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Written Assembly Questions tabled on 4 November 2014 for answer on 11 November 2014

R - Signifies the Member has declared an interest.
W - Signifies that the question was tabled in Welsh.

(Self identifying Question no. shown in brackets)

Written Questions must be tabled at least five working days before they are to be answered. In practice, Ministers aim to answer within seven/eight days but are not bound to do so. Answers are published in the language in which they are provided, with a translation into English of responses provided in Welsh.


To ask the First Minister

Darren Millar (Clwyd West): Has the First Minister ever received any reports or been made aware of any allegations of bullying by special and/or specialist advisers at any time in the past three years and, if so, when and what action, if any, was taken? (WAQ67963)

Answer received 11 November 2014

The First Minister of Wales (Carwyn Jones): No allegations have been made.


Darren Millar (Clwyd West): Will the First Minister confirm whether any exit interviews were conducted with special and/or specialist advisers in each of the past three years and, if so, what was the outcome of these? (WAQ67964)

Answer received 12 November 2014

The First Minister: No such interviews took place.


Darren Millar (Clwyd West): Will the First Minister advise as to how many individuals have ceased being employed as special and/or specialist advisers in each of the past three years, including the date their employment ceased and the reason for their departure? (WAQ67965)

Answer received 11 November 2014

The First Minister of Wales (Carwyn Jones): In the last three years three Special Advisers have left the Welsh Government employment, in each case due to resignation. Over the same period three Specialist Policy Advisers have left, one due to resignation and two on expiration of their contracts. The dates of these departures were 08/03/2013, 21/01/2014, 14/03/2014, 23/04/2014, 25/07/2014 and 15/09/2014.


To ask the Minister for Natural Resources

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): Will the Minister provide an update on the European Commission's intention to remove drift nets in the European Union? (WAQ67955)W

Answer received on 26 February 2015

The Minister for Natural Resources (Carl Sargeant): The Welsh Government has contributed to the UK response to the European Commission proposal to prohibit the use of any kind of driftnet in EU waters. This prohibition is intended to apply from 1 January 2015.  However, this measure is still subject to agreement with Member States and the European Parliament.

Our position is that management of the driftnet fishery should be appropriate. A   blanket prohibition is a blunt instrument that will clearly affect small-scale vessels, like those who fish from Wales, even though there is no risk of the by catch of the type that the Commission is looking to avoid.  This approach is also contrary to the aims of a new more regionalised CFP.

We support measures that will address the problems with the current use of driftnets to target large and highly migratory species such as tuna, particularly in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. However, we have stressed the fact that this proposal does not take account of our artisanal Welsh inshore driftnet fisheries which principally fish sustainably.

We, together with the other UK administrations, have been in correspondence with the Commission regarding this matter.  The Commission is currently examining evidence that we have provided related to the unintended impact of such a proposal on the Welsh fleet.

To ask the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport

Eluned Parrott (South Wales Central): On what date did the Welsh Government agree to financially contribute to the Millennium Stadium's new pitch? (WAQ67956)

Answer received 11 November 2014

The Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism (Ken Skates): The Welsh Government made an offer of support to the Welsh Rugby Union on 11 April 2014


Eluned Parrott (South Wales Central): How much of the £3.1m new pitch at the Millennium Stadium did the Welsh Government contribute? (WAQ67957)

Answer received on 11 November 2014

Ken Skates: The Welsh Government’s contribution was £1.7m


Russell George (Montgomeryshire): What discussions has the Welsh Government had this year with the National Grid with regard to the Mid Wales Connection Project? (WAQ67959)

Answer received 18 November 2014

The Minister of Economy, Science and Transport (Edwina Hart): My officials have maintained regular contact with the National Grid throughout the duration of the Mid Wales Connection Project.


Elin Jones (Ceredigion): Will the Minister give an update on measures to improve safety on the A44, following her statement in Plenary on 25 June? (WAQ67960)

Answer received on 18 November 2014

Edwina Hart: I will be issuing a Written Statement about this issue very shortly.


To ask the Minister for Education and Skills

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): Will the Minister make a statement on the affordability of the proposals included in the additional learning needs (Wales) bill in light of the 2015-16 Draft Budget? (WAQ67954)W

Answer received on 26 February 2015

The Minister for Education and Skills (Huw Lewis): In July of this year the First Minister announced that a Bill on Additional Learning Needs would be introduced to the Assembly in summer 2015.  The cost of the legislative changes will be set out in the Regulatory Impact Assessment which will accompany the Bill on introduction. 


John Griffiths (Newport East): Will the Minister provide numbers and percentages of state schools in Wales which are community-focused - where facilities are available to the community on evenings, weekends and holidays - by local authority area? (WAQ67958)

Answer received 11 November 2014

Huw Lewis: The Welsh Government does not collect or hold this information. Local authorities are best placed to have this information.  


Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Minister provide details, including names and titles,  of any re-training schemes and apprenticeship programmes in Aberconwy available to (a) 18-25 year olds (b) 26-49 year olds and (c) 50-65 year olds? (WAQ67961)

Answer received on 25 November 2014

The Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology (Julie James): There are essentially 3 main types of programmes.

Firstly, there is the Work Ready learning programme which is delivered Pan Wales and available to learners aged over 18 who are unemployed and receiving benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions. The programme offers a valuable opportunity to help individuals into work or further learning.

Then there is the Apprenticeship programme which is employment based and for employed learners aged over 16. The programme offers Apprenticeships at levels to suit all learners, 16 and above from Foundation Apprenticeships at Level 2, Apprenticeships at Level 3 to Higher Apprenticeships at Level 4/5.  The programme offers an opportunity for individuals to earn a wage, gain professional qualifications and gain job specific skills through working alongside existing experienced staff. Apprenticeship funding is prioritised to those aged 16-24 and those of any age following a Higher Apprenticeship framework.

Also, there is the Welsh Government's ReAct Programme which is an all Wales, all age re-training programme, available for those who have become unemployed in the last six months as a result of redundancy, are currently unemployed, and who have not been in continuous employment for 6 weeks or more since being made redundant. It is also available to individuals who are currently under notice of redundancy.

Finally, individuals of all ages, across Wales, wishing to develop or refresh their skills are able to do so at workplace learning centres. These centres have been created through partnerships between unions who have Wales Union Learning Fund projects (WULF) and employers. Through WULF, Welsh Government funding has been put towards creating and equipping these workplace learning centres. There are centres across Wales, and many of these are open to the public to allow both the community and union members to access learning opportunities.

Anyone wishing to access any of the above programmes should be advised to contact Careers Wales on 0800 028 4844.


Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Minister provide the exact numbers of people that have gained re-employment after completing a re-training scheme or apprenticeship programme in Aberconwy in the following age groups: 18-25; 26-49 and 50-65? (WAQ67962)

Answer received on 11 November 2014

Julie James: The table 'Annex A' contains information based on individuals residing in the Aberconwy constituency at the time of application for a ReAct vocational training grant. Applicants are required to provide their dates of birth. The ages of participants provided in the report is provided at the date of approval.

Completion status information is taken at the time at which a claim for payment is submitted. This means that the 'snapshot' of participants' completion status is taken very shortly after the end of training. All participants are sent a Destination Survey 6 months after leaving the ReAct Programme. Analyses of the Destination Surveys returned to us consistently show that circa 76% of past participants are in full-time or part-time employment or are self-employed.

The figures in the table at Annex B relate to the Traineeship and Steps to Employment programmes. They detail the destinations of learners domiciled in Aberconwy that left the programmes in 2012/13.

The table Annex C details the destinations of learners domiciled in Aberconwy who have completed Foundation Apprenticeships at Level 2, Apprenticeships at Level 3  and Higher Level Apprenticeships at Level 4/5.

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