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Cofnod y Trafodion
The Record of Proceedings

Dydd Mercher, 22 Mehefin 2011
Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Cynnwys
Contents

Cwestiynau Cyllid i’r Gweinidog Cyllid ac Arweinydd y Tŷ
Finance Questions to the Minister for Finance and Leader of the House

Cwestiynau i’r Gweinidog Busnes, Menter, Technoleg a Gwyddoniaeth
Questions to the Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science

Pwynt o Drefn
Point of Order

Datganiad ar y Comisiwn Ffiniau
Statement on the Boundary Commission

Cynnig i Atal y Rheolau Sefydlog
Motion to Suspend Standing Orders

Cynigion i Sefydlu Pwyllgorau
Motions to Establish Committees

Cynigion i EtholAelodau i Bwyllgorau
Motions to Elect Members to Committees

Dadl y Ceidwadwyr Cymreig: Nodyn Cyngor Technegol 8
Welsh Conservatives Debate: Technical Advice Note 8

Dadl y Ceidwadwyr Cymreig: Prosiectiau Trafnidiaeth
Welsh Conservatives Debate: Transport Projects

Dadl Plaid Cymru: Cyfalaf ar gyfer Prosiectau Seilwaith
Plaid Cymru Debate: Capital for Infrastructure Projects

Cyfnod Pleidleisio
Voting Time

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.

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.

The Record

Y Llywydd: Prynhawn da.

The Presiding Officer: Good afternoon.

Cwestiynau Cyllid i’r Gweinidog Cyllid ac Arweinydd y Tŷ
Finance Questions to the Minister for Finance and Leader of the House

The Record

Gwariant yn y Gogledd

Expenditure in North Wales

1. Antoinette Sandbach: A wnaiff y Gweinidog amlinellu ei blaenoriaethau ar gyfer gwella effeithlonrwydd gwariant Llywodraeth Cymru yng Ngogledd Cymru. OAQ(4)0004(FIN)

1. Antionette Sandbach: Will the Minister outline her priorities for improving the efficiency of Welsh Government expenditure in North Wales. OAQ(4)0004(FIN)

The Record

The Minister for Finance and Leader of the House (Jane Hutt): The Welsh Government is working closely with our partners across north Wales to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our public services across a range of delivery areas, and also on cross-cutting priorities such as procurement and asset management.

Antoinette Sandbach:The third sector is incredibly important to service delivery in north Wales, and hospices in north Wales, such as St Kentigern’s, Tŷ Gobaith, St David’s and Nightingale House, carry out an enormously valuable public service, giving dignity and respect to patients in the final stages of their lives. Yet, their future is precarious because of a combination of increased demand, a fall-off in donations and comparatively poor and unreliable support from Assembly Governments, which leaves them worse off than their counterparts in England. Minister, given the cost effectiveness of providing support through these hospices and the savings to the Welsh NHS, can you confirm that you, with the Minister for health, are willing to look again at hospice funding to establish service level agreements and secure a three-year funding cycle for these hospices?

Jane Hutt: The regional Member for north Wales’s questionreflects the keen support that the Welsh Government has displayed over the last 12 years for hospices, which provide a most important service across Wales. You will be aware that, over the last 12 years, Ministers have responded to their needs, and Baroness Ilora Finlay has taken a leading role in supporting us in this work to drive the partnerships, not only in terms of our contribution, but the contribution from the health service and local authorities.

Kenneth Skates: Steering the economy to full recovery is the most important job of this Welsh Labour Government.As we know, the construction sector is often the first sector to go into recession, but it is also often the first sector out. It is particularly important therefore that we give full support to the construction industry. Will you give an indication of what representations you have made to the UK Government about reducing VAT to help the building industry grow and expand?

Jane Hutt: That is an important question, and it was one put to me by the construction industry at the end of the last Assembly. Welsh businesses in construction-associated industries asked me to make representations to the UK Government to reduce VAT on home improvements and repairs, which would give a major boost to our businesses. I wrote to the Treasury and pressed the case for reducing the rate of VAT on domestic repairs and improvements to energy efficiency from 20 per cent to 5 per cent, as requested, and surprisingly, and disappointingly, the Treasury refused to consider such a change. It was change that was directly requested by the construction industry and business itself.

The Record

Llyr Huws Gruffydd: Mae’r rhaglen Cymunedau yn Gyntaf bresennol yn dod i ben y flwyddyn nesaf, ac mae’n debyg bod yr arolwg ar ddyfodol y cynllun ar ôl 2012 yn dechrau llithro. Mae perygl gwirioneddol felly y bydd nifer o wasanaethau sy’n ddibynnol ar arian Cymunedau yn Gyntaf yn dod o dan fygythiad, gyda staff, o bosibl, yn wynebu cael eu gwneud yn ddi-waith fis Ionawr. Pa drafodaethau y mae’r Gweinidog wedi’u cael gyda’r Gweinidog Llywodraeth Leol a Chymunedau er mwyn sicrhau y bydd penderfyniad clir, cynhwysfawr a chynnar i’r prosiectau hynny sydd o dan fygythiad, fel yr addawodd Carl Sargeant yn ei ddatganiad ddoe?

Llyr Huws Gruffydd: The current Communities First scheme comes to an end next year, and it seems that the review of the scheme’s future, post 2012, is starting to slip. There is, therefore, a real danger that a number of services that depend on Communities First funding will come under threat, with the possibility that staff will face redundancy in January. What discussions has the Minister had with the Minister for Local Government and Communities in order to ensure that a clear, comprehensive and early decision is made for those projects under threat, as promised by Carl Sargeant in his statement yesterday?

The Record

Jane Hutt: This not only has been the flagship of the Labour-led Assembly Government, but was supported in the One Wales programme of government. We allocate £40 million a year to Communities First because we are determined to invest in our most disadvantaged communities. However, we must learn lessons,evaluate, and make sure that we drive this forward in the most appropriate way, and that is what the Minister is now doing in partnership with stakeholders and partners in the delivery of Communities First.

The Record

Buddsoddiad Cyfalaf

Capital Investment

2. Keith Davies: Beth y mae’r Gweinidog yn ei wneud i sicrhau bod cymaint o fuddsoddiad cyfalaf yng Nghymru ag sy’n bosibl. OAQ(4)0017(FIN)

2. Keith Davies: What is the Minister doing to maximise capital investment in Wales. OAQ(4)0017(FIN)

The Record

Jane Hutt: I have made available £200 million over the next three years for use on strategic, collaborative investment projects with a transfer of revenue to capital of up to £57 million, and we are pressing the UK Government for early action to enable the Welsh Government to borrow to fund investment, as we heard from the First Minister yesterday.  

The Record

Keith Davies: Mae’r Llywodraeth wedi datgan ei hymrwymiad i wella ansawdd adeiladau ysgolion Cymru ac i’w gwneud yn briodol ar gyfer yr unfed ganrif ar hugain. Mae hwn yn ymrwymiad sydd wedi ei ddangos gan dros £700 miliwn a fuddsoddwyd mewn ysgolion yn ystod y Cynulliad diwethaf. Yr wyf yn sylweddoli bod pwysau ar y cyllid oherwydd y toriadau o 40 y cant gan Lywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig. Yr ydym yn falch o’r £105 miliwn gan Lywodraeth Cymru tuag at fuddsoddiadau cyfalaf eleni. Yn fy etholaeth i yn Llanelli, mae nifer fawr o ysgolion cynradd wedi manteisio ar y cyllid hwn, ond mae angen estyniadau yn Ysgol Coedcae ac Ysgol y Stradeoherwydd y galw uwcham leoedd gan ddisgyblion heb gyfalaf.

Keith Davies: The Government has declared its commitment to improving the quality of school buildings in Wales and to making them fit for the twenty-first century. This commitment was demonstrated by the more than £700 million invested in schools over the course of the last Assembly. I realise that the funding is coming under pressure as a result of the cuts of 40 per cent made by the UK Government. We are pleased with the £105 million capital investment made available this year by the Welsh Government. In my constituency of Llanelli, many primary schools have taken advantage of this funding, but extensions are needed in Ysgol Coedcae and Ysgol y Strade because of increasing demand for places for pupils who have not been funded.

The Record

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

The Record

Keith Davies: A all y Gweinidog gadarnhau y bydd Llywodraeth Cymru yn parhau i ddarparu buddsoddiadau cyfalaf fel y gall ysgolion barhau i gwrdd â gofynion yr unfed ganrif ar hugain?

Keith Davies: Can the Minister confirm that the Welsh Government will continue to provide capital investments so that schools can continue to meet the demands of the twenty-first century?

The Record

Jane Hutt: The Member for Llanelli has recognised two important points. First, the Welsh Government invested over £700 million in capital funding for our school buildings over the last Assembly. Secondly, the UK coalition Government has imposed on us the deepest cuts in terms of capital—there are over 40 per cent cuts to our capital programme. As the twenty-first century schools programme is a partnership with local government, whereby we are working with them over 10 to 15 years to deliver that programme, our transitional grant projects have been important, and we are working with local authorities to plan ahead to deliver on twenty-first century schools.

Byron Davies: I am sure that you are aware of the remarks of a former Welsh Development Agency chair who has claimed that more than £100 million per year has been spent on attracting inward investment but has produced next to nothing. That is a very serious accusation and one that, sadly, rings true. I share his concerns that civil servants did not have the necessary skills to attract inward investment and that, as the former chair put it,

'being micro-managed by people who don’t know much is a dangerous practice’.

Attracting private investment means concentrating on outcomes, and there is a very real perception that the private sector is interested only in outcomes whereas the public sector is interested only in process. Will you comment on the accusation that your Government is squandering £100 million per year attempting to attract inward investment? I also welcome your thoughts on the very real problem of perception related to civil servants running an inward investment strategy.

Jane Hutt: The construction industry—you focused on business interests in particular—was very pleased that I made the decision, as Minister for Finance, not to make the £49 million cut in capital investment that was imposed on usin the budget in June last year. That £49 million in capital enabled us to invest in our infrastructure, not just in schools, but in housing and health. The Government is taking these brave decisionswith regard to the cuts imposed by the UK Government. That is what business wants to see in terms of the availability of construction projects in the public sector.

The Record

Arweinydd Plaid Cymru (Ieuan Wyn Jones): Yr wyf yn sicr eich bod yn cofio, Weinidog, pan gyhoeddoch eich ymateb i’r adolygiad cynhwysfawr o wariant, ichi ddweud bod y toriad i gyfalaf y Llywodraeth yn 41 y cant. Gan fod chwyddiant, a’r amcangyfrif o chwyddiant dros y tair blynedd nesaf, yn mynd i fod yn uwch nag a ragwelwyd bryd hynny, pa asesiad yr ydych wedi’i wneud erbyn hyn o faint yn fwy y bydd yn rhaid i chi ei dorri oherwydd bod y cyfalaf yn llai hyd yn oed na’r hyn a gyhoeddwyd adeg y gyllideb?

The Leader of Plaid Cymru (Ieuan Wyn Jones): I am sure that you recall, Minister, that, when you announced your response to the comprehensive spending review, you said that the cut in capital for the Government would be 41 per cent. Given that inflation, and the forecast for inflation over the next three years, will be higher than was forecast at that time, what assessment have you now made of how much more you will have to cut because the capital will be even less than was announced at the time of the budget?

The Record

Jane Hutt: The capital cuts that we have to find are the most challenging partof our budget settlement. Indeed, in the budget that we approved in February as a result of the One Wales Government’s decision, we were preparing to mitigate the worst effects. As you say, inflation is now having an impact on the value of capital allocations. We are therefore looking at ways in which we can ensure that we can not only borrow, but also bring in other sources of funding to meet our capital needs—we will be debating that later on this afternoon. We recognise that this will be a tough year in terms of allocating our priorities for strategic projects.

Ieuan Wyn Jones: Let me take you back to what we thought the position would be when the budget was set, that is, that there would be a capital cut of around 40 per cent. We now know that the predictions are that it will be at least 44 per cent and, in education, it will be even higher. Therefore, if £700 million was spent on those projects in the last Assembly, around half of that will be available in this Assembly. Can you explain the Assembly Government’s thinking with regard to the projects that you will now have to shelve in order to meet these tight controls? Although you say that you are looking for innovative ways of raising capital, that will not be available this year or next year, when the biggest cuts will happen. Therefore, given that we are facing substantial cuts this year and next year, when will you make an announcement on the projects that you will have to cut to meet your targets?

Jane Hutt: We are not considering shelving any projects. We are working closely with our partners in local government. In fact, this morning, Carl Sargeant and I met finance members of the cabinets of all the local authorities in Wales to discuss these very issues. To go back to the challenge of the twenty-first century schools programme, we recognise that we have to look, as we did in preparing our budget, at rephasing and rescaling our capital programme. We are doing everything that we can in our determination to stick to the budget and to recognise the pressures of inflation and additional costs in order to find a way forward. That includes the use of innovative sources of funding and the borrowing powers that, as the First Minister said, we are seeking as a matter of urgency.

The Record

Dyraniadau

Allocations

3. Kirsty Williams: Pa drafodaethau y mae’r Gweinidog wedi’u cael gyda chyd-aelodau yn y Cabinet ynghylch dyraniadau cyffredinol i’w hadrannau. OAQ(4)0003(FIN)

3. Kirsty Williams: What discussions has the Minister had with Cabinet colleagues regarding overall allocations to their departments. OAQ(4)0003(FIN)

The Record

Jane Hutt: I have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues, in which we discuss a range of financial issues relating to their portfolios.

The Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats (Kirsty Williams): Minister, could you confirm whether the Minister for Local Government and Communities has the necessary funding in his departmental allocation to fund the pledgeto provide additional police community support officers?

Jane Hutt:Indeed. Our five pledges and the funding of 500 additional PCSOsareat the forefront of my budgetary challenge, on which we will be delivering.

Kirsty Williams: Minister, during the election, spokespeople for the Labour Party said that the money to fund that pledge would have to come out of existing departmental budgets, and in answers to written questions since the election theGovernment has confirmed that that is the case. Could you confirm whether the Minister for Local Government and Communities has asked you for additional resources for his budget? If he has not done so, could you enlighten us about any early discussions about the projects and expenditure in his department that will have to be cut to fund that pledge?

Jane Hutt:It is implicit in your question that you welcome the pledge by the Welsh Labour Government to fund additional PCSOs. It has certainly been welcomed on the street, by the police forces and by those who recognise the important role of PSCOs—I am sure that everyone in the Chamber knows how successful and valuable they are. Therefore, we have made a commitment. You know how tight the finances are, Kirsty, and the extent to which we areon the margins, in that we have no end-of-year flexibility as a result of the decisions of the UK coalition Government. I hope that you will have an influence on increasing the flexibility of your colleagues in the coalition in that regard. However, we will deliver on that commitment.

Ann Jones: I welcome the news that the Welsh Government will close its accounts with Barclays Bank by the end of August of this year. Although the bank was not bailed out, taxpayers have made this business viable, and I share the anger of many who watched Bob Diamond receive a £6.5 million bonus while refusing to thank the public for its backing throughout the financial crisis. Minister, do you agree that, when considering any relationships with commercial banks, the Welsh Government should act as a discerning customer on behalf of Welsh taxpayers?

1.45 p.m.

Jane Hutt: Yes. I think that the Member for the Vale of Clwyd has raised an important point relating to a change that other Assembly Members may not be aware of. We have moved to a Government banking service that will provide the Welsh Government with a cost-effective banking service, which is now servicing all Government sectors. Returning to the issue of banks, the message is that we can manage our finances, and we hope that they can manage theirs better, for the good of the people of Wales.

Andrew R.T. Davies: Minister, there is a Barnett consequential for the establishment of enterprise zones in England. One figure that has been bandied around is £10 million, and the First Minister alluded to a figure of £5 million at the recentConfederation of British Industry lunch. It is up to the Government to decide in which department that money should be spent. Are you in a position, Minister, to confirm the figure? Is it £10 million or £5 million?

Jane Hutt: The First Minister was correct about the consequential when speaking at the CBI lunch. The most important thing for us, at this point, is to analyse and discuss with the UK Government how we can use the enterprise zone facilities. That issue is at the forefront of the agenda of the Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science.

The Record

Cyllideb Llywodraeth Leol a Chymunedau

Local Government and Communities Budget

4. Mike Hedges: A wnaiff y Gweinidog ddangos y cynnydd canrannol yng nghyllideb portffolio Llywodraeth Leol a Chymunedau er 2004. OAQ(4)0008(FIN)

4. Mike Hedges: Will the Minister indicate the percentage increase in the budget of the Local Government and Communities portfolio since 2004. OAQ(4)0008(FIN)

The Record

Jane Hutt: The Local Government and Communities portfolio has only existed since May 2011, due to the change in ministerial responsibilities.Based on final budget figures, and reconfiguration due to the restructuring of ministerial portfolios, the department’s budget for 2011-12 is more than £5.1 billion.  

Mike Hedges:I thank the Minister for her reply. My constituents are amazed that, although there will be a substantial increase next year, street lights are being turned off and black bags are being collected fortnightly. Nevertheless, there has been much talk in this Chamber about the need for more capital expenditure. Would the Minister consider using supplementary credit approval, which was used until 2004 to fund prudential borrowing in local authorities and to transfer grants to local authorities? Local authorities have been nervous about using prudential borrowing because it has a serious effect on their revenues. Supplementary credit approval would give them revenue support and it would increase capital expenditure in Wales without causing any increase in revenue expenditure.

Jane Hutt:As the Member for Swansea East—who is also a former local authority leader—will know, we ceased to provide supplementary credit approval arrangements in 2004. However, it is important to note that this is now part of our framework for supporting and encouraging local authorities’ prudential borrowing. This is being used by some authorities more than by others. We discussed the issue this morning with the finance leaders of local authorities across Wales. It is important in terms of how we move forward with opportunities to increase borrowing, not only by local government but also by us, as we take forward our discussions with the UK Government.

William Graham:Will the Minister acknowledge that some council tax rates have increased dramatically, particularly in places like Blaenau Gwent, where people are paying 23 per cent more than they were paying a few years ago? How is the Welsh Government working with the Welsh Local Government Association and local authorities to minimise council tax increases?

Jane Hutt:The settlement that was provided to local government, which will enable authorities to receive more than £4 billion over the next three years to fund core services, was welcomed by the local authorities that we met this morning as a fair settlement. The Minister also ensured that there was support to allow local authorities to make their own judgments on council tax, and that was also recognised as fair and appropriate.

The Record

Rhodri Glyn Thomas: Weinidog, mae cyllidebau awdurdodau lleol o dan bwysau enfawr ar hyn o bryd. O ran sicrhau bod gan awdurdodau arian i’w wario ar gynlluniau cyfalaf, onid yw’r modd y mae’r arian o’r cynllun cymhorthdal, sy’n rhan o’r cyfrif refeniw tai, yn cael ei ddychwelyd i’r Trysorlys yn broblem? Cyflwynwyd y cynllun hwn gan y Ceidwadwyr, a pharhawyd â’r cynllun gan y Blaid Lafur yn San Steffan. Bydd yn cael ei ddileu yn Lloegr o dan y Bil Lleoliaeth, ond bydd yn parhau yng Nghymru. Beth yw’ch cynlluniau i sicrhau y daw i ben yng Nghymru a bod yr awdurdodau’n gallu defnyddio’r arian hwnnw at adeiladu tai i’w rhentu?

Rhodri Glyn Thomas: Minister, local authority budgets are under enormous strain at this time. With regard to ensuring that authorities have the money to spend on capital schemes, does not the problem lie with the means by which money from the subsidy scheme, which is part of the housing revenue account, is returned to the Treasury? This scheme was introduced by the Conservatives, and retained by the Labour Party at Westminster. It will be terminated in England under the Localism Bill, but it will remain in Wales. What plans do you have to ensure its demise in Wales, and how will you ensure that local authorities can use that funding to build houses for rent?

The Record

Jane Hutt: This is the very issue that the Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage and I discussed last week, to find a way forward following the intensive discussions that the former Deputy Minister for housing, Jocelyn Davies, and I had with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in which, I am afraid, we found our representations falling on deaf ears. However, we will work hard to achieve the kind of recognition and reform that should benefit Wales.

Peter Black: Minister, one way of maximising potential borrowing for local government is to increase the amount of revenue to authorities in order for them to fund borrowing. Even though the number of direct grants to councils has decreased, the annual cost of administering them is around £50 million a year. Do you not recognise that to reduce the number and scale of those direct grants even further would allow you to release even more money to local government to enable it to borrow money to invest in capital? Will you consider doing that in quite a radical way over the next few years?

Jane Hutt: Clearly, the commitment in the new understanding with local government is that we will move to reduce specific grants. Specific grants have played an important role in driving forward important and groundbreaking programmes such as Flying Start, just as they have played a role in safeguarding important funding streams and providing services to vulnerable people, such as Supporting People. It is clear that we have to handle this issue carefully, but the good and fair settlement that we have given to local government for the next three years enables us to work with it and through it to deliver our programmes and objectives in terms of reducing specific grants.

The Record

Blaenoriaethau

Priorities

5. Christine Chapman: Beth yw blaenoriaethau’r Gweinidog ar gyfer y tymor hwn yn y Cynulliad. OAQ(4)0013(FIN)

5. Christine Chapman: What are the Minister’s priorities for this Assembly term. OAQ(4)0013(FIN)

The Record

Jane Hutt: We set out our spending priorities for the current year in the final budget. We are providing a shield for our people against the UK Government’s cuts. Our spending plans maximise opportunities to meet the needs of those people and communities most likely to be adversely affected.

Christine Chapman: With regard to the equality part of your portfolio, do you agree with me that increasing the diversity of those who sit on the boards of public bodies and private companies would better reflect our communities and lead to a more inclusive and better form of governance? Our manifesto included a commitment to introduce quotas to ensure that a minimum of 40 per cent of appointments to public bodies are women. Minister, can you assure me that this will be made a priority for our Government?

Jane Hutt: As the Minister with responsibility for equalities, I am happy to give you that assurance. I would just make two points. The Equality and Human Rights Commission report, 'Who runs Wales? 2011’, which was published in March, looked at the top 50 Welsh companies and found only two female chief executives. It also found that only one of our 22 council leaders is a woman. Therefore, we have a long way to go.

Nick Ramsay: Yesterday, in his statement to Plenary on financial reform, the First Minister spoke of the Welsh Government’s support for borrowing powers. However, he was less than clear on the detail. Given that you have a reputation for detail in these matters, can you clarify for us today the type of borrowing power being sought from the UK Government? Will such borrowing be purely for capital spending, and would it be done through the National Loans Fund arm of the Treasury rather than through the issue of bonds?

Jane Hutt: I hesitate to go into a huge amount of detail given the number of questions that we need to get through. However, it is important to respond by referring to the Holtham commission, which laid out a clear way forward; it made a strong case for the Treasury’s UK Debt Management Office as the best means of Wales gaining borrowing powers, as it offers competitive borrowing terms. It is important that we look at the broadest range of borrowing powers that are consistent with the UK Government’s legitimate interest in retaining control over borrowing at the macro-economic level. Therefore, it is all open, but we have a good steer from part 2 of the Holtham commission’s report.

Nick Ramsay: I appreciate the Minister’s answer, but my reason for requesting details about the type of borrowing power being sought is that, yesterday, the First Minister mentioned the extra borrowing powers for Scotland. The UK Government is giving the go-ahead for Scotland to borrow, but this is capped at around £2 billion a year and is restricted to capital spending on specific projects. In fact, the Scottish Executive has mentioned spending on a replacement Forth road bridge. Given that the Scottish Government clearly has specific objectives for borrowing, what are the specific projects that your Government is seeking to fund through borrowing? Will you accept that, while it can have advantages, borrowing is not a panacea, as was said yesterday, and that ultimately it has to be paid back. It cannot be viewed simply as a blank cheque, which is the way that it has sometimes been viewed by previous UK Governments.

Jane Hutt: I do not think that there is any difference. The priority is to seek rapid access to borrowing powers and I have mentioned a vehicle for doing that. It is right that we should borrow to invest in capital projects and I have already discussed that in responding to questions this afternoon. It is clear that we would have to agree to a ceiling on the total amount of debt that we would have to carry, but it is for us to start by accessing those borrowing powers.

Leanne Wood: Minister, your party spoke a lot about standing up for Wales in the recent election, and you have just mentioned again your intention to be a shield to protect the people of Wales from the worst of the Tories’ cuts. The strike planned for next Thursday has huge implications. Minister, I will ask you exactly the same question that I asked you yesterday, when you avoided answering it. Will you provide a statement from the Government indicating your position on the public sector strike next week? Is the Government going to stand up for Welsh public sector workers in their attempts to defend their pensions, or does the Labour Government support Ed Balls’s view? We need a statement in the Assembly so that everyone is absolutely clear as to how this building and your Government will operate next Thursday.

Jane Hutt: You are questioning the Minister for Finance of the Welsh Government, not the shadow Chancellor of the Labour Party. As I said yesterday, with a two-year pay freeze, rising fuel costs, inflation at 5 per cent and the threat of redundancy, it is clear that public sector workers are facing a particularly tough time at the moment with the worst of the UK coalition Government’s cuts agenda. You clearly agree with my view as the Minister for Finance. It is also clear that the Trades Union Congress wishes to negotiate a settlement over the pensions issue, and it is important that we provide a shield, as I described, against the impact of all of this on our public service workforce. That is my statement.

William Powell: In March this year, the Public Accounts Committee released a report regarding the recent turbulence within the Wales Audit Office. It included recommendations on how to enhance levels of accountability and transparency within the WAO. Will the Minister provide an update on progress on the implementation of these recommendations? What can the Welsh Government do to support the new auditor general in recovering public trust in the organisation?

Jane Hutt: I am looking forward to meeting the new auditor general tomorrow; I had many meetings with him before the end of the last session. This matter will also come under the responsibilities of the Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee.

The Record

Trafodaethau gyda Thrysorlys y DU

Discussions with UK Treasury

6. Simon Thomas: Pa drafodaethau sydd wedi’u cynnal rhwng y Gweinidog a Thrysorlys y DU ers 6 Mai 2011 ynghylch ariannu Cymru. OAQ(4)0018(FIN)

6. Simon Thomas: What discussions have there been between the Minister and the UK Treasury since May 6 2011 regarding financing Wales. OAQ(4)0018(FIN)

The Record

Jane Hutt: The First Minister and I have discussed a number of financial issues with the UK Government, including the need to move forward on a fair and sustainable financial package and Wales’s need for borrowing powers. There will be a finance Ministers’ quadrilateral meeting on 14 July.

The Record

Simon Thomas: Hoffwn ddiolch i’r Gweinidog, ond mae’n glir o’i hateb nad yw wedi cael trafodaethau eto gyda’r Trysorlys ynghylch y mater hollbwysig hwn. Yng nghyfarfod y cyd-bwyllgor Gweinidogionbythefnos yn ôl, methodd y Prif Weinidog â chael yr hyn y dywed yw’r lleiafswm ar gyfer cyllido Cymru, hyd yn oed, sef y llawr Barnett. A fyddai Llywodraeth Cymru wedi cael gwell bargen pe byddai’r Gweinidog Cyllid wedi bod yn negodi dros y Llywodraeth, ac nid y Prif Weinidog?

Simon Thomas: I would like to thank the Minister, but it is clear from her response that she has not yet had any discussions with the Treasury about this vital issue. At the meeting of the joint ministerial committee a fortnight ago, the First Minister failed even to secure what he maintains is the minimum for financing Wales, namely the Barnett floor. Might not the Welsh Government have struck a better deal had the Minister for Finance been negotiating on the Government’s behalf instead of the First Minister?  

The Record

2.00 p.m.

Jane Hutt: Yesterday’s response from across the Chamber to the First Minister’s statement on future funding powers and the programme and objectives of the Welsh Government was very encouraging. It is quite clear that the UK Government will respond if we have a united National Assembly for Wales in terms of our political response and, indeed, scrutiny and challenge of me is part of that, as the Member for Mid and West Wales is clearly indicating today.

The Record

Effaith Ffioedd Dysgu

The Effect of Tuition Fees

7. Simon Thomas: Beth yw amcangyfrif y Gweinidog o’r effaith ar gyllideb gyffredinol Llywodraeth Cymru os gosodir ffioedd dysgu ar gyfartaledd uwch na £7,000. OAQ(4)0016(FIN)

7. Simon Thomas: What estimate has the Minister made of the effect on the Welsh Government’s overall budget if tuition fees are set at an average above £7,000. OAQ(4)0016(FIN)

The Record

Jane Hutt:The additional fee support for students ordinarily resident in Wales that the Minister for Education and Skills announced in November 2010 has been subject to detailed and robust costings and is affordable and sustainable.

Simon Thomas:I thank the Minister for that reply. The sustainability is what concerns me. I agree with the principle behind the policy and with the announcement on part-time students that the Minister made yesterday. However, the Minister will know that the whole edifice rests on attracting students from England paying fees of around £9,000. That is the way that the higher education institutions will get their funding. As their fee plans have been sent back for a rethink, there is now some question as to whether the whole system will work properly over the next two or three years. Can she give an undertaking that, whatever happens in terms of attracting new students from England and Welsh students going outside Wales, she will provide the resources to maintain the fees policy?

Jane Hutt: I think that you will join the Welsh Government in welcoming the robust approach that has been taken by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, initially rejecting all of the fee plans submitted by the Wales higher and further education institutions. That was a topic that we considered last week. I know that the Minister for Education and Skills asked HEFCW to be thorough and robust in scrutinising the fee plans, particularly with regard to whether they were geared towards widening access for all, which was the key expectation. We await the response with regard to the review of those fee plans. I can give you an assurance that this is a priority for the Welsh Government to deliver. However, we need to ensure that the institutions themselves play their part by delivering appropriate fee plans.

Mark Isherwood: In the second Assembly, top-up fee grants were introduced in Wales, despite your party voting against them. At that stage, you advised that, for legal and financial reasons, funding could be provided only for Welsh students at Welsh universities. In the last Assembly, you voted to scrap a top-up fee grant in Wales. Now we have a tuition fee policy. We understand from BBC Wales earlier this year that student numbers in Wales are already being cut from this summer:there is to be a cut of 15 per cent at Bangor University, 18 per cent at Glyndŵr University and so on. Higher education representatives who have spoken to me tell me that, as a direct consequence of your tuition fee policy, they will have to apply to be able to charge fees of £9,000 when they would have settled for £6,500 or £7,000. That is because so much money is now going across the border to England with Welsh students and because of the 35 per cent cut in the teaching budget. Have you done any calculations, Minister, to estimate what reduction there will be in the number of places available for Welsh students in future as a consequence of this policy?

Jane Hutt: As you were opposed to this pioneering, groundbreaking policy, which is extremely popular and which is the right policy for Wales, I will just say that we are protecting students ordinarily resident in Wales from the impact of higher fees and increased levels of student debt. In addition, public funding for higher education in Wales will remain at higher levels than in England both through the new fee grant made available by the Government and by continuing the current funding through HEFCW.

The Record

Blaenoriaethau

Priorities

8. Kenneth Skates: A wnaiff y Gweinidog amlinellu ei blaenoriaethau ar gyfer y Pedwerydd Cynulliad. OAQ(4)0011(FIN)

8. Kenneth Skates: Will the Minister outline her priorities for the Fourth Assembly. OAQ(4)0011(FIN)

The Record

Jane Hutt: We have set out our priorities in both the final budget and in our manifesto. Our focus is on the delivery of high-quality public services with the resources available to us.  

Kenneth Skates: Minister, economic recovery is by no means secured, but the Tory-led coalition Government is ploughing ahead with unprecedented cuts in funding that we desperately need in Wales for our public services. In the light of that, do you agree that we need to prioritise efficiency savings more than ever before? Could you provide the latest estimate of the Welsh Government’s final income and expenditure figures for 2010-11?

Jane Hutt: I thank the Member for Clwyd South for enabling me to bring very good news on the financial front to the Assembly. In Treasury control terms, the position for 2010-11 currently shows an underspend on near cash of only 0.14 per cent. The position is reflected in the first draft of accounts submitted to the Wales Audit Office. This is our best ever outturn against budget and demonstrates that we have maximised the use of our resources efficiently and effectively.

Mohammad Asghar: It is concerning that the National Audit Office has raised concerns about the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s accounts for the third year running. Given that you hold responsibilities linked to finance and equality, I am sure that you will agree that the EHRC, which does some excellent work, has a hugely important role to play as an equality regulator and national human rights institution, but equally it must make every effort to offer best value for money in Wales. The recent consultation document concerning the commission’s future highlights the importance of the EHRC retaining a strong presence in Wales and working closely with the Welsh Government, which I very much welcome.

The Presiding Officer:Order. Could you please come to the question?

Mohammad Asghar: I understand that a consultation response from the Welsh Government is to be issued shortly. What discussions have you had with regard to the formulation of that consultation response?What steps are you taking, Minister, to ensure that, in the future, the EHRC manages its finances as effectively as possible?

Jane Hutt:It is a UK body and I am not responsible for its finances, although I am sure that I could manage it more effectively than the UK Government, particularly in relation to the unfortunate cuts that it is making to important services, including equality services, for Wales. We will be responding and I will be sharing that response with Assembly Members in terms of the consultation on the future role and function of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Wales.

The Record

Cyfrifiad 2011

2011 Census

9. Joyce Watson: A wnaiff y Gweinidog ddatganiad am weithredu Cyfrifiad 2011. OAQ(4)0007(FIN)

9. Joyce Watson: Will the Minister make a statement on the conduct of the 2011 Census. OAQ(4)0007(FIN)

The Record

Jane Hutt: The Office for National Statistics is responsible for the 2011 census and the Welsh Government and local authorities have worked closely with it. The collection phase is now complete, although some questionnaires are still being received. Field staff are still seeking to obtain questionnaires from people who refuse to make a return.

Joyce Watson: I thank you for that answer, Minister. Do we know at this stage whether there have been any reports of a suspected undercount in Wales or any problems with data collection and public compliance with the 2011 census? As you know, Minister, the Westminster Government has considered scrapping the census altogether, which is another example of the short-sighted and poorly thought-through spending cuts that it is dogmatically pursuing in Government. Do you agree that, with the swingeing cuts being made to public services, it is more important than ever that Wales receives full funding? Do you also agree that the demographic information collected by the census is vital to ensure the effective planning of services and public spending priorities, especially in light of the estimated £85 million funding gap in Cardiff between 2001 and 2011?

The Record

Jane Hutt:It is too early at this stage to respond on any possible undercountor issues relating to compliance in Wales. The ONS is confident about reaching its target of a 94 per cent national response rate. I am glad that the UK coalition Government did one of its early u-turns on the future prospects for this census, which provides vital information in terms of planning and policy delivery and budget arrangements.

Nick Ramsay: Minister, do you agree with Joyce Watson that the census is particularly important and that it provides important information of which Governments can take account? However, the fact that it cost several hundred million pounds was due to the lack of ability of the previous UK Government to bring forward anything that was within budget and efficient. Joyce Watson raised an important point about undercounting and I think that the 2001 census had problems around undercounting. Can you make sure in this census, and any future censuses within Wales, that undercounting is reduced, and that your Government will do what it can to see that that does not happen in an area like Cardiff, for instance, so that the maximum benefit can be gained from any future census, which I am sure will cost a lot less than the last one?

Jane Hutt: I am grateful to the Member for Monmouth for conveying his full support and that of the Welsh Conservatives for the role played by the census. It is my intention to ensure that delivery in terms of the response rate is as near to 94 per cent—and up to 100 per cent—as we can make it.

Julie Morgan: Has the Minister received any feedback from the census about the success in reaching hard-to-reach groups such as Gypsies and Travellers? I know that a huge effort was made in the preparation of the census to reach these different groups. As it is so important for the planning of our services, has she received any feedback on that?

Jane Hutt: I thank the Member for Cardiff North for that question.This is an area where undercounting could have emerged if we had not undertaken the measures that we did undertake to work with Gypsy and Traveller liaison officers and community groups in preparation for the census. I hope that this will result in good take-up. I also hope that the figures on the counting and coverage of Gypsies and Travellers by local authorities will be made available to Members.   

The Record

Bethan Jenkins: A yw’r Gweinidog wedi siarad gyda Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig ynghylch yr adroddiadau bod cronfa ddata cyfrifiad 2011 y Deyrnas Unedig wedi cael ei dwyn gan hacwyr, a bod y grŵp o hacwyr yn bygwth ei chyhoeddi ar-lein? Fel y gallwch ddeall, mae gwybodaeth hynod sensitif yn rhan o’r cyfrifiad ac mae’n bwysig bod pobl Cymru yn deall bod eu gwybodaeth bersonol yn ddiogel.

Bethan Jenkins: Has the Minister had any discussions with the UK Government on the reports that the database of the 2011 UK census has been stolen by hackers, and that that group of hackers is threatening to publish it online? As you can understand, highly sensitive information is included in the census and it is important that the people of Wales understand that their personal information is safe.

The Record

Jane Hutt: I was concerned to read these press reports and I have been assured that the 2011 census team places the highest priority on maintaining the security of personal data. There is no evidence to suggest that any compromise has occurred. However, the Office for National Statistics’ security advisers and contractors are monitoring and safeguarding the security of the census data.

The Record

Cydraddoldeb Crefyddol

Religious Equality

10. William Graham: A wnaiff y Gweinidog amlinellu polisïau Llywodraeth Cymru i hyrwyddo cydraddoldeb crefyddol yng Nghymru. OAQ(4)0010(FIN)

10. William Graham: Will the Minister outline the Welsh Government’s policies to promote religious equality within Wales. OAQ(4)0010(FIN)

The Record

Jane Hutt: 'Getting On Together—a Community Cohesion Strategy for Wales’ sets out how the Welsh Government works with partners, including faith organisations, to reduce community tensions, promote equality and encourage greater understanding. Constructive engagement with representatives of different faiths takes place through the faith communities forum.

William Graham:You will know that a number of councils have removed discretionary funding for transport for pupils to faith schools in Wales on the grounds that free transport should be provided only to the nearest available school. The removal of such free transport makes life more difficult for families, particularly those attending the faith school of their choice. How is the Assembly Government working with schools, local authorities, parents and other groups to minimise the effects of removing free transport?  

Jane Hutt: This is a matter for local authorities and it is their decisions that have led to this shortfall in terms of transport provision. I am sure that it is an issue that you will want to draw to the attention of not only the Minister for Local Government and Communities, but also the Minister for Education and Skills, if there are shortcomings in local authority areas.

The Record

Adolygiad Cyllideb

Budget Review

11. William Powell: A yw’r Gweinidog yn bwriadu cynnal adolygiad cyllideb ar ôl yr etholiad ac ar ôl sefydlu’r Pedwerydd Cynulliad. OAQ(4)0005(FIN)

11. William Powell: Does the Minister plan a budget review following the election and establishment of the Fourth Assembly. OAQ(4)0005(FIN)

The Record

Jane Hutt:The final budget approved by the Assembly in February set out indicative spending plans for 2012-13 and 2013-14. We are currently in the process of reviewing our plans in the light of our programme of government and we will publish our spending plans in the autumn.

William Powell:Thank you for that response, Minister.As I am sure that you will appreciate, spending the money that we have at our disposal is more imperative than ever in these more difficult financial times and in the context of deficit reduction. What steps do you plan to take to ensure that money is being spent effectively during the fourth Assembly? Are you planning any specific initiatives to improve efficiency and to bear down on bureaucracy when it comes to ensuring value for the Welsh pound?

Jane Hutt: That is an important question from the Member for Mid and West Wales. I will make two points in response. The first concerns the statement that the Minister for Local Government and Communities made to the Chamber yesterday on public services, which was all about driving forward efficiency and effectiveness. I also hope that the Member will have seen the written statement that I published yesterday about the pioneering invest-to-save programme, which resulted in an announcement of £6 million to enable local authorities, the health service and fire and rescue services to work together to deliver a more efficient and effective service and to recycle that funding back for further bids and grants.

2.15 p.m.

Darren Millar: With the NHS in Wales showing signs of creaking at the seams, with increasing waiting lists, missed targets, the outcomes for stroke patients being among the worst in the UK and, only last week, the revelation that many of our hospitals are overcrowded, is it not about time that you reviewed the budget allocation to the NHS to reverse your party’s proposed £1 billion cuts over the next three years?

Jane Hutt: It would have been good if you had stood up to say how pleased you were to hear about the £65 million that I was able to allocate to the orthopaedic service over the next three years as a result of pressures on that service. The health and social services budget is the single largest budget and, under our published plans, we will continue to invest more than 40 per cent of our budget in health and social services.

The Record

Blaenoriaethau

Priorities

12. Lynne Neagle: A wnaiff y Gweinidog amlinellu ei blaenoriaethau ar gyfer y Pedwerydd Cynulliad. OAQ(4)0001(FIN)

12. Lynne Neagle: Will the Minister outline her priorities for the Fourth Assembly. OAQ(4)0001(FIN)

The Record

Jane Hutt: Our priority continues to be to deliver the services that people across Wales need. Our spending plans reflect the priority that we give to front-line services—services that all of us depend on at some point in our life.

Lynne Neagle: You referred earlier in answer to Mohammad Asghar to the cuts that the Equality and Human Rights Commission is facing. This is clearly a worrying time for the staff employed by the commission in Wales, and we should not lose sight of the important work that they do. Whether it is the research that they have conducted into discrimination against people with mental health problems or the advice line that helps thousands of people every year in Wales, they provide a valuable service. I ask for your assurances that you will do what you can, as the Minister responsible for equality issues, to ensure that we maintain that important focus in Wales.

Jane Hutt: I am grateful to the Member for Torfaen for bringing that again to my attention. We are responding in full to the consultation on the future of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Not only research and the advice line, but mediation services are also at risk. On research, those of you who attended the Mencap breakfast this morning about disability hate crime will recognise that important research has been undertaken by the commission with Cardiff University into that very issue. Those are the kinds of collaborations that are at risk.

Janet Finch-Saunders: Can the Minister detail what action is being taken to safeguard the funding of our social services in Wales during the fourth Assembly? If we compare the expenditure outlined in the draft budget with the expenditure outlined in the final budget produced in 2011, we see that the social services budget has been cut by £8.1 million per year for 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14. The report 'Fulfilled Lives: Supportive Communities’ aimed at improving social services in Wales to 2018 was branded as the Welsh Government’s 10-year strategy to improve social services. This highlighted key changes that needed to be made in the delivery of social services in Wales. These included—

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

Janet Finch-Saunders: These included a proposal that individuals must be given the opportunity and financial assistance to design their support and care. From where will this financial assistance come if the social services budget is being cut?

Jane Hutt: That is the sort of question that we have been asking the Welsh Conservatives: what would they have done had they gone ahead with their proposed cuts to local government because of their plans for the NHS? Only yesterday, the Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services spoke to the Association of Directors for Social Services Cymru and got a warm welcome and recognition that we have sought to protect social services and have increased its budget, which will have a beneficial effect, not just on vulnerable people but in preventing pressures on the health service through delayed transfers of care.

Cwestiynau i’r Gweinidog Busnes, Menter, Technoleg a Gwyddoniaeth
Questions to the Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science

The Record

Economi Cymru

Welsh Economy

1. Mark Isherwood: Pa asesiad sydd wedi’i wneud gan y Gweinidog o ba mor gystadleuol yw economi Cymru. OAQ(4)0012(BET)

1. Mark Isherwood: What assessment has the Minister made of the competitiveness of the Welsh economy. OAQ(4)0012(BET)

The Record

The Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science (Edwina Hart): We regularly assess all aspects of competitiveness, including employment, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Mark Isherwood: Thank you for that response, Minister. You will be aware that, earlier this month, a report from the Centre for Policy Studies said thatthe UK had fallen down the league tables for international competitiveness since 1997. At the end of April, the BBC reported that Wales was 'bottom of the UK heap’, and not doing as well as the other nations. Earlier this month, when the former chair of the Welsh development agency said that inward investment had not produced the returns that were hoped for, I was concerned to read a response from a Welsh Government spokesperson saying that the Government did not accept those comments. What actions are you taking to engage with the business sector in Wales, listening to the sector so that policies can be developed with it in order to restore competitiveness to the Welsh economy?

Edwina Hart: The competitiveness of the labour market, along with income levels, is what matters most to people in Wales, and this has improved substantially over the last decade or so, despite the interruption of the recent recession. There were 1.3 million people in employment in Wales in the three months ending March 2011—there has been an increase of 43,000 people. Since devolution, employment in Wales has increased by 11.1 per cent compared with 7.8 per cent across the UK as a whole. With regard to business, if the Member speaks to anyone in business or industry he will find that this Government continues to engage, just like the previous Government, at all levels.

Kenneth Skates: During the election campaign, small rural companies regularly raised with me the issue of accessing credit. Given that small and medium-sized enterprises in rural areas such as Clwyd South are absolutely crucial in increasing employment opportunities, better enablement of credit is vital. Would you commit to working with your Cabinet colleagues to examine the sort of capital support that is available to rural enterprises, to ensure that we do all we can to help small businesses grow and expand?

Edwina Hart: I will obviously commit to do what work is required to ensure that SMEs thrive, whether they are in a rural or urban community. That has always been the policy for this and previous Governments. There is a wide range of information for SMEs to access across the services that we currently provide, through the channels that we have. We have SME workshops explaining how to access information, and how to facilitate proposals, and we will continue with this good work. I think that SMEs recognise that we have been at the forefront of encouraging them into further investment.

The Record

Alun Ffred Jones: Mae sgiliau sylfaenol pobl ifanc yn un o’r elfennau pwysicaf i greu economi gystadleuol iach. Pa drafodaethau yr ydych wedi’u cael gyda’r Gweinidog Addysg a Sgiliau ar y mater hwn, sef sgiliau sylfaenol plant sy’n gadael yr ysgol?

Alun Ffred Jones:Young people’s basic skills are one of the most important elements in creating a healthy, competitive economy. What discussions have you had with the Minister for Education and Skills on this matter of basic skills for children leaving school?

The Record

Edwina Hart: There are always extensive discussions in Government about the exceptionally important issue that you raise. It is one of the issues that industry has been discussing with me in recent weeks: numeracy and literacy, and not just further enhanced skills. I continue to have those discussions. Also, the Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert, will be liaising closely with my new sectors about the needs and requirements of industry; that will happen across the piece in the next few weeks.

The Record

Alun Ffred Jones: I ategu’r sylwadau hynny, nododd gŵr busnes o Glwyd yn ystod ymgyrch yr etholiad pa mor siomedig yr oedd gydag ansawdd sgiliau rhai o’r bobl ifanc a oedd yn mynd ato i chwilio am waith. Yn y cyd-destun hwnnw, a fyddech yn ymuno â mi i longyfarch Cyngor Gwynedd, sydd wedi sefydlu cronfa o £3 miliwn er mwyn galluogi busnesau lleol i fenthyca arian ar gyfer cynlluniau datblygu? Dyna’r math o gynllun arloesol y byddech, yr wyf yn siŵr, yn hapus i’w gymeradwyo.

Alun Ffred Jones: To endorse previous comments, a businessman from Clwyd noted during the election campaign how disappointed he was with the quality of the skills of some of the young people who went to him for employment. In that context, would you join me in congratulating Gwynedd Council, which has established a fund of £3 million to enable local businesses to borrow money for development plans? This is the kind of innovative scheme that I am sure you would be very happy to commend.

The Record

Edwina Hart: I thank the Member for drawing this scheme to the attention of the Chamber. All innovation is to be welcomed. The involvement of local authorities in this issue is key, because it is only through partnership between local and central Government, higher and further education institutions, and business and trade unions in Wales that Team Wales will succeed, and ensure better job prospects for our citizens.

Andrew R.T. Davies: Engagement with people is a vital plank for encouraging inward investment and competitiveness within the Welsh economy. Do you think that your letter to the Welsh Affairs Committee was therefore an appropriate answer to a committee from another place that was looking to help you with your ministerial responsibilities to attract more business into Wales? Could you explain why you feel unable to meet with that committee?

Edwina Hart: I am required to look very carefully at all invitations that I receive in respect of my portfolio. The Welsh Affairs Committee has also written to me about issues around broadband, and I am happily sending it written evidence on that, because it is a matter that needs to be dealt with jointly across the UK. However, the economy is my responsibility in Wales, and I think that I am capable of doing my job.

Andrew R.T. Davies:Thank you for that answer, Minister. I know that you are new to your brief—I congratulate you on your appointment—but there is a need for engagement and understanding. Various reports have recently highlighted how previous Welsh Assembly Governments invested in the Welsh economy and that we spend more, proportionately, on the economy—it is currently £107 per person—than our closest competitor region of north-east England, which spends £97 per person. We are regrettably falling down the competitive and economic activity stakes. What is your take on previous programmes to try to get economic growth in Wales and on the success of those programmes in relation to the money spent? Are you prepared to make the changes that will start moving Wales’s economy forward?

Edwina Hart: I have taken the opportunity in the last few weeks to meet many businesspeople and I will continue to have informal discussions over the summer with the Confederation of British Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors to talk about some of the issues that you have raised with me. At that time, if I need to look at any aspect of policy changes, I will do so.

The Record

Hyrwyddo Mentergarwch

Promoting Enterprise

2. Antoinette Sandbach: A wnaiff y Gweinidog amlinellu ei blaenoriaethau ar gyfer hyrwyddo mentergarwch yng Ngogledd Cymru. OAQ(4)0002(BET)

2. Antoinette Sandbach: Will the Minister outline her priorities for promoting enterprise in North Wales. OAQ(4)0002(BET)

The Record

Edwina Hart: My priorities are the same for the whole of Wales, as set out in the manifesto.

Antoinette Sandbach:I am sure that you are familiar with the scale of the challenges facing you in your new portfolio and I heard what you said about your competence to deal with that portfolio. However, there are some people in the health service in north Wales who would be concerned that you might leave the economy in the same state that you have left health services in north Wales.

The Welsh private sector has shrunk in proportion to the public sector over every Assembly term since 1999. Given that small businesses provide the majority of new jobs, can you confirm what steps you will be taking to improve the environment for all business sectors in Wales, as the many small businesses outside the six key sectors, such as retail or construction, may wonder whether the Welsh Government is committed to their future, which may discourage them from expanding their workforces?

Edwina Hart:I will try to give you a courteous answer to your discourteous question. I will concentrate on what I can do to assist businesses. Some of the key issues raised with me by businesses are issues that must be dealt with jointly across Government. Indeed, my colleague John Griffiths has already started on issues regarding the planning process, which industry is concerned about, and my colleague Carl Sargeant and I have had discussions about transport priorities and the need to ensure that we have the correct transport infrastructure. Therefore, work is proceeding and I am confident that we have the support of business in what we are trying to achieve, which is to ensure that there are greater employment opportunities in the private sector in Wales. However, one must not malign the public sector either. The sector and its workers, such as doctors, nurses and those who clean our roads, make a valuable contribution to society in Wales.

The Record

Ieuan Wyn Jones:Diolch i’r Gweinidog am ei hateb cychwynnol i’r Aelod blaenorol, sef ei bod yn mynd i hybu mentergarwch ar draws Cymru. Un o’r ffyrdd yr ydym wedi bod yn gwneud hynny yw drwy gytuno bod angen sicrhau cyswllt band eang cyflym a band eang y genhedlaeth nesaf i fusnesau yng Nghymru. Yr wyf yn falch o ddeall bod y Llywodraeth bresennol wediymrwymo i sicrhau bod hynny’n digwydd. A yw’r Gweinidog mewn sefyllfa i’n diweddaru ynglŷn â chytundeb a fydd yn cael ei greu i sicrhau bod hynny’n digwydd yn ystod tymor presennol y Cynulliad?

Ieuan Wyn Jones:I thank the Minister for her initial response to the previous Member, namely that she was going to encourage enterprise the length and breadth of Wales. One way in which we have done that is to agree that we need to ensure fast broadband connection and next-generation broadband for businesses in Wales. I am pleased to understand that the current Government is committed to ensuring that that happens. Is the Minister in a position to give us an update on any possible contract that will be put in place to ensure that that happens during this Assembly term?

The Record

Edwina Hart: Unfortunately, I am not in a position to update you at present. However, I will be following on from the work undertaken by the previous Government in ensuring that we can meet our commitments on broadband. Good broadband access is one of the key areas that business has spoken to me about, and it is also an important issue for ordinary citizens. I would be delighted to give a written statement before the recess, if I am in a position to do so, or, if not, when we return in the autumn.

The Record

Y Sector Cymunedol

Community Sector

3. Suzy Davies :A wnaiff y Gweinidog amlinellu ei chynlluniau er mwyn sicrhau bod gan y sector cymunedol fwy o ran yn adferiad economaidd Cymru. OAQ(4)0019(BET)

3. Suzy Davies:Will the Minister outline her plans to ensure greater involvement of the community sector in Wales’ economic recovery. OAQ(4)0019(BET)

The Record

Edwina Hart: Social enterprises, co-operatives and mutuals have a key role to play in the economy; I have always thought that, even when it was not fashionable to do so. I will be working with the sector to ensure that they have access to appropriate and robust business advice that benefits their growth and sustainability.

2.30 p.m.

Suzy Davies: Thank you, Minister; that is a very encouraging answer. Members may remember me referring to the Creation Development Trust during questions to the First Minister yesterday. The Creation Development Trust has worked for many years to bring community-driven regeneration to the Garw valley, and has been recognised by the head of wellbeing at Bridgend County Borough Council for introducing and delivering ideas that have improved the local economy. Not all councils or council departments are as willing to recognise that community organisations such as the Creation Development Trust should be the first port of call rather than the last resort when it comes to planning economic recovery. You talk about partnership working, Minister. Will you support the Wales Council for Voluntary Action’s call for community organisations to be instrumental in the design of your strategies and not just in their delivery?

Edwina Hart: I am meeting the WCVA, which is chaired by Win Griffiths, within the next few weeks to discuss some of those issues. I am aware of the project you have outlined and the marvellous support that it has received from the Labour authority in Bridgend.

Vaughan Gething: I am glad to hear, Minister, that you agree with me that social enterprises play a key role in creating a strong and sustainable economy. Co-operatives and mutuals are typically more sustainable than other forms of small business and their survival rates are higher. They create more jobs and jobs that are less likely to leave the local area, empowering communities and driving regeneration. It is also a fact that the co-op economy has outperformed the UK economy, growing by nearly a quarter to £33.5 billion, and next Monday is the start of Co-operative Fortnight. I am glad that you have said that the Government will ensure that this sector has access to high-quality and robust business advice. Will you explain how that advice will be provided and delivered to ensure that this sector thrives and continues to play a major role in the Welsh economy in future?

Edwina Hart: Currently, my department provides about £0.5 million a year to specialist organisations such as the Wales Co-operative Centre, the Developing Trust Associations Wales and Small Firms Wales to provide bespoke advice and support for social enterprises. We also have a match-funded programme with the Wales Co-operative Centre, which is providing around £8 million, and we are asking the centre this year to undertake a business succession co-operative consortia project, which will be of enormous interest out there in communities. You can be assured that the necessary work is being undertaken in this field and that it will continue. I once spent some time on secondment to the Wales Co-operative Centre, so I know what some of the issues are.

The Record

Rhodri Glyn Thomas: Weinidog, yn ystod y cwestiynau hyn, mae nifer o’r cyfranwyr wedi cyfeirio at yr angen i gael gweithlu sydd â’r sgiliau addas i gael eu harallgyfeirio. A gytunwch fod nifer o’r mentrau y cyfeiriwyd atynt yn cael eu cynnal gan wirfoddolwyr, a’i bod yn bwysig bod gwirfoddolwyr yn cael y cyfle hefyd i ddatblygu sgiliau a chael cymwysterau oherwydd y gwaith y maent yn ei gyflawni? A ydych yn rhoi ystyriaeth i’r gwasanaeth dinasyddiaeth cenedlaethol y mae Plaid Cymru wedi awgrymu allai fod yn fodd i sicrhau bod gwirfoddolwyr yn cael eu cydnabod ac yn cael y cyfle i ehangu eu sgiliau a chael eu cymhwyso?

Rhodri Glyn Thomas: Minister, during these questions, several contributors alluded to the need to have a workforce with the appropriate skills for diversification. Do you agree that a number of the enterprises that have been referred to are maintained by volunteers, and that it is important that volunteers also have the opportunity to develop skills and gain qualifications as a result of the work that they do? Are you considering the national citizen service that Plaid Cymru has suggested could be a means of ensuring that volunteers are recognised and have the opportunity to enhance their skills and gain qualifications?

The Record

Edwina Hart: You make a very valuable point about the role of the voluntary sector in Wales. Without the voluntary sector, Wales would be nothing; we could not deliver in a whole range of areas. It isimportant that the skills that are learned within employment in the voluntary sector and in volunteering are utilised. I am aware of the commitment in the Plaid Cymru manifesto to a national citizen service for adult volunteers, and, as the First Minister indicated when we took office, it is important to look at the manifestos of other parties and at whether there are policy agendas that we could deliver. The direct responsibility for this lies with the Minister for Local Government and Communities, and I will ask him to make contact for further discussions on this issue.

The Record

Ymchwil a Datblygu a’r Sector Gweithgynhyrchu

Research and Development and the Manufacturing Sector

4. David Rees:Pa gamau y mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn eu cymryd i hybu cysylltiadau rhwng ymchwil a datblygu a’r sector gweithgynhyrchu yng Nghymru. OAQ(4)0015(BET)

4. David Rees: What action is the Welsh Government taking to encourage links between research and development and the manufacturing sector in Wales. OAQ(4)0015(BET)

The Record

Edwina Hart: We hold regular events highlighting the importance of research and development to all key sectors, including manufacturing. The manufacturing sector has been invited to research and development funding information for the information communications technology sector,BioWales 2011, and business innovation European funding events.

David Rees:As you will know, the Welsh Government is providing £15 million to Swansea University to deliver the Bay Science and Innovation Campus, which will be located in my constituency in Aberavon. The major research and development facilities will be designed to encourage industry to work side by side with researchers, academia and students.In fact, an economic study undertaken by the university estimates that the project could contribute more than £3 billion to the regional economy over the next 10 years. Such projects will build upon the work as an institute at the university. Therefore, Minister, would you agree that, rather than resurrect old ideas such as enterprise zones—which are flawed and ineffective and only created unsustainable artificial growth—the Welsh Government should discuss the possibility of promoting enterprise clusters based on the economic renewal programme sectors that link academic research and development with business? That would allow for research and innovation and for business to build on that and take developments to the marketplace.

Edwina Hart: I note your comments regarding enterprise zones, about which we had a good discussion in the Chamber last week. The various sectors have now been giving me their views on this issue, and they are mixed. Some of them reflect what Mike Hedges said in relation to the old Swansea enterprise zones. However, others have referred to more innovative ways of looking at it. In relation to research and development, innovation is a key driver for us in Wales. We must facilitate and increase the amount of innovation and the research and development conducted in Wales, particularly in the key sectors, and ensure that Wales benefits through the commercialisation of research and development, which it has not always done. Proposing ways to increase the links between business and academia must be the key consideration in this area. It is one of the considerations that the sector panels are currently looking at in order to encourage businesses to invest more in research and development, so that they are using their private sector success and experience to help identify business growth. It is important that we continue to use these sectors, with the links with higher education, to try to make a difference. I very much take on board what you said about clusters and how we should deal with these issues, and I will be considering this over the course of the next few weeks.

Darren Millar: Manufacturing is a huge part of the Welsh economy, and all of us would want to see it continue to thrive. However, over 70,000 jobs have been lost in manufacturing in Wales over the past 12 years. In the previous Assembly, your predecessor with cabinet responsibility for the economy dragged his feet in relation to producing a manufacturing strategy for Wales. Minister, will you put this at the top of your agenda for the next few years in relation to helping to revive the Welsh manufacturing sector, and will you commit to producing, very early in your time in post, a manufacturing strategy published by the Government for Wales?

Edwina Hart: We have to understand that manufacturing has always been a top priority across the piece for the Government in the first, second and third Assemblies. The Welsh manufacturing forum launched its strategy on 16 March this year. The strategy is industry-led and supported by the Government. There is no point in having all of this expertise out there in the world of industry if we just sit back in a little tower in Cathays park and then officials scribble away and write policy. This policy is based on the reality of what industry in the sector wants. The strategy sets out the actions for the Welsh Assembly Government and, most importantly, for industry itself. Therefore, there is a strategic plan, and we will be delivering on it.

Simon Thomas: I echo much of what David Rees said on clustering for research and development, and I welcome what the Minister has just said regarding a manufacturing strategy led by industry. Having spent four years clamouring for a manufacturing strategy led by industry, the Tories now want it led by Government. They need to make their minds up about who should lead the best ideas for manufacturing in Wales. Turning to the manufacturing strategy that has been produced by the sector itself, that strategy makes it clear that we must see continuing research and development supported by Government in the key sectors, particularly in advanced manufacturing, biosciences and the low carbon economy. Will the Minister make a commitment now and say that, even in these early days, she still believes that the sectoral approach set out by her predecessor is the right approach for the Welsh economy and for research and development, and will she commit to continuing to support research and development in those sectors?

Edwina Hart: I was a member of the last Government, and that was the supported policy. The strategy is now informing a whole range of issues, such as advanced materials in manufacturing and what we are doing in terms of life science. A business plan is being prepared in areas and I expect the first draft to be submitted to me for consideration before the summer recess. Although I am considering the addition of more sectors, the present sectors welcome their involvement with Government. As chairs, they welcome the fact that they can come and talk to me, that I will listen to them, that they can advise me on things and that I can then ask them to advise me directly on other issues that may arise. That is the way forward. It is about partnership in Wales, and the Government, industry and the further and higher education sector working together to deliver for Wales. We will only achieve research and development and all the changes that we need if we work together. It is about Team Wales, remember.

Peter Black: Minister, you will know that much of the funding for research in universities comes from UK-wide bodies. The challenge is to find a way to ensure not only that those Welsh universities win the competition with other universities to secure that funding, but that the funding that is secured is focused on developing wealth and innovation in the Welsh economy. How are you engaging outside Wales with those relevant bodies to try to achieve that objective?

Edwina Hart: Those are among the areas that we need to look at closely in the coming months. It is important that we continue to get the necessary resources into Wales so that we have our fair share of research and development and of funding. We have the Academic Expertise for Business programme, on collaboration on research and development, and knowledge transfer partnerships, which help in providing support for projects. However, there is further work to be done, and I will be engaging with my colleague the Minister for Education and Skills on how we can take these developments forward together.

Peter Black:Minister, would you accept that the current investigation by the Welsh Affairs Committee is one forum in which you could make the case for Wales in relation to investment in research and development, and that, if you were to attend the evidence session to whichit has invited you, you could also make the case for reduced corporation tax, the Barnett floor and all the fiscal aids that would help the Welsh economy and the Welsh manufacturing industry to succeed, improve and grow wealth in this country? Do you not think that you should reconsider your decision not to give evidence to the committee? Do you accept that, by not giving evidence, you are letting Wales down?

Edwina Hart: I am not letting Wales down. I think that we need to agree to differ on the content of your question to me.

The Record

Diwydiant Opto-Electronig

Opto-Electronics Industry

5. Ann Jones:Beth y mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei wneud i hyrwyddo’r diwydiant opto-electronig yn Nyffryn Clwyd. OAQ(4)0013(BET)

5. Ann Jones: What is the Welsh Government doing to promote the opto-electronics industry in the Vale of Clwyd. OAQ(4)0013(BET)

The Record

Edwina Hart: We will work in partnership with industry and academia to facilitate the development of the opto-electronics sector in St Asaph and throughout Wales.

Ann Jones: Thank you for that answer, Minister. You know that St Asaph is integral to, and is recognised by, the opto-electronics industry in the UK, Europe, and, indeed, worldwide. The OpTICTechnium at St Asaph has been doing excellent work to ensure that it is in the running to be selected to construct one of the largest sophisticated telescopes for the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, commonly known as ESO, at a cost of £1 billion. If it is successful, more than £4 million-worth of work could come to St Asaph, which would help local industry. Do you agree that the Welsh Government should continue to support the opto-electronics industry in St Asaph and ensure that we can have good quality and high-skilled jobs in that area?

Edwina Hart: I concur totally with your comments. The Chief Scientific Officer for Wales is an expert in that field of research and is providing guidance to the Welsh Government on the project. I am taking the opportunity to visit the OpTIC Glyndŵr research centre at the technium in St Asaph next week and to have a tour of the European extremely large telescope project. I assure you that I am well aware of the excellent work that is going on in that area and of how it will help Wales’s economy in future.

Antoinette Sandbach: Minister,I welcome the fact that you will be following in the footsteps of David Cameron, who has twice visited the St Asaph technium to see the excellent work that is being carried out there. Do you agree that it is regrettable that, despite the success of the OpTIC Technium, where the academic resources of Glyndŵr University have helped to create a successful technology cluster and spin-off businesses, the Minister for education has not visited the university once in the nearly two years since he took uphis post? What plans do you have to use the success of the OpTIC Technium as a blueprint for inward investment elsewhere in north Wales?

Edwina Hart: I am well aware of the excellent work that goes on there and of the heavy schedule of visits, including to thatuniversity, that the Minister for education has undertaken. It is important to say that we recognise where there is expertise and build on it. I am very much looking forward to my visit.

The Record

Llyr Huws Gruffydd: Yr ydym wedi clywed tipyn heddiw am bwysigrwydd ymchwil a datblygu, ac mae’r sector hwn yn un o’r rhai lle mae angen buddsoddiad parhaol mewn ymchwil a datblygu. Fodd bynnag, gwyddom mai dim ond 2 y cant o gyfanswm gwariant cyhoeddus y Deyrnas Gyfunol ar ymchwil a datblygu sy’n dod i Gymru ar hyn o bryd.Pa drafodaethau yr ydych wedi eu cynnal â Llywodraeth San Steffan mewn ymdrech i sicrhau bod y ganran honno’n codi a bod cyfran decach o gyllid ymchwil a datblygu yn dod i Gymru?

Llyr Huws Gruffydd: We have heard quite a bit today about the importance of research and development, and this sector is one where continous investment in research and development is required. However, we know that only 2 per cent of the total public expenditure of the UK on research and development comes to Walesat the moment.What discussions have you had with the Westminster Government in order to ensure that that percentage is increased and that a fairer percentage of research and development funding comes to Wales?

The Record

2.45 p.m.

Edwina Hart: I have not yet had any direct discussions with the UK Government, but research and development is one of the areas that I am looking at currently. Of course, I will advise the Chamber when appropriate discussions are held. Officials discuss matters at a certain level, but I think that it is important that I also engage in those discussions, as a Government Minister.

The Record

Mentrau

Enterprises

6. Lindsay Whittle:A wnaiff y Gweinidog ddatganiad am ei chynlluniau ar gyfer mentrau bach a chanolig eu maint yng Nghymru. OAQ(4)0014(BET)

6. Lindsay Whittle:Will the Minister make a statement on her proposals for small and medium-sized enterprises in Wales. OAQ(4)0014(BET)

The Record

Edwina Hart: As outlined in our manifesto, 'Standing up for Wales’, I aim to improve the conditions within which all businesses, large and small, operate. Businesses need the right infrastructure, skills and services. I will be reviewing what support is needed by small firms, to create real potential to thrive and grow.

Lindsay Whittle:Minister, you will be aware that businesses need smaller and more easily accessible loans. Will you investigate the use of community finance models in providing a more flexible local solution to this problem and, in particular, providing money to credit unions, so that they can lend to small and medium-sized enterprises? Alternatively, will you consider establishing a Welsh growth fund in partnership with the private sector so that small and medium-sized enterprises can have greater access to finance? Minister, I also think that David Cameron was lucky that he was in St Asaph when you were not.

Edwina Hart:I am not sure that my shoes are the same size as his; I think that I have smaller feet.

It is quite important for us to recognise, Lindsay Whittle, the importance of getting support for small businesses right. I have had some very interesting discussions with the small business group, which says that the needs of micro-businesses are sometimes quite different to those of other businesses. We have already started work on business support on the credit union side. All of the issues raised with me today are very much on my agenda. I hope to come back in the autumn and make a statement to the Chamber on support for businesses, and I am sure that I will be able to address those points more fully on that occasion.

Janet Finch-Saunders:Minister, what is being done to ensure the quick and effective roll-out of high-speed broadband and better mobile phone reception across Wales? There are areas of my constituency, Aberconwy, that do not have a mobile phone signal or access to a consistent broadband connection. This is obviously a serious problem for small and medium-sized enterprises, which would greatly benefit from better access to communications and the increased markets that quality internet access offers.

The Presiding Officer:Order.Could you come to the question, please?

Janet Finch-Saunders:Okay. TFL Group said last year that 30,000 homes still had no access to broadband and that it would take 28 years—

The Presiding Officer:Order.That is not a question.

Janet Finch-Saunders:TFL said that it would take 28 years to bring effective broadband to these homes. This is not in line with your own policy for all businesses in Wales to have next-generation broadband by mid-2016.

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

Janet Finch-Saunders:Minister, what guarantees can you give to those businesses that desperately need improved broadband access in the current economic climate that they will have access to next-generation broadband in the next five years?

Edwina Hart:I fully appreciate the issues that you raised regarding mobile and broadband access in your speech today. It is important for us to recognise that small businesses need appropriate access because they can take advantage of flexible working patterns, reduce their travel overheads and access global markets quickly. We tend to think that small businesses do not do that, but they do when they have a niche market. They can also share files quickly, and online video-conferencing leads to great efficiencies for very small firms. Therefore, we are absolutely committed to this. If everything goes right in terms of contracts and the other things that we are doing, I intend to roll out this policy appropriately and in line with our manifesto.  

The Presiding Officer: Question 7, OAQ(4)0008(BET),has been transferred for written answer by the Minister for Education and Skills.

The Record

Cyfleoedd Cyflogaeth

Employment Opportunities

8. Gwyn R. Price:Beth y mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei wneud i wella cyfleoedd cyflogaeth yn Ne Ddwyrain Cymru. OAQ(4)0004(BET)

8. Gwyn R. Price:What is the Welsh Government doing to increase employment opportunities in South East Wales. OAQ(4)0004(BET)

The Record

Edwina Hart: We will support high-performing, quality companies in all those parts of the economy that can create employment, wealth and a sustainable Wales.

Gwyn R. Price:Thank you for your reply, Minister. The Welsh Government has taken numerous steps to increase employment opportunities in these difficult times. Schemes such as ProAct and ReAct showed an understanding of what was needed. On top of that, we have seen a commitment to apprenticeships and to business rate relief. At the same time, Minister, we are seeing a concerted effort on behalf of the Tory-Liberal Government to pull the rug from under hard-working people in areas such as Islwyn. Minister, what can we do in Wales to mitigate the effects of those reckless policies?

Edwina Hart: To lessen the impact and to aid our economic recovery, it is essential that we raise skill levels. We have already alluded to the basic skills and other related issues regarding the skills of the workforce. The key issue is to reduce youth unemployment, which is one of the most worrying trends that we now see. We must also create more sustainable and dynamic companies, especially those that have their headquarters in Wales. For example, through our young recruits programme, we have made £20 million available for 16 to 24-year-olds to access quality training. In addition, we continue to build strong links with our anchor companies to develop strategic and mutually beneficial relationships with them.

Mohammad Asghar: Minister, there is a businessman who has eagerly been looking to set up a factory that makes modular homes in the south Wales Valleys. Suggested locations include Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil. He estimates that, directly and indirectly, some 200 jobs could be created. In seeking the support of the Welsh Government, he made in excess of 50 phone calls before he received an initial response. Since receiving contact from an official, he has found the Welsh Government to be extremely negative towards his proposals. Will you give a commitment to meet this gentleman, Minister, to ensure that his proposals are given a fair hearing by the Welsh Government and to ensure that possible support routes are explored, given the potential impact that his proposal could have on tackling unemployment in the south Wales Valleys? Minister, what support will be available to businesses such as his, which perhaps fall outside the six key sectors outlined in the economic renewal plan?

Edwina Hart: A simple letter to me as the Minister would probably have brought about a meeting with one of my officials.

Jocelyn Davies: Last week, the First Minister gave assurances that your Government is still committed to the economic renewal programme. One of the challenges identified in the programme is the fact that we have not taken full advantage of the identity premium. How will you reverse this situation so that Wales, including the south-east, can be an attractive place to do business?

Edwina Hart: Before lunch today, I had a meeting with a prominent businessperson who was talking about the importance of selling the value of Wales as a place with a positive image. That relates very nicely to the issue of the identity premium that you have just mentioned. You will be aware of the work that is being done on the Heart and Soul of Wales campaign for the Valleys. I think that it is important for us to carry on with that work, because I do not think that we ever want to underestimate the potential for businesses and projects to profit by association with the Wales identity premium.

The Record

Twristiaeth

Tourism

9. Russell George:A wnaiff y Gweinidog ddatganiad ynghylch sut y mae’r Llywodraeth yn hybu twristiaeth yng Nghanolbarth Cymru. OAQ(4)0018(BET)

9. Russell George:Will the Minister make a statement regarding the Government’s promotion of tourism in Mid Wales. OAQ(4)0018(BET)

The Record

Edwina Hart: We are supporting a range of activities through the regional tourism partnership, Tourism Partnership Mid Wales, and the mid Wales marketing area partnerships, to market and promote tourism in mid Wales.

Russell George: Thank you for your answer, Minister. You will appreciate that having the right infrastructure in place is vital to ensuring economic and tourism growth in mid Wales. The enhancement of the Cambrian line is an extremely important aspect in the delivery of that growth. Minister, can you give a commitment to work with the Minister for Local Government and Communities to prioritise the implementation of additional services on the Cambrian line when he announces his review of the national transport plan? Rail users hope that the Welsh Government will complete the job that it started in 2008, when it announced a contribution of £8 million to the scheme. The capital element is now complete, and revenue funding to implement additional services on the line will be relatively straightforward to achieve in a short time. It is vital that existing capital expenditure is utilised to benefit the mid Wales economy and to ensure that it is not underutilised.

Edwina Hart: My colleague is here and has heard your contribution. We always work closely across portfolios in the Government.

Rebecca Evans: In 2009, the tourism industry in Montgomeryshire was valued at £358 million and was estimated to support 6,300 jobs. Mid Wales Tourism tells me that fears about the proposed pylons are already having a detrimental effect on tourism in the area. The owners of high-quality holiday home parks—there are 24 five-star parks in mid Wales—are already reporting lost sales due to the proposals. I am sure that you will join me in welcoming the statement on planning and renewable energy in Wales, and I want to put on record my thanks for the Welsh Government’s representations to Westminster on behalf of people in mid Wales, not least those who are involved in tourism. While we wait for the Westminster Government to respond,will the Minister confirm that the Welsh Government will do its bit for tourism in mid Wales, based on the strong commitments on tourism in our manifesto?

Edwina Hart: We have given clear manifesto commitments on this and provided the tourism partnership in mid Wales with over £0.5 million this financial year to drive up quality. We also have the tourism investment support scheme, which is operated by Visit Wales, and, since September 2009, capital investment grants of over £1.1 million have been allocated to businesses in the region.

The Record

Simon Thomas: Efallai bod y Gweinidog wedi cael cyfle i wrando arnaf yn cwestiynu Arweinydd y Tŷ ddoe ynglŷn â’r posibiliad o gael parth ar y we i Gymru. Byddai hwn o fudd mawr i fusnesau twristiaeth sy’n gwerthu eu busnesau ar y we, gan mai dyma’r ffordd y mae’r rhan fwyaf o fusnesau ynawr yn denu pobl i Gymru. A wnaiff y Gweinidog fanteisio ar y cyfle hwn i ddatgan cefnogaeth y Llywodraeth i’r syniad o gael parth .cymru a .wales er mwyn i fusnesau twristiaeth allu marchnata Cymru yn fyd-eang?

Simon Thomas:Perhaps the Minister had the opportunity to listen to me question the Leader of the House yesterday regarding the possibility of having a web domain for Wales. This would be of great benefit to tourism businesses that sell their businesses on the internet, as this is the way that the majority of businesses now attract people to Wales. Will the Minister take this opportunity to express the Government’s support for the idea of having a.wales and .cymrudomain so that tourism businesses can market Wales globally?

The Record

Edwina Hart: Thank you very much for that question.Nothing has been raised with my officials in relation this, but I will discuss it. The concept seems like a good one in principle.

William Powell: In a digital marketing conference in March of this year, Jonathan Jones, director of marketing at Visit Wales, congratulated tourism businesses in mid Wales for performing better than their counterparts in England and Scotland. Indeed, expenditure by tourists visiting Wales was, on average, up by 3 per cent last year, compared to a 6 per cent fall in the rest of the UK. The number of nights that visitors stayed in Wales was also up by 1 per cent, compared to a 7 per cent fall across the rest of the UK. Will the Minister make a commitment to supporting the tourism sector via the regional tourism partnerships, and to further extending the tourism season to maximise the economic benefits to destinations across Wales?

Edwina Hart: You may be interested to know that I am considering whether tourism should be one of my key sectors in Wales, not just with the current arrangements that are in place. It is vital for the economy of rural and urban Wales.

The Record

Economi

Economy

10. Christine Chapman:Beth yw blaenoriaethau Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer gwella economi Cymru yn ystod y Pedwerydd Cynulliad. OAQ(4)0017(BET)

10. Christine Chapman: What are the Welsh Government’s priorities for improving the Welsh economy during the Fourth Assembly. OAQ(4)0017(BET)

The Record

Edwina Hart: Our plans for growth and sustainable jobs are set out in our manifesto. As I have indicated, I have been actively engaging with and listening to business and will be making a statement in due course.

Christine Chapman:If the economy of Wales is to grow, it is vital that businesses and companies get all the support they can from the Welsh Government. This includes the provision of specific and targeted advice. One of the criticisms that I receive from companies is that they get poor feedback about failed applications for grants or loans. Will you look at this as a priority over the next few years, particularly the way in which the Welsh Government communicates with businesses?

Edwina Hart: It is important that we communicate correctly. When businessesapproach us on anything, we should immediately have the appropriate person dedicated to answer their questions. If necessary, we should also have an appropriate team for businesses that might want to come into Wales with large-scale investment or businesses that want to expand. I support very much this principle of open and transparent feedback to both successful and unsuccessful candidates, so that they can know why they were unsuccessful and how they couldimprove if they were to bid again.We have to deliver better quality in terms of our management systems and the approach that we take to businesses when they come to us for help and assistance.

Nick Ramsay: I am pleased to hear that you are listening and engaging with the business community—words I have been known to use myself a few times over the last few weeks. Following that excellent question about accessibility, will you tell us a bit more about how you are proposing to make yourself and your officials more directly accessible to the business community across Wales? We have heard from a number of Members today about some problems that constituents and those in small and medium-sized enterprises are having in obtaining access to you and your department. How will you address that?

Edwina Hart: It is important to recognise that politicians have always been accessible when they are elected to this place and when they are in Government. However, there has sometimes been difficulty in relation to departments. Of course, we have had churn in departments due to staff leaving on the voluntary severance scheme, and that has not helped us to have an appropriate name for people to be able to contact. Therefore, I will be dealing with those internal issues as a priority, as will the head of my department, when one is appointed. It is also important that we make it clear to people what help and assistance we can give and what we cannot give, and what is and is not the role of Government. I aim to flesh that out during the next few months.

3.00 p.m.

The Record

Bethan Jenkins: Weinidog, yr wyf am ofyn cwestiwn ar y rhaglen adnewyddu economaidd. Darllenais eich erthygl yn y Western Mail ac yr wyf yn pryderu eich bod yn bwriadu israddio’r rhaglen drwy gynyddu nifer y panelau sector ac edrych eto ar y canolfannau technium. Mae nifer o fusnesau yn awr yn cysylltu â’ch adran i ddweud bod benthyciadau a grantiau eich adran wedi stopio gan fod adolygiad arall ar y gweill. Weinidog, pryd yr ydych yn bwriadu gwthio’r agenda hon yn ei blaen a dangos yr un dewrder â’ch rhagflaenydd drwy roi’r rhaglen adnewyddu economaidd ar waith yn llawn?

Bethan Jenkins: Minister, I want to ask about the economic renewal programme. I read your article in the Western Mail and I am concerned that you are going to downgrade the programme by increasing the number of sector panels and looking again at the technium centres. Many businesses are now getting in touch with your department to say that loans and grants from your department have dried up because there is another review in the pipeline. Minister, when are you going to drive this agenda forward and show the same courage as your predecessor by putting the economic renewal programme in place fully?

The Record

Edwina Hart: I am afraid that I do not recognise your comments in relation to the work that I am undertaking in my department.

The Record

Busnesau Twristiaeth

Tourism Businesses

11. Yr Arglwydd Elis-Thomas:Beth oedd cyfanswm y buddsoddiad mewn busnesau twristiaeth yn Nwyfor Meirionnydd gan Weinidogion Cymru er 2007. OAQ(4)0016(BET)

11. Lord Elis-Thomas:What is the total amount invested in tourism businesses by Welsh Ministers in Dwyfor Meirionnydd since 2007. OAQ(4)0016(BET)

The Record

Edwina Hart: A total of £1.6 million has been invested in tourism businesses since 2007 through the former single investment fund and now the tourism investment support scheme.

The Record

Yr Arglwydd Elis-Thomas:Diolch yn fawr am yr ateb hwnnw. A fyddai’r Gweinidog yn cytuno bod buddsoddiad mewn twristiaeth yn fuddsoddiad sylweddol iawn mewn gwestai megis Gwesty Tŷ Newydd yn Aberdaron a lleoedd eraill sydd yn denu ymwelwyr i ardaloedd nodedig ac yn cynnal busnes? A fyddai’r Gweinidog felly yn gallu ateb yn gadarnhaol i wahoddiad a dderbyniodd gennyf yn ddiweddar i ymweld â’r ardal ac yn enwedig i astudio effaith economaidd rheilffyrdd Ffestiniog ac Eryri ar dwristiaeth yn yr ardal?

Lord Elis-Thomas:Thank you very much for that answer.Does the Minister agree that investment in tourism is a very significant investment in hotels such as Tŷ Newydd Hotel in Aberdaron and other places that attract visitors to notable areas and sustain businesses? Will the Minister therefore be able to respond positively to an invitation that I extended to her recently to visit the area and to study the economic impact of the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland railways on tourism in the area?

The Record

Edwina Hart: Yes, I would be delighted to accept your invitation. I am looking forward to arranging a date for this.

The Record

Lles Economaidd

Economic Wellbeing

12. Llyr Huws Gruffydd:Beth y mae’r Gweinidog yn ei wneud i hyrwyddo lles economaidd cymunedau gwledig. OAQ(4)0007(BET)

12. Llyr Huws Gruffydd:What is the Minister doing to promote the economic well-being of rural communities. OAQ(4)0007(BET)

The Record

Edwina Hart:We will promote the economic wellbeing of rural communities through the delivery of the rural development plan for Wales, which provides a wide range of support and funding. In addition, we will work to diversify the rural economy to ensure that fast broadband access is available in rural areas.

The Record

Llyr Huws Gruffydd: Byddwch yn ymwybodol bod gofid mawr yn rhai o drefi marchnad gogledd Cymru fod nifer o siopau bach teuluol yn cau, gan adael y trefi hynny yn mynd yn debycach i’w gilydd, wedi’u nodweddu gan yr un siopau cadwyn ym mhob man. Beth yr ydych yn bwriadu ei wneud i gynorthwyo siopau a manwerthwyr annibynnol? Cyfeiriasoch at y cynllun datblygu gwledig, ond nid wyf yn meddwl bod manwerthu i’w weld yn y cynllun hwnnw. Beth a wnewch i’w cynorthwyo a thrwy hynny amddiffyn un o nodweddion mwyaf gwerthfawr trefi marchnad gogledd Cymru?

Llyr Huws Gruffydd: You will be aware that there is great concern in some of the market towns of north Wales that many small family shops are closing, which means that those towns are becoming more similar to each other, characterised by the same chain stores in every location. What are you going to do to assist shops and independent retailers? You mentioned the rural development plan, but I do not think that retailing comes under that programme. What will you do to assist them and thereby defend one of the most valuable characteristics of market towns in north Wales?

The Record

Edwina Hart: I can assure you that that is not an issue just in north Wales; that situation can be seen across Wales in terms of what is happening to rural towns. I will have ongoing discussions with my junior Minister about the appropriateness of giving assistance within those areas. It is important that we keep life as it is, with the diversity of shops, retail outlets and businesses.

The Record

Hybu Twf Economaidd

The Encouragement of Economic Growth

13. Julie Morgan:Pa gynlluniau sydd gan y Gweinidog i hybu twf economaidd yng Nghymru. OAQ(4)0010(BET)

13. Julie Morgan:What plans does the Minister have to encourage economic growth in Wales. OAQ(4)0010(BET)

The Record

Edwina Hart:Our plans for growth and sustainable jobs were set out in our manifesto.

Julie Morgan:Does the Minister have any proposals to extend the role of Finance Wales to expand the availability of investment capital to small and medium-sized firms as they have an excellent record in my constituency?

Edwina Hart: Yes, we are looking to explore the role of equity and finance in Wales and its impact on Finance Wales.

Darren Millar: Minister, I know that we have already discussed the issue of enterprise zones during questions today, and also privately. However, may I urge you to give serious consideration to earmarking all strategic regeneration areas in Wales as enterprise zones with additional business rate relief? Obviously, this is a key plank of your economic renewal programme for regenerating those areas that have been identified as strategic regeneration areas, including the one in my constituency. Will you give serious consideration to that, and will you involve the SRAs and the Minister with responsibility for regeneration in those discussions?

Edwina Hart: As I have indicated, I have been sensibly talking to people about the future of enterprise zones. There are a couple of outstanding matters in relation to the UK Government on which I anticipate that I will receive a response this week. I will then look further at how we can develop this policy agenda. It is important that we sometimes have a fresh pair of eyes to look at some of the issues around enterprise zones in order to see what is fit for purpose now and to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

The Record

Mentrau Bach a Chanolig eu Maint

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

14. Peter Black:A wnaiff y Gweinidog amlinellu ei pholisïau ar gyfer mentrau bach a chanolig eu maint. OAQ(4)0005(BET)

14. Peter Black:Will the Minister outline her policies for small and medium sized enterprises. OAQ(4)0005(BET)

The Record

Edwina Hart: I aim to improve the conditions in which all businesses, large and small, operate. Businesses need the right infrastructure, skills and services. I will be reviewing what is needed by small firms to allow the real potential to thrive and grow.

Peter Black: You will know that the growth and success of small businesses is crucial to the success of the Welsh economy. To ensure that, we need to encourage more people to get involved in that sector. Are you planning to introduce an entrepreneurship strategy to assist people in setting up businesses and to encourage that particular growth?

The Record

Edwina Hart: As I indicated to you previously, I have been discussing with small businesses what they want to consider. I am minded to set up a small task and finish group with a mix of key stakeholders to develop a microbusiness strategy in Wales. Issues around entrepreneurship would then fit nicely into its programme of discussion. I want to use the sector itself, and others within industry, to help me to establish where we need to go in terms of policy. I am acutely aware that one size does not fit all.

Paul Davies: It is important to support small and medium-sized enterprises at every opportunity, and this is important to my constituency as small businesses are the backbone of the Pembrokeshire economy. A number of businesses have approached me recently expressing concern that they have to pay business rates on their empty business premises, particularly when they are in the process of possibly trying to rent or lease out their properties. This is also an issue for businesses that have, for example, built new rental units and are trying to rent them out. Will the Minister commit to looking at this issue?

Edwina Hart: I am happy to look at all issues around business rates. Earlier this year we decided to extend for a further 12 months an enhancement of the rate relief for small businesses. Therefore, around half of the small businesses in Wales will pay no business rates until 1 October 2012 and 27 per cent will have seen their business rates significantly reduce. I am always happy to look at any issues that have an impact on small businesses, particularly if I can help to assist them in these very difficult economic times.

Pwynt o Drefn
Point of Order

The Record

The Minister for Education and Skills (Leighton Andrews): I rise under Standing Order No. 13.9 to ask you to request the Conservative Member for North Wales to withdraw an allegation that she made during questions when she said that I had never visited Glyndŵr University. In fact, having checked with my private office, I visited Glyndŵr University within my first six months as Minister for education, along with the former Assembly Member for Clwyd South, Karen Sinclair. I have met representatives of that university on a number of occasions since, including with my colleague the Assembly Member for Wrexham at the time that the memorandum of agreement was signed between Yale College and Glyndŵr University. Will you ask the Member to withdraw that remark? It was discourteous and it was out of order.

Antoinette Sandbach: May I reply to that? I apologise and will withdraw if the suggestion is two years. I will change that to say 'certainly not in the last year’. I will correct that—

Leighton Andrews: You said that I had never visited it.

The Presiding Officer: Order.

Antoinette Sandbach: Presiding Officer, I have done a Google search to establish whether or not that Minister attended that university. I have had other information to suggest that he had not attended that university. I am perfectly aware that he has been to Yale College where he met representatives from Glyndŵr University. However, he has not been to the OpTIC Technium centre in St Asaph.

The Presiding Officer: Have you finished?

Antoinette Sandbach: Yes.

The Presiding Officer: A gracious withdrawal would probably have been appropriate at that point in time.

Leighton Andrews: I wish to raise a different point of order.

The Presiding Officer: In future, perhaps you could check your facts before you make statements and if you are asked to withdraw a comment, it might be helpful if you were to withdraw it.

Leighton Andrews: I have a different point of order, Llywydd.

Antoinette Sandbach: If I have been discourteous to the Minister, I withdraw.

The Presiding Officer: Thank you very much. There is another point of order.

Leighton Andrews: Point of order. The Member subsequently claimed that I had never visited the OpTIC Technium centre, which I visited in my previous capacity as the Deputy Minister for Regeneration with the Member for the Vale of Clwyd. Will she also withdraw that false allegation?

Antoinette Sandbach: The allegation was in relation to visits as Minister for education. [ASSEMBLY MEMBERS: 'Oh.’]

The Presiding Officer: Order. Thank you very much.

Datganiad ar y Comisiwn Ffiniau
Statement on the Boundary Commission

The Record

The Minister for Local Government and Communities (Carl Sargeant): In December 2010, I announced a decision to establish an independent review of the timetabling and quality issues associated with the electoral review programme by the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales, and to identify actions required to ensure the delivery of the reviews in good time for the 2016 elections. In March this year, I asked Glyn Mathias to conduct the review and to report to me by June. I have now received the report and I would like to place on record my thanks to Mr Mathias and his team for producing a comprehensive and well-researched report within the agreed time frame.

I will publish the report today on the Welsh Government website. I fully accept the findings of the report; it contains lessons for all of us who are concerned with the process of electoral reviews, including the Welsh Government. The most concerning finding, however, is the conclusion reached that the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales has lost the confidence of its stakeholders and therefore it is not fit for purpose.

This is a most serious conclusion and I have decided to terminate the appointments of the three existing commissioners. I believe that the taking of this decisive step and the early appointment of suitable replacements is necessary to recover the reputation of the commission in the eyes of the public, local government and other interested parties. I will be seeking to make temporary appointments to the posts until such time as a full and open appointment process can be organised.

I will write to the Isle of Anglesey County Council to inform it that its current review will be temporarily suspended. My intention is that the necessary steps will be taken quickly so that the review can be restarted soon, and be completed as close as possible to the original target date. I will issue a further statement to outline the next steps that I intend to take in response to the recommendations.

William Graham: Thank you for the statement; I am grateful to you for bringing it to us. I understand that there are issues regarding the publication of the report. You suggested that it should be published on the Welsh Government website, which I assume will be done after this announcement. Will you also ensure that a copy is placed in the Library so that all Members and their research staff may consult it with ease? I note your comments, although it is difficult for me to comment specifically until we see the report by Mr Mathias. I wish to ask two further questions. Will you confirm—I am sure that you will be able to do so easily— that the appointment process will be made in accordance with Nolan principles? More particularly, will you ensure that the action that you have taken will not have any effect on the parliamentary boundary review?

Carl Sargeant: I thank the Member for his observations. I will ensure that all Members receive an electronic copy of the Mathias report as soon as I am able to issue it through my private office. With regard to the proposals to appoint new commissioners, I will follow the Nolan principles. However, I have to deal with an immediate issue in relation to the Isle of Anglesey authority in order to comply with the auditor general’s instruction. I will therefore be placing temporary commissioners in post, but we will follow the Nolan principles beyond that.

It is not for me to discuss issues around the review of parliamentary boundaries, although I have written to the Secretary of State for Wales, Cheryl Gillan, on this issue.

The Record

Rhodri Glyn Thomas: Yr wyf finnau’n diolch am y datganiad hwn, Weinidog, ac yr wyf hefyd yn edrych ymlaen at gyfle i ddarllen yr adroddiad. Mae’n rhaid i ni dderbyn eich gair bod yr adroddiad wedi eich arwain at wneud y penderfyniad a wnaethoch ac y bu ichi ei gyhoeddi i ni.  

Rhodri Glyn Thomas: I also thank you for this statement, Minister, and I look forward to the opportunity to read the report. We have to accept your word that the report has led to you making the decision that you have made and announced to us.

Mae’n ymddangos braidd yn rhyfedd mai dim ond tri chomisiynydd sydd i’w cael yng Nghymru. A oes comisiynwyr wedi ymddeol yn y cyfamser, neu ai dim ond tri a oedd ac ai dim ond tri y byddwch yn eu hapwyntio maes o law? Yr oeddech yn sôn am wneud apwyntiadau dros dro, Weinidog, felly a allwch egluro sut y byddwch yn gwneud yr apwyntiadau hynny? Pa reolau ybyddwch yn eu rhoi ar waithi sicrhau bod yr apwyntiadau dros dro hynny yn golygu y bydd y comisiynwyr dros dro yn gallu cynnig cyngor cwbl wrthrychol a diduedd i chi?

It appears rather odd that there are only three commissioners in Wales. Have some commissioners retired in the meantime, or were there only three, and will you be appointing only three in due course? You mentioned that you would make temporary appointments, Minister, therefore can you explain how you will make those appointments? What rules will you put in place to ensure that those temporary appointments will mean that the temporary commissioners will be able to offer completely objective and impartial advice?

3.15 p.m.

Yn sgîl y datganiad hwn, mae gennyf gwestiwn ynglŷn â’r gwaith o edrych ar y ffiniau etholaethol yng Nghymru. A oes unrhyw waith mewnol yn cael ei wneud  yn y Cynulliad yn y maes hwn? Os oes, a fyddwch yn rhannu’r gwaith hwnnw gyda ni? A fyddwn yn cael cyfle i’w weld ac i ymateb iddo? Yr wyf yn sylwi eich bod yn sôn yn y datganiad am yr angen i osod peirianwaith cyn etholiadau 2016. Os yw’r gwaith sy’n cael ei gyflawni yma yn cael unrhyw effaith ar strwythurau’r etholaethau yr ydym yn eu cynrychioli a’r ffordd y bydd Aelodau’n cael eu hethol yma, byddwn yn disgwyl i chi roi cyfle i ni drafod hynny cyn gynted ag y bo modd.

As a result of this statement, I have a question about the work of looking at the electoral boundaries in Wales. Is any work being undertaken internally in the Assemblyin this area? If there is, will you share that work with us—will we have an opportunity to see it and to respond to it? I notice that, in your statement, you talk about the need to set a mechanism in place before the 2016 elections. If the work that is undertaken here has any impact upon the structures of the constituencies that we represent and the way that Members are elected here, I would expect you to give us an opportunity to discuss that as soon as possible.

The Record

Carl Sargeant: I thank the Member for his contribution. There were several issues that fall out of the remit of today’s statement. However, I take note of his concerns around the issues of electoral boundaries beyond the issue of local government boundary reviews, and I will accordingly write to him in respect of them.

On the position in which we find ourselves, as I mentioned in my statement, the report makes reference to the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales having lost the confidence of its stakeholders and, because of that, not being fit for purpose. I have acted immediately on that advice.

With regard to the candidates, work needs to be done immediately to comply with the auditor general’s report on the boundary review of Anglesey. I will look for suitable candidates, as I did with the commissioners for Anglesey, in order to comply with the appropriate recommendation by the auditor general. However, the new commission will eventually be appointed in line with the Nolan principles.

Peter Black: Thank you for your statement, Minister. I have obviously not yet seen the report, because it has only just been published, but I know from conversations with a number of councillors and stakeholders around Wales that there were clear issues with the commission’s round of boundary reviews. However, some of those issues were not to do with the boundary commissioners but with the remit and terms of reference that they had been given by you as Minister, as well as with how they interpreted them. Therefore, a number of issues, which go beyond sacking the three boundary commissioners, need to be addressed as part of that. Can you give us an outline of how you are dealing with those concerns?

I understand that there is a need to get on with the boundary review in Anglesey. There is a danger, however, given the time needed to appoint temporary commissioners and for them to get to grips with it, that you could be going up against the local council elections by the time that that boundary review was in place, which would cause a number of problems, not just for the administration of those elections, but for those who would seek to put themselves up for election at that time. It might also compound some of the problems that Anglesey council is facing. Do you have an idea of the timetable that is likely to be imposed for that review of Anglesey council in the light of the new circumstances?

Carl Sargeant: I thank the Member for his comments. He is quite right to raise the issue that, as I mentioned in my statement, this is about not just the commissioners, but also the process that has led to the complete boundary review. There are some recommendations for the Welsh Government to take on board as well. As I said, I will bring forward a further statement as to how I will, in reference to those recommendations, make the necessary changes.

Time has always an issue for completing this review in Anglesey. However, I will not be, and there has never been an issue of being, held to time. My duty is to ensure that we get a proper review of the boundaries in Anglesey. The timing issue is one part of a complicated picture. Should I need to extend the timescale for Anglesey, as is indicated in the auditor general’s report, I will consider doing that.

Darren Millar: I am grateful for your statement, Minister, as I have long been concerned about the boundary commission’s reviews in my local authority areas in Conwy and Denbighshire. Given that a number of local authority areas have already had their reviews completed and that reports with recommendations have been produced, can you confirm the status of the reviews that have been undertaken? Will they now be shelved, scrapped or dismissed? What would the timescale be for a further review, should one appear to be necessary?

Carl Sargeant: Thank you for your comments. The issue around the current proposals will be one for the new commissioners. I believe that there are opportunities for them to understand the content. It would be fair to say that there was a variation across the reports that I received, and I will ask the new set of commissioners to review them. I do not think that there is a problem in timescale, because it is a proposal for 2016. Through the recommendations of the report, I will probably look at how Welsh Government directions on boundary reviews, timescales and proposals might change for the future. I still do not intend to enact any boundary change before 2016, in order to give confidence to local authorities; however, the process around that programme might change.

Lindsay Whittle: Minister, the Welsh Local Government Association’s annual conference is to be held tomorrow in Swansea, as I am sure that you are aware. I suspect that your u-turn will be welcomed. Could you tell us what the cost of this exercise has been so far?

Carl Sargeant: I am not sure that I have done a u-turn. The Member has made a statement that is not factually correct. Many of his colleagues wrote to me, and to members of the commission, to make representations about the state of some of the reports, so I do not accept his comments at all. I assume that he refers to the cost of the review—or was it the cost of the whole commission? I will give him both. The cost of the review was up to £20,000; we have not had all the invoices in, but I do not expect to exceed the budget. As for the commission, the sponsored body has a budget of around £0.5 million per annum, and the commissioners are paid on a daily rate for discharging their duties. As I said, I do not believe that all the reports that have been submitted to me will be shelved, or put in the bin, as Darren Millar said—this is something that the new commissioners will have to consider at the appropriate time, and they will respond to me accordingly.

Cynnig i Atal y Rheolau Sefydlog
Motionto Suspend Standing Orders

The Record

Cynnig NDM4758 Rosemary Butler

Motion NDM4758Rosemary Butler

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

That the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Orders 33.6 and 33.8:

Yn atal Rheol Sefydlog 12.20 (i) a’r rhan honno o Reol Sefydlog 11.16 sy’n ei gwneud yn ofynnol bod y cyhoeddiad wythnosol o dan Reol Sefydlog 11.11 yn darparu’r amserlen ar gyfer busnes yn y Cyfarfod Llawn yr wythnos ganlynol, er mwyn caniatáu i’r cynigion o dan eitem 4 gael eu hystyried yn y Cyfarfod Llawn ar ddydd Mercher, 22 Mehefin 2011.

Suspends Standing Order 12.20 (i) and that part of Standing Order 11.16 that requires the weekly announcement under Standing Order 11.11 to constitute the timetable for business in Plenary for the following week, to allow the motions under item 4 to be considered in Plenary on Wednesday 22 June 2011.

The Record

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

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 Sefydlu Pwyllgorau
Motions to Establish Committees

The Record

Cynnig NNDM4749 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4749Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 16.1, yn sefydlu Pwyllgor Plant a Phobl Ifanc i gyflawni’r swyddogaethau a nodir yn y Rheol Sefydlog honno.

The National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 16.1, establishes a Children and Young People Committee to carry out the functions set out in that Standing Order.

Cynnig NNDM4750 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4750Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 16.1, yn sefydluPwyllgor Amgylchedd a Chynaliadwyedd i gyflawni’r swyddogaethau a nodir yn y Rheol Sefydlog honno.

The National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 16.1, establishes an Environment and Sustainability Committee to carry out the functions set out in that Standing Order.

Cynnig NNDM4751 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4751Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 16.1, yn sefydlu Pwyllgor Iechyd a Gofal Cymdeithasol i gyflawni’r swyddogaethau a nodir yn y Rheol Sefydlog honno.

The National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 16.1, establishes a Health and Social Care Committee to carry out the functions set out in that Standing Order.

Cynnig NNDM4752 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4752Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 16.1, yn sefydlu Pwyllgor Cymunedau, Cydraddoldeb a Llywodraeth Leol i gyflawni’r swyddogaethau a nodir yn y Rheol Sefydlog honno.

The National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 16.1, establishes a Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee to carry out the functions set out in that Standing Order.

Cynnig NNDM4753 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4753Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 16.1, yn sefydluPwyllgor Menter a Busnes i gyflawni’r swyddogaethau a nodir yn y Rheol Sefydlog honno.

The National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 16.1, establishes an Enterprise and Business Committee to carry out the functions set out in that Standing Order.

Cynnig NNDM4754 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4754Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 16.1, yn sefydlu Pwyllgor Cyllid i gyflawni swyddogaethau’r pwyllgor cyfrifol a nodir yn Rheol Sefydlog 19.

The National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 16.1, establishes a Finance Committee to carry out the functions of the responsible committee set out in Standing Order 19.

Cynnig NNDM4755 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4755 Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 16.1, yn sefydlu Pwyllgor Cyfrifon Cyhoeddus i gyflawni swyddogaethau’r pwyllgor cyfrifol a nodir yn Rheol Sefydlog 18.

The National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 16.1, establishes a Public Accounts Committee to carry out the functions of the responsible committee set out in Standing Order 18.

Cynnig NNDM4756 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4756 Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 16.1, yn sefydlu Pwyllgor Safonau Ymddygiad i gyflawni swyddogaethau’r pwyllgor cyfrifol a nodir yn Rheol Sefydlog 22.

The National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 16.1, establishes a Standards of Conduct Committee to carry out the functions of the responsible committee set out in Standing Order 22.

Cynnig NNDM4757 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4757 Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 16.3, yn cytuno bod y Pwyllgor Offerynnau Statudol a sefydlwyd ar 15 Mehefin 2011yn cael ei ailenwi y Pwyllgor Materion Cyfansoddiadol a Deddfwriaethol. Cylch gwaith y Pwyllgor Materion Cyfansoddiadol a Deddfwriaethol yw cyflawni swyddogaethau’r pwyllgor cyfrifol a nodir yn Rheol Sefydlog 21, ac ystyried unrhyw fater cyfansoddiadol neu lywodraethol arall o fewn cymhwysedd y Cynulliad neu Weinidogion Cymru, neu mewn perthynas â’r rheini.

The National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 16.3, agrees that the Committee on Statutory Instruments established on 15 June 2011 is retitled the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee. The remit of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee is to carry out the functions of the responsible committee set out in Standing Order 21 and to consider any other constitutional or governmental matter within or relating to the competence of the Assembly or Welsh Ministers.

The Record

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

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

Derbyniwyd y cynigion.
Motions agreed.

Cynigion i Ethol Aelodau i Bwyllgorau
Motions to Elect Members to Committees

The Record

Cynnig NNDM4759 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4759Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.14, yn ethol Joyce Watson (Llafur) fel aelod o’r Pwyllgor Deisebau yn lle Christine Chapman (Llafur).

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 17.14, elects Joyce Watson (Labour) as a member of the Petitions Committee in place of Christine Chapman (Labour).

Cynnig NNDM4760 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4760 Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.3, yn ethol William Powell (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru) yn Gadeirydd y Pwyllgor Deisebau.

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 17.3, elects William Powell (Welsh Liberal Democrats) as Chair of the Petitions Committee.

Cynnig NNDM4761 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4761 Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.3, yn ethol Antoinette Sandbach (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig) fel aelod o’r Pwyllgor Materion Cyfansoddiadol a Deddfwriaethol.

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 17.3, elects Antoinette Sandbach (Welsh Conservatives) as a member of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee.

Cynnig NNDM4762 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4762 Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.3, yn ethol:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 17.3, elects:

i) Christine Chapman (Llafur), Keith Davies (Llafur), Julie Morgan (Llafur), Lynne Neagle (Llafur), Jenny Rathbone (Llafur), Angela Burns (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig), Suzy Davies (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig), Jocelyn Davies (Plaid Cymru), Simon Thomas (Plaid Cymru) a Kirsty Williams (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru) yn aelodau o’r Pwyllgor Plant a Phobl Ifanc; a

(i) Christine Chapman (Labour), Keith Davies (Labour), Julie Morgan (Labour), Lynne Neagle (Labour), Jenny Rathbone (Labour), Angela Burns (Welsh Conservatives), Suzy Davies (Welsh Conservatives), Jocelyn Davies (Plaid Cymru), Simon Thomas (Plaid Cymru) and Kirsty Williams (Welsh Liberal Democrats) as members of the Children and Young People Committee; and

(ii) Christine Chapman yn Gadeirydd y Pwyllgor Plant a Phobl Ifanc.

(ii) Christine Chapman as Chair of the Children and Young People Committee.

Cynnig NNDM4763 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4763 Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.3, yn ethol:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 17.3, elects:

(i) Mick Antoniw (Llafur), Rebecca Evans (Llafur), Vaughan Gething (Llafur), Julie James (Llafur), David Rees (Llafur), Antoinette Sandbach (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig), Russell George (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig), Dafydd Elis-Thomas (Plaid Cymru), Llyr Huws Gruffydd (Plaid Cymru) a William Powell (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru) yn aelodau o’rPwyllgor Amgylchedd a Chynaliadwyedd; a

(i) Mick Antoniw (Labour), Rebecca Evans (Labour), Vaughan Gething (Labour), Julie James (Labour), David Rees (Labour), Antoinette Sandbach (Welsh Conservatives), Russell George (Welsh Conservatives), Dafydd Elis-Thomas (Plaid Cymru), Llyr Huws Gruffydd (Plaid Cymru) and William Powell (Welsh Liberal Democrats) as members of the Environment and Sustainability Committee; and

(ii) Dafydd Elis-Thomas yn Gadeirydd y Pwyllgor Amgylchedd a Chynaliadwyedd.

(ii) Dafydd Elis-Thomas as Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee.

Cynnig NNDM4764 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4764 Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.3, yn ethol:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 17.3, elects:

(i) Mick Antoniw (Llafur), Mark Drakeford (Llafur), Rebecca Evans (Llafur), Vaughan Gething (Llafur), Lynne Neagle (Llafur), Darren Millar (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig), Janet Finch-Saunders (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig), Elin Jones (Plaid Cymru), Lindsay Whittle (Plaid Cymru) a Kirsty Williams (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru) yn aelodau o’r Pwyllgor Iechyd a Gofal Cymdeithasol; a

(i) Mick Antoniw (Labour), Mark Drakeford (Labour), Rebecca Evans (Labour), Vaughan Gething (Labour), Lynne Neagle (Labour), Darren Millar (Welsh Conservatives), Janet Finch-Saunders (Welsh Conservatives), Elin Jones (Plaid Cymru), Lindsay Whittle (Plaid Cymru) and Kirsty Williams (Welsh Liberal Democrats) as members of the Health and Social Care Committee; and

(ii) Mark Drakeford yn Gadeirydd y Pwyllgor Iechyd a Gofal Cymdeithasol.

(ii) Mark Drakeford as Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee.

Cynnig NNDM4765 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4765 Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.3, yn ethol:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 17.3, elects:

(i) Mike Hedges (Llafur), Ann Jones (Llafur), Gwyn Price (Llafur), Ken Skates (Llafur), Joyce Watson (Llafur), Mark Isherwood (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig), William Graham (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig), Bethan Jenkins (Plaid Cymru), Rhodri Glyn Thomas (Plaid Cymru) a Peter Black (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru) yn aelodau o’r Pwyllgor Cymunedau, Cydraddoldeb a Llywodraeth Leol; a

(i) Mike Hedges (Labour), Ann Jones (Labour), Gwyn Price (Labour), Ken Skates (Labour), Joyce Watson (Labour), Mark Isherwood (Welsh Conservatives), William Graham (Welsh Conservatives), Bethan Jenkins (Plaid Cymru), Rhodri Glyn Thomas (Plaid Cymru) and Peter Black (Welsh Liberal Democrats) as members of the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee; and

(ii) Ann Jones yn Gadeirydd y Pwyllgor Cymunedau, Cydraddoldeb a Llywodraeth Leol.

(ii) Ann Jones as Chair of the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee.

Cynnig NNDM4766 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4766 Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.3, yn ethol:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 17.3, elects:

(i) Keith Davies (Llafur), Julie James (Llafur), David Rees (Llafur), Ken Skates (Llafur), Joyce Watson (Llafur), Andrew RT Davies (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig), Byron Davies (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig), Alun Ffred Jones (Plaid Cymru), Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru) a William Powell (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru) yn aelodau o’r Pwyllgor Menter a Busnes; a

(i) Keith Davies (Labour), Julie James (Labour), David Rees (Labour), Ken Skates (Labour), Joyce Watson (Labour), Andrew RT Davies (Welsh Conservatives), Byron Davies (Welsh Conservatives), Alun Ffred Jones (Plaid Cymru), Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru) and William Powell (Welsh Liberal Democrats) as members of the Enterprise and Business Committee; and

(ii) Andrew RT Davies yn Gadeirydd y Pwyllgor Menter a Busnes.

(ii) Andrew RT Davies as Chair of the Enterprise and Business Committee.

Cynnig NNDM4767 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4767 Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.3, yn ethol:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 17.3, elects:

(i) Christine Chapman (Llafur), Julie Morgan (Llafur), Ann Jones (Llafur), Mike Hedges (Llafur), Nick Ramsay (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig), Jocelyn Davies (Plaid Cymru), Ieuan Wyn Jones (Plaid Cymru) a Peter Black (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru) yn aelodau o’r Pwyllgor Cyllid; a

(i) Christine Chapman (Labour), Julie Morgan (Labour), Ann Jones (Labour), Mike Hedges (Labour), Nick Ramsay (Welsh Conservatives), Jocelyn Davies (Plaid Cymru), Ieuan Wyn Jones (Plaid Cymru) and Peter Black (Welsh Liberal Democrats) as members of the Finance Committee; and

(ii) Jocelyn Davies yn Gadeirydd y Pwyllgor Cyllid.

(ii) Jocelyn Davies as Chair of the Finance Committee.

Cynnig NNDM4768 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4768 Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.3, yn ethol:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 17.3, elects:

(i) Mike Hedges (Llafur), Gwyn Price (Llafur), Jenny Rathbone (Llafur), Julie Morgan (Llafur), Darren Millar (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig), Mohammad Asghar (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig), Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru) a Peter Black (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru) yn aelodau o’r Pwyllgor Cyfrifon Cyhoeddus; a

(i) Mike Hedges (Labour), Gwyn Price (Labour), Jenny Rathbone (Labour), Julie Morgan (Labour), Darren Millar (Welsh Conservatives), Mohammad Asghar (Welsh Conservatives), Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru) and Peter Black (Welsh Liberal Democrats) as members of the Public Accounts Committee; and

(ii) Darren Millar yn Gadeirydd y Pwyllgor Cyfrifon Cyhoeddus.

(ii) Darren Millar as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

Cynnig NNDM4769 Rosemary Butler

Motion NNDM4769 Rosemary Butler

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.3, yn ethol:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 17.3, elects:

(i) Mick Antoniw (Llafur), Mark Isherwood (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig), Llyr Huws Gruffydd (Plaid Cymru) a Kirsty Williams (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru) yn aelodau o’r Pwyllgor Safonau Ymddygiad; a

(i) Mick Antoniw (Labour), Mark Isherwood (Welsh Conservatives), Llyr Huws Gruffydd (Plaid Cymru) and Kirsty Williams (Welsh Liberal Democrats) as members of the Standards of Conduct Committee; and

(ii) Mick Antoniw yn Gadeirydd y Pwyllgor Safonau Ymddygiad.

(ii) Mick Antoniw as Chair of the Standards of Conduct Committee.

The Record

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

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

Derbyniwyd y cynigion.
Motions agreed.

Dadl y Ceidwadwyr Cymreig
Welsh Conservatives Debate

Nodyn Cyngor Technegol 8
Technical Advice Note 8

The Record

The Presiding Officer: I have selected amendment 1 in the name of Jocelyn Davies, amendments 2 and 3 in the name of Jane Hutt and amendments 4 and 5 in the name of Peter Black.

The Record

Cynnig NDM4742Nick Ramsay

Motion NDM4742Nick Ramsay

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

1. Yn galw ar Lywodraeth Cymru i:

1. Calls on the Welsh Government to:

a) Cynnal adolygiad cyhoeddus o Nodyn Cyngor Technegol (TAN) 8: Ynni Adnewyddadwy (2005) a ddylai gynnwys y goblygiadau o ran cludo, yr amgylchedd, iechyd ac adeiladu wrth roi’r arweiniad ar waith;

a) Undertake a public review of Technical Advice Note (TAN) 8: Renewable Energy (2005) which should include the implications for transportation, the environment, health and construction of implementing the guidance;

b) Cefnogi moratoriwm ar adeiladu pob datblygiad fferm wynt, ac eithrio cynlluniau microgynhyrchu a phrosiectau sydd â chefnogaeth glir gan y gymuned, yn yr Ardaloedd Chwilio Strategol tan i’r adolygiad o TAN 8 ddod i ben; ac

b) Support a moratorium on the construction of all wind farm developments, excluding micro generation schemes and projects that have clear community support, in the Strategic Search Areas (SSAs) until the review of TAN 8 is completed; and

c) Hyrwyddo ystod eang o ffynonellau adnewyddadwy er mwyn lleihau effaith cynlluniau trydan adnewyddadwy unigol gymaint ag sy’n bosibl.

c) Promote a wide range of renewable sources to minimise the impact of individual renewable electricity schemes.

The Record

Russell George: I move the motion.

I am pleased to lead this debate on the motion tabled in the name of Nick Ramsay. I concede that the Government’s position has progressed since our group tabled the motion last week, but there are still significant elements that have not been addressed. I believe that the Government has flip-flopped into a position where it has undermined the whole strategic policy element of technical advice note 8. In that light, we will not be supporting the Government’s amendments to this motion.

The other amendment, put forward by Plaid Cymru, has some merit, and gives additional focus to a Government review of TAN 8.We will be supporting it. However, I would like to say,striking a note of caution, that the previous Sustainability Committee recommended, in its report on carbon reduction in Wales in October, that TAN 8 required urgent revision. We will also happily support the Lib-Dem amendments laid down in the name of Peter Black. Their second amendment is more or less what we say in point (c) of the motion, but we are happy to accept its inclusion as it enhances that point. [Interruption.] I see that the Minister has now arrived. Perhaps he would like me to start again? I see that he does not.

As I said in my opening remarks, the Government believes that posting a statement, in the way that it did last Friday, has somehow changed the emphasis of this whole renewable energy debate. The fact of the matter is that it has not; it has just confused people, perhaps in an effort to divert public attention away from the policy chaos that exists.

You may be forgiven for thinking, from my opening remarks, that I did not welcome the statement made by the First Minister on Friday. The principled intent behind the statement—that the Welsh Government is prepared to listen to the concerns of community groups in mid Wales; that it accepts that the current scale of onshore windfarms is untenable; that it is against the construction of large-scale energy infrastructure in Montgomeryshire; and that it is doing all that it can to get the Mid Wales Connection Project stopped—is, of course, very welcome. The First Minister was right to make that statement to ease the concerns of thousands of people living in mid Wales, and he should be applauded for doing so.

However, the current position that he has adopted, which is one of 'I’m standing up for Wales’, will not wash with the Welsh people. The First Minister has been all too eager over the last few weeks to talk about the importance of perception—what Welsh people feel about this institution and about us, the people who are here to represent their views. However, people in my constituency have already told me that they think that the perceived stance taken by the First Minister is all too evident—he was the Minister responsible for TAN 8, and now he and his Government are hastily trying to wash their hands of what has gone before, in a vain attempt to pass the blame onto someone else, namely the UK Government. It was his policy, not the UK Government’s, that actively encouraged windfarm developers into mid Wales.

Simon Thomas:I thank Russell George for giving away. He will know that I share at least some of his concerns regarding the impact of these developments, in terms of pylons and substations, in the area. However, will he make his party’s position clear? He has said that TAN 8 is driving this process forward, but the decisionmaking still lies in Westminster. Will he and his party now come out in support of devolving windfarm projects, so that the decision-making can be done by the National Assembly?

Russell George: I thank the Member for Mid and West Wales for his contribution; I will come on to that issue.

However, this is more than just a Montgomeryshire focus. TAN 8 affects all parts of Wales,as was demonstrated by the groups of people protesting here at the end of May. What the statement last Friday clearly demonstrated was that the document itself is fundamentally flawed and that the Government’s planning policy for renewable energy is in urgent need of review.

I am conscious that this debate is not about the First Minister’s statement, but there are three specific issues addressed in his statement—capacity limits, infrastructure and scale of development—that prove that there are glaring policy gaps that the Welsh Government must fill if it wants to progress in a coherent and strategic way.The first issue is capacity limits. The First Minister’s statement maintains that the indicative capacities laid out in TAN 8 in 2005 reflected the view of the potential impact at the time. Now that developer interest had exceeded those capacities in certain strategic search areas, a cap must be introduced. In his statement he said:

'In our view the TAN 8 capacities should be regarded as upper limits and we call upon UK Government to respect this position’.

What is identified in TAN 8 is that

'capacity targets . . . are not to be seen as the definitivecapacity for the areas’

but that they are stated to aid the planning process. This reflects the Government’s energy policy statement, published last year, which indicates that the Government’s aspiration is to increase onshore wind capacity to 2 GW by 2015-17. The immediate question that emerges is: what set of figures is the Governmentstanding by now? Has the Government completely forgotten about the aspiration figure?If the Government is sticking by both statements, it is saying that any additional capacity to meet the 2015-17 target will have to come from development outside of the strategic search areas.

3.30 p.m.

If that is the case, then what is the point of TAN 8? We know that the First Minister has already openly criticised the model in England. The whole purpose of TAN 8 is to restrict and control development, but it seems that that is now in doubt. If we look at the capacity of energy infrastructure, the statement on Friday suggests that the proposals for major new overhead grid infrastructure have only emerged because of the influx of developer interest. Some might say that the Government was naïve in its projections. Yet, in annex c of TAN 8, it is clearly stated that re-enforcement of the network though the construction of new high-voltage distribution lines in midWales would be vital in order to realise any significant generating capacity. Moreover, it goes on to say that

'The Assembly Government strongly supports the principle of this scheme.’

So, which explanation is right? If it has back-tracked from the TAN 8 position, then that proves that it is in urgent need of review. If we examine the scale of development, the statement made on Friday would suggest that the Government had been surprised and overwhelmed by the scale of developer interest. It also suggests that all planningcontrol decisions are now somehow the direct responsibility of the UK Government. That is simply not the case. Last year the Welsh Government commissioned Arup to undertake a reassessment and validation paper on the strategic search areas. That report, published last July, showed that, from the base evidence in March, applications in the pipeline not only vastly exceeded Government targets but were well beyond any indicative capacity targets that the Government now wants to fall back on. In fact, the Arup report showed that there were 2,300 MW of development applications under consideration. If the Government was so concerned about overcapacity, why did it not say anything at that stage?

The Arup paper goes on to identify where exactly development planning control lies. It is clear that, of the applications in the pipeline for decision, over 60 per cent would be decided by local authorities in conjunction with other stakeholders and the Welsh Government, with the rest for decision by the Infrastructure Planning Commission. Moreover, when the IPC makes those decisions, it is required to do so on the back of UK Governmentnational policy statements, which, although still in draft form, will be defined around Welsh planning policy. That is clearly stated in paragraph 1.3 of TAN 8. I hope that that answers, in part, the question from Simon Thomas. Renewable energy decisions have been made here in Wales and the Government must take responsibility for that. However, in light of the statement on Friday, it is now unclear what guidance local authority planning officers should be using for material consideration. Is it TAN 8, or has that been superseded by the First Minister’s statement?Clarity is desperately needed.

The fundamental question is: why does the Government not want a review? It says that a review has been conducted to meet the commitment laid down in 'One Wales’. In reality, what has been conducted is a technical review, little more than a paper exercise, which has probably confused planning officers rather than ensured strategic coherence. There is also the issue of consistency. Let us look at the example of 'Technical Advice Note 6: Planning for Sustainable Rural Communities’. It has recently been reviewed by the Government with full public consultation. Why should TAN 8 not be subject to the same process?Is the Government concerned that, if it was reviewed, TAN 8 would be subject to a formal strategic environmental assessment process, which would probably blow a hole right through the policy document itself? That is possible, but it certainly should not be a reason to hide behind.

My final point is in relation to technology. I agree with the First Minister that renewable energy technology has moved on since TAN 8 was drafted. That proves that the guidance is outdated. The initial guidance was too heavily focused on wind energy—12 pages in TAN 8 are dedicated to wind energy, compared with just three for all other types. As more technologies are researched, developed and brought to the market, I believethat the Government has a fundamental duty to explore and invest in the widest mix of energy generation and go beyond just wind energy. That is vital to meet the medium-term and long-term carbon reduction targets. Therefore, I am pleased that the Government has shown that it intends to support at least the third part of our motion. The statement made last Friday demonstrates progress and shows that the Government is willing to listen, but it has thrown up more questions than answers. The First Minister said back in 2005 that TAN 8 should be reviewed in the next decade. That time is here, so let us have that review now.

The Record

Gwelliant 2 Jane Hutt

Amendment 2Jane Hutt

Dileu pwynt 1a.

Delete point 1a.

Gwelliant 3 Jane Hutt

Amendment 3Jane Hutt

Dileu pwynt 1b.

Delete point 1b.

Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd a Datblygu Cynaliadwy (John Griffiths): Cynigiaf welliannau 1 a 2 yn enw Jane Hutt.

The Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development (John Griffiths): I move amendments 2 and 3 in the name of Jane Hutt.

Gwelliant 1Jocelyn Davies

Amendment 1Jocelyn Davies

Cynnwys pwynt 1 newydd ac ailrifo’r pwyntiau sy’n dilyn:

Insert as new point 1 and renumber accordingly:

Yn gwahodd y pwyllgor cyfrifol i gynnal ymchwiliad i faterion effeithiolrwydd ynni ac amgylcheddol polisi Cynllunio ac Ynni Adnewyddadwy Llywodraeth Cymru ac i adrodd cyn pen tri mis o ddechrau tymor yr Hydref.

Invites the responsible committee to undertake an inquiry into the environmental and energy effectiveness of Welsh Government Planning and Renewable Energy policy and to report within three months of the start of the Autumn term.

Yr Arglwydd Elis-Thomas: Cynigiaf welliant 1 yn enw Jocelyn Davies.

Lord Elis-Thomas: I move amendment 1 in the name of Jocelyn Davies.

Yn gyntaf, hoffwn ddiolch i’r Cynulliad Cenedlaethol am ei ymddiriedaeth ynof fi fel Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor Amgylchedd a Chynaliadwyedd newydd, a hoffwn longyfarch Russell ac aelodau eraill y pwyllgor. Yr wyf yn sicr y byddwn yn agor pwyllgor eithaf dadleuol a diddorol yn hanes y Cynulliad os yw’r pwnc sydd ger ein bron heddiw yn arwydd o’r hyn sydd i ddod.

First, I wish to thank the National Assembly for placing its trust in me as Chair of the new Environment and Sustainability Committee, and I wish to congratulate Russell and other members of the committee. I am certain that we will be opening a relatively controversial and interesting committee in the Assembly’s history if the subject under discussion today is a sign of things to come.  

Mae’n bleser gennyf gynnig y gwelliant hwn oherwydd ei fod yn rhoi cyfle i ni fel pwyllgor gychwyn ar waith a fydd yn dod â’r ddadl am ynni adnewyddol ac, yn bwysicach, am y newid yn yr hinsawdd sy’n yriant i’r polisi hwnnw, yn ôl i’r Cynulliad ei hun a’r fframwaith democrataidd lle dylai’r ddadl honno gael ei chynnal.

I am pleased to propose this amendment as it gives an opportunity for us as a committee to commence work which will bring the debate on renewable energy, and, more importantly, the climate change which drives that policy, back to the Assembly itself and the democratic framework where that debate should be held.

Diolchaf i Russell am y cynnig a’r ddadl hon heddiw, ond yr wyf yn gobeithio nad yw’r ffaith bod y Ceidwadwyr Cymreig yn gosod y ddadl hon gerbron yn awgrymu eu bod yn dilyn llwybr a gaiff ei ddilyn heddiw ac yfory o bosibl gan y Ceidwadwyr yn Senedd Ewrop, lle y maent—[Torri ar draws.] Nid wyf eisiau gormod o weiddi o’r ochr hon, os gwelwch yn dda, rhag ofn i chi fy nhaflu oddi ar fy mhwnc. Yn Senedd Ewrop mae’r Ceidwadwyr wedi ymddangos fel petaent yn wadwyr newid hinsawdd ac maent yn gwrthwynebu targedau ar gyfer ymateb i newid hinsawdd. Nid wyf ond yn rhoi rhybudd bach o ran hynny.

I thank Russell for the proposal and for this debate today, but I hope that the fact that the Welsh Conservatives are proposing the debate does not suggest that they are following a path that might be followed today and tomorrow by the Conservatives in the European Parliament, where they—[Interruption.] I do not wish to hear too much shouting from this side, if you please, in case you throw me off topic. The Conservatives in the European Parliament appear to be climate change deniers and they oppose targets for responding to climate change. I am only sounding a note of caution in that regard.    

Yn ogystal, hoffwn bwysleisio’r gwahaniaeth ycyfeiriodd fy nghyfaill Simon Thomas ato. Mae angen i ni wybod pwy sy’n gyrru polisi ynni’r Ceidwadwyr yng Nghymru. Ai Charles Hendry a’i Weinidog yn yr Adran Ynni a Newid Hinsawdd, neu’r math o agwedd a welwn heddiw ac a welsom yn arbennig yn ystod yr etholiad gan fy ngyfaill a chyn-Aelod yr wyf wedi anghytuno ag ef dros y blynyddoedd ar sawl mater, Glyn Davies? Yr hyn a welsom oedd y dacteg glasurol a ddefnyddiwyd yn y gorffennol gan ambell blaid arall yng Nghymru, sef bod y Llywodraeth yn San Steffan yn dilyn polisi ond bod y blaid yng Nghymru’n gwrthwynebu’r polisi gan roi’r argraff ar gyhoedd dryslyd fod y blaid honno’n cefnogi’r ddwy ochr yn erbyn y canol. Nid wyf yn edrych ar y grŵp ar y chwith i mi yn arbennig wrth sôn am enghreifftiau o hynny, ac nid af ar ôl hynny achos nid wyf am golli cefnogaeth neb cyn i ni gychwyn arni fel pwyllgor. Fodd bynnag, mae’n ddiddorol bod y dacteg hon bellach wedi cael ei mawbysiadu gan y Ceidwadwyr.

I also wish to emphasise the difference that my friend Simon Thomas referred to. We need to know who is driving the Conservatives’ energy policy in Wales. Is it Charles Hendry and his Minister in the Department of Energy and Climate Change, or the kind of attitude that we see today and which we saw particularly during the election from my friend and former Member with whom I have disagreed many times over the years, Glyn Davies? What we saw was the classic tactic which has been used by one or two other parties in Wales in the past, namely that the Westminster Government follows a policy but the party in Wales opposes the policy giving the impression to a confused public that that party supports both sides against the middle. I am not looking at the group to my left in particular when I mention examples of that, and I will not go down that road as I do not want to lose anyone’s support before we commence our work as a committee. However, it is interesting that this tactic has now been adopted by the Conservatives.   

Yr wyf yn ymwybodol o’r sefyllfa sy’n wynebu’r Adran Ynni a Newid Hinsawdd a’r penderfyniadau y bydd yn rhaid eu gwneud ar bum cais mawr dros 50 MW ar gyfer datblygiadau ynni trydan yng Nghymru. Yr wyf hefyd yn ymwybodol o agwedd y Gweinidog, Charles Henry, tuag at hynny. Efallai y bydd cyfle i Geidwadwyr Cymru esbonio’u safbwynt yn nes ymlaen.

I am aware of the situation facing the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the decisions that will have to be made on five large over 50 MW applications for electricity energy developments in Wales. I am also aware of the attitude of the Minister, Charles Hendry, towards that. Perhaps the Welsh Conservatives will have an opportunity to explain their position later.

Daw hyn â ni at y Prif Weinidog. A yw hon yn parhau’n ddogfeny mae Llywodraeth Cymru heddiw yn ei harddel? Nid yw o bwys gennyf am yr hyn yr ydych yn ei wneud ar rai materion polisi, ond yr wyf yn gwbl wrthwynebus i unrhyw ymgais gan ein cyn-gymheiriad mewn Llywodraeth i gael gwared ar waith caled Jane Davidson ar y pwnc hwn. Yr wyf yn gwbl ymroddedig i TAN 8 o hyd. Yr wyf eisiau ei weld yn cael ei aildrafod, ond yr wyf yn sicr yn gefnogol i’r ddogfen.

That brings us to the First Minister. Does this remain a document that the Welsh Government wishes to subscribe to? I do not care what you do on some policy matters, but I am completely opposed to any attempt by our former partners in Government to ride roughshod over Jane Davidson’s hard work on this subject. I am still completely committed to TAN 8. I want to see it being re-discussed, but I am certainly supportive of the document.   

Mae cwestiynau mwy anodd, a bydd yn rhaid imi gyfeirio atynt yn sydyn. Beth sy’n digwydd bellach i’r ardaloedd chwilio strategol lle mae gwaith wedi ei wneud arnynt ac y mae cwmnïau wedi buddsoddi ynddynt? Beth sydd wedi digwydd i’r targedau? Beth fydd yn digwydd i’r holl sefyllfa lle mae Comisiwn Coedwigaeth Cymru a Llywodraeth Cymru yn gyfrifol am hynny ac wedi bod yn barod i’w gefnogi?

There are more difficult questions, and I will have to refer to them immediately. What is happening to the strategic search areas on which work has been done and in which companies have invested? What has happened to the targets? What will happen to the whole scenario for which Forestry Commission Wales and the Welsh Government are responsible and have been ready to support?  

Dyna ddigon. Mae’r Llywydd yn barod wedi rhoi arwydd o rybudd imi. Mae’n amlwg nad wyf eto wedi dysgu amseru fy areithiau.

That is enough. The Presiding Officer has already indicated that my time is up. I have obviously not yet learned to time my speeches.

Gwelliant 4 Peter Black

Amendment 4 Peter Black

Ychwanegu pwynt newydd ar ddiwedd y cynnig:

Add as a new point at end of motion:

Yn gresynu nad oedd datganiad ysgrifenedig y Prif Weinidog ar 17 Mehefin yn cynnwys ymrwymiad i ddiwygio TAN 8.

Regrets that the First Minister’s written statement on 17th June did not include a commitment to revise TAN 8.

Gwelliant 5 Peter Black

Amendment 5 Peter Black

Ychwanegu pwynt newydd ar ddiwedd y cynnig:

Add as a new point at end of motion:

Yn credu y byddai mwy o gymysgedd o ffynonellau ynni adnewyddadwy, yn cynnwys gwynt ar y môr, ynni’r llanw, a microgynhyrchu, yn lleihau’r angen yng Nghymru am y cynnydd sylweddol mewn capasiti gwynt ar y tir.

Believes that a greater mix of renewable energy sources, including offshore wind, tidal and microgeneration would reduce Wales’ need for significant increases in onshore wind capacity.

The Record

William Powell: I move amendments 4 and 5 in the name of Peter Black.

We in the Welsh Liberal Democrats are, and always have been, clear that we need to work much harder to reduce our energy consumption as a nation and to find cleaner and more sustainable ways of generating power. While Wales must find a way of reducing its over-reliance on fossil fuels, that cannot be achieved at the expense of arguably our finest asset, our beautiful countryside. The hub and transmission power lines that are currently threatening mid Wales are poorly conceived, and the electricity companies need to go back to the drawing board. The Welsh Liberal Democrats are resolute that we want to see greater investment in offshore tidal and wind resources, where developments do not adversely affect populations. We also strongly advocate the development of small-scale community renewable energy projects, rather than large-scale undertakings.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are committed to a fundamental revision of TAN 8, as we stated in our manifesto for this year’s elections. That has been called for by communities throughout Wales, from Abermule to Brechfa Forest, and from Cefn Coch to Llanbrynmair.

Amendment 4 refers to the statement that was released by the First Minister last week. At that time, I gave a cautious welcome to it. I and my colleagues in the Welsh Liberal Democrats are pleased that the First Minister brought up the issue of devolving powers over energy policy to Wales when he attended the British-Irish Council. However, there was one glaring omission in the statement; it is regrettable that the First Minister made no commitment in it to the revision of TAN 8. Instead, it appears that he was content to hide behind the proposal that the UK Government is responsible for this area, and, indeed, to maintain his stance that it was all Westminster’s doing and nothing to do with us.

Simon Thomas: I would just like to read out a quotation to William, as he has mentioned Westminster.

'I wish our fellow country people were more open-minded about onshore wind. It is the most competitive of renewable technologies, on a base with nuclear.... It is the future of low cost electricity.’

That was said by someone called Chris Huhne. Does he really want to rely on Ministers in Westminster to decide on onshore wind developments, because he will be giving the go-ahead to onshore windfarms?

William Powell: It is our policy to devolve energy policy to Wales. That is quite clear. [Interruption.] Okay, we have further work to do in that area, but this is a process, not an event. That is our commitment.

We need to undertake a fundamental review of TAN 8. I, like many others in the Chamber, have been inundated with letters and e-mails and have been approached by concerned members of the community, both from the areas affected as well as from elsewhere, to whom our countryside is precious. There is an overwhelming desire for the review that we have been demanding. The people who stand to be affected by this issue want that review, yet the Government has yet to make a commitment.

3.45 p.m.

Today, I ask again: will the Minister make a commitment to a fundamental revision of technical advice note 8, and if not, why not? Has the Minister forgotten that TAN 8 is Welsh Government policy? Since TAN 8 was introduced in 2005, the Welsh Government has increased the target for onshore wind. The Government cannot have it both ways. We agree that these powers should be devolved, but we object to the refusal to get our own house in order. We need the powers in Wales. However, the plans that have been put forward are in line with the current Government’s own scheme—TAN 8—as it stands. Devolving powers would be helpful, but for the moment, that is a side issue. The Government has allowed the development to be proposed in the first place and the developers are simply responding to the rules set out in TAN 8 as it stands.

Our second amendment relates to the many other sources of alternative power that we feel should be considered and researched in more depth. The statement released on Friday states:

'The Welsh Government’s Energy Policy Statement published in March 2010 sets out the actions that will be taken to promote a diverse mix of renewable energy technologies, including onshore and offshore wind, biomass and marine, and we remain committed to promoting the widest range of renewable energy technologies we possibly can.’

I broadly agree with that sentiment, but words alone are cheap.

The Presiding Officer:Order.Please wind up now.

William Powell: This morning, I was approached by representatives from the Energy Saving Trust. According to its statistics, in Wales, more than half a million homes require a loft insulation top-up, and a quarter of a million homes need to have their wall cavities insulated. These are key priorities that are more important than the broader generation of extra power.

Darren Millar: I am very grateful for the opportunity to take part in this debate. I have a sense of déjà vu in respect of today’s discussion. Four years ago, on 20 June 2007, we had a similar debate in the Chamber, where the National Assembly for Wales agreed that the TAN 8 planning policy on renewable energy should be reviewed. We took a democratic vote, which was ignored for four years by the previous Minister responsible in the Assembly Government Cabinet. I therefore hope that, whatever the outcome of today’s vote, the Minister responsible will take some action following this discussion and not simply ignore the decision of this democratic institution.

In response to Dafydd Elis-Thomas’s remarks, I wish to make it clear that the Conservative Party is not a party of climate change deniers. No-one on this side of the Chamber is a climate change denier, nor are we against windfarms—not at all. It is important that there is no confusion about this. We are opposed to the imposition of large-scale windfarms, or windfarm collectives, against the wishes of local people, which can have a devastating impact on the individual communities that are affected, and on the local environment. There are, of course, projects around Wales that have had clear community support. If cases like that come forward when a windfarm application is made, it is quite right that those who are democratically elected should support them. We should press ahead with those schemes.

Lord Elis-Thomas:I thank Darren for giving way. We are neighbours in the Conwy valley, in the county of Conwy. Can he recollect which windfarm development in that area he has supported?

Darren Millar: There is a current windfarm application in my constituency that seems to have some community support. At the end of the day, as a democratic representative, I have to ensure that I represent those views to the people who are making the decision—in this case, a local authority. Likewise, there are many people who are concerned about that development, and I have a democratic duty to represent those views as well

The issue here is the democratic deficit resulting from technical advice note 8. Local authorities often dismiss an application on the grounds that the local electorate opposes it, and that decision is then overturned on appeal because of technical advice note 8. That is not acceptable. We have to put the emphasis on local democracy once again, with local people making decisions. That is what real devolution is all about; it is what this place was established to achieve, yet we are tying the hands of local people in the decision-making process. Communities in my constituency, such as Cerrigydrudion and Nantglyn, are now surrounded by windfarms that were opposed by the people who live there.

It is important to recognise that this rush for wind does have a benefit—it is a 'windrush’. [Laughter.] This rush for wind has benefits for the Welsh Government in the form of the income that can be derived from Forestry Commission Wales land. That income is in excess of £20 million, according to the projection that I received from the former Minister for Rural Affairs in response to a question. It is wholly inappropriate for the Welsh Government to force through a policy on the basis of the income that it might derive from that policy rather than on the merits of applications that may be received in those areas.

Elin Jones: Do you oppose the fact that the Welsh Government uses its land resource, currently managed by Forestry Commission Wales, to promote renewable energy generation and to raise important funds for public services in Wales?

Darren Millar: What ought to happen is that the Welsh Government should come clean about the fact that it receives about £20 million-worth of income as a result of the TAN 8 policy—at least, that was the current projected income given in your answer to me.

I will just come to a couple of issues that emphasise the need to review this policy. There are some areas outside the strategic search areas that are perfectly suitable for wind farm development, and they are not being developed because of the focus on the strategic search areas. Also, because of the statement the First Minister made last week, there is now utter confusion as to what the targets are—

Joyce Watson: Will you take an intervention?

Darren Millar: No, I will not; I do not have time.

There is confusion about what the targets are for the development of energy generation from wind turbines. According to the 'A Low Carbon Revolution’ document published in March last year, to which Dafydd Elis-Thomas referred, 2,000 MW is the target for capacity. Now, however, the First Minister is suggesting a target of 1,120 MW. What are we to believe is the Government’s policy with regard to this matter?

The Presiding Officer: Order. Please wind up.

Darren Millar: Will the Government now oppose every single application that would take the targets above those set out in the TAN 8 documents for the strategic search areas? Are you going to make an oral representation to the UK Government whenever an application threatens to burst through the upper limit that Carwyn Jones has endorsed?

David Rees: It is important to remind Members of the fact that TAN 8 is not about rural mid Wales only; it actually applies to the whole of Wales. There are three SSAs in mid Wales, one in the north, and another three in south-west Wales. In fact, a large part of my constituency lies within SSA F, in the upper Afan valley. It is the second most prolific SSA being discussed at the moment. Currently, there are 14 turbines with a height of 300 ft in situ at Ffynnon Oer, and planning applications have been submitted for another 100 turbines with a height of 150m at the top end of the valley, surrounding the village of Glyncorrwg. I am sure that you would all agree with me that this is an area of natural beauty. If you have not been there, you are welcome to come to the Afan valley, to visit Afan Argoed for a walk, or to go mountain biking in Glyncorrwg. If you do, you will see what I mean.

I welcome the First Minister’s statement last week in which he said that he would seek responsibility for planning consent for projects over the current 50 MW level. They should be devolved to Wales. I note that the statement affirms recommendation 25 of the Sustainability Committee’s report in January 2011, 'Inquiry into Planning in Wales’. It says:

'We recommend that the Welsh Government should continue to urge the UK Government to devolve responsibility for energy consents of over 50 Megawatts to the Welsh Ministers; seek amendments to the Planning Act 2008 so that decisions on large-scale energy projects in Wales are made in line with Welsh planning policy’.

That committee was chaired by Kirsty Williams, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, and I hope that she and her colleagues would continue to lobby Ministers at Westminster as they appear not to be alone in turning away from the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

Kirsty Williams: I am grateful to the Member for giving way and I am grateful for his support for the cross-party approach that the Sustainability Committee took regarding the devolution of those powers. Do you share my regret that, while there was a Labour Government in Westminster, repeated requests from this Chamber to devolve those powers were subsequently denied by your party while it was also in government in Westminster?  

David Rees: No, I do not, but I do regret that your Government in Westminster, from which you are trying to pass the buck, is no longer listening to its colleagues in Wales.

It is a travesty that decisions on such important issues are not taken in Wales. What is to be built in Wales should be decided in Wales. That is my strong belief. Therefore, I urge both Liberal and Conservative Members to lobby their Ministers in London. The Conservatives should remind themselves of their own manifesto, which clearly stated that they wanted planning powers devolved for projects up to 100 MW. They should perhaps speak to Cheryl Gillan to seek support for that. We must also remember that there is more renewable energy than just onshore, and I agree with William Powell when he stated that we should look at alternative mechanisms for delivering renewable energy. Therefore, I ask the Minister to meet Cabinet colleagues to continue to support research and development in this area, because not only could they provide alternative means of producing energy, but they could also provide a stimulus to the economy of Wales.

We have a huge responsibility in relation to energy generation. We have to look at how we can reduce the carbon footprint by producing energy and meeting the Government’s obligations, while at the same time meeting the energy demands of people in Wales. If you ask people in Wales to reduce their energy demands, you are not getting a positive answer. Therefore, we also need to look at the demands of the Welsh people. In its report, the Sustainability Committee suggested the successor committee should consider conducting a wide-ranging inquiry into energy production in Wales. It did not mention TAN 8. It is about energy production as a holistic approach within Wales, and that is the way that we should be going.

Mark Isherwood: As I stated in Welsh Conservatives’ debate on climate change in January, renewable energy is essential. Supplies of fossil fuels are under increasing pressure, resulting in higher energy prices and concerns about the security of energy supply. Planned power station decommissioning will remove 37 per cent of UK energy generating capacity. The International Energy Agency says that the production of conventional crude oil peaked in 2006, and falling reserves and supply have political, economic and social implications. The problem is that the Welsh Government’s approach to renewable energy has been unsustainable, with too much of an emphasis on wind energy and a deeply flawed planning process.

Our motion today, therefore, relates solely to devolved matters and to the windfarms proposed under TAN 8, which will be decided by local planning authorities in Wales. It is, therefore, regrettable that the First Minister has, yet again, sought to shift the target to Westminster, thereby denying responsibility. Whatever concerns we may have about UK Government wind-power policy, this motion is about Welsh Government policy. The First Minister stated last Friday that the capacities set out in TAN 8 in 2005 should be regarded as upper limits. However, RenewableUK has since described the Welsh Government’s position on windfarms as being quite strange.

Joyce Watson: Thank you for taking an intervention. You talk about denying responsibility; will you accept that the whole debate on this, and the result of the protest that we had, was as a consequence of one of your colleagues denying responsibility and trying to put it at our door, completely and squarely, without accepting what was fairly obvious, that the ultimate decision would be made in Westminster?

Mark Isherwood: We are talking about devolved policy, and only devolved policy.

4.00 p.m.

RenewableUK added that, in March last year, the Welsh Government increased its target from 800 MW to 2,000 MW, and that it is now denying the inevitable consequences of its own policies. As it also said, the Welsh Government’s March 2010 energy policy statement set clear targets for renewable energy production that exceeded those in TAN 8.

The Woodlands for Wales strategy states that,

'Any potential windfarm development that involves the removal of woodland will be considered within the planning system’.

It does not tell us that, in July 2007, the Welsh Government hosted a seminar on renewable energy for council chief planning officers and chairs of planning. These planning officers and chairs of planning were told that saying 'no’ to most windfarms in strategic search areas was not an option. It does not tell us that, of morethan 1,200 responses received to the Welsh Government’s consultation on TAN 8, only two supported the location of the strategic search areas.

This is hardly the first time we have debated these issues. Speaking in 2006, I highlighted an independent report for the German Government, shelved because it was such an embarrassment for Government Ministers in Germany. It warned that windfarm programmes there would greatly increase energy costs and it cast doubt on the claim that wind power cuts greenhouse gas emissions. Speaking in 2008, I noted that no country has ever been able to close a power station as a direct result of building wind turbines because wind power cannot adapt to meet demand. High levels of wind power cause the national grid to become unstable. To accommodate short variations in wind power supply, conventional power plants must throttle back, which makes them more polluting. The only stations that can be powered up reasonably quickly to respond to fluctuating turbine power are gas stations, and we could be held to ransom over the supply of gas.

When temperatures plunged below zero and demand for electricity soared during the coldest spells last December, most of the UK’s wind turbines were virtually still, forcing the national grid to crank up conventional coal and gas-fired power stations. In other words, without fossil fuel backup, the lights would literally go out. Speaking in 2009, I quoted correspondence from the then First Minister stating that,

'the lease for a development requires the removal of turbines and infrastructure to 1 metre below ground level at the end of their lives’.

In other words, the majority of 1,000 tonnes or more of concrete will be left in the ground. Water will be held on top of the concrete, which will reduce rooting depth, meaning that the areas will not be returned to forestry at the end of the project. That correspondence also stated that proposed developments could mean the felling of just 500 ha, which is less than half of 1 per cent of the total Welsh Government woodland estate.

The Presiding Officer: Order.Can you wind up please?

Mark Isherwood: However, this conflicted with applications for Clocaenog forest in north Wales at the time to build just 29 turbines, which alone involved the clear-felling of some 431 ha, destroying more than 1,000 acres. Only snake-oil salesmen could dream up such an irrational way of generating electricity. [Laughter.]

Joyce Watson: I was pleased to be able to speak to protesters outside the Assembly in May and I promised to listen to what people were saying and to take their views back to the Minister. I would like to thank you again, Minister, for what proved to be a very constructive meeting. At the outset, I want to express my belief that what we need to promote in Wales is a diverse mix of renewable energy technologies, including onshore and offshore wind.

Last Friday, I attended a public exhibition about the DeltaStream project that is being constructed off St Davids. What is clear to me is that, as technologies develop and we move forward, the solutions to Wales’s energy security needs and our response to our international obligations to tackle climate change, which this party take seriously, will become smarter, utilising Wales’s sustainable resources. However, onshore wind is currently the most commercially viable form of renewable energy that we have.

As they are arguing against all onshore developments in Wales, I ask those Conservative Members representing Monmouthshire what they would have happen to the hundreds of workers employed in this industry at Mabey Bridge Ltd in Chepstow. I also ask whether the Conservative Members of this Chamber support the First Minister in calling on the UK Government to regard TAN 8 capacity as the upper limit and not to allow proliferation when it makes decisions on individual projects in Wales.

Darren Millar: Thank you for taking an intervention. You seem to be asking us many questions; however, will you be fulfilling your commitment to vote to review TAN 8 as you indicated that you would when you were standing outside the Senedd, speaking to those protesters, when you were subsequently booed?

Joyce Watson: I did not say any such thing. As you know, the UK Government currently makes decisions on all energy projects over 50 MW and the First Minister has called for greater powers for Wales in this area. I hope that you will stand on your platform and ask for the same.

Overcapacity has led to proposals for massive pylons that would march across the landscape of mid Wales and I cannot condone that. I therefore welcome the First Minister’s statement that he will press that case with the National Grid plc, the Infrastructure Planning Commission and UK Ministers. Living in Pembrokeshire, I have seen at first hand at Strumble Head how, with public will, investment from energy companies and political leadership, power and phone cables can be buried underground in order to preserve the natural beauty of an area. We need to ensure that that approach is also adopted elsewhere.

I also ask the Minister to look at the specific proposal for a sub-station. I have been to Aber-miwl and I have seen what the potential impact of that development may be, whether it is constructed there or looms over any other community. However, that is a decision for Powys County Council and I feel that the Welsh Government ought to consider it.

The Conservatives have mentioned the issue of the Welsh Government making money out of those strategic areas in TAN 8. Do they think that it is a wise decision to reduce the feed-in tariff from the current 30p to 9p? The higher tariff could have helped to sustain small-scale developments and they will now be absolutely crushed.

Antoinette Sandbach: First, I declare an interest in a largely community-owned windfarm company in north Wales. The Welsh countryside across the rural parts of north Wales, mid Wales and, no doubt, south and west Wales—although I have not yet had the opportunity to visit there—is the key asset that draws in millions of tourists each year. Our climate and topography give Wales the potential for a broad mix of renewable energy generation, including tidal energy. I can imagine the race between the Anglesey coast and the Menai Straits as the ideal place for the situation of tidal energy, biomass, and offshore and onshore wind. However, the Welsh Government still stubbornly refuses to do the reasonable thing and conduct a review. Darren Millar was quite right in the point that he made in respect of TAN 8: if local communities do have an impact and get local councils to turn down those applications, TAN 8 in effect means that an appeal can be done. It was a condition that was imposed on communities by the Labour Welsh Government.

It is particularly worrying that not one Welsh Government has made a specific assessment of the impact of windfarms on tourism, which is one of the biggest industry sectors in Wales. It was of particular concern to receive confirmation that no assessment has been made by the Labour Welsh Government of the pylons that will accompany these developments. What did the Welsh Government think would happen when windfarms within the strategic areas would need to be connected to the grid? It had a direct opportunity to make an assessment; it had someone sitting on the energy network strategy group two years ago, in 2008 and 2009, but that person did not make a single representation. That civil servant was sent there by the Welsh Government, but not a single—[Interruption.] Pardon?

The Presiding Officer: Order. I am sorry, but you do not have a conversation with someone who is seated; you just carry on speaking.

Antoinette Sandbach: Not a single representation seems to have been made to protect the beauty of mid Wales and north Wales.

Lord Elis-Thomas: Will you take an intervention?

Kenneth Skates rose

The Presiding Officer: To whom are you giving way?

Antoinette Sandbach: Can they not decide between them?

The Presiding Officer: No, I am sorry, but you must decide.

Antoinette Sandbach: I am happy to give way to Kenneth Skates.

Kenneth Skates: Given your support for tourism and the environment, do you agree that extending the area of outstanding natural beauty in large parts of north-east Wales is the right thing to do?

Antoinette Sandbach: I do not think that that is relevant to this debate, as it has nothing to do with TAN 8.

Lord Elis-Thomas: I am grateful to you for giving way and I think that this point will be relevant. You will be aware that the Countryside Council for Wales, as the lead planning adviser, has been involved in some of these discussions and that the preferred planning option, rather than having a whole network of smaller overhead supply lines, is to concentrate these. Much of that discussion is related to TAN 8. The reason why the network has to be strengthened is in order to provide for all types of renewable production, not just wind power but also small hydro power.

Antoinette Sandbach: The advantage of offshore hydro is that that connection can be carried on, for example, in north Wales, along the Dee estuary into Deeside power station. Sadly, the Welsh Government did not reserve the capacity of Deeside power station for Welsh renewable energy electricity generation. In fact, there will be cables running from Scotland to bring in energy from there and, as a result, we may need pylons across north Wales. That position is totally unacceptable.

I have written to the First Minister about the failures to make representations about the Welsh tourism industry, the natural beauty of and our assets in mid Wales and north Wales, and the threat that has been posed to them by the failure of the Welsh Government to make representations to the energy network strategy review. Has the Minister now made a submission to the undergrounding consultation from National Grid, because no submissions had been made before the Assembly rose in March? If he has not, I invite him to do so because the consultation is open until 4 July.

The Presiding Officer: Order.Can you wind up, please?

Antoinette Sandbach: The consequences of failing to act are that vast areas of rural Wales will be blighted by high voltage pylons, which will be a gross betrayal of rural communities.

The Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development (John Griffiths): I apologise for entering the Chamber a moment after the debate began.

The Welsh Government takes its responsibilities to deliver sustainable development, tackle climate change and deliver energy security very seriously indeed. Our energy needs in a modern society will remain considerable and must be met securely from low-carbon sources. There is no retreat from our energy policy on renewables or from our low-carbon revolution energy statement. It is about energy saving, energy efficiency and the promotion of low-carbon technologies.

The written statement issued by my colleague the First Minister on 17 June clearly sets out the Welsh Government’s position in relation to TAN 8, the current National Grid consultations on grid reinforcement in mid Wales and the need for the devolution of major energy consents to Wales. These decisions are currently a matter for the Tory-led Government in London. It is ridiculous that the people of Wales cannot decide on such matters.

Kirsty Williams: You will be aware that parties across the Chamber have long been calling for Westminster to devolve those powers to the Assembly. You say that the situation as it currently stands is ridiculous. Was the situation ridiculous when your Ministers made similar requests of your Labour colleagues in London and they refused? Given that there is a consensus around the Chamber about the need to devolve this power, will you publish the Welsh Government’s plans for dealing with the applications that you have submitted to the Westminster Government for us to see the compelling case that you have made? My understanding is that it is open to discussions, but that it has yet to see how your Government would handle these applications.

4.15 p.m.

John Griffiths: I may not be able to take many interventions if they last that long, Llywydd. Your colleagues are now in Government at a UK level and I am afraid that you and the Conservative opposition here cannot avoid that reality. It is your responsibility now and you must face up to it— [Interruption.]

The Presiding Officer: Order. The Minister is speaking.

John Griffiths:We continue to promote all forms of renewable energy, with onshore wind being currently the most commercially mature form of renewable energy. The Welsh Government remains committed to the principles of planning for onshore wind in a strategic way that seeks to optimise the production of renewable energy while protecting Wales’s environment and preventing the proliferation of such development all over Wales.

It is clear that, as a responsible Government, we must confront the issues of climate change and security of energy production to ensure that this transition to low carbon maximises the economic renewal opportunities and practical jobs and skills, and protects Wales’s environmental assets while ensuring the interests of local communities. On calls to review TAN 8, we had 2,000 responses to our consultation exercise, which undermines some of the points that Members have made today as to the thoroughness and meaningfulness of the exercise underpinning TAN 8.It provides an appropriate framework for the strategic planning of renewable energy in Wales and we believe that it is still fit for purpose. That is why I cannot support amendments 1 and 4.

Darren Millar: Will you take an intervention?

John Griffiths: I am wary of taking further interventions, as I have little time, but I give way to Darren Millar.

Darren Millar: Do you not accept, Minister, that renewable technologies are moving on apace and that, in the last six or seven years, since TAN 8 was developed as a policy, things like the size of turbines may need to lead to a review of buffer zones and other important issues around windfarm developments?

John Griffiths: Of course the technology moves on; our overall energy policies recognise that and seek to keep pace with that. That is one reason why we have the new tidal stream technology that will be installed off Ramsey sound in the near future.

On upper limit capacities in terms of the strategic search areas and TAN 8, the First Minister’s written statement set out our view that the capacities identified in underpinning TAN 8 reflected a considered view of the potential impact of grid and transport connections. However, in a number of SSAs, developer interest has greatly exceeded those figures. That is why the Garrad Hassan work provides a robust evidence-based assessment of those maximum capacities within the SSAs, and we consider that these capacities should be regarded as upper limits, negating the necessity for large pylons in mid Wales. Those figures allow the Welsh Government to maintain the view set out in 'A Low Carbon Revolution’ that 2 GW of onshore wind can be delivered, in the main, by 2017 from strategic search areas, brownfield sites and microgeneration schemes.

Therefore, we consider that TAN 8 is still robust, but many Members have made points about who is responsible and whether this is a blame game between the Welsh Government and the UK Government. I was interested in comments made by Russell George, for example, given that, on this matter, his colleague Glyn Davies, the Tory MP for Montgomeryshire, seems quite clear. Referring to the First Minister’s statement, he said:

'For me it’s hugely welcome news—it’s all I could have hoped for… It’s clear that the first minister and the Welsh Government have listened to the people of mid Wales…I have now all the ammunition I need to continue this fight in Westminster’.

That was said by Russell’s colleague in Montgomeryshire, who seems quite clear on where responsibility largely lies for recognising and reacting to the concerns of the people of mid Wales.

Antoinette Sandbachrose—

John Griffiths: I have no time for further interventions. [Interruption.]

The Presiding Officer: Order. Could Members listen to what the Minister is saying?

John Griffiths: Some Members do not appear to have read the policies they so vehemently oppose. They fail to recognise the fact that Welsh Government policy, as set out in our energy policy statement 'Planning Policy Wales’ and TAN 8, contains clear, practical steps to promote a mix of renewable energy technologies. Onshore wind is just one of them, albeit an important one. Our energy policy statement, issued in March 2010, outlines the potential outputs in Wales from a range of renewable energy sources, including offshore wind, biomass and marine. The pursuit of a mix of renewables is currently Welsh Government policy, and it is for this reason that we support amendment 5. The First Minister outlined in his statement last Friday that the challenges of climate change and energy security mean that we must embrace alternative renewable energy technologies and ensure that Wales continues to play its part in this challenge of international significance. We have, in TAN 8, a document that sets out in a positive and clear way our vision for how a mix of renewable energy technologies should be planned for.

The Presiding Officer: Order. Could you wind up, please?

John Griffiths: Many of the issues surrounding the proposed pylons in mid Wales do not arise from TAN 8, but rather from the fact that decision-making powers on large energy projects and associated grid infrastructure do not lie with the Welsh Government.

The Presiding Officer: Order. You really must wind up now.

John Griffiths: Decision-making powers on these fundamental parts of our infrastructure are not devolved.

The Presiding Officer: I call on Andrew R.T. Davies to reply to the debate in four minutes.

Andrew R.T. Davies: That is precise, Presiding Officer. It is a pleasure to respond to today’s debate, and in particular to the Minister’s closing remarks about Westminster’s role in this. We accept that Westminster has a role, but 60 per cent of applications are determined under the TAN 8 guidelines issued by the Welsh Government, with 40 per cent determined at Westminster. That is the fundamental narrative in this debate. It is disappointing, when you look at the motion, that the Minister did not concede the point that TAN 8 would benefit from a review after six years. Given the strength of feeling, and the way that time and technology have moved on, you would have thought that a review would be fundamental to helping the Welsh Government meet its climate change obligations.

There were many contributions, but I would like to congratulate Russ George, first of all, on his maiden speech, and on the way that he eloquently set out the situation that many of his constituents in mid Wales face. That was emphasised to many Members by the protest outside the Assembly in mid May. It was the biggest protest that we have seen, and the force and the passion of the protest was felt. In this debate, Joyce Watson, Member for Mid and West Wales, was completely dislocated from the points that she made to those people outside the Assembly. When she looks at the motion before us, I think that she needs to consider carefully how she will vote, because she clearly stated that she would be pushing for a review of TAN 8, as the motion does. The Minister, by way of the Government amendment, wants to remove our motion’s second point; yesterday, he was happy to call a moratorium on the badger cull related to bovine TB, but he is not happy to listen to the residents of mid Wales and the politicians who have come to the Chamber to represent them—he is not happy to call a moratorium while he reviews the evidence on this policy and looks at the consequences that he is inflicting on those residents. That cannot be acceptable.

David Rees: Would you agree that decisions on all proposals above 50 MW are Westminster decisions? We would have no power, through a moratorium, on any application being made at that level.

Andrew R.T. Davies: I accept that. The former Presiding Officer made a speech asking what Welsh Conservative policy is on this. I refer him to the manifesto that we put before the electorate, which clearly outlines our policy. I refer him specifically to the legislative policies that we included in that manifesto—we were the only party to come forward with a comprehensive legislative programme—which touched on the environment and on the initiatives that we would like to see the Welsh Government adopting on climate change.

There can be no doubt in people’s minds of the commitment of Members on this side of the Chamber to the climate change agenda and its seriousness. Our commitment is to ensuring that local communities’ voices are heard and that, above all, there is a sensible and sustainable policy for regeneration in Wales, because what we currently have is a dislocated policy. Russ George touched on the First Minister’s welcome intervention on Friday and his statement, but the dislocation between what the First Minister is saying and what is in the planning guidance that is coming from his Minister with responsibility for planning, and the fact that planning officers and councils have to work in this void, cannot be disputed.

Joyce Watson rose

Andrew R.T. Davies: I am sorry, Joyce, but I cannot take your intervention; I only have four minutes.

I would hope that the Minister with responsibility for planning reflects on Members’ contributions today and on the motion that is before this Assembly. Ultimately, it is a motion seeking a review of TAN 8; it does not seek to have it struck down. It also asks the Minister to recognise the achievements and advancements in renewable energy technology. Therefore, when you reflect on those points, you surely cannot find fault with this motion. I hope that the Government supports it, but I will not hold my breath.

I urge Members to support the motion. I also urge them to support the concerns that have been so eloquently addressed from this side and from other quarters in the Chamber and in communities up and down Wales to have TAN 8 reviewed, so that we can have a consistent and coherent policy in which people can have confidence.

The Presiding Officer:The proposal is to agree the motion without amendment. Does any Member object? I see that there is objection, therefore I defer all voting on this item until voting time.

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

Daeth y Dirprwy Lywydd (David Melding) i’r Gadair am 4.27 p.m.
The Deputy Presiding Officer (David Melding) took the Chair at 4.27 p.m.

Dadl y Ceidwadwyr Cymreig
Welsh Conservatives Debate

Prosiectiau Trafnidiaeth
Transport Projects

The Record

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

The Record

Cynnig NDM4743Nick Ramsay

Motion NDM4743Nick Ramsay

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

1. Yn croesawu adroddiad Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru ar Brosiectau Trafnidiaeth Mawr (2011);

1. Welcomes the report by the Wales Audit Office on Major Transport Projects (2011);

2. Yn nodi â phryder fod llawer o brosiectau trafnidiaeth wedi 'costio cryn dipyn yn fwy ac wedi cymryd mwy o amser i’w cwblhau na’r disgwyl’;

2. Notes with concern that many transport projects have 'cost substantially more and taken longer to complete than expected’;

3. Yn galw ar Lywodraeth Cymru i sicrhau bod cyllid ar gyfer prosiectau trafnidiaeth yn cael ei ddefnyddio mewn ffordd effeithlon ac effeithiol.

3. Calls for the Welsh Government to ensure that funding for transport projects is used in an efficient and effective way.

The Record

Byron Davies:I move the motion.

I am pleased to open this debate on behalf of the Welsh Conservatives, to bring this serious issue to the forefront and to highlight what has been a chronic waste of taxpayers’ money. It is a real pleasure to lead this debate—my first as shadow Minister for transport.

The debate is tabled to highlight the gross neglect of previous Governments in Cardiff bay, which has led to the waste of at least £226 million. Yes, I did say £226 million. It is my fervent hope that this debate, and this new Welsh Labour Government, will listen to and learn from the Wales Audit Office, which has clearly spelt out in its report where and how former Governments and Ministers went wrong. I take heart from the opportunity that we now have, as a newly invigorated Assembly that is anxious to prevent any further waste and learn from these costly lessons. This opportunity, however, does not mean that these costly mistakes can be swept under the carpet, particularly in these times of austerity and hardship for public and private finances.

Wasting nearly £0.25 billion is simply immoral. That waste was instigated by a Labour-led administration that failed to properly manage and supervise. It is fitting, at this juncture, to acknowledge the work of the Wales Audit Office, which has produced a stark and thought-provoking report. In a nutshell, the Wales Audit Office report on major transport projects concluded that

'many projects have cost substantially more and taken longer to complete than expected, hampering the delivery of the Assembly Government’s wider transport objectives.’

That is an extremely worrying statement, not only because of the missed investment opportunities for Wales’s transport network, but also because of the implications for any potential investor looking at Wales. This sends a real message of ineptitude.

4.30 p.m.

Let us look at some of the schemes in more detail to gauge a real feel for the spiralling costs. The estimated cost of the Porth relief road was £33 million, but the final cost was £102 million, meaning an overspend of £69 million. The estimated cost of the Church Village bypass was £34 million, but the final cost was £88 million, meaning an overspend of £54 million. The estimated cost of Angel Way in Bargoed was £17.5 million, but the final cost was £31.5 million, meaning an overspend of £14 million. The estimated cost of the A40 between Penblewin and Slebech Park was £27.5 million, but the final cost was £41.5 million, meaning an overspend just shy of £14 million. The estimated cost for all six sections of the Heads of the Valleys road was £268 million, with the work to be completed by 2009. The estimated completion date is now 2020, with a projected cost of £648 million, meaning a staggering overspend of £495 million. The list goes on. To add insult to injury, there are a number of projects that have incurred preparatory costs but have now been put on hold. The M4 relief road incurred preparatory costs of £13.9 million, but it is not being taken forward because the estimated cost increased to more than £1 billion. Similarly, plans for the Cardiff international airport access road incurred preparatory costs of £1.9 million, but are not being taken forward. Goodness knows the airport needs help. That gives you a flavour of the profligacy over past years and the problems that we face. In London, the ousted Labour Government proudly boasted, 'There is no money left—we’ve spent it all’, while, in Wales, the Labour-Plaid Government was probably thinking, 'We know—we spent it.’

Rhodri Glyn Thomas: You referred to the Plaid-Labour Government, but the schemes to which you referred were all schemes that were put forward prior to the One Wales Government. Are you now advocating that schemes that are put in at a low price should still be carried forward even if the price has been inflated?

Byron Davies: The former Plaid Minister could perhaps answer that question better than I.

These schemes raise some key issues, which I hope to tease out in opening this debate. If you look at 18 of the major transport projects in Wales, you can see that costs have, on average, been 61 per cent higher than originally estimated, meaning that they have increased from an estimated £366 million to £592 million, which is an overspend of some £226 million. That is almost £0.25 billion of Welsh taxpayers’ money. I hope that the people of Wales are listening. Not only that, but these projects were delivered five and a half years later than originally estimated. Those delays have a domino effect, leading to inflated costs for future transport projects. As a result of the escalating costs of individual projects, other planned transport projects have had to be deferred, which, according to the report,

'has hampered the delivery of the Assembly Government’s wider transport programmes and objectives.’

Yet another damning remark by the Wales Audit Office is that:

'Arguably, there are too many projects in programmes at the start, and there is a knock-on impact as costs increase on one project, but budgets remain broadly fixed…. Other projects then have to be deferred, which exposes them to higher costs in future years. That has certainly happened’.

The important point here is that much of this waste could have been avoided had successive Assembly Governments shown a firmer hand, budgeted for inflation, introduced contractor involvement at an earlier stage and had tighter controls for transport grants to local authorities. Those are some of the primary lessons that this Government must now learn. These facts are incontrovertible, and I commend the now Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes, Mr Alun Davies, for raising concerns at the time. At the time, Mr Davies was concerned about the lack of scrutiny that had enabled 'poor decisions to go unchallenged’, admitting that transport projects in Wales had not been

'managed in the way that they are elsewhere in the UK already.’

That is a refreshing honesty, with which I hope the Government is approaching this debate today.

The people of Wales and, I am sure, Members of this Chamber, will not take kindly to buck-passing. I concede, to a point, that, although the Welsh Government distributes transport grant funding, local authorities have traditionally had the ultimate responsibility for project delivery. However, the Wales Audit Office expressed the follow concerns about that, stating:

'The Assembly Government had provided relatively little project management guidance or direct support to local authorities despite concerns about the capacity of local authorities to deliver major capital projects.’

Those faults and the strategic mismanagement can be laid directly at the door of the previous Welsh Assembly Government, and now at the door of the Welsh Labour Government. It is also worth noting that, because the Assembly Government carried most of the financial risks, local authorities had little incentive to control project costs.

Finally on this point, and most disturbingly, the Wales Audit Office found that the Welsh Government

'had done little to encourage more accurate cost estimation by local authorities or to improve its scrutiny of early cost estimates’.

Members, it strikes me that we need a fundamental change in how we deliver major transport schemes. We need more than empty comments such as, 'We will learn from these mistakes’—exceptionally expensive mistakes, I might add. While some changes have been made, I would welcome much earlier contractor involvement so that design work is agreed prior to the commencement of a construction contract. We need to do much more. We need gateway reviews to become the custom and practice for all current and future major projects. All major projects should be subject to a benefits realisation review, started 12 to 18 months before project completion, which could look at environmental, social and economic outcomes. The Government must also establish a common set of key performance indicators across all major transport projects in Wales. Finally, information on contractor performance should be shared and analysed to identify and address common areas of underperformance.

In conclusion, we can ill afford to squander another £0.25 billion, intended for the benefit of the people of Wales, as a result of a lack of scrutiny and leadership on the part of the Welsh Labour Government. The issues that I have highlighted, together with those highlighted in the Wales Audit Office’s report, would be an excellent starting point to ensure that waste on this scale never happens again. However, it is by no means exhaustive and is nowhere near the level of protection that I would now seek from the Government. The underlying point is that we must never allow hundreds of millions of pounds to be wasted in such an appalling way again.

The Record

Gwelliant 1Jocelyn Davies

Amendment 1Jocelyn Davies

Ychwanegu pwynt newydd ar ôl pwynt 2 ac ailrifo’r pwyntiau sy’n dilyn:

Add as new point after point 2 and renumber accordingly:

Yn croesawu’r rheolaeth ariannol well dros brosiectau trafnidiaeth a reolwyd gan Lywodraeth Cymru ac awdurdodau lleol yn ystod y blynyddoedd diwethaf.

Welcomes the improved financial control of transport projects managed by the Welsh Government and by local authorities in recent years.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas: Cynigiaf welliant 1 yn enw Jocelyn Davies.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas: I move amendment 1 in the name of Jocelyn Davies.

Mae’r cynnig a gyflwynwyd gan y Ceidwadwyr yn rhyfeddol. Mae’n cyfeirio at yr adroddiad a gyhoeddwyd, ond, am ryw reswm, mae’n anwybyddu yn gyfan gwbl y pedair blynedd diwethaf, pan ymatebodd y Gweinidog a oedd yn gyfrifol am drafnidiaeth, sef y Dirprwy Brif Weinidog ar y pryd, i’r holl faterion a godwyd yn yr adroddiad. Yn ystod y cyfnod hwnnw gosododd strwythurau yn eu lle a fydd yn sicrhau nad yw camgymeriadau’r gorffennol—sef y gwastraff arian a’r ffaith bod ceisiadau wedi cael eu cyflwyno ar lefel isel a’u pris wedyn yn chwyddo yn ystod cyfnod y datblygiad—yn digwydd eto. Deliwyd â’r materion hynny i gyd gan y Gweinidog a oedd yn gyfrifol amdanynt yn y Llywodraeth ddiwethaf.

The motion tabled by the Conservatives is extraordinary. It refers to the published report, but, for some reason, it completely ignores the last four years, when the Minister responsible for transport, the then Deputy First Minister, responded to all of the issues raised in the report. During that time he put in place structures that will ensure that past mistakes—namely the waste of money and the fact that applications were submitted on a low level and then their cost increased over the development period—would not happen again. Those issues were all dealt with by the Minister responsible for them in the last Government.

Byddai wedi bod yn braf pe bai Byron Davies wedi cyfeirio at y cyfnod hwnnw a’r gwaith a gyflawnodd Ieuan Wyn Jones i fynd i’r afael â’r problemau hyn a sicrhau na all y camgymeriadau a oedd wedi codi yn y gorffennol godi eto.

It would have been niceif Byron Davies had referred to that period and the work achieved by Ieuan Wyn Jones in getting to grips with these problems and ensuring that past mistakes will not arise again.

The Record

Angela Burns: If the Minister had such a grip on this, as you claim, why was the Finance Committee forced to produce a cross-party report that comprehensively damned his stewardship of the road funding and maintenance programme?

Rhodri Glyn Thomas: Again, you are referring to issues that arose prior to Ieuan Wyn Jones’s period as Minister—all of the examples given by Byron Davies were commissioned before Ieuan Wyn Jones became a Minister, and he addressed all of those issues. You have to answer for the Finance Committee’s report and why the committee decided to go down that avenue. Were there certain motivations behind that report? If you look at the facts, you will see that, during his period in post, Ieuan Wyn Jones addressed all of the issues that are raised in this report. It would be niceif the Conservatives recognised that fact, and I hope that they will do so by supporting our amendment. This is their opportunity to congratulate Ieuan Wyn Jones on the work that he carried out as a Minister and to recognise what he achieved. I therefore invite you to support amendment 1. On behalf of Plaid Cymru, I also state that we will support Peter Black’s amendment, amendment 2. It does not say very much other than the obvious, to be honest, but there we are: we are talking about the Liberal Democrats here.

The Record

Credaf mai’r peth pwysig yw ein bod yn dysgu gwersi o’r gorffennol, ond ein bod hefyd yn edrych i’r dyfodol. Beth yw’r dyfodol i gynlluniau trafnidiaeth? Beth fydd yn digwydd yn sgîl y toriadau enbyd y mae’r glymblaid yn Llundain wedi eu cyflwyno? Mae’n rhaid edrych ar yr arian cyfalaf a fydd ar gael ar gyfer trafnidiaeth yn y dyfodol ac ar y symiau sy’n cael eu clustnodi. Yr wyf yn derbyn ei bod yn anodd dod o hyd i’r union ffigurau, ond o ran yr arian a oedd ar gael ar gyfer prosiectau trafnidiaeth cyfalaf yn 2010-11, yr ydym yn sôn am ryw £320 miliwn. Yn y flwyddyn ariannol bresennol, mae’r ffigur wedi gostwng i £235 miliwn. Erbyn 2013-14, bydd y ffigur wedi gostwng i £140 miliwn. Beth yw’r rheswm am hynny? Mae’r ffigurau wedi gostwng oherwydd bod y glymblaid yn Llundain wedi gwneud y fath doriadau i’r cyllid cyfalaf sy’n dod i Lywodraeth Cymru.

It is important that we learn lessons from the past, but that we also look to the future. What does the future hold for transport plans? What will be the impact of the swingeing cuts that the coalition Government in London has introduced? We must look at the capital funding that will be available for transport in the future and at the sums that have been earmarked. I accept that it is difficult to find the exact figures, but in terms of the funding available for capital transport projects in 2010-11, we are talking of some £320 million. In the current financial year, the figure has decreased to £235 million. By 2013-14, it will have decreased to £140 million. Why is that? The figures have decreased because the coalition in London has made such cuts to the capital funding that comes to the Welsh Government.

Beth fydd y goblygiadau o hynny? Os nad oes gennym y gallu i fuddsoddi yn y cynlluniau hyn, bydd hynny’n effeithio ar economi Cymru, ar gyflogaeth yng Nghymru ac ar allu Cymru i ddatblygu fel gwlad yn ystod y cyfnod hwn. Felly, yn hytrach nag edrych yn ôl yn rhy bell i’r gorffennol, mae angen i’r Ceidwadwyr ateb am y sefyllfa bresennol ac am y dyfodol. Mae angen iddynt hefyd dderbyn y goblygiadau sy’n deillio o’r penderfyniadau a wnaed yn Llundain, a’r effaith y bydd y penderfyniadau hynny’n ei chael ar Gymru. Yr ydym wedi dysgu gwersi oddi wrth yr adroddiad hwn. Gosodwyd strwythurau yn eu lle gan Ieuan Wyn Jones, a gallwn sicrhau bod y sefyllfa ar gyfer y dyfodol yn llawer mwy diogel o ran y cyllid sy’n cael ei wario ar y cynlluniau hyn. Yn anffodus, ychydig iawn o arian fydd ar gael ar gyfer y prosiectau hyn yn y dyfodol, ac mae’n rhaid i’r Ceidwadwyr a’r Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol gymryd cyfrifoldeb am hynny.

What are the implications of that? If we do not have the ability to invest in these projects, that will have an effect on the Welsh economy, employment in Wales, and on Wales’s ability to develop as a country during this period. Therefore, rather than looking back too far into the past, the Conservatives need to be held accountable for the current situation as well as the future. They must also accept the implications of the decisions made in London, and the effect that those decisions will have on Wales. We have learned lessons from this report. Structures have been put in place by Ieuan Wyn Jones, and we can ensure that the future situation will be much more secure in terms of the funding that is spent on these projects. Unfortunately, the funding available for these projects in the future will be minimal, and the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats must take responsibility for that.

Gwelliant 2Peter Black

Amendment 2 Peter Black

Ychwanegu pwynt newydd ar ddiwedd y cynnig:

Add as new point at end of motion:

Yn credu ei bod yn hanfodol i gadw prosiectau trafnidiaeth o fewn y gyllideb er mwyn sicrhau bod prosiectau eraill sydd mawr eu hangen yn gallu bwrw ymlaen.

Believes that it is essential to keep transport projects within budget in order to ensure that other much-needed projects can go ahead.

The Record

Peter Black: I move amendment 2 in my name.

The Liberal Democrat amendment may be fairly straightforward in what it says, but there is nothing wrong with that, Rhodri Glyn. Sometimes you have to say the blindingly obvious in order to get the message across.

I wish to raise an issue relating to the Plaid Cymru amendment. Rhodri Glyn made the point that most of the projects cited in the Wales Audit Office report were commissioned before Ieuan Wyn Jones became the Minister for transport. That is absolutely correct. However, the implementation of those projects certainly overlapped with a large part of his time in office. A key part of the Wales Audit Office report says that, before 2009-10, the Assembly Government exercised only limited control over local authority-managed transport grant projects, despite carrying most of the financial risk. Clearly, the former Minister put in place management structures to deal with many of the criticisms in the report, but there was a time between when he took office and when those structures were put in place when those projects were overrunning and money was being lost due to problems with planning and implementation. Clearly, the former Minister is not entirely blameless with regard to the scenario before us.

4.45 p.m.

I am not here to talk about blame; in fact, the amendment does not talk about blame either. What we are talking about is how we can move forward in this matter and how we can ensure that the transport projects that we have—we cannot put right what has happened—are delivered on time and to budget. If we do not do that, the limited capital budget available to us will not be spent efficiently and effectively. I can think of a number of projects that I would like to see introduced, some of which were included in the programme published by the previous Welsh Government. They need to be implemented, but that depends on the other projects coming in on time and to budget.

The important point to take from this debate and from the Wales Audit Office report is that we have to learn the lessons, and we have to deliver proper budgeting processes to ensure that large capital projects, whether delivered directly by the Welsh Government or by other agencies, such as local government, on behalf of the Welsh Government, are delivered within budget. If we do not achieve that, we will not have the necessary capital investment that is badly needed for infrastructure in all parts of Wales.

There are issues to do with the Government’s infrastructure programme, and I look forward to the new Minister who is taking on that responsibility introducing a revised transport capital programme. The criteria for determining some of those capital projects, in terms of approval and implementation, were not necessarily objective in a sense that many would subscribe to. For example, there were bypasses that were crucial to the communities concerned, as they had a huge impact on them by delivering them from traffic congestion and other problems. That means that they offered value for money at that time. However, there are other projects involving traffic vehicle movements up to 10 times greater than those roads that were bypassed that did not get approval, either because of cost or other considerations. When we deliver these projects, it is important that we ensure not only value for money, but that we look at the volume of traffic that these roads carry and the impact that the projects would have on communities and the local economy. A number of factors need to be taken into account.

As has already been pointed out, the Wales Audit Office report identified over £226 million in budget overspend for transport projects. Some of the reasons given for the escalation in costs are very basic. The report notes that early estimates for some projects failed to take into account the cost of inflation over the life of the project. That is a basic mistake, similar to that which meant that Tessa Jowell’s first Olympics budget failed to take account of the £250 million due in VAT. That is the sort of basic mistake that we ought not to expect of the highly paid civil servants and the Ministers who approve these projects.

The Welsh Government has made some improvements to its internal procedures, but there is no room for complacency. The huge sums of money involved require a serious commitment to efficiency and robust monitoring. Tokenistic gestures will not work in the current financial climate. I hope that this debate will help to focus minds—the fact that we have had a chance to debate this matter in Plenary will help to focus minds. I certainly look forward to a better performance during this Assembly.

William Graham: I listened with interest to Rhodri Glyn Thomas’s remarks. Unfortunately, what he says is only partly true. The evidence is clear and precise: mistakes were made, and I have no doubt that the current Minister for transport will be aware of them and will do his very best in future to bring these projects in on budget. The facts remain, however, and in reading the Wales Audit Office’s report, one is struck by the failure of successive Governments to control spending on major projects and by the staggering optimism bias that was repeatedly a feature of these projects.

No-one doubts the importance of improving Wales’s road and rail infrastructure to capitalise on new economic and structural opportunities. Indeed, a considerable appetite remains in South Wales East for the long-promised opening of the Ebbw Vale to Newport rail link and for the cancelled M4 relief road. The catalogue of overspends and delays underlines the many improvements in the practice of scrutiny that are needed to avoid such inefficiencies and waste blighting future transport projects.

Having raised the issue of delays and overspends on the A465 Heads of the Valleys road on many occasions with previous Ministers for transport—not only have I raised this issue, those from other parties have raised it, too, significantly on many occasions—it comes as no surprise that the project provides the most eye-catching statistics for overspending and slippage in the works programme.

The Heads of the Valleys road between Abergavenny and Hirwaun was divided into six sections in November 2000 and at the time, as my colleagues have already mentioned, the Welsh Government said that it would be completed by 2009 at a cost of £268 million. In reality, the timetable slipped significantly and it is now predicted that the programme will not be completed until 2020 at the earliest. With only the sections between Abergavenny and Gilwern and Tredegar and Dowlais Top completed, at a cost of £115 million, the remaining four sections are forecast to cost £648 million, even though this figure does not include cost inflation. This means that, owing to the domino effect of delays, the A465 project will exceed its initial timetable by 11 years and with an overspend of at least £495 million—half the cost of the M4 relief road.

While different transport Ministers have argued as to who is responsible for the problems that beset the various projects, clearly the project mistakes must be acknowledged. The new Welsh Government would be well advised to examine the excellent Finance Committee inquiry into funding road infrastructure, laid in early 2010, which stressed the importance of greater co-ordination in the Heads of the Valleys programme between the then Minister for transport and the Deputy Minister for regeneration. It also stressed the need to involve other key stakeholders such as local government and business to a greater extent than in the past.

Notwithstanding the Heads of the Valleys road, many of the worst examples of projects that spun out of control are to be found in south-east Wales. The Ebbw valley railway, rightly regarded as a success due to its popularity among passengers, came in at £48 million. This was double the estimated cost of £24 million. There were considerable delays, owing to what the Wales Audit Office described as a generally difficult relationship between the main stakeholders. Conservation of protected species, such as slow worms and common lizards, added £1 million to the cost, due to the need for an unforeseen ecological survey. It is difficult not to agree with former Labour AM Lorrain Barrett’s views, expressed in the Public Accounts Committee in February 2011:

'There should be enough evidence to tell you whether the great crested newt is living along the route or in the reens. I would have thought that that sort of thing could have been factored in.’

It is encouraging that the Assembly Government followed good practice and carried a post-product review on the Ebbw valley railway line. By July 2009, passenger numbers were 42 per cent greater than had originally been forecast. Such figures only add to the argument that opening the railway link between Newport and Ebbw Vale, which has been delayed by successive Governments, is a priority.

While the report acknowledged that the Welsh Government has improved practices, equally astonishing is the fact that earlier estimates did not include allowances for cost inflation over the assumed lifetime of the project and the repeated failure to establish meaningful dialogues with utility providers. This stemmed from poor two-way communications and the Government’s lack of influence over utility companies. With the Wales Audit Office still having concerns over the Welsh Government’s approach, it is vital that further steps are taken to improve practice and minimise the waste of precious public resources, particularly in such straightened economic times. In particular, the Welsh Government should introduce a central project management system to collect robust data, establish common performance indicators for all major transport projects, improve guidance to local authorities over planning and delivery of transport projects, and establish more formal relationships with utility companies to minimise disruption.

Ann Jones: During the last Assembly, I campaigned for a sustained focus on Wales’ east-west transport routes. I was also a member of the Finance Committee and I was pleased to sign up to its cross-party report. We should learn lessons and always look to find better ways to deliver projects for the people of Wales. I was delighted to see that the Minister for Local Government and Communities now has transport in his brief, and I know that Carl will do a massive job in putting right those east-west relationships that have gone adrift.

I led a short debate in the last Assembly, which I focused on the issue of road infrastructure and my belief in the commitment to east-west travel. That debate united Assembly Members from across north and south Wales. It even united the CBI and the TUC—and to get those together is a good thing. The Heads of the Valleys road, the A55 that cuts through my constituency and the M4 are all vital arterial routes for our Welsh economy. The north Wales corridor is recognised by the EU as a strategic route, acting as a link for trade between mainland Europe and Ireland, as well as internal business with Llandudno, Rhyl, Manchester, Chester and Liverpool. Mid Wales has the strategic links with the Midlands and in south Wales the major markets in south-east England are at stake, as is the viability of Welsh businesses and brands in west Wales. I have always believed and continue to believe that the pursuit of an integrated transport system to boost our economy is more important than any efforts at so-called nation-building. I had some concerns about those priorities when Plaid Cymru was in Government in the last Assembly. I am therefore reassured that Welsh Labour, this Government and, in particular, this Minister for transport will place east-west links and economic development at the front and centre of our transport policy.

I was also heartened to read that the Government plans to look at ways to simplify the transport planning system, making it work more effectively on a regional basis. I believe that this will be crucial to our regeneration efforts across Wales. We know that Labour has already delivered in many parts of Wales, as I am sure the Rhondda AM Leighton Andrews would mention were he allowed to speak in this debate. For people in some of our most deprived areas, routes to work and economic hubs must really be opened up by new road developments. This must continue. This sort of progress on infrastructure takes time; it is never easy, but I believe that Labour is the only party able to deliver that, as the Tories still believe that people in communities such as mine or the north of England should simply move south. That is the typical race-to-the-bottom stance.

I want to mention briefly unpredictable and severe weather conditions, which affect roads more and more with the advent of climate change. Keeping our transport network in Wales open at these times is imperative. I am encouraged to see that the Government intends to review the arrangements for winter road maintenance currently undertaken by local authorities and to consider the potential for these being carried out by the trunk road agencies in Wales.

There is still a great deal more to do to improve our transport infrastructure in Wales. I have to mention Arriva Trains in this. As a regular train user, as many of my colleagues from north Wales are, I know that we need reliable trains and good rolling stock. It is no good having a second express service if we do not have the rolling stock. I refer back to the many times that I have said in this Chamber that, but for my friend Darren Millar—and it is not very often that I say 'my friend Darren Millar’—[Laughter.]—I would never have got off the wonderful express train at Rhyl, because the old-fashioned stock was not accessible for me, with a slight disability, when getting on and off the train. Heaven help someone in a wheelchair.

Therefore, Minister, you have a great deal to do to put those issues right, but I believe that you are up to that challenge and I look forward to listening to you as you ensure that we learn from those lessons so that we get the best results for investment for many years to come.

Nick Ramsay: Thank you, acting Deputy Presiding Officer—

The Deputy Presiding Officer: Order. I am not acting. In its wisdom, the Assembly elected me as Deputy Presiding Officer.

Nick Ramsay: I congratulate the Minister on taking on the transport brief. You are becoming a bit like the John Prescott of the Welsh Assembly. [Laughter.] Your brief is ever expanding, but hopefully you will not start hitting me when you are out canvassing. [Laughter.] As demonstrated in the great opening to this debate by my colleague Byron Davies, it is a sad indictment that many transport projects have cost substantially more and taken longer to complete than expected. Yes, this has been an ongoing problem over a long time—it has not suddenly happened in recent times—but when I sat on the Finance Committee we did a report that highlighted some of the very real problems that have occurred in recent times, problems that I hope the Minister with responsibility for transport will deal with.

We certainly need to ensure that funding for transport projects is used in an efficient way, and we need action for this to happen. I was listening to what Rhodri Glyn Thomas said earlier, and you would hope indeed, Rhodri, that this would be common sense, like the Liberal Democrat amendment, which looks like common sense to me. Thank goodness that there is some common sense coming from at least a couple of parties in the UK at the moment. Just look at these statistics: the cost of 81 major transport projects in Wales have been 61 per cent higher than the original estimate. That is an extraordinary statistic. The Wales Audit Office report, which is well worth a read, found that costs had increased from £306 million to £592 million, a huge overspend of £226 million. I sat on the last Assembly’s Finance Committee, ably chaired by my colleague Angela Burns.

5.00 p.m.

It is not often that I quote Alun Davies, but he has been quoted once already. I know that we should now call him 'the Minister’, but thinking back to his previous life, when he had that youthful exuberance that we grew to love on the Finance Committee, he did speak of the need to scrutinise this. We did a report and he came forward with a number of his own reports—ably supported by other colleagues—so incensed was he at the time by some of the slippage that was happening. As he identified, we should not simply accept slippage. If you have slippage in other areas of Assembly policy, it is not slippage; it is necessary. In fact, I think that those were his words, not mine; therefore, I have obviously learned from the best. In terms of transport, we do accept slippage, which simply should not happen. As Alun has said, when we are talking about widening the Heads of the Valleys road through the Clydach gorge, we are not talking about sending a Welshman to the moon, and we are not talking about putting a tunnel through the Alps; we are talking about building a road. It has been happening for thousands of years in Britain, since Roman times, and they seemed to do it far more efficiently than us.

I will not go through any of the projects that have been identified before, although I would take issue with Rhodri Glyn Thomas saying that these projects pre-date the previous Government. The construction of the Heads of the Valleys road has been taking place for a considerable length of time—certainly under the 'One Wales’ agreement that we had previously. It seems that it will continue for another several decades at the current rate of progress. However, I would like to see more of an emphasis on east-west links. Sometimes you could fail to notice that there was a reorganisation or a re-designation of transport links from north to south under the previous coalition Assembly Government. It did not always seem to deliver the sort of results that we would expect in terms of the links from north to south. Ann Jones mentioned the need for north-south links to be improved, as well as east-west links.

As my colleague Byron Davies said at the start, we need a gateway review and we need the Government to get to grips with this issue. I appreciate that the Minister is new in post, or has only recently taken over this aspect of the portfolio, but we certainly look to him for action. Please get to grips with this issue of slippage. We would not have had the damning report from the audit office if the previous Government had listened and taken on board all of the issues raised by the previous Finance Committee. If those issues had been dealt with a long time ago, we would not need to have this debate today. Please do what you can to make sure that Wales gets the transport links and the road links that it deserves.

Andrew R.T. Davies: It is a pleasure to speak in this debate. I heard Rhodri Glyn’s comments about the debate not being timely; however, I think that it is timely as we have a new Minister for transport and in light of some of the serious concerns that the audit office highlighted. The sum of £250 million is not a small sum of money in anyone’s exchequer. When you look at the pressures on the capital budgets, you will see that it is incumbent on the Assembly to understand the new Minister’s direction in addressing some of the concerns that the audit office highlighted and, in particular, the ideas that he has. In his response to this debate, I hope that he will bring forward some of the new ideas or some of the more robust measures that he believes can be put in place to deliver value for money. Byron clearly emphasised various projects across Wales on which there were really massive overruns on expenditure. In my own electoral region, the Porth bypass finally came in at a cost of £102 million, as opposed to £30 million. Also, the Church Village bypass cost considerably more than the original estimates. That ultimately puts massive cost pressures on other projects that the Government would wish to bring forward by utilising the transport budget.

My contribution today will be about the other pressures on that budget. Obviously, it is not just roads that account for the transport budget within the Minister’s portfolio. Point 3 of our motion tries to highlight the importance of cost-effectiveness and the damage that a lack of efficiency causes to the rest of the budget.

Darren Millar: Were you, like me, concerned at the revelations by the Wales Audit Office that some projects had been brought forward due to political pressure, with the knowledge that they would never be achieved within a reasonable timescale, and that announcements had been brought forward simply for political gain?

Andrew R.T. Davies: That is the most damning indictment in the report: that it is the political narrative that is driving some of these policies and projects. In America, they call it 'pork barrelling’ when people pad out the vote in their constituencies. I hope to hear from the Minister that he now has robust measures in place in his department to ensure that these types of actions do not continue in the future.

In the past four years, I have often talked in the Chamber about the ability of people with disabilities, particularly those with sight and hearing impairments, to access public transport, and buses in particular. Ann Jones touched on this when she mentioned her experiences on the railways. There is also an issue about the training of staff on bus routes and train services, and the disconnect between the level of service provided by Arriva Trains Wales, for example, and the bus operator that might be providing services. When the Government issues contracts to providers, those contracts need to contain measures to ensure that people do not feel excluded. However, if the money is not there to support those types of initiatives because it has gone into other projects, they cannot be brought forward.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas: Thank you for taking the intervention. You talk about pressures on the budget, but will you recognise that the greatest pressure on the transport capital budget is that the sum of money that will be available will have reduced by over half from £320 million to £140 million by 2013-14, and that that is a result of the policies of the coalition Government in London?

Andrew R.T. Davies: The biggest pressure on any public expenditure in Wales would be if Wales adopted the notion that you support of an independent Wales outside the union of the United Kingdom. Let us have that debate, Rhodri Glyn; let us go out there and tell the people of Wales because wages and capital projects would be decimated by your independence agenda. That is the biggest cut that we would have.

I want to hear from the Minister about the propositions that he will put forward now that he has the 10-year transport policy in his remit. It is critical, at the outset of his tenure, that we understand how he will address these shortcomings, and how he will meet the aspirations of some of the objectives regarding sustainable projects and cycle routes. If the money is not available, he will not be able to develop them, as is the case with disability access to public transport, and, above all, he will not be able to put in place those measures that could be counted on to ensure that all parts were working together and not in isolation, which leads to the massive cost overruns that have been identified in this report.  

Julie Morgan: One of the projects mentioned in the Wales Audit Office report is the widening of the M4 between junctions 29 and 32, which has not been mentioned during the debate. This is the part of the motorway between Cardiff and Newport, and a large part of it goes through my constituency of Cardiff North. I am sure that you will all remember the huge delays on that road before the two lanes were widened to three. The purpose of the project was to reduce the intense congestion while causing as little disruption as possible to the surrounding communities. This project made good sense for the local area, for east to west links and for the good of Wales.

My experience was that this project was handled extremely well, which was also the verdict of the Wales Audit Office. So, there was some good news about a project in the report, due to the fact that it was completed just a month later than estimated and that the final cost is likely to be within the £99 million budget, which is a great achievement. People in the Thornhill community in particular, which borders the M4, were consulted well in advance individually and in public meetings, and the whole situation was dealt with sensitively. Land north of the M4 was used to minimise disruption and there was effective liaison with Assembly Government officers prior to the start of construction. This project was handled well throughout its entire duration.

In the Wales Audit Office report, the good performance of this project is put down to the early involvement of the contractor and designer, which has been mentioned already. This seems to be key to getting a good result. This particular project also benefited from the sensitive way in which local communities were dealt with; those communities did suffer huge disruption, but that disruption was kept to a minimum.

The Wales Audit Office report makes important points and I know that we are taking those points very seriously. However, we should also remember that, during the lifetime of a project, things can change a lot. Many things can cause a project to go on for longer and also for its design to change, which can sometimes result in a better project in the end. The target price of the M4 project, for example, was increased by £2 million because of changes by the Department for Transport to design standards for safety barriers and, therefore, many things may change that are beyond the control of Government officials. However, I accept that there are lessons to be learned in this report.

Nick Ramsay: I am grateful to Julie Morgan for giving way and I agree with the first part of what she said, that the widening of the M4 north of Cardiff has made a huge difference to commuters. Would she agree that, while some elements—you can call them slippage or whatever you like—are beyond the control of Government officers, as identified in some of the reports that we have seen, the fact is that in some cases inflation had not been taken into account at the outset, when the road development was being planned? That is completely unacceptable and unreasonable in this day and age. Surely you would expect the good practice of taking inflation into account to be used across the board. It is ridiculous that, under the previous Government, it was not always taken into account.

Julie Morgan: There are certainly lessons to be learned from this report and I am sure that the Government will learn them. There has already been improvement, as has been mentioned today, during the last few years. However, I see no point in playing the blame game over who was responsible for this and who was responsible for that. We need to learn the lessons that are contained in this report. I particularly wanted to draw attention to the fact that there is a good example near to us of a project that has been carried out extremely well, that has come in within budget, with little delay and with the minimum of disruption to the people in the area. It is important to put on record that there has been success in delivering projects and that one is of particular importance to me because it is in my constituency.

Mohammad Asghar: I am pleased to be involved in this great debate. I was a member of the Finance Committee for the first three years of the last Assembly and I know about this problem and how these things happened when the transport priorities were changed and a lot of money was spent in different places. New words were added to my vocabulary, such as 'optimism bias’—I still find it hard to understand what it means—'slippage’ and God knows what else.

The Deputy First Minister did a good job under the circumstances; I am not going to go against anyone. However, the fact is that we still have not been able to get a world-class transport system. My colleagues—Byron, Nick, Andrew and William—have said what I have written here, but, basically, all the transport system projects in Wales cost 61 per cent more than estimated. Someone has to take the blame. Julie was wonderful to say that we must learn the lessons, but there is no need to do so the hard way. We must think. Money is in short supply everywhere in the world. We must be careful that we make the most of our projects. It is about time that we learnt that travel is not only about roads, but trains, planes and the sea. We have all this water around us that could be used as some transportation system.

This is the time to think about private entrepreneurship in Wales. I am talking to those on the other side of the Chamber who have always stopped us from doing this. There are short-haul flight opportunities to go to north Wales from Cardiff within 20 minutes, whereas it takes a day to travel from Cardiff to Anglesey and back currently, which is totally unacceptable for international investors and businessmen and for the United Kingdom business community. Corporate officials would like to see better transport facilities, which are very important. Our party would and will encourage those private entrepreneurs to come here to invest in the transport system.

5.15 p.m.

No speaker has mentioned that yet, but it is about timethat we encouraged this, because we have lost a lot of time and money over many years under administrations led by this party. The Government itself is bringing forward strategies that go against its own policy. That was the mistake of the last administration, and we must learn, and we must not do that again. I am here to say that we need to do more in Wales. This is a matter of shame to us all, but we should look in particular at those who have been ruling Wales for God knows how many years—and there is only one party in the frame. I am very concerned about how we found ourselves in this situation in the first place, wasting hard-earned public money, which is spent without adequate financial controls in place. At present, there is no appropriate system for collecting information on trunk road projects in Wales. Is that not shameful? Yet it is the reality. I welcome steps to introduce a central project management system, but it must be implemented as soon as possible, and must ensure that performance is analysed thoroughly and properly.  

As the Wales Audit Office suggests, performance indicators must also be set to ensure that contractor performance can be compared, and is ready for rigorous evaluation and analysis ahead of any future project. Effective communication is key. The report highlights the need for a more fundamental relationship to be established between the Welsh Government and utility companies, which is lacking at the moment. The audit office claims that an ineffective relationship has contributed to significant delays and cost increases, and this simply is not acceptable. To hear that this public money has been wasted because the Welsh Government has failed to build a proper relationship with the utility companies is something that this administration should take very seriously.

The Deputy Presiding Officer: Order. Wind up your remarks, please.

Mohammad Asghar: Consistency is also crucial. Presently, the individual performance of major transport projects varies massively, and the audit office report must be considered seriously.

The Minister for Local Government and Communities (Carl Sargeant): First, I thank and congratulate Byron Davies, the South Wales West Member, for introducing his first debate today. Regrettably, I think that he may have been led up the garden path, or at least up the A470, by his party, and he seems to have fallen for it—this report is six months old, and his party never raised it in the previous Assembly. It is important that we move on from this to look at where we are now.

The findings of the report are helpful, and the process of working with the Wales Audit Office and others who contributed was productive in helping us to shape how we move forward. I also thank Peter Black for his constructive contribution this afternoon.

It is important to recognise that evidence was gathered for this report over a considerable period. Although I am pleased that the report has acknowledged the significant improvements that we have made to our processes, I would also like to re-emphasise some of them. We have already put in place a number of controls that have tightened processes and addressed some of the issues identified. That is not to say that there is not still much more to be done. The Member was right to say that the facts are the facts, and there is a lot of money that could have gone into front-line services, new road building or other important functions. What are we doing? What did the previous Minister contribute to this? I will reiterate the points that he read from the report of the Auditor General for Wales.

We are continually improving our processes in the management of the trunk road programme. We are improving risk management, following best practice in procurement, ensuring early contractor involvement and comprehensive cost information, developing those key performance indicators for contractors and consultants—the very ones that William Graham raised—developing good relationships with contracting parties and undertaking the gateway review, which was mentioned by colleagues. All of that is already under way. Therefore, let us not be under any illusion that we are not doing anything about it, because we certainly are. As Julie Morgan and many others rightly said, we are seeing the benefits of making changes to this proposal, such as those seen with the recent completion of the Church Village bypass, which was delivered on time and within the agreed budget. We can expect this success to be repeated, but we should not rest on our laurels. It is still a challenging time for the programme.

It is clear that the building of roads is extremely complex, from the design stage to the key stage assessments, which range from 1 to 6. Indeed, the changes that can happen from the appointment at key stage 3 to key stage 6 are extremely important. Those changes have been seen with many of the road developments mentioned today. The move to a two-lane project from a one-lane project, following public consultation, for example, clearly means additional costs. That should be dealt with in better up-front planning processes.

I believe that we have addressed many of the Wales Audit Office report’s recommendations. I will continue to strive, in my new role as Minister with responsibility for transport, to ensure that we get best value for money. I can never give guarantees to the Assembly that we will not be over budget on some projects, because circumstances are, in some cases, out of our control, as Members have recognised today. However, we must certainly keep our eye on the ball.

Andrew R.T. Davies:You might touch on this later, but I want to refer you to my comments on the equality of access to transport. Ministers may have noble sentiments in this field, but many people on the ground are not seeing much effect. Can you commit to pushing forward this agenda of equality of access to public transport, so that people with disabilities have the opportunity to make full and open use of such modes of transport?

Carl Sargeant: You raise an important point, and I know that you share the same views as my colleague Ann Jones about driving this agenda forward. As a former Minister with responsibility for equality—a responsibility that now lies with my colleague Jane Hutt—I believe that we must make public transport accessible to all, which is what I strove to do during my time as Minister with responsibility for equality. I now have a new opportunity to move that agenda forward, as Minister with responsibility for transport. Therefore, I will commit to driving that agenda forward, and I hope that you can support me in that role.

We have learned many lessons and there are still lessons to be learned, but the Welsh Government is moving forward in establishing a road programme for the future. I have listened carefully to Members’ contributions today, and colleagues and I will support the amended motion today. As Peter Black said, I hope that we can take advantage of greater road-building technologies and move forward, on budget and on time, for the people of Wales.

Angela Burns:I thank the Minister for his reasonable response to our debate today. I remind Members that what we are asking for is that this Assembly welcomes the Wales Audit Office report. After all, if we treat the Wales Audit Office as the organisation that we believe it to be—custodian and guardian of what we do—we should welcome the reports that it produces and learn any lessons contained within them. We areasking Members to note with concern that many transport projects have cost substantially more in the past and have come in late, and I do not think that there has been any dispute about that. We also asked for the new Welsh Labour Government to ensure that funding for transport projects is used efficiently and effectively, and that has particularly come out in two contributions, namely those of Ann Jones and Mohammad Asghar. Mohammad made a good point that we need to have a world-class transport infrastructure in Wales. That is what Wales deserves and that is what we need in order to bring in investment.

Ann Jones made the point about the necessity to strengthen the east-west corridors for economic prosperity and economic renewal, as well as north-south links. We have a new Minister for business, and I am pretty certain that she, too, would support the call for ensuring that we have these links so that the businesses that we are trying to attract are able to get to all parts of our country. They should not simply reside in the Cardiff/Newport/Swansea area, but should be able to get out to west, north and mid Wales, bringing economic renewal and prosperity. That is why transport is so important.

The Wales Audit Office report is excellent in highlighting lessons for us, going forward. I am glad that the Minister has said that he is going to make it a priority to learn those lessons and move on. I draw the Minister’s attention to one of the recommendations made in the Finance Committee report, which is to form a separate agency to look at strategic road and rail network building programmes. Some have mentioned that it is easy for this emotive issue to be politicised and for it to move up and down political agendas. The southern Irish formed a national roads authority—I am sure that we could look at other parts of it—and went for a 10-year funding programme. They looked at how they could do it, where they could bring in other investment and they looked at the controversial subject of toll roads, but they made a plan for what they needed to get their country on the map and to get investment in. Those kinds of lessons from abroad are the sort of things that we might be able to look at.

I am not going to mention all speakers; there were some great contributions, for which I am grateful. However, I will take issue with one thing that Rhodri Glyn Thomas said. He felt that the previous Minister was being unfairly held to account for projects that had been started prior to his time. I accept that—these projects are in the pipeline for years—but the Wales Audit Office was talking about the monitoring and delivering over the last few years. The leader of the opposition and I went to see the then Minister in 2007 to discuss a project that had not even started—the Penblewin to Slebech Park scheme—and that project overspent by £14 million, I think.

Some of my colleagues mentioned optimism bias and slippage. For those of us who are not aware of how engineering projects work, under the old system you would build in tonnes of overspend and optimism bias, but new methods of management and delivery have now come into play. That, Minister, is what you need to take forward and build on, because these new methods would ensure that this kind of thing does not happen.

I will finish with one final comment. If we had an overspend, a slippage or a black hole of £226 million in education or health, there would hell to pay, because those are things that everybody really cares about. However, as a nation, we need to care about our major transport infrastructure, because our economic health and long-term prosperity depend on us getting it right. The sum of £226 million would have bought an awful lot more roads and railways, more disabled access and more buses for rural communities. We could have used that money so much more effectively.

The Deputy Presiding Officer: The proposal is to agree the motion without amendment. Does any Member object? I see that there are objections. I defer voting on this item until voting time.

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

Dadl Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru Debate

Cyfalaf ar gyfer Prosiectau Seilwaith
Capital for Infrastructure Projects

The Record

The Deputy Presiding Officer: I have selected amendment 1 in the name of Nick Ramsay, amendments 2, 4 and 5 in the name of Peter Black and amendment 3 in the name of Jane Hutt. If amendment 1 is agreed, amendments 2, 3 and 4 will be deselected. If amendment 2 is agreed, amendment 3 will be deselected; if amendment 3 is agreed, amendment 4 will be deselected.

The Record

Cynnig NDM4741Jocelyn Davies

Motion NDM4741Jocelyn Davies

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

Yn galw ar Lywodraeth Cymru i hwyluso sefydlu cwmni nid-am-elw-dosbarthiadwy i godi cyfalaf ar gyfer prosiectau seilwaith.

Calls on the Welsh Government to facilitate the setting up of a not-for-distributable-profit company to raise capital for infrastructure projects.

Ieuan Wyn Jones: Cynigiaf y cynnig.

Ieuan Wyn Jones: I move the motion.

Diolch, Ddirprwy Lywydd, am y cyfle i gyflwyno’r ddadl hon. Fel yr ydym i gyd yn gwybod, yr oedd pob un o’r pleidiau’n ymwybodol yn ystod ymgyrch etholiad mis Mai eleni o’r toriadau enfawr a welwyd yng nghyllideb Llywodraeth Cymru yn sgîl yr adolygiad gwariant cynhwysfawr diweddaraf. Yr oedd y toriadau yn waeth yng Nghymru nag yng Ngogledd Iwerddon a’r Alban, gyda thoriad o 7.5 y cant yn y gwariant refeniw a 41 y cant yn y gwariant cyfalaf. Fel y gŵyr pawb erbyn hyn, yr oedd y toriad refeniw ychydig yn is na’r disgwyl, ond yr oedd y toraid cyfalaf gryn dipyn yn uwch. Dyna oedd y darlun cyn mis Mawrth eleni. Erbyn hyn, mae’r sefyllfa hyd yn oed yn waeth, gan fod y Trysorlys wedi codi lefel yr hyn a elwir yn ddatchwyddwr cynnyrch mewnwladol crynswth. O ganlyniad i hynny, mae’r toriad cyfalaf bellach yn 44 y cant dros y tair blynedd hyd at 2014, sy’n cyfateb i gyfanswm o doriadau mewn cyfalaf yn unig o £772 miliwn.

Thank you, Deputy Presiding Officer, for the opportunity to introduce this debate. As we all know, all parties were aware, during last May’s election campaign, of the huge cuts imposed on the Welsh Government budget as a result of the latest comprehensive spending review. The cuts were worse in Wales than in Northern Ireland or Scotland, with a cut of 7.5 per cent in revenue expenditure and 41 per cent in capital expenditure. As we all now know, the revenue cut was a little lower than expected, but the capital cut was quite a bit higher. That was the picture before March of this year. The situation is even worse now, as the Treasury has increased the level of what is called the gross domestic product deflator. As a result, the capital cut is now 44 per cent over the three years to 2014, which equates to total cuts in capital alone of £772 million.

5.30 p.m.

 

I roi hynny yn ei gyd-destun, gwariant cyfalaf y Llywodraeth ym mlwyddyn olaf Llywodraeth Cymru’n Un oedd £1.75 biliwn. Bydd £772 miliwn o doriad yn y ffigur hwnnw. Gwyddom i gyd fod prif wariant cyfalaf y Llywodraeth ym meysydd iechyd, addysg a thrafnidiaeth. Mater sy’n gwanio sefyllfa’r Llywodraeth ymhellach yw’r ffaith bod y Llywodraeth ddiwethaf—ac yr oeddem yn cytuno â hyn—wedi dod â chyfalaf ymlaen i helpu’r diwydiant adeiladu yn nannedd y dirwasgiad. Felly, mae llinell sylfaen y Llywodraeth ar gyfalaf gymaint â hynny’n llai.

To put that in context, Government capital expenditure in the last year of the One Wales Government was £1.75 billion. That figure will be cut by £772 million. We all know that the Government’s main capital expenditure is in the areas of health, education and transport. An issue that further weakens the Government’s position is the fact the previous Government—and we agreed with this—had brought capital forward in order to help the construction industry in the teeth of the recession. Therefore, the Government’s capital baseline is that much less.

O edrych ar y dosraniad rhwng meysydd gwariant y Llywodraeth, mae’r ffigurau’n wironeddol frawychus. Cofier mai ar adeiladu ysbytai, ysgolion, tai, ffyrdd a rheilffyrdd y mae’r mwyafrif llethol o wariant cyfalaf. Felly, bydd torri’n ôl sylweddol ar wariant yn y meysydd hyn oni bai bod arian cyfalaf ychwanegol ar gael.

Looking at the allocations to the Government’s areas of expenditure, the figures are truly frightening. We should bear in mind that the construction of hospitals, schools, houses, roads and railways accounts for the vast majority of capital expenditure. Therefore, there will be significant cuts on expenditure in these areas unless additional capital funds are available.

Gadewch imi roi enghraifft ynghylch mater y manteisiodd rhai aelodau o’r Llywodraeth ar y cyfle i gyfeirio ato yn ystod cwestiynau i’r Gweinidog Cyllid y prynhawn yma, sef adeiladu ysgolion. Os yw ffigurau’r datchwyddwr cynnyrch mewnwladol crynswth yn gywir, ac maent yn cael eu gwireddu o safbwynt chwyddiant, yn ystod y cyfnod hyd at 2013-14, bydd toriad yng nghyllideb gyfalaf yr adran addysg o £127 miliwn. Mae’n anochel y bydd hynny’n arwain at lai o ysgolion newydd. Felly, beth a fydd yn digwydd i’r awdurdodau lleol hynny sy’n mynd drwy’r broses boenus—fel y gwyddom i gyd—o resymoli ysgolion? Gan nad oes gan y Cynulliad unrhyw bwerau trethiannol a chan fod rhaid inni weithredu y tu mewn i gyfyngiadau’r bloc Cymreig, yr unig ffordd y gallwn godi arian ychwanegol yw drwy edrych y tu allan i’r bloc am gymorth.

Let me give an example relating to an issue that some members of the Government took the opportunity to refer to during questions to the Minister for Finance this afternoon, namely building schools. If the GDP deflator figures are correct, and they are brought about in terms of inflation, during the period up to 2013-14, there will be a cut in the capital budget of the schools department of £127 million. That is bound to lead to fewer new schools. Therefore, what will happen to those local authorities that are going through the painful process—as we are all aware—of rationalising schools? Given that the Assembly does not have taxation powers and that we must work within the limitations of the Welsh block, the only way in which we can raise additional funds is to look outwith the block for assistance.

Dyma’r cefndir. Yr oeddem yn teimlo, fel plaid yn wynebu’r etholiad, fod yn rhaid edrych am gynigion blaengar ac arloesol i wynebu her y toriadau enfawr hyn, gan barhau i gefnogi’r diwydiant adeiladu. Yn ystod ymgyrch yr etholiad, cynigiodd Plaid Cymru bolisi o’r enw Adeiladu dros Gymru, a fyddai’n sefydlu cwmni a fyddai’n werth £500 miliwn ac a fyddai’n creu hyd at 500,000 o swyddi. Byddai’r cwmni hwn yn creu buddsoddiad mewn trafnidiaeth, ysgolion, ysbytai, cartrefi newydd a’r seilwaith ehangach sydd ei angen i fod yn sylfaen i dwf economaidd yng Nghymru. Mae hynny’n fuddsoddiad allweddol o ystyried y toriadau o 44 y cant i gyllideb gyfalaf Cymru.

That is the background. We felt, as a party facing the election, that we had to look for innovative proposals to face the challenges of these huge cuts, while continuing to support the construction industry. During the election campaign, Plaid Cymru proposed a policy called Build for Wales, which would establish a company worth £500 million that would create up to 50,000 jobs. This company would generate investment in transport, schools, hospitals, new homes, and the wider infrastructure required as the basis for economic growth in Wales. This is crucial investment bearing in mind the cuts of 44 per cent in the Welsh capital budget.

Byddai arian ar gyfer y cwmni yn cael ei godi drwy gyfrwng ffurf newydd o fuddsoddi, sef buddsoddi yn seilwaith a datblygu Cymru. Yn sylfaen i hynny, byddai cynllun seilwaith i Gymru gyfan. Gyda llaw, mae’r mecanwaith i godi arian yn debyg iawn i gynlluniau’r Alban, sef y pwerau sydd bellach yn cael eu datganoli i’r Alban gan y Trysorlys ac sydd wedi’u cynnwys ym Mil newydd yr Alban.

The funding for the company would be raised through a new form of investment, namely investment in Wales’s infrastructure and development. As a basis for that, there would be an infrastructure plan for the whole of Wales. By the way, the mechanism to raise funding is very similar to schemes in Scotland, namely the powers that are now being devolved to Scotland by the Treasury and which have been included in the new Scotland Bill.

Byddai’r corff hwn yn annibynnol, a byddai’n cael ei seilio ar agwedd nid-am-elw-dosbarthiadwy Glas Cymru. Byddai’n gyfrifol am gyllido buddsoddi mewn seilwaith newydd i’r sector cyhoeddus, yn ogystal â chaffael, rheoli a monitro prosiectau. Byddai’n codi cyllid hirdymor drwy’r marchnadoedd ariannol er mwyn talu am brosiectau seilwaith sector cyhoeddus yng Nghymru a’u gweithredu. Byddai elw’r cwmni’n cael ei fuddsoddi mewn prosiectau seilwaith yng Nghymru. Wrth gwrs, gwyddom fod buddsoddwyr mewn cronfeydd, fel cronfeydd pensiwn, cwmnïau yswiriant a chronfeydd cyfoeth sofran, yn fodlon ystyried buddsoddi mewn cynlluniau fel hyn oherwydd eu bod yn rhoi elw tymor hir iddynt sy’n rhagweladwy a diogel. Wrth gwrs, mae’r banciau yn darparu cyllid am yr un rhesymau. Byddai’r gyfradd llog a fyddai’n cael ei thalu ar y ddyled gan Lywodraeth Cymru yn dibynnu, yn naturiol, ar gyfraddau’r farchnad ar y pryd. Serch hynny, byddai’r gyfradd credyd a fyddai’n cael ei rhoi yn debygol o fod yn dda oherwydd byddai’r Llywodraeth y tu ôl iddi. Credwn, felly, y byddai gwasanaethu £500 miliwn o ddyled, gan gynnwys ad-daliadau cyfalaf, yn costio llai na 0.3 y cant o’r grant bloc. Hoffwn bwysleisio nad cynllun menter cyllid preifat yw’r cynllun hwn, ond cwmni nid-am-elw-dosbarthiadwy.

This body would be independent, and would be based on the not-for-distributable-profit model of Glas Cymru. It would be responsible for funding new infrastructure development for the public sector, as well as project procurement, management and monitoring. It would raise long-term funding on the financial markets in order to pay for and implement public sector infrastructure projects in Wales. The company’s profits would be invested in Welsh infrastructure projects. We know, of course, that those who invest in funds, such as pension funds, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds, are willing to consider investing in schemes like this as they give them secure and forecastable long-term profits. Banks, of course, provide finance for the same reasons. The interest rate paid on the debt by the Welsh Government would naturally depend on market rates. However, it is likely that the credit rating would be good as a result of the Government backing. We believe, therefore, that servicing a £500 million debt, including capital repayments, would cost less than 0.3 per cent of the block grant. I would like to emphasise that this is not a private finance initiative scheme, but a not-for-distributable-profit company.

O dan ein cynlluniau, byddai’r elw’n cael ei ddefnyddio i ailfuddsoddi yng Nghymru. Mae cynlluniau menter cyllid preifat yn dosbarthu elw ymysg cyfranddalwyr. O dan gynlluniau menter cyllid preifat, mae cyrff yn dod i gytundeb ar adeiladu prosiect a’i redeg yn y dyfodol. Fodd bynnag, mae model y Blaid yn caniatáu i gwmni Adeiladu dros Gymru fod yn landlord gyda phrydles safonol, nid darparwr gwasanaethau. Dyna, wrth gwrs, oedd un o brif wendidau cynlluniau menter cyllid preifat. Ni fyddai’r cwmni’n darparu gwasanaethau, nac yn cyfyngu ar ddefnydd yr adeilad y tu allan i’w oriau agor. Byddai’r cwmni yn darparu’r adeilad yn unig. Byddai hynny’n golygu na fyddai cymaint o gyfyngiad ar wasanaethau, nac ar y ffordd y byddai’r adeilad yn cael ei ddefnyddio.

Under our proposals, the profit would be reinvested in Wales. Private finance initiative schemes distribute profits among shareholders. Under private finance initiative schemes, organisations come to agreements on the building and future running of a project. However, Plaid Cymru’s model allows the Build for Wales company to be a landlord with a standard lease, but not a service provider. That is, of course, one of the main weaknesses of private finance initiative schemes. The company would not provide services, and it would not put limits on out-of-hours use of buildings. The company would merely provide the building. That would mean fewer limitations on services and on how buildings could be used.

The Record

I firmly believe that the Welsh Government must be bold and innovative if it is to meet the challenges posed by the massive cuts in capital spend. So far, the response has been weak and timid. Contrast that with the situation in Scotland, where the approach has been clear, focused and decisive. Labour initially rejected our plan to raise capital and to create jobs. Now, the party has to think again or come up with its own plan. The scale of the cuts that we face will not really hit us until the Welsh Government is forced to make further announcements about the projects that it will have to abandon unless it finds new ways of raising finance. I was very surprised by the response of the Minister for Finance today, who said that that will not happen. How can you possibly deliver the capital programme when your capital is being reduced by £772 million?

Let us examine what the First Minister has said so far. He wants borrowing powers. We agree with that, but there are no signs that these powers will be available any time soon. We also know that the biggest cuts in capital will hit us this year and next year. Therefore, plans to build new schools and hospitals will either have to be scrapped, or new funding will have to be found from somewhere else. Plans for new road schemes will also have to be abandoned. The First Minister has also given the impression that looking for ways to raise capital outside the block grant and getting borrowing powers are either/or options. That is not the case. In my view, we need both; the power to borrow money, in itself, will not be sufficient. The First Minister is quite right to say that the power to borrow money is not a panacea: it is not free money and it has to be paid for. The Welsh Government will need an income stream to pay the interest on the loan. Given that there is also a squeeze on revenue funding, it will be difficult to service the loan. That is why the Welsh Government’s position on tax-varying powers is so incomprehensible. Within the straitjacket of a block grant, the power to borrow money is a very limited instrument. Since Scotland has raised the bar in terms of the transfer of fiscal autonomy, I believe that this Government has to be more ambitious for Wales. It must raise its game, because we cannot afford to be left behind.  

The Record

Gwelliant 3 Jane Hutt

Amendment 3Jane Hutt

Dileu popeth ar ôl 'Lywodraeth Cymru i’ a rhoi yn ei le:

Delete all after 'Welsh Government to’ and replace with:

'archwilio dulliau arloesol, cydweithredol y gall Llywodraeth Cymru ac eraill, megis awdurdodau lleol a’r sector preifat, reoli asedau a chodi cyfalaf ar gyfer ei fuddsoddi mewn seilwaith ar gyfer y gwasanaeth cyhoeddus, a pharhau i archwilio ffyrdd cynaliadwy a hyblyg eraill o fuddsoddi mewn gwasanaethau cyhoeddus.’

'explore innovative, collaborative ways in which the Welsh Government and others, such as local authorities and the private sector, can manage assets and raise capital for investment in public service infrastructure, and continue to explore other, sustainable and flexible forms of investment in public services.’

The Record

The Minister for Finance and Leader of the House (Jane Hutt): I move amendment 3 in the name of Jane Hutt.

The Record

Gwelliant 1 Nick Ramsay

Amendment 1 Nick Ramsay

Dileu’r cyfan a rhoi yn ei le:

Delete all and replace with:

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

1. Yn galw ar Lywodraeth Cymru i:

1. Calls on the Welsh Government to:

a) Ystyried yr holl gyfleoedd i godi cyfalaf ar gyfer prosiectau seilwaith; a

a) Consider all opportunities to raise capital for infrastructure projects; and

b) Sicrhau bod mwy o ddadansoddi costau mewn prosiectau adeiladwaith mawr er mwyn cael mwy o gyfrifoldeb dros gyllidebau a bod gwaith yn cael ei gyflawni ar amser.

b) Ensure greater cost analysis of major construction projects to achieve greater budget responsibility and deliver timely results.

The Record

Nick Ramsay: I move amendment 1 in my name.

I am grateful to Plaid Cymru for bringing forward this important debate. I say at the outset that we on these benches will not support the motion unamended, in so far as that motion calls for the establishment of a not-for-profit company of the sort set out by Ieuan Wyn Jones. That said, Ieuan Wyn Jones certainly made a few good points in his opening statement. He certainly set the agenda for this debate with regard to the gamut of issues that need to be considered. Whatever our views across the Chamber on the future financing of the Assembly and Wales, it is clear that this is a complex area in which different elements, such as borrowing and taxation, cannot always be seen in isolation, although we might sometimes like to do that.

Ieuan Wyn Jones mentioned the scale of the capital cuts coming from Westminster. I think that we would all accept that there are cuts that the Welsh Government has to deal with, but I would like to put on record the fact that I know exactly why we are in this position of having to make cuts, as I have said frequently in discussions with the Welsh Government’s Minister for Finance. You made a joke earlier about doing a better job in Westminster—I would not agree with you on that, Minister. I would agree, however, that it is not the fault of any of you that we are in this position. I know that many of your officials are doing their best and are working hard to deal with the impossible situation created not by you—nor by you in Plaid Cymru, to respond to that expectant look from Simon Thomas—but by the previous UK Labour Government. We are where we are, however, and we have to move forward and deal with the situation.

There are pressures on capital budgets and that requires, as the Labour amendment suggests, that we look at new and innovative ways of dealing with the financial situation. We looked at the European Investment Bank on the Finance Committee when I was a member of it, along with Angela Burns, who chaired the committee at the time. I remember asking questions of the former Minister for finance, Andrew Davies. He revealed that, up until a few years ago, very little resource had been sought by any Welsh Government department from the European Investment Bank. We said as a committee that that was exceptionally strange. I understand, from discussions with Andrew Davies just before he left, that that situation had been changing. I hope that that is the case because, if you look at Spain, for instance, a number of very expensive transport projects in the north of Spain have been funded by the European Investment Bank, so it is an avenue of funding that the Welsh Government needs to consider, and it is one that could prove particularly helpful at this time of shrinking budgets, and shrinking capital budgets in particular.

The issue of borrowing powers, which has arisen again today—it is clear that it will take centre stage over the coming months and years—is interesting. It is anomalous that the Welsh Government and the Assembly does not have the ability to borrow. Northern Ireland, Scotland, local authorities and even, to a certain extent, community councils, can borrow. It is particularly strange that we have a different settlement. I am not against borrowing powers. In fact, in principle, I support the idea of an institution such as this having borrowing powers. However, I have great concerns over the fact that I have still not heard the case for them being made. Yes, Scotland is going down the road of getting enhanced borrowing powers, but the Scottish Government has gone to the UK Government with a very specific case, relating to the requirement for a new Forth road bridge, because the current one is falling apart. I asked the Minister for Finance earlier if she would state specifically what sort of projects her Government intends to use borrowing powers for. If you were to approach the UK Government with some specific examples, I think that you might get a different response, and more of an enthusiastic response than that which we have seen up to now.

As Ieuan Wyn Jones said, borrowing, whether we have it or not, is not a panacea. Whatever the interest rates might be, the money will have to be paid back. Also, the UK as a whole has to show that its economy is running smoothly, and we have to show that any borrowing has been taken into account effectively. If a local authority wants to borrow money prudentially it can ask the UK Government, but that has to feature in the UK’s balance sheet.

5.45 p.m.

We must therefore understand that there has to be some sort of funding stream,whether the unspeakable issue—as far as the First Minister is concerned—of income tax is talked about, which I certainly would not support, or whether you recognise that you need a far more reasonable relationship with the UK Government and that you need to say 'Can we have a bit of borrowing here, because the Welsh Government is sometimes—but not always—in a better position to know what the priorities are of the people of Wales and to know how that borrowing could be more effective.’  

The Record

Gwelliant 2 Peter Black

Amendment 2 Peter Black

Dileu 'yn galw ar Lywodraeth Cymru i hwyluso sefydlu’ a rhoi yn ei le 'yn pryderu am y diffyg manylion sydd ar gael ar gyfer’.

Delete 'calls on the Welsh Government to facilitate the setting up of’ and replace with 'is concerned about the lack of detail available for’.

Gwelliant 4 Peter Black

Amendment 4 Peter Black

Ar ôl 'seilwaith’ rhoi 'ond yn galw ar Lywodraeth Cymru i archwilio dichonoldeb cynllun o’r fath o fewn y setliad datganoli ariannol presennol.’

After 'projects’, insert 'but calls on the Welsh government to examine the feasibility for such a scheme within the current financial devolution settlement.’

Gwelliant 5 Peter Black

Amendment 5 Peter Black

Ychwanegu pwynt newydd ar ddiwedd y cynnig:

Add as new point at end of motion:

Yn cydnabod, er mwyn bod mewn safle cryfach i godi cyfalaf ar gyfer prosiectau seilwaith, bod angen mwy o hunanreolaeth ariannol ar Gymru.

Recognises that to be in a stronger position to raise capital for infrastructure projects, greater fiscal autonomy for Wales is needed.

The Record

Kirsty Williams: I move amendments 2, 4 and 5 in the name of Peter Black.

I thank Ieuan Wyn Jones and the Plaid Cymru group for tabling this debate. I agree with much of Ieuan Wyn Jones’s analysis in the sense that we need to look at where, in future years, we are going to get the resources we need to invest in our capital infrastructure. The need for that investment is clear. We have just spent the last hour talking about road improvements and there are communities the length and breadth of Wales that are calling out for bypasses and improvements in their local areas. Members have spoken eloquently this afternoon about the ability to invest in new rolling stock in our trains, for instance. In education, the previous Government was not able to meet its aspirations with regard to school buildings, and I am sure that we could all think of schools in our own constituencies that desperately need capital investment, as well as our hospitals. Year on year, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have highlighted the issue of health and safety in our hospitals and the significant cost of addressing the backlog of repairs.

We definitely have a problem with regard to our infrastructure, and we need ways of financing it. Our ability to use our own resources is now curtailed, and there will simply not be enough. I would argue that it was probably never enough simply to rely on our own budget to meet the capital resource demands of Wales, so we certainly need to look at other options if we are not to see our capital infrastructure, which is already graded poorly by national and international comparisons, fall even further behind. Therefore, we need to explore all possibilities. Amendment 5 recognises that our ability to respond to this agenda would be greatly helped by increased fiscal devolution. Therefore, like the previous two speakers, I welcome the announcement by the First Minister earlier this week about the need for this institution and the Welsh Government to have borrowing powers. That is appropriate, and it is one way—but only one—in which we could begin to address these issues. Personally, I would like to see fiscal autonomy and devolution go further than that—

Nick Ramsay: I am grateful to the Member for Brecon and Radnorshire for giving way. I want to clarify. I am sure you will agree, Kirsty, that our situation as regards borrowing powers is anomalous. I think that there are arguments for the Welsh Government to have borrowing powers, but the Welsh Government should be making a far stronger case for the individual projects for which Wales would benefit from having those powers.

Kirsty Williams: There is agreement across the floor of the Chamber about the need to have those powers. How we achieve them is a matter for each political party in the Chamber. We need to think about how best we can use persuasion and our contacts to achieve what is best for Wales and what we all want to see. As I said, I would go further, but I accept that that would not be supported by the Conservatives, and it would certainly not be supported by Labour at this juncture.

I turn to the specific proposals from Plaid Cymru with regard to its new mechanism for raisingfunding for infrastructure, namely the not-for-distributable-profit company. In principle, I feel unable to support or vote against that proposal because, from Ieuan Wyn Jones’s introductory speech, I do not have enough detail to know whether that is a feasible option. However, I do not think that it would be wise for anyone to rule anything off the table at this stage. Therefore, our amendment asks the Government to look at the feasibility of establishing such a mechanism under our current powers, to look at the cost-benefit analysis, and to have further discussions about how that would work in practice.

I can see the benefits of it, including not falling into some of the traps that the old PFI projects have fallen into, and I can see that, certainly in the case of Glas Cymru, this kind of mechanism has worked very well. However, at this stage, we simply have not heard enough detail from Plaid Cymru to know whether it is an appropriate way forward, hence our amendment calling on the Government to explore further whether this is a viable option. At this stage, any Government would be arrogant to rule anything out altogether given the nature of the problems it is facing in terms of capital investment and the capital moneys available to us.

The Record

Alun Ffred Jones: Bydd y sylwadau y byddaf yn eu gwneud yn amlwg yn debyg i’r sylwadau y mae Ieuan wedi eu gwneud. Y ffaith amdani yw ein bod yn gwybod bod y sefyllfa anodd ynglŷn â chyllid cyfalaf yn ein disgwyl ni yn dilyn datganiad y Llywodraeth yn Llundain. Mae Ieuan wedi sôn am ba mor argyfyngus y mae’r sefyllfa ar hyn o bryd. Yr ydym yn wynebu toriad sydd bron â bod yn 50 y cant o’r gyllideb gyfalaf. Fodd bynnag, yr ydym wedi gwybod bod y sefyllfa yn anodd ers blynyddoedd, oherwydd byddai cynlluniau Alistair Darling, pe baent wedi eu gwireddu, wedi dod â ni i sefyllfa debyg, er nid mor eithafol â’r cynlluniau presennol.

Alun Ffred Jones: The comments that I will make will obviously be very similar to those made by Ieuan. The fact of the matter is that we know that a very difficult situation in terms of capital funding awaits us following the statement by the Government in London. Ieuan has pointed out how critical the matter is at present. We face a cut of almost 50 per cent to the capital budget. However, we have known for some years that the situation is difficult, because Alistair Darling’s plans, had they come to fruition, would have brought us to a similar situation, albeit perhaps a little less extreme than the current plans.

Yr oedd yn ddiddorol gwrando ar ddatganiad y Prif Weinidog ddoe wrth iddo wneud y cysylltiad uniongyrchol rhwng yr angen i fuddsoddi mewn cynlluniau cyfalaf cyhoeddus a budd yr economi. Y ffaith syml amdani yw, os na fyddwn yn codi tai, datblygu’r rheilffyrdd a ffyrdd, codi ysgolion newydd ac adnewyddu ein hysbytai, bydd cwmnïau preifat yn edwino, bydd gweithwyr yn colli eu swyddi, ac mae gwir berygl y byddwn yn colli arbenigedd y gweithlu hwnnw wrth i  bobl adael Cymru i chwilio am waith.

It was interesting to listen to the First Minister’s statement yesterday, when he made the direct link between the need to invest in capital public projects and the wellbeing of the economy. The simple fact is that, if we do not build new homes, develop the railways and roads, build new schools and repair our hospitals, private companies will suffer, workers will lose their jobs, and there is a genuine danger that we will lose the expertise of that workforce as it leaves Wales to seek work.

Felly, mae darganfod ffyrdd o gynnal gwariant ar gynlluniau cyfalaf yn gwbl hanfodol i iechyd ein heconomi. Mae Gerry Holtham yn gwneud y pwynt hwnnw yn glir iawn mewn erthygl yng nghylchgrawn Sefydliad Materion Cymreig. Dyma pam y bu i Blaid Cymru ddod â chynllun penodol, Adeiladu dros Gymru, yn ein maniffesto fel ymateb i’r her sydd yn ein hwynebu. Mae’r Alban eisoes wedi sicrhau pwerau i fenthyg mewn ffordd hynod o debyg i gynlluniau Adeiladu dros Gymru. Mae Ieuan wedi gwneud y pwynt yn barod y byddem yn gobeithio codi arian ar y farchnad bond—arian cyfalaf o tua £500 miliwn. Mae un amcangyfrif y gallem, drwy hynny a thrwy’r cynlluniau a fyddai’n dilyn hynny, gynnal hyd at 50,000 o swyddi dros y blynyddoedd nesaf.

Therefore, finding new ways to support spending on capital projects is essential to the wellbeing of our economy. Gerry Holtham makes that point very clearly in a recent article in the Institute of Welsh Affairs magazine. That is why Plaid Cymru brought forward a specific programme, Build for Wales, in our manifesto as a response to this challenge we face. Scotland has already secured powers to borrow in a way that is very similar to the Build for Wales programme. Ieuan has already made the point that we would hope to raise money on the bond markets— around £500 million of capital funding. One estimate is that, through doing that and through the projects that would follow, we could support around 50,000 jobs over the coming years.

The Record

Nick Ramsay: Will the Minister give way?

Alun Ffred Jones: I am not a Minister, but carry on.

Nick Ramsay: I do apologise. Will the former Minister give way? [Laughter.] I am getting very confused today. It must be the time. You mentioned borrowing on the bond market, but that is not what is being proposed for Scotland. A limited arrangement for borrowing is being agreed with Scotland, which sees them borrowing from the Treasury, but the bond market is something different, and it would be different from what the Welsh Government would seek, I am sure.

The Record

Alun Ffred Jones: Credaf eich bod yn anghywir. Mae’n wir bod y Llywodraeth yn yr Alban wedi cael yr hawl i fenthyg gan y Trysorlys, ond mae gan Lywodraeth yr Alban bwerau i fenthyg arian o’r farchnad breifat hefyd. Felly, mae ganddi fwy nag un ffordd o ymateb i’r diffyg hwn.

Alun Ffred Jones: No, I think that you are incorrect. It is true that the Scottish Government has had the right to borrow from the Treasury, but it also has powers to borrow from the private market. Therefore, it has more than one avenue for responding to the lack of funds.

Byddai’r cwmni annibynnol newydd wedi ei seilio ar batrwm nid-am-elw-dosbarthiadwy Glas Cymru. Byddai’n gyfrifol am fuddsoddi yn yr isadeiledd a byddai angen cynllun cenedlaethol i gyflawni hynny. Mae’n bwysig, fel y dywedodd Ieuan, nad menter cyllid preifat yw hwn, cynllun sydd wedi profi’n eithriadol o ddrud i’r pwrs cyhoeddus. Mae adroddiadau diweddar yn dangos bod amryw o brosiectau menter cyllid preifat bellach yn cael eu gwerthu ar y farchnad. Felly, nid yn unig ei fod yn creu elw i un cwmni, mae’n gallu creu elw i ddau neu dri chwmni, sy’n profi pa mor beryglus oedd y cynllun hwnnw, beth bynnag oedd ei fanteision. Mae dadansoddiad wedi’i wneud sy’n dangos bod cwmnïau adeiladu sydd wedi arbenigo mewn cynlluniau PFI yn dangos elw o dros 60 y cant ar eu trosiant, tra bo’r rhan fwyaf o gwmnïau adeiladu dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf wedi gorfod bodloni ar elw o ryw 3 y cant. Dyna pam yr ydym yn credu bod y cynlluniau PFI hynny’n gwbl wrthun ac na fyddem yn cefnogi cynlluniau PFI o’r fath. Mae’r model yr ydym yn ei gynnig yn un a fyddai’n caniatáu i Adeiladu dros Gymru fod yn landlord, gyda phrydles safonol, ond heb fod yn darparu gwasanaethau.

The new independent body would be based on the not-for-distributable-profit model of Glas Cymru. It would then be responsible for investing in the infrastructure, and a national plan would be needed in order to do that. As Ieuan said, it is important that this is not a private finance initiative, a programme that has proven to be extremely expensive for the public purse. Recent reports have shown that a variety of PFI projects are now being sold on the markets. Therefore, not only does it provide a profit for one company, but it provides a profit for two or three companies, which proves how dangerous that programme was, regardless of what its advantages were. There has been an analysis that shows that construction companies that specialise in PFI projects have shown a profit of over 60 per cent in their turnover, while most construction companies have had to make do with a 3 per cent profit. That is why we think that those PFI projects are entirely objectionable and why we do not want to pursue projects of that kind. The model that we are proposing allows Build for Wales to be a landlord but not to provide services.

Mae llawer o waith da yn digwydd ym maes datblygu’r economi, ond, yn y tymor byr, mae’n rhaid inni gynnal y buddsoddiad cyfalaf hwn yn ein hisadeiledd. Yn anfoddus, ar hyn o bryd, mae’r Llywodraeth eisoes ar ei hôl hi o’ichymharu â’r Alban a Gogledd Iwerddon. O weld sylwadau Nick Clegg, er ei fod yn glên iawn yn eu gwneud nhw, nid oes brys mawr iawn yn Llundain i weithredu ar hynny.

A great deal of good work is happening in developing the economy, but, in the short term, we need to maintain this capital investment in our infrastructure. Unfortunately, the Government is already lagging behind Scotland and Northern Ireland. Having read the comments made by Nick Clegg, although he was kind to make them, there appears to be no great rush in London to implement them.

I gloi, y ffaith amdani yw ein bod yn wynebu sefyllfa anodd iawn. Mae’r twll du yn aros ac mae’r angen am arian cyfalaf yn aros. Mae’n rhaid inni ddod o hyd i ffyrdd o ymateb i’r diffyg hwnnw yn y tymor byr.

To conclude, the fact of the matter is that we are facing a difficult situation. The black hole remains and the need for capital funding remains. We need to find a way to respond to the lack of funding in the short term.

Elin Jones: Un o’r prif amheuon ynglŷn â pholisi economaidd a chyllidol Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol yw’r cwestiwn sy’n ymwneud â maint a chyflymder y toriadau mewn cyllid cyhoeddus, ac a fyddant yn cael adwaith negyddol ar berfformiad yr economi. Mae’n glir yn barod fod yr ansicrwydd yn sgîl y toriadau yn llesteirio twf economaidd. Mae ansicrwydd ymhlith holl weithwyr y sector cyhoeddus am eu swyddi, ac mae hynny’n lleihau hyder y cwsmeriaid. Hefyd, mae’r gostyngiad mewn gwariant cyfalaf gan y sector cyhoeddus yn lleihau contractau a’r gwaith sydd i’w gael yn ein heconomi, yn y sector adeiladu—mae nifer eisoes wedi cyfeirio at hyn—ond hefyd mewn sectorau preifat eraill. Golyga hyn, yn y pen draw, fod ein hadeiladau, ein gwasanaethau cyhoeddus a’n hisadeiledd yn dirywio, a byddant yn dirywio ymhellach dros y pump i 10 mlynedd nesaf.

Elin Jones: One of the main concerns in terms of the UK Government’s policy on finance and the economy is the scale and speed of the cuts in public expenditure, and whether they will have a negative impact on the economy. It is already clear that uncertainty as a result of the cuts is hindering economic growth. There is uncertainty among all public sector workers about their own jobs, which leads to a reduction in consumer confidence. Also, the reduction in capital funding in the public sector leads to a reduction in the number of contracts and the work available in our economy, in the construction sector—as many Members have already mentioned—but also in other private sectors. This ultimately means that our buildings, public services and infrastructure are deteriorating, and they will deteriorate further over the next five to 10 years.

Gyda chyllideb gyfalaf Llywodraeth Cymru yn profi toriad o 44 y cant, mae cyfrifoldeb ar y Llywodraeth i ddod o hyd i ffyrdd eraill o gyllido cynlluniau cyfalaf neu bydd yn caniatáu adwaith economaidd niweidiol. Mae’r mater hwn yn greiddiol i lwyddiant neu fethiant y Llywodraeth hon dros y pum mlynedd nesaf ac mae hefyd yn ganolog i allu ein heconomi i ailadeiladu ei hun. Mae’r cynllun i greu cwmni buddsoddi hyd braich o Lywodraeth i reoli a chomisiynu prosiectau cyfalaf yn arloesol ac yn synhwyrol ar yr un pryd. Ni fydd y cwmni’n dosbarthu elw, bydd yn cadw rheolaeth a pherchnogaeth asedau yn gyhoeddus a bydd yn benthyg ar y farchnad ariannol, fel sydd wedi ei amlinellu eisoes.

With the Welsh Government’s capital budget experiencing cuts of 44 per cent, there is a responsibility on the Government to identify new ways of funding capital projects or it will be allowing a damaging economic consequence. This is of crucial importance to the success or failure of this Government over the next five years and it is also central to our economy’s ability to rebuild itself. The plan to create an investment company at arm’s length from Government to control and commission capital projects is innovative and sensible at the same time. The company will not distribute profit, it will keep control and ownership of assets in the public domain, and it will borrow on the financial markets, as has already been outlined.

Mae nifer wedi cyfeirio at PFI eisoes, ond gwers fawr PFI oedd bod cwmnïau preifat wedi gwneud elw mawr i’w cyfranddalwyr ar draul y gyllideb gyhoeddus. Mae adroddiad a gyhoeddwyd yr wythnos hon gan yr European Services Strategy Unit yn dangos bod 150 o’r 700 o gynlluniau PFI drwy wledydd Prydain wedi dychwelyd elw o fwy na 50 y cant i’r cwmnïau preifat a oedd yn rhedeg y cynlluniau PFI hynny. Yr oedd y 50 y cant o elw hwnnw ar gynlluniau gwerth miliynau o bunnoedd. Pe bai’r cyfan o’r arian hwnnw gan naill ai Llywodraeth Cymru neu San Steffan, byddem wedi gallu ei wario ar wasanaethau i’n pobl yn hytrach na’i weld yn cael ei dalu fel elw i gyfranddalwyr.

Several Members have already referred to PFI, but the great lesson of PFI was that private companies made huge profits for their shareholders at the expense of the public purse. A report published this week by the European Services Strategy Unit demonstrates that 150 of the 700 PFI schemes throughout the British Isles had returned a profit of more than 50 per cent to the private companies that ran those PFI projects. That 50 per cent profit was on schemes that were worth millions of pounds. If the Welsh Government or the Westminster Government had retained all that money, it could have been spent on the provision of services for our people rather than becoming profit for shareholders.

Cyhoeddodd y Llywodraeth flaenorol ar ddechrau’r flwyddyn hon y rhestr o gynlluniau a oedd 'on hold’ i bob pwrpas oherwydd diffyg cyllid cyfalaf. Ymysg y prosiectau hynny yr oedd ysgolion, adrannau ysbytai, heolydd a gorsafoedd trenau. Mae un o’r prosiectau hynny yn fy etholaeth, sef ysbyty gymunedol i Aberaeron. Felly, mae galw am brosiectau cyfalaf cyhoeddus sydd yn barod i weld buddsoddiad cyllideb cyhoeddus, ond maent ar stop.  

The previous Government announced at the start of this year the list of projects that were to be put on hold to all intents and purposes because of the lack of capital funding. Among the projects listed were schools, hospital departments, roads and railway stations. One of those projects is in my constituency, that is, the community hospital for Aberaeron. Therefore, there is demand for public capital projects that require investment from the public purse, but they have now been shelved.

6.00 p.m.

 

Yr wyf yn anghytuno’n llwyr â’r toriadau ac yr wyf yn grac bod Llywodraethau Blair a Brown wedi caniatáu trachwant y banciau a arweiniodd at ddyled sydd bellach yn gorfod cael ei had-dalu gan y sector cyhoeddus a chan wasanaethau cyhoeddus ym mhob cymuned yng Nghymru, o’r orsaf drenau yng Nglynebwy sydd ar ei hanner, i ysbyty yn Aberaeron ac ysgol yn Llandudno. Mae cyfrifoldeb ar y Llywodraeth yn y fan hon i sefyll cornel Cymru, fel y mae’n hoff o ddweud. I wneud hynny, nid yw’n ddigonol gwneud dim ond cwyno yn y fan hon gydag ambell rant yn erbyn Llywodraeth Clegg a Cameron yn Llundain, nac ychwaith dal ambell drên i Paddington i gwrdd â Clegg a sôn am ba mor wael ydyw yn ôl yng Nghymru. Os yw’r Llywodraeth hon o ddifrif ynglŷn â gwarchod gwasanaethau a hybu economi Cymru, mae’n rhaid iddi achub ar gyfleoedd i edrych am ffyrdd arloesol o godi arian a buddsoddi.

I disagree entirely with these cuts and I am angry that the Blair and Brown Governments permitted the greed of the banks that led to the debt that now has to be repaid by the public sector and by public services in every community in Wales, from the railway station in Ebbw Vale that is on hold, to the hospital in Aberaeron and the school in Llandudno. There is a responsibility on the Government here to stand up for Wales, as it is so keen on saying. To do that, it is not enough to do nothing but whinge here and to have the odd rant against the Clegg and Cameron Government in London, or to take the occasional train to Paddington to meet Clegg and to talk about how awful it is back in Wales. If this Government is serious about protecting services and boosting the Welsh economy, it has to take the opportunities presented to look for innovative ways of raising money and investing.

Mae gan Blaid Cymru syniad o’r fath ac yr ydym yn ei gynnig fel syniad i’r Llywodraeth i’w drafod gyda’r Trysorlys ac i’w sgopio ymhellach, fel y dywedodd Kirsty Williams. Fel Plaid Cymru, byddwn yn gweithio gyda chi ar y syniad hwn er lles pobl ac economi Cymru. Mae cyfle heddiw i chi beidio â bod yn llwythol ac i ddangos arloesedd, asgwrn cefn a menter er lles pobl Cymru.

Plaid Cymru has such an idea and we are offering it as something for the Government to discuss with the Treasury and to scope it further, as Kirsty Williams said. As Plaid Cymru, we will work with you on this idea for the benefit of the people of Wales and the economy. There is an opportunity today for you to not be tribal, but to demonstrate innovation, backbone and enterprise for the benefit of the people of Wales.

The Record

The Minister for Finance and Leader of the House (Jane Hutt): Plaid Cymru has tableda topical debate on raising capital for infrastructure projects, which is an important policy area, and I welcome the opportunity to respond. As Ieuan Wyn Jones stated at the outset, the UK Government has imposed a cut of more than 40 per cent to the Welsh capital budget over the next four years, and by 2014-15 our capital budget will be 50 per cent lower in real terms than it was in 2009-10. As Ieuan Wyn Jones said, it is the worst settlement of all of the devolved administrations, so the challenge is great. I trust that the Assembly can unite behind the consideration of a wide range of options for using all possible levers to raise capital for infrastructure. Therefore, we accept amendments 1, 4 and 5 tabled by Nick Ramsay and Peter Black to achieve this end.

Despite the huge cut in our capital budget, we are committed to continuing to invest in public sector infrastructure—in schools, the NHS, social housing, roads and flood defences, all of which have been the subjects of debate and questioning this afternoon. Otherwise, we risk the adverse social consequences and economic drag of a declining infrastructure. Elin Jones correctly identified that. We would miss out on the potential economic benefits that investing in our infrastructure now, at a time when economic recovery is still fragile, would provide. As Ieuan Wyn Jones said, we brought forward capital as a fiscal stimulus in response to the recession, which had a major impact, with the support of the Confederation of British Industry and our social partners, and which provided the public contracts for the construction sector and kept our investment infrastructure moving.  

In a context where budgets are shrinking, but the need to invest remains, it is essential that the Welsh Government explores all potential ways of boosting investment in public sector infrastructure. Kirsty Williams’s contribution recognised the fact that we need to explore all potential ways of doing that. The need to boost investment is clear, but the question that we must address is how we can achieve that. More details have been fleshed out about Plaid Cymru’s manifesto commitment to establish an arm’s length not-for-profit infrastructure investment vehicle, Build for Wales. That is a potential way forward that merits consideration. There are also advocates for other models and different ways of using our assets to generate additional investment.

There is also the question of the Welsh Government’s access to more traditional forms of borrowing, which I will come on to. However, let us be clear, these are all potential approaches to borrowing that differ in various respects, but it boils down to the key questions of which approaches offer the best value for the Welsh pound and what we can accelerate, which are the right questions for us in the Welsh Government to be asking in taking this forward. It is important to recognise, as both Alun Ffred Jones and Elin Jones commented upon, that PFI is not the right route. If we had progressed PFI in our NHS projects over the last 10 years, it would be costing us £80 million to £100 million a year in maintenance costs.

Ieuan Wyn Jones: I am grateful for the thoughtful way in which the Minister is responding to this debate. It has been a thoughtful debate. Is she saying that if her amendment 3 were to succeed, she would happy to look at the Build for Wales plan as one of the options?

Jane Hutt: It would certainly be among the panoply of options that we would need to look at. I would want to include it.

The Welsh Government is supportive of innovative approaches—that is my response to financing our capital investment—but we must have detailed consideration of all those approaches. We need to consider the costs, the benefits and the risks associated with each approach. One size does not fit all and what is good for Scotland or Northern Ireland is not necessarily good for Wales. We have experience of innovative approaches in financing capital investment in Wales. Nick referred to the European Investment Bank, which is key to financing much of our social housing as it enables registered social landlords to access funding. I went to the opening of a pioneering housing scheme in my constituency recently that had levered in European Investment Bank funding. Through another example of this, the JEREMIE initiative, we have generated a revolving fund of £150 million, drawing on funding from the European Investment Bank and other sources to support business in Wales. We have innovative waste management programmes enabling the delivery of the next generation of waste disposal infrastructure through partnership with the private sector. We should and will draw on this experience as we consider our options.

It is abundantly clear from the response to the First Minister’s statement yesterday and today’s debate that there is cross-party support for the view that the Welsh Government should be able to borrow. I want to focus on that for a moment. Access to borrowing now would help us to smooth our capital deficit. It would offset the damaging impact of the cuts, support economic recovery through construction and develop public services infrastructure. Responding to Nick Ramsay’s questions to me earlier and in this debate, it would enable the effective and efficient planning of capital expenditure programmes in Wales over the medium term. Importantly, the profile of Welsh Government programmes would not be dictated by the capital expenditure decisions of the UK Government. We would have a grip on this. Of course, borrowed funds must be repaid; they are not free money. That is why borrowing powers should be devolved within a framework that would provide us with the extra flexibility that we need while, at the same time, ensuring affordability in the long run, recognising that this must be geared towards our programmes.

Nick Ramsay: I am grateful to the Minister for giving way. The point that I was making earlier was that Scotland has been granted enhanced borrowing powers in comparison with what had been promised initially, but there is nonetheless a cap on that borrowing—I think that it is £200 million or thereabouts. Scotland has gone to the Treasury with a specific list of projects that it wants to advance. I am probably wrong on the £200 million; I think that it is closer to £2.2 billion.

Jane Hutt: In terms of the way that we can take forward our infrastructure, we would be looking at that as part of our investment plans. We are beholden to the Treasury on this matter, but it is interesting to note that we already have the legal powers to borrow. The Welsh Development Agency Act 1975 gave the former WDA some limited powers to borrow, which were transferred to us in the Government of Wales Act 2006. However, current Treasury rules mean that if we were to borrow, it would adjust our grant downwards and that would leave us no better off. For every pound that we borrowed, the Treasury would decrease our block grant by a pound. Therefore, we need a change in Treasury rules to remedy that. It is a simple process that could take place without the need for a change in the law. That is what the First Minister and I are pushing for in our discussions with the UK Government.

Finally, the principle underpinning our approach is clear. We favour devolution of the broadest range of borrowing powers, meaning that in addition to borrowing via the Treasury, forthcoming talks with the UK Government will also look at borrowing from commercial organisations and allowing the Welsh Government to issue its own bonds. That is part of the discussions and we are open to a constructive debate on the best way forward as substantive discussions start.

Preventing the UK Government’s cut to our capital budget, leading to the sort of decline in Welsh infrastructure that we saw in the 1980s, is one of the biggest challenges we face. That is why the Welsh Government, with the backing of this Assembly, should explore all potential options for boosting investments.

The Record

Ieuan Wyn Jones: Yr wyf yn hynod o falch ein bod wedi cynnal y ddadl hon oherwydd bu’n ddadl hynod o synhwyrol ac aeddfed ynglŷn â’r ffordd ymlaen i Gymru. Yr ydym wedi gweld bod ychydig yn fwy o gonsensws nag yr oeddem efallai wedi ei ddisgwyl.

Ieuan Wyn Jones: I amvery pleased that we tabled this debate because it has been an extremely sensible and mature debate on the way forward for Wales. We have seen that there is a little more consensus than we may have expected.

The Record

I thank those who took part in the debate. I thank Nick Ramsay for his thoughts. He has not quite understood the powers that Scotland has had: it has had quite extensive powers and not only has it secured borrowing powers for the first time, but it has also had cash advances. It is not a borrowing power on the Forth bridge; it is a cash advance, enabling them to start work. Scotland has also had powers to go outside the block grant to raise finance through the bond market. Scotland has had a comprehensive package of support, as well as greater fiscal autonomy, which was the point that Kirsty made.

Nick Ramsayrose

Ieuan Wyn Jones: I think that I will run out of time in a second. I welcome the fact that you accept that we need to look beyond the current block grant in order to raise extra capital.

Kirsty made a fair point when she said that she would like more information—that is understandable. I would be happy to share with both the Government and opposition parties the workings behind this plan, which has been well thought-through. It is not something that we introduced as a gimmick for the election; it has been thoroughly considered and we would be happy to share some of that work. We understand that further work needs to be done with the Government and the Treasury, and we would be happy to share the work that we have already done and to take it further with the Government. We welcome the fact that the Liberal Democrats are happy to look at it when further details have been provided.

The Record

Cyfeiriodd Alun Ffred yn hollol gywir at effaith economaidd y ffaith nad oes gennym ddigon o arian cyfalaf a chyfaddefodd y Gweinidog y bydd ein cyfalaf i lawr 50 y cant erbyn diwedd tymor yr adolygiad gwariant cynhwysfawr. Mae hynny wrth gwrs yn swm sylweddol. Cyfeiriodd Elin Jones at effaith y lleihad yn nifer y contractau ac yn arbennig effaith hynny ar waith yn y sector preiaft. Credaf ei bod hi hefyd wedi tynnu sylw at ddiffygion PFI mewn ffordd sy’n tanlinellu’r ffaith nad cynllun PFI yw’r un yr ydym yn ei gynnig i’r Llywodraeth, ond cynllun sy’n golygu y bydd yr elw o waith y cwmni yn cael ei ailfuddsoddi yn yr isadeiledd. Yr wyf yn falch bod cymaint o bobl wedi cyfrannu mewn ffordd mor adeiladol.

Alun Ffred quite rightly referred to the economic impact of the fact that we do not have adequate capital and the Minister admitted that, by the end of the period of the current comprehensive spending review, our capital will be reduced by 50 per cent, which is of course a significant amount. Elin Jones referred to the effect of the reduction in the number of contracts and specifically the impact of that on work in the private sector. I believe that she drew attention to the deficiencies of PFI in a way that underlines the fact that it is not a PFI scheme that we are proposing to the Government, but a scheme that means that the profits generated by the company will be reinvested in infrastructure. I am pleased that so many people contributed in such a constructive way.

The Record

I welcome the response of the Minister for Finance, which was a little different to what we heard during the election campaign. However, it was welcome, because if we can now work together as an Assembly, it will help to deal with the challenging times that we face. The 44 per cent cut in our capital budget by 2013-14 means that all the schools, hospitals and road and rail infrastructure that we want for Wales will not be built unless we all work together to secure more finance. I am happy to work with the Government and all parties to secure the extra capital funding that Wales desperately needs for the years to come.

The Deputy Presiding Officer: The proposal is to agree the motion. Does any Member object? I see that there are objections and therefore I defer all voting on this item until voting time, which will now follow.

Do three Members wish for the bell to be rung? I see that no-one does, so we will move straight to voting time.

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

6.15 p.m.

Cyfnod Pleidleisio
Voting Time

Cynnig NDM4742: O blaid 15, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 39.
Motion NDM4742: For 15, Abstain 0, Against 39.

The Record

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

Pleidleisiodd yr Aelodau canlynol yn erbyn:
The following Members voted against:

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

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

Gwrthodwyd y cynnig.
Motion not agreed.

 

Gwelliant 1 i NDM4742: O blaid 26, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 28.
Amendment 1 to NDM4742: For 26, Abstain 0, Against 28.

The Record

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

Pleidleisiodd yr Aelodau canlynol yn erbyn:
The following Members voted against:

Asghar, Mohammad
Black, Peter
Burns, Angela
Davies, Andrew R.T.
Davies, Byron
Davies, Jocelyn
Davies, Paul
Elis-Thomas, Yr Arglwydd/Lord
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Graham, William
Gruffydd, Llyr Huws
Isherwood, Mark
Jenkins, Bethan
Jones, Alun Ffred
Jones, Elin
Jones, Ieuan Wyn
Millar, Darren
Powell, William
Ramsay, Nick
Sandbach, Antoinette
Thomas, Rhodri Glyn
Thomas, Simon
Whittle, Lindsay
Williams, Kirsty
Wood, Leanne

Antoniw, Mick
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Keith
Drakeford, Mark
Evans, Rebecca
Gething, Vaughan
Gregory, Janice
Griffiths, John
Griffiths, Lesley
Hart, Edwina
Hedges, Mike
Hutt, Jane
James, Julie
Jones, Ann
Jones, Carwyn
Lewis, Huw
Mewies, Sandy
Morgan, Julie
Neagle, Lynne
Price, Gwyn R.
Rathbone, Jenny
Rees, David
Sargeant, Carl
Skates, Kenneth
Thomas, Gwenda
Watson, Joyce

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment not agreed.

 

Gwelliant 2 i NDM4742: O blaid 39, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 15.
Amendment 2 to NDM4742: For 39, Abstain 0, Against 15.

The Record

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

Pleidleisiodd yr Aelodau canlynol yn erbyn:
The following Members voted against:

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

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

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment agreed.

 

Gwelliant 3 i NDM4742: O blaid 39, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 15.
Amendment 3 to NDM4742: For 39, Abstain 0, Against 15.

The Record

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

Pleidleisiodd yr Aelodau canlynol yn erbyn:
The following Members voted against:

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

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

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment agreed.

 

Gwelliant 4 i NDM4742: O blaid 15, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 39.
Amendment 4 to NDM4742: For 15, Abstain 0, Against 39.

The Record

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

Pleidleisiodd yr Aelodau canlynol yn erbyn:
The following Members voted against:

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

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

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment not agreed.

 

Gwelliant 5 i NDM4742: O blaid 43, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 11.
Amendment 5 to NDM4742: For 43, Abstain 0, Against 11.

The Record

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

Pleidleisiodd yr Aelodau canlynol yn erbyn:
The following Members voted against:

Antoniw, Mick
Asghar, Mohammad
Black, Peter
Burns, Angela
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Andrew R.T.
Davies, Byron
Davies, Keith
Davies, Paul
Drakeford, Mark
Evans, Rebecca
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Gething, Vaughan
Graham, William
Gregory, Janice
Griffiths, John
Griffiths, Lesley
Hart, Edwina
Hedges, Mike
Hutt, Jane
Isherwood, Mark
James, Julie
Jones, Ann
Jones, Carwyn
Lewis, Huw
Mewies, Sandy
Millar, Darren
Morgan, Julie
Neagle, Lynne
Powell, William
Price, Gwyn R.
Ramsay, Nick
Rathbone, Jenny
Rees, David
Sandbach, Antoinette
Sargeant, Carl
Skates, Kenneth
Thomas, Gwenda
Watson, Joyce
Williams, Kirsty

Davies, Jocelyn
Elis-Thomas, Yr Arglwydd/Lord
Gruffydd, Llyr Huws
Jenkins, Bethan
Jones, Alun Ffred
Jones, Elin
Jones, Ieuan Wyn
Thomas, Rhodri Glyn
Thomas, Simon
Whittle, Lindsay
Wood, Leanne

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment agreed.

 

Cynnig NDM4742 fel y’i diwygiwyd:

Motion NDM4742 as amended:

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

1. Yn galw ar Lywodraeth Cymru i hyrwyddo ystod eang o ffynonellau adnewyddadwy er mwyn lleihau effaith cynlluniau trydan adnewyddadwy unigol gymaint ag sy’n bosibl.

1. Calls on the Welsh Government to promote a wide range of renewable sources to minimise the impact of individual renewable electricity schemes.

2. Yn credu y byddai mwy o gymysgedd o ffynonellau ynni adnewyddadwy, yn cynnwys gwynt ar y môr, ynni’r llanw, a microgynhyrchu, yn lleihau’r angen yng Nghymru am y cynnydd sylweddol mewn capasiti gwynt ar y tir.

2. Believes that a greater mix of renewable energy sources, including offshore wind, tidal and microgeneration would reduce Wales’ need for significant increases in onshore wind capacity.

Cynnig NDM4742 fel y’i diwygiwyd: O blaid 51, Ymatal 3, Yn erbyn 0.
Motion NDM4742 as amended: For 51, Abstain 3, Against 0.

The Record

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

 

Antoniw, Mick
Asghar, Mohammad
Burns, Angela
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Andrew R.T.
Davies, Byron
Davies, Jocelyn
Davies, Keith
Davies, Paul
Drakeford, Mark
Elis-Thomas, Yr Arglwydd/Lord
Evans, Rebecca
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Gething, Vaughan
Graham, William
Gregory, Janice
Griffiths, John
Griffiths, Lesley
Gruffydd, Llyr Huws
Hart, Edwina
Hedges, Mike
Hutt, Jane
Isherwood, Mark
James, Julie
Jenkins, Bethan
Jones, Alun Ffred
Jones, Ann
Jones, Carwyn
Jones, Elin
Jones, Ieuan Wyn
Lewis, Huw
Mewies, Sandy
Millar, Darren
Morgan, Julie
Neagle, Lynne
Price, Gwyn R.
Ramsay, Nick
Rathbone, Jenny
Rees, David
Sandbach, Antoinette
Sargeant, Carl
Skates, Kenneth
Thomas, Gwenda
Thomas, Rhodri Glyn
Thomas, Simon
Watson, Joyce
Whittle, Lindsay
Wood, Leanne

 

Ymataliodd yr Aelodau canlynol:
The following Members abstained:

Black, Peter
Powell, William
Williams, Kirsty

 

Derbyniwyd cynnig NDM4742 fel y’i diwygiwyd.
Motion NDM4742 as amended agreed.

Cynnig NDM4743: O blaid 16, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 38.
Motion NDM4743: For 16, Abstain 0, Against 38.

The Record

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

Pleidleisiodd yr Aelodau canlynol yn erbyn:
The following Members voted against:

Asghar, Mohammad
Black, Peter
Burns, Angela
Davies, Andrew R.T.
Davies, Byron
Davies, Paul
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Graham, William
Isherwood, Mark
Jenkins, Bethan
Millar, Darren
Powell, William
Ramsay, Nick
Sandbach, Antoinette
Williams, Kirsty

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

Gwrthodwyd y cynnig.
Motion not agreed.

 

Gwelliant 1 i NDM4743: O blaid 39, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 15.
Amendment 1 to NDM4743: For 39, Abstain 0, Against 15.

The Record

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

Pleidleisiodd yr Aelodau canlynol yn erbyn:
The following Members voted against:

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

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

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment agreed.

 

Gwelliant 2 i NDM4743: O blaid 53, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 0.
Amendment 2 to NDM4743: For 53, Abstain 0, Against 0.

The Record

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

 

Antoniw, Mick
Asghar, Mohammad
Black, Peter
Burns, Angela
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Andrew R.T.
Davies, Byron
Davies, Jocelyn
Davies, Keith
Davies, Paul
Drakeford, Mark
Elis-Thomas, Yr Arglwydd/Lord
Evans, Rebecca
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Gething, Vaughan
Graham, William
Gregory, Janice
Griffiths, John
Griffiths, Lesley
Gruffydd, Llyr Huws
Hart, Edwina
Hedges, Mike
Hutt, Jane
Isherwood, Mark
James, Julie
Jenkins, Bethan
Jones, Alun Ffred
Jones, Ann
Jones, Carwyn
Jones, Elin
Jones, Ieuan Wyn
Lewis, Huw
Mewies, Sandy
Millar, Darren
Morgan, Julie
Neagle, Lynne
Price, Gwyn R.
Ramsay, Nick
Rathbone, Jenny
Rees, David
Sandbach, Antoinette
Sargeant, Carl
Skates, Kenneth
Thomas, Gwenda
Thomas, Rhodri Glyn
Thomas, Simon
Watson, Joyce
Whittle, Lindsay
Williams, Kirsty
Wood, Leanne

 

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment agreed.

 

Cynnig NDM4743 fel y’i diwygiwyd:

Motion NDM4743 as amended:

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

1. Yn croesawu adroddiad Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru ar Brosiectau Trafnidiaeth Mawr (2011);

1. Welcomes the report by the Wales Audit Office on Major Transport Projects (2011);

2. Yn nodi â phryder fod llawer o brosiectau trafnidiaeth wedi 'costio cryn dipyn yn fwy ac wedi cymryd mwy o amser i’w cwblhau na’r disgwyl’;

2. Notes with concern that many transport projects have 'cost substantially more and taken longer to complete than expected’;

3. Yn croesawu’r rheolaeth ariannol well dros brosiectau trafnidiaeth a reolwyd gan Lywodraeth Cymru ac awdurdodau lleol yn ystod y blynyddoedd diwethaf.

3. Welcomes the improved financial control of transport projects managed by the Welsh Government and by local authorities in recent years.

4. Yn galw ar Lywodraeth Cymru i sicrhau bod cyllid ar gyfer prosiectau trafnidiaeth yn cael ei ddefnyddio mewn ffordd effeithlon ac effeithiol.

4. Calls for the Welsh Government to ensure that funding for transport projects is used in an efficient and effective way.

5. Yn credu ei bod yn hanfodol i gadw prosiectau trafnidiaeth o fewn y gyllideb er mwyn sicrhau bod prosiectau eraill sydd mawr eu hangen yn gallu bwrw ymlaen.

5. Believes that it is essential to keep transport projects within budget in order to ensure that other much-needed projects can go ahead.

Cynnig NDM4743 fel y’i diwygiwyd: O blaid 42, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 12.
Motion NDM4743 as amended: For 42, Abstain 0, Against 12.

The Record

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

Pleidleisiodd yr Aelodau canlynol yn erbyn:
The following Members voted against:

Antoniw, Mick
Black, Peter
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Jocelyn
Davies, Keith
Drakeford, Mark
Elis-Thomas, Yr Arglwydd/Lord
Evans, Rebecca
Gething, Vaughan
Gregory, Janice
Griffiths, John
Griffiths, Lesley
Gruffydd, Llyr Huws
Hart, Edwina
Hedges, Mike
Hutt, Jane
James, Julie
Jenkins, Bethan
Jones, Alun Ffred
Jones, Ann
Jones, Carwyn
Jones, Elin
Jones, Ieuan Wyn
Lewis, Huw
Mewies, Sandy
Morgan, Julie
Neagle, Lynne
Powell, William
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

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

Derbyniwyd cynnig NDM4743 fel y’i diwygiwyd.
Motion NDM4743 as amended agreed.

Cynnig NDM4741: O blaid 11, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 43.
Motion NDM4741: For 11, Abstain 0, Against 43.

The Record

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

Pleidleisiodd yr Aelodau canlynol yn erbyn:
The following Members voted against:

Davies, Jocelyn
Elis-Thomas, Yr Arglwydd/Lord
Gruffydd, Llyr Huws
Jenkins, Bethan
Jones, Alun Ffred
Jones, Elin
Jones, Ieuan Wyn
Thomas, Rhodri Glyn
Thomas, Simon
Whittle, Lindsay
Wood, Leanne

Antoniw, Mick
Asghar, Mohammad
Black, Peter
Burns, Angela
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Andrew R.T.
Davies, Byron
Davies, Keith
Davies, Paul
Drakeford, Mark
Evans, Rebecca
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Gething, Vaughan
Graham, William
Gregory, Janice
Griffiths, John
Griffiths, Lesley
Hart, Edwina
Hedges, Mike
Hutt, Jane
Isherwood, Mark
James, Julie
Jones, Ann
Jones, Carwyn
Lewis, Huw
Mewies, Sandy
Millar, Darren
Morgan, Julie
Neagle, Lynne
Powell, William
Price, Gwyn R.
Ramsay, Nick
Rathbone, Jenny
Rees, David
Sandbach, Antoinette
Sargeant, Carl
Skates, Kenneth
Thomas, Gwenda
Watson, Joyce
Williams, Kirsty

Gwrthodwyd y cynnig.
Motion not agreed.

 

Gwelliant 1 i NDM4741: O blaid 40, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 14.
Amendment 1 to NDM4741: For 40, Abstain 0, Against 14.

The Record

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

Pleidleisiodd yr Aelodau canlynol yn erbyn:
The following Members voted against:

Antoniw, Mick
Asghar, Mohammad
Burns, Angela
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Andrew R.T.
Davies, Byron
Davies, Keith
Davies, Paul
Drakeford, Mark
Evans, Rebecca
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Gething, Vaughan
Graham, William
Gregory, Janice
Griffiths, John
Griffiths, Lesley
Hart, Edwina
Hedges, Mike
Hutt, Jane
Isherwood, Mark
James, Julie
Jones, Ann
Jones, Carwyn
Lewis, Huw
Mewies, Sandy
Millar, Darren
Morgan, Julie
Neagle, Lynne
Price, Gwyn R.
Ramsay, Nick
Rathbone, Jenny
Rees, David
Sandbach, Antoinette
Sargeant, Carl
Skates, Kenneth
Thomas, Gwenda
Watson, Joyce

Black, Peter
Davies, Jocelyn
Elis-Thomas, Yr Arglwydd/Lord
Gruffydd, Llyr Huws
Jenkins, Bethan
Jones, Alun Ffred
Jones, Elin
Jones, Ieuan Wyn
Powell, William
Thomas, Rhodri Glyn
Thomas, Simon
Whittle, Lindsay
Williams, Kirsty
Wood, Leanne

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment agreed.

 

Cafodd gwelliannau 2, 3 a 4 eu dad-ddethol.
Amendments 2, 3 and 4 deselected.

Gwelliant 5 i NDM4741: O blaid 43, Ymatal 11, Yn erbyn 0.
Amendment 5 to NDM4741: For 43, Abstain 11, Against 0.

The Record

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

 

Antoniw, Mick
Black, Peter
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Jocelyn
Davies, Keith
Drakeford, Mark
Elis-Thomas, Yr Arglwydd/Lord
Evans, Rebecca
Gething, Vaughan
Gregory, Janice
Griffiths, John
Griffiths, Lesley
Gruffydd, Llyr Huws
Hart, Edwina
Hedges, Mike
Hutt, Jane
Isherwood, Mark
James, Julie
Jenkins, Bethan
Jones, Alun Ffred
Jones, Ann
Jones, Carwyn
Jones, Elin
Jones, Ieuan Wyn
Lewis, Huw
Mewies, Sandy
Morgan, Julie
Neagle, Lynne
Powell, William
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
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Graham, William
Millar, Darren
Ramsay, Nick
Sandbach, Antoinette

 

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment agreed.

 

Cynnig NDM4741 fely’i diwygiwyd:

Motion NDM4741as amended:

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

1. Yn galw ar Lywodraeth Cymru i:

1. Calls on the Welsh Government to:

a) Ystyried yr holl gyfleoedd i godi cyfalaf ar gyfer prosiectau seilwaith; a

a) Consider all opportunities to raise capital for infrastructure projects; and

b) Sicrhau bod mwy o ddadansoddi costau mewn prosiectau adeiladwaith mawr er mwyn cael mwy o gyfrifoldeb dros gyllidebau a bod gwaith yn cael ei gyflawni ar amser.

b) Ensure greater cost analysis of major construction projects to achieve greater budget responsibility and deliver timely results.

2. Yn cydnabod, er mwyn bod mewn safle cryfach i godi cyfalaf ar gyfer prosiectau seilwaith, bod angen mwy o hunanreolaeth ariannol ar Gymru.

2. Recognises that to be in a stronger position to raise capital for infrastructure projects, greater fiscal autonomy for Wales is needed.

Cynnig NDM4741 fel y’i diwygiwyd: O blaid 53, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 1.
Motion NDM4741 as amended: For 53, Abstain 0, Against 1.

The Record

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

Pleidleisiodd yr Aelod canlynol yn erbyn:
The following Member voted against:

Antoniw, Mick
Asghar, Mohammad
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
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Gething, Vaughan
Graham, William
Gregory, Janice
Griffiths, John
Griffiths, Lesley
Gruffydd, Llyr Huws
Hart, Edwina
Hedges, Mike
Hutt, Jane
Isherwood, Mark
James, Julie
Jenkins, Bethan
Jones, Alun Ffred
Jones, Ann
Jones, Carwyn
Jones, Elin
Jones, Ieuan Wyn
Lewis, Huw
Mewies, Sandy
Millar, Darren
Morgan, Julie
Neagle, Lynne
Powell, William
Price, Gwyn R.
Ramsay, Nick
Rathbone, Jenny
Rees, David
Sandbach, Antoinette
Sargeant, Carl
Skates, Kenneth
Thomas, Gwenda
Thomas, Rhodri Glyn
Thomas, Simon
Watson, Joyce
Whittle, Lindsay
Williams, Kirsty
Wood, Leanne

Elis-Thomas, Yr Arglwydd/Lord

Derbyniwyd cynnig NDM4741 fel y’i diwygiwyd.
Motion NDM4741 as amended agreed.

The Record

The Deputy Presiding Officer: That concludes today’s business.

Daeth y cyfarfod i ben am 6.21 p.m.
The meeting ended at 6.21 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 (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)
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)
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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