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

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): With reference to WAQ74145, will the Cabinet Secretary provide the subsidy for the same period during 2016? (WAQ74203)

Answer received on 15 September 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure (Ken Skates): The Welsh Government subsidy for the T9 Airport Express for the period of March 2016 to August 2016 (inclusive) was £252,668.
To note the £12,058 increase in revenue subsidy cost for March to August 2017 (compared to the same period in 2016) was due to a routine contract inflation increase, the introduction of an additional late evening journey on the service to meet revised flight arrivals at the Airport, and the deployment of additional buses on the route in support of the UEFA Champions League Event in June.
 
Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Cabinet Secretary outline the progress made in improving cross border collaboration on transport issues? (WAQ74205)

Answer received on 27 September 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure (Ken Skates): Welsh Government officials continue to engage with cross border partners to identify opportunities for joint working arrangements. The current cross border working arrangements on rail services and infrastructure between local authorities in the North Wales and Mersey Dee Alliance area has been effective, and as part of the governance arrangement to deliver my vision for modernising transport in North Wales including the North East Wales Metro, a cross border steering group has been established to co-ordinate and drive forward the work.
The momentum that has been developed through the Growth 360 exercise has been positive and this needs to continue as we consider other transport areas and sectors. My officials are working closely with Liverpool City Region, the Cheshire authorities and Warrington to strengthen the case for investment, and also with Transport for the North on its commission for the development of a programme level business case for investment in the Wales and West Strategic Corridor.
Similar engagement is underway with the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and Midlands Connect. They are key partners and it is important we engage with them as they develop their investment priorities. Such investments could unlock economic growth on both sides of the borders.
As with North Wales it is important we establish an evidence base to support our aspirations and I have co-funded a Freight Strategy for Mid Wales this year in partnership with the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership. The work is being coordinated by Growing Mid Wales and is nearing completion and the aim is to build on that work to seek to develop an agreed package of shared priorities to influence investment on both sides of the border.

 

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): What considerations will the Cabinet Secretary give to change the TrawsCymru service timetables to enable north-south/south-north travel over one day? (WAQ74212)

Answer received on 25 September 2017

Ken Skates: Following the Winkler review in 2013, we have made significant improvements to the TrawsCymru long distance bus network across Wales opening up many new journey opportunities for rural communities. As a result we have seen significant patronage increases on key north south services (such as the TrawsCymru T2 service which links Bangor to Aberystwyth seven days a week), with passenger numbers doubling in the last three years (108,588 in 2014/15 to 234,430 in 2016/17). We will continue to build upon these sound foundations by working closely with local authorities to further improve key long distance bus services as part of an integrated transport network.
 
Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): What is the definition of the residential, office, industrial and retail development hub, planned for Pontypridd/Trefforest and how many additional jobs will be created? (WAQ74213)

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): What is the definition of the residential, office and industrial development hub, planned for Caerphilly/Ystrad Mynach and how many additional jobs will be created? (WAQ74214)

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): What is the definition of the office, industrial and residential development hub, planned for Cwmbran and how many additional jobs will be created? (WAQ74215)

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): What is the definition of the office, industrial and residential development hub, planned for Merthyr Tydfil, and how many additional jobs will be created? (WAQ74216)

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): What is the definition of the industrial, residential, digital and energy development hub, planned for Neath, and how many additional jobs will be created? (WAQ74217)

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): How many public sector jobs will be relocated to 'hubs' in the South Wales Valleys and when will this occur? (WAQ74218)

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): How many additional jobs will be created in the foundational economy of the Valleys and what will be the nature of these jobs? (WAQ74219)

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): How many additional digital jobs will be created in the valleys, what will be the nature of such jobs and who will be the job providers? (WAQ74220)

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): How many green jobs will the Welsh Government aim to create in the valleys and how will these be created? (WAQ74221)

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): How many apprenticeships will the Welsh Government create in the valleys and in what sectors? (WAQ74222)

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): How will the Welsh Government exploit job creation potential from major investment in the valleys? (WAQ74223)

Answer received on 28 September 2017

The Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language (Alun Davies): The Ministerial Taskforce for the South Wales Valleys published the high-level action plan Our Valleys, Our Future in July. This was based on extensive engagement with people living and working in the South Wales Valleys and evidence taken by the taskforce.

Following the plan's launch, a further period of engagement has taken place over the summer, to test the proposals. A delivery plan, which will include milestones and targets, will be published next month.

The taskforce and my officials are working closely with partners to develop the delivery plan. This has included a series of workshops in early September, focusing on business growth and start ups; strategic hubs; the foundational economy and employability. A taskforce meeting was held on 18 September to discuss the delivery plan.

Work to develop the detailed plans for the strategic hubs and to grow jobs in the South Wales Valleys is ongoing. This work includes drawing on evidence from the recently-published Regional Skills Partnerships Skills Plan to target employment opportunities. Local authorities are leading on the development of strategic hubs and we are working to develop a blueprint of priority projects across the Valleys, which will be the focus for the next 15 years. This will align closely with the work of the two city regions. By April 2018 we will have identified which proposed projects can be funded and delivered in the first phase by 2021.


Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): In relation to the Welsh Government strategy of 'better jobs closer to home', will the Cabinet Secretary define 'real opportunities'? (WAQ74224)

Answer received on 27 September 2017

The Minister for Skills and Science (Julie James): Our Programme for Government, 'Taking Wales Forward', sets out our ambition for the future of work in Wales including the development of skills and careers for life-enhancing work, without exploitation or poverty. I outlined our approach to Fair Work in a Written Statement published on 13 September. I Chair the Fair Work Board, convened by the First Minister, which will, as its first task, explore how the Welsh Government can further leverage fair work outcomes from public spending and procurement practice in Wales.

In parallel, a cross-government team is taking forward the Better Jobs Closer to Home programme to align a range of commercial pilots with other interventions to support the creation of meaningful employment in communities with high levels of joblessness. The pilots will test new methods of procurement practice designed to create employment from commercial interventions within the Welsh Public Sector expenditure profile on works, goods and services. If the pilots prove successful, then these methods can be replicated in other areas of Wales, in other areas of spend.

The cross-government programme team has identified a range of potential commercial and procurement interventions which have the potential to deliver employment opportunities in areas of high economic deprivation. The pilots, which are in design phase, are looking at foundational economy employment opportunities requiring skills which were previously widely available in the South Wales Valleys. The pilots will provide in-bound training, on the job training as well as transferrable skills which will be designed to lead to wider job market opportunities. The programme is part of our response to the Valleys Task force and is aligned with the wider employability agenda set out in an Oral Statement I made on 11th July. The pilots will take full account of the findings of the Fair Work Board.
 
Darren Millar (Clwyd West): What consideration has the Welsh Government given to supporting the establishment of a direct airlink between Cardiff Airport and Tel Aviv? (WAQ74228)

Answer received on 25 September 2017

Ken Skates: Cardiff Airport is a strategic asset for Wales and developing the airport remains a key priority for the Welsh Government. Our ongoing focus remains the development of Cardiff Airport and to develop transport links for the people of Wales.
Cardiff Airport is managed at arm’s length from Welsh Government on a commercial basis by Cardiff International Airport Limited (CIAL). CIAL is responsible for the day to day operation and development of the airport and its services. This includes commercial discussions with airports and airlines to expand the range of destinations on offer from Cardiff.
We are very pleased with the Cardiff to Doha air link with Qatar Airways, and would welcome the establishment of other long haul routes to increase connectivity for Wales with the rest of the world.
 
Darren Millar (Clwyd West): What is the total value of trade between Wales and Israel? (WAQ74229)

Answer received on 25 September 2017

Ken Skates: HMRC statistics currently show that the total value of trade in 2016 between Wales and Israel is £26.1m (this figure only reflects the export of goods and does not include services). However, HMRC will be revising estimates of trade on 12 October; following the identification of an error when merging datasets. Welsh Government officials are currently carrying out quality assurance of the data and will be revising our website/Statswales on 12 October in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

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

Mohammad Asghar (South Wales East): Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the availability of Nivolumab to tackle lung cancer on the NHS in Wales? (WAQ74202)

Answer received on 28 September 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport (Vaughan Gething): Under the £80 million New Treatment Fund that we launched in January, all cancer drugs recommended by NICE will be made available routinely in Wales, provided the NHS in Wales is offered a comparable price to that offered to the NHS in England. This applies to the announcement by NICE about nivolumab (Opdivo®).
Nivolumab to treat patients suffering with non-small cell lung cancer will be available in Wales as soon as the manufacturer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and the NHS in Wales agree an acceptable price and access package.

 

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): How many phone calls, video conferences and meetings have taken place between the Cabinet Secretary and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board since the board was placed into special measures and could the dates of these meetings be provided? (WAQ74211)

Answer received on 28 September 2017

Vaughan Gething: The very broad set of recorded information requested will take further time to provide. I will write to you as soon as possible and a copy of my letter will be published on the Internet.
 
Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): What is the Cabinet Secretary's response to the findings of the Wales Cancer Patient Experience Survey, by Macmillan Wales, that only 48 per cent of cancer patients reported being given the opportunity to discuss their needs and develop a care plan, and just 18% reported being offered a written care plan? (WAQ74226)

Answer received on 27 September 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport (Vaughan Gething): The Wales Cancer Experience Survey was commissioned jointly by the Welsh Government and Macmillan Cancer Care as an action in the Cancer Delivery Plan for Wales. It is clearly important NHS bodies reflect on the findings and put in place measures to improve against the reported experience. I believe people affected by cancer should be offered a care plan as it correlates with better experience overall. The Wales Cancer Network is working with NHS bodies to support the development of action plans in response to the survey.

 

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): What percentage of cancer patients in Wales have a named key worker, and how is the Cabinet Secretary working to improve this figure in line with the 100 per cent target set in the Welsh Government's Cancer Delivery Plan? (WAQ74227)

Answer received on 2 October 2017

Vaughan Gething: The 2016 cancer patient experience survey, published on 5 July 2017, gives a reliable indication (86% at the all Wales level) and can be found at:

http://gov.wales/topics/health/publications/health/reports/report13/?lang=en

 The Welsh Government is committed to improving the allocation of cancer key workers and achieving greater consistency across NHS bodies in Wales. Through the implementation of the Cancer Delivery Plan for Wales, the Wales Cancer Network is working with NHS bodies to improve the allocation and recording of cancer key workers.
 
Darren Millar (Clwyd West): By local health board, how many managed GP practices are there in Wales? (WAQ74230)

Answer received on 28 September 2017

Vaughan Gething: At 25 September 2017, eighteen GP practices were under the management of health boards
 

Health Board GP practices under management  
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg  University Health Board  1
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board  9
Cwm Taf University Health Board  4
Hywel Dda University Health Board  2
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board  2
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board  0
Powys Teaching Health Board  0
Total 18


 
Darren Millar (Clwyd West): How many GP training places were available in Wales in each of the past 10 years and how many of these places were filled? (WAQ74231)

Answer received on 28 September 2017

Vaughan Gething: The table below shows the number of number GP training places available and the number of places filled.
 

 GPST fill target GP Trainees starting their 3 year programmes
2007136115
2008136131
2009136124
2010136125
2011136115
2012136105
2013136125
2014136113
2015136109
2016136107
2017136125


 
Darren Millar (Clwyd West): By local Health Board and in each of the past five years, how many full time equivalent GPs were there working in the Welsh NHS? (WAQ74232)

Answer received on 26 September 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport (Vaughan Gething): Numbers of GPs are routinely published on StatsWales.
GP Whole Time Equivalent figures (WTE) have been omitted for the past three years following concerns expressed by users about data quality. WTE figures will be published once the issue has been resolved.
 
Therefore the number of GPs working by Health Board over the past five years (as of 30 September each year) has been presented as Headcount and is shown in the table below, using the most recent published data.  The 2017 data are likely to be available in March 2018.

 20122013201420152016
Wales1,9972,0262,0061,9972,009
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University LHB332342346346344
Aneurin Bevan University LHB374386382382393
Betsi Cadwaladr University LHB449444446437440
Cardiff and Vale University LHB309320311313310
Cwm Taf University LHB174177170178175
Hywel Dda University LHB257255253243243
Powys Teaching LHB1021029898104


 
Darren Millar (Clwyd West): What consideration has the Welsh Government given to the British Medical Association's Welsh GP heat map and what action is being taken to address the concerns it identifies? (WAQ74233)

Answer received on 28 September 2017

Vaughan Gething: A Welsh GP practice "heat map" was published by the BMA Wales in June 2017 which highlighted that five independent GP Practices across Wales closed ; eighteen practices were under the management of health boards and a further 29 practices were deemed at risk. 

For those practices which have closed patients continue to receive high quality healthcare through local arrangements with health boards and no patient is without a GP.  

The number of independent GP practices in Wales has reduced from 459 practices at November 2014 to 441 practices at November 2016 which reflects either practices merging or practice patient lists being dispersed to other practices.  
Welsh Government and NHS Wales is undertaking a number of actions to address practice sustainability highlighted in the Welsh GP practice "heat map" published by the BMA Wales in June this year.

  • In October 2016, Welsh Government launched a national and international campaign to promote Wales as an excellent place for doctors, including GPs, and their families, to train, work and live. The campaign has been very successful, with 91% of GP training posts filled, including 100% fill rates in both North East and North West Wales. As part of the campaign, an incentive scheme in hard to recruit areas is in operation.  Trainees who take up a training place in a specified area will be eligible for a payment of up to £20,000. From August 2017, this scheme will begin in Betsi Cadwaladr and Hywel Dda University Health Boards.

 

  • As a result of the agreed changes to the GP contract for 2017/18, investment in general medical service has increased by approximately £27m. The agreed changes to the GP contract for 2017/18, together with £40m funding to improve primary care estates, provides a strong platform for GPs to continue to provide high quality, sustainable, healthcare services .

     
  • A revised GP sustainability assessment framework was introduced in April 2017 as part of the changes to the GP contract for 2017/18. The GP sustainability assessment framework enables a GP practice which considers itself vulnerable to closure or risk of making cuts to services within the next 12 months to apply to their health board for support. 

     
  • The national primary care plan, backed by the £43m primary care fund, is driving change and improvement. Increasingly, we are seeing health boards collaborating with GP practices and other local service providers, such as pharmacists, community nurses and therapists and others, through primary care clusters, to develop more multi-professional teams.  

     
  • Many health boards have established Primary Care Support Teams which proactively support GP practices which are struggling to manage workload and ensure service sustainable.  Health board support includes both clinical support, such as pharmacists and physiotherapists.  This proactive approach aims to increase practice resilience and sustainability, creating space to work differently and find new ways of working.

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Cabinet Secretary outline what consideration the Welsh Government has given to banning or reducing the use of polystyrene fast food packaging? (WAQ74204)

Answer received on 2 October 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs (Lesley Griffiths): I will write to you as soon as possible and a copy of my letter will be published on the internet.

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm the date of opening for the Conwy mussel fishery for 2017, and provide a) the number of permits that have been applied for this year, and b) how many permits have been issued for this year? (WAQ74209)

Answer received on 2 October 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs (Lesley Griffiths): I will write to you as soon as possible and a copy of my letter will be published on the internet.
 
Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): What are the licensing requirements for mussel boats operating on this Conwy mussel fishery, and how has the Welsh Government made fishermen aware of these requirements since they came into operation? (WAQ74210)

Answer received on 2 October 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs (Lesley Griffiths): I will write to you as soon as possible and a copy of my letter will be published on the internet.

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government

Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore): What representations has the Cabinet Secretary received on the impact of business rates on community hydro-electric schemes? (WAQ74206)

Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore): Will the Cabinet Secretary consider business-rate relief for community hydro-electric schemes? (WAQ74207)

Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore): What assessment has the Cabinet Secretary made of the impact of business rates on the viability of current and future community hydro-electric schemes? (WAQ74208)

Answer received on 26 September 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government (Mark Drakeford): 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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