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Written Assembly Questions tabled on 2 August for answer on 9 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

Mohammad Asghar (South Wales East): Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on how the Welsh Government intends to prevent job losses at Essentra in Newport? (WAQ74017)

Answer received on 14 August 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure (Ken Skates): Essentra have entered a formal consultation period of at least 45 days and have reassured the Welsh Government that they will continue to take their responsibilities as a local employer extremely seriously and are fully committed to supporting their employees.
Officials are working closely with the company, Newport City Council and other key support organisations as the consultation progresses.
 
Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm what discussions he has had relating to the report that confirms the proposed new Cardiff Bus Interchange cannot go ahead in its present form, and will he set out any action he plans to take to address the situation? (WAQ74019)
 
Answer received on 7 August 2017

Ken Skates: I receive regular updates from my officials regarding the development of the bus and rail stations. While the development of the bus station at Cardiff is led by the local authority, as one of our major gateways it is crucial we develop a truly integrated public transport hub in the Capital that serves the rest of Wales. An integrated facility in the City Centre is a fundamental element of the Metro vision for the region and I have requested my officials to investigate how Welsh Government can have more involvement and oversight of the developments as they move forward given their strategic importance to Wales.
 

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): With reference to WAQ73915 and WAQ73916, will the Cabinet Secretary confirm how much rent Cardiff Aviation have paid to the Welsh Government since the Enterprise Zone was established at St Athan? (WAQ74020)
 
Answer received on 7 August 2017

Ken Skates: I refer you to my answer to WAQ73374, the Welsh Government and Cardiff Aviation reached a settlement via mediation over payment of outstanding building rent. Under the terms of the legal agreement reached at mediation the details are “commercial in confidence”.     

Mark Reckless (South Wales East): Further to WAQ73930, will the Welsh Government provide the current rate of business failure in Newport, compared to the UK and Wales as a whole, as well as the absolute number of business births in Newport? (WAQ74021)

Answer received on 7 August 2017

Ken Skates: The Welsh Government's business demography statistical release shows that in 2015, the latest year for which figures are available, the rate of business failure in Newport was 10.0%, the UK rate was 9.4% and the rate for Wales was 9.1%. The number of business births in Newport for that year was 630.

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): What was the extent of the Welsh Government's involvement in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP) between 2015 and 2017 and to what extent was that participation funded by the Welsh Government? (WAQ74025)

Answer received on 14 August 2017

Ken Skates: The Welsh Government approved support and expenditure of £165,000 to develop an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in association with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (REAP) in January 2015 for a two year period. 
 
Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Cabinet Secretary make public the minutes of the meeting between himself and the Chairs of the enterprise zone boards held on the 12th June 2017? (WAQ74026)

Answer received on 9 August 2017

Ken Skates: The meeting was convened with the Enterprise Zone Chairs to inform my review of Enterprise Zone Governance. I will make a statement once the review has been concluded.

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Does the Cabinet Secretary plan to publish a comprehensive progress update on the Welsh Enterprise Zones for the years 2015 and 2016 (following the 1st and 2nd progress updates for 2013 and 2014) and in addition does he intend to publish an update covering all years since the zones' creation? (WAQ74030)

Answer received on 9 August 2017

Ken Skates: I recently issued a written statement updating Members on Enterprise Zones prior to the summer recess: http://gov.wales/about/cabinet/cabinetstatements/2017/entzones/?lang=en

The progress updates produced in 2013 and 2014 were replaced in 2015 with individual Enterprise Zone Board Strategic Plans (at http://gov.wales/topics/businessandeconomy/growing-the-economy/enterprisezones/?lang=en) and these have recently been updated to include progress to March 2017. The Enterprise Zone Boards will be updating their Strategic Plans further in 2017-18 and these plans will also be published in due course.  

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): What recent discussions has the Cabinet Secretary held regarding banking services following the Plaid Cymru debate on 15 February 2017 and research by the Public Policy Institute for Wales into the field? (WAQ74032)W
 
Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): What discussions has the Cabinet Secretary held regarding the announcement about the closure of the Santander bank branch in Tenby in September? (WAQ74034)W

Answer received on 15 August 2017

Ken Skates: Though the regulation of banking is non-devolved, as a Welsh Government we are very concerned at the negative impact that bank closures can have on local businesses and citizens. Particularly in deprived and rural areas, the closure of local services can have a significant and detrimental impact on individuals, businesses and, indeed, whole communities. The closure of the Santander Bank branch in Tenby is deeply regrettable.
The Welsh Government’s 2016 Financial Inclusion Strategy sets out how we aspire to work with partner organisations – in Wales and at a UK level - to improve access to affordable credit and financial services. That includes access to financial information, including debt advice, as well as the need to improve financial capability in Wales. The Financial Inclusion Delivery Plan was published in December 2016 which set out the actions and measures required to increase financial inclusion across Wales. The Delivery Plan highlights the need to work closely with partner organisations, across the public, private and third sectors, which are well placed to promote financial inclusion and financial capability.
The First Minister and I welcomed the review by Professor Griggs, which made recommendations to improve the way in which banks engage with communities, including small business customers. We regularly raise the issue of bank closures and the Griggs review when we meet with the banks. We have also asked the Public Policy Institute for Wales to take forward a project to gather and analyse the available evidence on public banking. The report from PPIW has been received and I and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government are considering our response. The next steps will depend on the lessons learned from the project.
 
Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Was HM Treasury asked by the Welsh Government, or did it give its own assessment, formally or informally, of the classification risk represented by the Circuit of Wales proposal? (WAQ74041)

Answer received on 14 August 2017

Ken Skates: HMT officials provided informal advice to the Welsh Government on the likely factors that would be considered by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for the classification of financial guarantees for the HoVDC on Circuit of Wales. 
 
Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Was an informal gathering of civil servants in the Cabinet Secretary's department involved in the Circuit of Wales project, organised to thank them for their work during the week commencing 26th June, subsequently cancelled? (WAQ74042)

Answer received on 14 August 2017

Ken Skates: Neither my officials nor I have any knowledge of the gathering you have asked about.
 
Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Did the Welsh Government discuss the balance sheet classification issue with representatives of the Heads of the Valleys Development Company in any meeting before 30 June 2017? (WAQ74043)

Answer received on 14 August 2017

Ken Skates: The issue of balance sheet classification has been discussed between Welsh Government officials and representatives of Heads of the Valleys Development Company from as early as spring 2016.
 
Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Further to WAQ73775, is the Cabinet Secretary satisfied that the Special Adviser Code of Conduct has not been breached in relation to this matter? (WAQ74044)

Answer received on 14 August 2017

Ken Skates: I am satisfied that the Special Adviser Code of Conduct was not breached in relation to this matter.
 
Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm that there is no susbtantive difference in the degree of risk assessed between the "very significant risk" in relation to the balance sheet classification to which he referred in his statement on the 27th June, and the "significant risk" referred to in subsequent Government replies? (WAQ74045)

Answer received on 14 August 2017

Ken Skates: I can confirm that there is no substantive difference.
 

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

Suzy Davies (South Wales West): Following the statement on 18 July regarding NHS Wales Escalation and Intervention Arrangements, will the Cabinet Secretary confirm when the review report for ABMU, and the Health Board's response to it, will be made publicly available? (WAQ74018)

Answer received on 7 August 2017 

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport (Vaughan Gething):  As indicated in my Written Statement of 18 July I am expecting Boards, including Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, to consider their respective Deloitte report and agree their response through their public Board meetings.  I have asked heath boards to publish the reports’ findings and their proposed action plan once that process is completed. 

Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide an update on progress to appoint the Chief Therapy Advisor post to Welsh Government? (WAQ74022)
 
Answer received on 3 August 2017

Vaughan Gething: Staffing is a matter for the Permanent Secretary and I have asked her to respond to this question.

 
Mark Isherwood (North Wales): What community based physiotherapy and occupational therapy is available for children with cerebral palsy in each of the local health boards in Wales? (WAQ74029)

Answer received on 9 August 2017

Vaughan Gething:  It is the responsibility of health boards to ensure they provide adequate access to physiotherapy and occupational therapy services for children in Wales, including those with cerebral palsy.  

Cerebral palsy in children is a complex condition that takes many different forms.  Due to the range of physiotherapy and occupational therapy requirements for children with cerebral palsy, it would be difficult to provide an exhaustive list that covers all specific services in Wales. In part, this is due to the complex care needs of children with the condition and multi sector and multi professional involvement.

However, each child with cerebral palsy would be assessed on an individual basis, with many children being seen and treated in their own home, nursery or school.

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the opening hours of the paediatric care unit in Withybush Hospital, Pembrokeshire? (WAQ74031)W

Answer received on 9 August 2017

Vaughan Gething: In December 2016, Hywel Dda University Health Board temporarily reduced the opening hours of the paediatric ambulatory care unit (PACU) at Withybush Hospital from twelve hours a day to eight hours a day. The unit is currently open 10.00am to 6.00pm, seven days a week.

The health board took this decision on clinical safety grounds, given the challenges in the recruitment of paediatric consultants, combined with particular problems in Pembrokeshire due to the retirement of one consultant coinciding with the maternity leave of another. The temporary changes meant that families could continue to access healthcare for their children in the usual ways. Children are referred and, if necessary, transferred to the service and hospital to best meet their needs. 

The health board has continued to work hard to attract and recruit suitably qualified staff to join its paediatric medical team, including the launch of a targeted paediatric recruitment strategy in February 2017. Unfortunately, this has not resulted in the recruitment of a sufficient number of consultants to currently support the re-establishment of the 12 hour PACU service.

At its Board meeting on 27 July, the health board therefore agreed to continue the eight hour service, whilst recruitment attempts continue.  I am assured that the current arrangements are being monitored closely, to ensure they provide a safe service for children and families in Pembrokeshire.

I understand that the health board has established a multi-disciplinary group of hospital and primary care based doctors, nurses and other staff representing those services who provide care to children. This group has been assessing and reviewing alternative future staffing and service model scenarios to support a safe and sustainable paediatric ambulatory care service at the hospital, if the recruitment position does not improve. 

The group, which is also supported by representatives from the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust and Hywel Dda Community Health Council, has made significant progress in identifying a range of possible scenarios whilst overseeing ongoing recruitment efforts. To further support this work, the health board has commissioned external, independent clinical facilitation to work with staff and their respective clinical teams to further review these scenarios. 

Once this work is complete, the health board plans to commence a period of engagement during the autumn, if the recruitment position has not sufficiently improved to support the re-establishment of a 12 hour, seven days per week PACU service at the hospital.

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): What discussions has the Cabinet Secretary held regarding staffing in Bronglais Hospital following Healthcare Inspectorate Wales's annual report on Hywel Dda University Health Board? (WAQ74033)W
Vaughan Gething: I meet regularly with the chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board to discuss a range of service issues. My officials also work closely with the health board to provide support as they develop and implement their Integrated Medium Term Plans to focus on priority issues, which include recruitment and retention.

In common with the rest of the UK, Hywel Dda University Health Board is experiencing challenges in recruiting a substantive workforce. To address this, the health board is working with their national and regional partners, as well as developing their own local targeted campaigns to exploit all potential online and offline recruitment opportunities across Wales and beyond.

The health board is also supporting our national recruitment campaign ‘This is Wales; Train, Work, Live’ and they have aligned their own recruitment activities with the national campaign.

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs

Mark Isherwood (North Wales): Will consideration be given to incorporating the Assured Breeder Scheme into the dog licensing regime? (WAQ74027)
Mark Isherwood (North Wales): What steps is the Cabinet Secretary's department taking to encourage collaboration between local authorities and UKAS accredited schemes in order to improve the enforcement of dog breeding regulations? (WAQ74028)

Answer received on 9 August 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs (Lesley Griffiths): The Welsh Government is working with Local Authorities, as part of the Partnership Delivery Project, to undertake a number of intelligence led surveys on animal health, animal welfare and animal establishment licensing legislation. One project is a data capture exercise on licensed dog breeding establishments. Officials are currently analysing the findings of the data captured by Local Authorities which will form the basis of a review of the application and enforcement of standards currently applied to dog breeders in Wales.

Sian Gwenllian (Arfon): Does the Cabinet Secretary intend to strengthen part B of the fire safety building regulations? (WAQ74036)W

Sian Gwenllian (Arfon): Does the Cabinet Secretary intend to strengthen part L of the fire safety building regulations? (WAQ74037)

Sian Gwenllian (Arfon): Does the Cabinet Secretary intend to strengthen part E of the fire safety building regulations? (WAQ74038)W

Answer received on 9 August 2017

Lesley Griffiths: Fire safety building regulations are dealt with under Part B of the Building Regulations. I welcome the recent announcement by the Department of Communities and Local Government to establish an independent review of building regulations and fire safety following the Grenfell Tragedy. I welcome the intention to engage with Devolved Administrations as the issues flowing from Grenfell are likely to be equally relevant to us in Wales given the requirements of Part B – Fire Safety and related guidance have their origins in the previous England and Wales policy. I have requested an early discussion with the Chair of the Review.  I will consider the need to make changes to building regulations in Wales informed by the findings of the investigations, the public inquiry and the independent review.
 

Sian Gwenllian (Arfon): When does the Cabinet Secretary intend to publish the new version of TAN 20: planning and the Welsh language? (WAQ74039)W

Answer received on 15 August 2017

Lesley Griffiths: Regrettably the publication of TAN 20 was delayed as we further explored the relationship between TAN 20 and the new Welsh Language Risks and Benefits Assessment Framework currently being developed. Consideration of the links between the two documents will continue over the summer. I am keen to publish TAN 20 by the end of September.

 

Sian Gwenllian (Arfon): As part of the Cabinet Secretary's commitment to review Planning Policy Wales to make it consistent with the objectives of the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, will he update the policy on protecting the public from air pollution? (WAQ74040)W

Answer received on 9 August 2017

Lesley Griffiths: I am committed to reviewing Planning Policy Wales to align with the goals and ways of working enshrined in the Well-being of Future Generations Act. The current policy in relation to air quality will be updated as part of this review. 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children

Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm that all local authorities are paying kinship carers the recommended national minimum allowances for foster carers as set out in the letter dated 12th January 2017 from the Enabling People department? (WAQ74024)

Answer received on 14 August 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children (Carl Sargeant):  In 2016-17 we provided funding for the Fostering Network to undertake a study of the fees and allowances paid to foster carers by local authorities and independent fostering agencies across Wales.  Kinship foster carers were not included in that initial study, but will be included in more detailed follow-up work in 2017-18, funded from the £400k we have allocated for implementation of the new Framework.

When that work is finished we should have an even greater understanding the factors that influence local authority decisions about the support provided to kinship and other foster carers. Our aim is to achieve greater harmonisation in the rates paid to all foster carers in Wales (including kinship foster carers).

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement regarding meeting with the Scottish Brexit Minister, Michael Russell, to discuss the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill recently published by the UK Government? (WAQ74035)W

Answer received on 9 August 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government (Mark Drakeford): Both the Counsel General and I met with the Scottish Minister for Exiting the European Union and the Lord Advocate on 27 July. We discussed our common concerns around the UK Government's European Union (Withdrawal) Bill and its negative impact on the devolution settlements as currently drafted. We discussed possible common approaches and how we might be able to work constructively with the UK Government to develop mutually agreed UK frameworks where there is common consent from both the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations that they are needed. We were, in full agreement that any attempt by the UK Government to impose frameworks or to use EU Withdrawal as an excuse for imposing new constraints on devolved institutions would be strongly resisted.
 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Education

Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): What assessment has the Cabinet Secretary made of how the supporting learners with healthcare needs guidance has worked on the ground since its introduction earlier this year? (WAQ74023)

Answer received on 15 August 2017

The Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language (Alun Davies): I will write to you as soon as possible and a copy of my letter will be published on the internet.

 

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