25/01/2017 The Wales Report


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Tonight in a new season of the Wales report: the National Assembly will


not have a formal say in the start of the Brexit process. So, how will


a Welsh interest to be safeguarded in the years to come? We will be


hearing card bay talking to Carwyn Jones and asking for his vision for


Wales outside the European Union. Stay with us.


Good evening. And welcome back to the Welsh Report. This place, the


National Assembly for Wales will not have a formal say in the start of


the Brexit process. The UK Supreme Court has decided that that is a


matter for both houses of parliament at Westminster. There is no legal


requirement to get the approval from Cardiff or Edinburgh or Belfast.


This week, Welsh Labour, Plaid Cymru, the Lib Dems, launched her


own White Paper on Brexit. They are calling for full, unfettered access


to the single market. How realistic is that? In, we will ask Carwyn


Jones for his vision of Wales outside the EU. Don't forget, you


can join in the debate on social media. The hashtag is the Wales


report. First, let us look at the next steps in this rather tricky


process. Who needs to go to the theatre when you have the ongoing


drama of Brexit? On Monday, the First Minister and leader of Plaid


Cymru took centre stage with a white Paper setting out the Welsh Brexit


plan. At the heart of this plan is the importance of full and


unfettered access to the single market for our businesses and our


economy. 24 hours later, a ruling from the Supreme Court and MPs from


Westminster will have a vote on triggering Article 50 to leave the


EU. But this place will not be consulted. The court unanimously


rules that UK ministers are not legally compelled to consult the


devolved legislatures for triggering Article 50. So no officials say for


the Assembly on the triggering Brexit. And they plan at odds with


the Prime Minister's. Theresa May made it clear last week that


membership of the single market is off the agenda. It will be White


Paper have any effect on the Brexit battle ahead? We have structures in


place to listen, but whether or not politically that will result in and


out, that takes seriously the requirements that Wales and Scotland


have put forward around remaining in the single market, I think there is


some doubt to that. And there are those who say the First Minister is


not facing up to the reality of post-Brexit Wales. I don't think


Carwyn Jones would have ever taken any notice of the Leave campaign


even though their constituencies voted to do so. They could have


reached out and bought a consensus. In fact, in Carwyn Jones's opening


paragraph, you said we've tried to table of leave and remain opinion on


board. I know precious few Leave campaign as he has bothered to


engage with. What next in this unfolding drama? Is the First


Minister's voice so far offstage it cannot be heard? The First Minister


is with me now. For lots of people, the Supreme Court verdict was a big


victory for Parliamentary democracy at Westminster. But not such good


news for people in Cardiff and in Edinburgh and Belfast. How do you


see it? The keywords where we are not legally compelled to be


consulted. The Constitution, we are. They depends on what the bill says.


To be clear, there will be a vote in the Assembly on Article 50 members


will their views. But we know from the Supreme Court judgment that we


have some clarity in terms of what is legally expected and what is not,


but constitutionally, that's a different matter. If you are taking


a brutal of view, the votes could go either way in the Assembly, but


there's no obligation for ministers at Westminster to take any notice.


Politically, there is. The UK is a precarious position. I've warned


against the UK the EU and its potential collapse. The process and


deal itself must have the widest possible support across the UK.


Ignore the Celtic nations is to me, a recipe for this unity in years to


come. I don't want to see that. You must be disappointed the Supreme


Court said, as you just quoted, that there was no legal requirement,


because lots of people are hoping that condition would be part of the


ruling. When you heard that, were you disappointed? What the Supreme


Court did was say, look, external relations, foreign relations are a


matter for the UK Government. So there's no requirement to console


devolved legislatures. But if the bill itself does impinge on the


rights and responsibilities of the devolved assemblies, that's a


different matter. We need to see what it says. Regardless, there will


be a vote in the Assembly, personally, we have to take into


account the way people voted in Wales. I do not want to delay what


is going to happen, which is that the UK will leave the EU, but it's


important the process is done in such a way that is the least harmful


to Wales and Britain. So, you are saying you did not find the ruling


than expected, but were you disappointed? Yes. From our


perspective we took the view that were the UK and Parliament wanting


to change the law, then it affects Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland


and the devolved responsibilities we have amended our consent. If the


bill is detailed and clearly impinges upon the rights of the


people of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, then the view may


change. But until we see the bill, we will have to wait and see what


journey we take. What do you make of the tone coming out of Westminster


on this? It is allied to a message that says, this is a matter for the


UK Parliament? It is not a matter, this process, for Wales and


Edinburgh and Belfast. That is the message repeated all the time. You


can talk in positive ways about getting the Welsh voice heard, but


if that's the message from there, it's not encouraging. Rider that the


UK Government want to go into negotiations with the EU. Is not


what I start from, I want to get to a position where we can agree common


terms of reference and a common strategy. That will help the


Government in London. Ultimately, when the final deal is agreed, it


doesn't need to get support from across the UK. Farming and


fisheries, for examples. UK doesn't exist as far as farming of a shift


-- fishes are concerned. We can't have the UK negotiating a settlement


on those things where they are acting as the English Government. So


there is a role for the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government


and the Northern Ireland executive in terms of framing the future for


those areas. There is no UK or UK role in the future either. You took


of a vote in the National Assembly on the beginning of this process, we


know at Westminster that Labour is saying he does not want to be seen


to be blocking Article 50 because it recognises the referendum result.


Can I ask what you will descend your colleagues here in Cardiff about how


they should be voting on the triggering of Article 50? I will say


they can't block the process all look to overturn the referendum


result. There's no going back from that. But we produced a white Paper


this week and it gave ideas as to what the way forward should be. The


response we have to that sometimes is, you fight in the campaign. It is


not, it is the lever to keep fighting that, it is done and


dusted. We need to move on from that. The debate is now about how we


leave not if. That debate has enormous consequences. If it goes


right, it's manageable. If it is messed up, the consequences for the


Welsh economy for many years will be disastrous. What you say to those


who say the White Paper was unrealistic? To talk about full,


unfettered access to the single market. Nonmembership, access. You


know that comes at a price on the price is freedom of movement. Watch


your calculation? I noticed the Prime Minister said she wanted the


fullest possible accents. -- access. There is compromise needed, but for


me, what we have put forward is a system of freedom of movement that


is tied to people having a job. So instead of a general right to move


anywhere within the area of the single market, people can move if


they have a job. If they lose it, a certain amount of time is allowed


for looking for another and I think that is rational to approach it this


way. If we don't have the system, I know when they are concerned about


the current system, we moved to a new one. But I think that's much


fairer. You listen to people like Angela Merkel and other European


leaders, they all say the same thing. You can't really qualify for


the system of freedom of movement. If you want full, unfettered access,


as you do, you have to accept freedom of movement as they define


it. It is not your qualified version, but their full version. It


is not representative of the system is applied across the EU. Well, what


you have to remember with freedom of movement is when the East European


countries joined the EU, the UK had a different system to other


countries. We imposed a moratorium. So what the rules say and the way


they are interpreted two different things. The Norwegian system is


perfectly sensible. It is not our system, and it does tie the ability


of somebody to live in a country whether they'll be having a job and


that is within the rules, we think. The UK interpreted differently than


other countries. Even if it is within the rules, the Prime


Minister's has said we don't want anyone else's model. She's used the


Norway model as an example in the past. Freedom of movement to work.


The UK can't have everything. There has to be compromise. There is a lot


of posturing and outlining negotiating positions, but you have


two choices to me, either sell in the single market, which is crucial


to the Welsh economy, or you sell to control immigration we can't do


that. There will be an open border with the EU. The irony is, the UK


cannot control immigration without the support of the European Union


because the open border with Ireland. There's lots of issues


there that are not dealt with. Given the sensitivity around immigration


which we saw with the campaign, and you reflect that and we've tried to


explain your thinking on freedom of movement, do you think that even the


qualified system you are talking about today is one I Welsh voters


would find acceptable given the way they voters strongly last year? With


the difficulty we have is we know what people don't want. They want


out of the EU, that is decided. Wooden or people actually want. --


we don't know what people actually want. Some people do want


immigration, we can't win them over, their minds are made up. Some are


convinced there are hundreds of thousands of people living in well


some other countries, in fact, there are 70 9000. Bearing mind, one of


the interveners in the Supreme Court case was representing 2 million UK


citizens living elsewhere in Europe. Do they lose their access to health


care? Even fundamental issues such as driving lessons, will they still


be valid, or car insurance still be valid? Of course, they should be,


these will take negotiation and agreement rather than being taken


for granted as they have been because of EU membership.


There is a blunt chin to be asked about, to what extent does the Welsh


voice, your voice, can be properly respected? If you get a position


where the UK Government has come to a view on the Brexit plan, you don't


have to like it, maybe the leaders in Northern Ireland and Scotland do


not like it, ultimately, in this framework, you have no power to


change that position - does that cause you concern? I think the UK


would be very precarious if that happens. There would be the danger


of a Scottish referendum. We are already seeing difficulty in


Northern Ireland. The UK is not in the strong disposition here. For me,


the final outcome is, the UK gets a deal which is acceptable to all


countries in the UK, and we can then move forward. If we look at a


free-trade agreement, some people say we will have one with New


Zealand. On the face of it, it is a matter for the UK Government. But if


as a result of that agreement we saw New Zealand lamb being allowed into


the UK with no quota and no tariff, that destroys the Welsh farming


industry. I don't think that is a sensible way to look at politics in


the future. We must get away from this idea that all power comes from


Whitehall and Westminster. We share power across the UK. The Canadians


do it perfectly well. And the most lasting settlement for the good of


the UK would be the one which commands the most support across the


nations of the UK. And the dominant nation being England, and the debate


country as structured, whether people like it or not, lots of it is


to do with English Conservative MPs and a Conservative governance at


west Leinster. They are dominating the debate by force of numbers. The


problem is that the debate has not been about what is good for the UK,


but about reconciling tensions in the Conservative Party. And they are


not the same thing. This is not an attack on anybody, this white paper


is something to put on the table, to look through so that people have an


idea of what we are thinking. It gets criticised by people who have


no clue about what they want to do. If it had been a cross-party


document, it might have got less criticism? Let's examine what the


Conservatives did. When the white paper was about to be published, the


leader of the Welsh Conservatives sent out a tweet saying, latest


edition of the Beano. That's not very grown-up. And no time has he


said he wanted to be part of a process to work out what the journey


should be for Wales. Every time he stands up in the chamber and he's


asked, what is your view, it is basically, whatever Theresa May


says. We expect better than that from one of the major opposition


parties. I have absolutely no idea what the Welsh Conservative view is


on what should happen after Brexit. So I would suggest, to the


Conservatives, why don't you get consensus within your own party


before you start lecturing others? We have a Conservative leader in


Wales who successfully read the mood in the referendum in a way that


other party leaders didn't? He also said that he would be First


Minister. He did not read that very well. Yes, he was on the winning


side in the referendum, on the mood inside in the election. -- on the


losing side. I do not detect that there is a surge towards the


Conservatives in Wales as a result of. On this, they did not agree with


us, that is the nature of referendums, they cut across party


lines. Final point on this, and it is to do with the way that you


manage I suppose the personal relationship with the Prime Minister


and others at Westminster. URL Labour politician, you are a Labour


politician in power, which is a rare thing in the UK these days, and


you're dealing with a Conservative government. There must be tensions,


and that might be a disadvantage to you in terms of how you can interact


with them, is that fair? I don't think as in any personal tensions.


The degree we are a long way apart of course. Theresa May is difficult


to read, she does not give a lot away. I have had open conversations


with David Davies. We can talk to each other. Politics obliquely is


about people debating with each other. But privately, there have to


be ways that people can sit down and talk to each other and find a way


forward and that is the way we see it. This is not a party political


battle, it is making sure that Wales and Britain prospers in the future.


If we can find common ground in order for that to happen, I think


that is exactly what people would expect us to do. That brings me to


the next thing. It has been a very big week in terms of the governments


of Wales. The Wales Bill has completed its Parliamentary stages.


Forget we have lined up three expert witnesses if you like to give us


their perspectives on what's going on.


Well, I think it takes us forward much more to the kind of settlement


they have in Scotland, where you have a broad range of legislative


powers and also some taxation responsibility. And I think it is a


good mix. In principle there are two sorts of


things you could do. You could either cap the top rate as a revenue


raising measures in the long run, and maybe encourage some business in


Wales, or you could raise the basic rate if you wanted to, for revenue


purposes. Those are the two strategies. Raising the top rates of


income tax as a revenue raising measures doesn't make sense. And the


reason is, we've got this huge open border with England, people move


once every ten years on average, people work in England and live in


Wales or the other way round, and it's just so easy to move across the


border. There are some really important constitutional potential


lying within the bill, particularly around alterations to the size of


the Assembly, the number of constituencies, the electron system,


the name, the age at which people are allowed to vote and so on. They


may not seem exciting but we know that the National Assembly has


serious capacity issues at the moment, assembling them has asked


wretch in terms of their scrutiny. So this gives us an opportunity to


at least look at that area of development. We know there needs to


be a lot more done to make people will be Wales feel that having an


institution is Cardiff is significant and makes a difference


to their lives. Obviously, the success of government is how you use


the powers that you have. And that would be the true test, whether the


lives of the people of Wales were improved by these new powers. It


will not improve things automatically.


First Minister, is this Wales Bill a lasting settlement? No, is the


simple answer. It does take us forward and there are things which I


can welcome in it. For we were not treated in the same way as Scotland


and there are still some issues which are outstanding in order to


make the UK and Wales work better. Why were you not able to get into a


position where the bill was in better shape? I think there is a


limit to how much influence the Wales office has in the Welsh


government. We met a lot of resistance from the Ministry of


Justice, who did not seem to understand devolution at all. Other


departments were fine. That is the nature of Whitehall. It is a step


forward for Wales but it is far from being a lasting settlement. How can


it be when there are so many issues outstanding, such as policing and


legal jurisdiction? It is important that people realise how this changes


things and how it might change their own lives. So how would you explain


to people at home, what does this Wales Bill do in terms of changing


life in Wales? It gives Welsh people control over this place as an


institution, the way that it runs. If we look at areas like energy


projects, where we will have to develop them to create jobs in


Wales, to do with water, a very emotional issue in Wales, as we


know. And other areas, for example, it will devolve a chunk of income


tax. We are not looking to increase income tax in Wales, but it allows


us to be able to borrow. Everyone else does it to pay for big


projects. This gives us the opportunity to do that and to fund


transport schemes, for example, which we know will make a real


difference to people is lives. When you think about tax, very emotive


subject again, income tax, and those powers, granting those powers is


clearly very significant, it can allow you to do some rather dramatic


things, just a penny on the basic rate will give you about ?180


million to play with, which could be useful for the Health Service and


other things - how likely are Welsh voters to see you starting to use


those powers? 0 chance of that. We made a pledge in our manifesto that


we would not alter the rate of income tax and any other bands in


Wales during the course of this Assembly. Income tax devolution


gives us the opportunity to create a revenue stream to borrow. Borrow


prudently, not which you cannot afford to pay back. But it means we


can fund transport scheme which could not be funded in Wales because


they were in Wales, whereas England, Scotland and Northern Ireland could


do it. But there's absolutely no chance of taxes being increased in


Wales. The point about having a big open border with England,


competitiveness, and looking not just on basic rate but at higher tax


rates as well as both to you buy that argument? Yes. I think he is


spot on about this. In fact if you raise the higher rate, you do not


raise much money. Proportionately we have fewer higher rate taxpayers in


Wales. Because those are the people who are the most mobile anyway. To


my mind, increasing taxes in Wales is not on the agenda during this


period. What would you say to the person sitting at home may be


feeling frustrated thinking, we've got the Welsh government, they're


gaining more powers, they can spend on things they think they would like


to spend more on, but they're not using the powers, to the point of


having them? The ability to borrow, that's the initial thing for me. The


fact that we can then borrow against the funding stream that we have from


income tax in order to pay for transport projects which are needed


in so many parts of Wales. Does we could not do otherwise. If we look


at the M4 relief road in Newport, we could not do it at all if we could


not borrow money. We need to have access to that kind of money. Every


other government in the UK has that. What kind of borrowing are we


talking about over and above the borrowing that we would have talked


about maybe 12 months ago? There's a difference between what we can


borrow and what we should borrow. We have to service any debt. We are not


Kulasekara we are going to borrow because we can. We have to take if


you on what we think is needed and also what is affordable. And what is


that? We are talking hundreds of millions, rather than billions. To


be clear, this is not all the money to fund year-on-year revenue, this


is about oil and money for specific projects which have a one-off cost.


-- this is about borrowing money. But in your own mind, what is an


acceptable limit on that kind of borrowing, half a billion, 700


million, 800 million? Depends on the terms of borrowing. At the moment it


is a good time to borrow money with interest rates so low. But it may


not always be that way. We have to make and assessments, what effect


would a possible increase in rates have on our borrowing, it is not


possible to put an absolute figure on it. Less than 1 billion? Yes. Who


are not going to borrow to the limit. That would not be prudent.


But over half a million? Depends what the project is. If it is a


worthwhile and affordable project, then yes, we would consider funding


such a project. Practical things to do with the place that we are in


today, the size of the Assembly, for example. Would you use powers to


change the membership? I think that is a highly sensitive and


controversial area. If we look at it from one angle, there are 60 members


here, Northern Ireland has 109, even though they have half the


population. Scotland has 129 members, even though it is not twice


the size of Wales. But let's face it, saying we need more politicians


is not the most popular stance to take. I think there is a lot of


explanation which would have to be done if we were going to increase


the numbers here to 80, for example. There is no doubt that the workload


of Assembly members is huge compared to people in other assemblies. But


that is not going to win the public over necessarily. You think it is a


case worth making? I can see it from one angle in terms of the workload


for members. But I am sensitive to public opinion and the last thing I


want to do is to take a position as lead when we get the powers. We do


not want to say in the first few weeks, we're going to increase the


number of politicians straightaway. That would make us look ridiculous


in the eyes of the people of Wales. A lot of work has to be done here to


illustrate the people have ears and the works and whether they think


actually, given that we might see a cut in the number of Welsh MPs, a


tiny voice in Westminster, whether there needs to be an increase in the


Assembly here in Cardiff. Would you be comfortable going into the next


Assembly elections with the same size of chamber here? The strange


thing is, when you're in government, you don't notice it in the same way.


Of you're a backbencher, and you're on two or three committees are


weak... I get a lot of support, as First Minister, it is the


backbenchers who feel it the most. -- two or three committees a week.


Are there enough members here to hold the government to account? They


do it, but it is a struggle. So in five years' time? This is a part of


the plate which we have to have... You clearly do not think that the


system as it is is going to be as efficient in five years' time? It


works, but it is under strain, that is the way I would put it. Will you


be making the case for increasing the size of the chamber? What I


would say is, we need more politicians. It needs to be part of


a package around how the Assembly operates, and also we may end up


with fewer MPs. I am not making the link. I would rather we kept the


same representation at worse Mr. But these are the issues which will have


to be debated over the next few years.


I don't think that would do us a great deal of good. The number of


constituencies? That is even more difficult. Even if you can get an


agreement to having 80 members, you have to have all elected. All


parties are different views on how to operate that. It is a tricky


issue and would take a great of diplomacy. That's an understatement.


The number of constituents come you've mentioned the voting system.


On a personal level, can you foresee circumstances in which you will be


making an argument for a different kind of voting system, allied to


other changes around the Assembly in years to come? There were pamphlets


years ago suggesting we should of 80 members elected first past the post.


That was the case I made at that point. It will not be on that basis


and I accept that. But it is a question of what sort of system we


use, what the mix is, do we carry on with the regional members, these are


all issues we need to look at carefully before the final decision.


The voting age, lowering it. Would you like to take action? Yes, 16. It


was 60 in Scotland in the referendum. If that is OK, is


difficult to argue against the bingo cane every other election, so my


point of view is that 16 in this day and age is the proper age people can


vote. My daughter will be delighted to hear me say that. I'm sure she


will. The answer to what you might changes I'm not sure or we will


think about that. Give the impression you are giving that


you're getting more powers, but are either reluctant to use them or will


not use them because they are too risky politically. Is that the


message people will get? We do not jump headlong into change for the


sake of it. If you look at income tax, for me, the most important


thing is we are setting up a new body, and it must be set up. It has


to add Minister not just income tax, that transaction tax which will take


over from stamp duty. We need to ensure it is up and running first


bit for we make sure there were no glitches or problems. Family 's


Tavern before we look at what happens after. Let us get the new


system up and running and the debate is beyond the next election. A final


point about national perceptions of the way this place works, not just


the Assembly, but the Government. After all the debate about the Wales


Bill, is there a healthier perception of the way that the


Government here works now after the debate? Because the debate got


bogged down in all kinds of issues which you are involved in and you


know, at Westminster and here. What have that done for perceptions of


the way the Government here is perceived? The first draft though


they produced in Westminster was so awful that no one could support it.


It overturned the referendum results. That's what they were


trying to do in Westminster, overturned the clearly expressed a


view of the Welsh people in 2011 that they wanted all the laws in


effect in Wales to be made here in Wales. They try to overturn that and


we have to go back to the drawing board and produce the better. Good,


but not so good that it can't be improved upon, as we say. That's


what we have to look out for. People in Wales proud to have


representation and a Government, all the opinion polls show us that the


case. We've moved beyond should Wales have a voice? Two how should


that voice be exercised? First Minister, thank you. That was Carwyn


Jones, talking to me a little earlier. That is all for tonight. If


you would like to get in that about the programme or anything else,


e-mail us. Or follow us on social media. The debate continues. The


hashtag is the Welsh report. We return next week. Good night.


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