19/10/2016 The Wales Report


19/10/2016

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

:00:00.:00:00.

the latest Brexit negotiations and what they mean for Wales.

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

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the implications of the Welsh Government's budget announcement.

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

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

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enquiry. Good evening and welcome

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The Wales Report. where Brexit remains

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

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

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in the programme. Remember you can join

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

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

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

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three people facing very different challenges what they were hoping

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for. I'm Wayne Priest, Chief Executive

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of Hydro Industries, a Welsh-based water technology company

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operating globally. What we want out of Brexit

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is we see this as a great opportunity to initiate

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and implement world trade deals in markets that are sometimes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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by the EU I wouldn't have had the chance

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

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the funding they need, whether it is through the EU

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

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from Tredegar, what I want out of the Brexit deal

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is ideally a ring fenced agricultural budget so we know

:02:34.:02:38.

where we're going. A lengthy transition period

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

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market so that we have somewhere to sell goods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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unions, educational establishments and businesses. So the engagement is

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

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

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

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

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Scottish Government or the Welsh government could put the brake on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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into account when we formulate policy about Brexiting the European

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

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

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

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had strong views as to the appropriateness of being in the

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

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referendum sent strong messages in relation to immigration, for

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

:07:31.:07:35.

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

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

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imperative to ensure we are dealing with the concerns expressed by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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market as possible, whilst reflecting the Democratic view of

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

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

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

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

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

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advantageous to business as possible, whilst also reflecting the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:10:06.:10:10.

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

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

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

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

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to achieve as good a deal as possible for businesses and

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

:10:35.:10:41.

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

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

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

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

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have indicated a willingness to underwrite European funding up to

:11:03.:11:07.

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

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

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

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Thank you. It's 50 years since 116

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children and 28 adults This week there are many

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programmes and events to commemorate the anniversary,

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and an important question that has been raised in a programme

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

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which was held only a few The programme reconstructed parts of

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the official enquiry. It lasted five months and heard over

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

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the National Coal Board repeated their claim

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

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plenty of warnings. Finally, after over

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70 days, Lord Robens, the Coal Board chairman,

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admitted that the disaster The inquiry had finally

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achieved some justice for the families, but no one

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from the National Coal Board named in the inquiry

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report lost their jobs. The closing statement of the enquiry

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

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

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who died in this disaster lost their lives not

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because of the occupational hazards which are ever present

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in these mining valleys - there was no sudden collapse

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of underground working, no unforeseeable or unforeseen

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explosion. This was a slow-growing man-made

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

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permitted its existence. There can be no more bitter reminder

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of the truth and wisdom The worst sin towards our fellows

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is not to hate them, For that is the essence

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of inhumanity. The injustice suffered by the people

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

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

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

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

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

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majority children. It caused devastation to the local community.

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

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recognise the solidarity and resilience of the people of Aberfan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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main thing people should take away from this?

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

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happened have immense resources for ensuring the blame goes anywhere but

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

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

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

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reconstruction, should have been promoted to the main coal board

:15:12.:15:17.

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

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

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

:15:26.:15:31.

condition of circumstances? Combination of more deferential

:15:32.:15:33.

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

:15:34.:15:38.

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

:15:39.:15:42.

parties, Lord Rubens was appointed by the previous Conservative

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

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

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

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

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

:16:06.:16:09.

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

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

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

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

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

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

:16:32.:16:35.

were nowhere to be seen when George Thomas demanded an unlawful

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

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

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

:16:51.:16:57.

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

:16:58.:17:02.

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

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

:17:07.:17:12.

in the Crown of current active plasma governments of the Aberfan

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

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

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

:17:28.:17:30.

Margaret Thatcher who had just been appointed as shadow spokeswoman on

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

:17:35.:17:39.

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

:17:40.:17:46.

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

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excellent questioned and the Government spokesman had no answer.

:17:51.:17:54.

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

:17:55.:18:00.

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

:18:01.:18:06.

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

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

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

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

:18:20.:18:22.

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

:18:23.:18:29.

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

:18:30.:18:33.

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

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

:18:37.:18:40.

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

:18:41.:18:45.

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

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

:18:50.:18:53.

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

:18:54.:18:57.

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

:18:58.:19:02.

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

:19:03.:19:07.

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

:19:08.:19:12.

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

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

:19:17.:19:22.

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

:19:23.:19:25.

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

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

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

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

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

:19:46.:19:48.

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

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Wells purse strings were tightly controlled here at Westminster.

:19:54.:20:00.

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

:20:01.:20:03.

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

:20:04.:20:06.

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

:20:07.:20:10.

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

:20:11.:20:16.

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

:20:17.:20:19.

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

:20:20.:20:23.

authorities ahead of those all-important council elections next

:20:24.:20:27.

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

:20:28.:20:30.

Government Secretary Margaret Clifford. Thank you for joining us

:20:31.:20:34.

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

:20:35.:20:38.

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

:20:39.:20:45.

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

:20:46.:20:49.

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

:20:50.:20:54.

more difficult, however, by the highly uncertain circumstances in

:20:55.:20:58.

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

:20:59.:21:02.

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

:21:03.:21:07.

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

:21:08.:21:10.

the Welsh Government austerity and challenges you face and the problems

:21:11.:21:14.

caused by the UK Government policies, this year surely you

:21:15.:21:18.

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

:21:19.:21:21.

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

:21:22.:21:24.

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

:21:25.:21:31.

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

:21:32.:21:36.

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

:21:37.:21:43.

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

:21:44.:21:48.

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

:21:49.:21:53.

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

:21:54.:21:57.

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

:21:58.:22:01.

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

:22:02.:22:07.

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

:22:08.:22:12.

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

:22:13.:22:18.

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

:22:19.:22:23.

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

:22:24.:22:26.

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

:22:27.:22:31.

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

:22:32.:22:36.

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

:22:37.:22:41.

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

:22:42.:22:45.

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

:22:46.:22:51.

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

:22:52.:22:56.

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

:22:57.:23:00.

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

:23:01.:23:03.

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

:23:04.:23:08.

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

:23:09.:23:13.

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

:23:14.:23:17.

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

:23:18.:23:22.

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

:23:23.:23:28.

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

:23:29.:23:30.

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

:23:31.:23:35.

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

:23:36.:23:39.

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

:23:40.:23:43.

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

:23:44.:23:47.

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

:23:48.:23:50.

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

:23:51.:23:55.

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

:23:56.:24:00.

European Union. And more significantly the ?66 billion figure

:24:01.:24:04.

is the result of a calculation outside the European Union UK

:24:05.:24:09.

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

:24:10.:24:14.

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

:24:15.:24:19.

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

:24:20.:24:23.

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

:24:24.:24:27.

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

:24:28.:24:32.

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

:24:33.:24:35.

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

:24:36.:24:41.

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

:24:42.:24:47.

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

:24:48.:24:50.

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

:24:51.:24:54.

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

:24:55.:25:03.

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

:25:04.:25:06.

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

:25:07.:25:11.

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

:25:12.:25:14.

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

:25:15.:25:18.

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

:25:19.:25:23.

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

:25:24.:25:28.

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

:25:29.:25:32.

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

:25:33.:25:36.

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

:25:37.:25:40.

about some fairly remote contingencies. If income tax varying

:25:41.:25:45.

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

:25:46.:25:49.

precautionary approach to their use but any Government would to reserve

:25:50.:25:53.

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

:25:54.:25:57.

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

:25:58.:26:02.

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

:26:03.:26:06.

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

:26:07.:26:11.

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

:26:12.:26:15.

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

:26:16.:26:19.

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

:26:20.:26:24.

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

:26:25.:26:28.

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

:26:29.:26:33.

timetable that allows the assembly and its various committees to

:26:34.:26:36.

scrutinise our budget and do it according to the timetable that

:26:37.:26:38.

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

:26:39.:26:44.

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

:26:45.:26:48.

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

:26:49.:26:53.

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

:26:54.:26:56.

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

:26:57.:27:00.

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

:27:01.:27:03.

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

:27:04.:27:08.

there will be some booze to infrastructure spending and

:27:09.:27:14.

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

:27:15.:27:17.

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

:27:18.:27:22.

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

:27:23.:27:26.

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

:27:27.:27:35.

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

:27:36.:27:40.

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

:27:41.:27:45.

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

:27:46.:27:48.

services including local Government but there are more difficult choices

:27:49.:27:51.

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

:27:52.:27:56.

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

:27:57.:28:02.

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

:28:03.:28:05.

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

:28:06.:28:12.

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

:28:13.:28:16.

priorities, they must make a contribution to public services

:28:17.:28:20.

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

:28:21.:28:24.

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

:28:25.:28:30.

That was the finance secretary a short while ago.

:28:31.:28:32.

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

:28:33.:28:37.

tonight or anything else, email us at

:28:38.:28:39.

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

:28:40.:28:40.

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

:28:41.:28:47.

taken in the aftermath of the disaster by American

:28:48.:28:49.

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

:28:50.:28:58.

not forgotten. Everyone's living these

:28:59.:29:00.

amazing lives, You're like a...

:29:01.:29:26.

Different person?

:29:27.:29:38.

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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