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​Written Assembly Questions tabled on 15 June 2016 for answer on 22 June 2016

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

Mark Isherwood (North Wales): As the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has shown in its "Is Wales Fairer?" report that less than half of disabled people are employed in Wales, what steps is the Minister taking to support more disabled people into employment? (WAQ70405)

Answer received on 23 June 2016

The Minister for Skills and Science (Julie James): Employment policy is not devolved to Welsh Government and remains the responsibility of the UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions. Within this context, the Minister for Skills and Science will be making an Oral Statement on 5 July 2016 which will set out the future direction for Welsh Government’s main suite of employability support programmes.

 

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): What discussions has the Minister had with local authorities in England regarding the Crewe Hub and HS2? (WAQ70413)

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Minister detail any discussions he has had with Transport for North and West Midlands Rail regarding cross-border collaboration on the Crewe Hub? (WAQ70414)

Answer received on 27 June 2016

Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure (Ken Skates): I fully recognise the benefits that connectivity brings for both sides of the border. The Welsh Government has worked jointly with a range of organisations in both Wales and England in developing the Strategic Outline Business Case for electrification of the North Wales Main Line from Holyhead to Crewe. Achieving effective connectivity with HS2 at Crewe is a core component of that work and we continue to work with a range of partner organisations across the border to maximise the opportunities both HS3 and HS2 may bring.

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Minister outline a timetable for the submission of a business case for the Development Bank? (WAQ70415)

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Minister confirm whether the Development Bank will include regional subsidiaries? (WAQ70416)

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Minister detail the likely structure and terms of reference of the Development Bank announced for the Fifth Assembly? (WAQ70417)

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Minister outline the likely criteria small and medium enterprises will need to meet, in order to access the Development Bank's support? (WAQ70418)

Answer received on 23 June 2016

The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure (Ken Skates): Finance Wales are expected to submit a fully costed business plan for consideration prior to summer recess. I will update Members once we have received the plan and given it careful consideration.

 

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Minister explain why recent Key Performance Indicator figures on Enterprise Zones show that, out of a target of 100-120 enterprises to be financially supported by the Welsh Government in 2015-16, only 19 were supported between September 2015 and April 2016? (WAQ70419)

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Minister provide a breakdown of the 793 jobs created in Enterprise Zones in Wales between September 2015 and April 2016, as outlined in the Key Performance Indicators for this period, by Enterprise Zone? (WAQ70420)

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Minister provide a breakdown of private sector capital and revenue funding for Enterprise Zones in the period September 2015-April 2016? (WAQ70421)

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Minister outline any plans during the Fifth Assembly to make Key Performance Indicators for Enterprise Zones more detailed and broken down by individual Zone, as happens in England? (WAQ70422)

Answer received on 23 June 2016

Ken Skates: The requested information for the 2015/16 financial year is due to be published imminently, in line with the established reporting process.

 

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Minister outline his plans to increase the GVA of North- and Mid-Wales during the Fifth Assembly? (WAQ70423)

Answer received on 23 June 2016

Ken Skates: My plan is to take forward a broad range of actions to support jobs and grow prosperity across all parts of Wales, including in north and mid Wales.

 

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): What measures will the Minister take to reduce unemployment in local authority areas in the South Wales Central Constituency Region, one of which currently has the highest unemployment rate in Wales at 9.6 per cent? (WAQ70424)

Answer received on 23 June 2016

Ken Skates: The Fund was only launched in May and so it is too early to be able to provide this information. The intention is that the Fund will enable a significant increase in the number of factual and entertainment programmes coming out of Wales, and will provide unprecedented access to the international content market. Sky Vision is a global distributor of tv programmes across all genres, and represents content from an extensive range of broadcasters, including Sky's own channels and other UK and European broadcasters, and producers in the UK, the USA, Australia, Germany, France, Holland and South Africa.   Sky Vision's sales team has worldwide reach, through attendance and representation at all major markets, and the company has significant experience of launching programmes internationally. This gives us confidence that the opportunity to work in an international arena will be greatly enhanced as a result of this Fund.

 

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Given that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has recently outlined that young people aged 16-24 are four times more likely to be unemployed than those aged 35-54 in its "Is Wales Fairer?" report, will the Minister outline plans for increasing youth employment figures during the Fifth Assembly term? (WAQ70425)

Answer received on 23 June 2016

Julie James: Employment policy is not devolved to Welsh Government and remains the responsibility of the UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions. Within this context, I will be making an Oral Statement on 5 July 2016 which will set out the future direction for Welsh Government’s main suite of employability support programmes.

 

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

Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore): Will the Minister make a statement in light of new evidence, about the benefits of breastfeeding and the recommendations by UNICEF UK for a National Infant Feeding Strategy Board to lead, develop and drive forward the key strategies to increase breastfeeding rates in Wales and keep mothers and their infants feeding for longer? (WAQ70412)

Answer received on 21 June 2016

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport (Vaughan Gething): I recognise the importance of breastfeeding and promoting breastfeeding was included as one of our Manifesto commitments. 

The Welsh Government has tasked Public Health Wales to improve breastfeeding rates in Wales. Public Health Wales has welcomed the UNICEF call to action, which is consistent with the approach they have been developing. They are meeting UNICEF shortly to further discuss how they can support it.

 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): Will the Welsh Government commit to engaging fully in the Campaign for a Children and Young People's Assembly for Wales' consultation about what a new youth assembly in Wales should look like? (WAQ70411)

Answer received on 23 June 2016

The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children (Carl Sargeant): Any democratically elected Young People's Assembly should sit with the National Assembly for Wales as the democratic body in Wales. The First Minister and former Presiding Officer have both stated this.

We are clear that the participation of children and young people will continue to be key in the development and delivery of our legislation, policies and programmes. We are committed to ensuring children and young people continue to have an active voice in the workings of this Government.

The Welsh Government funds a national model, Young Wales, to enable the voices of children and young people to be heard.

In the event of the establishment of a Young People's Assembly I would hope there would be collaboration with Young Wales in taking work forward.

 

Mark Isherwood (North Wales): What assessment has the Minister made of the Equality & Human Rights Commission's Report "Is Wales Fairer?" and its findings that the number of adults, children and young people reported to be victims of trafficking has doubled in Wales between the years 2012 and 2014? (WAQ70402)

Answer received on 23 June 2016

Carl Sargeant: The Welsh Government welcomes the Equality and Human Rights Commission's Report 'Is Wales Fairer' and will use it to inform our equality objectives.

Through our Wales Anti-Slavery Leadership Group, thousands of people across Wales have already received anti-slavery awareness training. This awareness raising has led to an expected correlation in the identification and reporting of victims of trafficking (or slavery), as reflected in the Commissioner's report. By improved reporting, we are ensuring that victims receive the support they need and that perpetrators of this heinous crime can be brought to justice. 

The number of adult and child victims of slavery who were referred to the National Crime Agency UK Human Trafficking Centre* (using the National Referral Mechanism) has increased from 34 in 2012 to 134 in 2015.

*The National Referral Mechanism data is provided by the National Crime Agency Human Trafficking Centre.

 

Mark Isherwood (North Wales): Will the Minister make a statement about the Equality & Human Rights Commission's Report "Is Wales Fairer?" that there was no reduction of people living in poverty in 2012/13, at 23% of the Welsh population, compared with 2008? (WAQ70403)

Answer received on 27 June 2016

Carl Sargeant: Tackling Poverty is a shared responsibility for all Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

In my portfolio I am particularly concerned about the impact the UK Government's ongoing welfare reforms have had, and continue to have, on some of our most vulnerable families. My focus is on giving children the best start in life and supporting those who are unemployed and economically inactive to address the barriers they face around accessing and securing work.

 

Mark Isherwood (North Wales): Will the Minister set out his plans on support for families and looked after children during the fifth Assembly, after the Equality & Human Rights Commission's Report "Is Wales Fairer?" showed an increase of looked after children from 4,635 in 2008 to 5,765 in 2013? (WAQ70404)

Answer received on 21 June 2016

The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children (Carl Sargeant):
Over the last 2 years the number of looked after children in Wales has reduced. There were 5,617 as at 31 March 2015.
I am reconvening the Improving Outcomes for Children Strategic Group to continue working to reduce the numbers of children entering care and to deliver a national approach for looked after children.

 

Mark Isherwood (North Wales): Given that hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation in Wales have risen from 270 in 2013-14 to 315 in 2014-15, will the Minister detail future plans to help decrease such hate crimes in Wales? (WAQ70406)

Answer received on 23 June 2016

Carl Sargeant: The Tackling Hate Crimes and Incidents: A Framework for Action sets out this Government’s commitment to challenge hostility and prejudice. This includes three objectives on prevention, support and improving the multi-agency response. I will be publishing an update of an accompanying Delivery Plan in July alongside a new 2016-17 plan. 

 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): What is the Welsh Government's predicted cost of implementing the tax cut for small businesses as outlined in the Welsh Labour manifesto 2016? (WAQ70408)

Answer received on 21 June 2016

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government (Mark Drakeford): The cost of delivering our Small Business Rates Relief Scheme in 2016-17 is estimated at £98 million.

 
Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): What percentage of Welsh businesses will benefit from your commitment to reduce tax for small businesses, as outlined in the Welsh Labour manifesto for 2016? (WAQ70409)

Answer received on 21 June 2016

Mark Drakeford: Approximately 70 per cent of businesses in Wales are eligible for our Small Business Rates Relief Scheme in 2016-17. More than half will pay no rates.

 
Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Minister outline a time scale for delivery on the commitment to cut tax for Wales's small businesses, as outlined in the Welsh Labour manifesto 2016? (WAQ70410)

Answer received on 21 June 2016

Mark Drakeford: A temporary Small Business Rates Relief scheme is already in place for 2016-17. I will be considering the options for future relief from non‑domestic rates to support small businesses over the summer.

 
Mark Isherwood (North Wales): Will the Minister confirm whether he will be using individual poverty reduction targets, as well as key indicators, to assess the application of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015? (WAQ70407)

Answer received on 23 June 2016

Mark Drakeford: A set of 46 National Indicators will enable the Government, Assembly Members and any citizen in Wales to find out what progress is being made at a Wales level in achieving the seven well-being goals in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. These indicators - which include areas such as income poverty, material deprivation, educational attainment and employment - were laid before the National Assembly in March 2016. We will report annually on the new Well-being indicators to measure the progress our country makes.
“How to measure a nation’s progress? National Indicators for Wales” are available at the following link:
http://gov.wales/topics/people-and-communities/people/future-generations-act/national-indicators 

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