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Written Assembly Questions tabled on 5 October 2017 for answer on 12 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 Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure

Nick Ramsay (Monmouth): What discussions has the Cabinet Secretary had with the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government to ensure that his department has enough cash to administer improvements on transport infrastructure across Wales, including the M4 Relief Road, the South Wales Metro, the Wales and Borders franchise, and improvements to the A55 and A40? (WAQ74369)

Answer received on 12 October 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure (Ken Skates): I have regular discussions with my Cabinet colleague and can confirm that the appropriate funding has been included in expenditure forecasts to deliver the major improvements to the Welsh transport network you have listed.

 

Nick Ramsay (Monmouth): What compensation is available to homeowners whose homes have been devalued by their proximity to major road development schemes such as the dualling of the A465? (WAQ74377)

Nick Ramsay (Monmouth): What consideration has the Welsh Government given to offering compensation to homeowners whose homes have been devalued by proximity to road development schemes in advance of their completion? (WAQ74378)

Answer received on 10 October 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure (Ken Skates): Part 1 of the Land Compensation Act 1973 is open to those who own and occupy properties near the new road to claim for depreciation of more than £50 in the market value of their home, due to the physical impact of the road scheme in operation. This can be claimed 12 months after the road has opened to traffic.
Compensation for the depreciation of property values is not available for homeowners during the construction phase of a road development.
Further details on compensation is available online: http://gov.wales/topics/transport/roads/land-acquisition-compensation/?lang=en

 

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

Dai Lloyd (South Wales West): Further to WAQ74166, will the Cabinet Secretary outline details of the likely timeframes for decision with regards to ABMU health board's business cases submitted to the Welsh Government to develop a Transitional Care Unit? (WAQ74375)

Answer received on 13 October 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-Being and Sport (Vaughan Gething): ABMU Health Board has advised that a business case will be submitted to the Welsh Government this week for approval in respect of Transitional Care Unit at Singleton Hospital in Swansea. Once submitted, the business case will undergo detailed scrutiny by Welsh Government officials.

Each business case is dealt with on an individual basis and so it is not possible to set out an exact timeframe for the decision.


Dai Lloyd (South Wales West): Further to WAQ74166, will the Cabinet Secretary outline details of the likely timeframes for decision with regards to ABMU health board's business cases submitted to WHSSC to commission an increased number of high dependency cots at Singleton Hospital, Swansea? (WAQ74376)

Answer received on 17 October 2017

Vaughan Gething: I will write to you and a copy of the letter will be placed on the internet.
 
Dai Lloyd (South Wales West): Further to WAQ74167, will the Cabinet Secretary provide a breakdown of the distances travelled for each of the 27 ex-utero cases transferred to England in 2016 from a hospital in Wales, and a breakdown of the level of acuity associated with those transfers? (WAQ74374)
 
Answer received on 13 October 2017

Vaughan Gething: Neither the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee (WHSSC) nor the Neonatal Network hold a breakdown of the distance travelled and detail in relation to the level of acuity for ex-utero transfers at present. 

I have agreed to provide the Neonatal Network with funding to develop a dashboard to ensure that the Network collects appropriate data nationally. Information captured will include evidence of compliance against the new neonatal standards, assurance on the quality of neonatal services in Wales and provision of neonatal services including details around neonatal transfers. 

 

Nick Ramsay (Monmouth): Will the Cabinet Secretary outline whether health board with deficits, such as the £49 million at Hywel Dda Local Health Board, will receive the money that they need through the health budget? (WAQ74362)
Nick Ramsay (Monmouth): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm whether local health boards will receive a bail-out if they do not meet their deadline of eliminating their deficits by March 2018? (WAQ74363)
Nick Ramsay (Monmouth): Has the Cabinet Secretary planned resources within the draft budget in case local health boards fail to meet the deadline to eliminate their deficits by March, and require bail-outs? (WAQ74370)

Answer received on 12 October 2017

Vaughan Gething: I have made it clear that I consider any forecast deficits unacceptable. There will be no “bail outs” for health boards in deficit. I expect delivery from health boards and trusts and will track the progress and outcome of their actions in order to stabilise and improve their position. These are matters of Board governance and accountability and will remain under scrutiny, including through use of the escalation framework where there are concerns.

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children

John Griffiths (Newport East): Is the Welsh Government monitoring the effect of the removal of priority for housing from prison leavers, and what are the findings to date? (WAQ74379)
John Griffiths (Newport East): If the Welsh Government is not currently monitoring the effect of the removal of priority for housing from prison leavers, when will this be undertaken? (WAQ74380)

Answer received on 16 October 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children (Carl Sargeant): I instigated a cross-sector working group to help ensure that those due to leave custody have equal access to the new prevention duties. The National Pathway for Homelessness Services to Children, Young People and Adults Leaving the Secure Estate, published in December 2015, endorses a referral process between non-devolved resettlement services operating in custody and the devolved statutory homelessness services being undertaken in the community by local authorities.
Independent research, commissioned by Welsh Government, is currently being undertaken by Wrexham Glyndwr University and is looking at the specific impact on those leaving custody and the National Pathway; findings will be published early in 2018.

 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government

Nick Ramsay (Monmouth): What assessment has been made by the Cabinet Secretary of the impact that changes to land transactions rates will have on the Welsh economy, particularly when it comes to the border areas of Wales? (WAQ74364)

Answer received on 11 October 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government (Mark Drakeford): Compared to the current arrangements for stamp duty land tax (SDLT), the rates and bands I have announced for land transactions tax (LTT) will reduce the tax to be paid by the average home buyer in all parts of Wales - including areas bordering England.

Where LTT is set higher than SDLT, it is expected to apply to a relatively low proportion of properties, even in the borders.  I expect a negligible impact on local economies.

In all parts of Wales, business premises will benefit from the lowest starting rate of tax in the UK.  Businesses buying premises up to £1.1m in Wales will either pay no tax or up to £1,000 less tax than under the current stamp duty land tax.


Nick Ramsay (Monmouth): Will the Cabinet Secretary respond to Plaid Cymru's claim that over 50 per cent of its spending commitments, or £500 million, have been secured in full or in part over the last two budgets? (WAQ74365)

Answer received on 12 October 2017

Mark Drakeford: Full details of the agreements reached with Plaid Cymru for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 draft Budget have been published.
The agreements are available at the following links:
http://gov.wales/newsroom/finance1/2016/161018BudgetAgreement/?lang=en

http://gov.wales/newsroom/finance1/2017/171001-budget-agreeement-between-welsh-government-and-plaid-cymru/?lang=en
 
Nick Ramsay (Monmouth): Will the Cabinet Secretary outline how many spending commitments the Welsh Government has had to give up in order to accommodate Plaid Cymru support for this budget, and provide details of the commitments that have been shelved? (WAQ74366)

Answer received on 12 October 2017

Mark Drakeford: The Budget agreement reached with Plaid Cymru secures the whole of our Budget and demonstrates our commitment to working with other parties to deliver shared priorities in the interests of the people of Wales. 
 
Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide information on the consultation process for the proposed tourism accommodation levy? (WAQ74368)

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide information on all discussions or correspondence had with other governments, on the use and impact of a tourism accommodation levy? (WAQ74369)

Answer received on 11 October 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government (Mark Drakeford): As described in the Welsh Tax Policy Report, published on 3 October, the shortlist of four candidates for a potential new Welsh tax has been developed drawing on the priorities in the 'Prosperity for All' national strategy, the principles in the Tax Policy Framework, and initial engagement with relevant departments within the Welsh Government.
These are proposals for discussion. In publishing the shortlist I am committing to taking an inclusive and open approach to tax policy in Wales.
In the coming weeks, we will be engaging with the tourism sector and local authorities to understand more fully the opportunities and challenges a tourism tax could present, as well as considering examples of where and how a tourism tax has operated in other administrations and localities.
A similar approach will be adopted for all four proposals on the shortlist, in order to inform my decision about which to take forward. In the New Year, I will present one of the proposals to the UK Government, to test the mechanism under the Wales Act 2014.
Whichever tax is selected, further analysis and extensive engagement with businesses and citizens will follow in 2018.
I will keep the Finance Committee informed of the consultation arrangements.
 
Nick Ramsay (Monmouth): Will the Cabinet Secretary set out how putting people at the heart of improved service delivery, as referenced in the Prosperity for All strategy, is reflected within the funding streams for the draft budget? (WAQ74371)

Nick Ramsay (Monmouth): What protections has the Cabinet Secretary made to ensure that certain important projects, relating to integration and collaboration across the Welsh public sector, are ring-fenced within the streams outlined in the draft budget? (WAQ74372)

Answer received on 12 October 2017

Mark Drakeford: In developing our plans for the 2018-19 draft Budget we have taken a whole government perspective to review alignment of plans to the Prosperity for All and maximised opportunities to join up activity across portfolios and programmes to meet our objectives.
Chapter four of the outline draft budget narrative provides an account of how our spending plans align to Prosperity for All’s chapters and priority areas and on the services that matter most to the people of Wales.
The outline draft budget narrative is available at the following link:
http://gov.wales/docs/caecd/publications/171003-budget-narrative-a-en.pdf
 
Mark Isherwood (North Wales): How has the Welsh Government estimated the finding that local authorities in Wales will need to meet their 'prevention duties', and how has this been reflected in the draft budget? (WAQ74373)

Answer received on 12 October 2017

Mark Drakeford: Recognising that local government is responsible for a range of preventative services, the Welsh Government has provided relative protection to local government funding over recent years. This combined with the ability to set their own levels of council tax means that current spending on local government services in Wales has been able to increase by 2.9% between 2010-11 and 2016-17, whereas in England, it has decreased considerably.

 

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