02/10/2011 The Politics Show Wales


Jon Sopel and Aled ap Dafydd with analysis of the political scene shaping Wales.

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Later in the programme: The Secretary of State for Wales


defends the coalition. We assess the merits of charging


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2137 seconds


for bags with the Federation of Good afternoon and welcome to the


Politics Show in Wales. Coming up: The carrier bag levy and the Welsh


Government's draft budget. But first, the Conservatives are


gathering in Manchester this week for their annual UK conference.The


economy will be the main talking point but Welsh eyes will be on


what's said regarding the relationship between the


Government's in Westminster and Cardiff Bay. The Secretary of State


for Wales has some strong criticisms of the Government here


and we'll hear for Cheryl Gillan in a moment but Adrian Browne looks at


how the Conservatives view themselves in Wales.


And Andrew Davies, the new leader of the Conservative group in the


Assembly enjoying himself meeting shopkeepers.


There are still a spring in his step after his party leapfrogged


Plaid Cymru in the Assembly election to become the official


opposition to Labour in Cardiff Bay. He believes there is plenty of


scope for further Welsh Conservative advances.


I want to be offering a positive embracing manifesto that people


resonate with her and put us in the position we can govern here in


Wales and implement the changes required to lift Wales of the pot


of the economic performance table - - the bottom. The only way you will


do that is by voting Welsh Conservative.


This early Tory campaigning in towns such as poor call for the


local elections promises to give powers to Communities so they can


do more to himself -- Porthcawl. you are talking about this


particular time, there is an incredible number of people


involved in the regeneration story who have been fighting for years to


get things like swimming pools here. That level of local contribution to


political argument is essential. One of the things about the


Conservatives is we listen to that rather than just go, the government


knows best, let them sorted out. How likely of voters facing rising


prices, job losses and UK government have been spending cuts


to keep the Conservative Party as their cup of choice?


We did perform quite well in 2010 and coming second in the National


Assembly elections was a step forward but we could do better. We


haven't yet reached the height of the Conservative party's


performance in Wales in the 1980s and your right to say the economy


will be the crutch of the East -- crux of the issue.


Our correspondent spoke to the Welsh Secretary of State Cheryl


Gillan in Manchester. Hello from Manchester where the


Conservatives are holding what is their second UK conference in


coalition with the Liberal Democrats, very much a Conservative


affair this week. I am joined by the Secretary of State for Wales,


Cheryl Gillan. 16 months into coalition, but it looks as if the


Liberal Democrats don't trust you to deliver on devolution for Wales.


16 months into coalition and I think we have got a very proud


record for what we have delivered in Wales and you will hear that in


the conference speech this afternoon. First of all we are


delivering on infrastructure project. We are putting almost a


billion pounds into South Wales. �60 million going into broadband,


delivering for individuals. Taking 52,000 of the lowest people out of


tax and I have been delivering on devolution itself. Not only


delivering legislation the last Labour government held up which


people tend to forget, but also delivering on the referendum which


allowed the people of Wales to make a decision on the future of the


Welsh government and the Welsh Assembly. Why is it your coalition


partners forced by the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats say can


we rely on the Conservative Secretary of State, the


understanding of devolution is too shallow, your account ability to


tenuous and the wells of this believes in giving power away is


simply non-existent? She is allowed any future ones. The


coalition government is working very well -- any views she wants.


The Lib Dems think so. We have worked very successfully in


coalition. It decided to put aside party differences and have a


programme for government in the country's interest, in a contest of


Wales and in the interest of the economy. She is entitled to her own


opinions. Is she right? Quite wrong, completely wrong. You are talking


about some of the things about delivering on devolution in a


speech later today, focusing on the Cameron Commission that will look


at the Assembly government, the powers -- Kalman. You talk about


getting accountability, it you say there isn't accountability at the


moment? Everybody appreciates under way in


which the Welsh government is currently funded a large sum of


money, �15 billion is simply handed over to the world government to


spend how they see fit. They are not accountable for raising those


funds. There has been a secret as to what the commission will be


looking at in terms of the future of Wales and the future of


devolution. He will be spending some time looking at accountability


-- it will be. It will be looking at what the future of devolution


holds for Wales. I did want to pre- empt too much of that because I


know they rob people there are people purported to know what has


been going on and have been blogging quite shamelessly. I am


going to announce that properly in a bubble passion to art -- properly


in the proper fashion to Parliament when we return. Now the number of


MPs is being reduced there will be more list members and fewer


constituency members? I will remain where I was when I


was questioned on that in the House of Commons by a Plaid Cymru MP who


put forward 31st past the post and the 30 list members and the shadow


Secretary of State has nailed his colours to the mast and said he


wants 61st past the post. Soon after supporting a fee was quite a


surprise. At the moment all things considered we are going to look at


the commission first and look at the shape of the electoral process


at a later stage as I agreed with the First Minister when we agreed


to decouple on the changes that were being made to the


parliamentary boundaries. Smallest members would not be more


accountable, would it? I will not have the discussion here and now


but I am interested in the case being put forward and I can issue


and will allow people to put their views forward. He talked about the


big infrastructure projects that the UK government is bringing


forward. One goes through your constituency, the high-speed rail


link to which your constituents are by and large the post. Some are


campaigning outside. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, says


opponents of the high-speed rail link are insane. Are you insane?


I am not insane. Quite frankly the project that was put forward by the


previous Labour government -- Labour government is something


might objections to a one of on what is important is there has been


a major consultation period -- are well known. He says you're all


insane. A I am sure some of my colleagues already have their minds


made up but the government will be looking at that consultation and


the responses and making a decision in the light of those responses.


The Prime Minister has always given me an insurance this is an open


consultation. You could vote against the government and stay in


office? I am in office because it Bannister has allowed me to


Secretary of State for Wales -- to be Secretary of State for Wales.


You want to carry on. I would love to carry on. I have never been


prouder of the job and doing for Wales. Enjoy your week. That is it


from Manchester for the moment. The conference runs into Wednesday.


That is the end of the conference party season, at last.


Last week, the big event was Carwyn Jones' programme for Government


over the next five years. This week, all eyes in Cardiff Bay will be on


Tuesday's announcement of the 2012/13 draft budget. This year,


the First Minister doesn't have an outright majority so will need some


form of opposition support to get his Government's plan through.


I've been speaking to our political editor, Betsan Powys, who outlined


the challenges facing the Welsh Government.


There are some key points to be made this year. Labour doesn't have


the numbers. They have got 30 members, they need one more to


ensure the budget goes through so we talk about a draft budget, that


is exactly what this will be because there will have to be some


compromises, picking off one Assembly Member or bringing a group


to get the numbers to get it through so they will be changes.


The other key point is this is a purely Labour draft budget. There


are some indications of how they plan to spend the money over the


next couple of years but they were drawn up by Plaid Cymru and Labour


so any changes will be because Labour have made those changes so


that will be interesting to see what they have decided to change


for this draft budget. When it comes to bargaining what


can the other parties possibly expect?


Well, we know where the money has gone down, it is in capital


spending so we need to look at whether they change that balance


between day-to-day spending, Revenue had big capital Betjeman --


budget. Plaid Cymru have been arguing development spend has been


suffering because there is capital in that. The Liberal Democrats


would want to see more money going into education spending. That is


there a number one priority. The Conservatives took about half the


lot and they say in cash terms it is pretty much flak lining, in real


terms that means the health budget is going down by �1 billion. They


would be pressing for more expenditure on health. He is Carwyn


Jones going to listen to? He only needs one person to come over and


support his Budget. Or will there be a whole group that will agree


some compromise and they know where they are heading already I suspect.


If you went about the weekly shop yesterday I hope you remembered to


take some reusable bags with you! If not, you probably had to pay for


the bag as this weekend has seen the start of the compulsory carrier


bag charge in Wales. Although many support the scheme, others says


it's too confusing. We sent our reporter, Lee Madan, shopping in


Cardiff Market. It is a small charge that is making


a big impact. Shoppers in Wales now have to pay at least 5p for every


single used carrier bag. The new law that is receiving eight mixed


response in Cardiff market -- single-use. They should have done


it a while ago. It is for the best. I get why they are doing it. It is


mad. We are taxed on everything as it is without being taxed on


carrier bags as well. It is good, only 5p. Really good. Perhaps some


pensioners can't afford to pay for about like this. Shoppers can still


avoid paying the charge if they buy certain exempt items, things like


loose fruit and vegetables -- and vegetables. If others not exempt


items are placed into the same carrier bag, pre-packaged fruit,


the five p charge applies and it is down to individual retailers to


make sure it is paid -- the 5p charge. People don't expect it when


they turn up to the fruit and veg stall. People are quite aware of


where the boundaries lie with the knack. It can be a bit confusing at


times. We have had a lot of problems this morning with people


wanting to pay 5p, but what is happening, the customers think we


are having the money but we are not. It is fine, but if the product you


are selling is expensive it is a bit cheeky asking for 5p for a


carrier bag. So far it has been pretty good. A


lot of people have been bringing their own backs lately. Russell


runs a men's clothes shop and says he is refusing to ask customers to


pay for bags. Absolutely not. I will continue not


to charge. I will stand up in front of the judge and say I disagree


with it, I don't see why you should find me, I don't think I am


polluting the planet by supplying these bags and I know myself I have


always got four or five that I used for multi-purpose things as ensure


that of my customers do. Former Labour Assembly members sat on the


committee in Cardiff Bay looking into the new law, a law she support


in principle, but says has gone too far. When we were on the committee


I think most of us had in our minds that we were talking about


supermarkets in the main. Those are the big corporates. I do have some


concern the way the policy has developed in its final form, and it


does need tweaking and I would like the minister to have a look at some


of those issues around butchers, fishmongers, and clothing shops.


The Environment Minister is adamant that charge in its current form is


here to stay. A lot of work has gone into working


up this policy and there has been a lot of consultation with retailers,


a lot of discussions. We are confident we have got it right.


Overwhelmingly the people I have spoken to understand the need for


the charge. They don't want to see our streets and countries that


littered with plastic bags and understand the need to be less of a


throwaway society. Shoppers and retailers have three months to get


used to the charge. After that the wash government says it will take


action against anyone not complying. Obviously is there is well thought


refusal to enforce that must be dealt with and the penalties are


there to make sure the charge is absurd.


The message to shoppers is clear. If you did want to pray, bring your


own backs with you. For those who don't, it is time to budget for an


extra cost at the tail. -- if you don't want to pray -- pay.


Iestyn Davies is the spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses


and joins me now. It might be too early to evaluate


the long-term success of this policy but what have the businesses


you represent been telling you about how it went on the first day?


The vast majority are clearly supportive of any idea that stops


waste, as the minister says it ends this throwaway culture but their


feedback over 24 hours has been sometimes at the shop staff have


been insulted and shouted at, sometimes they have been encouraged


so very variable. Lots of people who I spoke to last


week when preparing an item and be heard from the package complaining


it is far too confusing a policy, people don't know when this charge


will apply. Is that something you have had as the back? If you read


the guidance, there is owed 70 two- page document, and they have


changed in many ways. It is easy to say it I have less than 10


employees so I am exempt from record-keeping but if you are a


small trader and you have to keep records for VAT you have to do a


judicious check on how many bags to tell the fact man. There are some


grey areas -- the VAT man. We urge our members to be supportive and


this has a positive impact on the environment. If it does that to the


detriment of small businesses that wasn't intended.


In terms of small businesses, the, it by Lorraine, she had big


supermarkets in mind when this policy was first thought about. Are


you disappointed it also applies to small businesses? Yes, I am. Small


businesses by their nature are generally part of a more


sustainable way of shopping. We believe in keeping trade local for


so we would encourage people to travel less and walked to the local


town centre and purchase what they need when they needed rather than


filling up their trolley from a large supermarket. This is about


saving the environment, not about saving local businesses. It is, and


local businesses are key to reducing the carbon footprint


intend of retail travel and the journeys we make more often in our


cars to larger out-of-town centres. It is not a simple yes or no issue,


it is very complicated and small businesses have an important part


to play in creating a sustainable retail environment.


Some would argue if the government was 100% behind getting rid of


single used carrier bags then all bags, no matter what was being put


in them, should be charged. The government which had, you have


to remember, had support from all the opposition parties was intent


on taking this route. We managed to negotiate exemptions for small


businesses, bringing a charge down, but ultimately this is the way they


went about it and we don't think it was misguided in what it intended


to bring about but some of the implementation are slightly


misguided. In terms of the enforcement aspect


we know that companies who employ less than 10 people will not have


to keep a record two. Provided they are not VAT-registered.


I am sure you represent organisations which do have more


than 10 employees. Why do you think the government has made it an


enforcement part of this policy that people keep a record, however


they are not compelled under the law to pass the money on?


It is a difficult equation. You cannot use the word tax in the


context of this carrier-bag Levy, levy being the operative word. It


is a strange mix. We are trying to use a bit of carrot and stick. At


the end of the day there are questions to say why not ban all


forms of plastic carrier bags, promote biodegradable, it is very


complex. However you go about it you will leave some people confused.


We are very supportive of this as an initiative. Do you think the


companies will pass the money on to good causes, they don't have to.


I'm confident they will. The people we Speedie, local traders, are very


community-minded. -- we speak to. They want to keep their money local.


Speaking to the co-operative Retail Society earlier, they are looking


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