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Written Assembly Questions tabled on 25 September 2017 for answer on 2 October 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 confirm the Welsh Government's policy on the displaying of flags on its buildings and property under the management of its agencies? (WAQ74252)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the First Minister confirm the Welsh Government's policy on the displaying of flags on its buildings and property under the management of its agencies, to note occasions of particular importance, such as occasions of importance to our culture and heritage? (WAQ74253)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the First Minister list each occasion during this administration that flags have been displayed on Welsh Government buildings/property under the management of its agencies for a specific period of time to note important occasions and what were these occasions? (WAQ74254)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the First Minister confirm whether the Glyndŵr flag was displayed on any Welsh Government buildings and/or property under the control of its agencies (e.g. Cadw castles) to note Glyndŵr day on 16 September?(WAQ74255)W

Answer received on 3 October 2017

The First Minister (Carwyn Jones): The Welsh Government’s policy is for the Red Dragon, Union flag and European Union flag to be flown on its buildings each day.
Cadw sites fly the Red Dragon and the Union flag (and at Rhuddlan Castle and Raglan Castle, the castle freeholder’s flags) on designated days.
In addition, during this administration we have flown the following flags:
Transgender flag
18-21 November 2016 to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance
Rainbow flag
12-14 August 2016 for Pride Cymru
9-15 February 2017 to mark LGBT History Month
17 May 2017 to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
27 July 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Sexual Offences Act 1967
25 -28 August 2017 for Pride Cymru
Commonwealth flag
14 March 2017 to mark Commonwealth Day
Armed Forces Day flag
18-25 June 2016
17-24 June 2017
The Owain Glyndŵr flag was not flown on 16 September 2017.

 

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): Will the First Minister provide information on the number of meetings that he has held with supermarkets regarding Brexit? (WAQ74256)W

Answer received on 5 October 2017

Carwyn Jones: I have not met supermarkets directly to discuss this issue. The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure met the Welsh Retail Consortium in the summer where the issue was discussed. The Cabinet Secretary, more broadly, also Chairs the Tesco Task Force. Routine engagement is also ongoing between officials and businesses in Wales, including supermarkets, discussing the potential impacts of Brexit and supporting them to prepare for any adverse impacts.

 

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): Will the First Minister publish the Welsh Government's analysis on the impact leaving the European Union will have on the life sciences sector in Wales? (WAQ74261)

Answer received on 2 October 2017

The First Minister (Carwyn Jones): Full and unfettered access to the Single Market for goods, services and capital is our top priority for us. It is vital that businesses in Wales are not disadvantaged through tarriff and non-tarriff barriers to trade.
The Life Sciences sector is highly regulated and whilst some of this regulation originates from membership of the EU the global nature of the life sciences market means that the industry already enjoys a level of harmonisation with regard to regulatory requirements.
Life Sciences officials are working with the Office for Life Sciences within the UK Government who are considering a recently published Life Sciences Industrial Strategy. Together they are exploring the potential impact of Brexit and how to continue the growth of the Life Sciences sector and create long-term strategic partnerships between government and industry.
The Welsh Government continues to offer an attractive and competitive proposition to current and potential life science companies with financial support, a growing and diverse industry ecosystem and strong ties with academia and the Welsh NHS. 
 

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

Mohammad Asghar (South Wales East): Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on waiting times for eye surgery in Wales? (WAQ74258)

Answer received on 29 September 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport (Vaughan Gething): At the end of July 2017, 82% of patients waiting for an ophthalmology appointment or treatment were waiting less than 26 weeks, with 5% waiting over 36 weeks. The median wait at the end of July 2017 was 13.6 weeks. I have recently announced an additional £50 million to improve waiting times and I expect to see reductions by the end of March 2018.
We launched the ophthalmic planned care programme to look at redesigning the way ophthalmic services are planned and delivered. This includes maximising the whole service across secondary care and community services to ensure patients are seen in the right place and at the right time. There are now more patients appointments available in the community, including follow-up appointments, for those people who need regular review for their long term eye conditions. 
 
Mohammad Asghar (South Wales East): What guidelines has the Welsh Government issued to health boards regarding individual patient funding requests when waiting lists are longer than the guidelines? (WAQ74259)
 
Answer to follow.
 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide information on the number of meetings she has held with supermarkets regarding Brexit? (WAQ74257)W

Answer received on 5 October 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs (Lesley Griffiths): I have held no formal meetings with retailers to specifically discuss Brexit, but I do meet with the retailers and most recently with the Welsh Retail Consortium, at the Royal Welsh Show 2017, also I receive supply-chain updates from the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board.

 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): When will the Welsh Government bring all PFI-financed projects fully into the public finance portfolio? (WAQ74260)
 
Answer to follow.
 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Education

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Has the Welsh Government undertaken an assessment of the impact that the introduction of the Wales Act 2017 will have on the National Assembly for Wales's ability to impose Welsh-language duties on private-sector bodies? (WAQ74237)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm that the Welsh Government considers that the ability to impose Welsh-language duties on the private sector will be within the National Assembly for Wales's competence when the provisions of the Wales Act 2017 come into force? (WAQ74238)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm that she has sought specific legal advice in developing the proposals of the White Paper, 'Striking the right balance: proposals for a Welsh-language Bill', regarding the effect that removing the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 schedules is likely to have on the National Assembly for Wales's ability to introduce language duties for the private sector? (WAQ74239)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm whether she has sought specific legal advice in developing the proposals of the White Paper, 'Striking the right balance: proposals for a Welsh-language Bill', regarding the effect that removing the Welsh Language Measure 2011 schedules is likely to have on the National Assembly for Wales's ability to place language duties on private bodies that are already listed in the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 as it currently stands? (WAQ74240)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm whether she has sought specific legal advice in developing the proposals of the White Paper, 'Striking the right balance: proposals for a Welsh-language Bill', regarding the effect that removing the Welsh Language Measure 2011 schedules is likely to have on the National Assembly for Wales's ability to introduce new duties in future for types of private bodies (e.g. banks and supermarkets) that are not already listed in the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 as it currently stands? (WAQ74241)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm, based on any assessments that have been made and any legal advice received, whether it would be legally possible for the National Assembly for Wales to place duties on banks if the proposals in the Welsh-language White Paper come into force?  (WAQ74242)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm, based on any assessments that have been made and any legal advice received, whether it would be legally possible for the National Assembly for Wales to place duties on supermarkets if the proposals in the Welsh-language White Paper come into force? (WAQ74243)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm, based on any assessments that have been made and any legal advice received, whether it would be legally possible for the National Assembly for Wales to place duties on telecommunications companies if the proposals in the Welsh-language White Paper come into force? (WAQ74244)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm, based on any assessments that have been made and any legal advice received, whether it would be legally possible for the National Assembly for Wales to place duties on all bodies in the private sector that are named in the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 as it currently stands if the proposals in the Welsh-language White Paper come into force? (WAQ74245)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary publish a summary of the main conclusions of any specific legal advice that she has received in developing the proposals of the White Paper, 'Striking the right balance: proposals for a Welsh-language Bill', regarding the impact that removing the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 schedules is likely to have on the National Assembly for Wales's ability to place language duties on the private sector? (WAQ74248)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary publish a summary of the main conclusions of any specific legal advice that she has received in developing the proposals of the White Paper, 'Striking the right balance: proposals for a Welsh-language Bill', regarding the impact that removing the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 schedules is likely to have on the National Assembly for Wales's ability to place language duties on private bodies that are already listed in the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 as it currently stands? (WAQ74249)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary publish a summary of the main conclusions of any specific legal advice that she has received in developing the proposals of the White Paper, 'Striking the right balance: proposals for a Welsh-language Bill', regarding the impact that removing the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 schedules is likely to have on the National Assembly for Wales's ability to impose new language duties in future on types of private bodies (e.g. banks and supermarkets) that are not already named in the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 as it currently stands? (WAQ74250)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary publish a summary of the main conclusions of any specific legal advice that she has received in developing the proposals of the White Paper, 'Striking the right balance: proposals for a Welsh-language Bill', regarding the impact that removing the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 schedules is likely to have on the National Assembly for Wales's ability to impose language duties on telecommunications companies? (WAQ74251)W

Answer received on 5 October 2017

The Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language (Alun Davies): The proposals in our White Paper, 'Striking the right balance: proposals for a Welsh Language Bill', aim to assist us to deliver our vision for a million Welsh speakers by 2050.

I am advised that there is no specific express reservation in the Wales Act 2017 in respect of the Assembly's ability to place Welsh language duties on any private businesses. Under the reserved powers model that which is not reserved is devolved, provided what is proposed does not breach any of the other restrictions in the Wales Act. 

There are specific express reservations in respect of certain matters, for example: financial services, including banking and insurance. Legislating about reserved matters is not within the power of the Assembly. However, there is also provision to the effect that, for example, imposing duties "in relation to the Welsh language" on persons falling within the scope of those other reservations is nevertheless permissible. Again, this is provided that what is proposed does not breach any of the other restrictions.

Following the public consultation, we will finalise our proposals for a Welsh Language Bill. The provisions of the Wales Act 2017 will require careful consideration in light of those proposals.

 

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm that she would like banks to be under a legal duty not to treat Welsh less favourably than English if the proposals in the Welsh-language White Paper come into force? (WAQ74246)W

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm that she would like supermarkets to be under a legal duty not to treat Welsh less favourably than English if the proposals in the Welsh-language White Paper come into force? (WAQ74247)W

Answer received on 5 October 2017

Alun Davies: The Welsh Government is committed to working with businesses to increase their use of the Welsh language as part of delivering our vision of a million Welsh speakers by 2050. Following the allocation of an additional £2 million to support promoting the Welsh language this year, we have prioritised investing in projects which support and encourage businesses to use Welsh.
In our White Paper, we have committed to considering the appropriateness and likely effectiveness of placing legal duties in relation to the Welsh language on private sector businesses and sectors.
We will consider responses to the consultation carefully before finalising our proposals.

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