19/10/2016 The Wales Report


Huw Edwards is in Westminster where Brexit discussions continue and Arwyn Jones is in the Senedd looking at what the Welsh Government's budget will mean for viewers.

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Tonight on The Wales Report, I'm in Westminster to discuss


the latest Brexit negotiations and what they mean for Wales.


And I'm here in the Senedd, where we'll be discussing


the implications of the Welsh Government's budget announcement.


And in this week of the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster,


will be talking to the leading expert about what happened in the


enquiry. Good evening and welcome


The Wales Report. where Brexit remains


at the top of the agenda. And we'll bring you the latest


fall-out from the Welsh Government's We will be discussing Aberfan later


in the programme. Remember you can join


in the discussion online. The debate around Britain's exit


from the EU, in all its complexity, looks like it won't be coming


to an end anytime soon. We thought it might be useful to ask


three people facing very different challenges what they were hoping


for. I'm Wayne Priest, Chief Executive


of Hydro Industries, a Welsh-based water technology company


operating globally. What we want out of Brexit


is we see this as a great opportunity to initiate


and implement world trade deals in markets that are sometimes


regarded as high risk. market and we think the money that


has been spent currently in Europe could be diverted to a longer term


plan to develop these markets which are fast growth, which would help


best and help the local economy. I'm Gemma Jones from Cwmbran


and I've been working with Bridges Into Work to get


the skills for a job that I've now got working as a creche worker,


if it wasn't for the guys in Bridges who are funded


by the EU I wouldn't have had the chance


to do what I've done. I hope these guys keep getting


the funding they need, whether it is through the EU


or anyone else because they do a I'm Brian Bolland, hill farmer


from Tredegar, what I want out of the Brexit deal


is ideally a ring fenced agricultural budget so we know


where we're going. A lengthy transition period


to allow us to adjust, and to have access to the single


market so that we have somewhere to sell goods


after we've produced it. Some different voices there on the


Brexit hopes and aspirations. I'm joined now by the Wales Office


minister, the Conservative MP, Guto Bebb. Where is the Wales voice to be


heard in these negotiations? The Wales Office is fully involved in


Westminster, and the Secretary of State is in Cabinet to make sure


that the voice of Wales is heard. Also the Wales government has been


significant. We have a devolved institution in Wales, and it is


involved in the whole process. It is a wide ranging stakeholder


engagement, which has been ongoing since the referendum. If somebody


said to you that the main business would take place in that


all-important Cabinet committee on the strategy that the UK Government


is going to pursue, there is no Welsh voice in that committee, so


you cannot pretend that the Welsh voice will be loud and clear. But


they report to Cabinet, where the Secretary of State for Wales sits,


and the Secretary of State will be involved where appropriate. Who


decides when it is appropriate? It will be decided by the needs of


Wales and by ensuring the voice of Wales will be heard. Wouldn't it be


easier to have a permanent voice on that committee? If everyone had a


permanent voice in Westminster at all times, I'm not sure that would


be the way forward. That committee reports to Cabinet. And the Wales


Office has been in engagement with all the departments in Westminster.


It is a process by which the Wales Office have been encouraged by the


fact we are relevant in a Welsh context to make sure that the Brexit


works for Wales as well as the rest of the UK. You are suggesting all


Westminster departments. Surely it will involve a Scottish voice, a


Welsh voice and a voice from Northern Ireland? With respect of


the devolved institutions, that is imperative. We do have devolved


institutions in Britain, who do have to be listened to. I wouldn't want


to be in a situation where the voice of Wales or the Welsh government


wasn't heard. But foreign affairs have not been devolved, so the


ultimate decisions will be taken in Westminster. It is the engagement


that is important. Other voices in Wales have to be heard, farming


unions, educational establishments and businesses. So the engagement is


important, but there is an example here of a government that is


listening, and making sure that the voice of Wales is being heard.


Carwyn Jones said not so long ago that the ratification process needed


to take full account of the Welsh government's view, implying that the


Scottish Government or the Welsh government could put the brake on


things. Clearly, the Prime Minister disagrees with that. Who is right?


The people of Wales never voted for the Welsh government to have a veto


on foreign affairs decisions. There is no veto on any forum affairs


decision, nor this issue. Yesterday, Carwyn Jones met with the Secretary


of State for Brexit and this Secretary of State for Wales. Very


positive. They went on to discuss issues facing education in Wales. It


is all well and good to say they want to have a veto on the issue,


but that isn't very constructed. The needs of Wales are represented by


the Welsh government and the Wales Office to make sure they are taken


into account when we formulate policy about Brexiting the European


Union. Would the needs of Wales be better served staying within the


single market, as members, or negotiating some kind of access to


it. As someone who campaigned to stay in the EU, what is your view? I


had strong views as to the appropriateness of being in the


single market. We cannot escape from the fact that the votes and the


referendum sent strong messages in relation to immigration, for


example. That message is not easy to reconcile with full, tariff free


access to the single market. I do think it's imperative we have as


good a deal for the UK as possible, but also there is a democratic


imperative to ensure we are dealing with the concerns expressed by


people in relation to immigration, which are high in some people's


minds. The government is working to ensure we have strong access the


markets. What does that mean? Strong access, whilst accepting there are


issues in terms of freedom of movement, which will be problematic.


They are very nebulous terms. What does strong access mean in practical


terms? We are looking at ensuring we have as much access to the single


market as possible, whilst reflecting the Democratic view of


people in relation to immigration. We are guilty of thinking that the


only market that matters is the European market. It is clearly very


important, that we need to look at opportunities for Wales to export to


other parts of the world as well. I am looking for the UK to have a free


trading arrangement with Europe and the rest of the world that is as


advantageous to business as possible, whilst also reflecting the


democratic decision taken by people of Wales and the United Kingdom on


the freedom of movement of people. We had some figures from industrial


leaders from Germany, including the car industry, which was a very


important export market for them, saying that we are not looking for


any kind of deal that will look so attractive that other member states


will think, hang on, this looks good. The deal will be a tough one.


The deal, for you as a Wales Office minister, is one that might cause


you concern in terms of the economic impact. I would not be surprised we


are hearing tough noises coming from some of the negotiating partners.


Two sides are playing poker in this game. That is not surprising, but


ultimately, the job of the the UK Government is to secure as good a


deal as possible, and freedom for trade is important to that deal.


That will be a deal between us and the partner organisation. You must


be very tempted to go around parts of Wales and say, I told you so. We


have the pound in a very fragile state, inflation moving upwards, all


the things that campaigners like you said would happen. What are you


saying to people when they say, actually, you might not have been


wrong after all. We decided to legislate for a referendum. The


referendum delivered a result. My responsibility is to ensure we try


to achieve as good a deal as possible for businesses and


stakeholders in Wales. If I went round saying I told you so, I'd be


doing nobody any favours. I need to be constructive and try to make a


difference. When farmers say to me, we need full access to the single


market, it is a case of arguing on behalf of farmers whilst respecting


the referendum result. The same with other areas like universities. We


have indicated a willingness to underwrite European funding up to


2020, which is a way of telling people in Wales that they can


undertake certain projects. We are trying to underpin stability, rather


than deliver a message on what should or shouldn't have happened.


Thank you. It's 50 years since 116


children and 28 adults This week there are many


programmes and events to commemorate the anniversary,


and an important question that has been raised in a programme


on BBC One last night is the role played by the inquiry,


which was held only a few The programme reconstructed parts of


the official enquiry. It lasted five months and heard over


2.5 million words of evidence. At the start of the inquiry,


the National Coal Board repeated their claim


that the disaster could not But that wasn't true. There had been


plenty of warnings. Finally, after over


70 days, Lord Robens, the Coal Board chairman,


admitted that the disaster The inquiry had finally


achieved some justice for the families, but no one


from the National Coal Board named in the inquiry


report lost their jobs. The closing statement of the enquiry


by the Aberfan families QC conveyed the outrage conveyed by so many --


felt by so many. I merely wish this conclusion: Those


who died in this disaster lost their lives not


because of the occupational hazards which are ever present


in these mining valleys - there was no sudden collapse


of underground working, no unforeseeable or unforeseen


explosion. This was a slow-growing man-made


menace, fed by the indifference of those who should never have


permitted its existence. There can be no more bitter reminder


of the truth and wisdom The worst sin towards our fellows


is not to hate them, For that is the essence


of inhumanity. The injustice suffered by the people


at Aberfan clearly made an impact on people that Westminster today,


because it was mentioned by both benches during Prime Minister's


Questions. I know the whole house will want to join me in remembering


those who lost their lives and were affected by the Aberfan disaster 50


years ago this week. It claimed the lives of 144 people, the vast


majority children. It caused devastation to the local community.


It's right that we pause and reflect on this important anniversary, and


recognise the solidarity and resilience of the people of Aberfan


to overcome this tragedy. Many in that community are still living with


that tragedy, and will until the end of their days. I remember it very


well as a young person growing up at that time. Just a sense of today's


events in Parliament. I'm joined by Professor Iain McLean, a leading


expert on the Aberfan disaster, and on the government's response to it.


Thank you for coming in. Given what we now know, and all the work you


have done over the years to expose the work on the enquiry, what is the


main thing people should take away from this?


And think it is this powerful people who know something terrible has


happened have immense resources for ensuring the blame goes anywhere but


on them and Aberfan was such a clear jungle of that. For us now, the idea


that Lord Rubens could survive in post is inconceivable, that his


director of production, who some might have seen on last night's


reconstruction, should have been promoted to the main coal board


after that devastating hearing. That would defy belief if it were to


happen now. Why did it happen then? Was it a deferential press and


media? People didn't want to change people of authority? What was the


condition of circumstances? Combination of more deferential


press and media and a Government that was frankly terrified of Lord


Rubens. The underlying story is. Why? Because governments of both


parties, Lord Rubens was appointed by the previous Conservative


Government, knew that they had to slim down the coal industry. They


also knew that the National union of Mineworkers was believed to be the


most powerful union in the country and Rubens could deal with the


miners, the Government thought, nobody else could. When we look at


the financial side, but Lord Rubens to one side for a moment, look at


the fact that a contribution was required as George, said from the


local community and their charitable fund, again, today it seems an


outrage, it was an average, how was it allowable at that time? It should


not have been allowed, it was unlawful as you sign a documentary


that went out last night, the Charity commission was nowhere to be


seen, they actually caused the disaster fund some trouble and they


were nowhere to be seen when George Thomas demanded an unlawful


contribution from the fund. When you look at the way that Labour as an


institution in South Wales because let's face it, it was at that time


still an incredibly strong Labour five to -- fiefdom, why didn't the


Labour machine a step in to do something? What forces were over?


The fundamental force at work was that everybody in the Labour Party


in South Wales, almost, thought that call nationalisation was the jewel


in the Crown of current active plasma governments of the Aberfan


defeat in 1967 was deeply depressing because a string of Labour MPs stood


up and have nothing to say, two good speeches, one by Leeuwarden who


represented South Wales but did not have mining links and won by


Margaret Thatcher who had just been appointed as shadow spokeswoman on


power and almost got to the heart of the matter. What did she say? She


said, why were two officials whom she named kept out of it? And why


had Mr Sheppard, who we saw last night, Green promoted? These were


excellent questioned and the Government spokesman had no answer.


We've been pointed at George Thomas Bosman rule, what was the premise


to's rule? I give Harold Wilson lots of credit, the machinations that


were going on in the summer of 19 six to seven weather report came out


all laid out in rigid Crossman's diaries so we know what happened. --


19 67. Harold Wilson wrote in Green ink on this copy, this report is


devastating and it was one of the ministers that want sacked Rubens


but the majority of the Cabinet wouldn't have it. By the time of the


George Thomas a fair in paying for the removal of the tips the Prime


Minister had faded out of the story, it was a Welsh matter and up to the


Secretary of State for Wales. I think stopping that nonsense is


something that Harold Wilson could and should have done, the Government


collectively should have done and they didn't. When we look at today's


situation, not just with the media but the way Government works, we've


reported recently on Hillsborough, 1989, the fact it took so long for


South Yorkshire Police to be corrected in a very big way in terms


of how they behave. If someone asked you today includes 16, could we see


a response to a major disaster involving in the same kind of way,


what would you answer be? In some ways I fear it would be the same


because of the incentive for people in power to cover up. In other ways


not. Clearly Lord Rubens and Mr Shepherd would not have survived


five minutes in the modern climate, on the other hand Hillsborough story


is not entirely reassuring, it's taken 25 years and even in current


times there are about what is involving South Yorkshire Police. --


there are backwaters. Things are better but not necessarily that much


better. Thanks for enjoying us and I'm pleased undermine mind if I were


working done over the years on this. Thank you. In those distant days the


Wells purse strings were tightly controlled here at Westminster.


These days the Welsh element do have some freedom to spend the Welsh


budget as a blizzard and the budget announcement this week was a chance


to spell a new priority is after the elections with help of Plaid Cymru.


Its joint R.N. Jones in the Senate. It is a Welsh, set out how it


intends to spend the best part of ?15 billion it gets from the UK


Government next year, today we find out how much will go to local


authorities ahead of those all-important council elections next


year, plenty to discuss with my guest, the finance and Local


Government Secretary Margaret Clifford. Thank you for joining us


on the Wells report. Freshly your first budget and you must have been


quite pleased the UK Government give you some extra cash to spend? My job


has been made easier by the fact we have a little more revenue that we


might have expected for the next financial year. It's been made a lot


more difficult, however, by the highly uncertain circumstances in


which we make a budget. The impact of Brexit and Autumn Statement we


won't see until November and so on. We'll come to Brexit in a moment but


the amount of money you get from the UK Government, we new steering from


the Welsh Government austerity and challenges you face and the problems


caused by the UK Government policies, this year surely you


should welcome the fact that austerity shouldn't have such a


large part in your spending priorities? We have been very clear


throughout that austerity is a foolish and self-defeating policy.


What we have over the period of this assembly is budget that go down


every year beyond this year and we will have 9% less in real terms to


spent in 2019 than 2009, our capital budget will go down by a third, this


is a very small and very marginal respite in a journey that otherwise


has only one direction. UK Government say that over the next


four years we will give the Welsh Government an additional ?370


million that is something? The money goes up in cash terms but everything


else goes up as well, wages rise, price rises and so on, in real terms


budget goes down and will have ?1.5 billion less to spend on vital


public services than we did a decade ago. After so many increases this


year, more for the health service and apprenticeships and a pilot


scheme, only ?10 million this year for additional childcare that could


go up to ?2 million a year, we are other savings going to be coming?


Over the next few years we will face harder choices and more difficult


times, I've booed at the very clear to my Cabinet colleagues and the


services we find. -- I've made that very clear. In this budget we had to


decide to stop some projects that are time-limited and will not be


funded next year, we will have to make adjustments, it's a matter of


priorities when you set a budget, we are determined to deliver on the


ambitious programme we set before the voters in May of next year and


some things will have to be pulled back or stop altogether in future


budgets to allow for that to happen. When you look at the possibilities


of the possible problems that might be thrown about Brexit, positive


stories as well but may be problems, how concerned are you about the


possibility, for example we saw the leaked Treasury report, ?66 billion


over deficit and a black qualified as is, how much of a concern is


that? It is a major concern, the Welsh Government were unambiguous in


our advice to people in June that the future of Wales would be better


protected in the European Union than out of it. We got a different


message back and we live with that and have to act on it but there are


two mad difficulties, at least the flow from it, funding that we were


guaranteed to get from Europe might not, are we after we leave the


European Union. And more significantly the ?66 billion figure


is the result of a calculation outside the European Union UK


economy will grow more slowly than it would have done if we were in the


European Union, that will lead to a reduction in tax receipts and that


will flow into even further cuts for public services. What will be the


knock-on effect in terms of your spending? Further cuts but also for


the first time the Welsh Government and you as the finest secretary have


at your disposal additional levers for taxation levers, do you think


you might have to consider using those to give a boost to the


economy? The taxes we will inherit in April 2018 are modest but


important, the message we've had unambiguously from people who work


in these fields is they need a smooth transition from the system we


have now to the one in the future so I don't envisage rapid or clinking


changes of here to gear in how we employ those, but there will be


levers the Welsh Government in the future has in its hands. A sensible


person in my position will wait to see the circumstances they face much


closer to the time before deciding how to use them. You will know in


the election manifesto ahead of me's assembly elections you committed not


to increase income tax, is that still your guarantee for this


assembly term at least? I don't see them circumstances in which income


tax rates will vary in the early period we get these powers come if


we get them, we haven't even got the power is as yet, we are speaking


about some fairly remote contingencies. If income tax varying


powers come to Wales in early period quite certainly we will take


precautionary approach to their use but any Government would to reserve


the right to weigh up all the circumstances we faced at the time


you face them. But not in this assembly? Not until after the next


election? I wouldn't envisage it. Another element of uncertainty is we


have the Autumn Statement, next year the Government plans her day was


spend over the next few years, why didn't you wait until you know what


will come then before announcing this year's budget? I'm bound by the


rules of the National Assembly for Wales, there is a timetable of


standing orders. He waited last year, the budget was little last


year, why not do the same this year? We made a commitment to stick to


timetable that allows the assembly and its various committees to


scrutinise our budget and do it according to the timetable that


gives them the time they need to do that, although they would have been


advantages in which into the 23rd of November it would have squeezed


those timetables very radically, I did not want to be in that position.


You might have to change it now with Philip Hammond comes out and says


anything major you might have to change again? Had to make a judgment


as to what we might expect in the Autumn Statement, I laid a four-year


capital budget because if there are signs out of Whitehall it might be


there will be some booze to infrastructure spending and


therefore all I would do is add to the ability of Cabinet colleagues to


build on what they already know. We found out today Hamide Kurt us will


get, slightly up and some slightly down but inflation is taken into


account, they are all down. -- how much each council. There is still


cut the head. What would you sit any council thinking of increasing


council tax? The are to you my message to them, we have been able


to provide an 18 month period of relative stability to our public


services including local Government but there are more difficult choices


and more difficult times ahead and they must use this period of


stability to prepare for that, they must think it is a period to sit


back and have a breather because for one year things are less awful than


they have been, they must use this period purposefully. In terms of


council tax I expect them to weigh up what I know are some competing


priorities, they must make a contribution to public services


through the council tax and think of those high prices and is the have to


bear the burden. Thank you for your time this evening, letters of us.


That was the finance secretary a short while ago.


If you'd like to get in touch with us about what's been discussed


tonight or anything else, email us at


[email protected], or follow us on social media,


We'll leave you now with some poignant images from Aberfan,


taken in the aftermath of the disaster by American


Half a century on the pain of Aberfan and the injustice suffered


not forgotten. Everyone's living these


amazing lives, You're like a...


Different person?


Huw Edwards 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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