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Cofnod y Trafodion
The Record of Proceedings

Dydd Mawrth, 4 Hydref 2011
Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Cynnwys
Contents

Cwestiynau i’r Prif Weinidog
Questions to the First Minister

Datganiad a Chyhoeddiad Busnes
Business Statement and Announcement

Datganiad: Y Gyllideb Ddrafft
Statement: Draft Budget

Datganiad: Hygyrchedd i Gyfreithiau Cymru a Datblygu Llyfr Statud i Gymru
Statement: Access to Welsh Laws and Developing a Welsh Statute

Datganiad: Rhaglenni Ewropeaidd yn y Dyfodol yng Nghymru
Statement: Future European Programmes in Wales

Cynnig Cydsyniad Deddfwriaethol Atodol ar Fil Senedd y DU ynghylch Lleoliaeth
Supplementary Legislative Consent Motion on the Localism Bill

Yr Adroddiad Blynyddol ar Ddatblygu Cynaliadwy
The Sustainable Development Annual Report

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. Galwaf Gynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru i drefn.

The Presiding Officer: Good afternoon. I call the National Assembly for Wales to order.

Cwestiynau i’r Prif Weinidog
Questions to the First Minister

The Record

Tlodi

Poverty

1. Christine Chapman: A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog roi’r wybodaeth ddiweddaraf am yr hyn y mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei wneud i ddileu tlodi yng Nghymru. OAQ(4)0146(FM)

1. Christine Chapman: Will the First Minister provide an update on what the Welsh Government is doing to eradicate poverty in Wales. OAQ(4)0146(FM)

The Record

The First Minister (Carwyn Jones): Tackling poverty is a fundamental priority for the Welsh Government, and an anti-poverty action plan is currently being developed.

Christine Chapman: Despite that progress, there is still an unacceptably high number of Welsh children living in poverty, which is exacerbated by the catastrophic cuts made by the UK Government. The indicators by which we assess child poverty have changed from those of a generation ago, and that is part of the challenge. Sometimes, there is a lack of understanding of the true nature of child poverty. What more can we do to ensure that child poverty, and the consequences of not solving it, remain at the forefront of both public awareness and the awareness of the agencies that have a role to play?

The First Minister: The child poverty strategy, which was published on 3 February, gives a clear account of what we can achieve as a Government in helping to reduce poverty. It contains, of course, three new strategic objectives for tackling child poverty for the period 2011 to 2014.

Mark Isherwood: The report, 'Children in severe poverty in Wales: an agenda for action’, published by Save the Children in February, said that Wales has the highest proportion of severe child poverty of the four UK nations. In July, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report, 'Monitoring poverty and social exclusion 2010’ found that improvement in the child poverty rate between the mid 1990s and mid 2000s in Wales had been lost in the previous five years. The Welsh Government’s new child poverty target requires the rate to fall four times as fast over the next 10 years as it has over the last 10. How, therefore, do you respond to the call in the Save the Children report for joint action at a UK and devolved level, with the two Governments working together to devise a plan to tackle severe child poverty?

The First Minister: We are happy to work with the UK Government when it comes to dealing with child poverty, and we expect a commitment from it that it will continue to take child poverty seriously.

Lindsay Whittle: In the Western world, poverty is very much a relative term. If you have no roof over your head, that, in my opinion, is real poverty. What steps is the Government taking to ensure that local authorities are meeting their full obligations to provide housing to those who desperately need it and are in priority need?

The First Minister: Local authorities have their responsibilities in terms of providing housing, and you will know that we have targets with regard to the number of houses that we wish to see built every year. We know that good progress was made in the previous four years of Government, particularly with the Government of the day, and we want to build on that progress.

Peter Black: First Minister, you will know that one of the best ways of dealing with poverty is to give young people opportunities in terms of better education and skills. How will your forthcoming budget, which will be published later this afternoon, target in particular those young people who are growing up in poverty to ensure that they have those opportunities and get the education and skills needed to apply for decently paid jobs and therefore get out of poverty?

The First Minister: I do not want to pre-empt the budget statement, but you will be aware that it is a manifesto commitment of this Government to increase education funding by 1 per cent a year, when taking into account the size of the block grant that we receive from Westminster.

The Record

Lefelau Cyflogaeth

Employment Levels

2. Gwyn R. Price: A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog ddatganiad am lefelau cyflogaeth yng Nghymru. OAQ(3)0143(FM)

2. Gwyn R. Price: Will the First Minister make a statement on employment levels in Wales. OAQ(3)0143(FM)

The Record

The First Minister: The latest employment data show that there were 1.3 million people in employment in Wales, but we also know that the economy remains in a fragile state.

Gwyn R. Price: Thank you for that answer, First Minister. The advent of 24-hour news means that we are literally seeing the Tories sucking away prospects for growth on a minute to minute basis. That is hitting communities such as my own hard, making it increasingly difficult for young people in particular to find work. First Minister, the next time that you meet the UK Government, can you stress to it that plan A is not working?

The Record

The First Minister: It is quite clear that plan A is not working; unfortunately, there does not seem to be a plan B, which I greatly regret.

Darren Millar: First Minister, I listened carefully to your answer, and what you did not say is that Wales has the least competitive business rates regime in the United Kingdom, and that that is contributing to uncertainty, particularly for small business that could do so much better if they were taken out of paying business rates altogether. Will you give careful consideration to our party’s proposals to exempt businesses whose rateable value is under £12,500 from paying business rates, in order to give them the confidence to create new jobs in the Welsh economy?

  

The First Minister: You will know that the small business rate relief scheme is in place until September of next year. Unfortunately, we do not have the magic money tree that seems to grow in Conservative party headquarters. Conservatives like to come up with uncosted policies that they know full well cannot be afforded.

Kenneth Skates: This morning, the credit card giant, MBNA, announced that it will cut 400 jobs at its Chester centre, despite announcing a profit of £348 million last week. Bank of America, of which MBNA is a part, says that most of the jobs losses will be voluntary. However, this will be a body blow to many families in north-east Wales. Do you agree that that is an example of the worst kind of short-term thinking that pervades the banking sector at the moment? Will you also examine how retraining support could be offered to those banking sector workers who live in north-east Wales?

 

The First Minister: As you will know, we have invested heavily in retraining over the past three or four years. Many people working at the Bank of America work on this side of the border, but I agree that it is important that, where business decisions are taken, they are not taken on a short-term basis. Rather, they should be planned for the longer term.  

The Record

Bethan Jenkins: A yw’r Llywodraeth wedi comisiynu neu gasglu unrhyw ymchwil ynglŷn â’r swyddi a gollwyd yn barod yn y sectorau sy’n rhan o gynllun adfywio economaidd y Llywodraeth, yn enwedig dros y ddwy flynedd ddiwethaf? Mae’r sectorau hyn yn bwysig, ond os oes swyddi wedi eu colli hoffwn gael syniad am y mannau lle gallwn gydweithredu i sicrhau bod y bylchau hyn yn cael eu llenwi yn y dyfodol.  

Bethan Jenkins: Has the Government commissioned or compiled any research into the jobs that have already been lost in those sectors included in the Government’s economic renewal scheme, especially over the past two years? These sectors are important, but if jobs have been lost, I would like an idea of where we can collaborate to ensure that these gaps are filled in future.

Y Prif Weinidog: Mae ystadegau’r farchnad lafur yn cael eu cyhoeddi bob chwarter. O fewn yr ystadegau hynny, mae’n bosibl edrych ar ba sectorau a gafodd eu bwrw. Fodd bynnag, nid yw’n bosibl canfod yn union lle mae pob swydd wedi cael eu colli.

 

The First Minister: Labour market statistics are published every quarter. Within those statistics, it is possible to look at which sectors have been hit. However, it is not possible to find out exactly from which sector every job has been lost.

Cwestiynau Heb Rybudd gan Arweinwyr y Pleidiau

Questions Without Notice from the Party Leaders

Arweinydd Plaid Cymru (Ieuan Wyn Jones): A yw’r Prif Weinidog yn cytuno bod angen pecyn i hybu’r economi, ac felly fod angen chwistrelliad o gyfalaf? Yr ydych yn dweud yn y rhaglen lywodraethu eich bod am archwilio ffyrdd arloesol a chydweithredol i godi cyfalaf i fuddsoddi yn y seilwaith gwasanaethau cyhoeddus. Gan nad yw’r ddogfen yn dweud sut y byddwch yn cyflawni hyn, sut y byddwch yn mynd ati i wireddu’r amcan hwnnw?

The Leader of Plaid Cymru (Ieuan Wyn Jones): Does the First Minister agree that a package is needed to boost the economy, and that an injection of capital is therefore required? You say in the programme for government that we want to explore innovative and collaborative means of raising capital to invest in public service infrastructure. Given that the document does not say how you will achieve this, how will you go about delivering that objective?

Y Prif Weinidog: Yr wyf yn cyd-fynd â’r hyn y mae arweinydd Plaid Cymru yn ei ddweud; dyna pam yr ydym am sicrhau bod pwerau benthyca yn dod i Lywodraeth Cymru cyn gynted â phosibl, o gofio am y trafod a fydd yn digwydd rhwng Llywodraeth Cymru a Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig, sydd yn broses a gefnogir gan bob plaid yn y Cynulliad.

The First Minister: I would go along with what the leader of Plaid Cymru says; that is why we want to ensure that borrowing powers come to the Welsh Government as soon as possible, bearing in mind the discussions that will take place between the Welsh Government and the UK Government, which is a process that is supported by every party in the Assembly.

Ieuan Wyn Jones: Pan fo eich dogfen yn sôn am archwilio ffyrdd arloesol, yr wyf yn cymryd eich bod yn golygu rhywbeth sy’n mynd ymhellach na benthyca. Mae benthyca yn rhywbeth yr ydym i gyd yn cytuno arno, ond a fyddech yn cytuno bod yn rhaid inni fynd ymhellach na hynny? Mae diffyg arian cyfalaf yn sialens enfawr—bydd y Llywodraeth yn colli £800 miliwn mewn termau real erbyn 2014, sy’n cyfateb i doriad o dros 46 y cant o gymryd chwyddiant i ystyriaeth. O ran y rhaglen ddrafft yr ydych eisoes wedi ei chyhoeddi, bydd gostyngiad yn y cyllidebau addysg ac iechyd o tua 50 y cant. Felly, bydd gostyngiad sylweddol. Os ydych yn dweud eich bod am fynd ar ôl yr hawl i fenthyca—ac yr ydym yn cytuno â chi ar hynny—beth yn ychwanegol y byddwch yn ei wneud? Er enghraifft, bu trafod ar fenthyca gan ddefnyddio llywodraeth leol. Yr ydym ar ddeall nad oes trafodaethau wedi digwydd rhyngoch chi ac awdurdodau lleol. Beth yr ydych wedi’i wneud yn y maes hwnnw? Yr ydym yn gwybod am y cynllun a gyflwynwyd gennym, sef Adeiladu dros Gymru. A ydych yn bwriadu edrych ar y rhychwant eang hwnnw, neu a ydych yn dibynnu’n llwyr ar gael pwerau benthyg?

Ieuan Wyn Jones: When your document mentions exploring innovative means, I assume that you mean something that goes further than borrowing. Borrowing is something that we all agree on, but would you agree that we have to go further than that? The shortage of capital funding is an enormous challenge—the Government will lose £800 million in real terms by 2014, which is equivalent to a cut of over 46 per cent taking inflation into consideration. With regard to the draft programme that you have already published, the education and health budgets will be reduced by about 50 per cent. The reduction will therefore be significant. If you are saying that you want to seek the right to borrow—and we agree with you on that—what will you do in addition? For example, the use of local government powers to borrow has been discussed. We are given to understand that no discussions have taken place between you and the local authorities. What have you done in this regard? We know about the scheme that we introduced, namely Build for Wales. Do you intend to look at the broad span of that scheme, or are you going to depend entirely on getting borrowing powers?

Y Prif Weinidog: 'Nac ydwyf’ yw’r ateb; byddwn yn ystyried pob ffordd i godi cyfalaf yn y dyfodol. Mae’n bwysig bod y cynlluniau yr ydym yn eu hystyried yn rhai ymarferol. Y cam cyntaf yw sicrhau bod gan y Llywodraeth yr hawl i fenthyca, a sicrhau ein bod yn cael ein rhan deilwng o ran cyllid, gan gofio gwaith comisiwn Holtham. Yr ydym yn edrych ar sawl ffordd i sicrhau mwy o gyfalaf i gyllideb Cymru, ac mae benthyca’n un rhan o hynny.

The First Minister: 'No’ is the answer to that; we will consider all ways of raising capital in future. It is important that the schemes that we consider are practical. The first step is to ensure that the Government has the right to borrow, and ensure that we have our proper share with regard to funding, bearing in mind the work of the Holtham commission. We are considering several ways of ensuring more capital for Wales’s budget, and borrowing is a part of that.

Ieuan Wyn Jones: Brif Weinidog—rhoddaf gyfle arall i chi—soniais am y trafodaethau posibl rhyngoch chi a llywodraeth leol i weld a fyddai modd defnyddio pwerau benthyg llywodraeth leol ar gyfer cynlluniau’r Llywodraeth, er enghraifft, ar gyfer ysgolion neu adeiladu ffyrdd. A oes trafodaethau wedi digwydd? Mae hi’n bwysig ein bod ni’n cael gwybod ble mae eich trafodaethau wedi cyrraedd. Yr ydym yn gwybod bod yn rhaid i chi fod yn uchelgeisiol ac yn rhagweithiol er mwyn i bethau symud yn eu blaen. Cwestiwn arall yr wyf am ei ofyn, yn ychwanegol at yr un am lywodraeth leol, yw: pa bwysau yr ydych wedi’i roi ar y Trysorlys i sicrhau, pe byddai chwistrelliad o gyfalaf yn dod i’r Deyrnas Gyfunol, fod Cymru’n cael rhan deg o’r arian hwnnw?

Ieuan Wyn Jones: First Minister—I will give you another chance—I mentioned the possible negotiations between you and local government to see whether it would be possible to use local government’s borrowing powers for the Government’s plans, for example, for schools or to build roads. Have you had any such negotiations? It is important that we know how far those negotiations have progressed. We know that you need to be ambitious and proactive if you are to take matters forward. Another question that I wish to ask, in addition to the one about local government, is: what pressure have you brought to bear on the Treasury to ensure that, if a capital injection were to be made at a UK level, Wales would receive a fair proportion of that money?

Y Prif Weinidog: Yr ydym yn gwneud hynny gyda’r Trysorlys bob amser. Yr ydym wedi sefyll cornel Cymru gyda’r Trysorlys yn wythnosol, yn ddyddiol bron, ers sefydlu’r Llywodraeth hon ym mis Mai. Ynglŷn â’r trafodaethau gyda llywodraeth leol, yr ydym yn trafod materion ariannol gyda llywodraeth leol drwy’r amser. Fel y dywedais, yr ydym yn ystyried pob ffordd ymarferol o sicrhau cyfalaf i Gymru yn y dyfodol. Un ffordd fyddai sicrhau bod Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig yn rhoi i Gymru yr un hawliau ag y mae’n eu rhoi i’r Alban ac i Ogledd Iwerddon.

The First Minister: We always do that in relation to the Treasury. We have stood up for Wales with the Treasury every week, almost every day, since the establishment of this Government back in May. On discussions with local government, we discuss financial matters with local government continuously. As I said, we are considering every practical means of ensuring capital for Wales for the future. One way would be to ensure that the United Kingdom Government gives Wales the same rights as Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Record

The Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats (Kirsty Williams): First Minister, the budget this afternoon is an opportunity for you to show us where your priorities lie. Under Labour, Wales spends £604 less per head on education than is spent in England. Wales is slipping backwards in its international rankings for reading, mathematics and science. For the last four years, Welsh children have fallen behind their English counterparts in their GCSE achievements. If this performance does not persuade you to prioritise education in your budget this afternoon, what will?

The First Minister: You know that the Government prioritises education; you have seen our manifesto commitment with regard to funding. We will keep to that. I emphasise that spending more does not necessarily mean better delivery. The two do not run together. The education authority that spends the most on education is Blaenau Gwent, and we have seen what happened there; it is subject to special measures. Yes, extra funding is important, but so is better delivery.

Kirsty Williams: The performance of schools across Wales needs to improve. Let us consider the performance of the worst-off children in Wales. Only one in five children who receive free school meals, our poorest children, get five GCSEs at grades A* to C. Surely, you agree that that is a dreadful record for your Government. Do you not agree that we should direct extra resources to those children that need the most to help them succeed?

The First Minister: We are looking to ensure that the budget for schools is at least protected in these difficult financial times. You have heard me mention the commitment that the Government has given publicly on many occasions. I do not accept that every school in Wales is somehow not doing well; some of them are doing very well. The key is to ensure better consistency in performance across Wales.

Kirsty Williams: First Minister, two years ago you were implementing Rhodri Morgan’s budget, and last year you were implementing your coalition’s budget. This year it is your budget. Surely, the legacy of your budget this afternoon should be additional help for our poorest children to give them the skills that they need to succeed in life.

The First Minister: Unless she has had the advantage of seeing the budget, the leader of the Liberal Democrats will have to wait and see what the budget statement contains.

1.45 p.m.

The Leader of the Opposition (Andrew R.T. Davies): First Minister, will you be freezing council tax next year?

The First Minister: That is a matter for local authorities.

Andrew R.T. Davies: Do you not think that, with the new money being made available to you from Westminster, it would be a sensible move by the Welsh Government to assist hard-pressed Welsh households with a freeze on council tax, bearing in mind that, in Scotland, it is being frozen for four years and that this is the second year that this is happening in England?

The First Minister: For weeks and weeks, the leader of the opposition has been saying that any extra money should go to health, but now he has changed his mind and flip-flopped. Why? It is because he has been told to do so by the Secretary of State. It is unbelievable. We looked at this and the benefit for most people or most families in Wales would be £3 to £5 a month. That is all. The reason this money is being given to local authorities in England is because they have been hammered by the local government settlement, whereas we in Wales have not done that. I must say to the leader of the opposition that we will look to use this money constructively and as part of an economic package, because we believe that investment in jobs and skills is important with the economy as it is. He must understand that he is the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, not the servant of the Secretary of State. The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats has her own mind; she often stands up and criticises those at Westminster. His predecessor did the same. He should lead the Welsh Tories, not follow the London ones.

Andrew R.T. Davies: First Minister, you are acting like a petulant child in your description. [ASSEMBLY MEMBERS: 'Oh.’] Maybe we should buy you a romper suit and a rattle. No-one tells me what to do—[Interruption.]

The Presiding Officer: Order. I am interested in hearing what the leader—[Interruption.] Order. I am interested in what the leader of the opposition is saying, but I cannot hear him.

Andrew R.T. Davies: It is a fact that we provided our budget last year. We would have protected health spending, and we itemised how that would happen. This is new money that is being made available to you as a Government. You were behind the curve on enterprise zones, you have presided over a failure in the education system, you are failing to protect health spending and you will not deliver a cancer drugs fund for Wales. When will you start delivering for Welsh households?

The First Minister: I noticed yesterday that the leader of the opposition described himself as a farmyard barracker who rants and raves. [Laughter.] I praise him for that. Self-awareness is a wonderful thing in a politician. The reality of the situation is this: people in Wales in March and May voted as they did to get protection against him and his party. We know full well that, when it comes to the health service in Wales, we do not have doctors and health professionals telling us that irreparable damage will be done to the NHS. His party has. We know that more money is spent on cancer drugs in Wales than in England. We know that, in June, those people waiting for more than 52 weeks for treatment increased by 60 per cent in England. We know that, if you wait more than 36 weeks for treatment, the situation is far worse in England than in Wales. We have nothing to learn from his party when it comes to the health service. We have nothing to learn from his party when it comes to budgeting, because he talks about council tax, but in its budget last year, his party wanted to cut local government funding by 12.5 per cent. He said that we had not gone far enough and now he says that he wants to see a freeze in council tax. If we could get back the £400 million in end-year flexibility that we have lost, I would be more than pleased to consider such a move.

The Record

Y Diwydiant Amaeth

Agriculture Industry

3. Llyr Huws Gruffydd: Beth yw cynlluniau Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer y diwydiant amaeth. OAQ(4)0141(FM)

3. Llyr Huws Gruffydd: What are the Welsh Government’s plans for the agriculture industry. OAQ(4)0141(FM)

Y Prif Weinidog: Helpu a hybu’r diwydiant i’r dyfodol.

The First Minister: To assist and promote the industry for the future.

Llyr Huws Gruffydd: O gofio ymrwymiad Llafur yn eich maniffesto diweddar i barhau i ymladd dros ffermwyr mewn ardaloedd llai ffafriol, ac o gofio bod costau ychwanegol sylweddol i ffermio ardaloedd llai ffafriol yng Nghymru, a ydych yn siomedig â chyhoeddiad eich Dirprwy Weinidog Amaethyddiaeth, Bwyd, Pysgodfeydd a Rhaglenni Ewropeaidd mai Cymru fydd yr unig wlad yn y Deyrnas Unedig na fydd yn cynnig unrhyw gefnogaeth benodol i gynorthwyo ffermwyr mewn ardaloedd llai ffafriol?

Llyr Huws Gruffydd: Bearing in mind Labour’s recent manifesto commitment to continue to fight for farmers in less favoured areas, and considering the significant additional costs for farming in less favoured areas in Wales, are you disappointed by the announcement by your Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes that Wales will be the only nation in the United Kingdom that will not provide any specific support to assist farmers in the less favoured areas?

Y Prif Weinidog: Nid wyf yn deall y ddadl hon. Bydd pob ffermwr yng Nghymru yn cael mwy o arian oherwydd y newidiadau sydd wedi eu cyhoeddi—bydd llawer mwy o arian nag oedd ar gael drwy Tir Mynydd. Nid wyf yn deall y ddadl hon. Bydd pob ffermwr yn elwa yn y dyfodol.

The First Minister: I do not understand this argument. Every farmer in Wales will receive more money because of the changes that have been published—there will be much more money than was available under Tir Mynydd. I do not understand this argument. Every farmer will benefit in the future.

Paul Davies: Mae’n rhaid i ni wneud popeth a allwn i helpu’r diwydiant amaeth. Un ffordd o wneud hynny yw sicrhau bod rheolau’r Llywodraeth i ffermwyr mor ysgafn â phosibl. Bydd y Prif Weinidog yn gwybod nad yw ffermwyr bellach yn cael aredig o fewn 1m i gloddiau er mwyn ceisio eu diogelu. Yn anffodus, effaith hyn yw bod chwyn yn tyfu yn sylweddol i’r cae, sy’n cael effaith ar gynhyrchu. A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog a’r Llywodraeth ailystyried y rheol hon, a chyflwyno mwy o hyblygrwydd i’r system?

Paul Davies: We have to do everything we can to help the agriculture industry. One way of doing that is to ensure that Government regulations for farmers are as light as possible. The First Minister will know that farmers currently are not allowed to plough to within 1m of hedgerows to try to protect them. Unfortunately, the effect of this is that weeds grow considerably into the field, which in turn effects production. Will the First Minister and the Government reconsider this rule, and introduce more flexibility into the system?

The Record

Y Prif Weinidog: Yr wyf yn ddigon hapus i ailedrych ar rywbeth os oes problem wedi’i chreu.

The First Minister: I am quite happy to revisit something if a problem has been created.

The Record

Mick Antoniw: First Minister, in light of the UK Government’s decision to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board, could you comment on the implications of that for Wales and how we might do things a bit differently and with more respect for agricultural workers?

The First Minister: A Wales-only public consultation will be conducted towards the end of this year on the future of the AWB, the agricultural wages committee and the agricultural dwelling house advisory committee.

William Powell: In recent times, the sector of Welsh agriculture that has been under the greatest pressure is arguably the organic sector. What commitment will the First Minister make to support the sustaining and development of that important sector?

The First Minister: Over the years, the organic farming scheme has been helping with convergence in particular. We see that there is a robust market for organic produce. There have been occasions in the past when prices have see-sawed quite dramatically, but the long-term prospects for growth in the organic market—particularly for organic dairy, I suspect—are good.

The Record

Blaenoriaethau

Priorities

4. Andrew R.T. Davies: Beth yw blaenoriaethau’r Prif Weinidog ar gyfer rhanbarth Canol De Cymru. OAQ(4)0148(FM)

4. Andrew R.T. Davies: What are the First Minister’s priorities for the South Wales Central region. OAQ(4)0148(FM)

The Record

The First Minister: They are to be found in our programme for government.

Andrew R.T. Davies: Thank you, First Minister, for that answer. I have asked you several times about the Government’s intentions for Cardiff Airport and the support that it is able to afford the airport to develop new routes. I hope that your Government is now in a position to have discussions with Cardiff Airport. Could you tell us today how those discussions have proceeded, and, in particular, about your own personal support for that? When I asked you about that in May, you expressed your personal concern about the situation in Cardiff airport.

The First Minister: There are still concerns about the airport, particularly the way that it operates. There has been a large increase in the number of complaints about it—certainly in my own postbag. That is worrying and the airport needs to deal with that. Discussions are ongoing with a number of airlines, and we need to ensure that those discussions are fruitful. I cannot reveal which airlines they are, for reasons of commercial confidentiality.

Vaughan Gething: First Minister, would you agree with me that the new constructive approach outlined by Andrew R.T. Davies in last week’s Sharp End—in that he wants to see a constructive opposition and dialogue with all parties—is to be welcomed?

The Presiding Officer: Order. This is not about Cardiff Airport.

Vaughan Gething: The question was about priorities for South Wales Central.

The Presiding Officer: I did not hear a question there, First Minister, so you need not answer.

Leanne Wood: First Minister, last week, I raised the issue of the two Remploy factories that are in the South Wales Central region that are under threat and I asked you to explore the possibility of getting the budget for Remploy devolved to Wales, and I asked to undertake a commitment that, if the budget is devolved, those jobs would be safeguarded. You agreed last week to explore the matter with the Minister for Education and Skills. Given that the Remploy workers are on the brink of losing their jobs and livelihood, time is of the essence, so can you update us on your discussions, please?

The First Minister: The Minister for education and I are both aware of the situation at Remploy and have discussed the situation many times in the past. I cannot pretend that getting the budget for Remploy devolved is going to be easy, or that the UK Government would acquiesce to that, but we will continue to press the case. In answer to the issue raised previously about the constructiveness of the leader of the opposition’s approach, I think that the Member for Cardiff South and Penarth was rather harsh on him. I think that he is being constructive by his own standards.

The Record

Gwasanaethau Rheilffyrdd

Rail Services

5. Mark Isherwood: Pa gynlluniau sydd gan y Prif Weinidog i wella gwasanaethau rheilffyrdd yng Ngogledd Cymru. OAQ(4)0149(FM)

5. Mark Isherwood: What plans does the First Minister have to improve rail services in North Wales. OAQ(4)0149(FM)

The Record

The First Minister: We are currently prioritising the national transport plan, and this will be published in the autumn.

Mark Isherwood: I have previously questioned you about the north Wales express service from Holyhead to Cardiff, and we understand that announcements will be made by the Minister when he announces his revised delivery plan for the national transport plan, hopefully this autumn. However, I am advised that already one locomotive is being repainted in the appropriate livery and that two more are expected to be repainted, yet the clock is ticking for the current timetable for when the current contract will end. Therefore, could we please have some indication of where we are going with this, not so much for ourselves as for the industry and passenger representatives?

The Record

The First Minister: As I said, the national transport plan will contain our proposals for taking transport and the rail network forward in the future.

The Record

Alun Ffred Jones: A yw’r Llywodraeth wedi ymrwymo i gadw’r gwasanaethau rheilffordd rhwng y de a’r gogledd, gan gynnwys cysylltiad Y Gerallt Gymro sydd wedi bod yn gymaint o fudd i deithwyr rhwng de a gogledd?

Alun Ffred Jones: Has the Government committed to keeping rail services between the north and the south, including the Gerallt Gymro connection that has proved so beneficial for passengers between north and south?  

Y Prif Weinidog: Byddwn yn cadw’r gwasanaethau rhwng y de a’r gogledd, gan gofio nad oedd yr un gwasanaeth rhwng y de a’r gogledd 10 mlynedd yn ôl. Yr ydym yn sylweddoli mor bwysig yw sicrhau bod trenau yn rhedeg mor gyflym â phosibl rhwng Caerdydd a Chaergybi.

The First Minister: We will keep services between the north and the south, bearing in mind that there was no north-south service 10 years ago. We realise how important it is to ensure that trains run as quickly as possible between Cardiff and Holyhead.

Aled Roberts: Pryd gallwn ddisgwyl cyhoeddiad pellach ynglŷn â dyblu’r trac rhwng Wrecsam a Chaer?

Aled Roberts: When can we expect a further announcement about the doubling of the track between Wrexham and Chester?

Y Prif Weinidog: Mae hyn yn rhan o’r cynllun trafnidiaeth genedlaethol, a bydd manylion am ddyfodol y rhwydwaith rheilffordd yng nghynnwys y ddogfen honno.

The First Minister: This is part of the national transport plan, and details about the future of the rail network will be included in that document.

The Record

Cael Gafael ar y Rhyngrwyd

Access to the Internet

6. Jenny Rathbone: Pa gynlluniau sydd gan Lywodraeth Cymru i sicrhau bod pawb yng Nghymru sy’n dymuno cael gafael ar y rhyngrwyd yn gallu gwneud hynny. OAQ(4)0150(FM)

6. Jenny Rathbone: What plans does the Welsh Government have to make sure that everyone in Wales who wants to, is able to get access to the internet. OAQ(4)0150(FM)

The Record

The First Minister: Anyone who cannot currently access the internet is able to make an application to our broadband support scheme.

Jenny Rathbone: My constituency has a broadband not-spot of some significance, not in a remote rural area, but in Pen-y-lan, just 3 miles from Cardiff city centre. Can the First Minister confirm that Government activity to remedy not-spots will apply, regardless of the location?

The First Minister: Yes. We want to ensure that we have as many people as possible with access to next generation broadband. We have made commitments for 2015 in that regard. The situation in Pen-y-lan is complicated by the fact that there is a difficulty with the way that area is connected to the exchange. It is not something that cannot be remedied. In the meantime, residents can contact BT to see whether re-parenting to Llanedeyrn is an option for them, and where re-parenting is not an option, the broadband support scheme can help.

Russell George: One of the key issues that the mid Wales tourism partnership raised with me during the summer was the need to improve broadband infrastructure and to increase small businesses’ access to it to ensure that the tourism industry has the ability to fully market itself as widely as possible. I am aware of your Government’s commitment to deliver next generation broadband to businesses and households by 2015, but in relation to the roll out of the next generation project, will you commit to improving broadband capacity in rural areas such as mid Wales first, where they are not well served or have no service at all, to ensure that small businesses remain competitive.

The First Minister: Yes. That is a matter for the discussions regarding the tendering process and the contract. We are looking to ensure that the process to secure a provider to deliver this target is in place soon.

The Record

Simon Thomas: Gan fod pawb wedi trosglwyddo i deledu digidol bellach, mae sbectrwm sylweddol ar gael a fydd yn mynd i arwerthiant o dan ganllawiau Ofcom. Bydd y sbectrwm ar gael i 4G, a bydd yn gallu cyrraedd nifer o ardaloedd yng nghefn gwlad Cymru nas cyrhaeddir gan fand eang yn y modd traddodiadol. A fydd y Prif Weinidog a’i Lywodraeth yn rhoi pwysau ar Ofcom i sicrhau y bydd y sbectrwm, o’i arwerthu, yn gallu cyrraedd o leiaf 98 y cant o boblogaeth Cymru, yn hytrach na’r 95 y cant sydd wedi ei grybwyll hyd yn hyn?

Simon Thomas: Given that everyone has by now switched to digital television, a substantial spectrum is available that will be auctioned under Ofcom guidelines. The spectrum will be open to 4G, and it will be able to reach several rural areas in Wales that broadband does not reach in the traditional way. Will the First Minister and his Government press Ofcom to ensure that the spectrum, when it is auctioned, is able to reach at least 98 per cent of Wales’s population, rather than the 95 per cent that has so far been mentioned?

Y Prif Weinidog: O’r hyn a ddeallaf, mae problemau â 4G dros y Deyrnas Unedig o safbwynt faint o arian sydd ar gael i sicrhau bod hyn yn cael ei gyflwyno. Mae ffordd arall o ddelio â hyn. O’r hyn yr wyf yn ei ddeall, mae ffordd o wella signal ffonau symudol drwy sicrhau bod system band eang newydd yn cael ei rolio allan i gefn gwlad. Felly, yr ydym eisiau i bobl allu defnyddio’u ffonau symudol a chael band eang cyflym gyda’i gilydd. Mae ffordd dechnegol o wneud hynny, fel yr wyf yn deall.

The First Minister: From what I understand, there is a problem with 4G across the UK with regard to the amount of funding available to ensure that it is rolled out. There is another way of dealing with this. My understanding is that mobile phone signals can be improved by ensuring that the new broadband system is rolled out to rural areas. Therefore, we want people to be able to use their mobiles and access fast broadband at the same time. There is a technical way of doing that, as I understand it.

The Record

2.00 p.m.

Eluned Parrott: Obviously, we welcome the roll-out of fast broadband and we understand that it is in procurement at the moment. However, residents in urban not-spots across Wales have been at a disadvantage for a number of years now. How quickly will the procurement contract for fast broadband be awarded and when can the residents of places like Pen-y-lan in Cardiff expect to see improvement work beginning?

The First Minister: We aim to award the contract by March of next year.

The Record

Blaenoriaethau

Priorities

7. Lynne Neagle: A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog roi’r wybodaeth ddiweddaraf am flaenoriaethau Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer Tor-faen. OAQ(4)0140(FM)

7. Lynne Neagle: Will the First Minister give an update on Welsh Government priorities for Torfaen. OAQ(4)0140(FM)

The Record

The First Minister: Yes, they are outlined in our programme for government.

Lynne Neagle: I know that many of my constituents will be deeply worried by the Conservative plans that were announced yesterday to extend the qualification period for unfair dismissal claims and to charge workers who wish to take their employer to tribunal. Would you agree that this is typical of the Tories, and that instead of attacking the hard-won rights of ordinary working people, they should be focusing their efforts on getting our economy moving again?

The First Minister: I do not understand the logic that, at a time when people are afraid for the security of their jobs, the Government should take the step of making them even more insecure. I do not think that that is the right way forward.

Mohammad Asghar: First Minister, NHS waiting times are a key concern for people in Torfaen. In a BBC interview, you recently boasted about Wales’s success on waiting times beyond 36 weeks, and you made the same point earlier to the leader of the opposition. Why, therefore, does your programme for government not include a mention of a 36-week target? Why does your programme not include a reference to how the meeting of this target will indicate to the people of Wales that your actions are on track? Is this because, on your watch, the number of people waiting more than 36 weeks to start hospital treatment within the Aneurin Bevan Local Health Board area has risen by an incredible 3,125 per cent? Do you accept that this 3,125 per cent rise since you became First Minister is something the people of Gwent should not be prepared to accept?

The Presiding Officer: There were four questions there, First Minister, so you can choose to answer some of them.

The First Minister: There is an issue with orthopaedics, as we know. That is why we allocated money to orthopaedic surgery across Wales in the earlier part of this year, and we are now seeing the effect of that money, because the rise has come almost entirely in orthopaedics, and in no other specialism.

In terms of targets, the reality is that if you look at waiting times past 36 weeks, there are far more people waiting in England than there are in Wales, and there is a far greater percentage of patients waiting in England than in Wales. There are always challenges in the NHS and we are meeting the challenge with regard to orthopaedics, but we still compare well with other parts of the UK.

Lindsay Whittle: The economic figures for Torfaen present a worrying picture. The proportion of working-age people deemed to be economically inactive is now 27 per cent, which is 6 per cent higher than the national figure. This has not happened overnight and it is time that we stopped blaming other people. What steps will your Government take to tackle this sort of deprivation in Torfaen?

The First Minister: I do not think that that was a criticism of your party leader, who was our Minister for economic development in the last Government; I assume that it was not.

The reality is that we know that the economic situation is difficult and that is why we introduced ProAct and ReAct in previous years, and now Adapt. We are looking to bring forward an economic package and I have already mentioned the £40 million that we have had from the UK Government, which could best be used for investment and as part of that economic package.

The Record

Busnesau Bach a Chanolig eu Maint

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

8. Joyce Watson: A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog amlinellu cynlluniau Llywodraeth Cymru i gefnogi busnesau bach a chanolig. OAQ(4)0152(FM)

8. Joyce Watson: Will the First Minister outline the Welsh Government’s plans to support SMEs. OAQ(4)0152(FM)

The Record

The First Minister: Our plans are set out in the programme for government.

Joyce Watson: Thank you for that answer, First Minister. Much has been said already today about the broadband roll-out scheme that your Government is match funding and the procurement process to deliver high-speed services to those parts of Wales that commercial operators have not provided for—two schemes that will particularly benefit small businesses and social enterprises in my region. Can you therefore update Members on that scheme and the proposed broadband roll-out?

The Record

The First Minister: As I said, we aim to have the contract in place by March. We want to ensure that all businesses and residences in Wales have access to high-speed broadband by 2015, with at least 50 per cent having access to speeds of 100Mbps.

Janet Finch-Saunders: The Welsh Conservatives have proposed to abolish national non-domestic rates for many SMEs and to simplify regulations following complaints from business leaders. We want to open up more public services and general procurement to SMEs. What steps are you taking to help SMEs maximise their potential, instead of wasting valuable time and money on red tape, regulation and disproportionate levels of NNDR, particularly in the first few years of a business start-up?

The First Minister: I was not aware that it was the Conservatives’ plan to abolish non-domestic rates; that is news to most of us. You asked about small companies and, of course, we have the microbusiness strategy, for which a task and finish group has been set up. We are looking to have business entrepreneurship champions and a recruitment process has been undertaken to recruit people for those roles. We are also looking to continue to improve procurement for small and medium-sizes enterprises, in particular to help them to gain more in terms of public sector contracts than has perhaps been the case in the past.

Kenneth Skates: Building a thriving creative industries sector is crucial to the future economy of our country and to the wider media base in Wales. As the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee commences its short review of the media landscape in Wales, what work is the Welsh Government doing to help Wales’s creative industries sector and to strengthen the wider media base in Wales?

The First Minister: I recognise that the creative industries sector is a key area for growth in the Welsh economy, and we have already implemented a number of the Hargreaves recommendations. Other projects are being created to support that sector specifically and these will be announced shortly.

The Record

Elin Jones: Gwnaethoch sôn yn gynharach y prynhawn yma am eich bwriad i barhau gyda’r cynllun lleihau ardrethi busnes tan fis Medi’r flwyddyn nesaf. Nid oes cyfeiriad at ardrethi busnes o gwbl yn eich rhaglen lywodraethu. Beth, felly, yw eich bwriad dros bum mlynedd y Llywodraeth hon o ran adrethi busnes?

Elin Jones: You mentioned earlier this afternoon your intention to continue with the business rate relief scheme until September of next year. There is no reference to business rates in your programme for government. What, therefore, is your intention regarding business rates for the five years of this Government?

Y Prif Weinidog: Fel sydd eisoes wedi’i ddweud yn gyhoeddus, mae’r Gweinidog Busnes, Menter, Technoleg a Gwyddoniaeth yn ystyried hyn ar hyn o bryd a’r system ardrethi busnes yn ei chyfanrwydd. Bydd adroddiad yn cael ei gyhoeddi dros y misoedd nesaf.

The First Minister: As has already been stated publicly, the Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science is currently considering this and the whole business rate system. A report will be published over the next few months.

The Record

Hyrwyddo Rhanbarthau Dinasoedd Cymru

Promoting the City Regions of Wales

9. Julie Morgan: Pa gynlluniau sydd gan y Prif Weinidog i hyrwyddo rhanbarthau dinasoedd Cymru. OAQ(4)0147(FM)

9. Julie Morgan: What plans does the First Minister have to promote the city regions of Wales. OAQ(4)0147(FM)

The Record

The First Minister: We are currently considering the benefits of a city-region approach as part of our efforts to encourage a sustainable economy.

Julie Morgan: I thank the First Minister for that reply. Does he agree that the single most important item of infrastructure that would help the Cardiff city region to be truly competitive is the electrification of the Valleys lines?

The First Minister: In principle, that is something that we would support. There is a significant cost attached to it, but we hope to work towards a position where such a project will become viable in the future.

William Graham: In a spring Plenary, I asked you to outline the success of the Ryder Cup in attracting new firms to South Wales East and to Newport in particular. You kindly replied that there had been some promising leads, but that they had to remain private due to commercial sensitivity. Are you satisfied with those inquiries and would you publish a list of the successes?

The First Minister: A number of leads are still being followed; these things can take time. However, we do know that Wales was very favourably positioned with regard to tourism, particularly golf tourism.

Vaughan Gething: As you know, many of us across the Chamber, across parties, acknowledge that the success of the south Wales economy is tied in to improving transport infrastructure. Can you confirm whether the Government is in favour, in principle, should we succeed with the electrification of the Valleys lines, of the sorts of proposals that have been drawn up around a south Wales metro idea to improve and increase the amount of track and potential tram infrastructure that would benefit communities from Bridgend to Monmouth and across the Valleys and two of our cities in south Wales?

The Record

The First Minister: As I said earlier, we would be in favour of a south Wales metro system in principle. There is a significant cost that is attached to that; nevertheless, it is a system of transport that would benefit not just the city of Cardiff, but the much wider area.

  

Leanne Wood: First Minister, I have concerns about the concept of city regions and their effectiveness. I find it difficult to understand how money can trickle up the Valleys from Cardiff, for example. That is a point that I have made in this document, 'A Greenprint for the Valleys’. First Minister, have you read this document? If you have, what are your views on it? If you have not read it, will you?

   

The First Minister: No, is the simple answer; it is the first that I have seen of it. Nevertheless, I take note of the plug that has been given to it and there is no doubt that I will now read it. It is important, where we have a city such as Cardiff, and a situation where many thousands of people commute into it every day from every direction, that the transport system is as swift and modern as possible to enable commuting to take place.

Jenny Rathbone: Cardiff is now the fifth most car-dependant capital city in Europe. Therefore, while I welcome the creation of a new financial enterprise zone in the middle of our capital city, what plans does the Government have to ensure that it will not increase the problem that we already have with air pollution?

The First Minister: Continuing to improve the rail network is important, although the eastern side of the city is not well served by the rail network—it tends to run north-west and south. There are other opportunities that are being pursued, particularly with regard to cycling, for example. Cardiff, as a city, is a prime site for cycling because much of it is flat, yet not much has been done to promote cycling in years gone by. That is why taking cycling seriously as a mode of transport and promoting it in a city that really is right for it are two ways of ensuring that more people cycle and fewer people use the car.

The Record

Blaenoriaethau

Priorities

10. Angela Burns: A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog amlinellu ei flaenoriaethau ar gyfer Cymru wledig. OAQ(4)0139(FM)

10. Angela Burns: Will the First Minister outline his priorities for rural Wales. OAQ(4)0139(FM)

The Record

The First Minister: Those priorities are to be found in the programme for government.  

Angela Burns: I would like to raise, once again, the running sore that is the issue of brown signs in the countryside, originally raised with the Minister for tourism and then bounced into the department that deals with roads. There was a consultation on this earlier this year. I wrote to the Minister some time ago, but have not yet received a reply. I know that you do not have direct control over that. It is an issue. In rural communities, we have businesses that are trying to make a go of it but cannot get people to come to see them because the county councils do not allow them to put up ordinary signs and they cannot erect brown signs either. The issue is falling between so many stools, including safety, tourism and so on. First Minister, as the leader of a combined Cabinet, could you finally get to grips with this issue?  I have read a list of people who have raised this issue with you during the last four years and that list includes Members from all parties. This matter is so small that we ought to be able to sort it out once and for all.  

 

The First Minister: I will pursue this matter and will give you a full response in writing.

Rebecca Evans: Access to support groups and specialist services for young people with mental health difficulties in rural Wales is particularly problematic. How will the Welsh Government seek to ensure that the needs of young people with mental ill health in rural Wales are met?

The First Minister: We know that the provision of public services in rural Wales is always more problematic than in urban areas, due to the large areas involved and the sparsity of the population. However, we have a commitment to provide equitable services across Wales and, in recognising that, we have established a specialist child and adolescent mental health services planning network that covers the Mid and West Wales area.  

The Record

Yr Arglwydd Elis-Thomas: Wrth ateb y trydydd cwestiwn i’m cydweithiwr yn flaenorol, dadleuodd y Prif Weinidog ynglŷn â diweddu cynllun Tir Mynydd, fod talu mwy i bawb yn well na thalu yn ychwanegol i rai a allai fod mewn mwy o angen. Mae’r Prif Weinidog yn ymwybodol o’r math o amaethyddiaeth yr wyf yn ei gynrychioli yn Nwyfor Meirionnydd. A yw’r Llywodraeth yn edrych am fesurau eraill i gefnogi ffermwyr a fydd yn dioddef o golli Tir Mynydd yn yr ucheldir?  

Lord Elis-Thomas: In responding to the third question to my colleague earlier about bringing the Tir Mynydd scheme to an end, the First Minister argued that paying more to everyone was better than paying more to those who could be in greater need. He is aware of the type of agriculture that I represent in Dwyfor Meirionnydd. Is the Government looking at other means of supporting farmers who will suffer as a consequence of losing Tir Mynydd from the uplands?

Y Prif Weinidog: O edrych ar y ffigurau, y realiti yw y bydd pawb yn elwa. Nid wyf yn gweld sefyllfa lle mae pawb yn cael mwy o arian yn waeth na sefyllfa lle mae pawb yn cael llai o arian. Mae’n wir dweud, o dan yr hen Dir Mynydd, fod gwahaniaeth yn lefel y taliadau. Y gwir yw y bydd pob ffermwr yn cael mwy o arian o dan y drefn newydd.  

The First Minister: Having looked at the figures, the reality is that everyone will benefit. I do not see how a situation where everyone gets more money can be worse than a situation where everyone gets less money. It is true to say that under the old Tir Mynydd there was a difference in the level of payments. The truth is that, under the revised system, every farmer will receive more money.

The Record

2.15 p.m.

 

Materion Trawsffiniol

Cross-Border Issues

11. Mike Hedges: A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog ddatganiad am faterion trawsffiniol rhwng awdurdodau lleol yng Nghymru. OAQ(4)0145(FM)

11. Mike Hedges: Will the First Minister make a statement on cross-border issues between local authorities in Wales. OAQ(4)0145(FM)

The Record

The First Minister: As you know, the Welsh Government’s new footprint for public service delivery provides a clear framework for collaboration between local authorities and, indeed, with other partners.

Mike Hedges: As I am sure you are aware, a number of taxis, Hackney carriages and private-hire vehicles are registering in one local authority area and touting for business in another. When they go into the second local authority area, the licensing authority cannot take any action against them as they are not licensed there. Could collaboration between local authorities address this issue?

The First Minister: The problem is with the law. This is not a devolved matter, so it is a matter for the UK Government. However, the Law Commission has recently announced that it is to carry out a wide-ranging review of the law on taxis and private-hire vehicles. We will, of course, be working with the Law Commission on its review.

Janet Finch-Saunders: First Minister, as you may be aware, we have local service boards, regional partnerships, partnership councils and collaboration boards, and we now have the public services leadership group. I have real concerns that these are not sufficiently joined up in their approach. First Minister, will you work with the Minister for Local Government and Communities to ensure that these groups and boards provide the best possible strategic links and value for local authorities for the benefit of the people of Wales and to further the overall aims of the true collaboration agenda?

The First Minister: Yes.

The Record

Yr Economi

The Economy

12. Alun Ffred Jones: Beth yw cynlluniau Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer yr economi. OAQ(4)0142(FM)

12. Alun Ffred Jones: What are the Welsh Government’s plans for the economy. OAQ(4)0142(FM)

Y Prif Weinidog: Mae’r cynlluniau yn y rhaglen lywodraethu, ac yr wyf wedi ychwanegu manylion y prynhawn yma ynglŷn â rhai o’r pethau sy’n cael eu hystyried.

The First Minister: The plans are in my programme for government, and I have added additional plans this afternoon for things that are under consideration.  

Alun Ffred Jones: Yn y sefyllfa anodd sydd ohoni, yr wyf yn siŵr eich bod yn cytuno bod gwarchod swyddi yr un mor bwysig â chreu swyddi yn yr economi. Un cynllun sy’n cael effaith uniongyrchol ar fusnesau bach yw’r cynllun rhyddhad trethi, yr oedd Elin Jones yn cyfeirio ato. Wrth ystyried dyfodol y cynllun hwnnw, a ydych yn fodlon ystyried ei ehangu i gwmnïau canolig eu maint—sef asgwrn cefn yr economi mewn llawer o rannau o Gymru?

Alun Ffred Jones: In the difficult situation that we currently face, I am sure that you agree that safeguarding jobs is as important as creating jobs in the economy. One scheme that has a direct impact on small businesses is the business rate relief scheme, which Elin Jones mentioned. In considering the future of that scheme, are you willing to consider expanding it to medium-sized enterprises, which are the backbone of the economy in many parts of Wales?

Y Prif Weinidog: Mae adolygiad yn mynd rhagddo ar hyn o bryd. Yr wyf yn fodlon ystyried beth bynnag mae’r adolygiad yn ei ddangos, gan gofio faint o arian sydd ar gael yn y gyllideb.

The First Minister: A review is ongoing. I am willing to consider whatever conclusions come out of that review, bearing in mind how much money is available within the budget.

The Record

Darren Millar: First Minister, one of the other concerning statistics regarding our economy in Wales is that, in 2009, we had the lowest business birth rate of all the UK nations and regions. What action is your Government taking to improve entrepreneurship in Wales by encouraging people to step out and establish their own businesses to help our economy along?

The First Minister: Four examples: the micro-business strategy; the fact that we have business entrepreneurship champions; the youth entrepreneurship strategy; and the start-up service that will help so many new businesses.

The Record

Gwasanaethau Trenau

Train Services

13. Paul Davies: A wnaiff y Prif Weinidog ddatganiad am wasanaethau trenau yn sir Benfro. OAQ(4)0144(FM)

13. Paul Davies: Will the First Minister make a statement on train services in Pembrokeshire. OAQ(4)0144(FM)

Y Prif Weinidog: Mae trigolion sir Benfro bellach yn elwa o bum gwasanaeth trên ychwanegol y dydd, o ddydd Llun i ddydd Sadwrn, i borthladd Abergwaun. Mae’r gwasanaethau ychwanegol hyn yn cael eu hariannu gan Lywodraeth Cymru.

The First Minister: Pembrokeshire residents now benefit from five additional train services per day, from Monday to Saturday, to Fishguard harbour. These additional services are funded by the Welsh Government.

Paul Davies: Yr wyf yn ddiolchgar i’r Prif Weinidog am yr ateb hwnnw. Wrth gwrs, mae fy etholwyr yn ddiolchgar bod y gwasanaethau ychwanegol hyn wedi dod i sir Benfro. Ond, yn ddiweddar, mae nifer o etholwyr wedi cysylltu â mi ynglŷn â gorlenwi ar drenau. Mae achosion o bobl yn methu â defnyddio’r toliedau gan eu bod yn methu â’u cyrraedd. Yr wyf yn deall nad oes rheolau pendant ynglŷn â gorlenwi trenau ac yr wyf yn derbyn mai mater i Lywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig yn ogystal ag i’ch Llywodraeth chi yw iechyd a diogelwch. Fodd bynnag, pa gynlluniau sydd gennych chi a’ch Llywodraeth i daclo’r problemau hyn? Pa drafodaethau, os o gwbl, y mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi’u cael gyda Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig ar y mater hwn?

Paul Davies: I am grateful to the First Minister for that answer. Of course, my constituents are extremely grateful that these additional services have come to Pembrokeshire. However, recently, a number of constituents have contacted me about overcrowding on trains. There are cases of people being unable to use the toilets because they cannot actually get to them. I understand that there are no definite rules or regulations on train capacities. I also understand that health and safety issues are matters for the United Kingdom Government and your Government. However, can you tell us what plans you and your Government have to tackle these problems? What discussions, if any, has the Welsh Government had with the United Kingdom Government on this matter?

Y Prif Weinidog: Yn gyntaf, mae’n rhaid inni gael tystiolaeth. Yna, byddwn yn hapus i edrych ar y dystiolaeth honno, pe gallech ysgrifennu ataf.

The First Minister: First, we need the evidence. I would be happy to review that evidence if you could write to me with it.

The Record

Simon Thomas: Tra’n croesawu’r gwasanaethau newydd i Abergawun, gwasanaethau dros dro yw’r rhain ac mae’n bwysig bod pobl yn eu defnyddio er mwyn sicrhau eu bod yn parhau—er nad wyf eisiau gweld gorlenwi ychwaith. Mae un ddolen ar goll ar hyn o bryd yn y gwasanaethau o Abergwaun i weddill Cymru, sef y posibiliad o ddefnyddio gorsaf Wdig. Nid oes angen i bob trên fynd i ben y daith, ar gyfer y fferi, er enghraifft. Efallai fod modd creu hub bach lleol er mwyn i fysys integreiddio gyda’r trenau yn Wdig. Pa gamau sy’n cael eu cymryd i sicrhau y bydd hwn yn bosibiliad yn y dyfodol?

Simon Thomas: While I welcome the new services to Fishguard, they are temporary services, and it is important that people use them in order to ensure that they continue—not that I want to see overcrowded trains. One link is missing at the moment in the services between Fishguard and the rest of Wales, namely the possibility of using Goodwick station. Not all trains need to reach the end of the line, at the ferry, for example. It might be possible to create a local hub at Goodwick, where buses could integrate with the trains. What steps are being taken to ensure that this is a possibility for the future?

Y Prif Weinidog: Yr wyf yn deall bod Consortiwm Cludiant Integredig De-orllewin Cymru yn ystyried hwn ar hyn o bryd, i weld a fyddai’n ymarferol.

The First Minister: I understand that the South West Wales Integrated Transport Consortium is currently considering the practicality of this issue.

The Record

Gwasanaethau Cyhoeddus

Public Services

14. Sandy Mewies: A yw Llywodraeth Cymru wedi asesu effaith newidiadau’r DU i fudd-daliadau tai ar wasanaethau cyhoeddus yng Nghymru. OAQ(4)0151(FM)

14. Sandy Mewies: Has the Welsh Government made any assessment of the impact UK changes in housing benefits are having on public services in Wales. OAQ(4)0151(FM)

The Record

The First Minister: I am concerned about the potential implication that welfare reform will have on public services, particularly with the introduction of universal credit from 2013.

Sandy Mewies: Shelter recently surveyed councillors about the effect that housing benefit changes would have on their areas. Sixty-six per cent said that there would be significant knock-on cost to local councils, due to reductions in housing benefits. Significantly, 49 per cent of Lib Dem councillors in Wales believed that the coalition Government’s decision will lead to an increase in homelessness. Even 20 per cent of Tory councillors believed the same. Do you agree that these reductions to housing benefit will create extra pressure on all public services, like schools, hospitals and advice and support services?

The First Minister: There is no doubt about that. There is an additional concern for the Welsh Government, namely that this appears to be a cost-saving measure for the UK Government, but an extra burden on the Welsh Government, because of our responsibilities with regard to housing.

Mark Isherwood: A key component of this is local housing allowance and the dialogue is often confusing. This allowance applies only to claimants in the private rented sector. What dialogue has your Government been having with the National Landlords Association? It has already done work on what property is required and how and where landlords need to invest in the future, but it needs to work closely with local authorities to identify that local need and adjust supply to ensure appropriateness in the future. So, what action are you taking to address that with the National Landlords Association, local authorities and other providers to ensure that the best property is available in the future for the claimants affected?

The First Minister: I know that local authorities are looking to ensure that there is adequate accommodation available in the future. It will be difficult for them, given the financial situation in which they find themselves. Nevertheless, we will look to work with local authorities and any outside organisation to ensure that there is sufficient good-quality private rented accommodation available.

Jenny Rathbone: Even before these housing benefit changes came in, last week Cardiff Council had the highest ever number of people on the housing waiting list, at 12,024 people. Given the pressure on people to downsize because their housing benefit will no longer cover the rent of the property that they are in, how are we going to support local authorities to deal with this incoming crisis?

The First Minister: We look to support local authorities in any way we can, not just with this but with other responsibilities that they have. That is why, in Wales, local authorities are funded proportionately far better than elsewhere in the UK.

Datganiad a Chyhoeddiad Busnes
Business Statement and Announcement

The Record

The Minister for Finance and Leader of the House (Jane Hutt): I have one change to report to this week’s business. Tomorrow, the First Minister will be making an oral statement on the Welsh language commissioner. Business for the next three weeks is as shown on the business statement and announcement, which can be found among the agenda papers that are available to Members electronically.

The Presiding Officer: Thank you, Minister. I will always seek to accommodate the Government in making important statements to Plenary, and I also appreciate that there will be occasions when the need to do so arises at short notice. Equally though, we have a well-established procedure for considering Plenary business through the Business Committee, and I take a dim view of any attempt to bypass that process, except in exceptional circumstances. I am very grateful to the opposition party business managers for their willingness to be flexible in relation to the announcement. I therefore agree to allow the Government to bring forward that statement.

I have 14 speakers on this item, so I request earnestly that Members are as succinct as possible, or we will not be able to get through everyone.

William Graham: Thank you for your statement, Leader of the House. Will you make time for a statement on a matter of great concern in the South Wales East region regarding the purported closure of minor injuries units in the Aneurin Bevan Local Health Board, particularly those in Panteg, the new hospital at Chepstow and the new hospital at Monmouth?

Jane Hutt: This is obviously an important issue for the Member for South Wales East. The Minister for Health and Social Services has her oral questions tomorrow, giving you an opportunity to raise that with her.

Julie Morgan: Following the launch of 'Travelling to a Better Future’ last week, will the Minister consider timetabling a debate so that an assessment can be made of the progress towards better access to services for Gypsy and Traveller people?

Jane Hutt: I am aware of the Member for Cardiff North’s interest in the Gypsy and Traveller communities and policy issues. I believe that she was involved in launching an initiative at the weekend for this important community. I will certainly look to timetabling a debate in the Assembly to consider progress on 'Travelling to a Better Future’.

Simon Thomas: The Minister for Education and Skills has, in the past, made statements to the Assembly on the University of Wales. Yet more attention has been given to the University of Wales in the press this week, and a number of students are now uncertain about the value or the future of their degrees. That, perhaps, includes those of those who hold University of Wales degrees. Will the Minister talk to her colleague, and ask him to bring forward a statement as soon as possible within the confines of the news in the media this week, so that all of us have a chance to ask the Minister about the future of this institution, and how we can ensure that the good name of Wales as a place of learning and research and higher education is maintained through a very difficult time?

Jane Hutt: This is an important issue, but it is for higher education institutions to determine their degree-awarding arrangements, not the Government. However, I am sure that your good name in terms of educational achievements is bearing fruit as you speak today.

Kirsty Williams: Will the Minister make time for a statement on Glastir? The decision by the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes last week means that, for the first time in 60 years, the additional challenges of farming in less favoured areas will not be recognised. In that statement, the Deputy Minister could explain why the Ministers for agriculture in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland have all convinced the European Union to back farming in the LFA, when it seems that the Welsh Deputy Minister is unable to do so.

Jane Hutt: I think that the leader of the Liberal Democrats is aware that the Government announced in the previously published payment rates that a single rate of £34 per hectare per annum would apply under the all-Wales element of the Glastir scheme. However, I am sure that this is an issue that you would want to raise with the Deputy Minister.

Mark Isherwood: I call for a statement on a Scope-funded research paper undertaken by Demos that was published last week, entitled 'Coping with the Cuts. Less money doesn’t have to mean a poorer service for disabled people...’ It said that

'Wales has made a conscious decision not to adopt the personalisation agenda as defined by English policy makers so while direct payments exist, take-up is very low’.

It also reported on its findings from a small number of forward-thinking local authorities, identifying common strategies, including a commitment to personalisation, not as a cost-cutting measure, but as a foundation on which other strategies can be built. Given the findings of the report, that the best outcomes are being delivered where a personalisation agenda is maximised, could we have a statement in the context of the Welsh Government’s agenda for this Assembly term?

Jane Hutt: Mark Isherwood will be aware that papers such as this from Demos, as well as from Engage and Scope, are important in the way forward with regard to feeding through into policy evidence. However, we are proud of our direct payment scheme, and I recently met Disability Wales to talk about a way forward for our strategy and framework for independent living.

2.30 p.m.

The Record

Alun Ffred Jones: Galwaf am amser i gynnal dadl ar ddatblygiad cynlluniau ynni adnewyddadwy yng Nghymru. Mae trafod wedi bod yn y lle hwn ers 10 mlynedd a mwy ynglŷn â phwysigrwydd y maes hwn yn wyneb y newid yn yr hinsawdd. Fodd bynnag, gwyddom ein bod wedi methu yn gyson â chyrraedd y targedau hynny. Mae’r ffigurau diweddaraf ynglŷn â chapasiti cynhyrchu dan gynllun y tariff newydd ar gyfer bwydo i mewn yn arddangos tueddiadau peryglus ac anffodus iawn i Gymru. Er enghraifft, mae’r Alban yn cynhyrchu tair gwaith yn fwy o ynni o ffynhonellau adnewyddadwy nag y mae Cymru yn ei wneud, felly hefyd de-orllewin Lloegr, ac mae nifer o ardaloedd yn Lloegr yn gwneud yn well na ni yng Nghymru, er bod gennym fanteision amlwg iawn. Mae’n bwysig bod y Gweinidog sydd â chyfrifoldeb yn y maes hwn—mwy nag un Gweinidog, a dweud y gwir—yn dod i’r Siambr i esbonio cynlluniau’r Llywodraeth a sut y bydd yn cyrraedd y targedau uchelgeisiol sydd wedi’u gosod.

Alun Ffred Jones: I call for time for a debate on the development of renewable energy schemes in Wales. There has been discussion in this place for 10 years and more about the importance of this field in the face of climate change. However, we know that we have consistently failed to meet those targets. The latest figures on production capacity under the feed-in tariff scheme show very dangerous and unfortunate trends for Wales. For example, Scotland produces three times more energy from renewable sources than Wales does, as does south-west England, and a number of areas in England are doing better than we are in Wales, although we have very obvious advantages. It is important that the Minister with responsibility in this field—more than one Minister in fact—comes to the Chamber to explain the Government’s plans and how it will meet the ambitious targets that have been set.

The Record

Jane Hutt: Clearly, this is not only a matter for the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development. Alun Ffred Jones is quite right; it goes across the Government in terms of economic opportunities, as well as environmental and sustainability prospects, and the Minister is, clearly, considering renewable energy opportunities with his colleagues.

The Presiding Officer: I call Aled Roberts.

Aled Roberts: As another worried graduate of the University of Wales, Simon Thomas has already asked my question.

The Presiding Officer: Well, there we are. I call Leanne Wood.

Leanne Wood: Earlier in questions to the First Minister, I asked for a progress update on the discussions about Remploy. The situation is urgent, but the First Minister seemed more interested in giving a pre-prepared answer to the previous question than in saying what he has done about Remploy. I would like to know whether the case for devolution has been made to Westminster or not. Can we please have a statement on this, as a matter of urgency?

Jane Hutt: The First Minister answered this point very clearly, and it is a matter of concern for all of us, particularly those of us who have Remploy factories in our constituencies.

Darren Millar: I call for a statement from the Minister for Local Government and Communities on the north-south air link. There were considerable concerns when the £1.2 million of subsidy was granted for a further four years at the tail end of 2010. The new Government has an opportunity to review the decision of the previous One Wales Government with regard to this subsidy. It is concerning that at a time when environmental matters should be a priority for this institution, such a significant subsidy is being given to an air service, while, at the same time, subsidies for bus routes in my own constituency, particularly in the rural parts, are being reduced. I ask that a statement be made as soon as possible.

Jane Hutt: The national transport plan is the vehicle for all policy development in this respect.

Bethan Jenkins: Will the Government make a statement to congratulate the youth Commonwealth team on its recent fantastic success? It brought home 26 medals and finished fifth overall in the medals table. I have looked on the Government website and I cannot see anything congratulating it, so I would welcome a statement on that. My other request, which I also made last week, is for a debate in Government time on the future of broadcasting in Wales. You suggested that I ask a question of the Minister, Huw Lewis, but there was no appropriate opportunity in his question session to discuss broadcasting—questions to Ministers are a lottery at the end of the day, and I do not think that we should be relying on the lottery of questions to the Minister to learn about progress and proactivity from the Government in this particular area. Again, I call for a debate on broadcasting in Wales.

Jane Hutt: I thank Bethan Jenkins for bringing to the attention of the Chamber, if Members were not already aware, the success of the Commonwealth youth team. I am sure that the Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage will send, or possibly already has sent, his congratulations, and we will ensure that that goes on our Government website. The importance of broadcasting is clearly indicated by the fact that there is now an Assembly task and finish group, chaired by Ken Skates, on broadcasting. We need to look to the outcome of that in terms of the Government bringing something forward to the Chamber.

Janet Finch-Saunders: Minister, this week the UK coalition Government announced an £805 million council tax payments package for England next year, and we know that the Welsh Government is to receive a Barnett consequential as a result. This is a very welcome announcement, with the provision of sufficient funding to extend the scheme to Wales and those who pay council tax here. Can we have a statement from the Minister for Finance on council tax explaining how the Welsh Government intends to support Welsh pensioners and families, whose bills have more than doubled over 12 years of Labour Welsh rule?

Jane Hutt: A statement on the draft budget is forthcoming this afternoon, and so that matter will be dealt with shortly.

The Record

Yr Arglwydd Elis-Thomas: Yn wahanol i ddau Aelod arall, fel person graddedig ac uwchraddedig o brifysgol Cymru, mae gennyf lwyr ymddiriedaeth yn safon y graddau, gan fy mod wedi eu derbyn—fel y Gweinidog Addysg a Sgiliau—ym Mhrifysgol Bangor. Mae fy niddordeb cyfredol yn y lle hwnnw wedi ei gofrestru eisoes. Gwahoddaf y Gweinidog i drefnu yn fuan ddadl ar addysg uwch yng Nghymru, fel y gallwn longyfarch yr is-ganghellor, Medwin Hughes, ar gymryd gafael o ddifrif am y tro cyntaf ar sefydliad honedig cenedlaethol a fu’n gwbl ddiffygiol ei lywodraethiad gan ddwyn anfri ar Gymru ers degawdau.

Lord Elis-Thomas: Unlike two other Members, as a graduate and postgraduate of the University of Wales, I have full confidence in the quality of the degrees, as I received them—as did the Minister for Education and Skills—from Bangor University. My current interest in that place is already registered. I invite the Minister to organise soon a debate on higher education in Wales, so that we can congratulate the vice-chancellor, Medwin Hughes, on getting a serious grip for the first time on a so-called national institution that has been entirely deficient in its governance and thus has brought Wales into disrepute for decades.

The Record

Jane Hutt: I am sure that we would all wish to join Dafydd Elis-Thomas in congratulating Medwin Hughes on the leadership that he has demonstrated in higher education in Wales. I am sure that it will lead to debate in due course.

Eluned Parrott: Minister, I have raised the question of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Chamber previously, because it is of great concern to residents in my region. I believe that several applications for test drilling are now being considered, not least of which is the application for a site in Llandow in your constituency, the decision on which was deferred last week because, as I understand it, the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development refused to call in that application. Will the Minister please request an urgent statement from her colleague, the Minister for environment, on this issue in order to give clear direction to our local authorities as they struggle with this technically difficult area?

Jane Hutt: It is an important issue, and not just in south-east Wales and the South Wales Central region that you represent. We would welcome the UK Government working with us as a devolved administration to put in place a robust and evidence-based policy framework for shale gas extraction in the UK.

Datganiad: Y Gyllideb Ddrafft
Statement: Draft Budget

The Record

The Minister for Finance and Leader of the House (Jane Hutt): I have today published the Government’s spending plans for the next three years. These plans equip us to deliver a budget for growth and jobs and our ambitious programme for government. I am pleased to present this budget to the Assembly on the day of its publication. That is a first, and I hope that it demonstrates my continuing commitment to openness and transparency.

This is the second year of the spending review cycle; we are not starting from scratch. The previous spending plans approved by the Assembly in February provided a firm basis on which to plan the delivery of our programme for government. We have a clear vision for Wales, recognising the imperatives for action to support the economic recovery. We want a more prosperous economy, and we want better and more efficient public services that equip people to fulfil their potential and maximise their contribution to society and the economy. That means improved education, health, social services, housing and equality—themes that run through the programme for government and shape our 'five for a fairer future’ commitments and underpin the spending plans that I have published today.

In these difficult economic times, this is a budget for growth and jobs. Our successful ProAct and ReAct schemes have kept more people in work in Wales than has been the case in past recessions. We have helped thousands of people to retain their jobs or to return to work quickly. Building on our successful approach, we are extending our Adapt programme, which targets people who have lost jobs in the public sector and helps them to retrain and get back into work or to pursue their own enterprises. Tackling youth unemployment is vital for the health of our economy and of our society. We must do everything that we can to give young people the right opportunities and to avoid another lost generation. We are investing £75 million over the next three years in our new Jobs Growth Wales scheme. This scheme will support young people and businesses with tailored training and employment opportunities. Four thousand young people will benefit every year.

Effective support for Welsh businesses is another key element of this budget for growth and jobs. We will invest almost £90 million next year to provide targeted support for key sectors and industries to encourage investment, entrepreneurship and innovation. We will continue to support the JEREMIE fund, which has been so successful in helping small businesses to start up and grow across Wales. We are also introducing enterprise zones to strengthen the competitiveness of the Welsh economy.   

I have always been clear about the importance of capital investment. Effective capital investment is vital to modern public services, but it is also vital to supporting the economy. Departmental capital plans remain in line with the indicative plans. The bottom line is that, because of the UK Government cuts, our capital budget in 2014-15 will be half the level of that in 2009-10. Cuts on that scale will inevitably impact significantly on our ability to deliver our infrastructure plans, but we will do all that we can to boost capital investment. I have already lifted our investment by transferring revenue funding to capital funding, and this has helped to fund the £40 million Coleg Morgannwg development, which I visited today. I have also introduced a more strategic approach to allocations.

However, to achieve our infrastructure ambitions and support for the economy, we need to go further. I am spearheading the development of a national infrastructure plan for Wales, alongside innovative funding solutions.

With the support gained from the Assembly in July, I continue to negotiate with the UK Government to secure fair funding and direct access to borrowing through constructive and ongoing intergovernmental talks. We are already working closely with local government and other partners to maximise existing borrowing capacity to boost investment over coming years. We are also exploring all potential mechanisms for levering in additional investment in infrastructure.

The link between education and the economy is clear, but education is also fundamental to building a just, inclusive and fair society. Thanks to the funding protection that we gave to schools in the last budget, local authorities have increased expenditure per pupil this year despite the big cuts in our overall budget. We will continue to protect front-line school budgets; they will grow faster than the Welsh budget as a whole, which means an extra £27 million for schools in 2014-15 on top of the previous growth that we announced. I have also allocated £55 million over three years to extend the successful Flying Start scheme. A further 18,000 pre-school children will benefit from the best possible start in life. That underpins our investment in schools and communities.

A strong NHS, delivering high-quality services for the people of Wales, is a key element in our programme for government. Without good health or the support to manage chronic conditions, none of us could play a full part in our society and economy. That is why we are investing an additional £288 million in the NHS over this budget period. We will continue to prioritise the NHS.

Our programme for government commits us to strengthening our communities. We are providing the investment required to recruit an additional 500 police community support officers across Wales, making our communities stronger and safer. Effective local authorities, equipped to deliver our public services agenda, are essential to our vision of stronger communities. Our settlement for local government ensures that it continues to be better funded than in England. The settlement is not without challenge, but we are working closely with local authorities to support the delivery of the Simpson agenda.

The spending plans that I have published today set the tone for the term of this Assembly: a responsible Government with a credible budget, investing in the fabric of our society and economy, maintaining investment in housing and providing support for the third sector. They reflect our commitment to sustainability and fairness. These commitments are at the heart of everything that we do. They make important new allocations to build on our successes, and they continue the focus on efficiency, reform and innovation in public services to maintain delivery within falling budgets. These plans provide the support that we need to deliver jobs and economic growth. Through them, we will deliver our programme for government.

2.45 p.m.

Paul Davies: I thank the Minister for her statement today outlining the Welsh Government’s spending priorities for the next financial year. I welcome the fact that the Welsh Government has produced an oral statement at the start of this process and I believe that this sets an important precedent for future governments in Wales. As the leader of the opposition has pledged in the last few weeks, we want to work constructively with the Government, and I hope that the Minister will bear that in mind before finalising the Government’s budget in the next few weeks.

We are facing difficult economic times, not only in Wales, but across the entire United Kingdom, and we need to ensure that every pound is spent efficiently, delivering real outcomes and opportunities for the Welsh people. We all accept that, given the national debt and the structural deficit, difficult decisions have to be made; Ed Miliband confirmed that at his party’s conference last week. It will not be a surprise to the Minister that we on this side of the Chamber believe that the Welsh Government should concentrate hard-earned taxpayers’ resources mainly on health, education and the economy. We believe that they are the main priorities for the Welsh people. Concentrating on the economy must be a priority, because, quite simply, if we have a successful economy, money will become available to pay for the public services that we all care about.

On that note, I will turn to some of the points in this draft budget. First, I will look at the Welsh Government’s health budget. It is clear that local health boards are telling us that their finances are currently in a grave state. Now more than ever, the NHS needs our support. The Minister will be aware that, during the Assembly election campaign, we were the only party in Wales that pledged to protect NHS expenditure in real terms, each and every year for four years. It is clear from today’s draft budget that health spending will be cut in real terms. Therefore, does the Minister regret that Wales will now be the only part of the United Kingdom in which health spending is being cut in real terms? Will the Minister also confirm whether this draft budget will be sufficient to fund our health service? Last year, the First Minister made it absolutely clear that it was, but then, additional funds of £65 million were made available to stem the tide of soaring waiting lists. The Welsh Government intends to extend GP opening hours and therefore to ask GPs to work longer. It is essential that the Welsh Government explains how it intends to pay for this laudable policy. Can she confirm that this policy has been fully costed in this draft budget?

In relation to the budget for the economy, I remind the Assembly that Wales’s business birth rate was the third lowest of the UK’s nations and regions in 2009, so it is essential that the Welsh Government recognises the potential of small and medium-sized businesses. The Government must do all that it can to support the Welsh economy and create the conditions needed for increased enterprise in Wales. Given the Government’s recent announcement on enterprise zones, could the Minister confirm whether additional funding will be allocated to enterprise zones by the Welsh Government above the funding provided by the UK Government? One other lever at the Welsh Government’s disposal to support small businesses is business rates. Extending the business rate relief scheme would undoubtedly be an enormous help to small businesses. In answering questions last week, the Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science stated that she intends to carry out a policy review in this area. Could the Minister confirm that consideration will therefore be given to extending the business rate relief scheme?

The Minister also mentioned in her statement that she will do all she can to boost capital investment. Will she therefore confirm that she will consider all options for doing this, including public-private partnerships?

It is essential that money is spent on the front line in our education system, and I am pleased that the First Minister has pledged to increase education spending by at least 1 per cent above the block grant. Let us hope that this will contribute to closing the funding gap between England and Wales. The Minister will be well aware that I have been urging the direct funding of schools, which could save about £100 million a year that could be reinvested in the education system. Given today’s draft budget, is the Minister confident that the budget allocated to education will reverse what the education Minister himself says is the systemic failure of the Government’s education policy? With regard to the Government’s tuition fees policy, independent forecasters have suggested that that will cost £2.3 billion over the next nine years, based on fees of £9,000. However, I understand that the Welsh Government initially worked out the cost of the policy based on an average fee of £7,000. As we have seen, a number of universities in Wales are looking to charge up to £9,000, so will the Minister confirm that the Welsh Government has the funding to support this policy over the coming years?

We need to do everything that we can to help hard-pressed families in the current economic climate. The Welsh Government should be doing all it can to give back to Welsh families more of their hard-earned cash. One way of doing that is through freezing council tax. I understand that the Minister has not yet given consideration to this, in light of the Chancellor’s announcement yesterday, which will provide the Welsh Government with a Barnett consequential of around £40 million due to the freezing of council tax in England. Will the Minister confirm that she will give this proposal serious consideration, and if the money is not returned to hard-working families in this way, will she make a commitment to tell us in the near future what the money will be used for?

We hear a lot about collaboration these days, and how working in partnership will reap efficiency gains in the long term. Will the Minister detail how she intends to work more closely with key stakeholders and partners, including local health boards and local authorities, to ensure that the budget reflects priorities on the ground, in schools, hospitals and communities. Clearly, the Welsh Government needs to redouble its efforts to improve the performance of the Welsh economy and our public services. It must therefore ensure that any spending is efficient and effective, delivering key front-line services to the people of Wales. Last week, like many here in the Chamber, I was disappointed to note the lack of targets in the Welsh Government’s programme for government. I ask the Minister, how will the Government test outcomes and ensure value for money across portfolio areas if there are no targets to measure against?

Finally, I thank the Minister again for today’s statement, and I look forward to scrutinising the draft budget further over the next few weeks.

Jane Hutt: Thank you, Paul Davies, as the opposition spokesperson for finance, for your constructive comments and your willingness to engage. I am glad that you welcome our focus on a budget for growth and jobs. We are clearly hitting all the right buttons as regards support for the economy, health and education. You started with questions on the health service. The £288 million that I announced today will go towards the delivery of core NHS services. It is crucial that we recognise that we should look at what that means to the delivery of core NHS services. It is £239 million to place the NHS on a sustainable financial footing, and £48.5 million to increase the capacity to deal with the significant increase in the demand for orthopaedic treatment. The Minister for health has been addressing those issues, and the allocation of that funding will be key. You asked about our commitment to improving access to GP surgeries. Around 10 per cent of Welsh GP practices already provide extended evening opening hours. This commitment is about spreading this best practice more widely.

Your support for the economy is coming through clearly in your response and in the questions that you posed. You recognise that enterprise zones in Wales are dependent on the UK Government, not only for allocation, but also for capital allowances. You recognise that we are looking for more innovative ways of supporting sectorial interests in the enterprise zones established by the Minster for business. As has been said, the Minister for business is undertaking a policy review of business rates relief. Your questions on boosting capital are clearly answered in my statement today. We must look at all innovative ways of bringing in capital for investment in our infrastructure. In the past, I have mentioned the £13 million from the Principality Building Society towards the Welsh Housing Partnership. The private sector is playing a key role in waste management, and it is also engaging with us on land transfer and business management.

The opposition’s spokesperson for finance had many questions, including questions on school funding. It is important that you recognise that, in terms of getting funding to the pupil, as part of our programme of government, the delegation rate is expected to rise to 80 per cent in two years. The delegation rate of funding from local education authorities to their schools will be up to 85 per cent in four years. This will align resources with schools’ priorities. I remind Members that education funding to local education authorities has increased 81.3 per cent since 1999. It is clear that we seek to address the issue of improving schools, standards and attainment levels. It is about targeting funding appropriately.

Finally, in answer to your point on local government and the so-called council tax freeze option, in the past 24 hours we, and commentators, have said that local government in Wales got a fairer settlement in our budget, which we approved in this Chamber in February this year. If you consider band 1 of council tax, levels are 18 per cent lower in Wales than they are in England. For the Government, and for me as the Minister for Finance, it is a question of how to deliver a responsible and credible budget for the set priorities. Those priorities are to put the economy and public services first.

Mike Hedges: I welcome the speech and the presentation by Jane Hutt. This budget for growth and jobs is one that everyone will welcome. What we want in Wales is growth and jobs. I welcome your comments about young people, support for business, and investment in education and health services. Those are things that everyone in Wales is looking for. I have two questions. First, do you agree with the importance of spending every penny that Wales receives? We do not want to be in the situation, as we were with John Redwood, of giving millions of pounds back—and being proud of that. [Interruption.]

The Presiding Officer: Order. Carry on with your questions.

Mike Hedges: Secondly, will you consider using supported borrowing through local authorities as a means by which we can spend more money on building new schools?

Jane Hutt: Thank you for those two pertinent questions, Mike. We are concerned that the UK Government is keeping £400 million back from us that we are entitled to under end of year flexibilities. That £400 million would go some way to addressing the fair funding expectations that we have as a result of inter-governmental talks. Our financial management has been the best ever for the past financial year. It has taken us to 0.14 per cent for the financial management of the resource departmental expenditure limit; it has been the best for the past 12 years. We have to look for every opportunity for funding our capital infrastructure, particularly in relation to schools. Our twenty-first century schools programme is a partnership with local government, therefore local government borrowing prospects is an avenue that we are pursuing.

3.00 p.m.

Ieuan Wyn Jones: I thank the Minister for the statement and the provision of the paperwork. It may have been helpful to have had a little more time to read it, but nevertheless it is a welcome innovation to at least have a statement and an early discussion. I am sure that the Minister will be aware that there is a lot more that we would like to say about the budget, and today is just a first cut, as it were.

First, I was very pleased when I heard the Minister and the First Minister say that this was going to be a budget for business and growth. I expected, therefore, to see an increase in the budget of the Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science, but actually there is to be a reduction. I find that surprising in light of the statement, but we will come back to that in a minute.

There is recognition of the success of ProAct and ReAct, but there is no mention of the fact that, given that we are going into more difficult economic times, we need to increase the funding for ReAct. The ReAct budget has been cut and there is no indication that the budget will be looked at again. I therefore assume that the ReAct budget will remain cut throughout the lifetime of this Assembly, and I find that extremely surprising. You say that you will extend the Adapt scheme, which helps public sector workers who have lost their jobs. That is a good thing, but I understand that the take-up of Adapt has not been very good, so we would like to know how you will improve that.

It is clear that you are giving an additional £75 million for your manifesto commitment on Jobs Growth Wales. It is clear that you are getting the money into the system there. What I find surprising is that, in the next line, you say that,

'Effective support for Welsh businesses is another key element of this Budget for Growth and Jobs. We will invest almost £90m next year to provide targeted support for key sectors’.

That is not new money; it was already in the system. If you look at the budget itself, the final supplementary budget for the Minister for business is £185 million in revenue funding and, next year, it is going down to £182 million. How can this be a budget for growth and jobs when the budget of the Minister who delivers growth and jobs has been cut? I need an explanation for that. How can you justify such a cut? The £90 million is not additional funding; it is already in the system.

On the whole issue of capital investment, I have understood what you were trying to say, that you will ask for borrowing powers and that you will look to work closely with local government and other partners to maximise existing borrowing capacity. I twice asked this question to the First Minister earlier, but did not get an answer, so perhaps the Minister for Finance can tell us whether she has already had discussions with local government on this—not about other things, such as the general revenue support grant, but specifically on borrowing capacity. Have there been discussions on that? If not, they need to happen very soon indeed.

On education, what had been agreed previously, and seems to be coming through in the budget, was that there would be an additional 1 per cent in the education budget above the allocation for Wales as a whole. Can the Minister confirm that the £27 million allocated for 2014-15 simply maintains that position, and is not an extra sum for education as such? It just keeps the promise to provide 1 per cent over and above the sum allocated in the block grant.

On the £55 million for Flying Start, we understand the need for investing in pre-school children and you say that a further 18,000 will benefit. I am sure that no-one would argue with that, but we need to be satisfied that that is extra money that is going into the system.

I find the figure on the NHS a little surprising, because there is no indication as to where that money has come from. What you are saying is that you are investing an additional £288 million in the NHS over this budget period, but 'this budget period’ literally means next year. I cannot imagine that you are putting an extra £288 million in for next year; it would have to be over the period of the comprehensive spending review, presumably. If it is additional money over the CSR period, have you taken money out of other departments to cover that or have you taken it out of reserves? If you have taken it out of reserves, you are leaving your reserves pretty low in order to deliver. Therefore, we need to know where that money is coming from.

You say that you want to appoint an extra 500 police community support officers with a budget of £5 million, which I find difficult to swallow. I need to know how £5 million will deliver 500 extra police and community support officers. There is an indication in the other part of the budget document that you are going to recycle money from within the budget. We need to be clear about that, because it is not actually in your statement.

I have been asking questions of the First Minister for two or three weeks on the need to understand the crisis faced by the economy. There is a real issue about whether people are going to be losing their jobs, but I see no signs that this budget recognises the scale of that problem. I have given an indication as to where I think the money should be spent—it is not a substantial sum of money, but it could really help people at a time of economic crisis.

Finally, Minister, we would all agree with Paul Davies’s point that we must be sensible here. There is not enough money to go around in the way that we would like there to be, but, at the end of the day, politics is the language of priorities. I think that the priorities should be the protection of jobs and training, but I cannot see that that is included in this budget. Does the Minister therefore agree that if she wants this budget to pass through this Assembly, she must understand that that needs to be considered again?

Jane Hutt: That was a useful contribution and a constructive response to the budget, within which the language of priorities, as you mentioned, is used, which is something that the former Deputy First Minister will remember full well from our One Wales Government days. As the leader of Plaid Cymru says, this is the first time that we have had an oral statement on a draft budget. I tried to get the papers to you as quickly as possible and it was important to me to bring the draft budget to the Chamber before speaking to the press, which I will be doing after this important event.

I am grateful that you drew attention to the importance of ProAct and to the fact that, of the £48 million allocated to it, approximately £20 million was allocated to its successor, Skills Growth Wales. The aim of Skills Growth Wales, as you will recall given that you were involved in Government as we took it forward, was to provide training and support, targeted specifically at companies with credible growth plans to help them to come out of recession. It was also to provide training for 4,300 employees within 80 companies. We must look at the relevance and importance of Skills Growth Wales as we go forward and recognise the key role that Adapt has to play in helping people who are coming out of the public sector as a result of redundancies. We have sought to protect the public sector, particularly local government, with our fairer settlement and to protect those coming out of the public sector’s non-devolved government bodies.

In terms of the opportunities that we offer, you welcomed the Jobs Growth Wales scheme, which is to provide opportunities for our young people and employers, and which will also build on the work of the Future Jobs fund. We are tailoring it more effectively for the needs of our young people as well as the business sector, the third sector and the public sector.

I can assure you that, in terms of the national infrastructure plan for Wales, this is a budget for growth and jobs and that we will use every possible lever to boost our support for business. The £90 million is for targeted support and will make a difference. It is therefore important that we focus on the outcomes of the targeting of that £90 million. I have already had discussions with the Minister for Local Government and Communities and those are reflected in the opportunities for building alliances with the Welsh Local Government Association regarding the borrowing powers of local government.

We recognise the opportunities that we have for growth in school funding; we are giving that protection and making sure that that protection does not only mean an additional £27 million for schools in 2014-15, but that over the next three years the education skills main expenditure group baseline will increase by 2.8 per cent in cash terms. That is a budget for growth and jobs.

There will be detailed scrutiny of these budgets. I clarify that there will be an investment of £5 million each year for police community support officers, which is important. I am sure that the Minister will be able to clarify, when it comes to scrutiny, how that is going to be funded. I am sure that he will support that approach.

We have made an important contribution to sustaining the health service to enable reforms to take place and to address areas, such as orthopaedic services, that are under pressure. Yes, we have had to take money out of our reserves. You know how difficult that is and I will give you the figures for our reserves here today: we have set our fiscal resource reserves for 2012-13 at £126.7 million. That is 0.95 per cent of the fiscal resource departmental expenditure limit and we have set it at just over 1 per cent for the following two years. That is how transparent this budget is. I am confident that these reserves are sufficient to manage risks. I am probably described as a risk-adverse Minister for Finance because I want to spend every Welsh £1 that we have—even if it is from our reserves I will use it. There are so many other reserves around this country that I would quite like to get my hands on as well and I think that people know what I am talking about.  

 

Finally, I will address your point about how this turns into a real new opportunity. This is the second year of a spending review period when we have a 6 per cent cut in our revenue DEL for the next three years and a 21 per cent real terms cut in our capital and you are asking me how we can make more of it. I think that there may be an opportunity with the consequential that might be winging our way and I hope that we will get support from this side of the Chamber to ensure that that money will go to boost jobs, skills and opportunities for our economy.

  

Peter Black: I welcome the fact that this budget is being presented by way of an oral statement. It gives gravitas to the statement and highlights the importance of this budget to the Assembly, whereas in previous years that was not the case, as it was given to the press outside the Chamber. It is important that we get the first chance to comment on the budget. We have five weeks to scrutinise this budget in some detail, therefore I will not go through it in detail, even if I had had enough time to work my way through the tables that I was given half an hour or so ago.

My first impression of this budget is that it is not very different to last year’s budget, except for a few minor changes that were in the Labour manifesto. The question therefore is: as last year’s budget did not deliver jobs or growth, why will this budget be any different? There is no extra money for the funding gap, beyond what was promised last year, and the £27 million that you referred to was for the third year of this budget. Therefore, although some progress is being made on that issue, no additional money is going into that, beyond what has already been pledged by the First Minister.

On the PCSO’s, the First Minister said in the television debates during the National Assembly elections campaign that the money for this was already in the budget. We know now, from what we have in front of us, that that was not the case. In fact, on page 32 of the booklet that I have here, it says that an additional £5 million has been allocated in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Clearly, there is no money in next year’s budget for those extra PCSOs that you have promised. So, why is this funding not being provided straight away and why is the money not already in the budget, which was the First Minister’s undertaking to voters during the Assembly elections? We could do with some answers on that issue.

3.15 p.m.

On protection for education, which I have referred to already, can the Minister say whether, in addition to that, the previous pledge to protect social services is also in this budget? That was very important for children’s services in particular and to address the growth in the number of vulnerable adults. I would be grateful if the Minister could confirm whether that is being pursued in this budget, as it was in the previous year.

Minister, in your statement, you refer to the Adapt programme, which, as you pointed out, targets people who have lost jobs in the public sector. Why has that been limited entirely to the public sector? I understand that people in the public sector will be losing their jobs, but, of course, people in the private sector will also be losing jobs. In fact, in Wales, there is a clear trend that the private sector is effectively shrinking in comparison to the public sector, and that has not been turned around. We will also be looking at using your Adapt programme across all sectors to try to support people and help them to retrain if they lose their jobs.

I notice that you have £75 million in the budget for the Jobs Growth Wales scheme. I would be interested in some more detail on how this will work. Can you explain why this is targeted only at those not in education, employment or training rather than across the board? Will it be sector-oriented in relation to the economic development plan? As it is funded by Europe, is it available outside the Objective 1 areas, or is it limited to those areas identified as being in need of European aid?

On capital funding, again, you made a very strong point. Of course, other Ministers have made the point that they would like to see those who can borrow money doing so to try to bolster the capital spend that is available in Wales. As you are in negotiations with the UK Treasury on that issue—something that I think has the support of all parties in the Chamber—can you say whether you have considered supported borrowing for local councils to enable them to make up some of the gap, particularly in relation to the twenty-first century schools policy, which has now moved to a 50:50 basis and for which local councils now have to find more money? If you could provide supported borrowing in relation to that, we might be able to get that programme back on track. As things stand, I think that many school building projects are going to fall behind.

My penultimate point relates to the national infrastructure plan. Can you confirm whether that includes all departments of the Welsh Government, or is it limited just to highways and transportation? For example, will you be including the education capital spend in that? How will that be directed and who will be in charge of directing that infrastructure programme? I think that we all understand that infrastructure is more than just transport infrastructure—it also relates to community infrastructure, schools and communications infrastructure. It would be useful if you could confirm the points on that issue.

Finally, I would be grateful, Minister, if you could give an indication of what you will be doing with the £40 million Barnett consequential from the announcement by Eric Pickles on the council tax freeze. The Welsh Liberal Democrats will not be pushing this on you. Given that there are elections next year, we are not expecting very high council tax rises. However, we would like to see some or all of that money being put towards the priorities that we, as Welsh Liberal Democrats, have and which you say you have in terms of training and education, getting people back to work and equipping them with the education and skills to enable them to take advantage of job opportunities as they arise.

Jane Hutt: Thank you, Peter Black, finance spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats. It is understandable and right that education is at the forefront of your long list of questions. It is important that I can reassure you about the opportunities that we have for education in terms of this spend. It is important to recognise that spend on education will be a year-on-year allocation. That will be important not only for schools funding, but for how we target that fund. Over the next three years, the education and skills main expenditure group baseline will increase by 2.8 per cent in cash terms. We have maintained our commitment to increasing front-line spending and extending the protection that we afford to schools. As I said, this funding means an additional £27 million for schools in 2014-15. This is on top of the previous indicative allocations, meaning cash growth over three years of more than 5 per cent. Education funding within the revenue support grant will be £80 million higher in 2014 than in 2010-11—that is the sum that you wanted, Peter. The schools budget and the education and skills MEG will be £16.6 million higher in 2014-15 than in 2010-11. In addition, there will be opportunities from the £55 million extra funding for Flying Start. The extra 18,000 children who will benefit—the indicator that we are now using is children of families on income support—will do so before they get into education. That is money going to the pre-school child before they get to school.

I will leave the issue of funding for the police community support officers to the Minister for Local Government and Communities. However, it is clear that we have costed this and that the £5 million year-on-year funding that is being applied will deliver.

On your point about social services, the local government settlement means that we are still extending the same degree of protection to social services in 2012-13 and 2013-14 in this year’s budget. That is very important. We are putting more money into social services because of an equality impact assessment. This showed that, if we put all the money into health and not into social services, we would be creating more problems for local authorities, in terms of care packages and support for vulnerable people. So, that funding is going to social services through the local government settlement.

On the importance of Adapt, we tailored that scheme to the public sector because we needed to focus on the public sector due to job losses through voluntary redundancy as well as those lost through the non-devolved Government bodies. In terms of the private sector, we have ReAct, which is an important part of the budget at £3.891 million, which includes European structural fund income. That is for the private sector. All of us in the Chamber will know people who have benefited from ReAct training. Indeed, when jobs were lost at Bosch, the company put in some of its own funding to match ReAct funding from us. So, we can do innovative things as well.

To reassure you about the Jobs Growth Wales programme—there will be a statement about this next week by the Minister for Education and Skills—it will create 4,000 job opportunities across Wales, within the first year of delivery, for unemployed young people aged 16-24, giving them work experience for six months. This will be paid at or above the national minimum wage for a minimum of 25 hours a week, ensuring that we reach some of those more hard-to-reach young people and those who could become NEET if we did not take this opportunity to give them that support. We have secured £75 million for this. Yes, it is tough on the reserves, but I would rather that that money went to young people to meet the needs of the people of Wales than stay in our coffers.

I think that you and Mike Hedges are coming together very nicely from Swansea in support of the fact that we can support councils with the twenty-first century schools programme. So, there is some unanimity across the Chamber on more than one point. I welcome the contribution that you made and the questions that you raised about the national infrastructure plan. Of course, it goes back to priorities. We wrestled over priorities when we had our first cut in capital earlier this year—should the priority be the economy, schools or transport? That is what we do in Government. We also need your input in that consideration of priorities, but it looks to me as though your comments about the £40 million consequential for the focus on jobs, training and growth is, again, in accord with our thinking at this time.  

The Presiding Officer: We have had some eloquent contributions from the opposition spokespeople. They were very probing and, dare I say, quite lengthy. We have had some very detailed replies from the Minister. I ask the remaining contributors to ask succinct questions. I do not think that we need any preambles.

Mark Isherwood: I have two items. [Laughter.] First, will the Minister comment on the supporting communities and people budget, which had already been cut in the indicative budget by some 11 to 12 per cent, and is now facing cuts of 14 per cent? This is critical in the context, for example, of the current consultation on the future of Communities First, which is, presumably, facing cuts of 14 per cent. I am not going to go into the issues—it is not the appropriate situation today—but funding for the future will be dependent on those resources being available.

Secondly, I look at the housing budget, another area—like supporting communities and people—that is critical in tackling the causes of the problems in Wales today. I note that it has stayed as was indicated in the indicative budget, reflecting, for example, a further 50 per cent cut in the social housing grant. The social housing grant not only delivers a supply of new social affordable housing but also ensures that rents are set at an affordable level. This situation will, potentially, lead to higher rents being charged by housing associations. I would be grateful if you could address those points, noting that we, in our indicative budget, would have left £10 million more in the supporting communities and people budget over three years, and £17 million more, plus the £12 million Barnett consequential from the Treasury, in the social housing budget.

  

Jane Hutt: In response to the question about the Supporting People programme, we are continuing to invest over £130 million revenue a year in delivering housing-related support for vulnerable people. That is supporting 50,000 people a year, providing good value for each Welsh pound that we spend, and is a priority in combating the impact of welfare reforms and economic downturn. With regard to housing, compared with indicative plans published in the final budget, the total MEG allocation for housing, regeneration and heritage has increased by £0.4 million in 2012-13 and by £0.6 million in 2013-14. In terms of the focus not just on Supporting People, which is key, we are protecting in full the major repairs allowance at a figure of £188 million per annum.        

The Record

Alun Ffred Jones: Yr ydym yn deall bod hon yn gyllideb anodd iawn mewn amgylchiadau anodd. Mae gennyf ddau gwestiwn, un ynglŷn â’r Twf Swyddi Cymru. Yr ydych wedi cyfeirio at £75 miliwn, ac mae £25 miliwn o hwnnw yn dod o’r cronfeydd strwythurol. A yw’r ffigur ychwanegol, y £50 miliwn o arian newydd, wedi’i gynnwys, felly, yn y gyllideb addysg?

Alun Ffred Jones: We understand that this is a very difficult budget in difficult circumstances. I have two questions, one of which is about Jobs Growth Wales. You referred to £75 million, and £25 million of that comes from the structural funds. Is the additional figure, the £50 million of new money, included, therefore, in the education budget?

Yr ydych yn cyfeirio at bwysigrwydd arian cyfalaf, ac mae adroddiad heddiw yn dangos bod dirywiad gweithgarwch yn y diwydiant adeiladu wedi digwydd ym mhob chwarter ers 2008. Yr ydych yn gwneud dau ddatganiad:    

You refer to the importance of capital funds, and a report today shows that there has been a decline in activity in the construction industry in every quarter since 2008. You make two statements:

The Record

'We will do all we can to boost capital investments’

The Record

ac yr ydych yn dweud  

and you say

The Record

'We are exploring all potential mechanisms for levering in additional investment in infrastructure’.

The Record

A fyddech yn gallu dangos y prawf, yn y gyllideb hon, eich bod yn chwilio am ffyrdd ychwanegol o godi arian ar gyfer gwella ein hisadeiledd yng Nghymru ac, yn sgîl hynny, gwella gobeithion cwmnïau sydd yn cyflogi gweithwyr yma?  

Could you show us the proof, in this budget, that you are seeking additional ways of raising funds to improve our infrastructure in Wales and, in the wake of that, to improve the prospects of companies that employ workers here?

The Record

Jane Hutt: To clarify again with regard to a Jobs Growth Wales scheme, as you say, it is an additional £25 million per annum to support the delivery of that scheme. It is funded through the Welsh Government and European structural funds, creating 4,000 jobs for young people aged 16 to 24.

    

3.30 p.m.

On the proof in terms of whether we are seeking new ways to lever in investment for our infrastructure, clearly, in terms of the levers that we have, borrowing is key to that. On the use of any other funding, we have talked more than once this afternoon about the £40 million that is coming our way. The fact that we have already transferred over £56 million from revenue to capital for projects such as Coleg Morgannwg, which I visited today, demonstrates that we are prepared to transfer funding from revenue to capital, to lever in funding and use consequentials. This is about priorities, when we get that infrastructure plan under way, and I will bring more details to the Chamber shortly. However, we have already demonstrated that we are doing this with the Welsh housing partnership, with £12 million from the Principality Building Society. Progressive lending institutions such as that are on the doorstep waiting to come in and support us on other schemes, and the door is open to them.

Darren Millar: Thank you for your statement, Minister. I am delighted that you have caved in as a Government to our request for more support for the NHS in Wales. Clearly, the additional investment that you are making falls way short of the many hundreds of millions that the NHS in Wales would get under a Welsh Conservative Government. However, that said, will you confirm, Minister, that of the £288 million that you have headlined as being additional spend on health and social services, £48.5 million in terms of orthopaedic care has already been announced, way back in March, and that, in addition, the £55 million that you have announced for Flying Start would previously have sat in a completely different budget area, that of children, education and lifelong learning and skills? Therefore, the real terms increase is a rather smaller £180 million, still way short of the £1 billion in cuts that you were previously making in the budget that you announced last year.

Jane Hutt: That is such a churlish response from somebody whom I thought would have leapt to his feet to say, 'Yes, we are going to back your budget’. We are a responsible Government with a credible budget. That is what the people of Wales want to hear today: we have a responsible Government, which is committed to growth and jobs and skills, to protecting the most vulnerable people in Wales, and to supporting our businesses, which are in the worst economic situation ever as a result of the failure of your Government in Westminster to have a credible plan for growth. There is no plan for growth; we heard nothing from the Chancellor yesterday, apart from something about credit easing, which he says we will hear more about at the end of November. We are fleeter of foot than your chancellor.

I clarify that the £48.5 million is to increase capacity in order to deal with the demand for orthopaedic treatment. Are you saying that you do not approve of that allocation? The £239 million is to place the NHS on a sustainable financial footing. You will have more opportunities to scrutinise these figures. The £55 million for Flying Start is a separate funding announcement. Let us make it clear: the £288 million is for the NHS, for its needs and pressures, because we recognise that the NHS is a priority for us in Wales.

Jocelyn Davies: I have taken the precaution of preparing a very brief question, as requested, Presiding Officer. Minister, you called this your budget for growth and jobs and you said in your statement that you continue to support the JEREMIE fund, but there is no mention of actual resources. Therefore, what does 'continue to support’ mean in financial terms, and, as you have drawn our attention to it in your statement, can we assume that that means that there is a substantial increase?

Jane Hutt: With regard to the JEREMIE funds, those are ongoing allocations that we lever in from Europe. I will have to give you more detail in the budget scrutiny in terms of how much that actually means, but the commitment to the JEREMIE funds is clear in terms of support for business and skills. Finally on this point, this is about how we have used our European funds most effectively—and you will hear more shortly from the Deputy Minister about the next tranche of European funds—to support business, training, ProAct, and young people who are not in education, employment or training. JEREMIE has been critical and we have been one of the first administrations to use JEREMIE to back business effectively, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises.

Datganiad: Hygyrchedd i Gyfreithiau Cymru a Datblygu Llyfr Statud i Gymru
Statement: Access to Welsh Laws and Developing a Welsh Statute

The Record

The Counsel General (Theodore Huckle): Good afternoon, everyone. I am very relieved that no-one shouts 'Are there strangers here?’ when I come through the door.

The Presiding Officer: I would not encourage them. [Laughter.]

Theodore Huckle: And so to begin.

Foremost among many new challenges in the next stage of devolution is the enactment of primary legislation in the form of Assembly Acts. This place, the National Assembly for the people of Wales, may pass laws within devolved subjects without the constraints of the past. You, our legislators, are now, in effect, the guardians of a substantial part of the statute book of England and Wales. I call it the statute book of England and Wales because that is what it remains. We operate within a single legal jurisdiction and the majority of the laws that currently apply to Wales apply to England also. The laws made in this place for Wales only will continue to form part of the body of legislation applied by the unified court system of England and Wales.

Part of my role in providing legal advice to the Welsh Government is to ensure that the Government’s responsibility for the integrity of the statute book is properly taken into account in the Bills it proposes and the subordinate legislation it makes. My priority is to seek to ensure that Welsh legislation is consistent with the rule of law and is effective. In order to do so, it is imperative that our laws are accessible and are intelligible, clear and predictable in their effect. I propose to highlight three issues that militate against this aim.

The first is the sheer volume of legislation, with its plethora of interconnecting provisions, which at the moment create a patchwork of law with which, I am sure, you are all familiar. The second is the process of devolution itself, which can make legislation within the devolved areas more complex than would otherwise be the case. The third is the extent to which legislation in its updated form, in other words incorporating amendments made to existing provisions, is available to the public.

The number of statutes currently in force in the United Kingdom is vast—approximately 4,000 Acts. On many subjects, the law cannot be found in one place, but is in numerous statutory provisions, some of which have been in force for decades, sometimes many decades. Historically, there has been very little consolidation of legislation. Taking the subject of education alone, there are legislative provisions applicable to Wales in 21 extant Acts of Parliament and in four Assembly Measures. Add to the mix the fact that Welsh provisions that are different from those that apply in England will be scattered throughout and one can begin to understand the degree of complexity that we all face.

Provisions in Acts of the UK Parliament that apply only to Wales can be difficult to find. In the best examples, they are set out in separate parts of an Act of Parliament, but in others they may be found in individual sections throughout the statute. That all impacts upon the accessibility of the law. In view of that plethora of interconnecting legislation and the frequency of legislation that amends existing legislation, it is vital that legislation is available in its amended form. There is currently no source of fully up-to-date, cost-free texts of legislation applicable to Wales, or, for that matter, to England. Updated versions of the Welsh-language text of Welsh legislation are not available at all, as it is not a service provided by the commercial publishers. As a result, it is difficult to use the Welsh-language text. This must be remedied if Welsh is to become an effective language of the law, as it must.

There are limitations to what can be done to remedy these problems, which are both constitutional and practical, but much could be achieved. Access to the law could be improved significantly through an approach to legislation that incorporates more Wales-only text in Wales-only Acts in order to move gradually towards free-standing Welsh legislation. That would involve revising, codifying and consolidating the law. To the extent that it is possible, Welsh laws should be drafted afresh, instead of amending existing provisions, which is a practice that also prevents development of Welsh-language texts, because, as things stand, most of the existing text that can be amended is in English only.

Those of us who are becoming involved in the legislative process should assess the impact of new Bill proposals on the overall complexity of the legislation. Where practicable, new legislation should be drafted in a way that simplifies the statute book by consolidating Welsh legislation and separating it from legislation that also applies to England. I am therefore assessing the feasibility of developing a separate consolidation programme to run alongside your main legislative programme. If such a programme is to succeed, we would also need to develop an institutional infrastructure to facilitate the development and fast-tracking of Bills that simply clarify and consolidate rather than change the law. These initiatives would accelerate the development of a substantial stand-alone body of Welsh law, and enable us to talk realistically about developing a genuine 'Welsh statute book’.

I believe that updated legislation should be available free of charge to the public, and given that both language versions are equal in law, and as a matter of principle, I believe that it should be available in Welsh as well as in English. Whatever they do, the people of Wales have a right to easy access, in readily understandable form, to the laws that govern their lives.

The solution to all of this, in my opinion, lies with the further development of the legislation.gov.uk website, which is intended to provide authoritative texts of updated legislation free of charge. It has been many years in the making, and is widely considered to be a state-of-the-art, world-leading legislative publication facility. However, it is far from complete. A lack of resources means that there is a large backlog of updating work to be done, within which, I am afraid to say, Welsh legislation, and Welsh subordinate legislation in particular, is unlikely to be a priority. Additional resource dedicated to Wales is therefore to be provided to expedite the process.

To conclude, therefore, we can do things to promote clarity and improve access to the law. As a first priority, we must deal with long-standing publication deficiencies. Secondly, we must legislate in a way that consolidates and separates Welsh law, with the long-term goal of creating our own statute book. Finally, I urge us all in Wales to do more to discuss and debate these issues and to appreciate their significance. I would say that would I not, as the lawyer in the room? We share a responsibility to increase the people of Wales’s awareness of what is being done to reform Welsh laws and of the extent of our institution’s powers to do more. Legal Services officials and I are therefore working with the Wales Governance Centre and the Assembly Commission for the purpose of making changes to the Wales legislation online website. Our intention is to develop its existing content by adding narrative, explanation and analysis, with the goal of creating an encyclopaedia of Welsh law that is helpful to lawyers and non-lawyers alike. Accessing the law goes to the heart of the democratic process and the people of Wales’s understanding of the work done here on their behalf. I will make a further statement in the spring to outline the progress that we have been able to achieve.

Mark Isherwood: Thank you, Counsel General, for your statement. We share your goal of improving access to Welsh laws. As you say, the laws made in this place for Wales will continue to form a part of the body of legislation applied by the uniform court system of England and Wales. Of course, Wales has no legal jurisdiction of its own, and has instead operated as a distinct, but not separate, part of English law since 1830. Welsh Conservatives believe that the legal jurisdiction of Wales ought to be made more distinct and partly accountable to the National Assembly. There is a maturing legal architecture in Wales. Her Majesty’s Courts Service Wales was created in 2006, with a presiding judge for Wales and an identifiable Welsh judicatory and magistracy. There is an association of Welsh judges and an administrative court in Wales. All documentation produced by the courts in Wales, including summonses, orders and warrants, can now be produced in both English and Welsh. The debate on Wales’s legal jurisdiction is a debate that we need to have. There are good arguments for retaining Wales as a distinct, but not separate, part of the existing English and Welsh jurisdiction, and there are good arguments for a move to separate the two. We believe that a White Paper should be part of a process that allows all views and opinions to be heard, and I would be grateful if you could indicate whether you would support a White Paper on this matter.

3.45 p.m.

As you rightly say, there has been very little consolidation of legislation—there is currently no source of fully up-to-date cost-free text of legislation applicable to Wales, and access to the law could be improved significantly, involving revised codifying and consolidation of the law and the development of Welsh-language texts. However, as things stand, most of the existing text that can be amended is in English only. Where do you believe this work should be done? Where do you believe the resource should come from? What dialogue, if any, have you had or will be having with your opposite numbers at Westminster, given the cross-cutting issues that this highlights?

As you say, those of us involved in the legislative process should assess the impact of new Bill proposals on the overall complexity of legislation. You talked about the need to develop an institutional infrastructure to facilitate the fast-tracking of Bills that simplify and consolidate the law rather than change it. In the context of access to Welsh laws and developing a Welsh statute book, could you comment on the need for pre-legislative scrutiny, post-referendum, to replace the pre-legislative scrutiny that happened with the Legislative Competence Order process, potentially involving Green and White Papers, and the need to consult and scrutinise legislation at that pre-legislative level?

In terms of post-legislation Welsh Government regulation on Welsh Bills, Acts and Measures, as were, how should this be made transparent and accessible? For example, the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011 was passed in the Chamber, but I understand that the Welsh Government has still not published regulations, as it is still awaiting guidance from the Building Research Establishment, the absence of which was highlighted pre-legislation.

In terms of the speed of legislation, there was an instance at the end of the last Assembly when the Education (Wales) Measure 2011 was rushed through. I chaired the legislation committee that scrutinised it. At Stage 1 of legislative scrutiny, the only evidence sessions were with the Minister; there was no opportunity to take evidence from any other witnesses in committee. I am not commenting on whether the law was good law or bad law—I am saying that we did not have the opportunity to scrutinise it sufficiently and ensure accessibility to the consultation and scrutiny process by persons and agencies with an interest outside this place.

Finally, in terms of subordinate legislation, how should the process that you propose address matters such as delegated powers to Welsh Ministers and merits scrutiny of that subordinate legislation? I know that the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee does a sterling job in endeavouring to fulfil that role, but it simply does not have the resource to scrutinise everything that this relates to this as it applies to Wales. As you say, whatever they do, the people of Wales have a right to easy access in readily understandable form to the laws that govern their lives, and you refer to the development of the website, which we would support. However, you say that additional resource dedicated to Wales is therefore to be provided to expedite the process. I would be grateful if you could clarify what that additional resource is and where it will come from.

To conclude—[Interruption.] This is the initial response; I am sure that further speakers will contain their response to shorter questions. The Welsh Conservatives would welcome the opportunity to contribute to a process that is committed to promoting clarity and improved access to the law in Wales, because we share a responsibility with the Welsh Government to increase the awareness among the people of Wales of what is being done to reform Welsh laws, and the extent of our institutions’ powers to do so.

Theodore Huckle: I can see that it is sometimes hard to know who is making the statement and who is not. I will deal with those issues as quickly as I can, because time is short, but I am happy to deal with those issues that arise for me. Perhaps I can say straight away that there is always confusion, and it is still about, as to what my role is. My role is not to organise the business of the Assembly, for example. Therefore, I am not sure that I am the best person to ask about issues of pre-legislative scrutiny or post-legislative scrutiny mechanisms, except in very limited respects.

To deal with the points that you have raised in order, on the legal jurisdiction issues, of course, everyone is interested in where we will go with those sorts of developments. It would be precipitate of me to make any detailed statement about that at this stage. Members will be aware that I have limited the statement that I have made today to issues of legislative clarity and the access of the public to the work that is done in legislating as to the Acts of the Assembly. It is right to say that Members can expect a further announcement on the extent to which the Government proposes to take on questions of jurisdiction and by what means in the near future.

On the resources for what I am proposing in relation to issues such as publication and consolidation, resources are an ever-present issue for everyone. To say a little about what has happened to date, the Wales legislation online website has been funded by the Welsh Government and the Assembly Commission. There was initially match funding in relation to that, but when further funds were requested, the Welsh Government initially declined to advance them, pending a review of the service and its quality. The current situation is that we are trying to ensure that the money spent in that direction, whether funds that are already available or funds to be made available, will get a good return. That is part of the reason why we are keen to work with legislation.gov.uk, because it is already in place and it is good. The difficulty with it is that it is not fully up to date, particularly in relation to legislation emanating from Wales, and it is certainly not anywhere near being up to date in relation to Welsh-language texts of legislation emanating from Wales. However, the most cost-effective way that we can think of for achieving rapid publication of updated texts of legislative provisions is to work with legislation.gov.uk, which already, as we understand it, outsources different areas of the legislative programme in England and Wales and, for that matter, Scotland and is keen to work with interested parties. Therefore, the best way that we can think of dealing with that immediately is to work with it and ensure that the limited resources that we all worry about are used in the best and most effective way. I can assure Members that the question of resources is kept in mind, and it is not anticipated that the amount of resources that are being discussed will cause any stress in the budgets already agreed.

As far as pre-legislative scrutiny and post-legislative regulation checking is concerned, as I said, I take the view that, at the moment, that is a matter for whoever is arranging the business of the legislative process. I am not in a position to say anything about that at the moment.

The question of delegated powers comes into the matters that I have made a statement about, particularly in relation to the lack of any cohesive and comprehensive commentary on the legal position as it affects the citizen in Wales. We can and will do all we can to publish the legislative provisions, but it is difficult, even for experienced legislators, to understand the detail of much of the underlying powers emanating from either our legislation or the delegated powers under the general legislation of England and Wales. As I have said many times to those who will listen, I am personally appalled at the idea that one looks at a statute that refers to a Secretary of State, and one has to read 'Welsh Ministers’. Those sorts of issues make the law incomprehensible. We will do all that we can to revise those so that it is clear. As for the Welsh Conservatives’ input, that is not a matter for me.

The Presiding Officer: I would remind Members to avoid long preambles. It would be helpful if you would move straight to the questions.

Mick Antoniw: I welcome the statement, because of the historic legal period that we are going through, creating a whole new realm of legal jurisprudence. Following on from your statement, I was wondering about the need to start engaging with the law schools of Welsh universities, and other institutions, so that we start having, as part of the curriculum, the teaching of those elements of Welsh law and the codifying to inform commentary and academic legal discussion on laws, as they come through case law, and the interesting issues that arise. For example, we may retain an agricultural wages board in Wales, but not in England, and so on. It seems to me that those are fundamental steps that need to be taken, as they would create a record of the developing jurisprudence in Wales.

Theodore Huckle: I can only agree. There is the institution known as Legal Wales, which I hope will be an increasing focus for developments of the kind that Mr Antoniw referred to. The annual Legal Wales conference will be held on Friday, at which the First Minister, the Solicitor General and I will be speaking. I also think that the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales will speak there. It is well-attended by—and I excuse myself from these words—people of a high level. I hope that it will be an increasing focus for the development of the law in Wales. Its contacts include the universities, the academic fraternity and the legal world in Wales as it currently stands. Therefore, it is well-placed to fulfil that role, we hope. The only other point that occurs to me is that, as I mentioned in the statement, we could develop an encyclopaedia of the law of Wales, and that is an idea that is directed at the point made about the need for an understanding of the overall legal picture, and not just the statutory provisions.

Jocelyn Davies: I welcome this statement and fully support its aims. It is often said that ignorance of the law is no defence, but as Mark Isherwood mentioned earlier, that assumes a number of things—that the law is available to you and that it is easy to find, easy to read and easy to understand. Therefore, I support the idea of improving access for the public and others to the laws that affect them. I think that everybody here would agree that the Welsh Government has some way to go on this. After all, recently, as we are all aware, the Electoral Commission did not even know that the law had changed in Wales—and that body is not members of the public. Are you aware that students in Wales are often advised not to waste their time using the Welsh Government’s website if they are looking up guidance and so on, but to use other search engines? I think that you will also agree that it is a poor site if you have to know where something is before you can find it. I do not know whether you are aware that the Welsh Government’s website is notoriously difficult to navigate, because if you are, you did not mention that as your fourth barrier.

4.00 p.m.

I was interested that you mentioned education in your statement—you took that subject as your example—because this morning, I thought that I would go to the Welsh Government’s website and type in 'education law’. I did expect to find 'education law’ because the search results were sorted by relevance. Of the first 20 hits—and there were 807 hits, so I will not go through them all, Presiding Officer, you will be delighted to hear—only eight were about education, and three of those were the same announcement. Included in that top 20 were several announcements that Peter Law made, a description of how to tackle child poverty, a list of the academic journals read by the Welsh Ministers, three hits on the referendum results, one on fireworks, one on fire safety, guidance on placing a child with relatives abroad, and the rate relief scheme announcement—that was another of Peter Law’s, when he was a Minister, which is an exceedingly long time ago.

Of the second 20, only 10 were about education. There were hits for carrier bags, farmers, dog welfare, alcohol, the law on the end of life of vehicles, Jenny Randerson’s appointment of two members of National Museum and Galleries Wales, and the EU waste framework directive. It is not a site where normal, ordinary people can find education law. Is that another barrier for you, on top of the complexity that you have already outlined, which I absolutely accept? The link to the online resource that you mentioned would be incredibly useful.

This is going to be a never-ending project for us. You mentioned that you expect to bring another statement to the Chamber in the spring, so do you expect to have made significant progress by then? I noticed that Mark Isherwood mentioned the question of a separate legal jurisdiction, and obviously this is a topic of great interest and great importance, but is perhaps for another time rather than for a statement here. I also want to ask you about the issue of language and how you can ensure that the law that applies to Wales, including statutory instruments, is available in both languages. I have just one final point, Presiding Officer: if an oral statement is worth making, then it is worth scrutinising, and if the Counsel General makes an oral statement, we will definitely scrutinise it.

Theodore Huckle: I certainly have no complaints about scrutiny. I will deal with the points in order. Do I know that students are told not to use the Welsh Government website? No, I did not know that, but I would not be surprised, particularly if they were law students, because I would not expect law students to look to such a website for legal resources. I am possibly dealing with a different subject matter in relation to the availability of legislative provisions on the one hand and commentary on the law on the other. It is to that which our efforts in this respect will be directed. I entirely agree that it might well be that a member of the public would, in the first instance, go to a site such as the Welsh Government’s to make general inquiries, and although it is not a matter for me to design that website, it certainly ought to direct people to the sort of resources that we are talking about. The problem at the moment is that they are not there in readily accessible form and that is what we want to address. However, I certainly agree with you on the matter of design.

Do I expect to make progress? Yes, I do. As far as the language issues are concerned, of course, it is difficult; there is a lot of legislation there, much of which is in English and, as you will be aware, there is a huge resource implication in relation to trying to put all of that into Welsh in its current form. However, part of what I am talking about today is a desire to achieve a situation where we are consolidating—and you are consolidating—legislation that affects the people of Wales and, in doing so, that consolidated legislation will be available in English and in Welsh. However, it is not easy and I do not disagree that it is a longer rather than a short-term project.

Julie James: I also welcome the statement by the Counsel General. As a lawyer who practised in Wales for some considerable time, but who also practised in England, I can tell you that the difficulty of finding out what is in force in Wales is extreme, and I echo all the sentiments that have been expressed today about that. I would also like to bring to the Counsel General’s attention one other matter, which is related to his purview and has a bearing on this. It is to do with Legal Wales and the capacity of Welsh law firms to deal with legislation and advice arising from Welsh legislation and, in particular, legislation made in the Welsh language, which is of particular concern.

There are two issues on this. The first is the difficulty that small and medium-sized Welsh firms have in accessing Government contracts in the first place, given the Office of Government Commerce’s frameworks and the prequalification problems that those firms encounter, which exacerbates the difficulty of commentary and learned discussion in Wales, because only very large law firms can get onto those frameworks. Therefore, practice is not developed in various issues of Welsh law, which would give rise to the sort of academic and practical discussion that you would have in other areas of law in the UK. Secondly, do you have any plans to build capacity among small and medium-sized law firms, with a view to getting that conversation going? You could perhaps invite them to put the commentaries that we have heard about into the public domain, and assist with the codification suggestions and practicalities that go with any such codifications, so that we can get the codified law right. We would therefore not have the issue that we sometimes have with consolidated laws that although the law does not intend to change, it actually does in practice.

Theodore Huckle: With regard to your first question, it is implicit in what I said about seeking to achieve an encyclopaedia of Welsh law that we are concerned that we do everything that we can to ensure that the people of Wales—including people outside larger law firms, the public, and, for that matter, lawyers who may not be in specialist fields of work—have access to good commentary on the law as it affects the people of Wales, in whatever area of endeavour one is considering. However, that is not easy. One of the options for developing such an encyclopaedia is to invite voluntary contributions. I hesitate to use the word 'wiki’, but one gets the impression that, if properly edited and if people were prepared to assist with that work, that might be a way, which needs limited resource, of building a proper series of expert commentaries on different areas of law. Therefore, we are considering that as much as we can; the resource implications are clear to us and we will take it as fast as we can, in the stages that we can.

With regard to what lawyers or persons in particular law firms are prepared to do, then that is a matter for them. There are such things as trade secrets and knowledge; we may all be open about publicising the work of Government and the Assembly, but that does not necessarily apply to private business entities. Therefore, there is not much that we can do in that regard, other than to ask them what they are prepared to do. However, as far as that is concerned, as I have already said, we hope that Legal Wales will develop as a focus for the discussion and publication of information that will enable the citizen to know what we are all doing.

Eluned Parrott: First, I would like to thank the Counsel General for his statement. We all welcome the announcement and recognise the significant barriers that he faces in trying to make the law in Wales more clear and accessible to the public. The Liberal Democrats are obviously strong supporters of devolution, and one of the fundamentals of that belief is that if people are to be involved in our democracy, they must have full and clear access to the results of that democracy, which, in this case, is legislation. It is a matter of great concern to me that this issue has not been addressed by previous Counsel Generals, particularly the tracking of powers that pass to Ministers as a consequence of legislation, particularly legislation from Westminster. However, I am delighted that you hope to put right some of those past failings.

I have three questions that I want to ask of you. The first question is on the comprehensiveness of the capture that you are planning, given that the Wales Governance Centre said in evidence to the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee yesterday that there were significant problems with the communication channels in Westminster and with capturing things that are happening there. The second question is on the duplication of work and the efficiency of the work that is being done. Given that the Assembly Commission and the Welsh Government are already paying towards Wales Legislation Online, I would like some clarification as to how you intend Wales Legislation Online to work with legislation.gov.uk to ensure that there is no conflict or unnecessary duplication. The third question is on delivery. You have mentioned the importance of Welsh-language provision to ensure accessibility for everyone, but although Wales Legislation Online is a bilingual website, legislation.gov.uk is not: none of the navigation tools are available in Welsh and only a limited amount of the legislation is available in Welsh. Do you have any plans for the work that you intend to do with legislation.gov.uk to create a bilingual framework and make bilingual papers available on the website? If you do not, I would query if this is an appropriate mechanism for delivering Wales’s statute book.

Theodore Huckle: Thank you for those questions. First, we, as well as the Wales Governance Centre, understand the problems created by this. It is intended that, insofar as we can do it, these developments will be comprehensive. It is difficult to say more than that at the moment. There are mechanical issues about how one precisely deals with matters. That leads me to the question on duplication of effort: I understand the point of your question and perhaps I have not been clear enough on the matter. Wales Legislation Online, as it currently exists, is funded by the Welsh Government and the Assembly Commission. It is subject to review, but the intention is that it will be used as a vehicle for developing the commentary side, alongside the work that we hope to do with legislation.gov.uk. I understand the concerns regarding legislation.gov.uk, but it is not as bad as you may fear: there are some provisions on there, but I agree that there are no Welsh access mechanisms. We have already raised the issue with the National Archives, the body behind legislation.gov.uk—we are on it, if I may put it that way. It is all part of the negotiations and discussions with legislation.gov.uk as to how we develop that part of its site that contains Welsh legislation.

Datganiad: Rhaglenni Ewropeaidd yn y Dyfodol yng Nghymru
Statement: Future European Programmes in Wales

The Record

The Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes (Alun Davies): This afternoon, I will outline the Welsh Government’s approach to future European programmes as we enter the opening phase of the various European and domestic debates that will shape the future use of European funding. This funding contributes significantly to the overall socioeconomic and environmental wellbeing of Wales. For the first time in Government in Wales, all the main European funding programmes have been brought together under a single portfolio. I will use this opportunity to consider the programmes in a holistic way, with the overriding aim of securing the best possible outcome for Wales.

At a recent Enterprise and Business Committee meeting, I outlined the Government’s priorities for future European programmes, emphasising the need for continued success with our current programmes while also planning for the next funding period. As a part of this, I want to see the structural funds, rural development and fisheries programmes working together more closely to help deliver the Welsh Government’s programme for government within the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

I am already putting forward our case, and will continue to do so, in discussions with the UK Government as well as at European Union level. I have held discussions with Commissioner Hahn and will meet Commissioner Ciolos again later next month. I have also met key officials in the European Commission, as well as Welsh Members of the European Parliament and the UK’s permanent representative to the EU. The Welsh Government, Welsh MEPs, and Welsh stakeholders are united—as the National Assembly for Wales has also shown itself to be—in seeking to achieve the best possible outcomes for Wales.  

Preparations for future programmes are beginning to gain momentum. In June, the Commission published its draft multi-annual financial framework for 2014 to 2020. I am expecting draft regulatory packages for cohesion policy and the CAP to be published by the Commission over the next two weeks. I intend to make written statements on our initial reaction to these regulations as soon as I have had a chance to review them.

4.15 p.m.

It is a matter of public record that the Welsh Government does not share the UK Government’s view on reducing the size of the budget overall or its budgetary stance on structural funds or the CAP. Despite this difference, I am committed to working constructively with Ministers in London and my counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland to deliver a viable outcome for the UK—and for Wales. I will ensure that Wales will play a positive and constructive role in shaping the overall UK position and approach. I have already made it clear to UK Government Ministers that Wales’s ambition is to be a UK team player. In addition, I want to give this undertaking to Members: we will ensure that all Members are kept fully involved and informed as the Government formalises its response to these proposals. I hope that the response will be seen as not simply the Government’s response, but Wales’s response.

Daeth y Dirprwy Lywydd i’r Gadair am 4.16 p.m.
The Deputy Presiding Officer took the Chair at 4.16 p.m.

The Record

We will provide time for a Plenary debate. I know that the Environment and Sustainability Committee has established a task and finish group to examine the CAP proposals. The Government will work with the committee to help facilitate this inquiry and provide all necessary information to Members to help them in their work. In addition, I will make regular written and oral statements to ensure that all Members are informed as the process unfolds over the coming years.

In addition to discussions here, it is important to reach out across Wales to involve people in this debate. To that end, I have now put in place partnership arrangements to encourage an open discussion and help inform programme development. Partnership with Welsh businesses, institutions and organisations from the public, third and higher and further education sectors will be vital to ensure that the programmes are designed with a clear focus on delivery on the ground from the outset. I want our partnership working to be genuine and meaningful, providing Welsh partners with opportunities to influence and shape programmes from the very beginning.

A European programmes partnership forum for 2014 to 2020 has been established, chaired by Mark Drakeford AM, the chair of the current all-Wales programme monitoring committee for structural funds. I have sought a balanced membership for this group that reflects experience across the main European programmes in Wales while significantly increasing the proportion of private sector representation. This will enable a more holistic approach whereby all programmes will be considered together. It will look to deliver on common goals wherever possible.

At the forum’s first meeting last week, members were introduced to the economic and policy context in which new programmes will be developed and the broader plans for partnership working, which will involve a reflection period later this year to help our Welsh partners influence the development of the programmes’ strategy to deliver EU and Welsh policy priorities and what those priorities should be. My aim is to come back to Plenary for a debate in January, during this reflection period, to hear your thoughts on these issues.

I believe that our approach is working well and that there have been very real benefits for the people of Wales that would not have happened had we not had the funding, particularly in the current fiscal climate. I will build on this success and continue, in partnership, to identify areas where any new programmes for Wales can help to build our economic base, transform our communities and improve the life opportunities of people across the country.

William Graham: Thank you, Deputy Minister, for your very welcome statement this afternoon. In particular, I urge you to make as many oral statements as possible, as these provide a much better way of engaging with your intentions and learning about the way in which you intend to take forward the programmes that are so vital for the future of Wales. We also welcome the fact that you will provide time for a Plenary debate, and we look forward to that with great interest. With regard to the partnership arrangements that you intend to put in place, we encourage you to make these particularly wide and relevant consultations so that business can really engage with what is a vital element of the future economic development of much of Wales.

We hope that this is not simply an aspiration, but a meaningful partnership. We have great confidence in the Member for Cardiff West to perform the duties of the chair of the programme monitoring committee on structural funds. We are also grateful that it is your intention to come back to Plenary for a debate in January. We look forward to that with interest, and hope that, as your statements progress, we will learn more of your intentions.

Alun Davies: I thank the Conservative spokesperson for those kind remarks. At this point, since he is in his place, I thank the leader of the opposition for his readiness to ensure that Wales was represented at the agriculture Council of Ministers in Brussels two weeks ago. Some of these meetings are extraordinarily important and it is important that we are able to attend. Given the current mathematics, that can only happen with co-operation and support from across the Chamber. So, I put on record my thanks to the leader of the opposition for enabling that to happen on this occasion.

In terms of engagement with this place and more widely, I will say quite clearly from the outset that I want to encourage as much debate as possible on the programmes and how we approach our priorities for the future. It is my intention to keep Members informed by written and oral statement wherever that is possible. We expect the draft regulations to be published on Thursday for cohesion funds and next Wednesday for the new CAP. I will provide Members with a written statement when the Welsh Government is in a position to review its position on both those areas of policy. The European Commission will then allow a period of reflection over a number of months, which will enable us to respond to these proposals in far more detail. I can give Members a clear undertaking that there will be an opportunity to discuss the proposals in Plenary in Government time before the end of that period. In that way, I hope that we will be able to ensure that, when we respond to these proposals, it is a Welsh response and not simply a Government response. I also give the relevant spokespeople an undertaking that I will ensure that they are informed about our proposals and, as we continue to develop our response to Commission proposals, I will ensure that spokespeople are fully involved in the whole process.

On wider partnerships, I fully agree with the point that you make. We are fortunate to have someone with Mark Drakeford’s background and knowledge able to chair not only the current programme monitoring committee, but to lead the work of the forum that is looking at programmes in the post-2013 world. It is important to have someone who can lead that process with Mark’s knowledge and background, and I put on record my thanks to him for that work. I hope to attend meetings of those committees regularly in order to inform them of my work in Government, and I will ensure that those reports are circulated to Members.

The Record

Alun Ffred Jones: Diolch am y datganiad heddiw, gan edrych ymlaen at allu dilyn y datblygiadau yn ystod y misoedd nesaf. Yr wyf eisiau gofyn cwestiwn am y fforwm partneriaeth yr ydych wedi’i sefydlu. Yr wyf yn cymryd bod aelodaeth y fforwm i’w chael yn gyhoeddus yn rhywle. Os nad ydyw, a allwch ddweud wrthym pwy yw’r aelodau ac ar ba sail y cawsant eu dewis?

Alun Ffred Jones: Thank you for today’s statement. We look forward to being able to follow developments over the coming months. I want to ask a question about the partnership forum that you have established. I take it that the forum’s membership is available publicly somewhere. If not, can you tell us who the members are and on what basis they were chosen?

Yr ydych yn sôn hefyd eich bod yn gobeithio gweithio’n gadarnhaol gyda Llywodraeth Llundain wrth ddatblygu eich syniadaeth a syniadaeth y Llywodraeth. Fodd bynnag, pa mor hyderus ydych y gallwch wneud hynny, a pha mor hyderus ydych ynghylch y cyfarfodydd yr ydych wedi’u cael, gan gofio bod agwedd y Llywodraeth yn Llundain gryn dipyn yn wahanol i’ch agwedd chi? Wedi’r cwbl, mae datganiadau Ysgrifennydd Gwladol Cymru dros yr wythnos diwethaf yn awgrymu ei bod yn credu bod y Llywodraeth hon wedi gwneud llanast o bethau hyd yn hyn. Felly, mae’n amlwg bod gennych waith anodd o’ch blaen i berswadio Llywodraeth Llundain y bydd eich ffordd o weithio, a’n ffordd o weithio yng Nghymru, yn effeithiol.  

You also say that you hope to work positively with the London Government in developing your views and the Government’s views. However, how confident are you that you will be able to do that, and how confident are you about the meetings that you have had, given that the attitude of the Government in London is very different to yours? After all, the statements made by the Secretary of State for Wales over the past week suggest that she believes that this Government has made a mess of things to date. So you obviously have your work cut out to persuade the London Government that your way of working, and our way of working in Wales, is effective.

Mae’r wybodaeth sy’n dod o Ewrop yn awgrymu y bydd y targedau ar gyfer y rhaglen nesaf yn eithriadol o heriol. Mae sôn, er enghraifft, ei bod yn debygol y bydd disgwyl i bob ardal anelu at lefel gyflogaeth o 75 y cant. Gwyddom i gyd fod y ffigur ar gyfer gorllewin Cymru a’r Cymoedd ar hyn o bryd oddeutu 64 y cant. Mae hefyd yn debygol y gosodir targedau uchel ar gyfer ymchwil a datblygu, sydd eto yn ffigur isel iawn ar hyn o bryd. Felly, er mwyn sicrhau na fyddwn yn colli arian, oherwydd mae’n debyg y cosbir ardaloedd os na fyddant yn cyrraedd eu targedau, pa mor hyderus ydych y gallwn gyrraedd y targedau, o gofio y bu i ni fethu’r targedau hyd yma?

The information coming out of Europe suggests that the targets for the next programme will be extremely challenging. There is talk, for example, of the likelihood of all areas having to aim for employment levels of 75 per cent. We all know that the figure for west Wales and the Valleys currently stands at around 64 per cent. It is also likely that high targets will be set for research and development, which is also currently at a very low level. Therefore, in order to ensure that we do not lose money, as it is likely that areas that do not reach the targets will be penalised, how confident are you that we can achieve those targets, bearing in mind that we have failed to date?

Yn olaf, yr wyf yn croesawu eich datganiad eich bod eisiau i’r cronfeydd Ewropeaidd weithio gyda’i gilydd. Wedi dweud hyn, maent wedi eu creu yn gronfeydd ar wahân er mwyn cyflawni amcanion gwahanol. Un pryder sydd ynghlwm wrth y cynllun datblygu gwledig, er enghraifft, yw nad yw ardaloedd lle mae pob ward yn wledig yn elwa llawer mwy nag ardaloedd megis Abertawe, lle ceir dim ond tair neu bedair ward a ystyrir yn wledig. A ydych yn credu bod hynny’n rhesymol ac yn deg? Sut y byddwch yn sicrhau bod pob ardal yng Nghymru yn elwa o’r manteision sy’n ddyledus yn y rhaglenni hyn?

Finally, I welcome your statement that you want the European funds to work together. Having said that, they have been created as separate funds in order to fulfil different aims. One concern with the rural development plan, for example, is that areas where all wards are classified as rural do not benefit much more than areas such as Swansea, where there are only three or four wards considered to be rural. Do you believe that that is reasonable and fair? How will you ensure that all parts of Wales benefit from the advantages of these programmes?

Alun Davies: Diolch yn fawr am hynny. I ateb eich cwestiwn cyntaf, yr wyf yn hapus iawn i gyhoeddi enwau aelodaeth y fforwm hwn. Ysgrifennaf at Aelodau gyda’r wybodaeth hon.

Alun Davies: Thank you for that. To answer your first question, I am happy to announce the names of those who are members of the forum. I will write to Members with that information.

Bu i chi orffen eich cyfraniad drwy drafod targedau’r Comisiwn ar gyfer rhaglenni. Nid wyf eisiau camu’n rhy bell i’r drafodaeth hon sy’n ymwneud â’r rhaglenni eu hunain. Bydd digon o amser i wneud hynny. Yr oeddech yn y pwyllgor ychydig ddyddiau’n ôl pan gawsom drafodaeth am y targedau yn y rhaglenni presennol. Yr wyf yn credu imi drafod hynny gyda chi, gan esbonio sut yr wyf yn disgwyl gweld y rhaglenni Cymreig presennol yn cael eu targedu. O ran y dyfodol, a’r rhaglenni ar gyfer y cyfnod nesaf, yr wyf eisiau eu gweld yn cydweithio â’i gilydd gan integreiddio i raddau helaethach nag a wnânt ar hyn o bryd. Mae cymhlethdod wrth wneud hynny, ac yr wyf yn deall y cymhlethdod hwnnw. Yr amcan, fel polisi, yw sicrhau bod y cydweithio rhwng y rhaglenni yn well nag ydyw ar hyn o bryd. Mae’r cynllun datblygu gwledig yn enghraifft dda o’r modd nad ydym yn gwneud hynny bob tro ar hyn o bryd. Felly, byddaf yn hapus i gael y drafodaeth hon gyda chi pan fyddwn wedi gweld y rheolau newydd a fydd yn cael eu cyhoeddi ddydd Iau a’r wythnos nesaf. Wedyn, byddwn mewn sefyllfa well i drafod y math o newidiadau yr ydym eisiau eu gweld ar gynigion y Comisiwn i gyrraedd ein nod.       

You closed by discussing the Commission’s targets for its programmes. I do not wish to wander too far into the discussion on the programmes themselves. There will be plenty of time to do that. You were at the committee meeting a few days ago when we debated the targets of the current programmes. I believe that I discussed that with you, explaining how I expect to see the current Welsh programmes being targeted. Looking to the future, and the programmes for the next period, I want to see them working together, with more integration than is currently the case. There are complexities in doing that, which I understand. The policy aim is to ensure that current levels of co-operation between schemes are improved. The rural development plan is a good example of us not doing that at all times now. Therefore, I will be happy to have this discussion with you when we have seen the new rules, which will be published on Thursday and next week. We will then be in a better position to discuss the kind of changes that we want to see in Commission proposals in order to achieve our aims.

O safbwynt y berthynas â’r Llywodraeth yn Llundain, yr wyf yn ymwybodol o’r hyn y mae pobl yn ei ddweud mewn cynadleddau ac ati. Fodd bynnag, yng nghyfarfodydd cyd-bwyllgor y Gweinidogion, cyfarfodydd dirprwyaeth y DU a chyfarfodydd preifat gyda Gweinidogion o Lundain, yr wyf wedi canfod eu bod yn fodlon gwrando ar beth sydd gennym i’w ddweud, a bod cyfle i ni drafod amcanion Llywodraeth Cymru gyda nhw. Yn amlwg, mae ffordd i fynd, a byddaf yn mynd i gyfarfod cyd-bwyllgor y Gweinidogion yr wythnos nesaf. Byddaf yn trafod sut y gallwn, yn y Llywodraeth hon ac yn y Cynulliad hwn, gyfrannu’n well at greu polisi, megis yn y pwyllgor materion Ewropeaidd, mewn trafodaethau sy’n digwydd rhwng y Swyddfa Dramor a’r Gymanwlad ac Adran yr Amgylchedd, Bwyd a Materion Gwledig, er enghraifft, neu’r Adran Busnes, Arloesedd a Sgiliau, o safbwynt cronfeydd strwythurol. Ar hyn o bryd nid wyf yn siŵr bod hynny’n gweithio’n arbennig o dda. Mae ffyrdd y gallwn wella hynny. Serch hynny, rhaid i mi ddweud, mewn trafodaethau â Gweinidogion San Steffan, yr wyf wedi gweld bod gennym gyfle arbennig nid yn unig i gael gwrandawiad ond i lywio polisïau a dulliau’r Deyrnas Unedig.           

With regard to the relationship with the Government in London, I am aware of what people say in conferences and so on. However, in joint ministerial committee meetings, UK delegation meetings and private meetings with Ministers in London, I have found them to be willing to listen to what we have to say. We get an opportunity to discuss Welsh Government aims with them. There is clearly some way to go, and I will attend a joint ministerial committee meeting next week. I will discuss how we, in this Government and this Assembly, can better contribute to policy creation, such as in the European affairs committee, in discussions between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for example, or the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, on structural funds. At the moment, I am not convinced that that is working very well. There are ways in which it can be improved. However, I must say that, in discussions with Westminster Ministers, I have seen that we have a real opportunity not only to be heard but to steer United Kingdom policies and methods.

The Record

Eluned Parrott: I also thank you, Deputy Minister, for the statement that you have made today. I am particularly pleased by your commitment to involving the Chamber and your colleagues across the Chamber in your deliberations when the new regulations are published on Thursday. I hope that that is a sign of things to come in relation to all of the discussions that we will have on European issues.

4.30 p.m.

I am also very glad to see the development of a partnership approach. However, I ask that you recognise that true partnerships—good, valuable partnerships—require an investment of time and money by all of the partners involved. While that might be easy for us to provide, it might be difficult for a small enterprise or a small charitable organisation. I hope that you will look at ways of supporting people to become partners in projects such as this where barriers might otherwise prevent them from doing so.

Once again, I am particularly pleased to see the inclusion of private sector representatives on the partnership forum for 2014 to 2020. Our record is not that great. When you look at the number of approved projects as of 1 October 2011, you see that 92.4 per cent of the funding has gone to public sector organisations and just 1.3 per cent to private sector organisations. That is a concern, but I hope that we will be able to overcome that and push in a different direction.

Notwithstanding Mark Drakeford’s unquestionable knowledge and expertise in this area, I am a little disappointed that the forum is to be chaired by him, because it would have been nice to bring in some fresh blood and some fresh ideas. [Interruption.] I would hate to be considered arrogant. I am merely suggesting that, if we want to try to do things differently and collaboratively, and also involve a new group of partners, it might have been interesting to invite some of those partners to nominate their own chair, perhaps from one of the partner organisations rather than from the parent organisation, such as we are.

I have two other queries relating to your statement. In the final paragraph, you state that you believe that our approach is working well. According to the Welsh European Funding Office’s interim reports, we are missing our targets by a considerable percentage. For some, we have achieved only 27 per cent of the interim target at the review date, yet the forecasts say that we will not only hit those targets, but pass them. I wonder how you came to such an optimistic appraisal of the situation.

When you came to the Enterprise and Business Committee recently, you described gross value added and gross domestic product as 'blunt tools’. Can you specify what sharp tools you will be using to measure success in the future?

Alun Davies: Thank you for those warm words. [Laughter.]

I disagree with you. To be fair, Mark has been here only six months. I am sure that the Deputy Presiding Officer would not want me to make any comments about people who have been here since 1999. It is a bit unworthy of you to make such comments, Eluned. The parent organisation here is the Assembly, not the Government. Mark—how shall I put it—has a great sense of his independence from Government, and I do not believe for one moment that the forum is either a part of Government or being led by Government in the way that you suggest. Therefore, you might wish to reflect on those remarks.

With regard to ensuring that people are able not only to attend meetings but also to have the resources available to them to participate fully in the discussions that will take place over the next few years, I hope that I have already made it clear to Members this afternoon that we will ensure that as much information as possible is published and we will ensure that people have early and full access to that to enable them to participate fully in the discussions that take place. We will provide all of the support we can to enable people to participate in this process.

On your wider points, I will not allow myself to be drawn too far into some of your comments this afternoon, but I explained to the spokesperson for the Welsh Liberal Democrats at the time that my comments were based upon meetings with the European Commission, in this case with Commissioner Hahn, who referred time and again to the excellent way in which Wales is implementing and delivering these European programmes. I have met a number of directors-general in Brussels, and without exception they have all commented on how well Wales manages, administers and delivers European programmes.

I understand some of the points that you were trying to make on the involvement of the private sector. I repeat that Wales is second in Europe when it comes to the involvement of the private sector; only the Netherlands has a better record. The Government that you support across Offa’s Dyke does not even allow the private sector to become involved in structural programmes in the way that we do in Wales. So, I would reject your comments on that.

We have discussed previously our ability to meet our targets, and I repeat that I am confident that the targets will be met for ESF and ERDF. Those targets were set before the 2008 economic storm, in entirely different economic times, yet our levels of commitment to spend on these programmes remain far ahead of where the levels were at the same time in the previous round, and I believe that we are on target to meet the targets that were set for us in this round of European funding programmes.  

So, there is a good story to come out of Wales and a positive story to tell about Wales. The fact that we are having this debate and that a forum has been set up many years in advance of this funding coming on-stream yet again demonstrates that Wales is leading the debate and, I hope, becoming an exemplar region for the administration and management of these funds across the European Union.

Cynnig Cydsyniad Deddfwriaethol Atodol ar Fil Senedd y DU ynghylch Lleoliaeth
Supplementary Legislative Consent Motion on the Localism Bill

The Record

Cynnig NDM4808 Carl Sargeant

Motion NDM4808 Carl Sargeant

Bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 29.6, yn cytuno y dylai Senedd y DU ystyried, yn ogystal â'r darpariaethau y cyfeirir atynt yng nghynigion NNDM4642, NNDM4722 ac NNDM4785, y darpariaethau ychwanegol hynny a gyflwynwyd i’r Bil Lleoliaeth ynghylch Rhagdybiaethau Cynllunio Gorchmynion Prynu Gorfodol, Sail 16 Atodlen 2 Deddf Tai 1985 ac Asedau ag iddynt Werth Cymunedol, i'r graddau y maent yn dod o fewn cymhwysedd deddfwriaethol Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru.

That the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 29.6, agrees that, in addition to the provisions referred to in motions NNDM4642, NNDM4722 and NNDM4785, those further provisions which have been brought forward in the Localism Bill relating to Compulsory Purchase Order Planning Assumptions, Ground 16 of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1985 and Assets of Community Value in so far as they fall within the legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales, should be considered by the UK Parliament.

The Record

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

Mick Antoniw: I have a few points to raise on this that are quite important. This is a substantial document that deals with a number of areas arising from the Localism Bill. I am a little concerned about where UK legislation is going and what lessons we may learn from that, because there are some worrying aspects to the Bill. For example, there is a clear commitment in the Localism Bill to the abolition of local authorities’ duty to promote local democracy. We do not want to go down that route. It seems that the UK Government is saying to local authorities—and I hope we do not follow its example—that it is not important for people to vote or to be on the electoral register.

I have just picked out two items, and there is a series of others that concern me. For example, there is a right for those in priority need for housing who are made unintentionally homeless not to be pushed into private accommodation. However, there seems to be a move in the Localism Bill to shift provision for the homeless into the private sector. There is also a proposal, which, again, I hope that we do not adopt when we consider our own legislation, that is clearly an attempt to privatise the fire service, insofar as there is a provision in the Bill that fire and rescue services should have the power to charge for the services that they provide. Once you open that door, you are going down the route of privatising the fire service. Therefore, what lessons can we learn from this, and how can we ensure that our proposals do not go down this particular road and that we adopt civilised and decent standards?

 

Peter Black: You will be aware that a road accident victim going to hospital could be charged for the service provided. Is that going down the route of privatising the health service?

Mick Antoniw: That was something introduced a long time ago to ensure that the NHS recouped money instead of insurance companies gaining benefit from NHS provision. This is a totally different provision: it goes so far in opening the door to services to make charges as to allow the man who calls at your door when your house is on fire to charge you. That is not excluded. That is the door that is being opened by this piece of legislation. Once you open that door, that is where you are going. This Bill really is not a Bill about localism: it is a Bill that opens the door to speculators and exploiters and to handing over whole sections of our public services not only to privateers but to property developers.

The Minister for Local Government and Communities (Carl Sargeant): I thank the Member for his contribution. We are talking about three sections of the Localism Bill in terms of the legislative consent motion. The first is in relation to the compulsory purchase order scheme, where it is proposed to amend sections 14 to 21 of the Land Compensation Act 1961. The second is ground 16 of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1985, and the amendment is to address a defect that is currently in the legislation. Finally, in relation to assets of community value, we are seeking to put the provision on the face of the Bill as opposed to it being drafted in regulations. I hope Members can support that today. However, I recognise the concerns that Mick Antoniw has raised. I am the lead Minister from the Assembly Government on the Localism Bill; there are elements of this Bill that fall within the remit of other Welsh Government Ministers. I would welcome a conversation with Mick Antoniw, at an opportune time, to discuss his concerns around the Localism Bill. However, I commend the motion to Members.   

     

The Deputy Presiding Officer: The proposal is to agree the motion. Does any Member object? I see there are no objections. The proposal is therefore agreed in accordance with Standing Order No. 12.36.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Motion agreed.

Yr Adroddiad Blynyddol ar Ddatblygu Cynaliadwy
The Sustainable Development Annual Report

The Record

The Deputy Presiding Officer: I have selected amendments 1, 2 3 and 4 in the name of William Graham, and amendments 5, 6, 7 and 8 in the name of Peter Black.

The Record

Cynnig NDM4813 Jane Hutt

Motion NDM4813 Jane Hutt

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

Yn nodi'r cynnydd sydd wedi'i wneud ar ddatblygu cynaliadwy yn 2010-11, fel y nodir yn Adroddiad Llywodraeth Cymru ar y Cynllun Datblygu Cynaliadwy, a osodwyd gerbron Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru ar 22 Medi 2011.

Notes the progress made on sustainable development in 2010-11, as set out in the Welsh Government’s Annual Report of the Sustainable Development Scheme, which was laid before the National Assembly for Wales on 22 September 2011.

The Record

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

At the heart of this Government is our commitment to support the development of a fairer society with an emphasis on social, economic and environmental wellbeing for people and communities. This report is our account of sustainable development as a central organising principle and I am delighted to welcome the publication of the annual report of the Welsh Government’s sustainable development scheme for the financial year 2010-11. This is my first annual report since I became Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, and I am pleased to report on the progress that we have made.  

The report demonstrates the action taken across all ministerial portfolios to deliver on behalf of the people of Wales. It is a comprehensive account of how we use sustainable development principles across Government to inform all our policies and programmes. I am also happy to have included an independent commentary on our progress from our commissioner for sustainable futures, Peter Davies. We are the only country in the UK to invite an independent commentary on progress and, following the UK Government’s closure of the Sustainable Development Commission, the only administration in the UK to continue to have an independent commissioner to advise us.

The commissioner has recognised that there is 'no doubt’ that progress has been made in addressing how sustainable development, as our central organising principle, is understood and applied. That is why we will oppose amendment 1. The commissioner also notes that more work is needed, and we agree. He has made a number of recommendations, which we will follow up. Therefore, I am pleased that we are able to support amendment 4 in the name of William Graham.

We have made progress on becoming a sustainable nation, as measured by our suite of sustainable development indicators. These were published in August and I am pleased that 19 of the 44 indicators show a clear improvement, compared with only 17 a year before. I also welcome the latest data on our greenhouse gas emissions, which were published too late to include in the annual report. These figures show that emissions in Wales decreased by 14 per cent between 2008 and 2009.

4.45 p.m.

Simon Thomas: I am grateful to the Minister for giving way. On the question of greenhouse gas emissions, the report makes it clear that the climate change strategy will address emissions in the transport sector in particular and that there has been an improvement there. Bearing in mind that raising the speed limit to 80 mph on our motorways would increase emissions 20 per cent, is it his Government’s intention to keep the limit to 70 mph in Wales, because sticking to 70 mph will assist his strategy enormously?

John Griffiths: All I can say at this stage is that I very much understand and share the environmental concerns at a possible raise in the motorway speed limit. There are many other considerations, not least of which are road safety matters. Therefore, we will look carefully at what we can do.

We have in place a comprehensive climate change strategy and an emissions reduction delivery plan that set out the measures by which we contribute to our target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3 per cent per year in areas of devolved competence. This approach has included phase 1 of Arbed, which provided £30 million of funding for homes, skills and green jobs. This funding upgraded the energy efficiency of existing housing stock in some of the most deprived areas of Wales, tackling fuel poverty and also providing a boost to jobs, skills and regeneration. Phase 2 of Arbed is already under development, and that is why we will oppose amendment 6. Similarly, on the other sustainable development indicators, we already have in place programmes to respond to these trends, and for this reason, we will oppose amendments 3 and 5.

It is encouraging that the waste recycling indicator continues to show good progress, and that is why we are pleased to accept amendment 8 from Peter Black. I have agreed to an independent review of the effectiveness of our sustainable development scheme, in line with our statutory duty. I will receive this review in December, and will lay a copy before the Assembly in the new year. We will therefore oppose amendments 2 and 7.

Finally, I am pleased that our sustainable development duty has always attracted support from all the parties in the Assembly. Our annual report notes the work that has been carried out following the launch of 'One Wales: One Planet’. It represents a solid body of work that demonstrates how our commitment to sustainable development is making a long-term difference to the quality of life of people and communities throughout Wales. Thank you very much for listening. Diolch yn fawr.

The Record

Gwelliant 1 William Graham

Amendment 1 William Graham

Ychwanegu pwynt newydd ar ddiwedd y cynnig:

Add new point at end of the motion:

Yn mynegi pryder nad yw Llywodraeth Cymru byth wedi prif ffrydio datblygu cynaliadwy yn llawn yn y ffordd mae’n gweithio ac yn datblygu polisïau.

Expresses concern that the Welsh Government has still not fully mainstreamed sustainable development in the way that it works and develops policy.

Gwelliant 2 William Graham

Amendment 2 William Graham

Ychwanegu pwynt newydd ar ddiwedd y cynnig:

Add new point at end of the motion:

Yn credu bod yn rhaid i Lywodraeth Cymru ddarparu gweledigaeth strategol well o sut caiff datblygu cynaliadwy ei wreiddio ar draws strategaethau, polisïau a chynlluniau unigol a sut maent yn cyfuno i gyfrannu at gynnydd mesuradwy yn erbyn y Dangosyddion Datblygu Cynaliadwy.

Believes that the Welsh Government must provide a better strategic vision of how sustainable development is embedded across individual strategies, policies and initiatives and how they combine to contribute towards measureable progress against the Sustainable Development Indicators.

Gwelliant 3 William Graham

Amendment 3 William Graham

Ychwanegu pwynt newydd ar ddiwedd y cynnig:

Add new point at end of the motion:

Yn galw ar Lywodraeth Cymru i gyflwyno camau cywiro ar frys i adfer y 22 Dangosydd Datblygu Cynaliadwy ar gyfer 2011 sydd wedi dirywio neu nad ydynt wedi gwella.

Calls on the Welsh Government to bring forward urgent remedial actions to resolve the 22 Sustainable Development Indicators for 2011 that have deteriorated or shown no improvement.

Gwelliant 4 William Graham

Amendment 4 William Graham

Ychwanegu pwynt newydd ar ddiwedd y cynnig:

Add new point at end of the motion:

Yn galw ar Lywodraeth Cymru i weithredu’n llawn yr argymhellion a wnaethpwyd yn yr Adroddiad Blynyddol gan y Comisiynydd Dyfodol Cynaliadwy a Cynnal Cymru.

Calls on the Welsh Government to implement fully the recommendations made in the Annual Report by the Commissioner for Sustainable Futures and Cynnal Cymru.

The Record

Russell George: I move amendments 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the name of William Graham.

First, I welcome the report and the opportunity to comment on the Welsh Government’s sustainable development aspirations. Sustainable development must be the overarching strategy across all policies and programmes and it must run across all areas and portfolios of Government. We support amendments 5, 6, 7 and 8 tabled in the name of Peter Black.

The Welsh Government has still not fully mainstreamed sustainable development in the way that it works and develops policy. This is reflected in Peter Davies’s comments in the introduction of the report. He said that

'while some progress has been made, there is still a long way to go before we can truly claim that sustainable development is effective as the central organising principle.’

He also highlighted procurement as a particular area of concern. He said that stakeholders have concerns and recommends

'remedial actions to achieve the target.’

In addition, the Welsh Government must provide a better strategic vision of how sustainable development is embedded across individual strategies, policies and initiatives and of how they combine to contribute towards measurable progress against the sustainable development indicators.

John Osmond, director of the Institute of Welsh Affairs, said on the IWA blog that last week’s programme for government did not spell out how sustainable development would be achieved in practice. He also asked what would be in the sustainable development Bill when it is brought forward and, more to the point, when that will be. The answer, I am told, is the autumn of 2013—timing that does not seem to fit the alleged centrality of the idea. The sustainable development Bill stands alone from the rest of the legislation programme, distanced from the environmental, local government, highways and transport Bills. Anyone can see, however, that all of these are closely related. If it is not to present the Welsh Government’s central organisation principles, will the contents of the sustainable development Bill inform the rest of the legislative programme? If it were to do so, should it not be the first Bill to be enacted, with everything else following it?

I call on the Welsh Government to bring forward immediate remedial action to resolve the 22 sustainable development indicators for 2011 that have deteriorated or shown no improvement. With regard to greenhouse gas emissions, in the Welsh Conservatives’ manifesto, we pledged to increase independent monitoring of these gases; to achieve at least 3 per cent annual reductions in Welsh-sourced greenhouse gas emissions in the areas of devolved competence and to establish an independent mechanism to monitor and evaluate climate change targets. I should also mention, separately from the sustainable development evaluation process, the previous Government watered down the previous greenhouse gas emission targets.

This report should be the scorecard for the programme for government, with respect to its contribution to sustainable development. I do not think that it does this job. It is more of a collection of reports from different departments collated as a sustainable development report. I call on the Welsh Government to implement fully the recommendations made in the annual report by the commissioner for sustainable futures at Cynnal Cymru.

The Record

Gwelliant 5 Peter Black

Amendment 5 Peter Black

Ychwanegu pwynt newydd ar ddiwedd y cynnig:

Add as new point at end of motion:

Yn nodi bod y ddogfen 'Dangosyddion Datblygu Cynaliadwy 2011’ yn dangos bod y Llywodraeth wedi symud ymlaen gydag oddeutu hanner ei dangosyddion ond yn gresynu ei bod yn dangos y bu dirywiad clir mewn dangosyddion ar gyfer allyriadau nwyon tŷ gwydr a newidiadau tymor byr mewn poblogaeth adar.

Notes that the document 'Sustainable Development Indicators 2011’ shows that the government has made progress on around half of its indicators but regrets that it shows that there has been a 'clear deterioration’ in indicators for greenhouse gas emissions and short-term changes in bird population.

Gwelliant 6 Peter Black

Amendment 6 Peter Black

Ychwanegu pwynt newydd ar ddiwedd y cynnig:

Add as new point at end of motion:

Yn credu bod yn rhaid i ddatblygu cynaliadwy gynnwys lleihau allyriadau nwyon tŷ gwydr o ffynonellau domestig, ac yn galw am gynnydd yn y cyllid cyfalaf sydd ar gael i fynd i’r afael â thlodi tanwydd.

Believes that sustainable development must include the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from domestic sources, and calls for an increase in capital funding available to tackle fuel poverty.

Gwelliant 7 Peter Black

Amendment 7 Peter Black

Ychwanegu pwynt newydd ar ddiwedd y cynnig:

Add as new point at end of motion:

Yn galw ar y Llywodraeth i gomisiynu archwiliad annibynnol o’i pholisïau i hybu datblygu cynaliadwy.

Calls on the Government to commission an independent audit of its policies to promote sustainable development.

Gwelliant 8 Peter Black

Amendment 8 Peter Black

Ychwanegu pwynt newydd ar ddiwedd y cynnig:

Add as new point at end of motion:

Yn croesawu’r cynnydd sydd wedi cael ei wneud gan awdurdodau lleol tuag at dargedau ailgylchu.

Welcomes the progress made by local authorities towards recycling targets.

The Record

William Powell: I move amendments 5, 6 7 and 8 in the name of Peter Black.

I thank the Minister for presenting the first report since taking over the portfolio. I would also pay tribute to his predecessor, who presided over the development of sustainable development in recent years and is recognised widely as having made a major contribution in this area.

Nearly two years ago, the Wales Audit Office raised some concerns that sustainable development is seen as one of a number of competing priorities, rather than the means by which the Welsh Assembly Government, as it was then styled, managed its competing priorities. This annual report shows that progress in some areas has been patchy in achieving sustainable development during 2010-11. The figures demonstrate this clearly. For example, there has been progress according to the Welsh Government’s sustainability indicators, as the Minister has said, in 19 of the 44 indicators, which is just under half, and there is not sufficient data available for three of them to be appropriately measured. However, it is deeply concerning that four indicators have risen, particularly those for greenhouse emissions, which the report notes have risen by 4.7 per cent since the previous year. These concerns around patchy progress are the reason why I am moving amendment 7, which calls for an independent audit of these policies. It was last year’s Wales Audit Office report that concentrated minds on whether sustainable development was the Government’s central organising principle. Two years should be enough time to assess the impact of its response. That should inform the Minister of what needs to be at the heart of the proposed sustainable development Bill during 2013, on which information is as yet unavailable. Whether it is the Wales Audit Office that undertakes that function is a matter for the Welsh Government to decide.

There are two issues that I want to focus on where the Welsh Government can and must raise its game in sustainable development. The first is to do with recycling, and the second is fuel poverty. There are obviously many more issues that could be addressed, but my time is limited.

Amendment 6 calls for an expansion of the fuel poverty scheme to reduce the number of people in Wales who live in fuel poverty. In Wales, a record number of 332,000 people are living in fuel poverty, which is defined as those who spend 10 per cent and above of their income on fuel bills. As fuel prices are expected to rise further, we will see more people affected in this way. Some 25 per cent of the damage done to the Welsh environment is from domestic emissions, according to research by the World Wildlife Fund. We have also recently seen a round of hikes in fuel prices from some of the big energy companies. Now is the time to invest in this, to tackle two of the sustainable development annual report’s key targets: sustainable resource use and a sustainable society.

Secondly, reducing waste through increasing recycling will help us to achieve our sustainable resource use. I congratulate local authorities across Wales for the work that they have undertaken to improve recycling rates. I mention in particular the communities of Presteigne and Norton in my region, which the Minister visited recently, where a partnership between the Cwm Harry Land Trust and Powys County Council has managed to turn 74 per cent of their waste into recycling. If that is possible, it is possible for communities across Wales to massively reduce the amount of waste that they produce. I would like to see the Minister and his department learn further from these examples of good practice. To be fair, it is appropriate to welcome the announcement made in today’s budget that we will have an additional investment of £0.5 million, rising to £5.6 million, in the coming years to support the treatment of domestic recycling. This will bear down further on the quantity of biodegradable waste going to landfill, which is in accordance with our European Union commitments. However, I look forward to monitoring this closely during the coming year and to holding the Government to account on the delivery of its further targets in this vital area.

Julie James: I welcome the production of this report and the Welsh Government’s continued commitment to independent advice in this important area of any country’s development. I echo the sentiments expressed by the previous speakers, namely that time is short, so I will only pick out a few areas, although I would like to mention many more.

The two areas that I would particularly like to mention today are the area of public procurement and its relationship with sustainability, and I would also like to say a few things about waste. If time permits, I would also like to say something about microgeneration, but I suspect that I shall be stopped before I get there.

With regard to public procurement, I am pleased to see the progress on the sustainable procurement action framework, with the score going from 2 to 3.5, but it is worrying that we have not met our target. However, I pay tribute to the professionals working in this field; I am familiar with their work. The considerable extent to which some of the frameworks that we have put in place for procurement over the last few years have assisted in this area—things such as supporting businesses, and I would like to mention Remploy in particular. I know that many of us have concerns about the Remploy factories in our areas and the current proposals to close them. However, sustainable procurement can really assist with that sort of economic regeneration, as well as assisting by ensuring that factories such as Remploy, where there is supported employment for very disabled people in our communities, also have supply chains attached to them that support our economy in a big way and which continue to allow us to have a sustainably resourced supply chain. For example, we can use Welsh forests to supply renewable wood that can be locally sourced. It has a low carbon footprint in delivering it to Remploy factories, which produce excellent quality products in supported employment environments. That completes a nice virtual circle that we all would like to see, of economic activity along with sustainable development and a supply chain that supports many more jobs than those apparent in the factories. It is an absolute tragedy that it looks as though we may lose that supported employment, and I want to take this opportunity to say that, in the current economic climate, the chance of disabled people being able to compete in the marketplace is a suggestion that is beyond all common sense.

5.00 p.m.

I will return to the public procurement points that I wanted to make. We have had real success with community benefit clauses and I urge the Welsh Government to consider extending those to the absolute edge, while still complying with European procurement rules. I also urge the Welsh Government to consider training our procurement professionals in specifying the use of things like local products, such as locally sourced food, economically and environmentally sustainable products, products that are sustainable from a community point of view, and to include an element of fair trade products when those products cannot be produced locally. Fair trade products, shipped by sea and not by plane, that contribute to communities that may be even more disadvantaged than our own, can also be included in those community benefits, because they enhance local supply chains. A lot of fair trade products can then be used in locally produced foods, thus completing another virtuous circle. Therefore, I urge the Government to consider that if it can.

Another thing that I want to say about public procurement is that I am convinced that there are even more savings to be made with more joined-up working across regions in terms of Government procurement. I want to put that statement out there, because I know that Welsh Ministers agree with me on that point.

I will turn quickly to waste before I run out of time altogether. I welcome the additional funding on waste management. I feel obliged to say in this Chamber that I abhor the useless millions spent by the Conservatives on black bags, which is a really retrograde step in waste collection. The idea that a man like Eric Pickles can say that it is every Englishman’s right to throw his chicken tikka masala in a black bin bag and to stick it in a landfill where it produces methane for God knows how long—

Andrew R.T. Davies: Will you take an intervention?

Julie James: I am already out of time, sorry, otherwise I would have allowed you an intervention. To return to my last remark, in contrast to the opinion expressed by Eric Pickles, the Welsh Government is pursuing a really good policy of separate food waste collections and anaerobic digestion, which is another virtuous circle, on which I congratulate it.

The Record

Yr Arglwydd Elis-Thomas: Mae’n bleser gennyf gyfrannu, fel Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor Amgylchedd a Chynaliadwyedd, i’r drafodaeth hon ar yr adroddiad blynyddol ar ddatblygu cynaliadwy, oherwydd mae hwn yn adroddiad ar y cyfnod o Ebrill 2010 hyd Fawrth 2011, ac felly’n rhan o gyfnod Llywodraeth Cymru’n Un. Hoffwn ddiolch i’r Gweinidog am ei arweiniad a’i gydweithrediad â mi fel Cadeirydd y pwyllgor yn ystod y cyfnod byr yr wyf wedi bod yn gwneud y gwaith. Hoffwn hefyd ddiolch am y cydweithrediad agos sydd wedi bod rhyngom a Peter Davies, y comisiynydd, a Chynnal Cymru, er enghraifft yn ystod y drafodaeth ragorol a gawsom ynghylch Cymru yn y cyd-destun rhyngwladol ddoe yn Nhŷ Hywel.

Lord Elis-Thomas: It is a pleasure to contribute, as Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee, to this debate on the sustainable development annual report, because this report covers the period between April 2010 and March 2011, covering, therefore, a part of the One Wales Government. I would like to thank the Minister for his guidance and co-operation during the short time that I have been chairing the committee. I would also like to express my gratitude for the close co-operation that there has been between us and Peter Davies, the commissioner, and Sustain Wales, for example during the excellent debate on Wales in the international context held yesterday in Tŷ Hywel.

Yr wyf yn croesawu’r adroddiad a’r fframwaith newydd, gan gynnwys sylwadau’r comisiynydd. Felly, mewn ysbryd caredig yr wyf yn nodi’n gwbl glir i’r ddwy blaid arall sydd wedi gosod gwelliannau i’r cynnig fod ganddynt wynebau fel talcen tŷ yn gosod unrhyw welliant ynghylch materion cynaliadwyedd, gan mai eu pleidiau hwy yn San Steffan sy’n gyfrifol am ddileu’r Comisiwn Datblygu Cynaliadwy. Felly, yn lle pregethu wrthym ni ynglŷn â methiant Llywodraeth Cymru’n Un i osod cynaliadwyedd yn ganolog i bolisi’r Llywodraeth, dylech edrych yn nes at adref ar y modd y mae Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig wedi taflu datblygu cynaliadwy allan drwy’r ffenestr. Os ydych am draethu ar y pwnc hwn eto, edrychwch ar yr hyn sy’n digwydd ym mhen arall y rheilffordd yn San Steffan. Fodd bynnag, dyna ddigon o bregethu.

I welcome the report and the new framework, including the commissioner’s comments. Therefore, it is in a spirit of kindness that I point out clearly to the other two parties that have tabled amendments today that they have quite a front in tabling any amendments on sustainability when it is their parties in Westminster that have abolished the Sustainable Development Commission. So, rather than preaching to us on the failings of the One Wales Government to set sustainability at the heart of Government policy, look closer to home, at how the UK Government has thrown sustainable development out of the window. If you want to preach on this issue again, look at what is happening at the other end of the railway line in Westminster. However, that is enough preaching from me.

Mae’r pwynt eisoes wedi’i wneud fod angen inni wneud datblygu cynaliadwy yn llawer mwy canolog, ac mae adroddiadau Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru ac, yn wir, adroddiadau’r pwyllgor blaenorol i’n pwyllgor ni ar brif-ffrydio cynaliadwyedd wedi pwysleisio’r materion hyn; nid oes raid imi ailadrodd bod yn rhaid inni symud ymlaen at weld mwy o gysondeb a chynnydd.

The point has already been made that we need to make sustainable development a far more central plank, and the reports of the Wales Audit Office and, indeed, the reports of the predecessor committee to our own on mainstreaming sustainability have emphasised these issues; I do not need to reiterate the fact that we need to move forward to get greater consistency and progress.

Mae hwn nid yn unig yn fater i Lywodraeth, ond yn fater i bob plaid. Mae’n rhaid i’r agenda werdd a’r economi werdd fod yn ganolog i bolisi pob plaid os ydym am fod yn llwyddiannus. Mae’r cwestiwn hwn yn un sy’n cael ei drafod nid yn unig yma yn y Cynulliad ond ym mhob Senedd debyg ac ym mhob Cynulliad deddfwriaethol tebyg yn Ewrop, oherwydd mai ar ein lefel ni y mae dros 80 y cant o’r penderfynaidau pwysig ynglŷn â’r blaned gynaliadwy hon yn cael eu gwneud. Mae’n ddiddorol bod y thema sy’n datblygu ar gyfer Rio 20 mlynedd yn ddiweddarach yn thema sy’n pwysleisio’r angen i gael strwythur i ddilyn datblygu cynaliadwy yn iawn ar lefel ranbarthol—gyda’r Undeb Ewropeaidd fel rhanbarth, ond hefyd yn rhanbarthol yn yr ystyr ein bod ni yn rhanbarth o Ewrop. Mae’r ymgais hon i gael fframwaith ar gyfer datblygu cynaliadwy yn un sy’n cael ei hedmygu o’r tu allan, er y byddaf, bob tro yr wyf yn siarad ar y pwnc hwn, yn pwyntio at ddiffygion yr hyn a wnaethom yn 1998 a 2006 yn ein deddfwriaeth, drwy osod dyletswydd heb fframwaith clir ar sut i’w gweithredu. Dyna pam y croesawaf yn fawr iawn yr arweiniad y mae’r Gweinidog wedi’i ddangos ar gyfer yr adolygiad o sut mae datblygu cynaliadwy yn gweithio. Yn sicr, yr wyf yn siarad ar ran aelodau eraill o’r pwyllgor sydd eisoes wedi siarad y prynhawn yma, ac eraill, wrth ddweud y byddwn yn chwarae ein rhan fel pwyllgor yn glir yn y datblygiad hwn.

This is not only an issue for Government; it is a matter for every party. The green agenda and the green economy must be central to the policies of all parties if we are to be successful. This question is debated not just here in this Assembly, but in every other similar Parliament or legislative Assembly in Europe, because it is at our level that over 80 per cent of the important decisions regarding this sustainable planet are taken. It is interesting that the emerging theme from Rio 20 years on is an emphasis on the need for a structure to ensure that sustainable development is implemented properly at a regional level—with the European Union as a region of the world, but also regional in the sense that we are a region of Europe. This effort to create a framework for sustainability is one that is admired outwith this place, although, every time I speak on this issue, I point to the deficiencies of what we did back in 1998 and 2006 in our legislation in placing a duty without also creating a clear framework for how that duty was to be exercised. That is why I very much welcome the leadership that our Minister has shown in producing this review of how sustainable development works. Certainly, I speak on behalf of other members of the committee who have already spoken this afternoon, as well as others, in saying that we will play our full part as a committee in this development.

Wrth imi ddod â’m sylwadau i ben, yr wyf am sôn am un peth yn yr adroddiad a achosodd i’m calon gynhesu. Flynyddoedd maith yn ôl, yr oeddwn yn gwirfoddoli ym maes yr amgylchedd fel cadeirydd di-dâl Cadwch Gymru’n Daclus. Un o’r pethau mwyaf hyfryd y cefais y fraint o’i wneud oedd codi’r faner yn eco-ysgol gyntaf Cymru—yn y gogledd-ddwyrain, fel yr oedd yn digwydd. Yr wyf yn darllen yn yr astudiaeth achos yn yr adroddiad hwn am y cyfraniad nodedig y mae eco-ysgolion yn ei wneud i gynnal ymwybyddiaeth o’r amgylchedd mewn ysgolion yn y Cymoedd, ym Mhen-y-bont ar Ogwr, Merthyr, Rhondda Cynon Taf ac yn y blaen. Mae hynny’n dyrchafu dinasyddiaeth y disgyblion hynny. Llwyddiant arall—diolch amdano.

As I draw my comments to a close, I want to mention one thing in this report that gives me great encouragement. Years ago I was an environmental volunteer as unpaid chair of Keep Wales Tidy. One of the most wonderful things that I had the privilege of doing was to raise the banner in the first eco-school in Wales—in north-east Wales as it happens. I read in the case study in this report about the notable contribution made by eco-schools in maintaining awareness of environmental matters in schools in the Valleys, Bridgend, Merthyr, Rhondda Cynon Taf and so on. That encourages citizenship among pupils. It is another success, and I am grateful for it.

The Record

Mick Antoniw: I have a few comments that I want to add. First, I support the comments made by Mr Simon Thomas in respect of proposals to increase the speed limit on motorways. It is an insane idea and one that can only contribute to pollution and increase the number of road deaths. Any powers that we have to adopt an alternative course—

Darren Millar: Thank you for taking this intervention. It is a bit rich of you to criticise that, given that your Government is spending £1.2 million a year on a north-south air link that spews out far more damaging fumes into the environment than an increase in the speed limit ever would.

Mick Antoniw: The Government has admitted that its proposal to increase the speed limit on motorways to 80 mph would lead to more pollution and increase the risk of road deaths. It seems to me that if we have the powers to maintain an alternative course, then within our own programme, it seems perfectly sensible that that is what we should do.

The one area on which I have some concerns regarding what the Minister said—and perhaps he could comment on this—is that the report is very positive, and very honest, in identifying the areas where we are failing and some of the spots that are crucially sensitive for delivery, but I am concerned that the policy does not extend to the areas of major contracts and planning that we are actually involved in and that these are things that we will have to look at, first in terms of procurement and secondly in terms of planning legislation. I will give you two examples. We had a wonderful award of £10.5 million for the regeneration of Pontypridd town centre. That is already beginning to look fantastic and will no doubt make a massive difference. However, the fact of the matter is that, within that procurement, although our own policy includes the objective of purchasing locally, we have no doubt imported thousands of tonnes of Chinese granite to the town. That seems illogical and contradictory when you look at the mechanics of bringing that in. I cannot believe that there are not suitable alternative types of material. Somewhere along the way, it seems that there were failures within the contract system.

Another example of something massive happening, which, again, is quite exciting economically and which may create lots of jobs and so on, is the proposal for a new town in Talbot Green. In fact, it is not a new town; it is actually just an enormous retail shopping centre. However, it may nevertheless achieve benefits for the local community. There may also be disadvantages. One aspect that concerns me is something on which we may be powerless. Whereas our policy is about reducing the use of cars to access facilities and resources and so on, this development includes a plan for 3,000 car parking spaces. It seems to me that what you will get out of this is a massive development that might tick a whole number of boxes economically and satisfy some of our economic development objectives, but which aims to ensure that thousands of cars will travel a distance to attend a retail site and that does not satisfy our sustainable development objectives. That is aside from the impact on local community retail.

Somewhere along the way, we have to get to grips with the joining up of our planning process, our procurement process and our sustainable development objectives. Somewhere along the way, the connection between these is breaking down. If we can tie those together, we can achieve massive successes. However, at the moment, there seems to be a significant break between these when it comes to mega-scale developments.

Rebecca Evans: I was pleased to see reference in the report to the Wales for Africa programme that seeks to support Welsh efforts to help deliver the UN development goals to tackle global poverty. The United Nations has acknowledged that Wales is leading the world by example through our 166 community-based Wales for Africa projects. On the ground, our health projects are providing essential and lifesaving training to healthcare workers in Africa and motorbike ambulances to transport people in the most remote rural areas to the clinics and hospitals. It can be all too easy to be inward-looking in Wales. However, our links with Africa are a clear reminder that we are global citizens and that our actions and choices have repercussions well beyond our own borders.

For this reason, I wholeheartedly share the Welsh Government’s vision that we should seek to use only our fair share of the world’s resources. We are making some important progress. As the Minister has already stated, overall, since 1980, Welsh greenhouse gas emissions have declined by 23 per cent. However, our reliance on fossil fuels is still concerning. Wales’s industrial sector is very carbon-intensive. I would be grateful if the Minister would further outline how the Welsh Government is working in partnership with industry to help reduce its carbon footprint and how major industrial employers can be encouraged to help their workforces to live and work more sustainably.

Of course, there are many things that we can do as individuals to reduce our own carbon footprint, and the Welsh Government has a key role to play in enabling that. We have all taken a small but important step forward this week through the introduction of the carrier bag charge, and levels of household recycling are improving.

I am pleased that 12 schools in Pembrokeshire have joined the Bike It project, which gives children the knowledge, skills and confidence to travel by bike. Significantly, the project has been funded by a pooled budget across Government departments, with contributions from the health, transport and environment budgets.

When it comes to our homes, I welcome the Government’s commitment to continuing to address the barriers to the installation of microgeneration in domestic properties. It is the world’s poorest who will pay most severely if we do not act quickly to address these issues of climate change. The report describes the devastating effect that climate change is already having on Mbale in Uganda, where, last year, heavy rain coupled with deforestation led to mudslides that killed around 300 people from poor farming communities. Work has now begun to plant up to 1 million trees in the region as part of the Size of Wales project. However, this tragedy and many others just like it compel us to redouble our efforts to embed sustainable development in the very core of all we do. I welcome the Welsh Government’s commitment to doing this.

5.15 p.m.

Vaughan Gething: I welcome the opportunity to speak in this debate, particularly as it is accompanied not only by a Government report, but commentary from the Commissioner for Sustainable Futures that recognises the progress that the Government has made. Importantly, for me, it is a balanced report with some praise but also some criticism and notes for improvement. That sort of objective analysis is to welcomed, both for scrutiny of the Government and for an honest refresh for us all about how much progress we are making as a body and as a Government. The report highlighted a number of areas where progress has been made and highlighted some of that best practice. However, I agree with the points made by Julie James and Mick Antoniw about the potential to do even more in our public procurement on a whole range of issues, including embedding sustainable development as a real and living practice, not just an eventual endgame.

I am particularly pleased to see that there has been more progress on recycling and composting. I remember, when I was really a young man, that Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom were particular poor at recycling and composting. I had a number of friends in jobs that I did, particularly in the catering industry, who were from Australia and New Zealand and were amazed at people’s attitudes, even a few decades ago, to recycling and composting. They could not believe how much we threw away and said that we were creating a big problem for ourselves. Now, we realise that it was all true. I am pleased to note that recycling rates have now gone up to an average rate of 48 per cent this year, with a number of local authorities improving significantly. However, I am disappointed that my own local authorities of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan are disappointingly below average. It is important that the Welsh Government continues to provide leadership and incentives, as well as markers to where those local authorities do not meet their own targets.

I am also delighted to see that the Welsh Government is promoting and encouraging a push to greater use of anaerobic digestion. The First Minister recently opened a significant facility in my own constituency in Tremorfa that will, after capital investment, go on to save a significant amount of money in power generation, and produce an appreciably better form of low-carbon energy production. That is to be encouraged throughout the rest of Wales, as it is much more commonplace in other parts of Europe. It is disappointing to note that, in contrast, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, after the current Cameron administration came in, ditched seven significant anaerobic digestion projects, which would have produced much cleaner and more efficient energy production, including one project just over the border in Cheshire for which they got down to the final two bidders.  

One of the committees on which I sit on is looking at energy policy and planning and how we need to try to do more to promote renewable energy, as well as some of the more political points about how we actually try to devolve and make sense of the consents regime and planning policy. Within that, I hope that we will have some more time to talk about Severn tidal power. One of my continuing disappointments is the way in which the UK Government, at an early stage, decided to end the feasibility study there. I know that a number of people in the private sector are still interested in how we might make use of power from the Severn. It is important that that continues. I hope that, with the encouragement that Welsh Government Ministers have given for those projects to continue, those discussions will continue. We all know that, with the potential to produce at least 5 per cent of the UK’s energy needs—equivalent to two nuclear power stations—gaining power from the Severn is not an option, but a matter of when, not if. The sooner that we encourage people to do that, the better for us. There are obviously environmental concerns about any form of power production, but I am pleased to see that our Government is moving in the right direction in Wales.

There is a real contrast, of course. I spoke earlier about the sustainable futures commissioner providing objective and, at times, critical analysis of what this Government is doing, and that is perfectly right. It is not just disappointing that the UK Government withdrew funding for the Sustainable Development Commission, but it tells you just how honest and real the boast was that the UK Government would be the greenest in history. So, I am pleased with the comments that have been made on the sustainable futures commissioner. I welcome the fact that the Government has already indicated that it will address the concerns that have been raised with that action plan. I believe that the progress is genuine and worthwhile and I look forward to hearing of more progress in a more consistent manner over the years to come.

Ann Jones: I want to look at page 9 and page 14 of the report and then come back to page 6. I am sorry if that is a bit wrong, but it is the only way that I will fit this in.

Page 9 talks about wellbeing and page 14 is about housing. If houses were now being built with sprinklers fitted, as they should under legislation passed in the last Assembly, the sustainability element resulting from that means that you will never have to rebuild a home. The sustainability resulting from preventing someone’s home from being burned down means that there is less of an impact on social services’ emergency budgets and less of an impact on the health service because fewer people will suffer serious burns. Therefore, that has to be better for the public purse.

As to the impact on the environment, the amount of contaminated water is reduced greatly with the use of sprinklers. Our friends in the fire service will turn up and pump 3,209 gallons at a fire as opposed to the 209 gallons used by a sprinkler system. That means that there is a great reduction in the amount of contaminated water going down the drains.

On page 6 of your report, you state that

'Previous effectiveness reviews of the Sustainable Development Scheme have highlighted the pride felt by politicians of all parties and civil servants in Wales’ sustainable development duty.’

Imagine your pride when you sign the regulations to allow sprinklers to be fitted in all new homes. Imagine your pride when, sooner, rather than later, you know that you have put pen to paper to ensure that no-one will die needlessly in a fire in Wales because, in Wales, I hope, homes will be built next year with sprinklers fitted.

The Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development (John Griffiths): I am very grateful to the Members who have contributed to today’s debate. We continue to see widespread support across the political parties for our commitment in Wales to sustainable development. It is clear to me that that support remains in place.

We are clear, as a Government, that sustainable development is our central organising principle. I take on board what Members have said regarding the need to continue to work to ensure that that is consistently the case. I was very pleased that the First Minister confirmed this in his foreword to the programme for government, and sustainable development is threaded throughout that document.

A number of issues have been raised by Members, and it may not be possible to deal with them all in the time available, but I will certainly attempt to do so. A number of Members raised issues relating to procurement, which is a very important matter in relation to Government activity and activity in the wider public sector in Wales. Value Wales has been clear in stating the degree of importance that it attached to sustainable development in relation to procurement policy. Procurement tools and principles embody sustainable development principles. Therefore, that is a very good platform on which to build. In addition, the sustainable procurement action framework, which was mentioned by Members, is very important in ensuring that we get the sort of policy that we need and which Members have called for.  

Our sustainable development charter encourages organisations in Wales to sign up to make sustainable development a central commitment. A good range of organisations has signed up, and these number over 100. We are linking that charter with the sustainable procurement action framework. In order to get to level 3 on that framework, there will be a requirement to be a part of the charter. Therefore, we are trying to make important links in order to recognise the importance of procurement. I agree that it is an important part of this agenda.

William Powell was very kind to mention Jane Davidson as being widely recognised for the work that she did as the Minister for the environment. That recognition was well deserved and Jane is very well regarded, not just in Wales, but further afield. Therefore, I thank you for those comments.

William and others mentioned greenhouse gas emissions and the fact that, for the period covered by the report, we saw those emissions as an indicator that there had been deterioration. As I said in my opening speech, it is pleasing that we saw a 14 per cent reduction in the following year, but for the particular year covered it was a deteriorating indicator. Much of that was attributable to the reactivation of Aberthaw coal-fired power station. That puts it into some context. However, we must continue to make progress in driving down emissions.

I was also pleased that William mentioned Presteigne and Norton, which I was pleased to visit, and which are showing a great example. Their engagement with the community and the buy-in that they have from local people in terms of driving forward recycling is impressive. That is why they have reached 70 per cent plus in terms of household waste recycling.

  

A number of Members mentioned UK Government policy, and it is always tempting to make comparisons with other parts of the UK. I share the concerns mentioned. For example, the money that has been made available for weekly collections of landfill waste will not help the UK recycling rate, and we are already well in advance of where it currently stands. The abolition of the Sustainable Development Commission was a retrograde step, sending entirely the wrong signal. The idea of raising the motorway speed limit to 80mph also raises great environmental concerns. Therefore, if you look at the examples that Members mentioned and other matters, the boast of being the greenest ever UK Government does not hold water.     

On the worldwide challenges that Dafydd Elis-Thomas and Rebecca Evans mentioned, we have done some important things in Wales on sustainable development. Among those are our programme for Africa and our membership of networks such as the Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development. So, we are playing our part in international efforts to deal with the challenges of climate change, and I agree that that shows us in a positive light, as we are reaching out to the rest of the world in understanding the challenges of climate change, and being part of the effort to tackle them.

Emissions from industry are an issue, as I mentioned earlier, and the Carbon Trust and EU directives are useful in driving necessary progress. That will be a big part of future policy in Wales.

Finally, on the points raised, Ann Jones mentioned the advantages of fire sprinklers in new homes in terms of sustainable development. As Ann knows, work is ongoing in the Welsh Government on this matter. I understand your need to see urgent progress.

Members also mentioned the effectiveness review. We are clear about the scale of our ambition to make Wales a truly sustainable nation, and the annual report will be part of the evidence that feeds into that statutory review of effectiveness. A number of Members mentioned that we do have an independent commentary and an honest assessment of where we are, and that is very much the spirit with which we will continue.  

Members also mentioned the sustainable development Bill. It is important that we proceed with it in a timely way, but it is also important that we get it right and that we allow for a wide feeding in to the process. That is why we have the timetable that we have set out.

In conclusion, I am grateful to Members for their largely—

Lord Elis-Thomas: Just for further confirmation as to the nature of the Bill, the whole point about the timescale is that it allows time for pre-legislative scrutiny, not just by the Assembly but also by the people of Wales and wider, is it not?

John Griffiths: Absolutely, and when I was in my previous position as Counsel General, I was keen to do some work to ensure that we take that approach to legislation here with our new powers following the referendum. We very much want to open up the process of government and I think that is a very healthy thing indeed.

5.30 p.m.

As I said, I am grateful to Members for their largely positive contributions. We will continue to promote sustainable development in all that we do. It provides the best path to develop Wales as a nation and to provide for the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of our people now and into the future.

The Deputy Presiding Officer: The proposal is to agree amendment 1. Is there any objection? I see that there is. Therefore, voting on this item will be deferred until voting time. Do three Members want the bell to be rung? I see that no-one does, so we will proceed to voting time.

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

Cyfnod Pleidleisio
Voting Time

Gwelliant 1 i NDM4813: O blaid 15, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 38.
Amendment 1 to NDM4813: For 15, 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, Paul
Drakeford, Mark
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Graham, William
Isherwood, Mark
Millar, Darren
Parrott, Eluned
Powell, William
Roberts, Aled
Williams, Kirsty

Andrews, Leighton
Antoniw, Mick
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Jocelyn
Davies, Keith
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, Simon
Watson, Joyce
Whittle, Lindsay
Wood, Leanne

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment not agreed.

Gwelliant 2 i NDM4813: O blaid 15, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 38.
Amendment 2 to NDM4813: For 15, 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, Paul
Drakeford, Mark
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Graham, William
Isherwood, Mark
Millar, Darren
Parrott, Eluned
Powell, William
Roberts, Aled
Williams, Kirsty

Andrews, Leighton
Antoniw, Mick
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Jocelyn
Davies, Keith
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, Simon
Watson, Joyce
Whittle, Lindsay
Wood, Leanne

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment not agreed.

Gwelliant 3 i NDM4813: O blaid 15, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 38.
Amendment 3 to NDM4813: For 15, 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, Paul
Drakeford, Mark
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Graham, William
Isherwood, Mark
Millar, Darren
Parrott, Eluned
Powell, William
Roberts, Aled
Williams, Kirsty

Andrews, Leighton
Antoniw, Mick
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Jocelyn
Davies, Keith
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, Simon
Watson, Joyce
Whittle, Lindsay
Wood, Leanne

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment not agreed.

Gwelliant 4 i NDM4813: O blaid 43, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 10.
Amendment 4 to NDM4813: For 43, Abstain 0, Against 10.

The Record

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

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

Andrews, Leighton
Antoniw, Mick
Asghar, Mohammad
Black, Peter
Burns, Angela
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Andrew R.T.
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
Parrott, Eluned
Powell, William
Price, Gwyn R.
Rathbone, Jenny
Rees, David
Roberts, Aled
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, Simon
Whittle, Lindsay
Wood, Leanne

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment agreed.

Gwelliant 5 i NDM4813: O blaid 13, Ymatal 1, Yn erbyn 39.
Amendment 5 to NDM4813: For 13, Abstain 1, 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, Paul
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Graham, William
Isherwood, Mark
Parrott, Eluned
Powell, William
Roberts, Aled
Williams, Kirsty

Andrews, Leighton
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, Simon
Watson, Joyce
Whittle, Lindsay
Wood, Leanne

Ymataliodd yr Aelod canlynol:
The following Member abstained:

 

Millar, Darren

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment not agreed.

Gwelliant 6 i NDM4813: O blaid 13, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 39.
Amendment 6 to NDM4813: For 13, 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, Paul
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Isherwood, Mark
Millar, Darren
Parrott, Eluned
Powell, William
Roberts, Aled
Williams, Kirsty

Andrews, Leighton
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, Simon
Watson, Joyce
Whittle, Lindsay
Wood, Leanne

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment not agreed.

Gwelliant 7 i NDM4813: O blaid 14, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 39.
Amendment 7 to NDM4813: For 14, 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, Paul
Finch-Saunders, Janet
George, Russell
Graham, William
Isherwood, Mark
Millar, Darren
Parrott, Eluned
Powell, William
Roberts, Aled
Williams, Kirsty

Andrews, Leighton
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, Simon
Watson, Joyce
Whittle, Lindsay
Wood, Leanne

Gwrthodwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment not agreed.

Gwelliant 8 i NDM4813: O blaid 43, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 10.
Amendment 8 to NDM4813: For 43, Abstain 0, Against 10.

The Record

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

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

Andrews, Leighton
Antoniw, Mick
Asghar, Mohammad
Black, Peter
Burns, Angela
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Andrew R.T.
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
Parrott, Eluned
Powell, William
Price, Gwyn R.
Rathbone, Jenny
Rees, David
Roberts, Aled
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, Simon
Whittle, Lindsay
Wood, Leanne

Derbyniwyd y gwelliant.
Amendment agreed.

 

Cynnig NDM4813 fel y’i diwygiwyd:

Motion NDM4813 as amended:

Cynnig bod Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

Yn nodi’r cynnydd sydd wedi’i wneud ar ddatblygu cynaliadwy yn 2010-11, fel y nodir yn Adroddiad Llywodraeth Cymru ar y Cynllun Datblygu Cynaliadwy, a osodwyd gerbron Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru ar 22 Medi 2011.

Notes the progress made on sustainable development in 2010-11, as set out in the Welsh Government’s Annual Report of the Sustainable Development Scheme, which was laid before the National Assembly for Wales on 22 September 2011.

Yn galw ar Lywodraeth Cymru i weithredu’n llawn yr argymhellion a wnaethpwyd yn yr Adroddiad Blynyddol gan y Comisiynydd Dyfodol Cynaliadwy a Cynnal Cymru.

Calls on the Welsh Government to implement fully the recommendations made in the Annual Report by the Commissioner for Sustainable Futures and Cynnal Cymru.

Yn croesawu’r cynnydd sydd wedi cael ei wneud gan awdurdodau lleol tuag at dargedau ailgylchu.

Welcomes the progress made by local authorities towards recycling targets.

Cynnig NDM4813 fel y’i diwygiwyd: O blaid 53, Ymatal 0, Yn erbyn 0.

Motion NDM4813 as amended: For 53, Abstain 0, Against 0.

The Record

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

Andrews, Leighton
Antoniw, Mick
Asghar, Mohammad
Black, Peter
Burns, Angela
Chapman, Christine
Cuthbert, Jeff
Davies, Alun
Davies, Andrew R.T.
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
Parrott, Eluned
Powell, William
Price, Gwyn R.
Rathbone, Jenny
Rees, David
Roberts, Aled
Sargeant, Carl
Skates, Kenneth
Thomas, Gwenda
Thomas, Simon
Watson, Joyce
Whittle, Lindsay
Williams, Kirsty
Wood, Leanne

 

Derbyniwyd cynnig NDM4813 fel y’i diwygiwyd.
Motion NDM4813 as amended agreed.

The Record

Y Dirprwy Lywydd: Dyna ddiwedd ein trafodion am heddiw.

The Deputy Presiding Officer: That concludes our proceedings for today.

Daeth y cyfarfod i ben am 5.33 p.m.
The meeting ended at 5.33 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)
Parrott, Eluned (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru - Welsh Liberal Democrats)
Powell, William (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru - Welsh Liberal Democrats)
Price, Gwyn R. (Llafur - Labour)
Ramsay, Nick (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
Rathbone, Jenny (Llafur - Labour)
Rees, David (Llafur - Labour)
Roberts, Aled (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru - Welsh Liberal Democrats)
Sandbach, Antoinette (Ceidwadwyr Cymreig - Welsh Conservatives)
Sargeant, Carl (Llafur - Labour)
Skates, Kenneth (Llafur - Labour)
Thomas, Gwenda (Llafur - Labour)
Thomas, Rhodri Glyn (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales)
Thomas, Simon (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales)
Watson, Joyce (Llafur - Labour)
Whittle, Lindsay (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales)
Williams, Kirsty (Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru - Welsh Liberal Democrats)
Wood, Leanne (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales)

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