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The Assembly met at 13:30 with the Llywydd (Elin Jones) in the Chair.
 
13:30
Y Llywydd / The LlywyddBiography
I call the National Assembly to order.
 
1. Questions to the First Minister
[R] signifies the Member has declared an interest. [W] signifies that the question was tabled in Welsh.
 
13:30
Y Llywydd / The LlywyddBiography
The first item this afternoon is questions to the First Minister, and the first question is from Dai Lloyd.
 
Social Services
 
13:30
Dai LloydBiography
1. Will the First Minister make a statement on the Welsh Government's plans for social services? OAQ(5)0573(FM)
 
13:30
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Social care is a sector of national strategic importance. It has been protected through investment of an additional £55 million for 2017-18, alongside £60 million for the integrated care fund.
 
13:30
Dai LloydBiography
Thank you for that response and further to that, may I ask what measures are in place, led by the Welsh Government, in order to secure an adequate supply of homecare services for our older people and those with disabilities, bearing in mind the increasing demand for these services and the shortage of funds to provide them to meet the increasing needs in this area?
 
13:31
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Of course, I’ve alluded to the integrated care fund and the money that’s been invested in that, and, of course, the new funding that’s already been announced. We see this having an effect, bearing in mind the transfer from hospital to care and that that kind of delay is actually at its lowest level for 12 years.
 
13:31
Suzy DaviesBiography
First Minister, you already knew that I’m annoyed Bridgend County Borough Council has cut £2 million from its social care budget, despite an additional £2 billion from the UK Government and, indeed, Welsh Government additional money as well. Now, your Minister told me just before the recess that some money would be conditional going to councils—that money would only go to them provided it could be shown it would be used for social care rather than other priorities. Now, I know you will have examined all the council budgets in Wales, so can you tell me, yes or no, whether you’re sure that all the money that the Minister has set aside for social care will be used for social care and not for competing priorities?
 
13:32
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
‘Is there an election on Thursday?’, I ask myself. I’m sure that was all to do with the question that was asked. What I would say to the Member is this: I think authorities across Wales have done very well in providing social services, despite the cuts that have come from her party, and her party in Government indeed in London. We have seen the crisis in social care in England. That’s a crisis that we’ve not had in Wales because of the investment we’ve put into social care in Wales and, of course, the extra £20 million that has already been announced. The last one thing we want is to import that kind of chaos into Wales.
 
13:32
Dawn BowdenBiography
First Minister, as a result of the implementation of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, we witnessed in recent years significant progress in the improved integration of health and social care, despite some of the comments being made today. In particular, I mention the multi-agency safeguarding hub in the Cwm Taf area, and the Keir Hardie health centre. Do you agree with me, First Minister, that one of the early priorities of any new council coming into being after 4 May should be to build on the excellent work to date carried out by current Labour councils, like that in Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council?
 
13:33
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
I very much applaud the work of Merthyr council, and I look forward to that work continuing in the next weeks to come.
 
13:33
Caroline JonesBiography
First Minister, we’re fast approaching a point where social care is unaffordable, and, unless we take urgent action, we are facing the real possibility that the system may collapse. Successive Governments have failed to take account of the ageing population and to properly plan for future demand. What discussions have you had with the UK Government about how to ensure the social care sector has sufficient funding to provide top-quality care for all who need it now and in the future?
 
13:34
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
I think the Member does raise an important point in that regard. We know that demand continues to increase, and there have to be debates in society as to how that demand is to be met. That does mean there have to be discussions between the Governments of the UK, because people move between the countries of the UK, but we have ensured that there is sufficient funding for social care. We’ve increased that funding. But, of course, it’s hugely important in the long-term to think carefully about how social care should be funded in the years to come.
 
A Medical School for North Wales
 
13:34
Sian GwenllianBiography
2. Will the First Minister make a statement on plans for a medical school for north Wales? OAQ(5)0562(FM)[W]
 
13:34
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Work is ongoing to determine the appropriate approach to ensuring sustainable medical education and training within north Wales. The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport will be making a statement in the coming weeks.
 
13:35
Sian GwenllianBiography
The case for a medical school to serve north Wales, and rural areas of our nation, is clear and robust. The Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board will have spent over £21 million on employing agency medical staff over the past 11 months up until the end of February this year. And the Royal College of Physicians summarises the situation in one sentence:
 
‘There are simply not enough doctors out there’.
 
The establishment of a medical school in Bangor would be part of the process of training these additional doctors that we need in Wales. So, when exactly will the business case be published, and when will the necessary steps to establish the medical school be put in place?
 
13:35
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
As I said, there will be a statement over the ensuing weeks, and the Minister will be considering this over this week and the next. So, a statement will be made soon. But it’s vitally important that we ensure that any plans are ultimately sustainable, and that is part of the consideration being given to this issue.
 
13:36
Mark IsherwoodBiography
It’s many years since I first discussed the need for a Bangor medical school with its previous vice-chancellor, and I have continued to have those discussions since. It’s three years since the North Wales Local Medical Committee warned, at a meeting in the Assembly, that general practice in north Wales was, in their words, facing crisis, unable to fill vacancies, with GPs considering retirement. And they highlighted the fact that the previous supply from Liverpool medical school had largely been severed, where their generation had primarily come from. In considering that you have agreed to do the business case for a new medical school in Bangor, how will you ensure that that includes dialogue with Liverpool, alongside Bangor, to ensure that we keep local medics local?
 
13:36
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, the issue is, of course, that Bangor is in an area where the population is quite small, compared to other centres where there is a medical school. So, there are issues in terms of how such a medical school could work closely with other medical schools—in Wales, or in England, or elsewhere, for that matter. What’s hugely important is that any medical school is sustainable, and that it works closely with others in order to ensure that sustainability is there in the future.
 
13:37
Michelle BrownBiography
Graduates will come back to work in Wales if they have the desire and ability to do so. Does the First Minister agree that the Government needs also to look further at ways it can improve the life offer for the people of north Wales, as this flight of talent illustrates that, too often, those who move out of Wales to train or work often do so permanently?
 
13:37
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, the campaign that we have in place to recruit medical staff is working well. We’ve had a great deal of interest from those in all areas of medicine. Ultimately, lifestyle is important for people, but professional challenge is important. People want to go somewhere where they will find their work interesting, where they feel they will be challenged from a medical point of view, and, of course, they want to live somewhere they feel they are supported. The campaign that we’ve put in place has outlined all these issues to potential medical practitioners who wish to come to Wales, and the response has been encouraging.
 
Questions Without Notice from the Party Leaders
 
13:38
Y Llywydd / The LlywyddBiography
Questions now from the party leaders. The leader of the UKIP group, Neil Hamilton.
 
13:38
Neil HamiltonBiographyLeader of the UKIP Wales Group
Diolch yn fawr, Llywydd. Diane Abbott, the shadow Home Secretary, has announced that Labour plans to recruit another 10,000 police officers in England and Wales, which would mean an extra nearly 1,000 in Wales. But, she was rather sketchy about the cost of this proposal, first of all announcing that it was going to cost £300,000, which would be an average salary of £30 for a policeman. Secondly, it went up to £8,000 a year—£80 million. Perhaps the First Minister could give his own view of the credibility of this policy, and what the actual figures are.
 
13:38
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
I think it’s hugely important we see more bobbies on the beat, more police officers—10,000 of them. I think people will certainly support that. He asked the question of where the money comes from. Quite simple—£300 million a year over the course of five years; £2.7 billion is the pot that will be created by reinstating the previous levels of capital gains tax. So, £1.5 billion, with £1.2 billion left over. Those are the maths.
 
13:39
Neil HamiltonBiography
Well, the First Minister is obviously not aware of what happened last time capital gains tax was increased, in 2010. Because, in 2010, the rate of capital gains tax was raised from 18 per cent to 28 per cent. And, whereas, before 23 June 2010, it raised £8.23 billion a year, after 23 June 2010, it raised £3.3 billion a year. So, actually, there was a cut in the revenue of capital gains tax of £4.9 billion a year. So, how is this increase in policing numbers going to be paid for with reduced tax revenues?
 
13:39
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, it simply takes the rate back to what it was before—from 20 per cent to 28 per cent on the higher level, and from 18 per cent upwards on the lower level. That’s the way in which this will be paid for. That simply means reinstating a tax rate that was there before, not something that is new.
 
13:40
Neil HamiltonBiography
The point I was making to the First Minister was that, as a result of raising the rate of capital gains tax, the revenue raised from the tax fell, not increased. So, consequently, the tax base was reduced because people can postpone realising capital gains. In fact, the people most likely to want to realise capital gains are pensioners who can’t afford to live on their incomes. So, this is actually a tax increase that is aimed very largely at people who can least afford to pay it. [Interruption.] But perhaps the illiterate financial plan that has been put before us by the Labour Party is part of the overall plan that he committed himself to, in my presence in a television studio in Cardiff just a couple of weeks ago, of increasing borrowing by £500 billion a year. Does he really think that the credibility of the UK Government in international financial markets is going to be enhanced by such a stupid policy?
 
13:41
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Neil Hamilton and UKIP—soft on crime. You heard it here in this Assembly for the first time. Not supportive of policy to increase the number of bobbies on the beat, to increase the number of police officers in our communities.
 
We’ve explained how this will be paid for—by reinstating the previous rate of capital gains tax. I do not see his point about pensioners losing out because of capital gains tax. I don’t know if he’s talking about inheritance tax or if he’s got the two confused, but I do not see how that works. Capital gains tax affects those people with most money. It’s only right that those people with most money are asked to pay more in order to fund our police officers on the street.
 
There’s never been a cheaper time to borrow money on the world financial markets. The Labour Government of the 1940s did this, built the health service, built the welfare state and rebuilt the British economy from a far worse position than the Tories did.
 
Individuals know that if you want to buy a house, you have a mortgage. You pay that mortgage off over 20 to 30 years. You have an asset at the end of it that you’re able to use as you want. They don’t understand that in the Conservative Party. A lot of them, of course, never had mortgages. They don’t know what the concept is. They get things given to them on a plate. So, from our perspective, we know the public understands that you borrow in order to create and asset that is then worth far more. That’s worked for individuals, it’ll work for Britain and that’s the kind of vision we want—a vision that rebuilds Britain, not one that lets it drift.
 
13:42
Y Llywydd / The LlywyddBiography
Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood.
 
13:42
Leanne WoodBiographyThe Leader of Plaid Cymru
Diolch, Llywydd. First Minister, in June last year you said that Labour had no chance of winning a general election. Why have you abandoned ship?
 
13:42
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
I’m not sure I understand that question. I do know that Labour has a better chance of winning the election, perhaps, than Plaid Cymru does. But, from our perspective, we will work hard as, indeed, I know her party will, to maximise as many votes as possible between now and 8 June.
 
13:42
Leanne WoodBiography
In the very same week that you said Labour had no chance of winning a general election, one of your senior front bench MPs in Westminster resigned and derided your leader, Jeremy Corbyn. You’ve now appointed him as your election co-ordinator for Wales. We’ve seen five different shadow Secretaries of State for Wales from the Labour Party since the last UK election—four in the last 12 months. Not only have you abandoned ship, you’re all squabbling over the lifeboats. First Minister, this is gross incompetence. Do you really expect people who have trusted your party for so long to have any confidence in your party’s ability to defend Wales?
 
13:43
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
We did last year. Welsh Labour showed that it could defend the people of Wales last year and the Welsh people voted as they did, and we’ll continue to do the same this year. From our perspective, we will be standing up for Wales in Westminster. We do not want the Tories to walk all over Wales.
 
13:43
Leanne WoodBiography
Such complacency. First Minister, people need a national party of Wales that is going to protect this nation’s interests, a party that will defend this institution, that will protect Welsh jobs, people’s pensions and our NHS. Labour is in no fit state to defend Wales and so the national party of Wales is Plaid Cymru.
 
Tomorrow, there will be yet another vote on scrapping zero-hours contracts. It’ll be the seventh time we’ve had a vote on this. Six times, Labour and the Tories have voted together against Plaid Cymru’s proposals to end zero-hours contracts. Tell me, First Minister, are you going to make it seven times tomorrow? Will you again vote with the Tories against Welsh workers and against the Welsh national interest?
 
13:44
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, it’s always been a myth in Plaid Cymru that Plaid Cymru stands for the Welsh national interest. If that was true, they’d be doing far better in elections than they are. And I do deplore the idea that, somehow, one party has a monopoly on patriotism or in terms of defending Wales’s interest. Now, I know that, inevitably, over the next few weeks, we’re going to have questions in this Chamber that affect the general election; we all know that. But I do think people deserve to have questions asked to them about what's going to happen if you're in Wales in the Assembly. Zero-hours contracts are an issue. We do not support zero-hours contracts. She’s trying to suggest that, somehow, in principle, we think they’re a good thing. We don't think they’re good thing, but for any number of reasons over the past few occasions she has known that there have been issues surrounding what Plaid Cymru want to do that would, in some instances, jeopardise the passage of legislation because of the lack of clarity over devolved competence. And the reality of the situation is that we have led the way when it comes to getting rid of zero-hours contracts: we've done so in Government, we've done so in organisations that are funded by Government. She has talked; we have done.
 
13:45
Y Llywydd / The LlywyddBiography
Leader of the opposition, Andrew R.T. Davies.
 
13:46
Andrew R.T. DaviesBiographyThe Leader of the Opposition
Thank you, Presiding Officer. Can I first of all welcome the new clerk to the Assembly? This is her first First Minister’s questions, and I look forward to working with you over the coming months and years that you fill the role that was so admirably done by Claire Clancy. First Minister, you have just said that you want questions asked of you that are relevant to this place, and I do want to draw on the auditor general's report last week about the Circuit of Wales and the funding of the Circuit of Wales, and, in particular, the points that the auditor general drew on about Government money—Welsh Government money—being used to buy a motorcycle firm in Buckinghamshire that went bankrupt. Is that a good use of Welsh taxpayers’ money: £300,000-worth of Welsh taxpayers’ money to buy a motorcycle company in Buckinghamshire that then went bankrupt? And, if it isn't a good use of Welsh taxpayers’ money, will you apologise for that?
 
13:46
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Look, we've just had a report last week where the cancer drug fund was shown to have wasted £1 billion of public money. So, I'm not going to be lectured on that by the Conservative party. [Interruption.] He asked the question, and the answer is quite simply this: whenever we have a project like the Circuit of Wales, there will be risks. Those risks have to be managed acceptably. The Circuit of Wales is still in play. We’re looking to see whether a model can be produced in order to take the project forward, and we think the people of Blaenau Gwent and the people of Wales would expect us to do that. Inevitably, whenever there is any kind of project there is risk. Banks do this. When banks lend money, they acknowledge there’s a level of risk, but that risk has to be acceptable. It’s the same for Government.
 
13:47
Andrew R.T. DaviesBiography
That is the most bizarre answer in six years that I’ve stood here I’ve received from you, First Minister. I asked you a simple question about Welsh Government money that was used to buy a motorcycle firm in Buckinghamshire that went bankrupt—£300,000 that the auditor general, in a report that he released last week—. And you've called for questions that are relevant to you in your role as First Minister, and you don't believe that you will need to explain that, or even apologise for that fact. Secondly, the report outlined how officials highlighted to Ministers that they believed that you would be in breach of state-aid rules by allowing the £7.3 million loan guarantee to be put in place and then drawn down. Now, officials gave that advice to Ministers. The auditor general could not find any evidence to contradict that advice that was given to Ministers. So, why did Ministers put the Welsh Government and Welsh taxpayers’ money at risk, and potentially for infringement proceedings by the European Commission because you’re breaking state-aid rules?
 
13:48
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
He doesn't understand the way state-aid rules work. Normally, when state-aid rules are breached, it’s the recipient that pays back, not the Government. From our perspective, we will assess the situation to see that the risk is acceptable. Two things that have to be made about the Circuit of Wales: firstly, the auditor general has not said that this is a project not worth supporting, nor has the auditor general said that the Circuit of Wales is a business organisation with no assets, contrary to his own MP, David Davies, and what he has said. Yes, in the course of the development of the Circuit of Wales, there is an assessment of risk. Decisions are taken to accept that risk if deemed necessary and then, of course, we move on to see if the Circuit of Wales can become a reality. That is what Governments do: to look at risk and make sure that risk is acceptable, because, ultimately, the prize might be one that is worth having. We’re not at that stage yet; we’re still working to see whether the Circuit of Wales can produce that sustainable model.
 
13:49
Andrew R.T. DaviesBiography
First Minister, the auditor general was very specific in what he was looking at, which was this tranche of money that Welsh Government has spent to date: £9.3 million. In anyone’s book, that’s a pretty significant sum of money. No-one is disputing that, potentially, the overall scheme could have a massive impact of regeneration. But you are accountable for the way money is allocated. I’ve highlighted you two examples in the auditor general’s report: (1) buying a motorcycle firm in Buckinghamshire that went bankrupt for £300,000—what bids will you accept if you are accepting bids like that—and (2) that you infringed state-aid rules by putting the loan guarantee in place, both of which of those examples you haven’t apologised for, or you actually haven’t discounted to say it is incorrect. What exactly can we expect from the Welsh Government, given that there’s a litany of examples, from Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales, where officials’ advices were totally ignored and Ministers just proceeded to dispose of high value land, where officials were discounted in the process, and the public lost out through losing money when overall sales were concluded in RIFW, and this is the same example, where public money has been put in jeopardy, as the auditor general has pointed out? How can we have any confidence that your Government is working positively to either form a positive conclusion on this agreement, or that you will end up putting more public money at risk?
 
13:51
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
No. The agreement is one that we would want to be positive. We’re not looking to put any more public money in; we’re looking to work with a private investor for the future. All these things are under discussion at the moment. But I remind the leader of the Welsh Conservatives that sometimes you have to take a decision in order to benefit people in the future. Last week, we saw the decision by Qatar Airways to fly a daily flight into Cardiff Airport. If he had had his way, that airport would be shut. It’d be closed down. He sat there questioning the fact that the Welsh Government had bought the airport. We’ve seen great passenger growth; we see Qatar Airways coming in—I was there over the weekend. There are huge opportunities—huge opportunities for Wales as a result of that. Let him apologise for the fact that he was willing to put 1,000 jobs at risk in the Vale of Glamorgan—[Interruption.]—in the Vale of Glamorgan by letting the airport close. On top of that, we have unemployment that is lower than England, lower than Scotland and lower than Northern Ireland. We have a situation where the five companies that have grown most in Wales over the past year are companies that we as a Welsh Government have helped, the fact that we’ve had the best foreign direct investment figures for the past 30 years. The reality is that we create jobs when the Tories destroy them.
 
Housing Needs in Pembrokeshire
 
13:52
Paul DaviesBiography
3. What is the Welsh Government doing to support the housing needs of the people of Pembrokeshire? OAQ(5)0566(FM)
 
13:52
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
We are making a significant investment in all types of housing tenures in Pembrokeshire and across Wales. This includes continued investment in social housing and Help to Buy—Wales, as well as through new schemes aiming to make home ownership more accessible and support innovation.
 
13:52
Paul DaviesBiography
Thank you for that response, First Minister. I recently met representatives of Cohousing Hafan Las to discuss proposals for a cohousing community in Pembrokeshire. That would mean providing affordable housing for local people, with at least a third of the residents over 50 years of age in order to bridge between the generations. Would you agree with me, therefore, that we should be encouraging projects of this sort, and, if so, can you tell me what support the Welsh Government is providing to projects such as this one?
 
13:53
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Of course, it would be interesting if Hafan Las officials could meet our officials to understand better the model that they have, and I’m sure, should they want to do that, we would welcome a meeting.
 
13:53
Simon ThomasBiography
The problem of second homes and holiday homes is a particular problem in Pembrokeshire, as it is in a number of areas that are popular with visitors and tourists and people who are looking to retire to those areas. And, of course, it overheats the local housing market in terms of the incomes available to local people, particularly young people. There are whole streets in Tenby where nobody is living for most of the year, for example. What can the Government do to assist in that context? Plaid Cymru has proposed that planning regulations could be used in certain communities in order to ensure that there is a change of use when a home leaves permanent occupation and becomes a holiday home. Isn’t that deserving of consideration by Government?
 
13:54
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
This is something that has been discussed and considered previously, but it is much more difficult in practice than in principle as regards what kind of definition you place on a second home. But, having said that, I understand exactly what the Member is saying about the impact on communities, and we’ve ensured that there’s more social housing available and ended the right to buy; other considerations have been made, such as land trusts to help people buy their own homes and also sharing of property equity. One thing that may have to be looked at in future is how the Government could purchase houses from the private market so that houses are available, particularly in villages where it is very difficult to create social housing. So, there are a number of ways in which we can secure a future for those people who wish to live and remain in those communities, but perhaps we need to think more imaginatively than the traditional ways of thinking to date.
 
Borrowing to Invest
 
13:55
Huw Irranca-DaviesBiography
4. What assessment has the First Minister made of the benefit to Wales if the UK Government were to borrow more to invest, at the current low rates? OAQ(5)0563(FM)
 
13:55
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Any increase in public expenditure in comparable areas will mean more money for Wales to support our priorities as set out in ‘Taking Wales Forward’, as long as, of course, it’s capital expenditure.
 
13:55
Huw Irranca-DaviesBiography
I thank the First Minister for that answer. In household terms, as he outlined in response to an earlier question, we’re all very used to the idea of balancing the books, managing income and outgoings, and, critically, managing debt, whether that’s on the mortgage on our home, or on our family car. Now, Government borrowing is far more complex, of course, but the basic principles remain, including managing your debt at any given time. Yet, classic economics recognises that, for Government borrowing, there are times, especially when the cost of borrowing is as low as it is now, when borrowing can be used to reverse austerity and bring growth, and, by bringing growth, ensuring that the deficit remains at the same percentage of GDP. So, isn’t it time, I say to the First Minister, for the UK Government to change its approach for the good of the country—for Wales and the UK? Or, for the good of the country, isn’t it time to change the UK Government?
 
13:56
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Absolutely. All Governments borrow. Margaret Thatcher borrowed every single year. In fact, borrowing went up under the Tories, but they used that borrowing to pay for tax decreases. That’s how unsustainable that was. The current Conservative Government have borrowed money. I don’t criticise them for that, because I know it’s part of government. The issue is: borrow money to invest in capital infrastructure, and, secondly, borrow money in a way that’s prudent so that the debt doesn’t become unmanageable. The problem we have at the moment is that we have a Government in London that’s completely without vision, doesn’t know what it wants to do and has no vision for investment in infrastructure. We were promised electrification of the south Wales main line. Where is it? That’s disappeared off the horizon. No decision on the Swansea bay tidal lagoon, no decision on HS2, no decision on Heathrow. We’ve had absolute dithering—complete and utter dithering for the past year from the UK Government when it comes to funding essential capital infrastructure. Countries that do not invest in their infrastructure decline. They cannot compete with other countries around the world, and the problem we have with the current UK Government is that they’re just not willing to invest.
 
13:57
Nick RamsayBiography
First Minister, let’s please get a little bit of sanity back into this question. Borrowing is, of course, an important tool in any Government’s toolbox. It’s an important tool for the Welsh Government; it’s been an important tool for the UK Government. But the levels of borrowing being proposed by the UK Labour Party are truly eye watering. In your heart of hearts, you know that. Will you agree with me that the last thing that this country needs, the last thing that the UK needs, and the last thing that Wales needs, is for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party to ratchet up the debt once again and for us to end up in the same sort of position that we’ve been in every time that the Labour Party has been in power in the UK Government before?
 
13:58
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Britain’s best years are always under Labour—always, economically. Look at the stats. Look at where we are now. Look at where we were in 2011, 2012, 2013. Look at where we were at the start of the last decade—a much, much, much better position than we are in now. We were in a much better position then than we were in the 1980s, when the Tories’ main manufacturing product was high unemployment. They took Wales to a level of unemployment well beyond 10 per cent. We need competent economic policies and government, which the Tories have never ever given us. So, it is hugely important that we have a UK Government that understands the value of capital investment, has a vision for the country, and doesn’t keep on saying, ‘We need stable and strong leadership’. Well, stable and strong leadership, let me tell you, involves doing leadership debates, talking to ordinary people, not having events that are closed off to the regional press, as was the case in Cornwall today, and a Prime Minister who is strong and not one who acts as a frightened rabbit.
 
13:59
Adam PriceBiography
If we follow the logic of the First Minister that now is the time to take advantage of historically low interest rates, why is it that his own Government’s finance Secretary is limiting the financing through the mutual investment model to £1 billion, not increasing it to the £7.5 billion suggested by Gerry Holtham, who was a senior adviser to his Government? Isn’t this yet another example of the Labour Party saying one thing in its British manifesto and doing a different thing in Wales? That’s the kind of hypocrisy that has given democratic politics a bad name.
 
13:59
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Says the man described in his election leaflet as ‘the mab afradlon’—the lost prophet of Wales. Who am I to argue with him, described in that way? And he allowed that to appear in his leaflet, would you believe? But there we are. He asked the question. The reality is that it’s £1.5 billion. We will borrow up to a level that is prudent, and £1.5 billion, in Welsh terms and devolved terms, is, we believe, a prudent level of borrowing.
 
The Enterprise Zone in Port Talbot
 
14:00
David ReesBiography
5. Will the First Minister make a statement on the progress being made to attract investment into the enterprise zone in Port Talbot? OAQ(5)0571(FM)
 
14:00
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Yes. We know the enterprise zone is a powerful marketing lever. We know that its proximity to the new Swansea bay campus, in terms of the area’s assisted area status, is hugely important, and we know the zone is a compelling proposition for investment.
 
14:00
David ReesBiography
Thank you for that answer, First Minister. As you know, the enterprise zone in Port Talbot was established due to the real threat of closure of the steelworks following Tata’s original decision to sell off its UK operations. That threat is not going away, and it’s important that we now diversify our manufacturing and other industries within Port Talbot. However, this proposed new site for a new prison in Port Talbot is actually believed to be within the Port Talbot enterprise zone. What analysis has the Welsh Government undertaken to actually consider the impact that building a prison in that enterprise zone will have on attracting new businesses and supporting economic growth in existing businesses, to build a stronger economy based upon skills available in manufacturing and high tech that are in Port Talbot? And on the basis of the analysis result giving a negative outcome, will the Welsh Government fail to sell or lease the land to the Ministry of Justice?
 
14:01
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, we haven’t conducted that analysis as yet. What I can say, however, to the Member, just to reassure him, is that I have a prison in my constituency. In fact, it was built when I was the ward councillor in my ward. Indeed, people were concerned and they were worried about what the impact of the prison might be. The reality is it hasn’t had a negative impact at all. In fact, it employs a large number of people locally and it’s provided work for a large number of contractors. So, whilst I can well understand some of his constituents being concerned—and he has represented the views of those constituents this afternoon—the experience that we have in Bridgend is that the prison itself—. In fact, there’s a housing estate being built next to it as we speak. So, the prison quickly becomes integrated into the life of the community and it can, in fact, be a job creator.
 
14:02
Suzy DaviesBiography
The Swansea bay city region deal, which you and Theresa May, of course, both signed recently in Swansea, is set to trigger £1.3 billion worth of investment in the region, and the proximity of the university that you’ve mentioned already, and the emphasis on the steel-based supply chain within the enterprise zone, fits very well with a number of projects in that deal. The enterprise zone board also hopes to create opportunities and promote innovation and entrepreneurship in advanced manufacturing and materials. So, what kind of help can we expect from Welsh Government to help the local steel sector take advantage of research and development and commercialisation in those other two sectors in order to improve the local economy?
 
14:02
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
We have been working with Swansea University in terms of R&D. We’ve been working with Tata to move R&D into south Wales. We want to be manufacturers, but we want to make sure that as much R&D as possible takes place in Wales as well. There are great opportunities there for Tata. We believe there are great opportunities with the lagoon—the lagoon is widely supported in this Chamber; I don’t make that point in any political sense. I do hope that whatever happens after 8 June we will have a decision that is positive about the lagoon to create 1,000 jobs in the area, which will be a huge catalyst in terms of job creation within the enterprise zone.
 
14:03
Bethan JenkinsBiography
First Minister, I heard your response to David Rees, but I didn’t hear whether you as First Minister and as a Government here would be supporting the prison in Port Talbot. I recognise what you say about Bridgend, but you will understand that the prison in Port Talbot, if it is built, will be significantly over capacity, and is not something that we think will add benefit to the local economy. I’ve had concerns from local people with regards to the fact that many of them are trying to rent out space of over 10,000 sq ft in Port Talbot; small businesses wanting to develop, who are now moving to your area—I’m sure you’re pleased to hear that—but they can’t stay in Port Talbot. So, could you not be focusing on the real everyday issues our small businesses are facing, as opposed to imposing a super-prison on Port Talbot?
 
14:04
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, the decision to build the prison is not ours. Prisons are not devolved. We’ll examine, of course, any and all the consequences of building a prison. Bridgend already has a prison, of course, so if people are moving to Bridgend then the prison hasn’t affected their decision in that regard, but it is important that all these things are considered very, very carefully. It’s important that the UK Government makes very clear what it believes the prison can deliver, not just in terms of prison capacity, but also in terms of the local economy, and for them to make the case for the prison, and we’ll examine carefully what their case is.
 
Primary Healthcare
 
14:04
Leanne WoodBiography
6. Will the First Minister outline the Welsh Government's plans to improve access to primary healthcare? OAQ(5)0574(FM)
 
14:04
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Yes. Through modernising our primary care services, we want access to continue to improve. When local issues arise, as they will, we expect health boards to ensure local needs continue to be met.
 
14:04
Leanne WoodBiography
In my constituency, we’ve experienced big problems with GP retention and recruitment, and it’s of particular concern in the Rhondda because we have an ageing population and an ageing GP population to match. Last year, we saw the closure of Tŷ Horeb surgery in Treorchy, and, less than a fortnight ago, Maerdy surgery patients were told to go to Ferndale surgery because GP cover could not be arranged for that particular day. This caused a lot of concern in an area where appointments are difficult to come by at the best of times. With all the problems in the NHS in England, why is recruitment such a problem in Wales? Doctors should be falling over themselves to come and work in Wales, but you’ve failed to capitalise on that situation. Do you also regret that, after 18 years of Labour running the NHS in Wales, we still have one of the worst patient-to-doctor numbers in the whole of the EU?
 
14:05
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
We have more GPs than ever before, and we are at the stage where more and more GPs are looking to come to work in Wales. It’s hugely important that the structure of general practice in Wales is attractive. It is a reality, to my mind, that more and more GPs want to be salaried. They don’t want to buy into a practice. They don’t want to work within that model. Why? They’ve come through medical school with debt—to actually fork out more money is not an attractive proposition for many of them. The contractor model will be attractive for some, and that’ll be an important part of the NHS for years to come.
 
She is right about what happened in Maerdy. I know that there was an issue there on one day; because of an unforeseen circumstance, the cover wasn’t there. That is something that I can understand people in Maerdy being frustrated about. It’s part of the Ferndale practice, but, nevertheless, there is a branch surgery in Maerdy. What we are finding, of course, is that, for example, we’ve seen a 16 per cent increase in the number of GP training places filled so far compared with last year. The £43 million primary care fund has helped provide more than 250 additional primary care posts, including GP and nursing posts, pharmacists and physiotherapists. Importantly, work is being taken forward in Cwm Taf—of course, the Rhondda’s part of that—working across eight practices in one cluster. So, surgeries that are quite small and that do find it difficult to provide cover at the level that will be expected these days are able to work together in order to provide the comprehensive cover that people need.
 
14:07
Angela BurnsBiography
Patients not only need to have access to good GP surgeries and good GPs, but also they need to have quality in that access. We all accept, and I think there’s a growing recognition, that GPs should be left to deal with the more complex cases and those with multiple comorbidities. We welcome the growth in the allied healthcare professionals, and we welcome the growth in having counsellors in GP surgeries, and in having chronic care condition nurses, palliative care specialists and so on. But I do wonder, First Minister, what discussions your Government might have had in terms of extending the appointment time. Because if a GP who is already under enormous pressure has to see a patient with complex healthcare issues or comorbidities and write up those notes, the standard 10 minutes is a very difficult thing for them to undertake all that work in. I wonder if your Government has had any consideration of that particular matter.
 
14:08
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Can I welcome, first of all, what the Member said about not piling—that’s not the way she put it, but it’s what she meant—all the pressure on GPs? A good number of cases that appear before GPs don’t need a GP, which is why it is hugely important we have Choose Well, of course. We see, when health boards take over practices, that they become multidisciplinary. People can be directed to the nurse, to the pharmacist, to the occupational therapist or to the physiotherapist, as appropriate, rather than everybody piling on to the GP. The challenge for the smaller practices is to be able to take pressure off themselves in the future, by working with other practices to provide wider and more holistic services between them. So, for example, is it reasonable for a single-handed practice to employ lots of nurses or physiotherapists? No, but working with other practices, it then becomes far more viable for that to happen. But it is hugely important that we don’t—she doesn’t do this, in fairness—it is hugely important for us not to think that primary care is just about GPs; it’s about making sure that people get the right level of care the right time. You take away the pressure on GPs, you release more time for them to see the patients who need more time to be seen.
 
Organisations Relocating to Wales
 
14:09
Julie MorganBiography
7. What assessment has the First Minister made of the future opportunities for organisations relocating to Wales from the south-east of England? OAQ(5)0568(FM)
 
14:09
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
A large proportion of recent investments from companies headquartered elsewhere in the UK have, indeed, come from London and the south-east of England.
 
14:09
Julie MorganBiography
I thank the First Minister for that response. Does the First Minister support the call from the leader of Cardiff council to the UK Government for Channel 4 to be relocated to Cardiff, in view of the success of the media industry in Cardiff and as part of the consultation that is now going on about the future of Channel 4?
 
14:09
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Yes, I do, very much. I think Cardiff has a great deal to offer in terms of media services. We’ve seen huge growth in the creative industries, not just in Cardiff but outside. We’ve seen huge growth in the media in Cardiff, and Cardiff would be an ideal headquarters for Channel 4.
 
Borrowing
 
14:10
Mark RecklessBiography
8. Will the First Minister make a statement on the appropriate magnitude of borrowing for the Welsh Government in the UK context? OAQ(5)0567(FM)
 
14:10
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
I was just readjusting myself, there, to where the Member is now sitting. Well, we will maximise all the tools available to support the economy and public services in Wales, including making best use of the £1 billion of borrowing powers secured through the new fiscal framework.
 
14:10
Mark RecklessBiography
First Minister, whether the question is £1 billion or £1.5 billion of borrowing for Wales, or £500 billion of borrowing for the UK, your answer seems to be the same: ‘Let’s borrow; it’s cheap.’ There seems to be less consideration to how we would pay that money back or what would happen if interest rates go up. Do you seriously believe it’s appropriate for the UK to borrow 300 times as much as Wales? And if so, is your position any more credible than Jeremy Corbyn’s?
 
14:11
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
The UK has far more fiscal tools available to it than the Welsh Government in terms of the way in which it can borrow and in terms of the taxation policies available to it. We know that your party—or the party that you sit on that side of the Chamber with—will not rule out a rise in income tax. I appreciate that honesty, but I think it’s right to say that even the Conservative Party is considering increasing income taxes in the future in order to provide more money for the public purse. They’ve been asked several times to rule it out, and several times that has not been ruled out. The point is this: borrowing for infrastructure investment is important. It must be prudent—I take that point—and it must be affordable. But what is affordable for the UK is many times more than what is affordable for Wales because of the tools at the UK’s disposal and its ability to raise money. It was done in the 1940s, when the situation was far, far worse than this. The infrastructure was rebuilt. The UK got back on its feet into the 1950s. If it could be done in the 1940s, when borrowing rates were higher and the situation much worse, then why is it so unreasonable to say that it can’t be done now?
 
The Trade Union Act 2016
 
14:12
Joyce WatsonBiography
9. What assessment has the First Minister made of the impact of the Trade Union Act 2016 since it came into force in March this year? OAQ(5)0565(FM)
 
14:12
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Our assessment of the Trade Union Act remains: that it is divisive, damaging and risks undermining public services and the economy.
 
14:12
Joyce WatsonBiography
I thank you for that answer and I share your opinion. Do you agree that by forcing public sector employers to publish information on facility time—that is, the time taken off from work to allow union representatives to carry out their duties when helping employees—that by doing this, the Trade Union Act 2016 blatantly discriminates against public sector workers and serves to weaken their rights and their working conditions? And what, First Minister, is the Welsh Government doing to help protect workers’ rights across Wales?
 
14:13
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
We, of course, have taken forward legislation in this Assembly to do just that in the areas that we believe are devolved. It is a bureaucratic imposition on public sector employers that they have to do this. It’s not something that the private sector is required to do. But also, it seems to indicate that, somehow, the current UK Government sees public sector workers as somehow not as good as those in the private sector. That’s the insinuation: that, somehow, they’re spending all their time in facility time and not actually doing any real work. That’s not the case at all. We know that huge amounts of work go into the public sector, from so many hundreds of thousands of people up and down the length and breadth of Wales, and that is why this legislation was so unnecessary.
 
A Fair Work Nation
 
14:13
Steffan LewisBiography
10. What are the Welsh Government's plans for making Wales a 'fair work nation'? OAQ(5)0570(FM)
 
14:13
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
I am in close discussion with our social partners on fair work and the steps we can take together so that more people have access to good work and a secure income. Tomorrow I’m meeting with our social partners, the Wales TUC and business organisations to discuss the establishment of a fair work commission.
 
14:14
Steffan LewisBiography
I thank the First Minister for his answer, although he did make this announcement in his Labour Party conference speech back in the spring, and it’s disappointing, given developments at a UK level, that this fair work commission hasn’t been established. According to the most recent data I’ve been able to find, Wales is among the least fair nations in terms of work in these islands: 45,000 people are classed as being low-paid self-employed, 60 per cent of temporary workers want but cannot get permanent jobs, and 42,000 people are on zero-hours contracts. When he eventually gets round to establishing a fair work commission, can he give a commitment that part of its terms of reference will be to review all previous and current trade union legislation as they relate to devolved areas, so that we in Wales can take the spirit that his Government has shown in relation to the Trade Union Act 2016 and amend all regressive anti-trade union legislation in this country?
 
14:15
Carwyn JonesBiographyThe First Minister
Well, I wouldn’t want to prejudge the discussion that takes place tomorrow, but I take on board what he has said. It’s hugely important that we get support and buy-in from all sectors of industry as we look at fair work. In addition to working with social partners, I have also already asked the Public Policy Institute for Wales to undertake some work on this—specifically in terms of defining what fair work is. We can have an idea of what fair work looks like, but it’s hugely important to define it as strongly as possible in order for the commission’s work to be effective.
 
14:15
Y Llywydd / The LlywyddBiography
Thank you, First Minister.
 
14:15
2. Business Statement and Announcement
Y Llywydd / The LlywyddBiography
The next item on our agenda is the business statement and announcement, and I call on the leader of the house, Jane Hutt.
 
14:15
Jane HuttBiographyThe Leader of the House and Chief Whip
Diolch, Llywydd. I have one change to report to this week’s business. The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure will make a statement on the Champions League final later this afternoon. Business for the next three weeks is as shown on the business statement and announcement found among the meeting papers available to Members electronically.
 
14:16
Andrew R.T. DaviesBiography
Leader of the house, could we have a statement, please—and I think that you are deputising in the absence of the Cabinet Secretary for rural affairs—on the way that the basic payments scheme is delivered in Wales? I do declare an interest, as a partner in a farming business in the Vale of Glamorgan. There have been huge concerns, not just in the Vale of Glamorgan but across Wales, where payments have been delayed because of the checks and inspections regime that is undertaken, and the inability for the department to keep farmers in the loop as to how their claims are progressing. I, like you, in the Vale of Glamorgan do have constituents who still, at this point—in May, now—have outstanding claims still to be paid. It is very difficult for those individuals to be able to explain their positions to banks—who have been understanding when it comes to borrowing and, obviously, extending overdraft facilitates—when they are unable to secure information from the department as to why their claim has been held up or how their claim is progressing. I do think that we do need a statement from the Cabinet Secretary to give us an understanding, as Members, of how the department deals with these queries and, importantly, what lessons have been learned, because this year does seem to be a particularly difficult year in dealing with farms that have been inspected and have obviously have had outstanding queries for them to receive their payments.
 
14:17
Jane HuttBiography
I thank Andrew R.T. Davies for that question, and I am very happy to update on the basic payments scheme. By 27 April, over 98.9 per cent of claims had been paid, at a value of approximately £219 million. This now includes cross-border payments made by the Welsh Government. Wales’s basic payment scheme 2016 payment performance is similar to Northern Ireland and compares very favourably with Scotland and England. And, as the Member knows, the BPS payment window runs until 30 June, with Rural Payments Wales doing everything they can to make all remaining payments as quickly as possible. They expect to pay all but the most complex claims by the end of April, of course, which was last week. I would also add the point that the introduction of the new greening requirements for arable farmers has led to more complex inspections. The EC requires farm businesses subject to an inspection in 2016 to have their claim finalised before payment can be made. We can’t comment on the functions of other paying agents.
 
14:18
Simon ThomasBiography
I think we can add payments of Glastir as well to the point that was already being made. I particularly wanted to ask the leader of the house whether she could timetable a debate in Government time on access to primary care services. I think we heard earlier a question from Leanne Wood, the leader of Plaid Cymru, about events in the Rhondda. If I can tell the house that, last week, I and my office spent several hours over two days trying to get a GP for a 90-year-old woman in Carmarthenshire. The listed surgery was in dispute with the health board and wouldn’t take her on. Another surgery wouldn’t deal with it either, despite, in theory, being open to new patients. The only surgery that was offered was at a considerable distance. I am pleased, I hope—touch wood—that that has been resolved, and as an Assembly Member I want to help my constituent. But if it takes the intervention of an Assembly Member to get a GP for a 90-year-old woman, I suggest we have a problem with GPs in Wales: a problem of recruitment, a problem of accessibility, and a problem in the stewardship that your party is showing to the NHS in Wales. So, I think you have made many promises about expanding access to GPs and primary care over the last six years, and I think a debate would allow all Assembly Members of all parties to describe what’s really happening on the ground.
 
14:20
Jane HuttBiography
Obviously, these issues have been raised, with specific examples of difficulties and pressures, and the First Minister responded to the one in terms of the GP day closure in the Rhondda. I think it is important in the context of recruitment again to say that our national and international campaign to attract GPs and the wider primary care workforce is already starting to bear fruit. Six months in and we have seen a 16 per cent increase in the number of GP training places filled so far compared to last year, and our £43 million primary care fund has helped provide more than 250 additional primary care posts, including GPs, nursing posts, pharmacists and physiotherapists, which of course are part of the answer and the response to primary care needs in terms of the wider primary care team. Also, I think there are the important investments taking place in the primary care clusters, which should also address this issue—64 primary care clusters ensuring that patients will be seen directly by the most appropriate professional for their needs. So, clearly, this is an issue of topical development and change that’s being raised today.
 
14:21
Julie MorganBiography
On 10 August, Sea Dragon will moor in Mermaid Quay with its all-female crew sailing round the coast of Britain to collect data on plastic in our coastal waters. I recently met with one of the Welsh members of the crew—I know they’ve met other Assembly Members and have actually been mentioned here in a debate—and they are very keen to highlight the problem of plastic pollution, and to support the Marine Conservation Society’s petition, which I believe is before the Petitions Committee, and are campaigning on a deposit-return scheme on drinks containers and penalties for companies who use non-recyclable plastic fast-food containers and utensils. Also, very importantly, I thought, they are campaigning for the introduction of public drinking water fountains, which would of course reduce the need for plastic bottles in any case.
 
So, would the leader of the house congratulate this all-female team, two of whom are from Wales? Also, can we have another opportunity in this house to emphasise the vital importance of this issue, and to highlight the pollution that is happening in our seas as well as on our land?
 
14:22
Jane HuttBiography
Well, I’d also like to add my congratulations, and thank Julie Morgan for bringing this to our attention this afternoon—congratulations to that all-female team, who brought the Sea Dragon into Mermaid Quay and met many Assembly Members—but particularly drawing attention to their scientific and campaigning mission in terms of the work that they’re doing on collecting data on plastic in our coastal waters. Indeed, we did recently debate Welsh waste reduction in the debate on the waste reduction Bill, on 5 April, and we are looking to conclude our review of extended producer responsibility.
 
Under the marine strategy framework directive we have a commitment to reduce marine litter. There’s a specific target under descriptor 10 of the marine strategic framework directive, and of course we have a Wales marine strategic advisory group. They’ve formed a marine litter task and finish group to tackle the issue of marine litter in Wales, so I’m sure that the work’s that’s being done on this through Sea Dragon and their scientific team will help to add to the strength of the evidence that we will be addressing.
 
14:23
Darren MillarBiography
Leader of the house, can I ask for a number of statements, please, the first from the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs on waste collection services? One thing that is exercising the minds of lots of my constituents, particularly in Conwy, is the roll-out of four-weekly bin collections, which of course has been supported by Labour, Plaid Cymru and independent councillors in that area, much to the disdain and dismay of local residents. There's dog mess that is building up in local dog bins as a result of people being encouraged to use those rather than leave dog mess in their bins for four weeks, and the whole place is becoming a significant eyesore, unfortunately, to the many visitors who visit my constituency. So, I would be grateful if we could have some clear guidance from the Cabinet Secretary and from the Welsh Government on the frequency of bin collection services, and in particular dog bin collection services, because, clearly, they are not frequent enough at the moment.
 
Can I also call for a statement from the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children on internet safety? The leader of the house will be aware of the research by the Internet Watch Foundation that clearly identified that the UK, as a result of the zero-tolerance approach to internet safety, particularly in terms of child sexual abuse images and videos, has made very good progress in recent years on this front. The UK now hosts less than 0.1 per cent of child sexual abuse imagery globally, compared to 37 per cent in the Netherlands, 22 per cent in the USA and 11 per cent in France. But, of course, there’s still lots of work to be done, and in particular, we need to see more family friendly access to the internet in public sector funded organisations and indeed in private organisations. I wonder whether we could have a statement from the Cabinet Secretary on this to see whether this is something that could be addressed, perhaps through grant conditions.
 
Thirdly, can I call for a statement on delayed transfers of care by the Cabinet Secretary for health and social services? Many Members of the Chamber will have been alarmed to read of the very sad case of an individual patient who’s been languishing in a hospital ward for almost four years and has got a further half a year to go before a suitable place for their care can be arranged. That is clearly unacceptable and more work needs to be done on delayed transfers of care. Can we have a statement on that?
 
14:26
Jane HuttBiography
I think we’ve discussed these issues in relation to local authorities’ responsibilities for waste collection on a number of occasions, and, of course, there have been plenty of opportunities to raise these matters with the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs. I think it is very important to recognise, in terms of our success rates, those local authorities—and I won’t necessarily, although perhaps I should, name those who control some of those local authorities, who are actually actually leading the way in terms of waste collection—but Wales leads the way in the UK when it comes to recycling. Also, we are supporting local authorities to recycle more. We recently awarded £3 million to help local authorities update their recycling methods, which of course takes into account frequency of collections and, indeed, handling of dog waste. Of course, we have to ensure that local authorities learn from each other and deliver, as a result of that, the best public services for their constituents and local people.
 
Your second question is very important. Obviously, we are all aware of the work of the Internet Watch Foundation and its impact in terms of internet safety, and Yvette Cooper’s very powerful remarks as Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday. We would obviously want to review that in terms of our circumstances here in Wales in terms of the powers that we have to address those issues, and be very clear in the support of the statement that she made as a Westminster chair of a select committee.
 
I think your point about delayed transfers of care must be seen in context, Darren Millar, because delayed transfers of care are at their lowest level for 12 years, which is an exceptional achievement, particularly when considered against the increasing demand for services as our population ages and is exceptional compared with what is happening over the border in England where they’re rising not falling. But I think there are complex issues, and I will recognise there is a particularly complex case that you have referred to. Those are often with a range of other issues, requiring very highly specialist and often bespoke services to be put in place. I’m sure that many Members will recognise those kinds of circumstances. Importantly, I hope that you have put—you’ve brought this, clearly, to the attention of your health board. But I think it is important that there is nobody occupying acute hospital beds in these circumstances.
 
14:29
Bethan JenkinsBiography
I thought everybody was being quite negative with the election campaigns in First Minister’s questions, so I wanted to bring something positive to business questions and call on the Welsh Government to congratulate Josh Griffiths and Matthew Rees, both from the Swansea Harriers. Josh Griffiths has qualified now with an amazing time, more than professional runners, for the IAAF World Championships. And then Matthew Rees you would have seen from the London Marathon, who helped another runner who was struggling to finish the race. I think it’s been amazing for Wales, and for Swansea, for those runners to show their capabilities, and I wanted to have a statement from the Welsh Government to see what discussions you’ve been having with Welsh Athletics, so that you can support Josh Griffiths, through this time, over the summer, to make sure, as a student, that he’s able to take part in the world championships, and to show that Wales has that talent behind us.
 
My second request—and I appreciate that Lesley Griffiths is not here at the moment—is with regard to whether she or her team have an update on the animal abuse register. Lately, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals launched a campaign to call for a working group within Welsh Government to establish whether an animal abuse register for Wales would be conceivable. And, so I wonder, in her absence, whether her civil servants would be able to give us a statement, or whether we could have a letter as AMs on any progress in that manner.
 
14:31
Jane HuttBiography
I thank Bethan Jenkins for that very positive question and comment. I’m sure we would all agree with you. It was amazing to see the way in which Josh Griffiths and Matthew Rees came together in the end over the finishing line in the London Marathon, and to hear those Welsh voices, and the recognition of that camaraderie and support was truly something that was very positive for us all to share, and we send our thanks and congratulations. But, obviously, you raise wider issues, which I’m sure will need to be addressed in terms of the particular situation for Josh Griffiths.
 
On your second point, I can assure you that the Cabinet Secretary’s officials are following through on her behalf progress in terms of setting up the animal abuse register. In fact, that was something I responded to in her place, and we are following this through and we will be able to update in due course.
 
14:32
Vikki HowellsBiography
Leader of the house, I know that you, like myself, and many other Members here, are an ardent supporter of the WASPI campaign, and I’m sure you’ll be aware of the recent pledge from the UK Labour Party to compensate those women who have been worst affected by the UK Government’s changes to the state pension age. This has been welcomed by the WASPI campaign as an important first step in getting justice for those who have been so unfairly treated. Could we have a statement from the Welsh Government on what it can do to make sure that those women born in the 1950s, many of whom face destitution from the cavalier changes steamrollered through by the UK Government, get the justice and the state pension that they so deserve?
 
14:32
Jane HuttBiography
I thank Vikki Howells for that question. Indeed, only last week, I met with Kay Clarke, a leading campaigner in Barry, whom I first met when she came here to a demonstration on the steps of the Senedd, and I think, Vikki, you were welcoming them as Assembly Member for Cynon Valley. And I have since, as an Assembly Member, got very engaged in supporting this campaign. Just for everyone to be clear, WASPI is Women Against State Pension Age Inequality, and although pension matters are non-devolved and are the responsibility of the Department for Work and Pensions in the UK Government, nevertheless, the Welsh Government remains concerned about the disproportionate effect, as Vikki Howells has described, that this change is having on a significant number of women. They’ve had their state pension age raised significantly without effective or sufficient notification, leaving them very little time to reshape their lives, their plans and their finances, and are waiting a number of additional years to become eligible for their state pension, and for what we would describe clearly as their entitlement. So, again, this is something on which we would want to ensure that we do what we can within our powers and certainly add our voice to the WASPI campaign.
 
14:34
Mark IsherwoodBiography
Can I call for a single statement, a statement from the Cabinet Secretary for health, on vaginal mesh implants? The Minister will be aware that during the Easter recess this matter was covered extensively in the UK and Welsh press, after it was announced that 800 women across the UK were suing the NHS, stating that these had caused them pain and suffering. I was contacted by a constituent in north Wales, who asked me to raise this here in the Senedd with the Welsh Government. She told me that in 2004, at Ysbyty Gwynedd, she had a mesh implant and she’s since suffered badly from left hip pain, left thigh pain, pelvic pain and intimate pain, as one of, as she says, several thousand women across the UK who are suffering from these implants. Media coverage in Wales at the time said that, despite the complications reported, the mesh is still available to women in Wales, and that the Welsh Government had confirmed to WalesOnline that treatment was still available on the Welsh NHS, but that enhanced guidelines were in place. For the sake of my constituent, and, no doubt, many other women across Wales affected by these implants, I hope you will agree that this merits a statement. Thank you.
 
14:35
Jane HuttBiography
Well, I also, Mark Isherwood, have raised these concerns on behalf of my constituents as well. And, clearly, there has been recently more public awareness of this, as a result, for example, of MPs as well. Owen Smith MP, I know, has raised this in particular. So, I think the issue that you refer to in terms of the NHS, the procedure being available in Wales, and the fact that advice and guidance in 2014, when concerns were raised about adverse events associated with this form of treatment, again emphasising the need for informed consent, compliance with guidance standards, regular audits of surgery undertaken, adverse event reporting, ensuring that repeat surgery or removal of the mesh is performed by properly qualified specialists. So, we have, again, to maintain patient safety, reminded health boards to ensure they report any complications of surgery, and have given women who have had the procedure the option to self-report problems or adverse effects. And, clearly, it’s important that we put that on the record again today.
 
14:36
Mike HedgesBiography
I’m asking for a Government statement on the number of council houses and flats proposed to be built in Wales. I know of the developments either under construction or proposed in Swansea, but it would be of benefit to know of all the developments that are proposed in Wales. And, just a reminder, before the Conservatives became an ultra-right-wing party, under leaders such as Churchill and Harold Macmillan, they promoted the building of council houses and flats.
 
14:37
Jane HuttBiography
Well, we’re now starting to see the benefit of our housing revenue account subsidy exit, with new council houses being built. So, I’m really grateful, Mike Hedges, that you’ve brought this to our attention for comment and a response from the Welsh Government today. As part of the housing pact with the Welsh Local Government Association and Community Housing Cymru, I am pleased to say that local housing authorities are aiming to deliver 1,000 affordable homes. And, of course, this is a valuable contribution towards our 20,000 target. So, once again, we are ensuring that council house building is happening and taking place, and providing affordable homes for people in Wales.
 
14:38
Mohammad AsgharBiography
Cabinet Secretary, six years ago, I raised a business enterprise Bill in this Chamber, and I raised a very strong emphasis to promote our aviation industry. I heard very recently that our First Minister has arranged very close ties with one of the middle-eastern airlines, which is going to start next year. Don’t you think this is six years late, or seven years late, but is still a backbone for our economy? And could you ask the First Minister, or the Cabinet Secretary for transport, to make a statement on our aviation industry development in Wales? Thank you.
 
14:38
Jane HuttBiography
Well, I’m glad you’ve drawn this to our attention this afternoon, Mohammad Asghar, because I’m sure you heard, and you recognise it again, the First Minister welcoming the great news of the Qatar investment and engagement in our Cardiff airport, which we, of course, have not only secured, sustained, but are developing. So, you know, the aviation policy of this Welsh Government is clear, and is delivering, and will go from strength to strength. But it is important that we are able to, again, take stock of those good news announcements.
 
14:39
Y Llywydd / The LlywyddBiography
I thank the leader of the house, Jane Hutt.
 
14:39
3. Statement: The Welsh Government Future Trends Report
Y Llywydd / The LlywyddBiography
The next item on our agenda is a statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government on the Welsh Government’s future trends report. And I call on the Cabinet Secretary, Mark Drakeford, to make his statement.
 
14:39
Mark DrakefordBiographyThe Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government
Thank you very much, Llywydd. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, which was passed into law almost exactly two years ago, requires the production within 12 months of the election of a new National Assembly for Wales of a report that contains an account of likely future trends in terms of economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being in Wales, and any related analytical data and information that the Welsh Ministers consider appropriate. This week, for the first time ever, the report known as the future trends report has been published.
 
Llywydd, this report is not intended to be some new form of political astrology. It does not aim to predict the future. Rather, it attempts to draw together, in one accessible place, a range of information to assist Welsh citizens and policy makers in understanding trends discernible today that seem most likely to pose risks or create opportunities in the future.
 
Even that more modest task is one potentially fraught with difficulty. The internet was barely still stirring when this National Assembly was first elected in 1999. The iPhone is less than a decade old. A third of the jobs in today’s economy may be obsolete in less than 15 years.
 
The pace of change is headlong, although it may always have seemed so at the time. When Cincinnatus retired to his farm in 458 BC, he said that he was doing so to escape the hurly-burly of Roman life and politics. To help avoid mistaking the simply novel for the significant, this report aims to use and interpret the data sources it draws upon to develop a longer and broader view of the decisions that we make today, in the way that the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 requires.
 
It does so by identifying key future social, economic, environmental and cultural trends for Wales, under six themes that have an impact on all aspects of government and public administration. It deals with population, with health, with the economy and infrastructure; it focuses on climate change, land use and natural resources, and on society and culture. In helping us to explore the longer view, this first report also begins to explore some of the factors that could affect these trends as the future unfolds.
 
The report also prompts us to think broadly. For many reasons, the business of government, at all levels, tends to focus on individual policy areas when seeking to deliver benefits. This report is an attempt to take a wider, as well as a longer view, bringing together factors that we might previously have considered in isolation and paying particular attention to careful examination of the interactions and interdependencies between them, making connections between different trends in different areas of government.
 
Llywydd, as I said, the report is not intended to provide a series of predictions, but it does include a set of questions designed to prompt readers to formulate their own responses as they consider the trend data and the possible future scenarios to which that data might point.
 
This report is the beginning of work to improve our capability in making decisions fit for the long term. I am keen for us to start building it as a live and continuously developing future trends resource, for use by all those with an interest in such matters here in Wales. We have taken the first steps already, with this initial report being produced through a process of collaboration, not only amongst Welsh Government departments, but also with a wide range of public sector organisations. We have sought to use the public service boards, brought into being by the well-being of future generations Act, to understand what kind of report is needed and to bring together some of the future trend data that already exist. We intend to continue to work in this way, fully involving all those with an interest in developing our shared resource and capability, and providing a report that is useful for future policy making here in Wales.
 
14:44
Nick RamsayBiography
Can I thank the Cabinet Secretary for his statement today and the publication, indeed, of the future trends report—another first for devolution, although maybe not quite as groundbreaking as some firsts that we’ve had? It’s probably, I’m afraid to say, Cabinet Secretary, not going to be the talk of pubs and clubs across the nation, but I take your statement in the spirit that you meant it, and hopefully it will provide some use in the area of policy decision making.
 
This is clearly part and parcel of the future generations Bill, and, as we know, there have been concerns across parties in this Chamber about the implementation of that Bill and whether it’s actually delivering its objectives out there on the ground. I think the jury is still out on that, and, hopefully, this report, if you’re right, will help to steer the course ahead with the future generations Bill and will shed some light on some of the murkier aspects of it.
 
Cabinet Secretary, you said that this report is trying to cover a huge range of areas in a relatively short space, ranging from climate change, population to health statistics. How confident are you that this forecasting—the set of questions, as you called it—is going to be accurate enough in any way to be of use for the decision-making process? I think what I’m trying to ask you is: I understand that you’ve had to provide this report because of the future generations legislation—are we not just going down the road of a box-ticking exercise? Will this actually be worth the time that has clearly been spent on it?
 
You said honestly that the report is not intended to provide a set of predictions, but is designed to prompt readers to formulate their own response. I must admit, again, I’m not entirely sure how useful that process can be. I hope you can persuade me of it. And particularly in the area of environment, I quote:
 
‘there are a wide range of climate change scenarios and models’.
 
That’s from the climate change section. Well, yes, clearly, there are. I think we know that. That’s not really a prediction and it’s not even really a question; it’s just stating where we are with that. I can’t see how that assertion really is going to provide any meaningful input into the decision-making and policy-making processes in the short term but, again, maybe you can tell me how it will.
 
It is clearly the culmination of extensive collaboration—I don’t doubt that—between Government departments and outside bodies; a lot of work has been done on this. You said towards the end of your statement that this is the beginning of work to improve decision-making capabilities. How do you envisage that work progressing? You’ve said about building up a database. What tangible form will that database take? Will we be seeing future reports? Is there a requirement for future reports? I’m not sure. Will there be a different means of building up that database? Will it be for the Government departments to do that, or will it be centrally collated? And will there be an evaluation of this? I know that you can’t evaluate the future until it’s happened—clearly, I’m not suggesting you could—but, at some point in the future, it will be quite evident whether the predictions or questions in this report are hitting the mark, or whether they are way off. It is likely that they will be somewhere in the middle, but at what point do you intend to assess whether this actually has been a useful process and whether it is aiding the future generations legislation in rolling that out?
 
Finally, Cabinet Secretary, it does seem to me—and I think you would accept this—that this report does ask as many questions as it answers. I think it would be helpful if you could clarify how you do intend to build on it, clarify how you intend to evaluate it and at what point in the future you will look back and say, ‘That was actually a very worthwhile exercise’, or, ‘Perhaps there was a better way to proceed at that point.’
 
14:48
Mark DrakefordBiography
Diolch yn fawr, Llywydd, and thank you to Nick Ramsay for those questions. I’ll start with his final point, which I think is an important one. I was very keen in discussing the nature of this report with my officials some months ago that it should not set out to be a report that purported to be a set of answers that people could just go to, because I think it could be positively misleading if it were framed in that way. It is therefore intended to be a resource document, a document where people can go to get authoritative information about key future trends, and where people can engage with that data, because, the sorts of questions that they may want to ask themselves about, drawing meaning from information, there will be sufficient prompts for them there to allow them to do that.
 
Now, it has a number of applied purposes as well, most significantly in helping our public services boards in their local assessments of well-being, part of which requires them to look at future trends in their own localities. This document was shared with local service boards back in November in its earlier form to assist them in that work, and, whereas this report is inevitably at an all-Wales level, I think if you look at some of the local well-being assessments that are now available online—. If you look at Pembrokeshire’s for example, you would see, I think, a very sophisticated discussion of climate change, the possible scenarios for that in future and the way it affects a local economy that is particularly dependent on shipping and on tourism. In looking at the way in which the information here has helped local organisations to carry out their thinking, then I think you can see some of the way in which this report does have a practical impact.
 
Nick Ramsay asked me about how the report might be developed in the future, and I said I am keen, if we can do it. What I don’t want to do is to meet the letter of the law here by publishing this report one year after the last Assembly elections and for us then to forget about this, and then there’ll be another report in five years’ time. I think, for this sort of report to be genuinely useful, it ought to be online as much as possible and it ought to be capable of being updated and added to all the time, as new trend data emerge.
 
I met recently with the National Union of Students in Wales, who wanted to talk about the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, and they were especially interested in ways in which their members who are working on developing their own studies across a very wide range of topics reflected in this report, might be able to add to the resource that this report provides. If we were able to do it—to have that sort of iterative resource to which people could contribute, could take away from and could keep up to date—that, I think, would make it more likely to be something that is genuinely used by policy makers and by Welsh citizens to help them to reflect on the future. Will there be a point at which we evaluate its usefulness? Well, it’s a legal requirement under the Act to produce this report every five years, within one year of an Assembly election, and I imagine that, when the next report is prepared, part of what we will want to do will be to look back at this document to see whether it captured the sort of data that are genuinely useful, to see whether it identified those trends that were making the most difference, and, no doubt, to report on those things that none of us here have been able to foresee so far but will be making a difference to people’s lives five years from now.
 
14:53
Adam PriceBiography
I have mixed feelings about the report that’s been published. I don’t want to disillusion the Cabinet Secretary that he’s following in the footsteps of Cincinnatus, going back to some farm because of political problems. I do think that it’s a good thing that the Government is producing a report of this kind and that we are having a discourse at a governmental level on the future and future trends. In the past few years, the whole area of futurology has been given something of a bad reputation because of the work of people such as Philip Tetlock, Daniel Kahneman and Nassim Taleb, who have questioned to what extent we can predict the future. I do think the Cabinet Secretary is right to avoid falling into that particular trap, but the fact that we can’t predict the future doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have a policy conversation on future trends. Therefore, in terms of a framework, I do think that the framework and approach are right.
 
The concern that I have is the lack of detail in the document at the moment, if we compare it, for example with the masterpieces produced by the Singapore Government, for example, which, for decades, have placed so much emphasis on this question of assessing the impact of future trends. The same is true of Finland, for example. So, they are relatively small nations that provide a fair amount of resource to the production of a report that is far more substantial than this one, and which has dozens and dozens of sub-reports based on the detailed input of specialists in the area.
 
So, I’m asking, and it’s a plea from me to the Cabinet Secretary: fine, this is the initial report that’s been produced within a year, but could we build on these foundations and ensure that sufficient resources are available so that the report published, and its sub-reports, isn’t as superficial? There wasn’t much in the report that I could identify that I didn’t know already to some extent or other, and that was a disappointment. Strangely, it was useful in the other regard, in looking backwards. There are a number of things in the report that talk about the post-devolution period, where it points out where we have failed. We have failed in terms of not achieving more than flatlining against the rest of the UK in terms of the economy, and the aim, of course, was to close that gap.
 
There is reference here to the growth potential in Wales in terms of energy, which is as yet unfulfilled. There is reference to a slower start in Wales in terms of broadband as compared with the rest of the UK, and an increase in the number of people under 18 living in poverty over the past years. And finally, another policy area where we have failed: the number of households increasing more swiftly than the number of houses available. And what’s interesting about all of those is that they were long-term policy objectives that we hadn’t been able to achieve as a nation. And in looking to the future, would it be possible to ask the question ‘why’? I know we’re in an election period, but I’m not putting all of the blame on Government here—there are a whole host of reasons why policy objectives aren’t delivered, but, in asking why there has been a failing in those areas over the past 18 years, then perhaps we would be in a better position for the future.
 
14:58
Mark DrakefordBiography
Thank you very much, Llywydd, and thank you, Adam Price. Of course, I agree—this is an initial report before the Assembly this afternoon. We did go out and speak to people who will use the report in due course, as the Act requires us to do, and the one thing they kept coming back to tell us was, ‘Don’t prepare a report that is too lengthy to be usable. Try, if you can, to prepare a report that allows us to use the information contained within it.’
 
That does create a tension, inevitably, between the messages we have back from the field and from potential users that they wanted a report, as they said, that was concise and that allowed them to get to information that they wanted to use quickly. But it’s an important point that Adam Price makes—that, when you’re trying to produce a report of that sort, you inevitably lose some of the richness of the data that are available out there. It’s partly—to answer his second question about how we can develop the report in the future—why I’m keen that it should be an online resource that we can continuously keep up-to-date. Because then, I think, it is possible to provide upfront a relatively brief set of material for people who just want to get to the essence of something, but to be able quickly to direct people who have a deeper interest in any particular aspect of it to data that lie behind the headline, and where, using online material, you can get to those richer data without feeling that you’re being drowned in them at the first sight. So, if we can do it, I think that will help us to answer the point that he raised.
 
Of course, he is right: if we are going to understand the future better, then the past is often the best guide, both for things that we have succeeded in doing—those things that we were able to spot early and respond to—but those things as well where we have had ambitions that have not been fully realised, to try to see the things that got in the way of us being able to achieve the things we may have set out to achieve and then to draw on that learning in order to make our ability to make better policy decisions in the future, to avoid unintended consequences or poorly directed investments, and to identify opportunities that we would not have identified had we not done what the report tries to do. As I said, it tries to look in depth, but it tries especially to look broadly to see connections between different strands in Government activity, which, despite being a small Government, can be a challenge when you are running a single portfolio where your attention is inevitably focused on the matters in front of you and where it’s not always as easy as you might want it to be to see the way that those decisions connect with other decisions that have been made elsewhere in other parts of Government.
 
15:01
Mike HedgesBiography
First of all, can I welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s statement and the report? But I’m very pleased it comes with a warning, to quote:
 
‘the report is not intended to be some new form of political astrology. It does not aim to predict the future.’
 
I’m always reminded, on this day, of the concerns in the nineteenth century, when the horse was the main mode of transport, over how horse manure, which was predicted to cover the street by anything up to 3 ft, was going to be dealt with in the twentieth century. Of course, the motor car came, and we didn’t end up with that problem. Also, I think everybody in this room is old enough to remember the VHS/Betamax debate, which was fought long and hard—won by VHS, and you tell me where I can get a tape now. I think of those three things that—we see recent major changes and they get overtaken by events very rapidly.
 
What it does give us is the opportunity to see how things will be if we do not do anything, and what we can do to try and change the future. We know urban agglomerations are economic magnets, and we know improved internal transport links are a factor that could strengthen the economic performance of Swansea and its hinterland, so that we can harness its economic potential more effectively as a city region. Will the Welsh Government consider drawing up a transport plan for the Swansea city region? I know that transport is not part of the city region bid, but I don’t think transport within that region can be forgotten or can be dealt with by one-off decisions like the Llandeilo bypass. There needs to be a much more integrated approach.
 
We also know that highly skilled people earn more in general, and they’ve got a better chance of employment in general. We also know that too many children, through no fault of their own, start formal education developmentally up to two years behind some of their peer group. They start education feeling a failure and far too many of them end education being a failure. Will the Welsh Government seek to expand further Flying Start, which gives a chance to every child to start school at the age they actually are—their chronological age—so that the development between two and three takes place, which, for far too many children in far too many of our communities, does not?
 
15:03
Mark DrakefordBiography
I thank Mike Hedges for those questions. He’s absolutely right to point out the danger of using future trends reports in a deterministic way, where we project into the future the situation we see in front of us. His horse manure example is a well-known one. My own favourite, Llywydd, recently, was I heard a Pathé News item from the late 1930s—I can’t do Pathé News voices for you, but it was in that urgent way that the commentator uses. The film was of a group of telephonists, and the message was that the spread of the telephone was happening so rapidly in the United Kingdom that, by 1960, every woman—and it was every woman, he said—in the United Kingdom would be needed to be a telephonist. If you predict the future in that sort of way, you end up, as I say, making very bad decisions.
 
But the plan here is to use the report to help us to make better decisions for the future. I hope there will be a transport plan for the Swansea city region, because it should come out of the new regional arrangements that we propose in our local government White Paper. And, as for education, Mike Hedges’s second question, then what we have learnt, I think, is not simply that those who need fastest access to education need that in the way that Flying Start provides it, but that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, even before education is even part of what might be happening with them, has an enormously influential impact on their future, and this report helps in its way to try to draw together the different factors, whether that be in the health field, whether it be in the housing field, whether it be in the more general environment that a child at that part of their life faces, to make sure that we are able to do all we can to make those first 1,000 days the foundation for the success that that child might want to be in the future.
 
15:06
Gareth BennettBiography
Thanks to the Minister for his statement today. Nick Ramsay made the point that this report may well not end up being the talk of pubs and clubs throughout south Wales—throughout Wales, rather—and I think he could well be right. And I think, to a few Members here in the Chamber, it all remains a little bit mysterious, even to us. And the process by which we’ve arrived at having a future generations commissioner and a future trends report: it all seems to me somewhat arcane. I have read through the report today. It’s a reasonably hefty report, but I struggle to find any guide in it for meaningful Government action, so I am still slightly puzzled by it all. We did have Sophie Howe, the commissioner, appearing before the equalities committee, and she was a very efficient witness before the committee. She did engage with the committee, but I feel she wasn’t really there for long enough to answer all of the questions that we would have wanted to ask her and to ascertain quite how her role will influence Government action, because she is looking at covering a wide range of potential Government activity. For instance, 44 public bodies are covered by the Act. She herself—Sophie herself—talked about the difficulty of implementing legislation and the need to avoid tick-box exercises, but how are these meaningfully going to be avoided when we have public bodies that, in her own words, already feel beleaguered because of all the statutory requirements that they have to fulfil, as it is, before the future generations Act is even taken into account? Added to that, there is the fact that some of the regulations emanating from the different statutory requirements contradict others. She cited, herself, the example of the need for health boards to have three-year plans, which contradicts the future generations objective of long-term planning. So, I wonder how the Welsh Government will resolve these apparent contradictions.
 
Looking at the practical issues that may arise from this report, there is an issue of climate change, which is referred to. Now, we know that the climate is changing. There are differences of opinion in the Chamber as to what may be causing those climate changes, but I think, on the whole, we agree that climate is changing. There is increasing desertification. The Sahara is spreading. Areas of Spain and other parts of southern Europe are becoming too arid for agriculture. Given that this is happening and there is less land likely to be available for farming, it would therefore make sense, in the UK, to hang onto our agricultural land. This is long-term planning relating to food security. Why, therefore, are we allowing councils to build on the green belt land? For instance, in the Vale of Glamorgan, there is land that has been farmed for hundreds of years that is now going over to housing. Surely long-term planning considerations should prevent building on green belt land in Wales. So, if you now have a report on the future generations that is going to be in any way meaningful, are you now going to give out advice and guidance to councils to prevent them or to warn them off from building on green belt land? That would be one practicality arising from your purported idea of having long-term planning. Other issues: automation. Thirty-five per cent of jobs—actually, I think it is 30 per cent—are predicted to be at risk in Wales due to automation. So, the working population in Wales needs therefore to be upskilled if this prediction is in any way accurate. More vocational training, I would suggest, would help. So, would you agree that we need to move away from a blanket approach to education in Wales? Do we need to look at the effectiveness, for instance, of the comprehensive school system?
 
Driverless cars are mentioned. Now, this completely mystifies me. I know that we are supposed to be having driverless cars. Sophie Howe, when she appeared before the committee, suggested that the M4 relief road project should have taken into account the issue of driverless cars. I’m not sure what difference that will make in terms of congestion on the roads. Although we are going to have driverless cars, won’t we just have the same amount of cars on the road? So, how would this actually affect anything? I am puzzled by this. Maybe you can—[Interruption.] Ah, stopping distances. Okay, there may be technical aspects that, as a non-driver—[Interruption.] Okay, thank you. There may be technical aspects I haven’t taken into account, so apologies for my ignorance, but the answers would be good.
 
Now, you also, rather amusingly, looked at the problems of futurology, and Mike Hedges came up with an example as well—you came with examples relating to horse manure and telephonists, which were quite amusing in themselves. There was also a chap in the early 1960s called Dr Beeching, who seemed to think that there would be no need for passengers to travel on the railways in a few years’ time. That one turned out to be a bit wrong, didn’t it? Anyway, thanks for the report. If you could cast any light on the issues I’ve raised I would be grateful. Thank you.
 
15:11
Mark DrakefordBiography
I thank the Member for his contribution. I’m glad that he’s found the sessions that the committee has had with the commissioner useful. Her office was part of the group that helped in putting together this report. There will be many further opportunities, I’m sure, to hear from the commissioner and to work with her to make sure that the information in this report is useful to policymakers as they try to assess the opportunities that trends we see today provide for future policymakers, and to avoid the sort of pitfalls that the Member pointed to when he referred to the Beeching report.
 
If I’m frank, Llywydd, I think he’s one step ahead of where the report is today. The report is meant to be the best drawing together we can make of the evidence, of the data, of the different trends that we see in the Welsh economy, in Welsh society, and in those wider environmental things, for all policymakers—including political parties and individual politicians—to draw their conclusions as to how policies should be shaped in the future. The report aims to be policy neutral. It doesn’t aim to push policy in any particular direction. It’s meant to be there as a resource for people to devise the answers that they think would best meet the needs of Wales. Mr Bennett raises a number of important policy matters. He won’t find the answers just in the report itself. What he will find is raw material to help any one of us to try to find answers for ourselves.
 
15:13
Y Llywydd / The LlywyddBiography
Thank you, Cabinet Secretary.
 
15:14
4. Statement: The Champions League Final
Y Llywydd / The LlywyddBiography
The next item on our agenda is the statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure on the Champions League final. I call on the Cabinet Secretary, Ken Skates, to make his statement. Ken Skates.
 
15:14
Ken SkatesBiographyThe Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure
Diolch, Presiding Officer. In a month’s time, Cardiff and Wales will host the UEFA Champions League final, one of the biggest and most prestigious sporting events in the world, and the biggest single sporting event in the world in 2017. The men’s final on 3 June will attract a global live tv audience of 200 million and an estimated additional 170,000 visitors to our capital city. Members will have seen the exciting arrival of the trophies in Wales two weeks ago, and they are currently touring the nation, providing a unique opportunity for our communities to engage with the event. Yesterday, the trophies visited Porthmadog and Cefn Druids football clubs, and today they have been at a school festival at Ysgol Maes Garmon in Mold. I know the excitement that will have been generated amongst local football fans and the north Wales public more widely. This is another historic first for Wales, kicking off a summer of sporting legends, with the Champions League final closely followed by the ICC Champions Trophy cricket at Glamorgan cricket and the return of the Senior Open Championship in golf to Royal Porthcawl. This demonstrates our ambition and commitment to build Wales’s major event hosting credentials. 
 
The benefits to Wales will be significant. The event will generate a significant economic impact as a result of the additional visitors coming to Wales. This will include spend in hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars and on travel within the region. The hospitality provision in the city on match day, which includes an estimated 16,000 meals, provides a valuable showcase for Welsh produce. Overall, access to rights and benefits associated with the event provides Wales with an unprecedented incentive with which to engage with key inward investment and business targets.
 
The extensive media coverage in the lead-up, and of the event itself, will raise Wales’s international profile and reputation. The ‘Road to Cardiff’ strapline and branding has been visible around the world for many months now, clearly evident at every Champions League game and front and centre of each match broadcast. In addition to the millions of tv viewers and the lucky fans able to attend the matches themselves, an estimated 200,000 people will attend the UEFA Champions Festival in Cardiff Bay, a free four-day celebration from Thursday through to Sunday. The festival will provide a high-quality UEFA experience for non-ticket holders to get a chance to see the trophy, engage with the sponsors, acquire limited edition UEFA merchandise and see some of the world’s former footballing greats play a legends match on a floating pitch in Cardiff Bay on Friday 2 June.
 
As with the trophy tour, we want to spread the positive impact of the event Wales-wide, and the event is now set to inspire a generation, with a set of specially designed cross-curriculum materials being introduced to around 1,000 Welsh schools in the run-up to the event, enhancing the curriculum and engaging with a potential 136,000 young people. Adding to Wales’s credentials as a nation willing to volunteer, 1,500 champions will be part of the volunteer programme that will provide participants with valuable skills that they can take into their place of education or work. The event also provides an important platform for encouraging wider participation. The emphasis given to the women’s final on 1 June at the Cardiff City Stadium, alongside the men’s, and the staging of the final in the same city, will raise the profile of women’s and girls’ football in Wales, encouraging fitness and participation and increasing the status of the sport in the eyes of players, educators and potential sponsors. Around 2,500 women and girls from across Wales will take part in a specially-organised female football festival that will take place on the same day as the UEFA Women’s Champions League final.  For those fans wishing to immerse themselves in the Champions League experience, tickets for the women’s final are still available and it would be great to see a packed stadium giving the players a warm Welsh welcome.
 
But hosting a mega event like the Champions League final presents significant challenges. Cardiff is the smallest city to have hosted the final and extensive planning has been under way for many months in order to ensure a safe, secure and enjoyable event. The Football Association of Wales is leading a concerted ‘team Wales’ effort, marshalling the considerable support of key partners including South Wales Police, Cardiff council, the Principality Stadium, which is renamed ‘National Stadium of Wales’ for this event, and, of course, Welsh Government.
 
The event will be staged against a backdrop of an extremely challenging international security landscape, which, tragically, has become more acute in recent weeks. Against this background, the safety and security of everyone attending the events is of paramount importance. South Wales Police, with assistance from neighbouring forces in England and Wales, are leading the largest security operation since the NATO summit. This will inevitably impact upon traffic and pedestrian flow around the city, but the priority is, of course, the safety of residents and visitors alike.
 
Transport and travel to and around the event also presents a logistical challenge. For this event, transport planning has been made more difficult by not knowing who the finalists will be until three weeks before the event, although we have a much clearer idea following the recent semi-final draw. A carefully planned series of measures is being put in place around the city centre road network in the fortnight leading up to the event and this will cause a certain amount of disruption.
 
The message is clear: Cardiff will be busier than it ever has been on Saturday 3 June and unnecessary travel by those who are not attending the match should be avoided. A specially commissioned public information campaign is being rolled out to advise residents, businesses and visitors of possible travel and transport disruption and to provide advice on minimising inconvenience, and this is being supported by face-to-face engagement with key target stakeholders.
 
So, the smallest city ever to host a UEFA Champions League final is set to put on the show of its life during our Year of Legends. Wales is being profiled worldwide to international audiences who may never have considered us previously as a location to visit or do business. We are set to build on Wales’s fantastic performance at last year’s European championships to become embedded in worldwide footballing culture and to be recognised as a highly attractive destination on the world map.
 
15:22
Russell GeorgeBiography
Cabinet Secretary, can I thank you for your statement this afternoon? I think Wales has got a proud history of hosting major sporting events that far exceeds the norm, I think, that would be expected for a country of our size. I fully agree with you, Cabinet Secretary, that it’s a great honour for Cardiff to be hosting this prestigious global event that has, of course, the potential to showcase the best of Wales to the world and have a significant benefit to the Welsh economy and also provide a boost to the tourism industry.
 
Such major sporting events not only spark our national pride and boost tourism levels but they also raise the issue of supporting the broader public health agenda as well. So, with that in mind, Cabinet Secretary, can you outline what steps the Government has taken since the Euro 2016 success to boost the virtues of an active lifestyle and other benefits of sporting activity, and doing so of course in the face of reduced funding in that area as well?
 
Economically, the hosting of events such as the Champions League final also creates a fantastic opportunity to advertise Wales as a tourist destination, not only to other Europeans but also across the world. I was pleased to hear that the Welsh Government has also taken steps to showcase our nation at the UEFA Champions Festival and has also invested in cross-curriculum materials for Welsh schools. I was pleased to hear that.
 
You also referred to the potential for security threats at the championships. Can I also endorse your advice to spectators to remain vigilant and take note of advice from police and security staff?
 
Finally, I would like to ask what lessons have been learned from hosting previous major events, particularly from a transport perspective. During the Rugby World Cup, the experience of Cardiff was tempered by problems with public transport, with lengthy delays of up to 4 hours in some cases, and incidents of overcrowding, which, I expect, may well have a knock-on effect of putting people off visiting in the future. Now, given the fact that the footfall at Cardiff Central station has increased dramatically in recent years, are you confident that the station is able to cope with the overflow? I'm sure you will agree that we must be careful to avoid a repeat of the incidents. So, can I ask what steps you’ve taken, alongside talking to transport providers, Cardiff city council and tournament organisers, to minimise the disruption for travellers, residents and fans alike?
 
15:26
Ken SkatesBiography
Can I thank Russell George for his contribution and his questions, and also for his enthusiasm for this and other major events that we’ve hosted in Wales in recent years? We do have a proud record of hosting quality major events of global significance, including the Ryder Cup, for example, which placed Wales on a global map in terms of the country as a golf destination, as well as a raft of major sporting, and, indeed, cultural events, and working to make sure that we take a strategic approach to hosting major events to capture repeat visitors and also to attract new investment to the country and to portray Wales as a place where quality of life is of paramount importance. The benefits of the Champions League final will be considerable, but they won’t be confined to just economic benefits—although the economic impact is assessed to be something in the region of £45 million in the immediate period, and in the immediate aftermath of the Champions League final. But we expect, as a result of hundreds of thousands of people visiting Cardiff, to see future visitor numbers increase accordingly, with more overnight stays as a result of people experiencing the warmest Welsh welcome possible in our capital city.
 
I think the Member raises a very important point about the importance of the Champions League final, and indeed other major sporting events, to the ‘healthy and active’ agenda that this Government has. It's absolutely essential that we use major sporting events not just to attract people to visit Wales, but also to ensure that people within Wales become more active in their daily lives and to inspire not just a future generation, but current generations as well to be more active and more sporting.
 
After the Euros last year, the Welsh Government, through Sport Wales, worked with a number of national governing bodies, principally the FAW, in promoting, particularly to under-represented groups, the potential to get involved in football. And as a consequence of continued investment and effort, we've seen a remarkable increase in the number of girls, in particular, who have taken up football. We've seen a far greater increase proportionally in the number of girls registering as football players than women and, indeed, boys. So, clearly, football is becoming far more attractive as a sport, as a form of physical activity, for girls. But we wish to maintain the momentum that has been built up before, during and after the Euros by engaging with schools, as the Member outlined, through the intervention of school curriculum work to ensure that young people become more enthused and more aware of the opportunities that are on their doorstep.
 
A legacy project of the Champions League final will be the establishment of a community football facility in Cardiff in an appropriate area, which we expect will be utilised by those particularly in disadvantaged areas who may lack free or affordable access to sporting facilities. In the years to come, I would hope that many of those who go on to use this legacy pitch will become registered as footballers themselves. We’ll also use the Champions Festival to promote Wales as a holiday destination and also as a destination in which to invest and to do business. But we've been using the Champions League final as a lever to attract more attention to Wales for many months now. We headlined our presence at the Berlin travel show, for example, with the presence of the Champions League final in Cardiff this June, and we will be doing so during the summer months by tweeting, by making available appropriate content for stakeholder websites to showcase the very best of Wales with photographs, with text and with short videos. We have, and are learning lessons constantly from the major events that we host. I know that one of the concerns that Members representing the Cardiff constituencies have is the use of the field that was used for the Eisteddfod as a Cardiff campsite for the Champions League itself. We’ve learnt a good number of lessons from our experience with the Eisteddfod and we continue to ensure that the park is protected for its users. The campsite is going to be used from Monday May 22, and will operate from 31 May to 5 June. But I would remind Members that activity will be taking place there in preparing the park from 22 May. We’ve prepared a questions and answers sheet, which is available on the bute-park.com website, if any residents or any Assembly Members have any queries.
 
We’ve also learned a good number of lessons about managing vehicle and train travel. The train operators are working as a joint team for this event. So, Network Rail, Arriva Trains Wales, Great Western Railway, and CrossCountry Trains are working collaboratively with event organisers to ensure that the railways are in a position to manage the demand of an event of this scale. This is an enormous event, and if I can run through some of the figures relating to rail travel in particular, I think it will highlight how much preparation has gone into this particular event: 15,000 more passenger journeys on the rail network post-match will be delivered compared to the Rugby World Cup in 2015; there’ll be 60,000 post-match rail journeys in total, including 21 high-speed train services to London; 25,000 air charter passengers are set to arrive and depart the airports in Cardiff, Birmingham and Bristol, supported by over 450 transfer coaches and two large staging facilities in Cardiff. We’re also arranging new, bespoke park-and-ride schemes, which will cater for 7,500 spaces at Llanwern and Pentwyn, and in addition, there will be 5,000 park-and-walk spaces in the Cardiff Bay area, supporting access directly to the UEFA Champions League Festival.
 
In addition, 10 per cent of the UK’s available coach market will be utilised for the Champions League final. This is an incredible number of coaches. We estimate something in the region of 1,250, and we are working in collaboration with operators such as National Express to ensure that, across Wales, and across the UK, visitors to Cardiff during the Champions League experience, will have the highest quality experience, and that they will be able to get in and out of Cardiff as seamlessly as possible, and in the shortest time possible. But I would once again urge Members to relay to their constituents that this is an unprecedented event. We should be very proud of this event, but we should also prepare well for it.
 
15:34
Rhun ap IorwerthBiography
I must say I’m personally very excited about the Champions League final coming to Cardiff. I was kicking an official Cardiff 2017 replica football around the garden with a very excited 13-year-old last night. And as happy as I was to contribute £14.99 to the merchandising companies for that particular ball, we want to make sure that Wales is the real beneficiary here. We are talking about one of the biggest sporting events in the world. I’ll never forget watching the last-minute Manchester United win over Bayern Munich in 1999 or Liverpool’s miracle in 2005 in beating AC Milan, but it’s not just those stories that could be repeated here in Wales in a few weeks’ time—those footballing stories—I remember where those games were, and Man United winning in Barcelona, and Liverpool winning in Istanbul. So, Cardiff could become a part of international sporting folklore.
 
I was talking to some children in Italy a few weeks ago, asking where I was from—‘From Wales. Do you know where Wales is?’ ‘That’s where the Champions League final is being held in a few weeks’ time’, showing the power of the language of football globally. They were also very aware of Wales as the home of Gareth Bale, of course. And may I say how wonderful it would be to see a fit Gareth Bale playing at a Champions League final in his home city? But, in the interests of keeping balance, I’d like to say that, of course, fans from whichever side of Madrid would be more than welcome in Cardiff here for the final. I believe the first leg is being played tonight, of that semifinal, with the decider known to us by a week Wednesday.
 
Now, I would like to wish all those involved in putting on this Champions League final all the very best in the final few weeks. In particular, I’d like to mention the Football Association of Wales, running the show. And this is a football association that has proved during the Euros, and the run-up to the Euros, last year, how very able they are to capitalise on international sporting exposure.
 
Just three questions. You mentioned the community facility that will be left as a legacy in Grangetown in Cardiff, the 3G pitch there. The local council has guaranteed that the pitch will be free to use for two years. Beyond that, charges haven’t been ruled out. But frankly, of course, if we’re going to see a real legacy from this, we need free-to-use sports facilities for a lot longer than two years. So, what are you going to be doing to ensure that there is a longer legacy than just the two years use of a modest, but very important, facility to that community, particularly in light of the recently increased charges that we have seen for sports facilities right across Wales?
 
Secondly, first impressions will be very, very important. We’ll be seeing a lot of visitors to Cardiff. What extra support has been offered to Cardiff council to ensure that litter is picked, that we have a clean, modern city, to await all those football fans?
 
Finally, the statement notes that Cardiff is the smallest city to have hosted this event. In reality, though, of course, if we take in the wider hinterland—the south Wales Valleys, of course, and the major population there—it probably isn’t the smallest area. But, clearly, to hold events such as this in Cardiff requires infrastructure to be wider than just the city itself—it needs to include the Valleys, strengthening transport infrastructure over a wider area. So, what consideration have you given to making this event benefit the wider surrounding areas, and, with that boost to infrastructure required, not just for this Champions League—we have limited things we can do in the next few weeks—but for the longer term, to support Wales being able to be a player on the global stage for similar events in future?
 
15:38
Ken SkatesBiography
Can I thank the Member for his enthusiasm as well? I share his excitement—I was in Portmeirion on Sunday, and saw the Champions League roadshow attracting a huge number of young people to the mobile unit that they had, and, again, promoting Cardiff, ensuring that the event is relevant to all parts of Wales.
 
And, in terms of previous Champions League finals, I’d agree—the places that they are hosted at become recognised worldwide—not just within Europe, but worldwide—and are remembered very fondly for the legendary matches that take place. Istanbul is one that stands out for me personally. I had two brothers who travelled, through various means—by plane, train and automobile—to Istanbul. But they will remember it fondly for the rest of their lives, and so will I, even though I’m not a Liverpool fan—they are, but I’m not. My team is yet to reach a Champions League final, and, sadly, won’t be at this year’s one either. But it is something that catches the imagination and enthusiasm of people, young and old. And I think it’s something that we can be very proud of, right across Wales. I also hope that Gareth Bale will be fit enough, and be part of a team that will make it through the semi-finals and into the final, and that we’ll be able to welcome him to his home city.
 
In terms of the promotion of this event, this is something that Russell George picked up on, but I’d just like to add as well that in terms of social media activity, this will offer an unparalleled event opportunity to promote Wales as an attractive place to visit, and to live in and to invest in. We’ve already seen, in terms of the Visit Wales website, a considerable increase in the number of unique users, from something in the region of 2 million three years ago to 5 million. We’ve set new and ambitious targets for driving that figure still further, and it’s events such as the Champions League final that are able to attract more people to our websites, generate more interest in our Twitter feeds and our Facebook pages. I expect, as a result of that, with the high-quality content that we’re making available to stakeholders, a greater degree of interest in Wales as a holiday destination and an investment place to stem from the Champions League final. We’ve been hosting as well, and we will continue to host, familiarity trips for key influencers within the media. And I would agree with the Member that the Football Association of Wales has done outstanding work in leading a team Wales effort this year, and in recent years, indeed, in the lead-up to the Euros.
 
The legacy pitch I think is something that Cardiff should be very excited by and proud of. It’s a decision for the local authority and for local councils as to how they maintain and pay for the costs of maintenance of key community facilities, but the Welsh Government is assisting in this regard by setting within the programme for government the establishment of a challenge fund. This is specifically for those community groups and organisations that can benefit community sport and arts activities. I think this particular facility could be a prime recipient of the challenge fund investment.
 
I’d agree as well that first impressions count, and Cardiff council are on the steering group. It’s recognised that the city must look not just clean and tidy, but vibrant as well with plenty of banners, bright colours—tasteful colours as well—that convey Cardiff in the way that it wants to be seen around the world as a place rich in culture that is welcoming of all people. But it’s not just Cardiff council that are responsible for ensuring that Cardiff and the region around our capital are clean and tidy. We take responsibility for the trunk roads, and so we’re ensuring that the trunk road network is kept clean and tidy, but also I know that Network Rail have additional teams of their orange armies available to make sure that litter is picked up from tracksides from here through to Bristol, Birmingham and London, ensuring that those first impressions really are the best that we could hope for.
 
In terms of benefiting the wider community, in particular the Valleys communities, I think the opening of platform 8 at Cardiff Central was crucially important in ensuring that we can attract people into the capital quicker and on services that are more reliable, but the £300 million Cardiff area signalling project I think has also improved resilience and ensured that people can access the Champions League final with a greater degree of confidence this year than potentially happened in previous years. I do think we need to use this event, as we’ve used other major events, as huge opportunities to excite and inspire people to become more physically active, and I do hope that as a result of the work that we are doing, and the FAW are doing as well with schools and with other education and training providers, and with places of work, that we will see more people become more physically active more of the time.
 
15:44
Dawn BowdenBiography
Can I say, as a huge football fan, Cabinet Secretary, like Rhun I’m also hugely excited at the prospect of the Champions League coming to Cardiff, and I applaud the work of the Welsh Government in helping to secure this? On Saturday, I’m going to be going back to Penydarren Park where Merthyr Town Football Club are going to be displaying the Champions League cup there. I think that’s a great initiative—that it’s going to small clubs like Merthyr Town, and people and fans will have the opportunity to get there and have their photograph taken. I’m certainly hoping that I will, because it’s the closest that a Bristol City fan is ever going to get to the European cup, I can tell you that. But perhaps it’s more appropriate that I should raise that the European cup is coming to Merthyr on the thirtieth anniversary of the year in which they beat the mighty Atalanta in the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1987. So, I think it’s very fitting that we’ve got another European trophy coming here this year.
 
But along with everything else that you’ve said, Cabinet Secretary, about the financial benefits of the final coming to Cardiff, I’m sure you’ll applaud the initiatives that we see clubs like Merthyr engaging in, in community activity and community based football. This provides a greater opportunity for the development of that kind of community football. So, I really wanted to follow on from the question that Rhun asked and something that you have already touched on, but whether you could expand more on how the Welsh Government can assist clubs like Merthyr to develop their community activities, particularly for girls, which the club has struggled to engage to any great extent.
 
15:46
Ken SkatesBiography
Can I thank the Member for her contribution and say that I’m mightily impressed by the way that Merthyr Tydfil FC have rooted themselves so deeply in the community? It’s a place that unites people, it gives people a sense of belonging and it’s always a pleasure to visit that particular club. I know that Merthyr Tydfil FC are also very innovative and host walking football for senior citizens, and I think this is a great example of how football can be relevant to all people of all physical abilities.
 
I also think that football clubs have a crucial role in terms of being able to give people a sense of competence and confidence through the establishment of volunteering programmes, youth ambassador programmes and employability programmes. I know that there are good examples of this not just across Wales, but also further afield. Indeed, in Scotland, I visited a number of clubs in Glasgow that have become hubs for community physical activity and employability programmes. Often, community sport organisations can act as a magnet for those who are at risk of disengaging from formal education or training and ensure that they are provided with opportunities to acquire skills and experience that set them up properly and fully for the world of work, so I’m in no doubt of the great value of football clubs across the length and breadth of Wales in improving people’s lives, their well-being, their employment prospects and, of course, their levels of physical activity.
 
But I also think that the Member outlined a very relevant tale relating to the thirtieth anniversary and that would be, perhaps, something that should be relayed during this, the Year of Legends, because I think it’s a particularly important story that should be told, and I hope that the Member goes on retelling it in other venues.
 
The Deputy Presiding Officer (Ann Jones) took the Chair.
 
Ken SkatesBiography
In terms of engagement, I know that the Minister for social services and sport is very keen on ensuring that more young women and girls participate in physical activity and sport. We’ve seen an increase in the number of people who’ve participated in sport in recent years across Wales, but there is still a challenge with maintaining activity levels once a girl reaches about the age of 13 or 14, and then we see a sudden drop-off. What Sport Wales has developed is a series of programmes aimed at ensuring that girls find forms of physical activity more appealing and that they are able to access different potentially informal forms of sport and physical activity at that crucial age, so that they don’t slip off the physical activity escalator. But I know, with the review that’s taking place currently into Sport Wales, this is a key question that’s being asked: what form of sport and physical activity is most attractive to those groups within our population who currently are not participating in physical activity enough? I think this will be an incredibly important policy area for the Welsh Government and all stakeholders in the months and years to come. We know that initiatives such as the Wales well-being bond, an extension of social prescribing, has great potential to improve the levels of fitness in our population, but to maximise the potential of them, we need to get buy-in from community sports organisations, so that they can act as our primary delivery partners.
 
15:50
David J. RowlandsBiography
I thank the Cabinet Secretary for his statement, and we in UKIP would like to congratulate all those involved in bringing this hugely prestigious event to Wales. The boost to the economy from the hundreds of thousands set to visit Cardiff will be substantial, and I would like to echo the Cabinet Secretary’s statement regarding the staging of one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar and its far-reaching effects in projecting the image of Wales as a distinct national identity worldwide, the effect of which cannot be overestimated. We can be sure that it will enhance Wales’ profile in a truly global context with a possible dramatic effect on our tourist industry over the ensuing years. It will, of course, also help to facilitate Welsh Government and the whole Assembly’s ambitions to sell the Wales brand across the globe, and the economic opportunities that that will produce. Can I take this point to commend the Welsh Government on its extensive preparation for this huge event, and we hope that the contingencies you’ve put in place will ensure that it will go off in the best possible way? Thank you.
 
15:51
Ken SkatesBiography
Can I thank the Member for his contribution and welcome his support for the Champions League final? It is an event that I believe has support right across this Chamber, and one that I know many Members are keen to watch and may even participate in, because there will be thousands of opportunities to volunteer, and even if you’re not volunteering, just being in the city. If you represent a Cardiff constituency, to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors will be something that I know the Welsh Government and our partners would very much appreciate.
 
The economic benefits of this event are enormous. I’ve already outlined the immediate economic impact of £45 million for local economy, but we also estimate that, as of the middle of March, the advertising equivalent value of the event coming to Cardiff amounts to something in the region of £15 million just within Europe. On a global scale, I cannot imagine how much this event has generated in terms of advertising equivalent exposure, but let’s say that it’s far beyond any other single day’s event that we could hope to host in Wales. And I’m confident that, by the time the Champions League final arrives, the advertising equivalent benefit of this event will amount to way in excess of £20 million within Europe. We’ve also had a huge reach in terms of the #RoadToCardiff hashtag. We believe that, as of the start of March, that hashtag had reached more than 25 million users worldwide. This is something that money alone cannot buy. This can only take place—this can only be appreciated and realised in a positive sense—through the hosting of major events.
 
The first time I ever visited Cardiff was to see the Pope in, I think it was, 1980 or 1981. Even that event was not as big as what this event will be for Cardiff. This is monumentally big, and we look forward to hosting those two final teams, but we also look forward to hosting hundreds of thousands of visitors to Cardiff.
 
15:53
Y Dirprwy Lywydd / The Deputy Presiding OfficerBiography
Thank you very much, Cabinet Secretary.
 
15:53
5. Motion to Vary the Order of Consideration of Stage 3 Amendments to the Public Health (Wales) Bill
Y Dirprwy Lywydd / The Deputy Presiding OfficerBiography
Item 5 on the agenda is the motion to vary the order of consideration of Stage 3 amendments to the Public Health (Wales) Bill. I call on the Minister for Social Services and Public Health to move the motion. Rebecca Evans.
 
Motion NDM6293 Jane Hutt
 
To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 26.36:
 
Agrees to dispose of sections and schedules to the Public Health (Wales) Bill at Stage 3 in the following order:
 
(a) sections 3–26
 
(b) section 2
 
(c) sections 27–52
 
(d) sections 54–91
 
(e) section 53
 
(f) sections 92–124
 
(g) Schedules 1–4
 
(h) section 1
 
(i) Long title
 
Motion moved.
 
15:54
Rebecca EvansBiographyThe Minister for Social Services and Public Health
It’s formally moved.
 
15:54
Y Dirprwy Lywydd / The Deputy Presiding OfficerBiography
Thank you. There are no speakers for the debate. Therefore, the proposal is to agree the motion. Does any Member object? No. Therefore, in accordance with Standing Order 12.36 the motion is agreed.
 
Motion agreed in accordance with Standing Order 12.36.
 
6. Debate: Diabetes Services in Wales
The following amendments have been selected: amendments 1 and 2 in the name of Rhun ap Iorwerth.
 
15:54
Y Dirprwy Lywydd / The Deputy Presiding OfficerBiography
We now move on to item 6 on the agenda, which is the debate on diabetic services in Wales. I call on the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport to move the motion. Vaughan Gething.
 
Motion NDM6292 Jane Hutt
 
To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:
 
Notes the publication of the updated Diabetes Delivery Plan and the priority areas outlined in the recent annual report to:
 
a) improve the standard of diabetes care across the health system and reduce variation in care practices;
 
b) support primary care in the management of diabetes and completion of key care processes;
 
c) enable people with diabetes to better manage their condition and reduce their risk of complications; and
 
d) use informatics to drive better integration of services for people with diabetes.
 
Motion moved.
 
15:54
Vaughan GethingBiographyThe Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport
Thank you, Deputy Presiding Officer. I’m happy to move the motion on the paper and to have the opportunity to have this debate on a significant public health challenge for Wales, and to set out our progress in improving the quality of care, as well as to restate our expectation and ambition for further improvement.
 
I’ll briefly speak to the amendments. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to support amendment 1 tabled by Plaid Cymru, as we don’t think that it’s correct to state that children and young people are unable to access structured education. We know these services are available. But, I understand there is a very real concern about the recorded take-up of structured education and the figures that we get from our audit. All of our paediatric diabetes units offer self-management education to newly diagnosed children and young people. We want to improve what the audit counts to improve the accuracy of it, but patients aren’t referred to another setting to receive diabetes education: it is provided within the unit. We can say, though, that we’ve recently introduced a new all-Wales structured education programme for children and young people called SEREN. This programme is the first of its kind in the UK. So, we do expect to see the recording of participation in self-management education improving in future years, as well as, of course, wanting to drive up the numbers of people who do take part. So, there’s really an issue about wording, rather than our ambition and recognising we need to do more.
 
On amendment 2, I’m happy to welcome and to accept the amendment drawing attention to the importance of tackling obesity, and I’ll talk about that particular issue later in my contribution. But, at the outset, I want to recognise, of course, as people in this place will know, that there’s a difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, a much smaller group of people where there are no lifestyle factors linked to its development, whereas in type 2 we know that there certainly are. Much of our discussion on the growth of diabetes centres on the rise in type 2 diabetes across our country. But, diabetes in all of its forms, with all of its complications, is estimated to cost roughly 10 per cent of health spend here in Wales. And, without change, within the next 20 years we estimate that will rise to about 17 per cent of health spend. GP registers currently show that 7.3 per cent of the population aged over the age of 17 have diabetes and that numbers continue to rise. That’s nearly 189,000 of our friends, family members, colleagues and neighbours living with this disease, and others yet to be diagnosed.
 
So, in terms of demand, cost and direct suffering, diabetes already has a profound impact on our society and our health and care system. Numbers have increased over 17 per cent in just five years, and we estimate that more than 300,000 people will be affected by 2025. It’s important to recognise that, whilst we want to improve the care and treatment, there’s no magic pill to treat our way out of this diabetes epidemic. This is one of the great public health challenges facing Wales. It requires a significant shift in attitude and behaviour within each of the communities that we represent.
 
Our national approach here in Wales was updated in December last year and will take us through to 2020. On 21 April this year, we published a statement of progress and intent, and that statement draws attention to what we have achieved, as well as what we have yet to do. It sets out clearly the direction, leadership arrangements and areas of our national focus.
 
In addition to reducing the number of new cases of diabetes, we recognise the need for a continued focus on improvement in how we treat and support people to manage their diabetes. Many people affected by diabetes need intensive and wide-ranging support to manage their condition and to reduce the risk of blindness, foot disease, renal failure and heart disease. For the vast majority, this will be delivered in primary and community care, but others will need access to hospital and very specialist teams. That reinforces the need to work as a genuinely joined-up system. That’s why a key national priority is using informatics to deliver a unified diabetes record across different healthcare settings, and that unified diabetes record should help to deliver integrated, accurate and timely diabetes care wherever that patient accesses their healthcare. Put simply, it should help us to deliver better care for the citizen.
 
We’re working with primary care physicians, specialist nurses and allied health professionals to develop a new model of diabetes care fit for the twenty-first century. We’re not afraid to learn best practice both within and outside of Wales to do that. That will undoubtedly mean a further shift into primary care and reinforce the need to address local practice that is not good practice and does not properly prioritise patient outcomes.
 
All patients, though, with diabetes should be receiving their NICE-recommended key care processes, working towards individualised treatment targets. For all the progress we’ve made, we know we haven’t done that as consistently as we wished to do so. So, our primary care providers are already working on national audit data to tackle variation in care and improve standards. That’s proper reflection from professionals themselves about the need to further improvements.
 
We know from the audit that we can make progress on recent reports, which have shown six years of continual improvement in population level outcomes. We also have important work in train to support people with complex needs and those staying in hospital, as one in five in-patients have diabetes. That, again, highlights the importance of hospital service improvement programmes like Think Glucose and Think, Check, Act. Our in-patient diabetes audit confirms that hospitals are providing more personalised diabetes care, high levels of patient experience, and fewer people experiencing hypoglycemia whilst in hospital. Again, I accept there is more for us to do to seek and deliver further improvement. We have, though, to help deliver that, created a small group of national leaders to support health boards to implement the plan and tackle that variation in care that we recognise. So, using part of the annual £1 million allocation, we have a national clinical lead for diabetes, and a number of other leadership posts covering insulin pump therapy, foot care, and the transition to adult services and structured education. That national clinical lead has been widely welcomed, not just within the service, but across the campaigning third sector as well. So, the national implementation group that includes third sector colleagues will continue to set the strategic direction for diabetes and work to support health boards to continuously improve diabetes services.
 
Turning back to the nature of the challenge we face, we do think there is a role, for example, for more mandatory action, whether that be a sugar levy, advertising, and the availability of unhealthy food, drink and tobacco—particularly in reducing the level of type 2 diabetes and complications that go with diabetes. However, that Government intervention or compulsion will not resolve the national challenge that we face on its own. As I’ve said, we have a societal-wide problem. As a nation we do not exercise enough, we do not eat well enough, and we do not do anything like enough to minimise our chances of developing cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. We’ve known this for a very long time. We recognise the need for significant large-scale behaviour change, but we have not been successful enough at delivering that change with our communities. We won’t be successful, though, by simply lecturing people or making some of those behaviours more difficult or more expensive. That, in itself, isn’t going to be the answer that we need. We continue to need to make healthier choices easier choices to make, to understand, and to act upon. We need that societal shift in attitude and behaviour, and it goes without saying that isn’t easy. There’s no western society that has got this right, but we all face, broadly, a similar problem.
 
That does, though, mean a greater level of personal ownership, empowerment and accountability. Success will mean greater take-up of active travel, healthier behaviours, and providing healthy learning, working and living environments. But, of course, diagnosing the challenge and what we need to achieve is so much easier than how to do so. That’s why a key piece of joint-funded work between the diabetes, cardiac and stroke implementation groups is the national roll-out of the cardiovascular disease risk programme. It identifies those at the highest risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes and invites those people proactively in to take part in local activities to help reduce their risk. And, crucially, it doesn’t take place all in a medicalised setting. There’s something here about behaviour change and how best to try and deliver and achieve that. This really is an innovative, multi-disease, national approach. And it’s a product not of a single politician, but it’s a product of our staff across our health and care service, making this a more social challenge, and, as I say, not simply confining it to a medical setting.
 
The programme is at the heart of how we’ll prevent future demand, alongside our broader approach to healthier lifestyles, and I look forward to learning from that approach as we go on. I won’t pretend to you today, or in summing up this debate, that we have all the answers in Government, because we certainly don’t. We need to understand what works in each community and how we successfully roll that out into different parts of our country, because, if we don’t, the cost isn’t just the financial terms that I set out at the start of this debate. There’s a much higher price to pay for individuals and their communities, and not just the social well-being of our country, but the economic well-being of our country, if we can’t see a significant shift in attitude and behaviour and do something more than just move the quality of care for the number of people who will acquire diabetes during their life and need not do so. I’m happy to move the motion.
 
16:04
Y Dirprwy Lywydd / The Deputy Presiding OfficerBiography
Thank you very much, and I’ve selected the two amendments to the motion, and I call on Rhun ap Iorwerth to move amendments 1 and 2, tabled in his name.
 
Amendment 1—Rhun ap Iorwerth
 
Add as new point at end of motion:
 
Notes the importance of structured education programmes to help people manage diabetes, and regrets that more than 50 per cent of eligible children and young people are unable to participate in these programmes at the present time.
 
Amendment 2—Rhun ap Iorwerth
 
Add as new point at end of motion:
 
Recognises the importance of tackling obesity in preventing type 2 diabetes.
 
Amendments 1 and 2 moved.
 
16:04
Rhun ap IorwerthBiography
Thank you, Deputy Presiding Officer. At present, 177,000 people in Wales live with diabetes. It’s possible that around 70,000 additional people suffer from it but they’re not aware of it or haven’t received a confirmed diagnosis, and by 2030 it’s expected that that number will be around 300,000 people. So, while having diabetes is a major issue for the person who is suffering from it, it’s a major problem for the health service more widely, and around 10 per cent of the budget, as we’ve heard several times here, goes towards dealing with diabetes, and a majority of that goes towards treating complications. One out of every five beds in hospitals in Wales is used by a patient who has diabetes, and those complications linked to that do create that deep impact on well-being and health and the use of healthcare services. That also means, of course, that introducing better management and more appropriate and effective management offers an excellent opportunity not just to improve the health of people in Wales, but also to save money for our public services.
 
I’ll come to our first amendment here: the importance of providing and holding structured education programmes for those who have just received a diagnosis of diabetes. Now, last year Diabetes UK showed that the lack of use of these courses has reached a shocking level. Only 2 per cent of those who had received a diagnosis of diabetes type 1 recently across England and Wales, and only 6 per cent of those who’d received a diagnosis of diabetes type 2, again across England and Wales, had attended a course. Now, the figures for Wales only are even worse. Only 1 per cent of those with type 1 diabetes and 0.9 per cent of those with type 2 diabetes had registered that they had attended a structured education programme. The figures also show that only 24 per cent of patients in Wales with type 1 diabetes were even offered the opportunity to attend a course. Clearly, therefore, those types of figures—and I know that the Cabinet Secretary is aware of them—should have piqued the interest of the Government.
 
There are now two references to education in the annual statement on progress. One refers to digital provision for adults. A platform was launched last year, and that is of course a development to be welcomed. But we would encourage the Government to consider how they will be reaching those that have been disenfranchised digitally, or those that would benefit more from a face-to-face process.
 
Now, the second reference notes that, even though there has been some improvement in the number of people who take advantage of structured education amongst children and young people, more than 50 per cent of children and young people don’t use the programme, with work continuing to identify the barriers to that. I think that that response is too slow. Now, the financial benefits, and, of course, the health benefits, of ensuring structured education more widely are too obvious to be left to a process that will go on organically in seeking an answer. We need an urgent response by the Government to ensure that many more people have access to structured education.
 
I also want to draw attention to the failure to ensure that all patients receive the full set of health audits and access to the care processes. The progress report notes that the percentage of patients that receive all eight processes has decreased over the previous years. In the long term, this could have a serious impact on general health, and the national health service in Wales needs to ensure that more is done to improve this performance. There is a great deal more that the Government could be doing.
 
In terms of the Minister’s intention not to support amendment 1 because he feels that it doesn’t reflect the situation fairly, well, the figures, I’m afraid, do show that there is a major problem in terms of access to structured education specifically. I’ll come very briefly to the second amendment, which of course refers to obesity, and I’m pleased to have the Government’s support on this. It’s clearly a major problem—the major public health problem facing us. I look forward to collaborating with the Government, hopefully, to have a strategy to tackle obesity on the face of the Public Health (Wales) Bill. So, please do let us acknowledge the seriousness of that problem and deal with it. But, considering the evidence that type 2 diabetes can be reversed through a healthy diet for some people, it appears to me that this is still being undervalued to some extent and there is a great deal more that needs to be done.
 
16:09
Angela BurnsBiography
I’m delighted to be able to speak today in the debate. I’d first of all like to actually thank very much Allison Williams, the chair of the diabetes implementation group, and all of the partners within it, because, reading both the 2016 delivery plan and the 2017 annual statement, I do see real progress. There are some very good ways forward. There have been some very strong and structured and above all—and fairly unusual—measureable systems of seeing that there have been some really good wins. I think that’s to be welcomed, and I pay all credit to the team who are behind this.
 
I’m happy to support both of the amendments tabled by Plaid Cymru. Minister, I thought that when you made your opening statement you gave us all a very stark warning about the dangers of diabetes on a personal level, what happens to the individual—whether they have type 1 or type 2; if you’re a child and you have type 1, the effect it has on your health for the rest of your life; the fact that, as a type 2 diabetic, you might be able to move some of the effects that it has on you by changing your lifestyle. I thought that you laid a very stark warning out as to the effect it has on the public finance, the long-term effect it will have on the NHS, the growth in diabetes, and, when, in particular, we’re looking at type 2, the enormous costs and huge intellectual effort that’s been put into place to deal with something that, actually, we need not suffer from—that, in a great many instances, we need not have.
 
So, having read both the update and the delivery plan and listened to what you said, and listened to what Rhun said, actually I’ve just decided I just want to make one comment: why oh why are we not looking at how we do physical education in schools? Because, Minister, I’m going to just quote your words here. You said we’re not successful in delivering these changes. We don’t exercise enough. We do not eat well enough. You’re looking at mandatory actions such as sugar tax—you’re talking about do we need to do that. You know, these are stark warnings. I have a group of people in my constituency who are all amputees, and every single one of them is an amputee because of diabetes. They tend to be middle-aged and older people, and in fact it’s a pretty rotten way to end the rest of your life, struggling—and they do struggle, and, because they’re diabetic, and because they’ve already lost one limb, they actually often go on to lose a second limb, because their circulation is so shot.
 
But the one thing that this Government could do today is change how we introduce exercise into schools. If we gave our kids more time for PE, and if we made PE far more fun, and we really engaged these young people so that when they left school and they went from primary to secondary and secondary into colleges and colleges into adults they’ve actually got that partly in their DNA—that exercise does not actually have to be running round and round and round a rugby, hockey or football pitch, but that exercise can be dancing, can be riding a horse, can be jogging up and down, can be doing aerobics, can be doing circuit training, can be playing rugby, whatever it might be, whatever flicks their switches.
 
I have looked across other UK nations and I have looked across other European nations, because one of the things I hear from Government is the crowded curriculum: we cannot possibly squash in another hour of PE for kids in the schools. That’s simply not so. Let’s be really clear: we have some of the more depressing results in our education system, and yet you look at other schools and other countries and they will give two or three hours a week to PE, physical education, to healthy exercise, to teaching people about a positive lifestyle that can go forward.
 
So, here we are, spending all this time, money, and effort trying to solve a problem that, actually, if we started right back at the very beginning, we need not even have that problem. So, my plea to you, Cabinet Secretary, is for all of this great work—keep on doing it, but, actually, get hold of the education Secretary, talk to your colleagues, and let’s make a fundamental change, because we may not be able to save people who are in their 30s, 40s and 50s today, but my goodness me, if we can help the eight, nine and 10-year-olds and the teenagers and the young 20-year-olds today, we might actually avert this terrible problem that you yourself have laid out so very clearly is a time bomb waiting to go off in our NHS.
 
16:14
Julie MorganBiography
I wanted to concentrate my remarks today on type 1 diabetes, which accounts for only 10 per cent of all people with diabetes, but accounts for 96 per cent of all children and young people who have diabetes. I know the Minister, in his introduction, did make very clearly the point that type 1 diabetes is not associated with any of the lifestyle issues that we have discussed here already today. That fact, I think, does sometimes get lost in the drive to encourage children and adults to take up healthier eating and exercise habits to avoid getting type 2 diabetes, which I think is absolutely essential, but I think that the issue of type 1 diabetes is sometimes lost in that debate.
 
I want to draw attention today to a constituent of mine, Beth Baldwin, who tragically lost her son Peter in 2015 when he was only 13 because of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. This, of course, is a terrible tragedy for Peter’s family and friends and it’s even more awful when you think a simple finger-prick test that would have cost pennies could have diagnosed his diabetes.
 
Beth has thrown herself into campaigning to raise awareness of this silent disease that strikes so suddenly in our young people. The symptoms can be masked by flu-like symptoms, as was the case with Peter. She is working with Diabetes Cymru UK to urge health practitioners and the general public to be more aware of the symptoms, which can be easily remembered as the four Ts—about being thirsty, needing the toilet, being more tired and being thinner.
 
Around 25 per cent of young people diagnosed late with type 1 diabetes end up in intensive care and tragically, as in Peter’s case, for some of them, this is too late. The test kit that can diagnose the diabetes is often given to GP practices free by pharmaceutical companies, but there is no culture of routine testing as there is for blood pressure, for example.
 
The diabetes delivery plan takes into account type 1 diabetes and says:
 
‘Type 1 diabetes requires prompt diagnosis and treatment to reduce the harm associated with diabetic ketoacidosis. This is imperative for children with possible type 1 diabetes; any child who is unwell and has any features of diabetes should have an urgent capillary blood glucose check and should be referred urgently (to be seen the same day) to specialist services if diabetes is suspected.’
 
What my constituent would like to know from the Cabinet Secretary is: what practical measures are put in place to reinforce this message? Because I think the important issue about type 1 diabetes is education and awareness so that action can be taken swiftly. Simple things like posters, reminders, training events and maybe social media campaigns could perhaps be undertaken, and maybe are undertaken by Public Health Wales, so that the symptoms can be promoted and so that people at the primary care level are aware of what the symptoms are that can lead to such tragic results.
 
Is it possible to outline in what way this is being measured or evaluated to ensure that the process for diagnosing type 1 diabetes outlined in the diabetes delivery plan is being followed? What commitment have health boards made to ensure that staff are being given the knowledge and equipment they need to recognise and test children with suspected type 1 diabetes quickly to avoid the serious complications of the late diagnosis?
 
With the support of the Baldwin family, Diabetes UK Cymru will be launching a campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes to the general public and healthcare professions, and I was wondering whether any support could be provided to aid this public campaign. I think, talking about type 1, it is essential that we do get this message across—that there are specific symptoms that can be recognised. We want to ensure that healthcare professionals are well aware of that and are able to act swiftly to do what they can to help prevent tragedies such as what happened to the family in my constituency.
 
I’d just like to end by paying tribute to the Baldwin family and the way that the tragic death has led them to campaign to try to ensure that more recognition is given to the symptoms of type 1 diabetes.
 
16:19
Caroline JonesBiography
Diabetes is one of the major health challenges facing our nation. As many as one sixth of the population of Wales are at high risk of developing the disease, which is blighting increasing numbers of people around the world. As the Welsh Government’s own annual statement of progress points out, there is still a lot to do to address the wider lifestyle risks for diabetes and to tackle inequalities in access to diabetes services.
 
The sad truth is that the population of Wales is becoming increasingly overweight or obese and, therefore, more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes. As the ‘Together for Health’ report highlights, the most deprived in our society are one and a half times more likely to develop diabetes. Unfortunately, the majority of the general public are unaware of the risks of developing type two diabetes, and of the other health risks it brings.
 
People are unaware that a person with diabetes is at more risk from a stroke or a heart attack than a non-diabetic. People are unaware that a person with diabetes is more likely to have a limb amputated than a non-diabetic. And people are also unaware that a person with diabetes is more likely to die prematurely.
 
We have to educate the public about the risk that an unhealthy lifestyle could lead to them developing diabetes and the wider health implications that diabetes brings. Thankfully, the standards of diabetic care have improved massively in recent years, so it is now time that we start to focus on education. We have to educate the public of the risks associated with diabetes and educate them about how to properly manage the condition properly.
 
Diabetes UK have launched a ‘taking control’ campaign, which aims to get everyone diagnosed with diabetes to attend a diabetes education course, which will teach them how to take control of their diabetes and live a full healthy life. The Welsh Government must ensure that everyone diagnosed with the condition in Wales can attend a course within a few months of being diagnosed. Investment in this area may save the NHS a lot of money in the long run by reducing the complications associated with the disease.
 
However, I believe we must go a lot further. We have to ensure that every child in Wales is taught the importance of a healthy diet and the risks that come with being overweight or obese. As a former PE teacher, I endorse everything Angela Burns has said about the need to increase physical activity in the curriculum. I also believe that every child growing up should have a garden so that they develop emotionally and physically, and learn that play is important, because I think that social media has had a profound impact on children’s activity. At Christmastime, we don’t see as many children on bikes now as we used to see; they’re more involved in the internet.
 
So, it is a matter of national shame that nearly two thirds of Welsh adults and a third of Welsh children are overweight or obese. We have to ensure that we are better educated about the food that we eat. Part of the new national curriculum should focus on teaching our young how to eat healthy and how to live healthy. We have to teach our young children about the risks associated with an unhealthy diet, the risks of developing diabetes, the risks of dying early as a result of the complications of diabetes, and we have to teach our young people how they can avoid those risks and live long and productive lives, unblighted by type 2 diabetes. Diolch yn fawr.
 
16:24
Nathan GillBiography
About five years ago, I was diagnosed with diabetes myself, and it came as a huge shock. I didn’t meet any of the criteria that people normally would. It was type 2, but I had never smoked in my life, never drank and wasn’t particularly overweight either. Diabetes can happen to just about anybody and for various reasons. For myself, it was because of an illness that attacked my pancreas. As soon as I was diagnosed, I did as most people do, and I went straight to the internet and started to look at ways to cure myself, or heal myself, of this terrible blight. I came across quite a few things that all talked about the same areas—about losing weight.
 
I’m not sure, Cabinet Secretary, if you’ve ever heard of the Newcastle study on the 600-calorie diet. This is something that you mentioned there was no magic pill for, but Newcastle University did some research that was funded by Diabetes UK, and they followed 11 people. They put them on a 600-calorie diet for eight weeks, and they had an additional 200 calories from eating vegetables. At the end of the study, seven of those 11 people were no longer diabetic. That is unbelievable. That is, if you have this terrible illness and you can suddenly be in a position where you are no longer diabetic, it’s phenomenal. I myself self-diagnosed this and did this myself. I lost six stone—some of you out there might be thinking ‘Holy cow!’ I actually weighed less than my wife. She doesn’t like it when I point that out, but it’s true—I weighed less than my wife. I managed to keep myself from going onto insulin for about two years as a result of this. My doctor just couldn’t believe how my blood sugar absolutely plummeted to the normal level. But it was unsustainable for me, and because my pancreas had been attacked, that’s why it didn’t have a long-term effect on me. But for people who are pre-diabetic or people who are type 2 diabetic because of a large amount of fat around the pancreas or other organs, I would exalt you, Cabinet Secretary, to look into this. It’s not one of those crazy things from the internet; the University of Newcastle, GPs and Diabetes UK all looked into this and followed this study.
 
Now, 7 per cent of the population has diabetes. It accounts for 10 per cent of the NHS spend, which in Wales is £500 million a year. Over half of the population in Wales is overweight. What a lot of people aren’t aware of is that if you’re female and your waist is over 31.5 inches, and if you’re male and your waist is over 37 inches you have just increased your risk of type 2 diabetes significantly.
 
When I first was receiving the symptoms of diabetes—when I was what’s classed as pre-diabetic—I think if I had followed this diet, I could have pushed things back even further with it developing to the state that it did. I myself will not die from diabetes. I will die from heart disease, I will run the risk of becoming blind, of having my limbs amputated, of having a stroke. Because people don’t die from diabetes—you die from the knock-on effects of it. Before I was diagnosed, I never went to the doctor’s. I just never went—I didn’t need to. Why waste my time and waste his time in going? Since then, I’m a regular and have many other illnesses that pop up from time to time that are directly related to the diabetes. If I was pre-diabetic, believe you me, knowing what I know now, I would do everything under the sun to stop this illness from developing to the state that it is in now—everything—because it is an absolute scourge and a curse. I hope, Cabinet Secretary, that you can take a look at this study and maybe trial it. I know from speaking to GPs that most of them are not aware of this, and certainly have no idea about how to push it out to people who would be able to do it. Let’s face it—to have only 800 calories a day for eight weeks, that’s quite a big ask. You need to be motivated to do that, but there will be people out there who will benefit from this. It’s not a magic bullet, but it can help some lives. Thank you.
 
16:29
Y Dirprwy Lywydd / The Deputy Presiding OfficerBiography
I call on the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport to reply to the debate—Vaughan Gething.
 
16:29
Vaughan GethingBiographyThe Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport
Thank you, Deputy Presiding Officer. I want to thank all Members who took part in today’s debate. I will just run through some of the comments that have been made, in particular, and quite understandably, Rhun ap Iorwerth’s contribution. I want to deal with some of the points about structured education, because I do recognise the need for improvement—the need to have a proper audit trail to allow us to properly understand the level of take-up and what we can do to further improve the take-up that exists. It is a key part of managing the condition. It doesn’t get into, perhaps, the prevention that we’ve also discussed in a variety of contributions, but I recognise there’s something there for us to resolve. So, I do expect to be able to report in the future on the take-up of the Seren programme and that that’s had the desired impact in terms of the take-up of that structured education, in particular for type 1 diabetics, but also to see further progress made in NICE tests, because, actually, much of the fall-off has actually come down to one test where there’s been a significant fall-off and that’s the urine albumin test fall-off.
 
So, actually, when I talked about taking forward the audit findings and tackling the variation in care with our colleagues in primary and secondary care, that’s a really important part of understanding why there is that variation, for the testing, the care provided and the outcome. There’s real self-reflection within the profession about the fact that they are part of helping us to be able to do that. It isn’t just about trying to shift and saying this is all about the citizen taking all of the responsibility and all of the control. Actually, we’ve still got a responsibility in Government and within the service to do the right thing in terms of the care processes being there, as well as being properly accountable for what does and does not take place.
 
Again, in terms of Angela Burns’s contribution, which, again, I broadly welcome, what I would say about your focus on physical activity for young people—again, I recognise that it is really important, not just in this area, but a whole range of others. And it is important to see that tied in as part of the curriculum review for the future about how PE is taught. But, actually, we’re already taking steps to increase physical activity take-up in our schools—the daily mile being the most obvious example. There’s something here about not perceiving physical activity as playing sport. I, myself, love sports. I always enjoyed playing sport as a young person until I got injured out from playing sport competitively; I’m now competitive from the sidelines. But the challenge is about how we normalise physical activity and make it easy for people to do, and simple. Because I think there is a challenge about not just saying that physical activity equals sport. It is about that broader sense of how we renormalise activity in its broader sense so that people expect that and actually enjoy it.
 
16:32
Angela BurnsBiography
I don’t dispute that observation at all. The reality is that PE lessons have reduced by one minute and thirty seconds over the last decade, so they’re certainly not on the increase. I do think we should try and normalise activity. It’s very difficult to do, though, when schools are being shut down more and more in terms of play facilities, outdoor facilities et cetera. That’s why I made the point about making it fun, so that those kids enjoy it. It doesn’t have to be running around a football pitch, it could be dancing at lunch time—anything like that would go well, and they’re not doing it.
 
16:32
Vaughan GethingBiography
Well, I reckon lots of those things do take place, particularly in primary schools, but also in secondary schools, too. There’s a challenge again about how we normalise it and also that normalisation not just being something that is confined to a school. It isn’t solely the responsibility of education professionals to get children and young people to be physically active and physically literate. That’s part of the challenge that we have, actually. It’s about the engagement of the parent and the carer group and our community examples as well. If we can’t get that part right, actually, we’re fighting an uphill struggle. So, I don’t think we have a significant disagreement. It’s really about how we get from the diagnosis and what we want to do to actually delivering that in practice.
 
I recognise what you say about saving people in the future, but I do think part of our reckoning is that we can save people in their 30s, 40s and 50s, either through the prevention of type 2 diabetes, or in the better management of it, and, actually, there are lots of evidence that I’m going to refer to later of the fact that physical activity has real benefits in either the prevention or actually in the better management of this and a range of other conditions.
 
I also recognise the points Julie Morgan raised on type 1 diabetes. I think with you I’ve met Beth Baldwin and had a discussion with her son, Peter. And as you rightly pointed out, the delivery plan recognises the need to improve type 1 detection and symptom awareness. And there are measures we’re looking to undertake with community pharmacies for the role they have to play in opportunistic testing. I’d be very grateful if you could write to me with details of the campaign awareness launch event that you referred to.
 
I’m thinking about the contribution made by Caroline, from UKIP, of course, and I’m pleased with the recognition of improvement that was in her contribution and also the need for more. But I would again say, gently but clearly, that learning about a healthy diet is in each one of our schools. There’s a very, very clear message, particularly in primary schools, that any of us who visit a primary school would recognise about healthy eating. It goes back to this point that there are different measures that take place outside the school gates and set the pattern for what people think and consider to be normal in terms of healthy eating and learning.
 
Thinking about Nathan Gill’s very interesting contribution, I am aware of the study you referred to. What I would say is that, as well as awareness of that, we already have the most significant evidence of the impact of healthier behaviour in Wales, and that exists from Wales, and it’s the Caerphilly study. That cohort of people—it’s an amazing wealth of information about the importance of managing diet, exercise, alcohol and smoking, and if we’re not able to tackle hose four big behaviour challenges—not just in this area, but in many others—we’ll have a less healthy population, it’ll be more expensive to keep unhealthy for longer, more pain and discomfort for those people, and more economic challenges as well. This is one of those areas where we see that being played out and made real.
 
So, I’m happy to continue to say that we need to deliver that behaviour change with our citizens—it’s not about lecturing or attempting to shame people, but working alongside them to encourage and actually to deliver some of that change, and all the measures for the compulsion and requirement, as well as that encouragement and empowerment of the citizen as well, and their own responsibility. So, I’m happy to commit to the continued improvement in the way in which we tackle the treatment and care of people with diabetes and prevention, as well as the transparency in our progress. This is not a party-political issue in so many ways, as the debate today recognises, but it really is a national issue of national importance for all of us.
 
16:35
Y Dirprwy Lywydd / The Deputy Presiding OfficerBiography
Thank you very much. The proposal is to agree amendment 1. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Therefore we defer voting under this item until voting time.
 
Voting deferred until voting time.
 
Y Dirprwy Lywydd / The Deputy Presiding OfficerBiography
Unless three Members wish for the bell to be ring, I will proceed directly to voting time.
 
16:36
7. Voting Time
Y Dirprwy Lywydd / The Deputy Presiding OfficerBiography
I call for a vote on amendment 1 to the diabetes services in Wales debate in the name of Rhun ap Iorwerth. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the amendment 20, no abstentions, 28 against. Therefore, amendment 1 is not agreed.
 
Amendment not agreed: For 20, Against 28, Abstain 0.
 
16:36
Y Dirprwy Lywydd / The Deputy Presiding OfficerBiography
I call for a vote on amendment 2 tabled in the name of Rhun ap Iorwerth. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the motion 47, no abstentions, one against. Therefore, amendment 2 is agreed.
 
Amendment agreed: For 47, Against 1, Abstain 0.
 
16:37
Y Dirprwy Lywydd / The Deputy Presiding OfficerBiography
I now call for a vote on the motion as amended.
 
Motion NDM6292 as amended:
 
To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:
 
1. Notes the publication of the updated Diabetes Delivery Plan and the priority areas outlined in the recent annual report to:
 
a. improve the standard of diabetes care across the health system and reduce variation in care practices;
 
b. support primary care in the management of diabetes and completion of key care processes;
 
c. enable people with diabetes to better manage their condition and reduce their risk of complications; and
 
d. use informatics to drive better integration of services for people with diabetes.
 
2. Recognises the importance of tackling obesity in preventing type 2 diabetes.
 
16:37
Y Dirprwy Lywydd / The Deputy Presiding OfficerBiography
Open the vote. Close the vote. For the motion 49, no abstentions, one against. Therefore, the motion as amended is agreed.
 
Motion NDM6292 as amended agreed: For 49, Against 0, Abstain 1.
 
16:37
Y Dirprwy Lywydd / The Deputy Presiding OfficerBiography
That brings today’s proceedings to a close. Thank you.
 
The meeting ended at 16:37.
 
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