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Written Assembly Questions tabled on 20 July 2017 for answer on 27 July 2017

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

 
Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the First Minister set out the steps the Welsh Government has taken so far in the process of talking to organisations about to the publication of the due diligence report on the Circuit of Wales that you referred to in First Minister's Questions on 11 July 2017? (WAQ73941)

Answer received on 31 July 2017

First Minister (Carwyn Jones): Discussions about publication of the due diligence reports began during late June, and initially involved officials and representatives of the external organisations that produced the reports.  


 
Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Has the Circuit of Wales informed the Welsh Government that it disagrees with your assessment of the balance sheet classification issue you referred to in plenary on 11 July 2017? (WAQ73942)

Answer received on 31 July 2017

Carwyn Jones: In a meeting with officials on 30 June, HOVDC representatives accepted the rationale for Welsh Government’s assessment of the balance sheet risks, even if they did not agree with our conclusion. HOVDC also acknowledged during the meeting that they understood the project costs needed to be off balance sheet for Welsh Government. HOVDC have since written to Welsh Government to set out their views on the balance sheet issue.

 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure

Mark Reckless (South Wales East): What steps is the Welsh Government taking to recover the £7.3 million loan made to the Heads of the Valley Development Company? (WAQ73928)

Answer received on 28 July 2017
 
The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure (Ken Skates): HOVDC are currently considering how to progress the project without support from Welsh Government.  Decisions on potential recovery action will be taken once HOVDC have informed us of their intentions.
 
Mark Reckless (South Wales East): Why is the Cabinet Secretary supporting new stations such as Bow Street which have much lower scores than other station proposals such as Magor? (WAQ73929)
 
Answer received on 27 July 2017

Ken Skates: The prioritisation process has considered the geographical spread of proposed new stations to ensure that every part of Wales has the potential to benefit. The top scoring stations in each region were prioritised to try to ensure an even spread across Wales.
 
Mark Reckless (South Wales East): What assessment has the Welsh Government made of the imbalance between the rate of business failure and business start-ups in Newport? (WAQ73930)
 
Answer received on 27 July 2017  

Ken Skates: Between 2011 and 2015 the number of business births in Newport increased by 60%, compared to an increase of 47% for the UK. Over the same period, business deaths in Newport decreased by 4%, compared to an increase of 10% for the UK. 


 
Mark Reckless (South Wales East): Will the Welsh Government provide an estimate as to what percentage of exports to Northern Ireland through Welsh ports are goods of UK origins and what percentage are goods transiting through the UK from a point of origin within other EU countries? (WAQ73931)
Mark Reckless (South Wales East): Will the Welsh Government provide an estimate as to what percentage of exports to the Republic of Ireland through Welsh ports are goods of UK origins and what percentage are goods transiting through the UK from a point of origin within other EU countries? (WAQ73932)
 
Answer received on 28 July 2017  

Ken Skates: The latest statistical information on Welsh Ports is contained in the following bulletin: http://gov.wales/docs/statistics/2017/170517-sea-transport-2015-en.pdf  

 
Mark Reckless (South Wales East): What expressions of interest have been made by private sector investors in using the planned compound semiconductor foundry in Newport? (WAQ73933)
 
Answer received on 27 July 2017

Ken Skates: The Cardiff Capital Region is making a commercial investment and will lease the space. They have made no formal announcement about potential tenants.
 
Mark Reckless (South Wales East): What assessment has been made of the sustainability of the compound semiconductor foundry in Newport if the full amount of predicted private sector investment does not occur? (WAQ73936)
 
Answer received on 27 July 2017

Ken Skates: The Cardiff Capital Region is understood to have taken independent financial, technical and legal advice prior to making this decision. This included an Economic Impact Assessment of the proposals and the direct and indirect potential to support wealth, company and job creation in the region and the value added to Wales and UK economy.
 
Mark Reckless (South Wales East): What oversight procedures has the Welsh Government put in place over payments made as part of the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, particularly with regard to CSC Foundry Ltd, the new holding company for the semi-conductor foundry? (WAQ73937)

Answer received on 27 July 2017

Ken Skates: City deals involve local partners taking responsibility for driving sustainable economic growth across their region, being accountable for their success and managing the associated risk.

For the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal an assurance framework, joint working agreement and implementation plan have been developed, published and agreed by the local authorities, with agreement from both Welsh and UK Governments.

These governance agreements also establish gateway assessments every 5 years to continue the provision of funding from both Governments, underpinned by an independent assessment of the economic and wider benefits.
 
Mark Reckless (South Wales East): Will the Cabinet Secretary explain the justification for the criteria used in the new stations stage one assessment, particularly the benefit-cost ratio calculation, given that some of those benefits are counted again to make the assessment? (WAQ73938)
 
Answer received on 27 July 2017

Ken Skates: The stage 1 assessment criteria looks at the Transport Case for a new station and is an initial sift in order to prioritise the work. The criteria have been developed to reflect the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act Goals and are consistent with the WelTAG approach. The benefit to cost ratio is important in considering the likely magnitude of the benefits when compared to the likely costs. Stage two work will further consider the economic and financial case for each scheme.
 
Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm whether minutes or a recording were made of the meeting with the Circuit of Wales on 30 June 2017? (WAQ73939)

Answer recieved on 28 July 2017

Ken Skates: A recording of the meeting with HOVDC on 30 June was not made by officials.  However, as is common practice, officials produced a confidential summary note of discussions to be retained as part of Welsh Government’s internal record on the project.  

 
Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Has the Welsh Government offered any form of guarantee, headlease or other contingent liability in relation to a)the BBC or b) Aston Martin? (WAQ73940)
 
Answer recieved on 28 July 2017

Ken Skates: These are commercially confidential matters between the Welsh Government and the companies involved.

 
Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Did the Welsh Government seek provisional advice on the expected classification of the Circuit of Wales proposal in the terms set out in paragraph 49 of Section 6 of the ONS classification process guidelines? (WAQ73943)
 
Answer recieved on 28 July 2017

Ken Skates: Provisional advice on the Circuit of Wales would only have been sought from the ONS if relevant documentation was in a 'near-final form' and a decision in principle to offer Government support had been made.
 
Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Further to WAQ 73816, was the contractual information included in the proposal to the ONS in a near-final form at the point the provisional ruling was sought? (WAQ73944)
 
Answer recieved on 28 July 2017

Ken Skates: Yes.
 
Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Did the Circuit of Wales team challenge the Welsh Government's assessment of the balance classification issue at the meeting of the 30th June? (WAQ73945)
 
Answer recieved on 28 July 2017

Ken Skates: In the meeting with officials on 30 June, HOVDC challenged Welsh Government’s conclusion on the balance sheet risks but accepted the Welsh Government’s rationale for assessment of the risks.  HOVDC also acknowledged during the meeting that they understood the project costs needed to be off balance sheet for Welsh Government.

 
Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Further to WAQ 73764 what was the figure for the number of jobs created in the assessment conducted by Welsh Government? (WAQ73946)

Answer recieved on 28 July 2017
 
Ken Skates: I refer you to the answer provided to WAQ73859.
 
Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): When does the Permanent Secretary expect to have concluded the leak inquiry into the release of information into the Circuit of Wales? (WAQ73947)
 
Answer recieved on 27 July 2017

Ken Skates: There is no set timescale for completing the necessary work. It will be concluded as soon as all the evidence has been evaluated.

 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport

Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm if additional funding will be allocated to health boards to ensure they can meet the target of having a fully staffed neonatal service by 2021, and when this will become available? (WAQ73926)

Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): What assessment has the Cabinet Secretary made of the resource implications of Welsh neonatal units reaching full compliance with the current all-Wales neonatal standards? (WAQ73927)

Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): Has the Cabinet Secretary received a draft of the third edition of the all-Wales neonatal standards to endorse? (WAQ73925)

Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm which organisations are responsible for the final approval of the all-Wales neonatal standards, third edition? (WAQ73924)

Answer recieved on 31 July 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport (Vaughan Gething):  The third edition of the All Wales Neonatal Standards are currently being finalised by the All Wales Neonatal Network. These standards will reflect the latest evidence and best practice guidelines and the knowledge and clinical expertise of the multi-disciplinary workforce across the service. The All Wales Neonatal Network expect the standards to be finalised and agreed by the steering group of the All Wales Neonatal Network over the summer. The Welsh Government will endorse the standards once they have been finalised.

Responsibility for workforce planning is with health boards and trusts as they are best placed to ensure the services they plan are matched to peoples needs – both now and in the future.

The Welsh Government expects health boards to work together, with the Wales Neonatal Network, to deliver appropriate and safe neonatal services, to ensure that every neonatal unit is properly staffed within the next five years.

The South Wales Programme sets out the future provision of obstetric, paediatric and neonatal services across South Wales hospitals. The Welsh Government has received individual business cases from health boards to take forward the South Wales Programme. The five constituent health boards developed detailed implementation plans for the programme, this included modelling workforce requirements for the neonatal workforce.

The Welsh Government has approved capital proposals to implement the South Wales Programme for additional capacity and improvements at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, the Royal Gwent Hospital in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and in Prince Charles Hospital in Cwm Taf University Health Board.

All university health boards in South Wales have provided assurances that the revenue costs to fund additional medical and nursing staffing will be funded from existing funding sources to deliver the appropriate standards that the new developments will facilitate.
 

The Welsh Government announced capital funding to support additional capacity and improvements in neonatal facilities in North Wales. The SuRNICC in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd will provide the best possible standards of care and clinical outcomes for mothers and their babies across North Wales, concentrating intensive care services at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children

Mark Reckless (South Wales East): What plans has the Welsh Government made for increasing the quantity and quality of Newport's housing stock, as part of the planned economic regeneration of Newport and the aim of 'moving it up the value chain'? (WAQ73935)
 
Answer recieved on 27 July 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children (Carl Sargeant): Newport has been a recipient of over £16 million of Vibrant and Viable Places regeneration funding.  In supporting its three year programme, entitled 'Connecting Commercial Street', the Cardiff Road project has transformed a former derelict building and converted this into 15 apartments and the Kings Hotel has also been transformed from a derelict building into a mixed-use property with 30 new housing units as well as office and commercial space.  I am looking to announce a future regeneration programme for Newport shortly.  

Through the Social Housing Grant, in 2016/17 the Welsh Government provided over £100m for new affordable homes across Wales with Newport receiving £5.7m.  In 2017/18 it is estimated that SHG will support the delivery of 14 affordable housing schemes in Newport which are either on site or about to start on site.  Through the Housing Finance Grant (a revenue grant provided over a 30 year period), Newport Council has been allocated a capital equivalent of £3.6m under the first phase of HFG towards 3 schemes, which are delivering 49 homes. Under the second phase the Council will receive a capital equivalent of £5.2m over the next 3 financial years (2017/18 – 2019/20). 

Since the inception of Newport City Homes in March 2009, Welsh Government has paid a dowry of £6.5m each year in accordance with the gap funding agreement to help meet and maintain the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. NCH has a stock of 8,930 homes and reported achieving WHQS in December 2015.

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Education

 

Mark Reckless (South Wales East): What provisions have been made for retraining and reskilling for those who live in Newport, in light of the planned digital cluster in Newport? (WAQ73934)#

Answer recieved on 278July 2017
 
The Minister for Skills and Science (Julie James): The Welsh Government is working to ensure that there are appropriately trained and skilled recruits ready to meet the technological needs of a growing digital industry. Ensuring that our workforce has the necessary skills to meet the demands of industry now and in the future is vital and the Welsh Government fully recognises the need for technology roles to grow and future-proof our economy.

We are investing in 100,000 apprenticeships over this Assembly term.  Through strengthening our offer in sectors critical to growth, such as digital, we want to attract more young people into apprenticeships and provide future career opportunities.

Finally, we are supporting numerous initiatives, developed in collaboration with academia and industry, with the potential to cement the South Wales region's reputation as a leading technology centre. These include the Institute for Compound Semiconductor Technology, a £150M investment by InnovateUK and partners in a Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult, Innovation Point in Newport City Centre, The National Software Academy as well as the Newport Knowledge Quarter.

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