02/12/2015 The Wales Report


02/12/2015

A special Wales Report where a studio audience gets a chance to put questions to first minister Carwyn Jones. Presented by Bethan Rhys Roberts.


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Transcript


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With five months to go until the Assembly elections in May,

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a studio audience put their questions on the service, the

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economy and much more to the First Minister, Labour's Carwyn Jones.

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Good evening and welcome to The Wales Report.

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You join us tonight for a special programme.

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It's been an eventful year in politics and next year is shaping

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up to be just as busy with the Assembly elections on the horizon

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and a possible in-out referendum on Britain's membership of the EU.

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So what are the burning issues that you want to discuss?

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Are you happy with the way the way your health service is being run?

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Are schools in Wales getting top marks from you?

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Is the Welsh economy a source for optimism or concern?

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Tonight, we have a studio audience who have

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plenty of questions for the man at the helm here in Wales, the First

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Remember, you too can have your say on social media.

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But first tonight, MPs are currently debating.

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That was on whether the UK should join on the bombing of so-called

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Islamic State targets in Syria. I would have voted against. I think

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the Prime Minister has not made the case for air strikes on their own.

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But if you want to bring peace to Syria, you have got to have a plan.

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Which ground forces do you support in order to do that? If you do that,

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what air strikes do you need? None of that has been done. At the end of

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the day, my greatest fear is we will end up with air strikes and the

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whole thing will be forgotten about. Nobody will do the work that is

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needed for peace and security in Syria. Then needed to be a

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statesman-like attitude from the Prime Minister and what did we see?

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He said anyone against him was a terrorist sympathiser. Regardless of

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how MPs vote tonight, their views should be respected, but I did in

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the case has been made. What about your party? You have a leader in you

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against military action and yet a man who would like to be Foreign

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Secretary for military action. We are in government in Wales. But

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there are different views within the Labour Party and the Conservative

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Party. Every Conservative MP will back -- will not back military

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action. I have not seen anything that will lead to peace and security

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in Syria. The debates on military action can carry on.

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Now, let's move on to our first topic - the Welsh NHS.

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Our first question tonight comes from Chris O'Callghan,

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With ever increasing demand on the NHS but only limited resources and

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It's a real challenge for governments around the world. Our

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health budgeted 46% of our total budget. We spend more on health than

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ever before. We have had new bills going up and Aberystwyth, Swansea,

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but we know that there is ever demand. We see it in orthopaedics

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and A But we are determined to keep the current situation, which is

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we spend more than England per head on health and continue to spend what

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we need in the health service the people want. Of course there are

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pressures and of course there are challenges. But if you look at what

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we have done in terms of increasing funding and the numbers of doctors

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and nurses, we're in the best position ever in that regard. You

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work in health service? I have worked in the NHS for 12 years now.

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I have concerns about the cancer care provisions in Wales. When you

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look at scanning, we provide very limited services for referral

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criteria is wearers NHS England have up to 18 reasons why having a scam.

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How do we move ourselves up to parity the NHS England? Any other

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points on comparing the health service in Wales and England? Any

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other experiences? The gentlemen of the vendor back. I am concerned

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about the amount of cancer patients have to move to England to get

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reasonable treatment. If you look at what is happening with cancer, you

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have a quicker route to treatment in Wales than England and we know that

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from our own figures. You get access to approved cancer drugs more

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quickly as well. The other point is that England had its Cancer Drugs

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Fund and it is disappearing. What we want to do is make sure people had

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access to the treatment that would work for them as quickly as

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possible. In terms of the issue here, in terms of scanning, we

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always look at ways to review the procedures we used to make them more

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effective. We do know that when it comes to the urgent route with

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cancer treatment and the nonurgent route, it's not a competition but we

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are ahead of England. We want to make sure it stays that way. Any

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other points from the audience? We be at preventative health care such

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as eco-therapy which has been approved around the world to help

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people's mental and physical well-being and also save money for

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the NHS? We are always looking at ways to encourage preventative

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health care. We know that if we can ensure that fewer people smoke, we

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will see fewer people with heart disease and strokes further down the

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line. We try and get the balance right. It's difficult because we

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know that demand was goes up in a deep, orthopaedics and other areas,

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but it is important not to lose focus of the need to ensure that

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people are in a position where they avoid having serious conditions as

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they get older. Can I ask about GP 's surgery? In your 2011 election

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pledge, it was to improve access to GB's surgeries but that has actually

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gone down and Wales now has fewer GP's surgeries. Access to GPs has

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gone up in terms of evening access and weekends. Statistics say they've

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gone down. We know more surgeries are open in the evenings than ever

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before. The challenge is to ensure consistency across Wales. In

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Bridgend, they are open some evenings, an online appointment for

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operations and ordering prescriptions, and we need to make

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sure that good practices extended to other surgeries. It was 11% in 2013

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but down to 7% in 2014. I can only talk from my own GP's surgery. When

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I first registered there, they were opened five and a half days a week

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and now they are open three. If you are ill on a Tuesday or Wednesday,

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you need to go somewhere else or wait until Thursday or Friday, and

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in the New Year, the surgery itself will close down. It closes at 4pm as

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well. There is no reason for that. They are mainly private contractors

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rather than employed by the NHS but there are good examples of surgeries

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are opening in the evenings when it is more convenient for people,

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people being able to make appointments online and over the

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phone. That is being rolled out across Wales and there's no reason

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why surgeries can all have that. We'll Wales's share of the extra

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money given to the extra health service be ring fenced like in

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England? We already spend more than England does and that will continue.

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We are absolutely in the position where we will continue to spend more

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on health in Wales per head than England doesn't that will continue

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in the future. It isn't ring fenced? Effectively, it is, because England

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are spending less than we are. We have had ?110 million extra. We know

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that prices will go a further so it is a cut in real terms but a chunk

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of that money will be used to make sure that we will spend the amount

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of money per head the people expect. People will compare us and we will

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stay head of England. Gentleman at the end there. On the subject of

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funding, it's true I think that the Welsh NHS uses an awful lot of

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agency workers. Why not pay your staff a little bit more, recruit

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more and not make millionaires out of those running the agencies? We

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encourage local health boards to do exactly that. Sometimes, it's not

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possible. More and more doctors are working as locums than ever before.

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But we want to make sure that the vast majority of staff permanently

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employed. Occasionally, agencies will be used, but that's not

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something we would want to see the norm. The gentleman in front there.

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The staff have the timings of 12 hours for nurses and doctors. How do

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you expect them to work the next day, 12 hours again? I work for

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eight hours, so the motivation and effort they do is too much and how

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will they cope every day? Is this to do with junior doctors? Every

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doctors in hospitals. Bear in mind that England is staring down the

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barrel of a junior doctor's strike. My point is that they're human

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beings. If you hire other doctors, they can facilitate to their

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families. There will be occasions when people have to be brought in in

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northern to cover perhaps surge in demand. That will be normal within

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the health service where that demand surges. I have seen every time in

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the hospital... Sometimes, they have to be hospitalised. Every time they

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do 12 hours, sometimes they do overnight, 36 hours. Let's go back

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to our question. Do you feel that the health service has improved

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after 15 years of a Labour government? We are on a turning

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point and it could go either way. We need more money for our patients to

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get better care. Just once that there is worth bearing in mind, our

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budget has gone down by more than ?1 billion in the last four years but

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we have managed to keep health spending up. At the end of the day,

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we have seen a 10% cut from our budget. Despite all that, we have

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managed to keep health spending ahead of England but also, four

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years ago, health was 41% of our spending an hour to 46%, so we have

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taken difficult decisions despite cuts coming from the Tories. You

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also have one health service in special measures and confidence is

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at an all-time low. You had a decision last night where you have

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got the bosses rolling back on reorganisation. A few years ago, you

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said the NHS would collapse about reorganisation. Reorganisation is

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not happening in your policy is collapsing. If you look at Betsy, it

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is common for this to happen, but it has happened in Wales. We ensured

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that it was put under special measures in order to see work done

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to get it where we were last night. Let's face it, if the Welsh

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government did not take action it did, we would not have seen the

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report produced last night and there would not been the opportunity to

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continue with consultant led maternity units in Betsy. That has

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happened because of the action taken by the Welsh Labour government.

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Let's move on to the economy. Our second question tonight

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comes from Yahya Pandor. Wales still qualifies to receive

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handouts from the EU, there are lots of people on benefits and

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empty shops on our high streets. After 15 years of Labour government,

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why is Wales so poor? There are some reasons that are

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there because of what happened in the 80s, the fact that we lost so

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many that time. But if you look at our economic figures, we had the

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best foreign direct investment figures, I got investment into

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Wales, from Canada, India, in the North, all because of the work we

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did. We have also had the most successful job placement scheme in

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Europe. We had 17,000 youngsters who had an opportunity of a work

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placement and 80% of gone on to other jobs or further and higher

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education. That's because we listen to businesses. Businesses were

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saying, we would like to take somebody on but we cannot afford the

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time or money to train them so we have now a bridge that gap.

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The one thing we won't do is what happened in the late 1980s and the

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1990s was the government saying to come to Wales because the wage rates

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are so low, the lowest in Europe. Those days are long gone. The

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investment now is for highly skilled and highly paid jobs. Earnings in

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Wales are lower than in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England, why is

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that? They are. Some of that is historic but the gap is closing. We

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know that. If you look at domestic household income which measures

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income according to where people live, that gap has been closing for

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a long time. There are challenges to make sure that investment is spread

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around Wales and it does not will go to the north-east and the south-east

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and if you look at the work that has been done in Swansea there is a

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fantastic new campus for college and a railway station and that is all

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designed to bring investment into that part of Wales. A few hands up.

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Historically you look at the Welsh economy and we have always merged

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with Liverpool and Manchester, we can just look at those areas now I

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just wish. If you boys were not there, we would be working a lot

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harder with them and benefiting from the boom in the south-west of

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England and Bristol. More corporation across-the-board is?

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That is true, economically that is right and that is why we have

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announced plans to work with the Northern Powerhouse in England. It

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is normal in other parts of Europe so why should it be different in

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Wales? The reality is that if we look at the south-west of England,

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it is a competitor for us as well and we have to make sure that people

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will come to Wales. We have never had a higher profile at

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international level which is why we are seeing the investment. Today I

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was opening a new office in Cardiff bringing 700 jobs into Cardiff

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because of the work we have done to work with businesses to get those

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investments in. What about North Wales? If you look at air bus and

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also a Japanese company that we have coming into Deeside. We have

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opportunities on angle side -- Anglesey and Lockheed Martin are

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working with the college to maximise the opportunities for local people

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when the power station is built and comes online. We need an UK

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Government to do its bit. What happened to electrification? We were

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told the mainline would be electrified by 2018 and now it is

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Twenty20 four, and the message that gives out is that Swansea is somehow

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the end of the line. Where is the work being done on the tidal

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agreement in Swansea Bay which could create thousands of jobs, nothing.

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We are doing our bit but we need a UK Government to do its bit as well.

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The man at the back. You keep coming back in regard to the economy to

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Swansea and Steve 's side, but what about Blaenau Gwent and areas like

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that that do not have major towns and cities? If you look at Ebbw

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Vale, the new development at the steelworks, we know that Merthyr is

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attracting jobs and the general dynamics, we know that they are

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looking at Merthyr and other jobs are there as well. Why? Because of

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the work that has been done at the heads of the valleys and making our

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communities more connected and the work that has been done with

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transport. One of the reason is way above is attracting investment is

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the fact that we opened up a railway line and made sure that it was more

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connected as a town, not just for bringing people into Cardiff but

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investment at Ebbw Vale as well. The other thing that is important is

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broadband. Broadband in the 21st-century is the equivalent of

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railway lines in the 19th century, if you are not connected then you

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are not connected with your market. By April 20, 1796 present premises

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in Wales will have access to superfast broadband, the market

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would never deliver that. We are paying for it to make sure that

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wherever you live in Wales you have access to that level of speed. A

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feeling the poverty gap in Wales for some people. Any comments on that?

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The gap is widening between the cities and the more industrial...

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The chap the specs. I was going to say do you think we are attracting

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investment and business without subsidy because it is good to be in

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Wales or with Welsh government subsidy? The financial support we

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give is important but all governments do this. Everybody puts

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a financial package on the table and if we did not do it we would be

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trumped by everyone else, but it is more than that. People are saying

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that they like having a government they can talk to and it is

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accessible, they can get decisions because they are taken very quickly.

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That is the advantage of our size and having a government based in

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Wales. They also say that we have the skills that they need. If you

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are a business the financial package is one thing but you have to make

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sure that you have the business there to keep the business going and

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we find people saying they are happy with the people that they have in

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Wales and they like their commitment and their skills and that message is

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getting out there. The gentleman there. You mentioned superfast

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broadband as a key investment but why did we not look at 4G and five

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June rather than putting cables through? You are right about the

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cell phone connections but we do not directly control or pay for those.

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The companies have said they will extend coverage across Wales but in

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other parts it is inexplicable. Anglesey is flat spotted many parts

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you cannot get mobile phone reception it does not seem to make

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sense to me so they need to invest the money and making sure we get

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mobile phone reception as well across Wales. What we did was look

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at broadband particularly, the cabling to make sure we had

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superfast broadband available for as many premises as possible. Some are

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difficult to reach but there will be other solutions for them. It means

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that where ever you are in Wales, which of the village of living, you

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will have access to the level of broadband speed that is available in

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Cardiff. A question from down the front here. It is great and to be

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commended that we are getting new jobs into Wales but new jobs means

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either new people coming into Wales or it means people moving around

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Wales and ultimately we are facing a housing crisis in Wales, so what

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will we do about housing these people? You are right to say that

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with some businesses they do bring some of their people investment in

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time they are replaced with people locally. I give you an example, a

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film -- creative industries and film production is really booming at the

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moment and they bring their own people in but then they create

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opportunities for training for local people and they create jobs locally.

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An example I had last week was of a scaffolding company in Merthyr that

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is going great guns, providing reading for the film sets. In fact

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it does provide jobs for people even though some people have been brought

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in originally. You mentioned housing. We know that we have helped

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to buy as a scheme that is helping people to buy their own houses and

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we're on target to build the houses that said we would build which is

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about 10,000. We know, of course, that many of those houses have to be

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affordable, things like shared equity schemes are important and

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also affordable houses to rent. Those things are important in terms

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of the mix. Can I bring you back to the original question which kicked

:21:46.:21:49.

off in terms of European funding. ?2 billion comes into Wales over six

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years or so. Your predecessor said in 2000 that it was a

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once-in-a-lifetime chance for Wales and we still qualify, 15 years on.

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Are you disappointed or ashamed that we still qualify? I do not want to

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qualify again. We want to be in a position where we have less money

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and that much is true. What we are seeing in terms of job creation and

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investment that is coming in is incredible. I see our young people

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are much more likely to setup their own businesses than my generation

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ever were. We never lacked the skills in terms of people having the

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good ideas but they often lack the confidence to set up their own

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businesses and now that is changing and I want to see that change

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because I came from a background when I was self-employed before I

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came into politics and that is the big change that we are seeing. It is

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one thing to bring jobs in but what is important is to ensure that they

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are jobs that are well paid and they will stay in Wales and that is what

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we have aimed at and that is what we have done in terms of the jobs that

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are coming. You paint a pretty rosy picture of the economy here in

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Wales. We have a straw poll now, who feels that since devolution the

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economy is on the up? One person. Who feels it is perhaps not on the

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way up, it is suffering and going down because of devolution? You

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would rather go back to pre-devolution anybody? Yes. Let us

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hear from you, the gentleman in the leather jacket. You want to go back

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to pre-devolution? Definitely. I am from Newport and I am a

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Monmouthshire man and we never supported anyway and frankly I think

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we got it right. Carwyn Jones is very impressive in what he just said

:23:43.:23:45.

and if he had just walked into the room and you did not know that we're

:23:46.:23:48.

in the Senate coming up for 16 years I think it would be very impressed.

:23:49.:23:52.

The main thing is that we still have an unemployment rate at 1% higher in

:23:53.:23:56.

Wales than in the rest of the country and it seems to vary from

:23:57.:24:00.

month to month. We catch up one month and then we go out to sink the

:24:01.:24:04.

following month, which is rather... It doesn't seem to be a steady ship.

:24:05.:24:10.

It is up and down, that's true but if you compare where we used to be

:24:11.:24:13.

which was always way above the UK average, that has been a major

:24:14.:24:17.

difference. We go out there and we sell Wales. One of the biggest

:24:18.:24:20.

opportunities we had was when the regional development units went in

:24:21.:24:26.

England and the competition disappeared and then it has been

:24:27.:24:29.

easier for us to attract jobs into Wales. If we do not sell Wales, no

:24:30.:24:34.

one else will do it. But we have never sold Wales, that is the

:24:35.:24:39.

problem. Where I live you have the top ten cycling, off-road cycling

:24:40.:24:47.

places in the world and we have not even got a decent hotel up there. It

:24:48.:24:54.

could employ... There are 80,000 90,000 people from all over

:24:55.:24:57.

Britain, and we're not talking about people on the breadline comedies are

:24:58.:25:00.

wealthy people who bring their mountain bikes, some of which are

:25:01.:25:05.

worth 6000 ?7,000 a time, so these people are not on the breadline, and

:25:06.:25:11.

we have an area high unemployment and where did the Olympic Miettunen

:25:12.:25:15.

biking take place? It was in Essex. I just cannot... You have a Labour

:25:16.:25:19.

government in power at the time and someone in the Wales should have

:25:20.:25:22.

been banging the table and saying we want the mountain biking, and that

:25:23.:25:28.

is just an example. You have got... I had a cruise to New York a couple

:25:29.:25:32.

of years ago and on the first night there were mostly American people on

:25:33.:25:36.

the ship and the first night had under milk Wood with all Americans.

:25:37.:25:41.

We do not push that Dylan Thomas tours. We have got Richard Burton

:25:42.:25:44.

just up the road and all of these things are tourism for Wales but

:25:45.:25:51.

they never seem to come to anything. We have seen a lot of development

:25:52.:25:57.

with ponds and the visitor centre and a lot of people have let out

:25:58.:26:01.

houses in a village for the mountain bikers because a lot of people want

:26:02.:26:06.

self-catering accommodation so there has been development in that area.

:26:07.:26:10.

We did have a big event in America for Dylan Thomas's centenary. There

:26:11.:26:15.

were events in New York with performances across America, so we

:26:16.:26:19.

did that work. The question I posed you as this, in the last 15 years we

:26:20.:26:24.

have had the Rugby World Rugby union World Cup, the Champions League

:26:25.:26:27.

coming, we have had the Ryder Cup matches test and none of those

:26:28.:26:30.

things would have come come without a Welsh government going into bat

:26:31.:26:33.

for Wales. Without us doing they would never have come in the first

:26:34.:26:38.

place. I talk to Uefa and I make sure that the Champions League came

:26:39.:26:42.

to Cardiff and they fulfil that promise. In years gone by there

:26:43.:26:46.

would have been no want to come to say they would never have come. A

:26:47.:26:50.

quick comment from the man behind two is very angry. If you are that

:26:51.:26:56.

great why did Burberry and Bosch relocate to England? If you really

:26:57.:27:02.

want to stimulate the Russian economy, are you going to seize

:27:03.:27:05.

these income tax powers and drop our income tax rates in Wales? We might

:27:06.:27:15.

come onto that. That is a clothes. There are opportunities with

:27:16.:27:17.

business rates. Now we have control of business rates, which we did not

:27:18.:27:21.

have before, one of the things we are looking at is putting together a

:27:22.:27:24.

competitive package in regards to business rates and that will make a

:27:25.:27:28.

difference. It was a shame that we did not get air passenger duty.

:27:29.:27:32.

Scotland has had it and it would make a huge difference to Cardiff

:27:33.:27:35.

airport and other airports as well and they could become real economic

:27:36.:27:38.

drivers but we have been denied that for some reason, even though it was

:27:39.:27:40.

given on a plate to Scotland. Wales' education system is

:27:41.:27:43.

underperforming in international rankings and progress

:27:44.:27:48.

on literacy and numeracy is slow. Has your government failed

:27:49.:27:52.

a generation of schoolchildren? As somebody who has kids in a

:27:53.:28:07.

comprehensive and came from a comprehensive, I have a real stake

:28:08.:28:11.

in education. Let us look at education. There needs to be

:28:12.:28:14.

improvement in the figures and we have been working the schools in

:28:15.:28:18.

regards to doing that. Education spending is higher per head than in

:28:19.:28:22.

England and we are building new schools, 150 schools have been built

:28:23.:28:26.

or refurbished and Wales in the past few years. I was in Aberdare

:28:27.:28:30.

comprehensive school which was newly built and funded by the local

:28:31.:28:34.

authority and Welsh government and I was in another high school that has

:28:35.:28:38.

been built so we are investing that in our children's futures in a way

:28:39.:28:41.

that just did not happen when I was in school in the 1980s. We have just

:28:42.:28:46.

had the best GCSE results ever in Wales, just confirmed today, and

:28:47.:28:50.

they are more recent than the other figures. I think there is a lot to

:28:51.:28:53.

celebrate and our teachers are doing a great job for us and the one area

:28:54.:28:59.

we now need to focus on is making sure we improve in the rankings. On

:29:00.:29:04.

those rankings, you have change the target and he wanted to be in the 20

:29:05.:29:08.

best performing countries in the world and you change the target

:29:09.:29:10.

because you were not heading that way.

:29:11.:29:15.

All the indications we have had, the tests that have taken place, they

:29:16.:29:28.

all point in the right direction, so I am confident we will improve. It's

:29:29.:29:34.

important that we have tests. I am a parent and to be able to have tests

:29:35.:29:39.

in terms of literacy in numerous is important to you can compare how

:29:40.:29:42.

your child is doing and how they are doing against their peer groups.

:29:43.:29:46.

That was something that in the past, we didn't get right. To go

:29:47.:29:55.

back to the question, you said you didn't get it right. You have also

:29:56.:29:59.

said in the past you have taken your eye off the ball, you posted. Or do

:30:00.:30:03.

you say to the parents and pupils who were going through the system? I

:30:04.:30:12.

didn't say we coasted. We took our eye off the ball and I think that's

:30:13.:30:18.

fair because when testing was replaced by in school assessments, I

:30:19.:30:21.

don't think those assessments were right. We couldn't work out why we

:30:22.:30:25.

were outperforming English children and then falling behind them after

:30:26.:30:30.

14. That was something to do with the fact that the methods of

:30:31.:30:34.

assessment were not consistent but that has gone now. A importance can

:30:35.:30:39.

measure where their children are. Let's take a comment from the middle

:30:40.:30:42.

here and the lady in pink on the end. I don't recognise the system. I

:30:43.:30:49.

have worked in the sector for 11 years. The last five years have been

:30:50.:30:55.

one of constant change and redundancies and pay cuts and losing

:30:56.:31:00.

colleagues in subject areas. It is constantly changing. When will

:31:01.:31:07.

settle down? And when will we be consulted? Always consulted last

:31:08.:31:10.

when things have happened not when things have happened not when things

:31:11.:31:14.

are taking place. I'm about to go into the fold changes to GCSEs and

:31:15.:31:21.

almost as many years. I am a primary school teacher in Cardiff and I have

:31:22.:31:26.

no objection to tests but I do have concerns that a lot of emphasis is

:31:27.:31:31.

put on statistics and league tables. We have got children living in

:31:32.:31:34.

terrible poverty in the capital city. They can't for breakfast or

:31:35.:31:39.

lunch. What will we do to support the families to do the parenting so

:31:40.:31:47.

that parents -- teachers can do the teaching? We have had a cut of 10%

:31:48.:31:52.

in our budget in some areas of seeing reductions in funding. We

:31:53.:31:58.

know there have been difficulties. We have a budget statement next week

:31:59.:32:02.

and we are looking at ways to make sure that F E is in a less difficult

:32:03.:32:07.

position but it has been hard on the sector. We have not been able to

:32:08.:32:11.

keep up spending on everything given the fact that our budget has been

:32:12.:32:15.

cut by a Tory government in London. We don't have league tables. There

:32:16.:32:20.

were always simplistic comparators. Much better to have a system of

:32:21.:32:25.

testing where teachers and parents know where children are in terms of

:32:26.:32:29.

measuring them against a national standard. There is huge pressure on

:32:30.:32:34.

schools to meet standards when children don't have the basic rights

:32:35.:32:39.

of being a human being. You are right to point out that emphasis has

:32:40.:32:44.

to be placed on improving the life chances of children when they

:32:45.:32:48.

arrive. That is what the foundation phase is there to do. I have

:32:49.:32:52.

examples of teachers on my part of Wales single, children arrive here

:32:53.:32:59.

and they can't speak. Had we get around that? We have doubled the

:33:00.:33:04.

numbers of families who have access to flying start to help parenting

:33:05.:33:09.

skills to make sure the children arrive school school ready. We have

:33:10.:33:13.

seen that weather has not happened. With respect, it isn't working. We

:33:14.:33:20.

are acting as social workers, caregivers, I could list a

:33:21.:33:23.

horrendous stories, just from this week. I want to be able to give

:33:24.:33:29.

those children a chance to live and thrive and live to their potential

:33:30.:33:33.

but they are not even eating. What do you think would help? There needs

:33:34.:33:41.

to be more support for parents and families that isn't coming through

:33:42.:33:46.

schools. It needs to be... There needs to be an extension of the

:33:47.:33:50.

school system so teachers are not doing those jobs as well. I work 70

:33:51.:33:56.

hours a week. I can't keep going. I appreciate that. It's not your job.

:33:57.:34:01.

We have got schemes like flying start and we need to make sure they

:34:02.:34:07.

are effective. But we still have examples of children who come in and

:34:08.:34:12.

they are already behind. The foundation phase will help them to

:34:13.:34:16.

catch up but it is still a lot of work. Lots of concerns in education.

:34:17.:34:26.

I must ask you about last night's BBC Wales investigation. This

:34:27.:34:31.

revealed a scam at a private college in Cardiff. Are you concerned about

:34:32.:34:37.

governance and regulation in this instance and specifically, the role

:34:38.:34:42.

of the government in this? It is an English College with a branch in

:34:43.:34:46.

Wales. It is a unique case. We have referred it to the police. They will

:34:47.:34:52.

conduct the investigation is now. There were regulations on the table

:34:53.:34:57.

anyway in order to further control that, so they were already prepared.

:34:58.:35:04.

But you are confident you are on it? Yes, that is why we referred it to

:35:05.:35:08.

the police. There is only one example of this in Wales, so we are

:35:09.:35:13.

fairly confident this is a unique case and there are regulations

:35:14.:35:16.

already repaired to be taken forward which was happening anyway to make

:35:17.:35:24.

sure that any loopholes closed. Let's move on to question number

:35:25.:35:30.

four. It's about devolution. We have heard a lot of discussion about

:35:31.:35:36.

existing devolved powers. What powers do you hope for in the next

:35:37.:35:41.

five years? And what you propose to do if you form the next government?

:35:42.:35:47.

I would not look to increase income tax. If you reducing contacts, there

:35:48.:35:53.

is a hidden Welsh government. The Conservatives said they would cut

:35:54.:35:56.

the higher rate by 5% but the standard rate by 1%. That statement

:35:57.:36:02.

was made within hours of the statement made by the Chancellor.

:36:03.:36:06.

You have to assess the things properly. I would like to do more

:36:07.:36:10.

with business rates. I would love to do a passenger duty. That would be

:36:11.:36:13.

an enormous boost to the Welsh economy. In terms of powers for the

:36:14.:36:19.

future, what worries me the moment is there is a bill on the table in

:36:20.:36:24.

Westminster which would have the effect of reversing the referendum

:36:25.:36:29.

in 2011. There was a referendum on whether the Assembly should have

:36:30.:36:34.

lawmaking powers and yesterday, an act came into force in Wales. We

:36:35.:36:38.

couldn't have done that without those powers. But what we are facing

:36:39.:36:42.

now is someone trying to reverse the result. That is not democracy, it

:36:43.:36:47.

can't be. We need to make sure we are treated with the same respect to

:36:48.:36:51.

Scotland and we are not. We are clear as to who does what we don't

:36:52.:36:56.

have that. We should sit down and work out what the future of the UK

:36:57.:37:02.

as a whole is as well. On income tax, there is likely to be a big

:37:03.:37:06.

issue in the election, you are going to go on as a party, saying, we will

:37:07.:37:13.

not raise income tax? How would that go down here? Anybody happy to pay

:37:14.:37:19.

more income tax? Lots of hands going up. Who thinks the First Minister is

:37:20.:37:28.

right? One. No, more. People are willing to pay more. Why not put

:37:29.:37:33.

them get more into the coffers? If you put up a high rate, there are

:37:34.:37:39.

relatively few rate taxpayers compared to the rest of the UK. In

:37:40.:37:46.

terms of increasing... Putting 1p on the standard rate, it raises about

:37:47.:37:54.

?70 million. In terms of a budget of ?50 billion, it is a huge amount

:37:55.:38:00.

more. In the future, what parties will have to look at is looking at

:38:01.:38:05.

increasing income tax to pay for a specific thing. You don't know when

:38:06.:38:12.

we will have this power, the funding situation we have still precarious.

:38:13.:38:17.

Bear in mind that 80% of our funding must all come from the Treasury and

:38:18.:38:22.

we are funded per head less than Scotland and Northern Ireland. I

:38:23.:38:25.

don't want is this to become an excuse for the Treasury to say, we

:38:26.:38:30.

will look at the fact you are underfunded, racial and money.

:38:31.:38:37.

That's not fair. The question said five years on, so 20 years into

:38:38.:38:43.

devolution, if you are still First Minister, do you want to say,

:38:44.:38:48.

devolution has delivered this, what? Confidence. We as a nation had

:38:49.:38:55.

no confidence at all. We expected to have jobs that were not well paid,

:38:56.:39:01.

we expected to have not very much, our youngsters did not expect

:39:02.:39:04.

opportunities but those days are changing. We have a government in

:39:05.:39:08.

Wales that can sell Wales, that is elected by the people of Wales, that

:39:09.:39:14.

isn't in a position have someone like John Redwood who stayed one

:39:15.:39:17.

night in Wales and was trying to govern Wales. We have a democracy

:39:18.:39:22.

now. If you don't like what I say, you have the opportunity to vote me

:39:23.:39:28.

out. You would have had no such opportunity if I was Secretary of

:39:29.:39:29.

State. If you'd like to get in touch with

:39:30.:39:30.

us about the issues discussed tonight or anything else, email us

:39:31.:39:34.

or follow us on social media. We'll be back in the New Year, but

:39:35.:39:37.

until then, thanks for watching.

:39:38.:39:44.

Bethan Rhys Roberts asks the questions that matter to you about your job, your health, your future. Calling to account the decision-makers here in Wales and beyond our borders too, each week the team bring you in-depth reports on pressing issues that matter to the lives of everyone living in Wales.


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