02/03/2016 The Wales Report


Huw Edwards presents the current affairs series. As child poverty rates in Wales remain the highest in the UK, the programme looks at what can be done to tackle the issue.

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Why are so many Welsh children living in poverty,


despite countless initiatives to tackle the problem?


We ask Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies


how his party would run Wales,


as we look ahead to May's Assembly elections.


And is it print, online, radio or TV?


Where do you get your daily news? And does it matter?


Good evening and welcome to The Wales Report.


We start tonight with the high levels of child poverty


in Wales, and they are stubbornly high


despite a range of policy interventions


You can join tonight's conversation on social media.


So 200,000 Welsh children live in poverty - that is about a third


a rate that has remained static for years.


The Welsh Government says it is aiming to eliminate


but at current rates that now looks extremely ambitious.


Felicity Evans looks at what is being done to tackle


50 years ago and a South Wales mining village, these children grew


up poor. All our lives we have been ill, I don't know what they have not


had! It is a poor starts at any children. These black and white


images remind us of how much the country has changed but poverty


continues to blight the lives and ambitions of children across Wales.


This woman struggles today is her two young children on a low income.


This there have been plenty of times I have had to say to my children you


cannot have this or I have gone on to a supermarket with ?20 and have


had to buy meals with that, and literally said, we have to have


passed the three times this week because that is all I can afford. I


don't think children should be growing up with the worries of the


chill that the appearance' financial situation on their shoulders, but in


that situation with the menu in your pocket and your children asking


something, you have no option but to say you cannot afford that. It


leaves you feeling like a failure, it really does. H you always have


that worry your children will not feel happy or beep roads or people


are judging you because you don't have much money. And the result was


that worry. Such in 1999, Tony Blair pledged to


eradicate child poverty by 2020. The current UK Government has announced


plans to scrap that legally binding target and replace it with other


measures, but the Welsh government insists it still aspires to it, but


it is easier to set targets than to find solutions and on wheels that


has proved particularly difficult. Child poverty he remains the highest


in the UK and is forecast to rise. With around 200,000 children living


in poverty, it is clear Welsh governments have not had much


success in tackling the problem. No one believes it will be eradicated


in the next three years but there are crucial factors over the Welsh


government has no control. There are areas the Welsh government does not


have tax and jurisdiction over. The other area is taxation, whereby it


is not actually an option for the Welsh government to massively


increase the social problems designed to tackle poverty because


of limits on public spending which are dictated effectively by


Westminster on the amount of money wheels has to spend? But the Welsh


government's techniques have also been criticised by some who say the


approach has failed to recognise poverty has many different causes.


They say lack of progress on child poverty as a result of treating


symptoms rather than causes as well as a failure to gather proper


evidence about the different circumstances faced by poor


families. Poverty isn't confined to families will no one is in work and


half of people in poverty and in households where someone has a job.


I have had a job now for about four years and personally I don't feel


that having my job has helped me out of any financial situation. I am


better off when I get a nice lump sum at the end of the month but I


have to budget that for the month and like I said it is a struggle to


try to budget with two children and the childcare and everything else.


Successive Welsh governments have developed various strategies and


interventions to try to break the cycle of poverty. The flying start


scheme offers extra support to families with young children in


areas of high deprivation. More than 37,000 children took part in the


programme last year. The less conflicting data on how effective it


is but those working in the field believes that makes a difference and


they want to see more children taking part. Not all children in


families live in a flying start area and one of next calls for the Welsh


government will be to try to influence the manifesto process and


call for them, where there are promising programmes, let's scale


them up and that. Child poverty in Wales is still stubbornly high and


decade after decade that has stymied all attempts to tackle it. Breaking


the cycle for these children and the 200,000 like them across Wales will


remain one of the biggest and most important challenges for the Welsh


government. I feel optimistic I will do the best for my children but I


don't feel supported by the government. I don't think the


politicians when they are talking about benefits and the day-to-day


living expenses are people in my situation, I don't feel they look at


it deep enough. A Welsh Government spokesperson


told The Wales Report, "Although undeniably


challenging, reaffirming our ambition to eradicate child


poverty by 2020 ensures there will be no loss of momentum


towards our goals." They added, "We have provided


almost half a billion pounds for our flagship Flying Start


programme since 2006, while it has also been


protected in the 2016/17 budget at ?77 million


to ensure children continue We are also helping parents


into work and training." Joining me now is the


Children's Commissioner Thank you for coming in. Very


depressing figures to start with and I am wondering, so viewers know


exactly what we're talking about, what do we mean when we say child


poverty? About one third of children in Wales live in poverty, that is


below 60% of median, average income, and about 15% are severely affected,


so we're talking large numbers and we haven't shifted over the last few


years, and I think it is something we mustn't get complacent about, and


in fact we should all be furious about it. We will come onto some of


the potential answers any second, but what do you say to people who


say it is far too narrow a definition that you have just given,


and you need more qualifications are targets or whatever you want to see


and the definition you have given this too narrow? There are other


ways of experiencing poverty that Arent just about income and when we


listen to children there are other aspects of the daily life which are


severely affected by poverty that they can as well, access to


different services and whether they can afford different aspects. Asked


-- access to play and leisure and cultural things but we absolutely


have to measure them, and I was really disappointed recently when


the Westminster Government declare they wouldn't use them, they primary


measure of child poverty. That doesn't make any sense in terms of


understanding how many children are poor. Why would they do that? I felt


they were trying to imply that child poverty was more related to the


behaviour of families, so they were going to be measuring things like


education, and substance abuse and that kind of thing. We know a lot of


things are associated with poverty but to me it makes absolute sense


that if you measure poverty you have to measure income. They have


recently backtracked on that which I was pleased to see. There was a


crucial contribution and we underline that she has a job, and


the lot of the narrative is about people who are not working, but she


has a job and yet finds herself in a difficult financial position. That


is not uncommon? The majority of children living in poverty have at


least one parent who is working and that is something we forget. We have


tended to build up a them and I was seen Ariel, and people living in


poverty have been quite stigmatised in the popular media, and by


messages coming from the top. We have to remember that when we're


talking about children in poverty we may be talking about a parent


getting up at 5am to do a cleaning job or do a night shift, and they


may well have children living in poverty, and they are not lazy and


feckless. When people talking about eradicating child poverty, can we


say that on the basis of what we have now that is not going to


happen? The trajectory shows we will not eradicate child poverty but I do


think it is good to continue having targets and we mustn't lose momentum


or our anxiety. The most worrying thing around all of this was the


analysis that says that it is actually going to get worse, and


we're not even moving towards the target but far-away? Yes, the


current projection is that with the changes to tax and benefits that


have been the in the last year, it is still quite hard to measure how


that will play out because it also depends on job creation and wages,


but the expectation that it get worse. As we approach these


elections in May, is it your feeling that the political parties in Wales


have real grasp of this issue and that they are thinking seriously


about how to get towards that target or not? I think we have a different


political atmosphere in Wales across the political spectrum, and there's


a commitment and worry right across the spectrum, so I would expect


whoever forms the next government to be working hard on child poverty but


the answers to it are not completely agreed on. Most people are committed


to the flying start programme and I think it is great but doesn't reach


children. It doesn't help with families living in the pockets of


poverty outside of the areas targeted, so I think we should be


expanding flying start and helping a lot more with housing costs and


social housing and fuel efficiency and childcare, decent childcare,


good quality universal childcare if possible, that would be a great


boost. We hope to be talking about these things again during the


campaign but thank you. As part of BBC Wales'


How Wales Works season, the main party leaders


in Wales to find out how they would run things


if they won power in May. We have spoken to Ukip,


the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru, and next


week we will hear from Tonight it is the turn


of Andrew RT Davies, the leader of


the Welsh Conservatives. His party is hoping


the build on the successes of the last Assembly Election


in 2011 Before we talk to Mr Davies,


Professor Richard Wyn Jones from the Wales Governance Centre


at Cardiff University takes a look at the challenges


ahead for the Welsh Conservatives. It is clear that the Conservatives


want to make this a straight labour- Conservative fight and want to


continue the momentum that we saw in the May general election last year.


They picked up seats that people just haven't imagined them packing


up. What we know about the conservatives is we know what they


are against, it is very clear what the Welsh Conservatives are against,


and what I find more difficult to work out is what they are for, and


if you are governing ultimately you need some kind of positive project


and vision. Obviously during the election campaign we may well hear


that but the problem is that the election campaign in the context of


the Welsh media, being so weak, is quite a difficult context in which


to project those messages. have a large number of list members.


The lists will be a luxury this time around. The benchmark for success is


winning constituencies. There are some obvious low hanging fruit is,


some pretty marginal seats, but what they will be hoping for is that they


can really turn the tables on Labour in places like North East Wales. If


they do that, frankly, under Andrew RT Davies, it is bombproof. On the


other hand, if they have a disappointing night, I would've


thought his position will become a pretty fragile quite quickly.


Professor Richard Wyn Jones there. Andrew RT Davies joins me now.


We are clearly about change. Changing the landscape of Wales.


Throughout my leadership, we have offered alternatives. Health service


and are protected budget. Creating autonomy for teachers to run the


education system in Wales for the benefit of pupils. Empowering


businesses to make sure they can get easy access to finance. Policies we


have announced. When we criticise the Welsh Government for buying


Cardiff airport, we brought forward a blueprint. At every juncture, we


bring forward a blueprint not just criticise. If we are elected, we


will build a new motorway next year. If you walk into the first ministers


office in me, what is the first bit of proper legislative change with


you will put into place? The legislative change we bring forward


will be in our manifesto. Bills we want to come forward. The first one


is about economic competence. And enterprise Bill that would put the


thinking about driving the Welsh economy forward, so instead of us


following down the league tables, we would have legislated in law and


enterprise Bill to make sure the Welsh Government and public bodies


engage fully in better public procurement of goods and services.


Ultimately, the government would be charged with driving the Welsh


economy forward, rather than managing its decline as it has done.


That would be the first thing and what would be the price tag? A lot


of it is changes to the mentality the way the government works in law.


At the moment, we have had 17 years of managed decline with Labour, the


Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru. The first spending commitment is


protecting the NHS budget for five years. We made that commitment in


2011. Regrettably the people of Wales chose to elect a Labour


government that has taken ?1 billion out of the health service. If you


look at cancer waiting times, yesterday I was asking the First


Minister about the appalling state of waiting times for cancer services


in my region of south-west and central Cardiff. I would suggest the


outcomes in Wales regrettably not as good as we want them to be. We want


to ensure the outcomes are improved. That is why we have called for an


independent enquiry into the NHS here in Wales so we can make those


improvements not on political wins are led by clinicians, telling us


what we need to do to improve the health service in Wales. In your


view, the NHS in Wales is still present danger to their health in


certain dashing some circumstances compared to England? In some


hospitals, there are higher mortality figures than income


parable hospitals in England. We have been calling for an enquiry for


three years. Instead of knee jerk reactions from politicians, such as


the special measures after the disaster covered, we need to listen


to clinicians and have an enquiry at the whole NHS, impartially and


independently, to make dramatic improvements across the NHS in


Wales. What of this dependent on funding and basis for taxation in


Wales. Devolving tax powers has been spoken about. Wales Bill is now


under debate. It is on pause whilst the sort out some things that are


wrong with that. What is your take on that? It was always a draft Wales


Bill. The whole point of that is to consult and consider the


representation is being made. This is a great opportunity to empower


the country of Wales through the National Assembly on areas of


transport, energy, electoral arrangements. And major things like


income tax. The Secretary of State... We are having discussions.


The Secretary of State has announced the pause. What do you think is


wrong with that? I have given evidence to the Welsh affairs select


committee. I think all the leaders have done that. The necessity test


has been dropped. We have a genuine powers model. There are areas where


there are agreement and the need to make changes. The Secretary of State


deserves huge credit for saying she has listened to what people have


said, there are going to work it out in consultation and bring it back in


the summer. The Welsh Labour government could learn a lot from


this legislative process. Very often we are exacerbated by Welsh Labour


planning on as if they have a divine right to rule. What is the mean


change you want to see in the bill, so that people know when the bill


comes forward if you have had your conditions met or not? We are


discussing this across Whitehall. The necessity test has been dropped.


We know that. What else? Reserve powers, robust reserve powers model


where the assembly has genuine confidence and where backbench


members can bring forward legislation on areas they have a


democratic mandate to legislate in. I want to see the transfer of income


tax powers, so that brings accountability to the heart of the


way public life functions in Wales. I will continue to drive it forward.


You have made the point again about income tax powers. If Wills is no


longer part of the EU, something you favour, there is going to be a


significant loss of income. Your cancer -- your Conservative


colleagues are saying that. If he comes to campaign with you in me,


what will you say to people? There is a assembly election where people


will vote on local government. Then there will be a referendum. Everyone


will have the opportunity to vote, according to what they think is the


right way for this country to proceed. Ultimately the EU will have


tax-raising powers. I want to make sure that we want a little economic


union that ultimately allows us to trade goods and services across


Europe and across the world. Ultimately that is why I believe we


would be better out. You ask the point about finances and money


coming and. We have a deficit in the money we put into the European Union


of ten billion pounds. We get out about ?6 billion. That is the UK


figure. I can guarantee that a UK Government would make sure that


money would be redistributed around the regions of the United Kingdom,


otherwise it would be failing in its three to deliver help and support to


the nation that it has elected to govern. Frankly we cannot continue


with operation fear of driving people into the ballot box because


you're scaring them into voting one way. The need a rational ardent and


debate. Finally, when you make these arguments and you're telling Welsh


voters seem to think about their assembly and the benefits or not of


been in the European Union, are you saying to them that Wales is going


be better off financially outside the European Union? That is the key


question. Firstly, we need to focus on the assembly election. That is


the first election. The decision you make, that'll stick for five years.


That is the government that will deliver on the health service,


economy, local government and education. The referendum will


happen weeks later. Every man and woman will have a chance to vote as


individuals. This is not about politicians. Yes, it is. A lot of


people out there still believe people will be voting as


politicians. The important thing is the Welsh Conservative Party and the


Conservative Government in the UK have delivered a referendum. Will


Wills be better off financially outside the EU? I believe that will.


I'm choosing to put my cards on the table. We pay 16 billion into the


European Union -- into the European Union, that is the figure for the


UK, and we get 6 billion out. I believe agriculture, structural


support, would benefit and get a boost from us leaving. We will have


a few lively chat in the weeks ahead. Thank you.


The way consume news in Wales has changed dramatically over


the past few years, with many of us now turning


to the internet and more recently to social media.


But a special BBC Wales St David's Poll has shown


that all is not lost for more traditional news outlets.


While consumption of print media in Wales may still


be on the decline, with just 14% of those polled saying they mainly


44% of those polled said they mainly get their news from television -


that is up 5% from last year's survey.


Compared to 29% who said that they mainly


get their news from the internet or social media.


Many argue that the decline of the regional and local


newspaper industry and the dominance of London-based media


- whose coverage of Welsh issues is patchy - has resulted


in a democratic deficit in Wales.


With the Assembly elections and an EU referendum


around the corner, we have been to Caerphilly,


where one newspaper is putting local issues back


Caerphilly Observer started as a website publication in 2009. A lot


of people started asking for paper copies. We were disappointed when we


said it was a website and not an actual newspaper. We launched our


first print edition in 2013. We have not looked back. If you create a


product that is not representative or reflective of the community that


you're to serve, then you're simply going to go out of business because


people are not going to be reading your newspaper. If you give your


content away for free like we do, people are far more inclined to pick


up that newspaper. The days of people paying for years in print I


think I'd definitely numbered. I mean they get my news in the bath on


my Kindle, BBC News website. The internet. The radio, morning TV. Not


newspapers. If papers start disappearing, that is dangerous. To


keep photos and the public informed, you need the press able to


scrutinise politicians and public bodies and institutions. If you take


away that important function of the media, how can voters be informed


when it comes to their decision at the ballot box? Code Caerphilly


Observer be replicated to cover a larger region? I don't know. On this


we have people willing to try these things, we will not find out.


Joining me now is Dr Rebecca Williams


from the University of South Wales.


Kevin Moon, you are known for being in charge of what people recognise


as a successful product, but that is changing form? Very much so, and


changes rapidly almost every year, but the important thing to remember


is that although print is in decline and nobody will argue with that, our


audience know across a variety of platforms and particularly online is


bigger than ten years ago. In your view, is it also to do with the fact


that more than ever, we have a younger generation whose way of


accessing information is totally different and they have far more


things available to them, so the concept of news from the newspaper


is perhaps something quaint and old-fashioned. I think so, and for a


lot of young people know, something like Twitter is where they get


breaking news, and the idea of paying to access anything is quite


different from that generation. And I think the idea certainly of going


out and making the effort to buy a newspaper is something that seems


quite Alien to the younger generation. So two things, the price


factor, especially for the business looking at its income stream, and


secondly, trying to provide things and I am mentioning the younger


generation, in a different way, so what have you done practically to


come around those things? It is local newspapers across the country,


and we produce our information in print and online and through mobile


and social media, and I think Rebecca is right to see that younger


people get breaking news from Twitter and sheer to amongst friends


on Facebook, but they tend to go to a long-standing news sources to get


into verified. That is a fascinating point and as we head towards the


busy election period, what do both of you make about the importance of


having reliable, trusted sources of information, what is it about the


media landscape in Wales that causes you concerned? I think one of the


main issue is with getting information through social media is


that we tend to follow or be friends with people quite similar to us, and


I think we saw that quite a lot last year in the run-up to the general


election, where there was quite a lot of positivity that may be Labour


could win that election and that didn't turn out to be the case, and


I think there's that echo chamber effect, where you tend to view the


opinions you already agree with, and I think that is maybe a threat in


terms of finding it other policies and competing viewpoints, that if we


only surround ourselves with the viewpoint of people who agree with


those, I think there are some limits to how we can learn about what all


other options are. Just a final point, about the state of the Welsh


media, and whether you think that we overdo the concerns, and I will come


to Kevin in a moment, but Rebecca, what is your thought as you look to


the landscape? Do you think, with Scotland, is the Welsh media in a


rather parlous state or not? We are right to be concerned about it and I


think the more people who are now apparently watching television,


there has been an increase in VAT, and I think we need to be concerned


about the future of the BBC generally and in the decline in


newspapers, and I think we need to think about ways we can tackle all


of those things. Two thoughts for you to close, are you conscious of


being in a media industry in Wales which is giving cause for concern,


and secondly, where is your particular model, in press terms,


going to be in five years' time? On the first point, I think the Welsh


media across all platforms is in a relatively robust state, and the


bigger issue in terms of that information that people are gleaming


is that the vast majority of people on wheels get information from the


national media, and in terms of in five years' time, I think that what


will happen and we have already seen happen is that there will be more of


daily newspapers that potentially become weekly newspapers, but that


is about profitability rather than sales, and we didn't even get onto


talking about free newspapers. That is for another time, but thank you


both. If you would like to get


in touch with us, email us at [email protected],


or follow us on social media -


we arere @TheWalesReport. Thanks for watching.


Diolch am eich cwmni, nos da.


As child poverty rates in Wales remain the highest in the UK, the programme looks at what can be done to tackle the issue. And in the fourth of a series of interviews with the main party leaders in Wales, Huw speaks to the Conservatives' Andrew RT Davies.

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