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Written Assembly Questions tabled on 25 January 2016 for answer on 1 February 2016

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 Minister for Natural Resources

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): In 2015, how much money was made available and claimed under Glastir, and how much will be made available in 2016? (WAQ69703)R

Answer received on 2 February 2016

The Deputy Minister for Farming and Food (Rebecca Evans): Glastir contracts to the value of £53.7m were available to be claimed in the 2015/2016 financial year.  As of the 29th of January 2016 £26.8m has been paid.   As usual, the final amount paid for each year will be lower than has been budgeted for, which is dependant on the outcome of scheme eligibility checks and any resultant financial sanctions. 

For 2016 a total of £63.3m is available to be claimed in respect of signed Glastir Contracts.

As with all Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 schemes, the budget is kept under review and can be amended should the actual expenditure under specific schemes warrant it.

 

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Of the £37 million made available to date from RDP for knowledge transfer and advisory services: a) how much has actually been claimed; b) how much has been allocated to each of them; c) has this funding been made available through Farming Connect; and d) if so, what other bodies have been involved in distributing this money? (WAQ69704)R

Answer received on 2 February 2016

Rebecca Evans:

(a) The first claims for costs relating to the knowledge transfer and advisory service are scheduled to be received in February 2016.

(b) Allocations under the 2014-2020 programmes to date are:

·       Lot 1 Knowledge Transfer Programme - £19,158,758

·       Lot 2 Lifelong Learning and Development Programme - £2,395,076

·       Lot 3 Advisory Service - £5,680,064

(c) Knowledge transfer and advisory services to farming and forestry businesses are available through Farming Connect. Food manufacturing SMEs can also separately access specialist advice.

(d) Farming Connect brings together key stakeholders, organisations and institutions that currently support the farming and forestry industries in order to provide an enhanced integrated programme which will benefit the rural economy of Wales. The Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board - Dairy (AHDB - Dairy) and Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) are key strategic partners in the programme.

 

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): A total of £110 million has been given out in grants under the rural development plan for farmers and foresters: how is this broken down and what have the grants been for? (WAQ69705)R

Answer received on 2 February 2016

Rebecca Evans: £110 million in grants has been made available to farmers and foresters under the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 (WGRC-RDP) as part of a package of £213m that has been made available across Wales for communities and businesses. 

Individual grant applications are currently being assessed. As yet only Glastir agreements have been approved and no grants have been paid apart from agreements that have transferred from the previous RDP.

The £110 million includes funding made available under the following schemes:

Scheme£m made available
Glastir Woodland Creation4
Glastir Woodland Restoration4
Glastir Organics30
Glastir Advanced60
Sustainable Production Grants2
Co-Operation and Supply Chain Development10
Total 110

 

Kirsty Williams (Brecon and Radnorshire): Will the Minister make a statement on the review of the Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (Wales) Regulations 2010? (WAQ69711)

Answer received on 2 February 2016

Rebecca Evans: The review of the Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (Wales) Regulations 2010 has now concluded.  A written statement will be issued to update Members on this matter shortly.

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills

Peter Black (South Wales West): Will the Minister make a statement regarding the appointment of senior staff at Swansea University's School of Management, following reports that a meeting was held between the Dean of the School, Marc Clements, and University Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Davies about the qualifications of Professor Steve Chan? (WAQ69706)

Answer received on 5 February 2016

The Minister for Education and Skills (Huw Lewis): The Welsh Government has no powers in relation to the internal management of universities or the appointment of staff. This is a matter for Swansea University.

To ask the Minister for Health and Social Services

Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): What steps is the Welsh Government taking to address falling cervical screening rates among women getting their first or last invitation for cervical screening? (WAQ69707)

Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): Does the Welsh Government have any plans for awareness campaigns to improve uptake of cervical screening? (WAQ69708)

Answer received on 5 February 2016

The Minister for Health and Social Services (Mark Drakeford): Coverage of cervical screening in Wales was 78% in 2014-15,a slight drop from the 78.4% recorded in 2013/14. Cervical screening rates in Wales are comparable with rates seen in the other UK countries. Coverage for the eligible cohort has been at or above 78% for each year since 2004-05 - very close to the 80% target rate.

Public Health Wales' screening engagement team raises awareness of screening and promotes informed choice. The team runs the annual Screening for Life campaign and works across all programmes and the whole population, but targets its efforts at groups and communities where uptake is low. An example of such targeted work is the Pink Ladies Project, which is aimed at empowering women with learning difficulties to make informed choices about going for screening.

The range of work undertaken by the team is covered in the Public Health Wales Screening Division's annual report This report can be found on the Screening for Life website: http://www.screeningforlife.wales.nhs.uk/annual-report

 

Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): What recent discussions has the Minister had about introducing human papillomavirus (HPV) primary screening? (WAQ69709)

Answer received on 5 February 2016

Mark Drakeford: The UK National Screening Committee has recently reviewed the evidence and recommended that the cervical cancer screening programmes should adopt HPV as a primary screen test. The Wales Screening Committee and Chief Medical Officer provide me with professional advice on screening, including advice in relation to recommendations from the UK National Screening Committee. Initial scoping in respect of introducing HPV as a primary test for cervical cancer in Wales is underway. The proposed change will require substantial planning and the Wales Screening Committee will be providing me with advice in due course.

To ask the Minister for Public Services

Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): What steps is the Welsh Government taking to increase awareness among perpetrators of the harm caused by deliberately starting fires? (WAQ69710)

Answer received on 5 February 2016

The Minister for Public Services (Leighton Andrews): Fire and Rescue Authorities operate several programmes targeted at those who have committed fire-related crime or are at the risk of doing so.  These programmes educate participants about the dangers and consequences of their actions, and divert them from committing further offences.  They are highly successful, with a typical reoffending rate of only 2-3%.

The Welsh Government fully supports this work.  In the current year we have provided a total of £876,300 for these programmes and other arson reduction initiatives.

The incidence of fires has more than halved since responsibility was devolved to Wales in 2004-5, and the incidence of deliberate fires has fallen by over two thirds. Nonetheless, deliberate fires still have a negative impact on the environment and communities and cause unnecessary cost and disruption. 

The Welsh Government joins Fire and Rescue Authorities, the Police and others in condemning those who engage in this dangerous, destructive and criminal behaviour.  An all Wales Strategic Arson Reduction Board and Arson Reduction Strategy co-ordinates efforts to tackle all types of deliberate fires.    

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