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Written Assembly Questions tabled on 26 July for answer on 2 August 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 Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): How many trade missions has the Welsh Government conducted, or participated in, since 23 June 2016? (WAQ73996)

Answer received on 31 July 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure (Ken Skates): Since 23 June 2016, we have arranged 28 trade missions; this includes export market visits and exhibitions.

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): How many trade missions have been organised for the foreseeable future? (WAQ73997)

Answer received on 31 July 2017

Ken Skates: The list of upcoming overseas activity (including food and drink) is available on the Business Wales website at the following link:
https://businesswales.gov.wales/zones/export/export-events/overseas-events    

Mohammad Asghar (South Wales West): Will the Welsh Government provide an update and expected completion date for the redoubling of the Ebbw Vale rail line between Cross Keys and Aberbeeg, which was due to be completed by April 2018 as per the 2015 National Transport finance plan? (WAQ74001)

Answer received on 31 July 2017

Ken Skates:  Network Rail are currently reviewing the scheme objectives, delivery plan, and cost estimates for the scheme. This review will conclude in the autumn 2017, enabling us to determine the most efficient infrastructure solution to enhance frequency and improve the passenger experience along the line. A revised programme will be provided by Network rail as part of the review.
We are currently procuring an operator and delivery partner for Wales and Borders services from 2018 and Metro Phase 2 which will focus on modernising the core Valley Lines and the wider South Wales rail network. This process will also include discussions with bidders on how services from Ebbw Vale to Newport can be best delivered as part of the wider provision of the South Wales Metro.

Suzy Davies (South Wales West): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm the total value of the Wales Screen Fund, both per year until its completion and its total budget from start to finish and, of this figure, how much will be contributed from domestic resources and how much from European structural funds? (WAQ74009)

Answer received on 31 July 2017

Ken Skates:  The total budget for the scheme has been estimated at £5m per annum, £30m from start to finish, to be granted until 31 December 2020.  This scheme is entirely funded by the Welsh Government.  

Suzy Davies (South Wales West): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide details of how "significant contribution" will be defined in the funding criteria for Wales Screen Fund and what key performance indicators, such as gross income or jobs created, will be put in place when providing funding? (WAQ74010)

Answer received on 31 July 2017

Ken Skates: A significant contribution is measured by the money each production spends in the Welsh economy. The key performance indicator is the capturing of this Welsh production expenditure, defined as expenditure on goods and services supplied by businesses and individual freelancers located in and operating from or within Wales, to be evidenced by way of an independent Accountant’s report.

Suzy Davies (South Wales West): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm whether the Welsh Government intends to take a stake in any productions when providing funding via Wales Screen Fund or whether the Welsh Government expects a return on the investment provided? (WAQ74011)

Answer received on 31 July 2017

Ken Skates: Funding via the Wales Screen Fund notification does not involve taking a stake in productions, as it is categorised as State Aid in line with criteria set out in Article 5 of the General Block Exemption Regulation.
Any funding support offered is repayable unless it is for a mobile project, the definition of which is:
• One that can be located in Wales or an alternative country; or
• One that can be undertaken by the applicant, another member of the same group or by their subcontractors in an alternative location. In this instance, subcontractors are defined as companies or organisations that are controlled or significantly influenced by the applicant or its group.
Commercial Investment is available, separately, via the Welsh Government’s Media Investment Budget.

Suzy Davies (South Wales West): After confirming that the Wales Screen Fund will not compete with other financiers and advising that match funding be clearly evidenced, will the Cabinet Secretary confirm the cut off point for providing funding to productions when another financer is involved? (WAQ74012)

Answer received on 31 July 2017

Ken Skates: The maximum aid intensity allowable under the fund will normally be 50% of the overall budget of a production.

Suzy Davies (South Wales West): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm whether productions in receipt of Wales Screen Fund, Sky Vision or Wales Media Investment Budget funding and support will be eligible to apply for either or both of the other two sets of funding? (WAQ74013)

Answer received on 31 July 2017

Ken Skates: The aid provided by the Wales Screen Fund can be cumulated with aid received from other local, regional or national schemes in the EU. However, it is a condition of funding that the recipient companies comply with EU State Aid rules and the Welsh Government monitors this to ensure that the maximum aid intensities are not exceeded.

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

Siân Gwenllian (Arfon): Will the Cabinet Secretary publish the full cost assessment completed for establishing a medical school in north Wales? (WAQ73998)

Siân Gwenllian (Arfon): Will the Cabinet Secretary publish the full business case for establishing a medical school in north Wales? (WAQ73999)

Siân Gwenllian (Arfon): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide a list of all the key stakeholders the Welsh Government met with in 2017 in order to discuss the case for establishing an additional medical school in North Wales? (WAQ74000)

Siân Gwenllian (Arfon): In light of your written statement of 18 July, in which you stated that you do 'not support the case for the immediate creation of a medical school in North Wales', what issues need to be changed to support a medical school in the future? (WAQ74004W)

Siân Gwenllian (Arfon): In light of your written statement of 18 July, in which you state that the advice you have received 'does not support' the case for the creation of a medical school in north Wales, who gave you this advice and will you publish the full rationale? (WAQ74005W)

Answer received on 9 August 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport (Vaughan Gethin): I gave a commitment to consider the current level of medical education and training opportunities in North Wales. As part of that commitment I agreed to consider whether there is a case for establishing an additional medical school in North Wales.
My officials made an assessment of the current medical education and training provision in North Wales and provided formal advice through the normal process.
To inform this advice a number of discussions took place with representatives of the following organisations:
• Bangor University
• Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
• Glyndwr University
• North Wales Clinical School
• Conwy County Borough Council
• Wales Deanery
• Cardiff Medical School
• Swansea Medical School
• General Medical Council
Officials also considered a range of information including aspects of establishing a medical school such as the costs, the requirements of the GMC to consider an application for medical school status together with the time required to complete the application process. Information was also made available about the establishment of other medical schools, including the Swansea Medical School.
While I am persuaded of the need for additional medical education and training opportunities to be available in North Wales there are a number of ways in which this could be delivered, one approach would be the establishment of a new medical school. As I said in my statement of 18 July I am not persuaded that this is the best approach for Wales.
The proposed collaborative approach, building on the strengths that already exist in Cardiff, Swansea and Bangor Universities will I am sure, deliver a real and material increase in medical education opportunities in North Wales.
All parties have confirmed a willingness to work together to deliver programmes which would result in students having the option of spending a far greater period of their studies in North Wales. Officials will continue to work with all Universities to further develop this proposal and identify the practical steps required to take this work forward.

Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm when the responses to the consultation on the Nurse Staffing Levels Statutory Guidance will be published, and when further details of the outcome of the consultation will be announced? (WAQ74007)

Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn): What plans are in place to make public or accessible, the ward staffing levels data currently being collected by Public Health Wales, as part of the implementation of the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016? (WAQ74008)

Vaughan Gething: The responses to the consultation have been reviewed and a report of the responses is currently being prepared for publication later this month. The statutory guidance is being amended in light of the responses and will be published in the autumn ahead of the remaining duties coming into force in April 2018.
The ward staffing levels data are collected by ward staff across NHS Wales as the input into the adult acuity workforce tool. These data are collated by Public Health Wales for comparative and consistency purposes to support implementation at Health Board level. There are no plans to publish these management data.

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): When does the Cabinet Secretary intend to consult on a clean air zone framework for Wales? (WAQ74014)

Answer received on 27 July 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs (Lesley Griffiths): My officials have begun to engage with a wide range of external stakeholders to help to shape this work from the outset, including through my Department’s Brexit Roundtable Air and Climate Sub-group. We will consult on the framework as soon as possible and no later than the end of April 2018.

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): What discussions has the Cabinet Secretary engaged in over the last six months regarding Aberthaw power station? (WAQ74015)

Answer received on 3 August 2017

Lesley Griffiths:  My officials have had a number of discussions with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) in the course of monitoring the regulator’s progress in modifying Aberthaw’s environmental permit to give effect to the judgment of the Court.  The modification process culminated in the issue of a consolidated environmental permit on 30 March.  

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): What consultation has the Cabinet Secretary had with the UK Government on its UK air quality plan? (WAQ74016)

Answer received on 27 July 2017

Lesley Griffiths: The Welsh Government had sight of various drafts of the plan both in the run-up to the consultation launch and prior to its final publication on 26 July and provided and approved the content for section 7.6 of the detailed plan, “Additional actions in Wales”. However, the majority of the plan, for which the UK Government was responsible, continued to be amended up to, and indeed beyond, the point at which it was published and we did not have sight of the final versions until after they had been published.

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm what action he is taking to address the issue of service charges for freeholders on private housing estates - particularly where developers fail to meet contractual obligations and provide an unacceptable standard of service? (WAQ73995)

Answer received on 31 July 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children (Carl Sargeant):  I have become increasingly concerned about the way in which leasehold issues have developed in recent years, including the matter of service charges. My officials are currently looking at what can be done to address these and I will be giving careful consideration to how best this might be taken forward.
 
Meanwhile, where legal obligations or rights are either not being observed or are disputed, then redress is currently available through the Leasehold Valuation Tribunals (LVT) or county courts.  In addition, leaseholders can also seek free, impartial legal advice through LEASE.

Mark Isherwood (North Wales): What steps will the Cabinet Secretary take to make sure that there is enough holiday childcare for all working families in Wales, including for disabled children? (WAQ74002)

Mark Isherwood (North Wales): What steps will the Cabinet Secretary take to help make holiday childcare affordable to all families in Wales? (WAQ74003)

Answer received on 31 July 2017

Carl Sargeant: Local authorities have a statutory duty to conduct Childcare Sufficiency Assessments and to secure, as far as is reasonably practicable, sufficient childcare to meet the needs of parents who want to study or work. Furthermore, they must give special consideration and support to meet the childcare needs of families in their areas, including low income families and those with disabled children.
As well as providing the Revenue Support Grant and £2.3M through the Out of School Childcare Grant to local authorities, the Welsh Government provides funding to Cwlwm, the consortium of childcare organisations, to support sustainable childcare throughout Wales. Business Wales also provides bespoke advice and guidance to the sector.
Our childcare offer includes provision during school holidays for 3- and 4-year-olds whose parents are working. We are testing the offer in seven local authorities from September and will be monitoring how holiday provision is taken up.

Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): What steps is the Welsh Government taking to reduce the number of serious injuries in children and young people? (WAQ74006)

Answer received on 31 July 2017

Carl Sargeant: In line with the Well-being goal of a Healthier Wales, Welsh Government works to identify and remove sources of danger, to enable children and young people to understand and manage risk, and to reduce the incidence and effects of injuries inflicted on children and young people by others. This is a cross-government responsibility and there are many programmes across portfolios directly supporting work to keep children and young people safe. 
 
At the same time, we know that we must not allow the fear of injury to prevent us from encouraging children to develop healthy, active lifestyles which will protect them from long-term dangers such as obesity.
 
Ministerial colleagues would be able to provide further information on actions they are taking to tackle specific causes of injury, but examples would include the following.

Our Healthy Child Wales Programme (HCWP) provides a structured, national programme for children and their families to improve health, social and educational development and long term physical, mental and social outcomes. We would expect this to reduce the likelihood of injuries in a variety of ways.

As set out in our guidance document Safe and effective intervention – use of reasonable force and searching for weapons, we expect schools to have a wellbeing-focused ethos in place that lessens the risk and threat of violence of any kind.

With regard to instances of self harm, the Health and Education portfolios are working together to take forward a pilot programme to test several models of intervention. The overall aim is to reduce emotional distress and prevent mental illnesses by offering early support, and appropriate referrals and interventions.

The Road Safety Framework for Wales sets out the actions the Welsh Government and our partners will take to meet our casualty reduction targets. As an identified high risk group, there is a specific target to reduce the number of young people killed or seriously injured on our roads by 40% by 2020. 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Education

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Further to WAQ73783, what considerations have been given to increasing the number of medical courses taught through the medium of Welsh in higher education, what have the Welsh Government and Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol done to improve the current access to Welsh-language medical courses, and what will they do in the future? (WAQ73994)

Answer received on 31 July 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Education (Kirsty Williams): Welsh Government is aware of the need to continue to support and encourage access to Welsh-medium medical courses. Developing this provision supports the development of a workforce that can deliver bilingual services, enabling patients to access services in the language of their choice.
The Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, funded by the Welsh Government, has a strategic role in supporting the development of Welsh-medium provision which includes the medical professions. It has recently sponsored 10 lecturers through its academic Staffing Scheme to support teaching through the medium of Welsh within medicine, health studies and nursing. This has increased the capacity of Welsh universities to offer more degree modules through the medium of Welsh.
On 25 July, a final report was published following a review of the activities of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol which recommended that the role of the Coleg should be extended to develop the Welsh language across higher education and further education. I will respond to this report in due course. If this recommendation is approved, it will give renewed focus to the development of post-16 Welsh-medium and bilingual learning across key sectors including medical courses. This will also support the progression of learners using Welsh within their learning from schools to further and higher education.
As stated in my 2017/18 Remit letter to HEFCW, I also expect the Council to continue to work closely with the Coleg, including its future role of developing Welsh-medium provision in HE.

 

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