, of course, be a statutory body—that is why it is part of legislation. Secondly, regarding planning, we need a planning system that is appropriate for the people of Wales. On forestry, I do not see why a forestry Bill is needed. No-one is saying that forestry should be sold in Wales, or that it should not be part of the property of the people of Wales. On the other things that you referred to—such as increased access to forestry in Wales—the work that has been done over the last 10 years ensures that more and more people are able to use forestry for their own wellbeing and, of course, in their leisure time.

Y Cofnod

Joyce Watson: I broadly welcome the programme, but I will speak on one issue, namely, the domestic abuse (Wales) Bill. I welcome this Bill, and look forward to it. I thank the First Minister for showing not only his personal commitment but also his Government’s commitment to this particular issue. Finally, this will be mainstreamed, so that women and children can come in from the cold, and be welcomed, listened to and treated with dignity wherever they are. For too long, violence against women and domestic abuse have been seen as someone else’s problem; now, the First Minister has made it clear that it is society’s problem, as are the solutions. This public sector duty Bill will, I hope, produce, where it is not already happening, a clearly defined system of delivering for all victims in all parts of Wales. When does the First Minister expect to start the consultation process?

The First Minister: We are looking to introduce the domestic abuse strategies Bill during the course of the 2013-14 legislative year.

Antoinette Sandbach: There has already been extensive comment on many Bills, and I just want some clarification, if possible, on the environment Bill. You described it as a substantial piece of legislation that might come forward in tranches, as it were. Can you indicate whether you anticipate that the agricultural community will be affected by any of the provisions of this Bill, bearing in mind European requirements and matters such as Glastir, which already impose substantial obligations on the agricultural community? In effect, will you be able to indicate whether it will exclude the agricultural community?

The other contribution that I wish to make is in relation to accountability. You have indicated two separate procedures, the first in relation to draft Bills, and the second in relation to White Papers. As I understand it, Standing Orders provide for the Business Committee to dictate the timetabling of scrutiny, and that committee does not sit in public—it sits in private—and its discussions are not available to the public. I notice and welcome the fact that your statement indicates that you will allow sufficient time for proper scrutiny by the relevant committees. Can you, perhaps, indicate what you anticipate the difference in procedure being between draft Bills and White Papers?

The First Minister: There are some Bills that we anticipate being fairly straightforward, and we would not anticipate a White Paper being published before such Bills are published. There will be other Bills that will need to be published in draft form because they are substantial. I have already mentioned three Bills that will be introduced before Christmas—two of which will be introduced in draft form and one of which will be in the form of a White Paper. It roughly follows the sort of process in place at Westminster. With regard to the environment Bill, the intention is to protect the environment, inevitably. The intention is not to impose new burdens on agriculture. As I know full well, almost all of the rules that govern agriculture are determined at European level. There is scope for some interpretation with regard to member states and, in the case of the UK, devolved administrations, but, in the main, the rules are set in the European Council—the Commission proposes them, and the Council agrees them. I do not anticipate any negative effect, financially or otherwise, on agriculture.

Darren Millar: First Minister, I note with interest as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee the reference to the draft Wales Audit Office Bill on the governance and accountability of the Wales Audit Office, and I welcome the support of the Government in driving forward the improvement that is needed in the governance arrangements there. However, you will be aware, through correspondence with your office, that there is a need to maintain the independence of the Wales Audit Office from the Government, and, of course, the National Assembly itself, through the Public Accounts Committee, should be the body driving this agenda forward. I note the word 'draft’ in the title of the Bill—it is the only Bill in the legislative statement for which the word 'draft’ is used. I would appreciate some clarity on the role of the National Assembly, rather than the Welsh Government, in taking this forward. You will be aware that, in the third Assembly, the Public Accounts Committee made some great progress on taking the Government’s agenda forward, and I would appreciate the opportunity to seek clarity on this issue this afternoon.

The First Minister: I think that I dealt with this issue in the body of my original speech, when I dealt with the need for independence with regard to the Wales Audit Office in terms of the appointment of its members and the need for independence from Government, certainly, and from the Assembly. The draft Wales Audit Office Bill is the first draft Bill that will be produced—the intention is to produce it during September and October next year for consideration by the Assembly. It is a Bill that I believe and hope will command widespread support in the Chamber, looking to build on some of the submissions that have been made by the Public Accounts Committee among others.

The Presiding Officer: The Business Committee agreed that voting time would take place immediately before the short debate. We have now arrived at that point. I see that no Member wishes for the bell to be rung.

Cyfnod Pleidleisio
Voting Time

Gwelliant 2 i NDM4784: O blaid 40, Ymatal 13, Yn erbyn 0.
Amendment 2 to NDM4784: For 40, Abstain 13, Against 0.

Y Cofnod

Pleidleisiodd yr Aelodau canlynol o blaid:
The following Members voted for:

 

Andrews, Leighton
Antoniw, Mick
Black, Peter
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Jocelyn
Davies, Keith
Drakeford, Mark
Evans, Rebecca
Gething, Vaughan
Gregory, Janice
Griffiths, John
Griffiths, Lesley
Gruffydd, Llyr Huws
Hart, Edwina
Hedges, Mike
Hutt, Jane
James, Julie
Jones, Ann
Jones, Carwyn
Jones, Elin
Jones, Ieuan Wyn
Lewis, Huw
Mewies, Sandy
Morgan, Julie
Neagle, Lynne
Parrott, Eluned
Price, Gwyn R.
Rathbone, Jenny
Rees, David
Sargeant, Carl
Skates, Kenneth
Thomas, Gwenda
Thomas, Rhodri Glyn
Thomas, Simon
Watson, Joyce
Whittle, Lindsay
Williams, Kirsty
Wood, Leanne

 

Ymataliodd yr Aelodau canlynol:
The following Members abstained:

Asghar, Mohammad
Burns, Angela
Davies, Andrew R.T.
Davies, Byron
Davies, Paul
Davies, Suzy
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Graham, William
Isherwood, Mark
Millar, Darren
Ramsay, Nick
Sandbach, Antoinette

 

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment agreed.

 

Cynnig NDM4784 fel y’i diwygiwyd:

Motion NDM4784 as amended:

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

1. Yn ystyried y cynnydd a wnaed yn y flwyddyn gyntaf yn erbyn blaenoriaethau Strategaeth yr Hawl i fod yn Ddiogel; ac

1. Considers the progress made in the first year against the priorities of the Right to be Safe Strategy; and

2. Yn nodi ymrwymiad Llywodraeth Cymru i wella diogelwch unigolion a’u teuluoedd sy’n destun cam-drin domestig ac i roi cefnogaeth iddynt.

2. Notes the Welsh Government’s commitment to improve the safety of and support for individuals and their families who experience domestic abuse.

3. Yn nodi ymhellach:

3. Further notes:

a) Rôl ac arbenigedd mudiadau’r Trydydd Sector o ran mynd i’r afael â thrais yn erbyn menywod a cham-drin domestig, yn ogystal â darparu cymorth i ddioddefwyr a phlant;

a) The role and expertise of the Third Sector organisations in tackling violence against women and domestic abuse and providing support for victims and children;

b) Yr angen i ymgysylltu â mudiadau’r Trydydd Sector yn llawn wrth fesur y cynnydd a gyflawnwyd yn erbyn blaenoriaethau Strategaeth yr Hawl i fod yn Ddiogel.

b) The need to fully engage with Third Sector Organisations in measuring progress achieved against the priorities of the Right to be Safe Strategy.

4. Yn galw ar Lywodraeth Cymru i gymryd camau i sicrhau bod dioddefwyr trais domestig yn parhau i gael mynediad at gyfiawnder.

4. Calls on the Welsh Government to take action to ensure continued access to justice for victims of domestic violence.

Cynnig NDM4784 fel y’i diwygiwyd: O blaid 48, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 0.
Motion NDM4784 as amended: For 48, Abstain 0, Against 0.

Y Cofnod

Pleidleisiodd yr Aelodau canlynol o blaid:
The following Members voted for:

 

Andrews, Leighton
Antoniw, Mick
Black, Peter
Burns, Angela
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Andrew R.T.
Davies, Byron
Davies, Jocelyn
Davies, Keith
Davies, Paul
Drakeford, Mark
Evans, Rebecca
George, Russell
Gething, Vaughan
Gregory, Janice
Griffiths, John
Griffiths, Lesley
Gruffydd, Llyr Huws
Hart, Edwina
Hedges, Mike
Hutt, Jane
Isherwood, Mark
James, Julie
Jones, Ann
Jones, Carwyn
Jones, Elin
Jones, Ieuan Wyn
Lewis, Huw
Mewies, Sandy
Millar, Darren
Morgan, Julie
Neagle, Lynne
Parrott, Eluned
Price, Gwyn R.
Ramsay, Nick
Rathbone, Jenny
Rees, David
Sargeant, Carl
Skates, Kenneth
Thomas, Gwenda
Thomas, Rhodri Glyn
Thomas, Simon
Watson, Joyce
Whittle, Lindsay
Williams, Kirsty
Wood, Leanne

 

Derbyniwyd cynnig NDM4784 fel y’i diwygiwyd.
Motion NDM4784 as amended agreed.

Daeth y Dirprwy Lywydd i’r Gadair am 6.10 p.m.
The Deputy Presiding Officer took the Chair at 6.10 p.m.

Dadl Fer
Short Debate

Llyfr Blegywryd Newydd? Adfer Awdurod Cyfreithiol i Gymru
A New Book of Blegywryd? Restoring Legal Authority to Wales

Y Cofnod

Simon Thomas: Mae’n dda gennyf gynnal y ddadl fer hon ar y diwrnod y mae’r Llywodraeth wedi cyhoeddi ei rhaglen ddeddfwriaethol, oherwydd y byddwn, yn ystod y ddadl, yn edrych ar ochr arall y geiniog, sef ochr gweinyddu cyfiawnder yng Nghymru a’r gyfundrefn gyfiawnder.

Simon Thomas: I am pleased to stage this short debate on the day that the Government has announced its legislative programme, because, during this short debate, we are going to be looking at the other side of the coin, namely the issue of the administration of justice in Wales and the justice system.

Gobeithiaf nad yw teitl y ddadl yn rhy astrus. Dywedaf yn gyntaf pwy oedd Blegywryd: dyn lleyg ydoedd, mae’n debyg—nid mynach, fel y disgwyliech—o’r ddegfed ganrif a fu’n bennaf cyfrifol am gasglu cyfraith Cymru ynghyd o dan enw Hywel Dda. Fe’i disgrifiwyd yn y dogfennau fel Howeli turbe legis doctor—sef meistr y gyfraith i fintai Hywel. Dyna ddisgrifiad y byddech, efallai, yn ei ddisgwyl o Gwnsler Cyffredinol y dyddiau hyn.

I hope that the title of the debate is not too obscure. I will explain, first of all, who Blegywryd was: it seems that he was a layman—not a monk, as you would expect—from the tenth century, who was chiefly responsible for collating Welsh laws in the name of Hywel Dda. He was described in documentation as Howeli turbe legis doctor—master of law to Hywel’s retinue. That could, these days, be used as a description for the Counsel General.

Bûm mor ffodus ag astudio’r Gymraeg yn Aberystwyth, gan orfod darllen llyfr Blegywryd, nid oherwydd y gyfraith, ond oherwydd yr iaith. Gyda llaw, golygwyd y llyfr hwn gan, ymhlith eraill, Enoch Powell—un o’r ychydig bethau i Enoch Powell ei wneud yn yr iaith Gymraeg.

I was fortunate enough to have studied Welsh at Aberystwyth and I had to read the book of Blegywryd, not because of its legal connotations, but because of its language. By the way, the book was edited by, among others, Enoch Powell—one of the few things that Enoch Powell did through the medium of Welsh.

Yr wyf am ganolbwyntio ar ddau beth yn y ddadl hon: yn gyntaf, datblygu awdurdodaeth gyfreithiol i Gymru, ac, yn ail, y cysyniad o ddod â chyfreithiau sydd eisoes yn bodoli at ei gilydd i sefydlu llyfr statud i Gymru—llyfr Blegywryd newydd. Wrth gwrs, yn wahanol i’r Alban a Gogledd Iwerddon, collodd Cymru ei hawdurdodaeth gyfreithiol o dan y Deddfau Uno. Yr oedd gan yr Alban ac Iwerddon eu Seneddau eu hunain tan yn gymharol ddiweddar, a phan unwyd y Seneddau hynny â Senedd San Steffan, cadwyd systemau cyfreithiol gwahanol yn yr Alban ac yn Iwerddon; mae systemau gwahanol yn yr Alban ac yng Ngogledd Iwerddon o hyd yn sgîl hynny. Cadwyd hefyd eu llysoedd a’u proffesiynau cyfreithiol ar wahân.

I will concentrate on two issues in this debate: first, the development of a Welsh jurisdiction and, secondly, the concept of bringing together the legislation already in existence in Wales in one statute book for Wales—a new book of Blegywryd. Of course, unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland, Wales lost its jurisdiction under the Acts of Union. Scotland and Ireland had their own Parliaments until fairly recently, and when those were merged with the Westminster Parliament, the distinct legal systems of Scotland and Ireland were retained; we still see those distinct systems in Scotland and Northern Ireland as a result. Their distinct courts and legal professions were also kept.

Prif ddiben y Deddfau Uno—mae copi o Ddeddf Uno 1536 i’w weld yn Sain Ffagan ar hyn o bryd—oedd sefydlu un gyfraith yng Nghymru: cyfraith Lloegr. Mae’n ddiddorol nodi, er hynny, nawnaeth y Deddfau Uno yr un peth o ran gweinyddu cyfiawnder, oherwydd cafwyd yng Nghymru system o lysoedd sesiynau mawr a oedd yn wahanol i’r system yn Lloegr, er bod y gyfraith yn un.

The main aim of the Acts of Union—the 1536 Act of Union is being exhibited at the moment in St Fagans—was to establish a single legal jurisdiction in Wales and the supremacy of English law. It is interesting to note, however, that the Acts of Union did not do the same in terms of the administration of justice, because in Wales there was a system called the court of great session that was different to the system in England, even though the law was the same.

Un gyfraith oedd, ac er i ambell ddarn o ddeddfwriaeth gael ei wneud yn achlysurol, ni welwyd symud pendant tuag at ddeddfu ar gyfer Cymru yn unig tan y ganrif ddiwethaf. Mae rhai ohonom yn ddigon hen i gofio refferendwm 1979, a rhai ohonom yn ddigon hen i gofio refferenda lleol ynglŷn ag agor tafarndai ar y Sul—wrth gwrs, yr oedd y rheini’n rhan o ddeddfu ar wahân i Gymru. Yn 1942, crëwyd y Ddeddf gyntaf benodol yn yr oes fodern ar gyfer Cymru, sef y Ddeddf i ganiatáu defnyddio’r Gymraeg yn llysoedd Cymru. Mae Winston Roddick, sy’n enw cyfarwydd i ni, wedi cydnabod pwysigrwydd y dyddiad hwnnw, gan ddweud:

There was only one law, and despite the fact that occasional pieces of legislation were made, not until the last century did we see a definite move towards legislation for Wales only. Some of us are old enough to remember the referendum of 1979, and some of us are old enough to remember the local referenda on opening pubs on Sundays—of course, they were part of separate legislation for Wales. In 1942, the first Wales-only piece of legislation in the modern age was created, allowing for the use of the Welsh language in the courts system. Winston Roddick—who will be well-known to many—has recognised the importance of that date, saying:

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'Since 1942, therefore, the scope for doing it differently in the practice and the teaching of the law in Wales has increased. Once we come to understand the significance of Legal Wales and the significance of the fact that Wales is an emerging jurisdiction, once we acknowledge these significant developments, we see immediately the case for not excepting jurisdictional devolution from the next settlement.’

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Ffordd y gyfraith, mae’n debyg, o ddweud bod eisiau cynnwys awdurdodaeth gyfreithiol yw dweud not excepting. Felly, daeth nifer o Ddeddfau Cymreig, gan gynnwys Deddf Llywodraeth Cymru 2006 a’r ddarpariaeth ar gyfer refferendwm. Mae’n briodol yn awr ein bod yn defnyddio’r cyfnod hwn i edrych ar adfer awdurdodaeth gyfreithiol i Gymru.

'Not excepting’ is, it seems, the legal way of saying that legal jurisdiction needs to be included. Therefore, many Welsh Acts followed, including the Government of Wales Act 2006 and the provision for the referendum. It is appropriate that we should now be looking at the restoration of a legal jurisdiction for Wales.

Pa gymhelliad a pha resymau a fyddai y tu ôl i hynny? Yn gyntaf oll, mae a wnelo â balchder cenedlaethol a thaith y genedl. Er enghraifft, mae’n arwyddocaol mai diffyg awdurdodaeth iawn yng Nghymru a ddyfynnwyd gan gomisiwn Kilbrandon yn ôl yn 1973 i gyfiawnhau cynnig llai o bwerau i Gymru nag a gynigiwyd i’r Alban. Yn ail, mae gweinyddu cyfiawnder yn mynd law yn llaw ag awdurdodaeth, ac mae’n gynsail iddi. Winston Roddick, eto, a ddywedodd:

What would be the rationale and reasoning for that? First, it is to do with national pride and the journey of our nation. For example, it is significant that it was the lack of a proper jurisdiction for Wales that was quoted by the Kilbrandon commission in 1973 as justification for offering fewer powers to Wales than to Scotland. Secondly, the administration of justice goes hand in hand with jurisdiction, and there is a precedent for that. It was Winston Roddick, again, who said:

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'the principal argument that including responsibility for the administration of justice as part of a devolution settlement which devolves full law making powersmakes good constitutional sense if the institution which is responsible for making the laws were also to have the responsibility and the accountability for their administration.’

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6.15 p.m.

 

Dyna wraidd y ddadl hon. Os ydych yn deddfu, dylai fod gennych yr hawl a’r cyfrifoldeb am y system cyfiawnder troseddol a sifil yn eich gwlad hefyd.

That is the nub of this argument. If you legislate, then you should also have rights and responsibility over the criminal and civil justice system in your country.

Yn drydydd, mae’n unioni’r sefyllfa drwy’r Deyrnas Gyfunol. Dim ond heddiw y cyfeiriodd y Prif Weinidog at y sefyllfa yn yr Alban a Gogledd Iwerddon. Mae hefyd wedi cyfeirio at hynny yn y gorffennol pan oedd yn Gwnsler Cyffredinol, ac er bod yn well ganddo yr awdurdodaeth sydd yng Ngogledd Iwerddon, lle mae’r gallu i weithio ar sail Cymru a Lloegr a Gogledd Iwerddon, mae’n wir dweud bod diffyg yn y sefyllfa drwy’r Deyrnas Gyfunol.

Thirdly, it brings us in line with the other nations of the UK. The First Minister referred to the situation in Scotland and Northern Ireland only today. He has also referred to that in the past when he was Counsel General, and although he prefers the jurisdiction that exists in northern Ireland, where there is the ability to work on a Wales, England and Northern Ireland basis, it is true to say that there is a deficiency in the situation as it currently exists throughout the United Kingdom.

Mae’n werth talu sylw i’r hyn a amlinellwyd gan Syr Roderick Evans fel y pum cynsail hanfodol i system gyfreithiol benodol Gymreig. Y cyntaf yw dychwelyd swyddogaethau creu cyfraith i Gymru, ac fe gyflawnwyd hynny o dan y refferendwm a Deddf 2006. Yr ail yw datblygu sefydliadau proffesiynol yng Nghymru sy’n rhoi strwythur gyrfa gwirioneddol i’r sawl sydd am ddilyn gyrfa yn y meysydd hynny, ac mae hynny eisoes ar y gweill gyda datblygiadau fel Legal Wales a sefydlu Sefydliad Hywel Dda y mis hwn ym Mhrifysgol Abertawe. Y trydydd yw gweld y gyfraith yn cael ei ystyried yn hygyrch ac yn hawdd ei deall gan bobl Cymru, ac er nad wyf am dresmasu ar rai o ofidiau’r wythnos diwethaf, mae’n amlwg nad yw’r gyfraith eto’n hygyrch nac yn hawdd ei deall i bawb yng Nghymru. Y pedwerydd yw datblygu system i alluogi’r defnydd o’r Gymraeg a’r Saesneg gyda’i gilydd, gan roi statws cyfartal i’r ddwy iaith. Mae’r Cynulliad hwn wedi arloesi yn y maes hwnnw dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf. Fodd bynnag, mae’n ddiddorol nodi, fel y byddwch yn gwybod, Ddirprwy Lywydd, fel aelod o’r Pwyllgor Materion Cyfansoddiadol a Deddfwriaethol, ein bod yn gweld nifer o offerynnau statudol ar hyn o bryd yn cael eu gwneud ar y cyd gyda San Steffan, ac, oherwydd hynny, cânt eu gwneud yn Saesneg yn unig, er eu bod yn offerynnau statudol i Gymru. Gobeithiaf yn fawr na fydd hynny’n duedd gynyddol. Y pumed, a’r pwysicaf, efallai, yw’r datblygiad o systemyng Nghymru i weinyddu cyfiawnder yn ei holl ffurfiau sydd wedi’i theilwra i anghenion economaidd a chymdeithasol Cymru. Mae’r system gyfiawnder, sef y gwasanaethau heddlu, prawf, carchardai, ac ati, yn cael ei chyllido a’i gweinyddu yn bennaf o San Steffan o hyd, er bod newidiadau cyffrous wedi digwydd o ran ysbryd gweinyddu’r rhain ers diwedd y 1990au. Yn wir, dywedodd Tim Jones fod hynny’n dangos bod gennym egin awdurdodaeth gyfreithiol i Gymru.

It is worth paying attention to what was laid out by Sir Roderick Evans as the five key precedents for a specifically Welsh legal system. The first is the return of the functions of creating legislation to Wales, and that has been achieved by the referendum and the 2006 Act. The second is the development of professional institutions in Wales that give a true career structure to those who want to follow a career in those areas, and that is in the pipeline with developments such as Legal Wales and the establishment this month of the Hywel Dda Institute at Swansea University. The third is the law being seen as accessible and easily understood by the people of Wales, and although I do not want to touch on some of the concerns raised last week, it is apparent that the law is not yet accessible or easily understood by everyone in Wales. The fourth is the development of a system that allows the use of both Welsh and English, giving equal status to both languages. The Assembly has been innovative in that regard over the last few years. However, it is interesting to note, as you will know, Deputy Presiding Officer, as a member of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, that we see a number of statutory instruments made jointly with Westminster and, as a result, they are made in English only, although they are statutory instruments for Wales. I very much hope that that is not an increasing trend. The fifth, and perhaps most important, is the development in Wales of a system to administer justice in all its forms that is tailored to the economic and social needs of Wales. The justice system, that is the police, probation service, prisons and so on are still mainly funded and administered from Westminster, although there have been exciting developments in the spirit of the administration of these since the end of the 1990s. Indeed, Tim Jones said that that shows that we in Wales already have the nub of a legal jurisdiction in Wales.

Wrth i’r Cynulliad ychwanegu at ei bwerau deddfu, cymerwyd sawl cam tuag at sefydlu awdurdodaeth Gymraeg ar wahân. Mae Llys Gweinyddol Cymru yng Nghaerdydd, a chlywsom adeg cwestiynau i’r Prif Weinidog heddiw fod y Llys Apêl yn eistedd yng Nghaerdydd, mewn achosion troseddol a sifil, a gwrandewir y rhan fwyaf o adolygiadau barnwrol sy’n ymwneud â phenderfyniadau awdurdodau cyhoeddus Cymru yma yng Nghymru, gan gynnwys, yn fwyaf diweddar, ar y mater yn ymwneud â moch daear. Mae symudiad tuag at sefydlu un system tribiwnlys yng Nghymru, ac yr ydym wedi deddfu yma i sefydlu system tribiwnlys newydd o dan Fesur y Gymraeg (Cymru) 2011, a da o beth fyddai gweinyddu tribiwnlysoedd yng Nghymru o dan un gyfundrefn, a fyddai’n gwneud pethau’n fwy taclus ac yn fwy dealladwy i bobl sy’n gorfod defnyddio tribiwnlysoedd.Yn olaf, ond yn symbolaidd bwysig, y mae ad-drefniant ffiniau gweinyddu cyfiawnder yng Nghymru, pan ddaeth yr hen system o Gymru a Chaer i ben, a chrëwyd Gwasanaeth Llysoedd ei Mawrhydi ar gyfer Cymru yn unig.

As the Assembly adds to its legislative powers, a number of steps were taken towards establishing a separate jurisdiction for Wales. There is the Administrative Court in Wales in Cardiff, and we heard during questions to the First Minister about the Court of Appeal sitting in Cardiff, in criminal and civil cases, and most cases of judicial review that relate to decisions by public authorities in Wales are held here in Wales, including, most recently, on the issue of badgers. There is a move towards establishing one tribunal system in Wales, and we have legislated here to establish a new tribunal system under the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011, and it would be good see the administration of tribunals in Wales under one regime, which would make things much more tidy and understandable by those who have to use tribunals. Finally, but this is important symbolically, is the reorganisation of the boundaries of the administration of justice in Wales, when the old system of Wales and Chester came to an end, and Her Majesty’s Courts Service was created for Wales alone.

O’r pum peth, felly, mae tri yn eu lle, mae un ar y gweill ac mae un heb ei ddechrau, sef ffurfio llyfr statud i Gymru. Y cwestiwn sy’n wynebu’r Senedd hon a’r Llywodraeth hon, felly, yw beth a wnawn nesaf i hyrwyddo’r broses ac i sicrhau bod unrhyw ddatblygiad yn synhwyrol a chall. Mae hynny’n cymryd yn ganiataol fod y Llywodraeth yn dymuno gweld datblygu awdurdodaeth ar wahân. Fodd bynnag, sylwaf o’r sylwadau a wnaethpwyd gan y Prif Weinidog ei fod yn dymuno gweld hynny, ac mai’r cwestiwn sydd ganddo mewn golwg yw pa fath o awdurdodaeth ar wahân y dylid ei gael.

Of those five things, therefore, three are in place, one is in the pipeline and one is yet to be started, namely, forming a statute book for Wales. The question facing this Senedd and Government, therefore, is what we do next to promote the process and to ensure that any development is sensible. That takes it for granted that the Government wishes to see a separate jurisdiction developed. However, I note from the comments made by the First Minister that he does wish to see that, and the question that he has in mind is what sort of separate jurisdiction should be had.

Mae’n hynod bwysig amlinellu rhai o’r pethaua allai ddigwydd yn ystod y blynyddoedd nesaf. Yr wyf yn meddwl y byddwn yn gweld datblygiadau sylweddol yn ystod y degawd nesaf sy’n mynd i fynd i’r afael â’r materion creiddiol hyn. Amlinellaf rai o’r pethau y byddwn am eu gweld yn digwydd yn ystod y pump i 10 mlynedd nesaf. Yn gyntaf, mae angen ehangu ar y ddarpariaeth sydd yn Atodlen 7 i Ddeddf Llywodraeth Cymru 2006 i gynnwys gweinyddu cyfiawnder fel maes datganoledig. Mae gwaith wedi cael ei wneud ar hynny gan y Llywodraeth flaenorol, ac yr wyf yn gobeithio bod gwaith yn mynd yn ei flaen gan y Llywodraeth bresennol. Mae angen datganoli gweinyddu cyfiawnder—nid y gyfraith, ond y gweinyddu—i Gymru.

It is very important to outline some of the things that could happen in the next few years. I think that we will see significant developments in the next decade that will get to grips with these core issues. I will outline some of what I would like to see happening over the next five to 10 years. First, we need to expand on the provision in Schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Act 2006 to include the administration of justice as a devolved area. Work has been done on that by the previous Government, and I hope that that work is ongoing under the current Government. We need to devolve the administration of justice—not the law, but the administration—to Wales.

Yn ail, dylid trosglwyddo’r cyfrifoldeb dros weinyddu cyfiawnder i Lywodraeth Cymru a sefydlu swyddogion cyfraith Cymreig anwleidyddol ac amhleidiol. Mae’n ddigon posibl bod penodiad y Cwnsler Cyffredinol presennol yn gam i’r cyfeiriad cywir i’r perwyl hwnnw. At hyn i gyd, bydd angen trefniadau ar gyfer dethol y farnwriaeth, ynadon ac aelodau’r tribiwnlysoedd sy’n gweithredu yng Nghymru, a gwneud hynny ar y cyd, neu o leiaf mewn trafodaethau, â Llywodraeth Cymru, yr Ysgrifennydd Gwladol a’r Arglwydd Ganghellor, sy’n gyfrifol am y penodiadau hynny.

Secondly, responsibility for the administration of justice should be transferred to the Welsh Government and non-political and non-partisan Welsh legal officials should be established. It is quite possible that the appointment of the current Counsel General is a step in the right direction in that regard. In addition to that, we will need arrangements for selecting the judiciary, magistrates and members of the tribunals that operate in Wales, and for that to be done jointly with, or at least in discussions with, the Welsh Government, the Secretary of State and the Lord Chancellor, who is responsible for those appointments.

Byddai datganoli cyfrifoldeb dros y gwasanaeth prawf, y carchardai a’r heddlu yn rhan o’r broses gyntaf hon o sefydlu awdurdodaeth gyfreithiol i Gymru. Fel y gwŷr pawb yma, byddai hynny’n unol ag ymrwymiad pedwar heddlu Cymru, sydd eisoes wedi datgan eu bod am weithredu drwy system genedlaethol Gymreig a’u bod am hwyluso’r symudiad tuag at system blismona ddatganoledig yng Nghymru. Mae’n ddiddorol nodi bod argymhellion yn cael eu gwneud yn San Steffan yn awr i sefydlu comisiynwyr heddlu etholedig, syniad sydd heb gael fawr o groeso yng Nghymru. Mae hynny efallai yn rhoi cyfle i gael y mater hwn wedi’i ddatganoli i Gymru, fel nad oes rhaid inni fynd ar hyd y llwybr o gael comisiynwyr etholedig.

Devolving responsibility for the probation service, prisons and the police would be part of this first process of establishing a Welsh legal jurisdiction. As everyone here knows, that would be in accordance with the commitment of the four Welsh police forces, who have already stated that they want to operate on the basis of a Welsh national system and want to facilitate the move towards a devolved police system in Wales. It is interesting to note that recommendations are being made in Westminster now to establish elected police commissioners, an idea that has not had a great deal of welcome in Wales. That perhaps gives us an opportunity to have this matter devolved to Wales, so that we do not have to go down the route of having elected commissioners.

Yn olaf, ac mae hyn yn amserol iawn, mae angen system cymorth cyfreithiol ar wahân i Gymru. Mae’r hyn sy’n digwydd yn San Steffan ar y mater hwn yn warthus, ac yn sicr byddwn am ei weld yn cael ei ddatganoli fel ein bod yn gallu sefydlu system cymorth cyfreithiol sy’n ateb ein hanghenion yng Nghymru.  

Finally, and this is very timely, we need a separate legal aid system for Wales. What is happening in Westminster in this regard is a disgrace, and we would certainly want to see this devolved so that we can establish a legal aid system that meets our needs in Wales.

Cyn imi gloi, mae un mater olaf. Mae angen dod â chyfreithiau presennol Cymru, a’r rhai y byddwn yn eu gwneud fel Cynulliad ac fel Senedd, ynghyd. Mae 19 o Filiau newydd wedi cael eu hamlinellu gan y Prif Weinidog. Sut yr ydym yn mynd i sicrhau bod y cyhoedd yn ymwybodol o’r ddeddfwriaeth honno a bod cefnogaeth i ddeddfu gan y Senedd? Cyflwynodd Cymdeithas y Cyfreithwyr dystiolaeth i’r Pwyllgor Materion Cyfansoddiadol yn y Cynulliad diwethaf, a dywedodd yn glir iawn:

Before I conclude, there is one last issue. We need to bring the existing laws of Wales, and those that we will make as an Assembly and Senedd, together. The First Minister has outlined 19 new Bills. How are we to ensure that the public is aware of that legislation and that there is support for legislating by the Senedd? The Law Society gave evidence to the Constitutional Affairs Committee in the last Assembly, and it stated very clearly:

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'The development of Acts of Parliament having to make different provision for England and Wales and then being amended separately and by different legislatures, is an unsustainable system for developing accessible and comprehensible laws.’

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Aeth y pwyllgor ymlaen i argymell yr hyn a ganlyn:

The committee went on to recommend the following:

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'We recommend that the Welsh Government brings forward proposals for arrangement for consolidating Welsh laws, particularly in the event of Part 4 powers coming into force after the referendum.’

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Mae’r pwerau hynny bellach wedi dod i rym, felly dyma’r amser i ddod â’r cynigion hynny gerbron y Cynulliad a’r genedl a dod â chyfraith Cymru ynghyd, gan ailsefydlu’r llyfr statud a ddechreuwyd 10 canrif yn ôl gan Blegywryd—rhywle yn Nyfed, mae’n debyg, er mai dyn o Went ydoedd. Diben y ddadl hon oedd cynnal trafodaeth. Mae argymhellion pendant i’r Llywodraeth gasglu deddfwriaeth Cymru ynghyd mewn ail lyfr Blegywryd—llyfr statud cyntaf ar gyfer y Senedd ddeddfu gyntaf—er mwyn gwneud cyfraith Cymru yn eglur ac yn hygyrch i bawb. Mae cynigion y Llywodraeth sydd ar y gweill yn mynd i’r afael â sawl agwedd ar sefydlu awdurdodaeth gyfreithiol i Gymru, o ddatganoli’r heddlu i weinyddu cyfiawnder. Yr hyn yr wyf yn gofyn i’r Llywodraeth ei wneud yw sicrhau bod ganddi gynllun pendant, yn hytrach nag ymateb ar sail ad hoc i ddigwyddiadau. Mae Cymru yn magu personoliaeth gyfreithiol. Mae ysbryd Hywel Dda ar gerdded ar hyd coridorau Tŷ Hywel, ac mae’n rhaid i’r Llywodraeth baratoi’r ffordd.

Those powers have now come into force, therefore this is the time to bring those proposals for bringing Welsh law together before the Assembly and the nation, re-establishing the Welsh statute book that was begun 10 centuries ago by Blegywyrd—somewhere in Dyfed, it seems, although he was from Gwent. The purpose of this debate was to hold a discussion. There are specific recommendations that the Government should bring Welsh legislation together into a second book of Blegywryd—the first statute book for the first legislative Senedd—to make Welsh law clear and accessible to all. The Government has proposals in the pipeline to get to grips with several aspects of establishing a legal jurisdiction for Wales, from the devolution of the police to the administration of justice. What I am asking the Government to do is to ensure that it has a definite plan, rather than respond ad-hoc to events. Wales is developing a legal personality. The spirit of Hywel Dda is walking the corridors of Tŷ Hywel and the Government must prepare the way.

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The Minister for Local Government and Communities (Carl Sargeant): Thank you, Simon, for your short debate. I was rather taken aback when you said that there are many in the Chamber who would remember the devolution of law. Welsh law was the system of law practised in Wales before the sixteenth century, therefore I was not quite sure whom you were referring to. According to tradition, the first law was codified by Hywel Dda during 942 to 950. Subsequently, the Welsh legal system was absorbed into the laws of England by means of the Act of Union 1535 by Henry VIII of England.

This is a very important debate, but it must not be a debate that involves politicians only, whether they sit in this Chamber or elsewhere—it must be a mature and measured debate in all parts of society so that there is the opportunity to have meaningful engagement. During your contribution you referenced many people who have already started that debate, which is welcome.

As the First Minister said in his legislative statement, more intellectual discussions will be needed on this over the next few years. It is not something to be rushed into. The First Minister hit the nail on its head in his evidence on 22 March of this year to the former Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister. He said:

'First, we have to define what we mean by a separate jurisdiction.’

That raises the fundamental question of how we frame the debate. It seems to me that 'jurisdiction’ in this context means different things to different people. If we are to have a national conversation with interested stakeholders, we need to clear up what we are talking about at the beginning. It will not be helpful if we do not have clarity around this debate, as there is a risk that we will be at cross-purposes in the development of the argument. We must first decide what the issue is.

We then need to decide whether the issue needs to be addressed, and, if it does, we need to ensure that the action taken is collective action and that we all have the endgame in sight. I am sympathetic with regard to some of the issues that you raise in your wish list, for want of a better phrase, but, in terms of the broader debate, there are many questions about how we as a Government and interested parties would take that forward.

With regard to the question about the legal extent of the laws passed in this place and how the courts take notice of those laws, and the much broader question regarding whether there should be a separate criminal and civil justice court system in Wales, there is a broad landscape there about which we need to have a broader discussion.

Mick Antoniw: Will you take an intervention?

Carl Sargeant: Yes.

Mick Antoniw: I am grateful, as this is the only opportunity that I have to make a contribution to the debate. One of the fascinating points that has not really been developed is that we sometimes confuse the administration and bureaucracy of the law with the actual development of the law and the way that it operates. It is early days, but it is clear that we are developing a Welsh jurisprudence, and that has implications for the teaching of law in universities in Wales. It also has implications for the codification of it because of access, as there will be lawyers coming in and out of Wales. I am not so much interested in the administration and bureaucracy but rather in the development of that jurisprudence, how it is codified, how there will be access to it and how we deal with it as it grows over the years and becomes a much more substantial part of the Welsh legal system that we are in the process of creating.

Carl Sargeant: The Member raises a fair point about the differences between the administration elements of taking this process forward and the codification and the development of laws in Wales. Neither the Government of Wales Act 1998 nor the Government of Wales Act 2006 were intended to alter the position of the law that applies in Wales and which operates within the single legal jurisdiction of England and Wales. The journey of devolution, as Mick mentioned, in terms of growing up in Wales in how we develop these actions, beginning in 1997 with the Executive devolution under the 1998 Act, has brought us in 2011 to the point where we have the promise of primary law-making powers stretching out in front of us, and these are decisions and discussions that will have to be held and made.  

6.30 p.m.

I am not aware of any legal difficulty that has been caused by the fact that the laws made by this legislature or the Welsh Government take effect in the single legal jurisdiction of England and Wales. That is likely to remain the case, irrespective of the extent of the divergence between the laws that apply to Wales and England. However, we also need to recognise that the law that applies in Wales is not only devolved but is also non-devolved, the same as in Scotland, where there is a separate judicial system.

Simon Thomas: On the questions of codification, openness and explaining the legislative process, I wonder whether I can bring to the Minister’s attention the case of a gentleman who used an electric-shock collar on his dog in Wales. These collars have been banned in Wales. He has pleaded guilty to using the collar, but he said that he was not aware that this was an illegal practice in Wales, because he bought it over the internet.

Carl Sargeant: I thank the Member for raising that case in the Chamber today. I was not aware of it, but will look into it. The Counsel General will take a great interest in the content of this debate.

As I said, this is a helpful starting point for further discussions with interested parties across Wales, going beyond politicians, and I thank the Member for his contribution. What is important is that the course of action that is chosen is right for the people of Wales. The biggest challenge for anyone who engages in this debate will be to demonstrate to those who live and work here the relevance of the issues being taken forward on a Welsh basis. I am sure that the Member has a large interest in that and will be interested in taking forward that debate. As I mentioned earlier, the Counsel General will take notice of the comments made by Members and you will have the opportunity to question him in the Chamber in forthcoming Plenary meetings. Finally, I thank the Member for raising this important topic in the short debate.

The Deputy Presiding Officer: That brings today’s proceedings to a close.

Daeth y cyfarfod i ben am 6.32 p.m.
The meeting ended at 6.32 p.m.

Aelodau a’u Pleidiau
Members and their Parties

Andrews, Leighton (Llafur - Labour)
Antoniw, Mick (Llafur - Labour)
Asghar, Mohammad (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
Black, Peter (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru - Welsh Liberal Democrats)
Burns, Angela (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
Butler, Rosemary (Llafur - Labour)
Chapman, Christine (Llafur - Labour)
Cuthbert, Jeff (Llafur - Labour)
Davies, Alun (Llafur - Labour)
Davies, Andrew R.T. (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
Davies, Byron (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
Davies, Jocelyn (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales)
Davies, Keith (Llafur - Labour)
Davies, Paul (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
Davies, Suzy (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
Drakeford, Mark (Llafur - Labour)
Elis-Thomas, Yr Arglwydd/Lord Dafydd (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales)
Evans, Rebecca (Llafur - Labour)
Finch-Saunders, Janet (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
George, Russell (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
Gething, Vaughan (Llafur - Labour)
Graham, William (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
Gregory, Janice (Llafur - Labour)
Griffiths, John (Llafur - Labour)
Griffiths, Lesley (Llafur - Labour)
Gruffydd, Llyr Huws (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales)
Hart, Edwina (Llafur - Labour)
Hedges, Mike (Llafur - Labour)
Hutt, Jane (Llafur - Labour)
Isherwood, Mark (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
James, Julie (Llafur - Labour)
Jenkins, Bethan (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales)
Jones, Alun Ffred (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales)
Jones, Ann (Llafur - Labour)
Jones, Carwyn (Llafur - Labour)
Jones, Elin (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales)
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales)
Lewis, Huw (Llafur - Labour)
Melding, David (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
Mewies, Sandy (Llafur - Labour)
Millar, Darren (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
Morgan, Julie (Llafur - Labour)
Neagle, Lynne (Llafur - Labour)
Parrott, Eluned (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru - Welsh Liberal Democrats)
Powell, William (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru - Welsh Liberal Democrats)
Price, Gwyn R. (Llafur - Labour)
Ramsay, Nick (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
Rathbone, Jenny (Llafur - Labour)
Rees, David (Llafur - Labour)
Roberts, Aled (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru - Welsh Liberal Democrats)
Sandbach, Antoinette (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
Sargeant, Carl (Llafur - Labour)
Skates, Kenneth (Llafur - Labour)
Thomas, Gwenda (Llafur - Labour)
Thomas, Rhodri Glyn (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales)
Thomas, Simon (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales)
Watson, Joyce (Llafur - Labour)
Whittle, Lindsay (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales)
Williams, Kirsty (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru - Welsh Liberal Democrats)
Wood, Leanne (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales)



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