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The Assembly met at 13:30 with the Presiding Officer (Elin Jones) in the Chair.
 
13:30
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
I call the Assembly to order.
 
13:30
Statement by the Presiding Officer
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
Before we begin today, I should like to make a statement. I have received a number of complaints regarding language used in the Chamber last week by the leader of the UKIP group. Our Standing Orders prohibit discourteous and unbecoming conduct, and language that is disorderly, discriminatory, offensive or which detracts from the dignity of this Assembly.
 
Having reviewed the Record, I have no doubt that Neil Hamilton’s contribution last week fell foul of those requirements. In particular, I found the insult of the integrity of other Members, through sexist language, and sexual innuendo, to be unacceptable. The Member and I have spoken privately, and I have explained my expectations and the conventions of the Assembly. I am grateful to him for accepting my view on this matter, a view that I hope will serve as a guide to all Members on their contributions in the future.
 
This is the first statement of this kind I have given, on only the third day I have presided over debate. Should any Member interpret that as meaning I intend to be in any way harsher on the group that is newest to this Assembly, then they are wrong. As Presiding Officer, all Members are equal in my eyes. I will favour no party or Member over another. I will encourage debate that is vibrant, vigorous and robust. Indeed, I wish to encourage debate that is more vibrant, more vigorous and robust than that which has characterised the Assembly in the past.
 
But I expect every Member, from the newest to the most experienced, to engage in mature parliamentary debate. Members must be sufficiently skilled to do so without crossing the lines described by our Standing Orders. As long as they do that, all Members will be allowed to express strong views, irrespective of party. I will call to order anyone who detracts from the dignity of this Assembly, or who insults the integrity of other Members or the voters who elected them. Neil Hamilton.
 
13:32
Neil HamiltonBiographyLeader of the UKIP Wales Group
Well, thank you very much, Presiding Officer.
 
First of all, I’d like to say that, of course, I respect your authority, as the Presiding Officer of this Assembly, and I welcome the spirit of tolerance in which you have made your statement this afternoon, and, in particular, as you propose no further action in respect of the words that I uttered last week. I had no intention to upset anybody in any way. I thought that the image that I conjured up was sufficiently ludicrous not to be taken seriously by anybody. I might have said something like, ‘The Liberals and Plaid Cymru getting into bed with Labour’. This is something—[Interruption.]
 
13:32
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
At this point, I don’t want to rerun last week’s contribution, so I think it would be better, in your own interest, to draw your remarks to a close now and for us to move on to the business at hand today.
 
13:32
Neil HamiltonBiography
Certainly, Madam Presiding Officer. I merely wanted to reiterate that I meant no disrespect either to the Assembly or to any Member of it. I was trying to make a humorous point out of a serious issue. I realise that a sense of humour is an individual thing. I welcome what you said also about not wanting to chill the spontaneity of debate in this Chamber, and, indeed, respecting the rights of minority parties within it.
 
13:33
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
I am about to chill the spontaneity of debate, and move on to next business. So, thank you for your contribution, and I now move on to First Minister’s questions.
 
1. Questions to the First Minister
[R] signifies the Member has declared an interest. [W] signifies that the question was tabled in Welsh.
 
13:33
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
And I ask Sian Gwenllian to ask the first question in the fifth Assembly.
 
The Training of Doctors
 
13:33
Sian GwenllianBiography
Will the First Minister make a statement on the Welsh Government’s plans to train more doctors? [W]
 
13:33
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Thank you for the question. May I welcome the Member, and each and every Member who will make their first contributions today?
 
As part of the compact agreed with Plaid Cymru to move Wales forward, we will focus on increasing the number of GPs and health workers in the primary care sector in Wales.
 
13:34
Sian GwenllianBiography
Thank you very much. I’m very pleased to hear that you acknowledge that there is a need to move on now to train doctors. Will those plans include looking at the provision for north Wales? Because the problems, as you know, are very serious in north Wales, and the need for doctors in hospitals and in rural surgeries is very great. Would you, therefore, be willing to move forward to create a business plan for a medical school for north Wales, in Bangor? My predecessor, Alun Ffred Jones, has started this work, using the expertise available in Bangor in order to move on with this scheme, and I would like you to commit today to making a business plan for this. Thank you.
 
13:35
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
That’s something that we need to consider, of course, and I look forward to working under the terms of the agreement to ensure that we do move forward in ensuring that there are more workers in the care sector and more health workers more generally here in Wales. It’s very important, of course, that we don’t concentrate only on doctors, important as they are, but that we also look at ways of assisting all professions delivering care and health for our people.
 
13:35
David ReesBiography
First Minister, training doctors is important to the future of our health services, but so is training more nurses, physios, radiographers and all other health professions. The workforce planning model that was used may no longer be fit for purpose today. As such, will you ask your new health Secretary to actually look at the workforce planning model to ensure it’s fit for purpose and will recognise the change in societal needs and demands of service users and staff? And will this ensure that the training needs that all health professionals have, and what we have for our service, are appropriate? And will you ensure the funding is there to actually ensure the undergraduate places can deliver those training needs?
 
13:36
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Indeed so, and I know that the new Minister will be looking at this as a matter of urgency as part of his portfolio to build on the work that has already been done. We know that training more professionals of all types in the health sector is important, but also recruiting them, because training them doesn’t necessarily mean that they stay in Wales or indeed the UK. And, as the Member knows, we have been working to ensure that Wales is seen as a good country to work in, because we know that competition is fierce across Europe, and across the world, for medical professionals, and it’s hugely important that we have a health service that is seen as an attractive place to work.
 
13:37
Russell GeorgeBiography
First Minister, the last Government’s doctor recruitment campaign was not successful. That was clear from the fact that access to GPs across mid Wales is becoming more and more difficult. Can I ask you what your new coalition Government intends to do to specifically address the shortage of doctors in more isolated communities across Wales?
 
13:37
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Not having a junior doctors strike is a good start, I believe, and that’s something that we’re not proposing to do. But he will know, of course, that the mid Wales collaborative is looking very carefully at this—at the delivery of health service—not just in his area, but other areas across the middle of our country, and that work is progressing very well. And that is a model that I believe, as it’s working successfully, can be adopted in other parts of Wales as well.
 
13:37
Jeremy MilesBiography
The emphasis that the Welsh Government has given on access to GPs is to be welcomed, of course. Does the First Minister agree that we could encourage primary care practices to collaborate with local transport providers to encourage this even further, particularly in more remote areas?
 
13:38
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Yes, that makes sense. Of course, when there is a change in the health service, people are sometimes concerned because, perhaps, they can’t travel easily, particularly in rural areas, and it is extremely important that health boards and, of course, individual practices ensure that they are able to make provision and operate a transport system that means that people can use their services.
 
Transport Infrastructure Developments
 
13:38
Andrew R.T. DaviesBiography
2. Will the First Minister outline the Welsh Government’s priorities for transport infrastructure developments in the fifth Assembly? OAQ(5)0015(FM)
 
13:38
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
The national transport finance plan sets out our investment for transport infrastructure up to 2020.
 
13:38
Andrew R.T. DaviesBiographyThe Leader of the Welsh Conservatives
Thank you for that answer, First Minister. One of the key things in the election that was recently held for the Assembly in South Wales Central was the proposal for a Dinas Powys bypass. This has been much mooted over many years, and various reincarnations have been brought forward about policies and proposals to try and bypass the village of Dinas Powys. With the huge developments that are going on now in Barry—the waterfront development, with 2,000 houses—and recent applications in Sully being approved as well, the demand for this bypass is ever greater now than it has ever been. What proposals will the Welsh Government bring forward in this term so that the residents of Dinas Powys can feel confident that you will support an application for funding for a Dinas Powys bypass?
 
13:39
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
I’m familiar with the stretch of road, of course, and it is a busy stretch of road. It’s a matter for the Vale of Glamorgan Council to consider. It wouldn’t be a trunk road; it would be a road run by the local authority, but, of course, we’d be happy to examine any proposals that they might wish to bring forward.
 
13:39
John GriffithsBiography
First Minister, the early borrowing facility of £500 million that the UK Government has announced in respect of an M4 relief road should, I believe, be available for whatever the Welsh Government thinks is the best solution for the problems on the M4 around Newport. Would you agree with me that, in line with the spirit of devolution, it should be up to Welsh Government to decide how to use that early borrowing facility?
 
13:40
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, the situation is this: the borrowing facility will be made available generally but early drawdown is possible for the M4. Of course, we wouldn’t agree to a situation where we would see a permanent situation where there’d be strings attached to any borrowing powers that would be exercised, but that is the current situation—the money can only be used for the M4.
 
13:40
Mark RecklessBiography
Given the questioning from his own back benches, does the First Minister share my concern that, if he doesn’t look at other options aside from the black route, we may find that no M4 relief road is built at all?
 
13:41
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
I think it’s hugely important that there is a public inquiry. Without prejudging the issue, that is certainly my view. I think that public inquiry needs to be as broad as possible. It needs to be a public local inquiry, and I believe that that inquiry would need to look at a wide range of issues including alternative proposals. I think that’s important so that the public can examine for themselves the advantages and disadvantages of the different projects. I would expect that inquiry to commence in the autumn and it would take around a year for the inquiry to come to a point where a decision can be made.
 
13:41
Lee WatersBiography
First Minister, as well as considering infrastructure to support long-distance journeys, would you consider investment in infrastructure to support reducing car use for short-distance journeys? Around 20 per cent of car journeys are for journeys of less than a mile, and these add considerably to local congestion. At the end of the last Assembly term, the enterprise committee issued a call for stronger leadership and greater investment to implement the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013. I know he’s very proud of that Act. Would he consider how, with his Ministers, he can make sure that that Act reaches its potential and review its implementation to date?
 
13:42
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Absolutely, and that’s why, of course, we have the metro proposals. We know that roads cannot be the solution to everything; they must run in tandem with public transport improvements. That’s what the metro in the south-east of Wales is intended to deliver. It’s a model that we look to use in other parts of Wales, such as the north-east, in the future. Convenience of service, reliable trains, regular service—these are all ways in which we can encourage more people out of their cars.
 
Questions Without Notice from the Party Leaders
 
13:42
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
I now call on the party leaders to question the First Minister and, first of all, the leader of the opposition, Leanne Wood.
 
13:42
Leanne WoodBiographyThe Leader of the Opposition
Diolch, Lywydd. I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Cardiff campaigner Annie Mulholland, who sadly passed away on Sunday after fighting a long battle with cancer. Annie was a vociferous campaigner for a new drugs and treatments fund to end the postcode lottery and the exceptionality clauses, which would mean that patients would no longer be forced to move to a different address or across the border to access the drugs or treatments that they need. It’s a tribute to Annie’s work that that unfair system will now come to an end. Can you confirm today that your Government will press ahead with establishing an independent panel to review the current system and that people who are affected by cancer will have an input and be involved in those changes from the outset?
 
13:43
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Can I first extend my sympathies to Annie’s family? It’s a very difficult time for them, I know. Yes, of course I can confirm that, under the terms of the compact that was reached between our parties, we will be looking, of course—. Well, we’ll be introducing a new treatments fund, but, on top of that, we’ll be looking at whether there is a better way to deal with individual patient funding requests and of course to see if there’s a better word or better terminology that can be used—other than the word ‘exceptional’.
 
13:44
Leanne WoodBiography
You should be commended, I think, First Minister, for your movement on this point because, during the election campaign, both you and your candidates argued against the ending of the postcode lottery and this question of exceptionality. You also failed to meet with campaigners from the Hawl i Fyw campaign. Will you now agree to meet Irfon and Rebecca Williams from that campaign group so that they can share with you their experiences and so that they can also make sure that the new system removes obstacles from patients like Irfon and Annie Mulholland?
 
13:44
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
I have to say to the leader of the opposition that I have met Irfon and Rebecca Williams. I met them indeed in Llandudno Junction at the offices there. It was a very useful meeting. There were issues that they raised that I wasn’t aware of and they have helped me to look to determine how policy should be framed in the future.
 
Also, before the election, I gave a commitment, and, indeed, I think—well, I can’t speak for other party leaders, but I think the commitment was that the offer was there for all to meet with Irfon once again and to once again examine the issues.
 
13:45
Leanne WoodBiography
I welcome that commitment from you this afternoon, First Minister. Campaigners and charities warmly welcomed last week’s agreement between Plaid Cymru and Labour on this matter, because of that specific commitment to create a fairer and more equitable system here in Wales. This commitment would not have been there were it not for those campaigners. Will you give a commitment today that you and your new health Minister will respond positively to the recommendations of the review so that, in the future, the people who need new drugs and treatments will no longer be subjected to the injustices that were faced by Irfon Williams and Annie Mulholland amongst others?
 
13:46
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, certainly, there is a need to examine the current system in terms of whether there should be a national panel or local panels for individual patient funding requests—we’re open to that—and, of course, the use of the word ‘exceptionality’. There has to be something, otherwise there would be difficulties in terms of determining how drugs would be allocated, but, without prejudging anything, we enter this with an open mind. We take on board the views of others who say that it is difficult where you have a situation where somebody in one part of Wales can access a drug and someone in another part of Wales can’t. Clearly, that’s a very difficult position to defend and that’s why, of course, in accordance with the spirit and the terms of the agreement, this is something that we’re looking to revisit.
 
13:46
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
The leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew R.T. Davies.
 
13:46
Andrew R.T. DaviesBiographyThe Leader of the Welsh Conservatives
Thank you, Presiding Officer. I’d like to identify myself with the comments about Annie Mulholland. I had the pleasure of sponsoring the event that was held and was widely supported by many Members of the previous Assembly, and, indeed, the previous health Minister spoke at that event in the Pierhead. Through her tenacity, through her dedication and her commitment, rather than letting her illness prevent her from doing things, she opened many, many doors and enforced the notion in many people’s minds that nothing should be off limits, irrespective of whatever one’s diagnosis is. I think that event over in the Pierhead really did emphasise the strength of character that the lady, Annie Mulholland, was, and her family can be justifiably proud of her endeavours. I’m sure that they would have wished that she was with them today, but she certainly made best use of the time that she had left to her when she had her terminal diagnosis. So, her loss will be greatly felt among many community members and, indeed, Members of the previous Assembly and friends and family.
 
First Minister, you put your Government together last week after, obviously, being voted in as First Minister. Can you confirm today that all members of your Cabinet are bound by collective responsibility on all issues that are brought forward by the Welsh Government?
 
13:48
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Yes.
 
13:48
Andrew R.T. DaviesBiography
Thank you for that answer. [Laughter.] One of the key programmes that you will be bringing forward is obviously the M4 relief road and, in particular, your own personal support, and, therefore, identifying that with the Welsh Government, over the development of the black route. Now, you answered a question earlier about the process about the public inquiry. In a written question back to me this week, you’ve identified that the commissioning date for the road would be 2018—spring 2018. Can you, with confidence, say that you believe that that is a realistic commissioning date of spring 2018, and what gives you confidence that that date will be stuck to so that the moneys can be drawn down and used to solve the problem around the bottleneck around Newport?
 
13:48
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, I’m confident that the inquiry will conclude by the latter part of next year. We can’t prejudge what the inquiry will say. I do take that there’s been much debate in this Chamber and outside about the black route versus the blue route, or perhaps an alternative route. You’ve heard me say that the blue route is hugely problematic in terms of the fact that it’s a dual carriageway, it goes past many people’s houses, and involves the demolition of buildings. So, it’s not pain-free. The black route—of course, we see that there have been some objections; they need to be examined and I’m more than happy for there to be an inquiry that examines not just the black route, but looks at another route as well. It’s important that the public understand the reasoning behind the position that we have taken so far, which is that the black route appears to be the most likely route.
 
13:49
Andrew R.T. DaviesBiography
Thank you for that answer, First Minister. Obviously, the Government has committed itself now to the commissioning of this project by 2018—spring 2018. I appreciate that the public inquiry is outside of your hands, but, with a fair wind, then the commissioning will happen and we will look at developments with interest on these matters.
 
The other issue that is of time sensitivity is, obviously, the local government elections in May next year. Obviously, in the last Assembly—and you’ve spoken at length on this particular issue about local government reorganisation and you’ve put a lot of personal political capital into the reorganisation of local government across Wales. Can you confidently say today that there will be local government elections in May next year and that your Government will not be looking to postpone those elections by bringing forward either new proposals for a local government map here in Wales or, indeed, actually moving the date so that there can be wider consultation over local government reorganisation in Wales?
 
13:50
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
No, I think those elections will take place. I can’t envisage a scenario where they wouldn’t. So, in answer to his question, yes, they will take place next year. In terms of the local government reorganisation, it’s clear to me that the map would not attract support in this Chamber, but I do know that, in this Chamber, there’s support for local government reorganisation. So, it’s a question of spending the next few months examining what common ground there may be between the parties so we can remove the situation where we have 22 local authorities, one of which collapsed entirely, and six of which were in special measures at one point in education. It’s not a sustainable model. There’s not a huge amount of disagreement over that, but, of course, it’s a question of whether an agreement can be reached on a cross-party basis on a future and more sustainable model for local government in Wales.
 
13:51
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
Leader of the UKIP group, Neil Hamilton.
 
13:51
Neil HamiltonBiographyLeader of the UKIP Wales Group
Thank you, Presiding Officer. Mr First Minister, you will have seen in the news this week that the United States has increased its tariffs on cold-rolled steel imports to the United States from 266 per cent to 522 per cent. This week, of all weeks, of course, we have all, in the forefront of our minds, the future of Port Talbot steel making. The EU, by contrast to the United States, has a 14 per cent tariff on that kind of steel import into the EU. Will you support our proposal that the EU should increase its tariffs to the levels that the United States have?
 
13:52
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Yes, I would, and the Member, of course, will know that it was the UK Government, unfortunately, that opposed the raising of those tariffs. It wasn’t the EU opposing it; it was a position taken then by the UK Government. They’ve given an explanation for that, but, I think, in the light of what’s happened across the world, that we do need to see fairness for our own steel producers.
 
13:52
Neil HamiltonBiography
I have no difficulty in endorsing the criticism that you, as First Minister, have made of our Government for not supporting realistic tariffs on dumped Chinese steel. It is certainly—[Interruption.] It is certainly not UKIP policy to support the present level of tariffs in the EU. But what this does show us, first and foremost, is what happens when you outsource your trade policy to an unelected body based in another country. So, what I would like to see, and I hope that the First Minister would agree with this, is a return of our policy to introduce anti-dumping duties to these shores of the United Kingdom by recovering our seat on the World Trade Organization. I wonder if the First Minister would agree with that.
 
13:53
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
The difficulty, of course, with the argument he puts forward is that, if the EU were to raise tariffs against steel and the UK were to leave the EU, those tariffs would apply against UK steel. So, we would then find ourselves facing an enormous tariff barrier if we wished to export into the EU, and 30 per cent of steel produced in Wales is exported.
 
13:53
Neil HamiltonBiography
But the real problem with devolution in this country is not the degree of exports that we have from this country to the EU, but the flood of imports from China into the EU, which is causing paralysis throughout the steel industry in the whole of the EU. The problem that we face is that elected politicians, ultimately, do not call the shots in the EU. That’s why our recommendation is for the people of this country, in Wales in particular, to vote to leave the EU on 23 June.
 
13:54
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
We have to remember that it was a decision taken by an elected UK Government not to support the raising of the tariffs. That was the decision taken, not alone by the UK Government, but by other Governments—at least one other Government—as well. But, from my perspective, I think it’s hugely important that, yes, we have a tariff wall against cheap imports coming here from other parts of the world, but we don’t have a tariff wall against UK steel being imported into the EU.
 
The Steel Industry
 
13:54
Bethan JenkinsBiography
3. Will the First Minister make a statement on the steel industry? OAQ(5)0010(FM)
 
David ReesBiography
11. Will the First Minister make a statement outlining any discussions the Welsh Government has had with the 7 organisations that have expressed an interest as potential buyers of TATA Steel UK? OAQ(5)0004(FM)
 
13:54
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Yes. Llywydd, I understand you’ve given your permission for questions 3 and 11 to be grouped. I’ve made it clear that it is an absolute priority for our Government to maintain a sustainable steel making presence in Wales, and we are doing everything possible to ensure this happens. That means working closely, of course, with the UK Government.
 
13:54
Bethan JenkinsBiography
Over the election period, First Minister, I and Plaid Cymru colleagues went to visit the engineering department within the new innovation campus. Following on from that meeting, I requested Swansea University to send me some figures as to what it would cost to set up a new steel and innovation unit in the university, because it’s so close—it’s in prime, premium position—to Tata Steel to be able to do that. It would cost £17.2 million over four years for that department to be realised. First Minister, if your Government believes that saving the steel industry is so vitally important, will you put money behind this new innovation project to make sure that steel can be sustained here in Wales?
 
13:55
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, I too visited the campus as well, and the point was made to me. I’ve not yet seen a formal bid of any kind, personally, coming forward, but, of course, any such bids would be examined very carefully by us as a Government.
 
13:55
David ReesBiography
First Minister, could I first of all thank you for the leadership you’ve actually shown during the electoral campaign here in Wales on the steel crisis? My constituents very much appreciated that leadership here in Wales. Since the Assembly last met, actually, on 4 April, when we discussed the steel crisis, there’s been a quickly moving process in the steel crisis, particularly in relation to selling Tara Steel interests here in the UK, and there have been several bodies interested and expressing an interest, and I think yesterday was the deadline for bids going in. What discussions has your Government had with any of those bodies that have submitted bids for buying Tata Steel and, particularly, what support are you offering to those companies? Can you also actually indicate as to whether this includes the continuation of the heavy end at Port Talbot, which is critical to the works, to ensure that not just the works continues as an integrated works—they are making steel from raw materials, but also that’s where a lot of the contractors are employed, and the loss of that heavy end will have a huge impact upon employment in my area.
 
13:56
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Yes, I’ve met with two of the organisations who’ve put forward an expression of interest. The heavy end is absolutely crucial to the future of our steel industry within the UK, and I’ve made that very clear. Nor would I support any potential deal that saw the diminution of pension rights on behalf of either the pensioners or the workers who are currently working for Tata. That is absolutely crucial. Tomorrow, Tata will have their board meeting—I will be in Mumbai tomorrow—and they will be looking to take a decision, we understand, to reduce the expressions of interest down to a shortlist. What is encouraging, of course, is that there are businesses out there that are looking seriously at ensuring the future of our steel industry and, importantly, of course, not just picking off the most profitable bits, but ensuring that the heavy end of Port Talbot continues.
 
13:57
Adam PriceBiography
I welcome the fact that the First Minister is going out to Mumbai. I was wondering, in light of the fact that the Welsh Government has supported the Excalibur bid, which is also very welcome, to date, will he be making active representations on behalf of that team? In terms of their vision, of course, we know that they are seeking a continuation of primary steel production; they’re also involving the workforce in terms of an employee share-ownership plan. So, will he be making active representations that that bid should go forward to the next stage?
 
13:58
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, we already have. Certainly, I made strong representations to the UK Government that they should be seen as one of the preferred bidders. I’m encouraged by the fact that they seem to be talking to one of the other bidders, namely Liberty Steel. I think that’s a good blend. I think the management buy-out option contains a lot of technical expertise, but has not yet raised the money. With Liberty Steel, they are a substantial business, but have not normally been involved in the heavy end of production. I think that’s a useful tie-up and I look forward with interest as to how that progresses. I hope tomorrow that Tata will look very carefully at the bids and will certainly consider strongly the option of the management buy-out, possibly, of course, linked with Liberty Steel.
 
13:59
Rhianon PassmoreBiography
First Minister, can you outline the importance the Welsh Government further places on the 11,000 steel-making jobs alone to the communities of Wales, and not just where the steel sites are located, but, for instance, in communities like mine in Islwyn, which was founded in steel, and also in terms of the primary making capabilities of that remaining in Wales? Thank you.
 
13:59
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Absolutely. The industry is interlinked, because, having been to Trostre and Llanwern and also to Shotton—at Shotton, particularly, they were saying to me, ‘Well, we do make money, but the reality is we rely on Port Talbot for steel. It would take us six months, roughly, to source steel from somewhere else. In the meantime, there is no guarantee that we’ll be able to keep our customers.’ I think that’s sensible. The reality is we cannot be a major industrial economy if we don’t produce our own steel. That is a fundamental requirement of being an industrial economy. We need to produce the steel that we need for industry, but also, of course, the steel that’s needed for the armed forces, to equip them properly. This is an argument well rehearsed by ourselves and the UK Government. It’s encouraging to see that there is interest. A more worrying scenario would have been if nobody had come forward with a view to buying all of Tata’s assets in the UK. Certainly, it’s important that Tata maintain the stance that they have taken in terms of wishing to see a viable sale go forward. I will be calling on them again tomorrow to continue with the goodwill they’ve already shown.
 
14:00
Suzy DaviesBiography
First Minister, I was a little disappointed to hear that you’ve only managed to speak to two of the potential buyers. I wonder if you could tell me if you took proactive steps to speak to all those who’d shown an interest in putting bids together and, within the terms of commercial confidentiality, the kind of range of costs that the Welsh Government is most likely to support in making any bespoke promises to the bidders that you did speak to.
 
14:00
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, we have the £60 million already on the table; half of which is a commercial loan, the other half of which is in the form of grant money. We are still looking at whether there is more we could do on business rates. It is right to say that the initial advice was that we could offer €200,000 over three years. We are examining that once again to see whether there is a way that we can assist further. But nevertheless, the amount of money that’s on the table represents roughly four years’ worth of business rates for Tata in any event, and that money will be on the table for any new buyer.
 
14:01
John GriffithsBiography
First Minister, Tata’s Orb steelworks in my constituency, as you know, makes world-class quality electrical steels. I meet with them on a regular basis and it’s clear to me that there’s been a very good working relationship between the Welsh Government and the Orb works over a period of time. Would you assure me that that relationship, which has supported machinery, better process, upgrading skills and training, will continue into the future so that we can build on these world-class products for the Welsh steel industry in general?
 
14:02
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Absolutely; I can give that guarantee. One of the elements of the package we’ve offered is a €2 million sum for skills and training. Of course, we’ve worked very closely with the industry in years gone by to make sure that we’re able to assist them with bespoke training packages. We see, of course, the result in the highly specialised work that’s carried out in the Member’s constituency.
 
14:02
Nick RamsayBiography
First Minister, I appreciate that parties involved have had to sign non-disclosure agreements, which limits the information that you might be able to give, but following on from John Griffiths’s question, can I ask you if you have had any discussions specifically about the viability of the Llanwern part of the Welsh steel operation, of direct concern to my constituents? We know that there are some proposals to upgrade the Port Talbot works to an arc furnace, for instance, and some other proposals as well. Do you have any information in terms of modernisation proposals to make the Llanwern steelworks more viable moving forward?
 
14:02
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, the difficult part of the steel industry at the moment is the steel-making end in Port Talbot. The rolling mills at Trostre, Llanwern and Shotton are all in a good financial position. That said, I do know that the loss at Port Talbot has already been cut by two thirds. It’s still losing money, but there’s been a significant turnaround in a very short space of time. But it’s hugely important—and I’ve made this point many times before, and I’ll make it again tomorrow—that Tata’s assets in Wales are taken as a whole and that we don’t see piecemeal sell-off of what is seen as the more profitable ends despite the supply issues, but rather that we see the heavy end at Port Talbot being seen as an integral part of any sale. Huge progress has been made over a very short space of time to move towards what might be, in time, a break-even position. Given where the heavy end was before Christmas, that will be an enormous achievement.
 
Wylfa Newydd
 
14:03
Rhun ap IorwerthBiography
4. Will the First Minister make a statement on the Welsh Government’s input into the Wylfa Newydd development? OAQ(5)0013(FM) [W]
 
14:04
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
The Welsh Government is fully committed to this significantly important project. We expect that this year, 2016, will be a significant year for this £12 billion project, not least marked by Horizon’s announcement last week of a new delivery team for Wylfa Newydd.
 
14:04
Rhun ap IorwerthBiography
Thank you. The term of the fifth Assembly is going to be crucial, of course, in the development of Wylfa Newydd. The Welsh Government won’t decide whether the development proceeds, although everything does seem to be moving in that direction at present, but the Welsh Government does have a very important role to play in terms of ensuring that the development brings the greatest benefits possible to Ynys Môn—in terms of local jobs, skills development and so on, but also in terms of pressing for mitigation measures in many areas, for example tourism and pressures on the housing system, and public services more generally. So, can the First Minister give a commitment to increasing the capacity of the department within Government that is involved with this development, to ensure that the interests of Ynys Môn and north Wales more widely are protected through this development period?
 
14:05
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, this has already happened. A nuclear programme board has already been established under the auspices of Welsh Government, and the aim of that board is to secure the maximum economic benefit for the island, and also to Wales as a whole. That board has a number of work streams that they’re considering at present, considering things such as skills, business development, marketing, education and also economic benefits. So, that work has already begun in order to ensure that the island itself can get the optimum benefit out of this development.
 
14:06
Mark IsherwoodBiography
The North Wales Economic Ambition Board was established to maximise the opportunities presented by several large-scale projects in the north Wales pipeline, Wylfa Newydd being the largest. The North Wales Economic Ambition Board, including all six county councils, the north Wales business council and the third sector, has welcomed the UK Government offer of a north Wales growth deal and additional funding, but that requires delivery in partnership with the Welsh Government. How has, or will, your Welsh Government respond to that offer?
 
14:06
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, given the fact that it was already there in the first place, positively. He will know, the Member, that we have put in place plans for the north-east of Wales—that’s not to exclude the north-west; we know how important the north-west is—because, at one point, the Northern Powerhouse, as it's called, in the north-west of England, was being presented as a competitor. Now, we see a number of opportunities for co-operative working across the border to ensure prosperity across the border, and that's what we'll be looking to do. It’s not exclusive to the north-east; we want to see that prosperity extend all the way across the north of our country.
 
14:07
Nathan GillBiography
First Minister, the economic impact of Wylfa Newydd will see about 6,800 workers at the height of construction. Now, many of these people will travel along the north Wales corridor. What is your Government going to do with regard to the bottleneck that we already have with the Britannia bridge?
 
14:07
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
We've already examined the options for a third crossing on the Menai, and that’s something that we want to take forward. We've examined whether it's possible, for example, to extend—or widen, rather—the Britannia bridge. That's tricky, but, nevertheless, this is work in progress. We know how important it is—I mean, the A55 is not a dual carriageway across its entire length, because of the bridge. We already, of course, are beginning work to remove the roundabouts in Llanfairfechan and Penmaenmawr, which will help hugely, and, of course, at the eastern end of the A55, looking at improving the gateway to Wales at Drome Corner. But, yes, the Member is right; ensuring that there is a proper four-lane crossing over the Menai will be important work for the next few years.
 
Cancer Services
 
14:08
Julie MorganBiography
5. What plans does the Welsh Government have to invest in cancer services in Wales? OAQ(5)0012(FM)
 
14:08
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Cancer is a top priority for us. The £200 million business case for transforming cancer services across south-east Wales is being progressed, and, of course, the outline business case for a new cancer hospital in Velindre—of course, in the Member’s constituency—is due to be submitted by the end of this year.
 
14:08
Julie MorganBiography
I thank the First Minister for that response. As he says, there are exciting plans in place to improve cancer services in south-east Wales, bringing services closer to people in their own homes, and also to build a new Velindre. So, will he confirm his Government’s commitment to building the new Velindre, in order to improve the quality of service that we’re able to offer?
 
14:09
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Yes, I can absolutely give that commitment. It will house a number of new treatments as well—the stereotactic radiotherapy, for example, will be housed there, and that will give new opportunities to so many people who are living with cancer to be able to have their lives extended, or better. We intend for Velindre to be a state-of-the-art cancer facility for the people of Wales.
 
14:09
Simon ThomasBiography
One of the areas where Wales has fallen behind a little in terms of treating cancer is the diagnosis waiting time. A number of cancer charities, during the campaign that we’ve all just participated in, have been in touch with a number of candidates and asked what we can do in this Assembly to improve diagnostic times. Plaid Cymru, for example, had a proposal for diagnosis within 28 days. What are you as a Government going to do to improve the situation in Wales?
 
14:09
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
We must ensure that diagnosis takes place as soon as possible. But with some cancer patients, it’s not as easy to get an early diagnosis. With the majority, that’s fine. But also, people want to move forward to receive treatment. Our figures on treatment are good and are improving, and we must ensure that that’s our ultimate aim. But of course, it’s important to have new resources such as Velindre to ensure that the best treatment is available to the majority of people.
 
14:10
Janet Finch-SaundersBiography
First Minister, we welcome your own manifesto commitment of £80 million for a new treatment fund. This of course follows on the back of the Welsh Conservatives calling for many years for a cancer treatment drugs fund to end the inequality and postcode lottery that does exist here in Wales. Will you pledge on record here today, First Minister, that during this Assembly term we will not see any patient having to travel out of Wales to receive the very necessary treatment they need? But also, to widen the scope available to you, will you look at the millions of pounds wasted on routine treatment drugs so freely available over the counter in supermarkets? This is all part of your free prescriptions for all, and I think it would be much better to see this money targeted in a better way towards a cancer treatments fund.
 
14:11
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Ah, the tablet tax makes its reappearance. No, we have no plans to start charging people for prescriptions, any more than we have plans to start charging people for GP appointments. I don’t anticipate anybody crossing the border, because the cancer drugs fund in England has gone. It collapsed under the weight of its own pressure. So, what we’ve put in place is a sensible, affordable fund where people will have access—not just people with cancer, because there are, obviously, other life-threatening conditions, and it’s important that people are treated equally with life-threatening conditions—but where they will be able to access drugs as quickly as possible, as soon as they’re approved by NICE or the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group. We think that is a sensible, fair and humane fund that will be available to, yes, those who are living with cancer, but also people who are living with a number of life-threatening conditions.
 
14:12
Caroline JonesBiography
First Minister, Wales has some of the lowest cancer survival rates in the developed world, and the main reason is poor detection and early intervention. How will your Government improve diagnosis and treatment, and do you agree with my party that everyone diagnosed with cancer should have a full written care plan?
 
14:12
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, these are issues, of course, that we’ve been investigating, particularly with regard to a key worker. When somebody is diagnosed with cancer it’s an immense blow, and an immense struggle. I’ve seen it, as have a number of others—I’m sure all Members have within this Chamber. Early detection is important. That’s why we know, of course, that the number of referrals has increased, but on top of that, we know that people are getting treatment certainly more quickly than was the case, and of course they will have access, when Velindre is open, to some of the most state-of-the-art treatments that can be made available, I’d argue, in the world. That’s why it’s so important that Velindre is available to the people of south Wales, and of course that we continue to make sure that services are available for the people of north Wales, cross-border, so that they can get the treatment they require as well.
 
Transport Infrastructure in the Cynon Valley
 
14:13
Vikki HowellsBiography
6. Will the First Minister make a statement on the Welsh Government’s priorities for improving transport infrastructure in the Cynon Valley during this Assembly term?
 
14:13
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Yes. The national transport finance plan sets out investment for transport and infrastructure in all parts of Wales. By now, the Cynon Valley link is identified as Rhondda Cynon Taf’s No. 1 priority scheme for 2015-20, and we have allocated money to the council to develop the Cynon Gateway South scheme.
 
14:13
Vikki HowellsBiography
Thank you, First Minister. It’s welcome news that work is progressing on the development of a cross-valley link in the southern part of Cynon Valley, thanks to the Welsh Government and RCT council working together and investing to improve local networks. Will you continue to work with the local authority to push forward this important infrastructure project, which has the potential to benefit commuters and boost economic regeneration throughout my constituency?
 
14:14
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Yes, we will. It’s early days yet, of course, because this is the preparatory work that’s being done, but we would expect RCT to make a formal submission over the course of the next few years. We know that Aberdare is close geographically to the A470 and the A465, but we know that the roads are not good in terms of people coming in to Aberdare, and it’s important to have a fast route out to the Heads of the Valleys from the town. We’ll be working, of course, with RCT council to make sure that happens in the years to come.
 
14:14
David MeldingBiography
First Minister, the leader of RCT has said that the city deal model is now key to improving transport infrastructure and promoting economic regeneration. Will your Government, in the term ahead, be working effectively with all of the partners to ensure the city deal model is effectively implemented?
 
14:15
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Yes, absolutely. We have worked with the UK Government and with the 10 local authorities involved to make sure that the city deal came to fruition. It’s right to say that it’s dependent, of course, on funding from various different sources. We know the metro, for example, is dependent on £125 million of funding from European sources, and if that was lost, it would endanger the viability of the metro. But we’ll continue to work, of course, with all levels of Government to make sure that the city deal is taken forward.
 
The Overuse of Antibiotics
 
14:15
Jenny RathboneBiography
7. What is the Welsh Government’s response to the O’Neill report on the threat to human health from the overuse of antibiotics? OAQ(5)0007(FM)
 
14:15
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
It is a threat, as we know. Overprescribing of, and resistance to, antibiotics is a global problem that requires global solutions. Nevertheless, we do have a delivery plan in Wales—a blueprint for specific actions that will have the biggest impact in slowing the spread of resistance. There are 12 specific actions in that plan. They’re all designed, of course, to make sure that we contribute to slowing down resistance, in terms of bacteria and viruses, to drugs that have been in use for many, many years. Some of the stories that I’ve seen in the news are quite chilling, in terms of what might happen unless investment is made now into research.
 
14:16
Jenny RathboneBiography
It’s good to hear, First Minister, that you recognise that this really is a global threat to human health and survival rates from common causes. We have always assumed that we would easily survive the common diseases that now could cause death. Professor O’Neill is calling for worldwide action on this, both in relation to the overuse of antibiotics in animals as well as the overuse of prescribing to human beings. I wonder how this delivery plan that was published just before we went into recess is going to deal with the variations in practice, both in our hospitals and in our GP practices. I particularly note that in the Cardiff east GP cluster, there is a significant overprescribing for respiratory diseases compared with other clusters, and it would be useful to explore why these differences exist and how we’re going to deal with them.
 
14:17
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
The Member’s right to point out a significant issue in the Cardiff east cluster. I can say that the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group has published further detailed information in relation to the prescribing of medicines for respiratory illnesses to support clusters in identifying and addressing variation in prescribing behaviours. We are a long way away from the days when antibiotics were prescribed as a matter of course, because we know it doesn’t harm the individual but it harms herd immunity, if I can put it that way. There are some illnesses—. Tuberculosis in my grandparents’ generation was a real killer. It was believed that with Streptomycin, TB would no longer be an issue for us, yet we know that it appears that there are now strains of TB that are becoming resistant to the drugs that we have. That’s a natural process in the world of microbiology, and it’s hugely important that we make sure that research is still carried out across the world to combat that resistance before it becomes so bad that it claims the lives of many people.
 
14:18
Dai LloydBiography
First Minister, you may agree with me, perhaps, as I say that the use, or indeed the overuse, of antibiotics is a responsibility for us all. As we know, the use of antibiotics happens in agriculture as well as being prescribed by GPs and used in our hospitals. Of course, in some European nations, you can now just buy antibiotics—you don’t even need a prescription in the first place. Of course, there are increased pressures on GPs, particularly in our practices, to be prescribing when, given that the common sore throat is going to be caused by a virus, an antibiotic isn’t the best treatment. It’s important that the public should be aware of that in addition to the GP. So, would you agree with me that raising awareness is important, but the use of antibiotics, or the misuse or overuse of antibiotics, is a responsibility for us all?
 
14:19
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
I’m not going to argue with a doctor; he is right in saying, of course, that there is a duty on us all to ensure that we don’t over-request. There is a tendency for people to think, if you’re ill, there’s a pill to cure all ills. That’s not the case, of course, and it’s important that people realise that in some cases they don’t need an antibiotic. Certainly, antibiotics wouldn’t make a difference with a virus. So, I accept your point that this isn’t simply a duty for doctors, it’s a duty for the public as a whole.
 
14:20
Darren MillarBiography
First Minister, one of the problems, we are told, is that people aren’t getting a diagnosis early enough and therefore, unfortunately, infections are ravishing them before the antibiotics can be prescribed. Given the difficulties that people in Wales are facing in accessing GP appointments, and the difficulties in securing responses and outcomes from diagnostic tests—many people wait many weeks sometimes for simple diagnostic tests not only to be undertaken but to get the results back from those tests—don’t you also agree that we need determined action to address those problems if we’re ever going to defeat this problem of antibiotic resistance?
 
14:20
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Indeed, and the Member will know that waiting times for diagnostic tests have plummeted. It was not acceptable that they were so long, and there’s been a significant decrease of 20 per cent in a very short space of time, and that is something that we intend to continue with, in terms of that trend continuing in the future. But it’s important as well that, for many people who go and see GPs, quite often they don’t need to—they could go and see a pharmacist, they could go and see a GP practice nurse. We need to make sure that the message of Choose Well continues to be reinforced in the future and that people don’t automatically assume that, if you go to the doctor, you must come out with a prescription. So, yes, there’s a duty, of course, on all of us to ensure that that message is understood.
 
Refugee Children
 
14:21
Joyce WatsonBiography
8. What is the Welsh Government doing to safeguard unaccompanied refugee children who have recently arrived in Europe?
 
14:21
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Immigration is a non-devolved matter, but the UK Government has recently announced a scheme to resettle some children from camps in Europe, and we’re working with local authorities across Wales to prepare for this.
 
14:21
Joyce WatsonBiography
Thank you. We’ve all watched the crisis unfold, with a dramatic rise in the number of children on the move in Europe. According to Save the Children, they now make up one in three of those numbers this year, compared to one in 10 last year. It’s fairly obvious that, for those children, the risks of staying at home are greater than facing the dangers of being on the move. Some of those dangers are a risk of violence to them, trafficking, or even drowning on their journey within or without Europe. It’s good to see that the UK Government has finally backed down on its refusal to accept child refugees into Britain, but that promise is somewhat vague in terms of its delivery. So, could I ask you, First Minister, if the Welsh Government is in communication with the Home Office about how many children might be offered accommodation or safe sanctuary here in Wales, and what funding would be available, or made available, to both the Welsh Assembly and also Welsh councils to offer those places to those children?
 
14:23
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
I can say that we established, as the Member will know, a ministerial Syrian refugee taskforce in November of last year. That is supported by an operations board to help co-ordinate the response, and a children’s sub-group of that board has been established specifically to ensure co-ordination for resettling refugee children and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children across Wales. We take the view, of course, that whilst we are happy to resettle people who are refugees, this is a matter that requires financial assistance from the UK Government. So, that is the position that we’ve always taken, and that remains the position.
 
Air Pollution
 
14:23
Jayne BryantBiography
9. What plans does the Welsh Government have to tackle air pollution in Wales?
 
14:23
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
We’re drawing up proposals to refresh the system of local air quality management in Wales, and public services boards have a key role in ensuring that.
 
14:23
Jayne BryantBiography
The World Health Organization reported that urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, and listed Newport among the top five in Wales. With air pollution a public health issue, we know that large spikes in air pollution come during times of traffic congestion. Can the First Minister reassure my constituents that effective measures will be taken to relieve congestion coming through Newport on the M4?
 
14:24
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Yes, we know that congestion is a daily problem on the M4 and the Brynglas tunnels. It isn’t going to go away. It does need to be addressed, and it is a significant cause of air pollution as cars idle, both in the tunnels and waiting to go into the tunnels. That does have, of course, a detrimental effect on air quality. So, removing those traffic jams will be hugely important in improving air quality in the future.
 
Miners Pension Scheme
 
14:24
Steffan LewisBiography
10. What representations has the Welsh Government made to the UK Government regarding the future of the miners pension scheme?
 
14:24
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
No representations, but we are aware of the issues and we support the National Union of Mineworkers in their call for a review.
 
14:24
Steffan LewisBiography
I thank the First Minister for his answer. He’s no doubt aware that in return for underwriting the mineworkers pension scheme, the UK Government takes a significant share of that scheme’s surplus. Indeed, in one year alone, that windfall amounted to three quarters of £1 billion. Miners’ pensions have been turned into a cash cow for the British state. Will the First Minister consider working with former mineworkers and other stakeholders with a view to publish distinct Welsh Government proposals for the future and for improving the mineworkers pension scheme with a view to pursuing them at a UK level in the future?
 
14:25
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, this is one of those pension funds, few though they are, that has been so successful that it’s provided more money than was anticipated for the UK Government. And that clearly can’t be right. We will be guided by the NUM, because they have called for a review, and rightly so. I know that they will be meeting soon with the scheme’s trustees as well to re-examine this. But, no, certainly, it can’t be the case that the miners pension fund should be seen as a way of generating money for the UK Government. And much more needs to be done to make sure there is a benefit for those who are recipients of pensions to ensure that they get a fair share of the pension fund’s profits. That is not the case at the moment and we’ll support the NUM in their call for a review.
 
14:26
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
Thank you, First Minister.
 
Urgent Question: Part-time Postgraduate Study
[R] signifies the Member has declared an interest. [W] signifies that the question was tabled in Welsh.
 
14:26
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
I have accepted an urgent question under Standing Order 12.66 and I call on Angela Burns to ask the urgent question.
 
14:26
Angela BurnsBiography
Will the Minister make an urgent statement following news that support for part-time postgraduate study in Wales has been scrapped? EAQ(5)0001(EDU)
 
14:26
Kirsty WilliamsBiographyThe Cabinet Secretary for Education
First of all, can I thank the Member for such an early opportunity to answer questions here in this Chamber? The decision to cut support for part-time postgraduate study in Wales is a matter for the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. The Welsh Government has no power to direct the funding council as to how to allocate the funds made available for higher education.
 
14:27
Angela BurnsBiography
I’d like to thank the education Secretary for that and welcome her to her role. The loss of support for part-time postgraduate study means that some Welsh universities will face significant percentage cuts in their total HEFCW funding. So, for example: Cardiff Metropolitan University will lose 25 per cent of its grant; Glyndŵr some 20 per cent; and a university such as Cardiff is going to lose over £2 million. Whilst I accept the fact that HEFCW have the right to allocate the money as they see fit, education Secretary, I would like to understand what measures you might consider putting in place, given these cuts that have been announced. Part-time postgraduate educational study is vital for the development of our people, vital for career development, vital for postgraduate research work and is, in essence, a part of our university life and something that universities themselves treasure dearly. My concern is, with these cuts at the extent that they are—i.e., there’s no funding at all, again, anywhere for postgraduate part-time study—then we’re going to be basically disenfranchising an incredibly important cohort of our mature student base and I think that Welsh Government needs to have some responsibility in directing HEFCW or seeing what can be done to mitigate these problems, because it will become a real issue in the development of our culture going forward.
 
14:28
Kirsty WilliamsBiography
Can I thank the Member for her supplementary question and her good wishes? Part-time is a priority for this administration and is key to opening up opportunities for individuals to upskill and improve their employment prospects. Therefore, I was very pleased that HEFCW have recognised the importance of part-time provision and have been able to maintain its support at undergraduate level. I recognise what she says about postgraduate level. As she will be aware, I have recently taken up the post of Cabinet Secretary for Education and I’m working with officials to gain a fuller understanding of the funds and finances available to higher education students and to the institutions in which they study in Wales.
 
14:29
Simon ThomasBiography
Welcoming the education Secretary to her new role, can I ask her, first of all, if she will, therefore, publish the remit letter that she has issued, or her predecessor has issued, to HEFCW, so we can understand the circumstance in which this decision was made? This directly arises, of course, from the cut to HEFCW’s grant, which the previous Labour Government brought in and which she supported, she said, with pride. So, can she explain now how she will put in place what has been described by HEFCW as essential and important for Welsh universities, namely similar incentives to those offered by other similar universities otherwise they will be defeated by strong competition? That was the evidence that HEFCW gave the committee here, before the election. And will she, in her review with her officials, be looking to introduce her policy, which she stood on in the past election, of introducing an enhancement bursary for postgraduates? Is the enhancement nothing?
 
14:30
Kirsty WilliamsBiography
Could I thank the Member for his question this afternoon also? HEFCW’s remit letter for 2016-17, which was written by the previous Minister, did task the council with developing a strategy for HE in Wales, which, amongst other things, did identify in which ways the councils and providers would work together to find innovative ways to encourage part-time study, and to create opportunities to extend part-time provision. The Member will be more than aware that the future of all these issues—of funding of both undergraduate and postgraduate, full-time and part-time—is the subject of the review of the higher education funding and student finance arrangements in Wales, chaired by Sir Ian Diamond. That is due to report later on this summer. I do not want to pre-empt the hard and serious work that has gone on by members of the Diamond review, and so I look forward to reading—[Interruption.]—and so I look forward to reading the report, when it is published, and considering its recommendations with Cabinet colleagues.
 
14:31
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
Thank you.
 
14:31
2. Statement: Cabinet Appointments
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
Statement by the First Minister on Cabinet appointments. And I call on the First Minister, Carwyn Jones.
 
14:31
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Thank you, Llywydd.
 
I was very pleased last week to announce my ministerial appointments, following the approval of my nominations by Her Majesty the Queen. May I, therefore, list the names, and their responsibilities?
 
Llywydd, I have linked the economy with infrastructure. We have an ambitious agenda to take Wales forward, and Ken Skates will embrace those challenges with energy. Julie James will take forward the skills agenda within this portfolio, and we’re maintaining our ministerial emphasis on science.
 
The health and well-being portfolio is linked explicitly to grass-roots sports participation, in recognition of the importance of making Wales a healthier and better country. Wales has led the way in the UK through integrating health and social services provision, and we continue with this approach through the joint work of Vaughan Gething and Rebecca Evans.
 
Llywydd, Mark Drakeford becomes Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government, a pivotal and challenging role as we move, both as a Government and as a National Assembly—or Parliament, as we will call ourselves, no doubt, in time—into the era of devolved revenue raising.
 
Llywydd, as Members will be aware, Kirsty Williams joins the Cabinet with responsibility for education, a policy area on which she has spoken with great passion and conviction over many years. We know, of course, that schools are important, but are, by no means, the only important aspect of education, and we reflect this through the appointment of Alun Davies as Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language.
 
Llywydd, environment and rural affairs represents a very significant part of Government responsibilities, affecting every corner of Wales, and I am confident that Lesley Griffiths will combine a strong sense of the national interest with a powerful emphasis on local action.
 
Carl Sargeant becomes Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children. The communities aspect was a well-established part of the last Government, but, this time, we’re identifying the interests of children as a distinct ministerial responsibility. This is especially important in view of our commitments on childcare and reasonable chastisement.
 
Llywydd, Jane Hutt today becomes the longest serving Minister in the history of the institution, and she continues her outstanding record of public service as Leader of the House and Chief Whip.
 
Llywydd, as I said last week in this Chamber, this will be an open, inclusive and transparent administration, and we are very ready to work with others in the national interest. Indeed, Kirsty Williams’s presence in Government is testimony of that approach. But we also, of course, have the arrangements with Plaid Cymru, which were outlined last week. Indeed, whenever it proves possible to develop consensus and co-operation in respect of legislation and spending plans, that is what we will aim to do. Not only is this good government, but it also reflects the wishes of the Welsh people.
 
Llywydd, I outlined last week some of the priorities for this administration. I’ve emphasised our open approach, but I also have to enter a note of realism. We don’t have a blank cheque. The Welsh Government gets its money entirely from the UK Government, through the block grant. It’s been cut year on year, and, on our current trajectory, the resources available to us in the year 2020 will have been cut back in real terms to the levels of 2003. Now, an open and transparent approach to government can’t mean an expanding shopping list. We know that every new commitment in this administration will have to be paid for by a cutback somewhere else.
 
Llywydd, I’m very pleased with the Government team I’ve assembled. A critical five-year period lies ahead. Our relentless focus will be on driving improvement in our economy and public services, and I’m confident this team has the vision and the energy to deliver opportunity for all and a united, sustainable Wales, both now and for future generations.
 
14:35
Leanne WoodBiography
Diolch, Lywydd. I don’t have too many questions for the First Minister on this, and I would like to congratulate all his appointees.
 
Congratulations to you all.
 
First Minister, you said earlier in answer to questions that all of your Members would be bound by collective Cabinet responsibility. How then will you resolve difficult questions like whether or not the M4 black route goes ahead, if there’s disagreement between members of the Cabinet on specific issues?
 
I’d like reassurances from the First Minister that the Welsh language has not been downgraded in this Cabinet. Previously, it was the First Minister’s responsibility, so I’d be grateful to hear what he can say to those of us who are concerned about this, to reassure us that the future of the Welsh language and its growth are important to this Government, and will not be treated as an afterthought.
 
I’d be grateful to know who in Government is responsible for resolving the Public and Commercial Services Union museum dispute. I wrote to you about this yesterday, having first written to your Government about it over a year ago. Now, you’ve previously said that you intend to intervene to resolve this dispute. Is it your responsibility, First Minister, or does that now fall to another Member of your Cabinet? Likewise, I’d be grateful to hear who in your Cabinet has responsibility for trade union legislation. Will the First Minister retain responsibility for steel and the EU referendum?
 
And, finally, can we please have some clarity as to who takes responsibility for the question of student finance? You’ve got three Ministers in your Cabinet with a role in education—one for skills, one for lifelong learning, and another for education. Three separate portfolios. Which Minister will take the final decision on the future of student finance here in Wales please?
 
14:37
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
First of all, in terms of the first question, yes, collective responsibility applies. Where there are disagreements, they will be dealt with in the ways that they were when there was a coalition with her party, or indeed with the Liberal Democrats in years gone by. There will be machinery in place to make sure these issues are identified early, in order for there to be agreement. That’s a well-established process; we had it for the four years of the Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition.
 
There is no downgrading of the Welsh language. It was always a matter for a portfolio Minister. That will be the case in the future, but given my background and my long-held support for the language, there’s no question of it being downgraded.
 
On the PCS dispute, Ken Skates, as Minister, has been involved in this. We expect to see a settlement, hopefully very, very soon, and I thank him for the work that he has done in ensuring that there is a satisfactory outcome as far as the workers are concerned. That work took place last week. On the trade union Bill, and the repeal of the sections of the Act that we disagree with, and we believe are within the competence of this Assembly, it will be Mark Drakeford, as Minister, who is responsible for taking that legislation through.
 
On the EU referendum, that remains my responsibility. On the issue of Tata, that remains my responsibility. In time, steel will become part of the economy and infrastructure portfolio, but I will keep Tata.
 
On student finance, that’s a matter for Kirsty Williams, as Cabinet Secretary for Education.
 
14:39
Andrew R.T. DaviesBiography
Minister, thank you for your statement this afternoon, and I too congratulate all the Secretaries—sorry; they’re not Ministers now—on their appointments that you made last week, and I wish them well in their endeavours, in fairness. They might politically be on the opposite side of the fence from me, but obviously many people are depending on the decisions that you and your officials take, and, actually, I don’t think it’s worth any of us wishing you ill because a lot of people will fall by the wayside if you do slip up. But, we will as an opposition obviously hold you to account and we will not be slow in coming forward in making sure that you are held to account for the decisions and actions that you take as a Government—indeed, as a coalition Government now, obviously with the Lib Dems sitting on the front bench there with you.
 
I’d be grateful, First Minister, if you could elaborate more on the agreement that you reached with the Welsh nationalists last week in relation to the consultative committees or groups. I’m not quite sure what their stature is, or what their formal role within Government is, and I don’t think many other people are, to be honest with you. And I think your comments on Sunday alluded to the fact that you too were slightly confused on infrastructure, as to exactly what Plaid Cymru were asking for when it came to the infrastructure request to your Government. So, I’d be grateful if you could outline exactly how those working groups or committees will work within Government. In particular, you’ve said that your Government would provide Ministers as representatives, and obviously the secretariat would be from the civil service. Is it to be taken that from Plaid Cymru, then, that the representatives will be Assembly Members or can they nominate anyone to sit on those working groups? And will the Government be bound by the outcomes of those committees and working groups that have been established via the agreement that you reached last week that allowed your nomination to go forward?
 
I’d also like to understand exactly now where Betsi stands, because obviously the Deputy Minister had responsibility for the special measures that were introduced at Betsi Cadwaladr in the north, and I presume that’s still the case, that it is the Deputy Minister, or has that transferred to the full Minister—the Secretary, should I say—the full Secretary of health in this new Government? Are you able to highlight any progress on Betsi moving out of special measures? That would give great assurance to the many people who depend on the services of that local health board.
 
I also welcome Lesley Griffiths to her role of rural affairs and environment. I have a special interest in that with my farming background and I do note that you talk about emphasis on local action. One of the big issues where I would suggest the farming community in particular want to see progress from the new Government is on bovine TB. I’d be grateful if you do see that as a priority area for your new Government, given, obviously, the vaccination programme that was paused in the last Assembly. I believe I’m correct in saying the word ‘pause’, because the vaccine was stopped. What clarity can you give, with your new Government now in place, as to what actions you might be taking to eradicate—and I use the word, ‘eradicate’—bovine TB from Wales?
 
I’d also like to understand exactly how the Cabinet office is going to work. Last week in your statement you touched on that the Government would be forming a Cabinet office, as opposed to this time in the last Assembly when there was much talk of the delivery unit. Now, as I understand it from your comments last week, the delivery unit is developing into a Cabinet office. I’m not quite sure what the difference would be, but if you could tell us, because I think we all do actually want to see greater delivery and greater clout from such an organisation. Would it be responsible to you, as the First Minister, or will it be responsible to the leader of the house, because obviously the delivery unit was reporting into you, the First Minister’s office?
 
I’d like to build on the comments that the leader of Plaid Cymru talked about, in particular education, because actually it stretches across four departments, I would suggest. You’ve got children with Carl Sargeant, you’ve got skills with Julie James, you’ve got the education portfolio of Kirsty Williams and then you’ve got lifelong learning with Alun Davies. In devising your Cabinet, why have you deemed it necessary to have so many functions that affect so many young people across the whole of Government? I take it that responsibilities do touch many departments, but you’ve clearly designated those responsibilities to four different portfolio holders, and I do think it’s important to understand what your thinking was in doing that, and how you believe that function will be delivered across Government so that there will be continuity and delivery of the aspirations that you’ll set out, no doubt, in your programme for government.
 
I will close on the final remark that I’d like to make, in that you have brought Alun Davies back into Government. I do wish him well in his endeavours as Deputy Minister, but I do draw on your comments when Alun Davies left the Government in 2014, and in particular as I’ve been one of the Members the information he was seeking from the Government records—. You said that the only conclusion was that he wanted this information to be used against those Members. When asked and pressed, you said you envisaged it being very difficult to see him coming back into Government. So, what has happened in the intervening period that you can have reassurances that there’ll be no repetition of the episode that led him to leave your Government back in 2014? Because, at that time you clearly couldn’t give those assurances and I do think it’s incumbent on you as the First Minister who’s appointed him this time around to give us the assurances that we require.
 
14:44
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
A number of questions there. Firstly, on the agreement with Plaid Cymru, yes, there are some issues like the national infrastructure commission where there are different views as to what that might look like, but that’s what the discussions will be about.
 
There are three committees that have been set up. Their objective is to identify issues such as legislation early on to see where there is common ground and where there isn’t, and the same with the budget. That’s, I believe, a sensible working arrangement between two parties with a view to achieving agreement in the months to come, and that is something I very much welcome. I would anticipate that the committee would be made up of representatives from different parties—that’s true. It’s a matter for Plaid Cymru who they choose to represent them on those committees, but, from our side, it will of course be a Minister.
 
The leader of the Conservatives talked about being bound by the outcomes of those committees. That’s not the nature of the committees. The committees are there to achieve agreement, and once that agreement is achieved then of course both parties are in a position where the parties will be able to support that agreement.
 
On Betsi Cadwaladr, that will stay with Vaughan Gething. He’s familiar with the situation in Betsi. It makes sense for Betsi to remain with him within his responsibilities, and he will report back in due course on progress.
 
On bovine TB, we will, of course, take a science-based approach. One of the first things that the Minister will be looking at is what the next stages will be in terms of dealing with bovine TB.
 
Yes, he is right to say that the delivery unit is no more. Some of his Members who are no longer here will claim that as a great victory—I’ve no doubt about that after the slightly obsessive approach that was taken by a former Member of this place. The Cabinet office basically is, in effect, the First Minister’s office. It is answerable entirely to me. It will have many different roles, such as, for example, co-ordinating the legislative programme, co-ordinating the Cabinet agenda and also identifying issues that need to be dealt with early on a cross-Government basis. There is no mystery about that; that’s what it will do.
 
On children, I’ve allocated portfolios according to what I think at this moment in time is the best fit, but, at the end of the day, Cabinet Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries don’t live and exist in silos. There is always cross-Government working and that’s why, for example, when it comes to an issue like student finance, that will be a Cabinet decision. Of course, there are portfolio Ministers who take decisions on a day-to-day basis but there are major decisions that need full Cabinet input. That’s the way it’s always been and that’s the way it will be in the future.
 
In terms of Alun Davies, well, Alun, what happened in the past is the past. I’ve no doubt at all that he will be an excellent Minister and somebody who will bring a great deal of expertise to the Government, as will all Ministers. All Ministers have been issued with a copy of the ministerial code and, of course, Ministers will be required to indicate to me that they’ve read it, and that’s true of all Ministers. I’m glad to have the range of expertise available to me that I have.
 
14:47
Neil HamiltonBiography
Like Andrew R.T. Davies and Leanne Wood, I congratulate all those who have been appointed to their offices in this administration, in particular Ken Skates, who informed me the other day that I bought him a drink in the House of Commons 20 years ago. I now look forward to toasting his success at his expense when he returns the favour. [Laughter.]
 
The First Minister said in his statement that this will be an open, inclusive and transparent administration. I regret to say in relation to these consultative committees that it doesn’t look quite that way on this side of the circle in fact because these committees will be closed to us. They will exclude us, and the method by which they will take decisions and indeed perhaps the decisions they come to will be exceedingly opaque. I think it’s rather unfortunate that a particular segment of Members of this house seem to be excluded now from the process of policy development to the advantage of one other minority parties. I think that, for good government of Wales, it would be to everyone’s advantage if both the Conservatives and UKIP Members in their different ways could be included in these behind-the-scenes negotiations. We will no doubt disagree on many issues, but there are many domestic issues within Wales on which we can find agreement and common cause between parties in different parts of the house, and I offer my own party’s word that we will play a constructive role in this Chamber.
 
I should secondly like to congratulate Kirsty Williams on her appointment as education Secretary. I’m sure she will do an extremely good job. She’s clearly a very, very capable person. I know that she has taken a great deal of interest in education and made contributions to debates in this Chamber over many years, but this does leave us with a slight democratic problem because, a few weeks ago, she was elected as a Lib Dem AM for Brecon and Radnor and 92 per cent of her constituents voted against the Labour Party, and yet the First Minister confirmed, in answer to a question earlier on, that Kirsty Williams would be bound by collective responsibility and therefore, in effect, has become a Labour AM in this Chamber. When my honourable friend, Mark Reckless defected from the Conservative Party to UKIP, he sought the endorsement of his electors in Rochester in a by-election and I believe that is the honourable course of action. I wonder whether the First Minister agrees that that would be appropriate for the constituency of Brecon and Radnor.
 
14:50
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
First of all, I think the Member will be surprised at the amount of transparency that exists in this place compared to Westminster [Laughter.] He will certainly become aware of the freedom of information requests that we receive as Government and, indeed, the transparency under which Members operate in this place and have done for many, many years. There’s no secret in terms of what has been agreed; we have published common priorities between Welsh Labour and the Welsh Liberal Democrats, and the nature of the agreement between Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru is there for all to see. It is not a secret agreement; it has been published and people can see it for what it is: a way of ensuring that there is a working relationship—not agreement, we know that; we know that there will be areas of disagreement—but a working framework that can be used for the future.
 
I can assure the leader of UKIP that Kirsty Williams is not a Welsh Labour AM; she is very much a Liberal Democrat AM. If we took the logic of his argument to its full conclusion, then, every single Conservative and Liberal Democrat MP would’ve resigned in 2010 when the coalition was set up at Westminster. Clearly, this is an agreement that we have in place in order to take Wales forward, in order to provide stability and in order, of course, to provide a better and brighter future for our people. We have done that through the identification of common priorities with the Welsh Liberal Democrats and we have done that through the compact that we have reached with Plaid Cymru. That’s the way politics need to be done in Wales in the future. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: there is no point being tribal for tribalism’s sake. That’s not the way the public are, and so it’s hugely important—[Interruption.] Well, the Conservatives have fallen straight into the trap set for them there, but by me saying that there shouldn’t be tribalism for tribalism’s sake, that has exactly demonstrated that that’s exactly what they are.
 
We will continue to be transparent and we will continue to be open. Of course there will be disagreements within this Chamber—that’s the nature of democracy. But I think it is incumbent on us as a Government to work and reach out with other parties in order to deliver common priorities and in order to ensure that we can deliver the best outcome for our people, and that is the spirit in which we approach the discussions we had both with Kirsty Williams and the Liberal Democrats and also, of course, with Plaid Cymru.
 
14:52
David MeldingBiography
First Minister, I hope I can extend somewhat less barbed good wishes to you and your Government. I think it’s in all our interests that this Government works as effectively as possible, and I look forward to supporting much of what you do. There will be many differences and I shall be most vigorous in pursuing those.
 
Can I especially welcome Kirsty Williams’s appointment to the Cabinet? I think this is a really good development for Welsh politics. We need to stretch the model of how we do politics in this Chamber. I don’t think many journalists were holding the front page to run a headline, ‘Shock—Liberal Democrats join with Labour in an administration’. I’ve always found Kirsty’s comments here thoughtful, relevant and clear, and, indeed, in the fourth Assembly, I think she had the role somewhat of inquisitor in chief—a role I hope you do now continue, albeit in the secrecy of the Cabinet proceedings, of course.
 
I welcome the fact that the interests of children have been identified as a distinct ministerial responsibility and I look forward to working with Carl Sargeant in whatever way possible to raise issues of great concern to me, particularly about looked-after children. First Minister, this week we’ve seen disturbing evidence of discriminatory action being taken by the criminal justice system, albeit inadvertently often, against looked-after children, and I hope you and your colleagues will take careful note of the Prison Reform Trust’s review.
 
More positively, we heard last week that the Prime Minister has formed a Cabinet sub-committee on young people in care and it is charged with drawing up cross-departmental agreements. Can I recommend this approach or something analogous that is suitable to the Welsh Cabinet is taken, because the inter-linkages—. It’s inevitably going to be the case that education, health and other areas of social care will have a vital interest for looked-after children, and you can’t just put all that into one ministerial responsibility. But, effective working multiplies the outcomes we can achieve rather than just adding them together. This is something that we really need to do for looked-after children. In this the fifth session of the National Assembly, let’s really show outstanding best practice for the advancement of looked-after children.
 
14:55
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Can I very much thank the Member for his comments? He will know that I’ve taken an interest in this issue for some years given the underperformance that we know of looked-after children in the education system. The difficulty is, of course, that looked-after children need support from many areas, whether it’s through social services, whether it’s through the education system, whether it’s through health. Looked-after children sit within the portfolio of Carl Sargeant. That’s done deliberately so that there can be a holistic approach taken to improving outcomes for them. We know, anecdotally at least, that it is said that it is more likely for a looked-after child to end up in prison than in university. That’s something we cannot tolerate as a society. It’s something that I certainly have taken a personal interest in. It’s one of the reasons why we have a children’s Minister who will then have responsibility across the board for improving outcomes for looked-after children.
 
14:56
Suzy DaviesBiography
First of all, First Minister, can I thank you for your earlier response to Andrew R.T. Davies regarding the committees that the Government will be holding jointly with Plaid Cymru? I have to express my concerns that something that is important as the constitution, which includes, of course, everybody in this Assembly, is a matter for a committee that only involves two parties in this place.
 
But, my main question today is this: can you explain who is going to be taking primary responsibility for autism policy? Autism affects adults and children. It affects them both in different ways at different times in their lives and to differing degrees. Those differences are one of the reasons why I have my concerns that an autism Act and its ambitions will not be adequately reflected in an additional learning needs Bill. Because it affects social services, health, environment, communities even, I wonder if you can make it plain to us all who exactly will be taking primary responsibility for all autism policy, perhaps in the same way that primary responsibility has been given to one Secretary for children.
 
14:57
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Autism sits in two portfolios. In terms of provision, that sits within health and well-being. In terms of education provision, that would sit within education itself. I hear what she says: one of the issues that we have examined is whether the ALN Bill could be adapted to include provision for autism—I see no reason why that cannot be done—rather than there being a separate Bill and that taking more time. We are open to discussions on that, I have to say. So, in terms of provision, she is right to say that it overlaps a number of areas: adults and children, education, and health and well-being. But, as ever, I expect Ministers to work together to be able to deliver a cohesive service for those who are either carers of those with autism or those who are living with autism in order to take us forward.
 
With the ALN Bill, if there is a significant element of dealing with autism within that Bill, then that would sit within the portfolio of Alun Davies, or within his responsibilities. But let’s see how that develops in terms of whether it’s possible to include provision for autism within a Bill that, at its genesis, was a Bill about additional learning needs. There may be a way, of course, to deal with both issues and then, of course, avoid the need for a separate Bill that might take more time.
 
14:58
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
Thank you, First Minister.
 
14:58
3. Motion to Appoint Members to the Business Committee
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
The next item is the motion to appoint members of the Business Committee, and I call Jane Hutt to formally move the motion.
 
Motion NNDM6016 Jane Hutt
 
To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 11.3:
 
Appoints the Presiding Officer, Jane Hutt (Labour), Simon Thomas (Plaid Cymru), Paul Davies (Welsh Conservatives) and Mark Reckless (UKIP Wales) as members of the Business Committee.
 
Motion moved.
 
14:58
Jane HuttBiographyThe Leader of the House and Chief Whip
Formally.
 
14:58
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
The proposal is we agree the motion to appoint members to the Business Committee. Does any Member object? I see that there are no objections, and therefore the motion is agreed in accordance with Standing Order 12.36.
 
Motion agreed in accordance with Standing Order 12.36.
 
14:59
4. Motion under Standing Order 12.10(ii) to Bring Forward Questions to the First Minister at the Next Plenary Meeting
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
The motion without notice to bring forward First Minister’s questions in the next Plenary is the next item, and I intend to call that meeting at 1.30 p.m. on Wednesday 8 June. I call on Jane Hutt to formally move the motion.
 
Motion
 
To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, under Standing Order 12.10(ii), bring forward questions to the First Minister at the next Plenary meeting.
 
Motion moved.
 
14:59
Jane HuttBiographyThe Leader of the House and Chief Whip
Formally.
 
14:59
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
The proposal is that we agree the motion. Does any Member object? The motion is therefore agreed in accordance with Standing Order 12.36.
 
Motion agreed in accordance with Standing Order 12.36.
 
14:59
Y Llywydd / The Presiding OfficerBiography
That brings today’s proceedings to a close.
 
The meeting ended at 14:59.
 
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