06/06/2017 First Minister's Questions


06/06/2017

Full coverage of AM's questions to the first minister from the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.


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Good afternoon. Welcome to the programme, and our weekly coverage

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of questions to the First Minister. The final question session ahead of

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Thursday's general election. Assembly Members have just returned

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from a half term break. No doubt many of them were out working the

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campaign trail. I do expect Thursday's vote to pop up. We will

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also have a statement from the First Minister on recent terror attacks.

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You can follow all the latest on Welsh politics on the Twitter feed.

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Business in the chamber is already under way. Let's look at the

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session. TRANSLATION: I called the National Assembly to order. Firstly,

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it is my sad duty to date, as it was this time a fortnight ago, to extend

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my condolences on the half of all Assembly Members to those affected

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by another terrorist attack. This time, in London. Once again, this

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was a cowardly and brutal attack. I invite the First Minister to make a

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statement. It is with the greatest sadness that we find ourselves again

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pausing our proceedings to pay tribute to our fellow citizens and,

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of course, visitors from abroad, who were caught up in the atrocities in

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London on Saturday night. The great cruelty of this terrorism is its

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random nature. People of malign intent can strike anywhere and they

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do not need sophisticated weapons to inflict their cruelty. The area

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around London Bridge and Borough Market will be familiar to many of

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us, just as in Manchester, the week before, the terrorists chose to

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strike mostly young people going about their weekend leisure

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activities. The terrorists can never win. This is a free country and

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people live how they choose to live, in peace, and according to law.

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Nobody has the right to tell anyone else how to live. No one has,

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either, the right, of course, to threaten or to intimidate. An attack

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on any of us is an attack on all of us. We stand together and we will

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continue to live in freedom. I have written to the Mayor of London,

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Sadiq Khan, to express condolences and solidarity of the Welsh people.

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I know that I speak for this chamber and the people of Wales as a whole

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when I say that we stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with London.

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TRANSLATION: Thank you, First Minister, for speaking on behalf of

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us all. The first item of business, therefore, is questions to the First

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Minister. The first question is from Jenni Russell one. What is the First

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Minister's assessment for the invocations for Wales of no trade

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deal with the EU? Well, no deal is the worst deal. We know that no deal

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would mean trading under World Trade Organisation rules. Nobody wants

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that on either side of the debate. We know that would put in place

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significant barriers to Welsh exports into our biggest and most

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important market. Thank you, First Minister. I find it difficult to

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understand how Theresa May continues to say that no deal would be better

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than a bad deal. I struggle to understand what the difference is.

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This is something that journalists don't seem to have asked her, or

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don't have the opportunity to ask her. I have read that some experts

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say it could cost as much as ?45 billion if we crash out of the EU,

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compared with half of that if we come out with a negotiated deal.

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What is the First Minister's assessment of what would happen to

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Wales and Welsh trade with Europe if there is no deal? Well, 67% of

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exports go to the European market. Any obstacle that would be faced by

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exporters is bound to be bad for them. The extra costs are bound to

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be bad for them. That is why it is hugely important that Brexit is

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handled in a realistic way, not the naivete that we have seen from some

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saying, well, the Germans will never allow WTO rules to operate. I think

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there has to be realism. Above all else, we have to secure a Brexit

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that is a sensible Brexit and, above all else, one that does not affect

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in a negative way the economy of Wales. I am sure you agree that we

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should be aiming for a good deal, a good deal for the United Kingdom, a

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good deal for Wales and a good deal for the European Union. I am very

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confident that is what will happen. Can I just refer you to the UK

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economic outlook published in November 2016, which did identify,

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and this was on the trends before Brexit, that exports to EU markets

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were likely to go down to about 37% by 2030. That's the UK figure, not

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just Wales. It's very important we develop markets outside Europe that

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are closest to us, particularly North America, Africa and the Middle

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East. I hope that your trade policy will focus on these markets, as well

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as, of course, taking advantage of whatever the relationships we now

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secure with the EU. Very much so. We work with markets anywhere and

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everywhere for Welsh produce. When I was Rural Affairs Minister, I spent

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much of my time getting Welsh lamb export it to the United Arab

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Emirates, and we know that Welsh lamb is exported around the world.

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We should not think it is a choice between accessing the European

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market or accessing other markets. The European market is much bigger

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than the US market and the US is further away. The EU, it will share

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a land border with us. The European market will continue to be our most

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important market for many years to come, which is why it is important

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to get a good deal that benefits all and, above all else, allows us to

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sell without obstacle. TRANSLATION: Thank you, according to the leaflet

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I received from the Liberal Democrats on Monday in Aberystwyth,

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we Plaid Cymru, and Labour are in bed with the Tories and Ukip on the

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hard Brexit deal. I would be interested to know what kind of

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Cabinet discussions you have had with the Liberal Democrats on

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achieving this extreme Brexit. In the hope that you are not going to

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deliver that, can I ask you how we can get to a position where tariff

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free access to single markets, from agriculture to manufacturing in

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Wales, with our partners in Europe, can be achieved without maintaining

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some sort of membership of the single market? TRANSLATION: I don't

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want to fear in the politics of Ceredigion. I did see what Mark

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Williams had said. I don't accuse Plaid Cymru of being in favour of an

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extreme Brexit at all. But how can we ensure that an extreme Brexit

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doesn't happen when the white paper shows away, and it has been agreed

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between three parties in this place. To me, that demonstrates, or shows

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the way forward. As regards how Brexit should be implemented over

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the ensuing years. TRANSLATION: Question to Adam Price. Does the

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Welsh government have all the information it needs an how to make

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a decision to provide the financial support required? We are awaiting

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reports from advisers to complete the due diligence process. We will

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be in the position to take a decision before the end of the

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month. I think people will draw their own conclusion on why this

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decision has been pushed beyond the general election. On the wider

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theme... On the wider theme of openness, I have been told in

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written answers by the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Structure And

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Skills, that the idea of an 85% government guarantee, the heart of

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the proposal that was rejected last year, was first suggested by the

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company in mid-April 20 16. That is not accurate, First Minister. It was

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your government, with the direct knowledge of your own private

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office, that suggested this as an alternative to a 100% guarantee in

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the first week of April. Will you now take the opportunity to correct

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the record? I can say that the model that is being examined now is not

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that the model, it is a wholly different model. He makes the

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insinuation that somehow this has been pushed back, for some insidious

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reason. I can tell him, unlike him, we carry out due diligence. People

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expect that. They want to be sure. We want to see it delivered, but it

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has to be delivered on a sustainable basis. They would expect us to look

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at this very carefully to make sure the project stands upon its own for

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years to come. We have received the majority of reports already. The

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remaining reports, we expect to see in the course of this week. There is

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no strange thing going on there. That is because we awaited further

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information from the Heads Of The Valleys Information Commission

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beforehand. Officials are preparing a conference of report. There will

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be a Cabinet paper drafted and the decision will be taken before the

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end of the month. Thank you, Presiding Officer. First Minister, I

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very much welcome your positive statement about wanting the circuit

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to succeed. As you are aware, some of the biggest names in automotive

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engineering and research have written to you. Aston Martin, TVR,

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demonstrating confidence in the project and urging a swift and

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positive decision. Are you able to confirm what date the Cabinet is

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likely to meet to make a decision on this? I would expect the Cabinet to

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meet in the course of the next fortnight, with the decision taken

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at a Cabinet meeting. That is the plan at this moment in time. We want

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to get this dealt with, obviously. The people of Gwent want to as well.

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I understand the great enthusiasm of the project. We have to make sure

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that the project stacks up on its own, that the level of risk is

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acceptable, that there is input from the private sector. That is what we

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have been working with, with the Circuit of Wales team. We want to be

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in a position where we can look at a sustainable model in a fortnight's

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time. What I would like to do is deliver the circuit of Wales but we

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have to make sure the model is robust. That is the point we are at

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now. On the 17th of May, he stated that due diligence is an important

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part of concentration in financing every project and he would not short

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cut that process. Recently it was claimed that the Service of Wales

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project could be lost to Scotland if the Welsh government did not make a

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decision soon. Will you confirm the scaremongering such as this will not

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result in decision-making taking place until the most rigorous

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assessment of the viability and economic benefit of this project has

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been made or completed by your government? People would expect us

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as a government to examine any project, particularly one with this

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importance and size, very, very much in great detail, to make sure we are

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satisfied, if we are being asked to deliver support. Private sector

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investors would do exactly the same thing. On these benches, we want to

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see the project move forward. It is important for all concerned,

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including people of Blaenau Gwent, that the fullest examination of the

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proposal is done, in order to provide reassurance for the future.

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TRANSLATION: Questions from the party leaders. Thank you Presiding

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Officer. Could I identify myself with the comments you made about the

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tragedies in London earlier on in the week. Obviously we do stand

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shoulder to shoulder with the citizens of London and Manchester

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and ultimately, by getting about our normal way of life, we are defeating

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these terrorists, these thugs, who are inflicting such terrible,

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terrible tragedies on some of our communities and whilst we might live

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in Wales, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the communities in

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London and anywhere elsewhere people feel under threat. I would like to

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ask you, with that in mind, that the general election now on Thursday,

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obviously people will be voting on commitments made by the parties. You

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yesterday in your role as First Minister said Labour, if they were

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to win on Thursday, would get rid of the Barnett formula. Yet today,

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we've had Scottish Labour firmly coming out and saying that there are

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no plans to get rid of the Barnett formula. Who's right? I've spoke ton

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Kezia Dugdale. We know the Conservatives will take money away

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from both Wales and Scotland. The situation is simply this: That upon

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the election of a Labour Government, Barnett would remain in place in the

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short-term. There would then be a long-term funding formula put in

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place according to the needs of the nations and regions of the UK,

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ensuring that no part of the UK is unfairly disadvantaged. Barnett will

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come to an end at that time. I wonder where the commitment from the

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Conservatives is to ensure fair funding from Wales. As well you

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know, the agreement between the Welsh and Westminster Government put

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the funding floor in place warmly endorsed by your Finance Minister

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only in December last year. 13 years, due nothing. That's not quite

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what the Scottish Conservatives are saying. I offered you the

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opportunity to actually clarify your position. Because you were very

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robust last night saying that the Barnett formula would be scrapped.

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What the Scottish Labour Party are saying is that there will be no

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scrapping of the Barnett formula this is their words, not to scrap

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the Barnett formula and all that is merely proposed in the next

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Parliament, these are their words, a long-term scone saltation to --

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consultation to look at the public expenditure that comes from

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Westminster tone sure it reflects the nations and regions of the

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United Kingdom. That's their words, that is. That isn't getting rid of

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the Barnett formula at all. Aren't you misleading the people of Wales

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with your comments yesterday? That is exactly what it means. . If there

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is a new formula in place that is the end of Barnett. In the

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short-term it would remain because nothing else would be in place. We

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want to ensure Wales receives fair funding. The UK Government

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resolutely refused to look at funding as far as Wales is

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concerned. It was a compromise position. We have never changed our

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position as a Government that the Barnett formula has run towards the

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ends of its life and now is the time to start planning for a new formula

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that will reflect the proper needs of the nations and regions of the UK

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as they are now, not as they were in 1979. First Minister you were very

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clear last night saying thaw were scrapping the Barnett formula full

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stop. There was no equivocation around that. You were saying that

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last night on the television and through the news. Scottish Labour

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Party are saying clearly there will be no scrapping of the Barnett

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formula. How on earth can anyone take any of the pledges that you are

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making seriously, when you are being caught out in the last week of this

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campaign? And ultimately... The Labour Party... Let him continue his

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question. Ultimately the funding of public services is a vital

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consideration for the electorate on Thursday. We have put a funding

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floor in place. With agreement of the Welsh Government that guarantees

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that funding in Wales will not go under ?115 for every ?100 spent in

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England. You said yesterday that Labour Party policy was to get rid

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of the Barnett formula. Scottish Labour are saying that is not the

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case. Isn't it a fact that all Labour policies are just built on

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sand First Minister? Isn't it a shame that he will not support a

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situation where Wales gets the funding it deserves. Isn't it a

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shame. That tells you the way he thinks. Isn't it a shame he was not

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there to make these points in subsequent debates on television.

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I'm sure it was possible to see a live broadcast from grand anaira to

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ensure his view was put forward - Canaria. As he rightly said the

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Secretary of State was unwilling to take part in the third debate

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because he pulled out because I was in it. That's what we heard. He was

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not willing to come and debate and other leaders as well and to put

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forward the Conservative case. He has some brass neck to come before

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this chamber and say somehow these are a shambles on these benches,

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when on three different occasions the Tories couldn't even field the

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same person in three different debates. So lacking in confidence

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were they in their own case. We've seen over the past few days shambles

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after shambles after shambles in the Conservative Party. I invite him to

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read the UK Labour manifesto and it's absolutely clear what it says

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there will be a new funding formula that reflects the needs of different

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nations and regions of the UK, a commitment we have made, a

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commitment his party has run from. TRANSLATION: Plaid Cymru leader

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Leanne Wood. First Minister, on Thursday people will go to the polls

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in what is a very important election. It's been noted how you've

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air brushed your UK party leader out of your campaign. And how you have

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issued a separate manifesto there are two Labour manifestos, three if

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you count the Scottish manifesto that was referred to earlier. In the

:18:57.:19:03.

interests of openness, transparency and honesty, just before people cast

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their votes on Thursday, will you tell us are Labour MPs elected in

:19:08.:19:14.

Wales next Thursday bound by the commitments in your manifesto or by

:19:15.:19:19.

the commitments in your UK Labour leader's manifesto? By the Welsh

:19:20.:19:23.

Labour manifesto. Because there is no dichotomy between the two. The

:19:24.:19:27.

leader of Plaid Cymru might have noticed that devolution occurred in

:19:28.:19:30.

1999. On that basis it's not possible for political parties who

:19:31.:19:33.

have a presence in the different nations of the UK to produce a

:19:34.:19:37.

manifesto that's exactly the same. We reflect the reality of

:19:38.:19:40.

devolution. That's exactly what we've done in our manifesto. There

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is no contradiction in terms of the Welsh Labour manifesto and the UK

:19:45.:19:48.

Labour manifesto, save in areas that are devolved, where the decisions

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regarding those policies are made here. You say there are no

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differences. First Minister, there are differences - Name one. Ail'

:19:56.:20:00.

come back to one -- I'll come back to that. Your party leader has been

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described variously as the man who broke the Labour Party, that was

:20:06.:20:09.

Chris Bryant, a lunatic at the top of the Labour, that was Owen Smith.

:20:10.:20:15.

Hard left and out of touch with the electorate, that was Stephen

:20:16.:20:19.

Kinnock. Would you like to associate yourself with any of those

:20:20.:20:23.

statements about your leader or would you like to take this

:20:24.:20:27.

opportunity to distance yourself from the views of those Welsh Labour

:20:28.:20:32.

candidates. Let me make it very clear. Jeremy Corbyn will make an

:20:33.:20:36.

excellent Prime Minister. He will offer hope for Britain as opposed to

:20:37.:20:40.

the endless succession of Tory cuts that we have seen from the benches

:20:41.:20:44.

opposite. We would see a Government that would take Britain forward,

:20:45.:20:49.

would deliver a proper devolved settlement for Wales based on the

:20:50.:20:52.

legislation we have put forward, while at the same time we see Plaid

:20:53.:20:56.

Cymru looking at creating a coalition with the Tories in Conwy.

:20:57.:21:03.

LAUGHTER They always trot that one out don't

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they when they've got nothing left. We do. You must be very desperate -

:21:08.:21:15.

We do. OK, we do need to hear what's being asked and the answers, so

:21:16.:21:19.

let's all calm down and look forward to next week. I want to come back to

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this point about the differences in the manifestos between you and your

:21:26.:21:31.

UK Labour leader's. Zero hours contracts banned, tuition fees

:21:32.:21:34.

scrapped, the railways in public hands, that's what's in the UK

:21:35.:21:38.

manifesto. Labour is in power here and none of these policies have been

:21:39.:21:44.

implemented. Can we get a commitment from you now that you will give your

:21:45.:21:51.

unmitigated support to those policies now that it's official

:21:52.:21:56.

policy of your party or are you accepting that you are about to

:21:57.:22:01.

mislead the electorate on Thursday? There's nothing more misleading than

:22:02.:22:05.

a party that says we want more money from Westminster, at the same time

:22:06.:22:08.

says - we want independence from Westminster. There is a fundamental

:22:09.:22:13.

contradiction. She asks three questions. First, if the money is

:22:14.:22:16.

made available to us to look again at student finance, we will do so.

:22:17.:22:20.

Zero hours contracts are in the main not devolved. We do not support zero

:22:21.:22:26.

hours contracts. We as a party want to make sure that we see a society

:22:27.:22:30.

that is fair, that is just and where people have the opportunities they

:22:31.:22:34.

need to flourish in the future. You're being dishonest. Only a

:22:35.:22:37.

Labour Government in the UK can do that. Plaid Cymru can deliver

:22:38.:22:45.

nothing. This is dishonest. I'm sure I will carry the First

:22:46.:22:50.

Minister with me if nothing it has proved the time for political point

:22:51.:22:57.

scoring has long passed. We should concentrate on building a successful

:22:58.:23:01.

economic future for Wales collectively, supporting other

:23:02.:23:04.

parties where that's necessary. To that extent I'd like to refer back

:23:05.:23:09.

to the question which Adam Price asked immediately before party

:23:10.:23:13.

leaders questions. I take what the First Minister said in response to

:23:14.:23:19.

his supplementary about how the Government must conduct proper due

:23:20.:23:24.

diligence of the current proposal. But they ordered a general's report

:23:25.:23:28.

on the initial funding this project and it contains a catalogue of

:23:29.:23:32.

opportunities for due diligence to be conducted over the last five

:23:33.:23:35.

years, starting with the calling in of the planning application in 2012,

:23:36.:23:43.

which was approved by Karl Sergeant because of the economic benefits. In

:23:44.:23:48.

2014, we had the initial funding of ?16 million for the development of

:23:49.:23:52.

the project. Then we had a public inquiry on the deregistration of the

:23:53.:23:58.

common land. In April 2016, Edwina Heart rejected the first guarantee

:23:59.:24:03.

application. In July 2016, Ken Skates rejected the second guarantee

:24:04.:24:07.

proposal, which then led to intensive discussions with officials

:24:08.:24:10.

on a variety of important issues. Then this year, in January, we had

:24:11.:24:15.

the fully funded term sheets provided by the company. We were

:24:16.:24:21.

told due diligence were to last three to four weeks. It's been

:24:22.:24:24.

extended further and the First Minister today has given us I hope

:24:25.:24:28.

an end date for the consideration. We've endless due diligence and I

:24:29.:24:31.

know that the Auditor General has made a number of important

:24:32.:24:34.

criticisms of the process. I don't want to go into that now because I

:24:35.:24:38.

want to see this project succeed. I hope at the end of the day that the

:24:39.:24:42.

Welsh Government is going to give it the go ahead. Does he not think that

:24:43.:24:47.

this torturous process is far too long, even though this is a massive

:24:48.:24:53.

project for the future. Its transformative potential is so great

:24:54.:24:57.

we should have got on with this much more diligently as we have. Due

:24:58.:25:04.

diligence wouldn't have occurred during the planning application

:25:05.:25:07.

point. They are applications not to do with the robustness or not of a

:25:08.:25:10.

particular business. That comes later on. I make no apologies for

:25:11.:25:14.

the due diligence process. It is robust. It has taken longer than we

:25:15.:25:18.

would have wanted, because information has had to be sought at

:25:19.:25:22.

certain points. That information has been provided. I've given a date to

:25:23.:25:26.

members by which we want to take that decision now. I would like to

:25:27.:25:30.

see this project proceed, but it has to proceed on a basis that is

:25:31.:25:33.

sustainable and where the risk to the public purse is acceptable.

:25:34.:25:38.

I thank the First Minister for that reply. I see on the BBC website

:25:39.:25:43.

today that the Government has been in talks with a view to getting the

:25:44.:25:48.

golf Open championships to come to Wales and the Tour De France as

:25:49.:25:52.

well. Also a possibility if the Brussels state is not ready in time

:25:53.:25:55.

that euro 2020 could be held in Wales. I would support the

:25:56.:26:00.

Government's interest in that. Ken Skates has quite rightly said that

:26:01.:26:05.

Wales has greet potential to host major new events that haven't yet

:26:06.:26:08.

been to Wales. The circuit of Wales has already got the contract for the

:26:09.:26:12.

motor Grand Prix. That's yet another opportunity for us in Wales to show

:26:13.:26:17.

what we can do as a host for major world sports project. Therefore,

:26:18.:26:23.

this fits into the Government's overall objective for making Wales a

:26:24.:26:26.

major international sports venue. That's another reason for us to see

:26:27.:26:31.

the success of this project. I can only repeat what I've already said

:26:32.:26:35.

to him that of course, we recognise the potential of the circuit. I've

:26:36.:26:38.

said that it's something we would want to support. It has to be based

:26:39.:26:43.

on a model that works well for private and public investors. It's

:26:44.:26:46.

also important to note that there is no request for any public money to

:26:47.:26:50.

be invested in this project up front. All that is being sought is a

:26:51.:26:56.

guarantee, which say comer smal guarantee which the -- commercial

:26:57.:27:00.

guarantee, which will be called only as and when all the construction on

:27:01.:27:05.

the site is completed. So there will be physical assets against which the

:27:06.:27:12.

loan can be secured. And on an annual basis the maximum risk to the

:27:13.:27:16.

Welsh Government is said to be 8. 5 to ?9 million a year, for a limited

:27:17.:27:22.

period of time. The risk is secured on 100% of the assets but the

:27:23.:27:26.

guarantee is going to apply to less than half of the value of those

:27:27.:27:30.

assets. On the face of it, this looks a very good deal. Whilst I

:27:31.:27:35.

appreciate we have to go through to the due diligence process, it is, I

:27:36.:27:39.

think, of vital importance to the economic prosperity, not just of

:27:40.:27:42.

south-east Wales, but the whole of South Wales that this project gets

:27:43.:27:47.

the go ahead. This is all being considered as part of the due

:27:48.:27:51.

diligence process. There's no difference to my mind in being asked

:27:52.:27:55.

to provide money up front and being asked to provide the guarantee. The

:27:56.:27:58.

commitment is the same. Indeed with a guarantee, there is a need for

:27:59.:28:02.

more robustness in terms of making sure that guarantee is unlikely to

:28:03.:28:09.

be called on. It's important that as much is done to minimise any reck to

:28:10.:28:15.

the public purse. That's what -- risk to the public purse. That's

:28:16.:28:20.

part of this process. It's a project that has potential. This has helped

:28:21.:28:26.

the circuit themselves. A robust testing process of their model is

:28:27.:28:30.

good for them. They are able then to think carefully about what they

:28:31.:28:32.

think will be sustainable in the longer term. On that basis, we look

:28:33.:28:35.

forward now, when all the information is in, we trust this

:28:36.:28:38.

week, to be able to take a decision over the next two, three weeks.

:28:39.:28:43.

TRANSLATION: Question three. TRANSLATION: Will the First Minister

:28:44.:28:52.

make a statement on transport? Lie we are committed to investing in a

:28:53.:28:56.

modern and high quality integrated transport systems, to ensure it is a

:28:57.:29:09.

connected part of the economy. TRANSLATION: It is to map and a half

:29:10.:29:12.

years since it was confirmed to me that work was ongoing to improve

:29:13.:29:19.

links to the port of Holyhead, where there are major traffic jams,

:29:20.:29:22.

particularly where lorries tried to leave the port. People ask me often

:29:23.:29:27.

when they will see this road completed and I share their concerns

:29:28.:29:33.

about the delays. That connection was never truly completed. It was

:29:34.:29:42.

built to the surrounds of the port, but not in and out. I understand we

:29:43.:29:45.

need other investments in the port. I would appreciate a sign of

:29:46.:29:52.

commitment from the Government to proceed with renovation work on the

:29:53.:30:02.

barrage or the corporate, but can we have a short-term commitment that

:30:03.:30:04.

this crucial connection will see the light of day? In line with the

:30:05.:30:10.

aspirations of people living in that part of Holyhead, who are concerned

:30:11.:30:15.

that there is a risk in the current situation, as well as it being a

:30:16.:30:20.

useless. TRANSLATION: Discussions have taken place with Network Rail

:30:21.:30:23.

on this. The Minister has been involved in those. This is part of

:30:24.:30:29.

the considerations and the developments of the port itself,

:30:30.:30:31.

and, of course, as regards the island and we are looking at a third

:30:32.:30:43.

crossing on the Menai Strait. The next phase of development has begun

:30:44.:30:47.

and a route will be declared in May 20 18. That is progressing in the

:30:48.:30:55.

way we would expect. You referred to the third and a crossing -- third

:30:56.:31:07.

Menai crossing. Proposals including a new bridge did not go forward. You

:31:08.:31:14.

said last May that you promised to make the third crossing your

:31:15.:31:17.

priority for North Wales if you form a government. Of course, your

:31:18.:31:20.

government announced before Christmas last year that it had

:31:21.:31:25.

appointed consultants to look at routes for proposed new crossing to

:31:26.:31:32.

Anglesey, which could begin by 2021 if it gets the go-ahead. Can you

:31:33.:31:35.

provide an assurance that we're not going to get a rerun of 2007, when

:31:36.:31:41.

we had similar assurances after a commissioned report was produced for

:31:42.:31:46.

the Welsh government, and that you envisage that going ahead in

:31:47.:31:55.

relation to the way it currently does? We have the announcement of a

:31:56.:32:00.

preferred route in May 20 18. The aim is to see the third Menai

:32:01.:32:08.

crossing opened in 2022. Will the First Minister provide an update on

:32:09.:32:11.

discussions the Welsh government has had regarding the Ford plans. They

:32:12.:32:17.

are ongoing. I met with the CEO of Ford Europe before Christmas. We are

:32:18.:32:21.

aware of plans for the facility and are working closely with

:32:22.:32:25.

stakeholders to guarantee the future of the site. In March, your Cabinet

:32:26.:32:30.

Secretary told us that Ford management said that employment

:32:31.:32:32.

numbers would remain broadly the same until 2021. He also said he

:32:33.:32:39.

thought that Ford management could communicate better with members

:32:40.:32:41.

regarding long-term objectives for the plant. Can you tell us whether

:32:42.:32:44.

they have kept you informed whether there have been any falls in order

:32:45.:32:50.

numbers? If there have been, how has the guaranteed work it numbered been

:32:51.:32:56.

deployed, given that they will have individual expertise, and if they

:32:57.:33:00.

have been getting regular updates on the long-term objective and

:33:01.:33:04.

achievement against that? There are a number of possibilities being

:33:05.:33:07.

explored. We shouldn't forget that in September of last year, Ford

:33:08.:33:11.

announced it would invest 100 million in the plant until 2018. It

:33:12.:33:18.

is fair to say the biggest challenge that it faces is Brexit. Every

:33:19.:33:21.

single engine that leaves the plant is exported into the European

:33:22.:33:25.

market. The terms that surround the exporting of the engines will be

:33:26.:33:29.

important as far as the plant is concerned. We are working closely

:33:30.:33:36.

with the company. I have met, in my capacity as an assembly member,

:33:37.:33:39.

several times with them and the works council. As First Minister, I

:33:40.:33:42.

took an interest in ensuring that the plant continues to operate in

:33:43.:33:45.

the future and continues to employ similar numbers in the future.

:33:46.:33:55.

TRANSLATION: Thank you very much. Further to that response, First

:33:56.:34:01.

Minister, last month the European chief of Ford warned that the future

:34:02.:34:04.

of the company in the UK depended on the ability of the government matter

:34:05.:34:09.

in London to ensure transitional agreements with the European Union

:34:10.:34:15.

if the UK leaves the block before an agreement is signed. Have you met

:34:16.:34:17.

with Ford and the government in London to discuss this issue further

:34:18.:34:23.

since that time? Alsatian actor I have met with the Ford CEO and Ford

:34:24.:34:29.

Europe,. -- cassation actor I have met with the Ford CEO and Ford

:34:30.:34:35.

Europe. There are concerns about what will happen following the

:34:36.:34:43.

departure from Europe. Nobody believes there will be any kind of

:34:44.:34:50.

complete agreement in March 20 19. So the transitional arrangements

:34:51.:34:55.

will be crucial for Ford, as with other manufacturers. This is

:34:56.:35:02.

something Ford is discussing. It is vital for Ford and a number of other

:35:03.:35:07.

companies in Wales that they have admission to the European Union

:35:08.:35:15.

market. Could you make a statement on the Health Service in Wales? My

:35:16.:35:27.

priorities to provide high-quality care to people in Wales. I have to

:35:28.:35:32.

be honest, I stand here today not very confident of that. I will tell

:35:33.:35:38.

you why. Since your own government's interventions were placed on the

:35:39.:35:43.

University health board two years ago, 227% more patients are waiting

:35:44.:35:48.

over 12 hours in A 194 complaints came in last year. This is 30% of

:35:49.:35:52.

the total of all complaints in Wales. We have a 7000 increase in

:35:53.:36:00.

patients now waiting for over 36 weeks for oral surgery. 5000%

:36:01.:36:05.

increase for orthopaedics and trauma. I have repeatedly asked

:36:06.:36:09.

questions of you here, and in writing, and your cabinet secretary,

:36:10.:36:14.

our behalf of many of my constituents who you are failing,

:36:15.:36:16.

and who are struggling as a result, many in pain, for these failings. I

:36:17.:36:25.

have asked you for details to how you are monitoring performance

:36:26.:36:27.

outcomes as part of your special measures. Will you tell me at what

:36:28.:36:31.

point you believe your government interventions, at a cost already of

:36:32.:36:38.

?10 million, have actually resulted in any material improvements? And at

:36:39.:36:42.

what stage do you intend to actually poll the process of special

:36:43.:36:49.

measures, believing that your interventions have worked, that they

:36:50.:36:52.

have been successful... This has gone way beyond. You will show some

:36:53.:37:02.

respect. Complete your question. At what point do you believe you will

:37:03.:37:08.

withdraw special measures, because my constituents... The question is

:37:09.:37:16.

over! Please reply, First Minister. The health board is not yet ready to

:37:17.:37:21.

be moved out of special measures. It has virtually eliminated diagnostic

:37:22.:37:31.

waits, the lowest health board has been since the standard was

:37:32.:37:34.

introduced. Campsa performance is consistently the best in Wales.

:37:35.:37:38.

March performance figures are 92.5% for the 62 date target. The best

:37:39.:37:45.

performance since January 20 16. I can say that PCU has significantly

:37:46.:37:54.

improved referrals up to 89% in March 20 17. There have been

:37:55.:38:04.

reductions in five of the six months since 2016. That figure is 41% lower

:38:05.:38:09.

in October and 40% better than the same period last year. That is a

:38:10.:38:13.

real achievement, to give you some examples, given winter pressures and

:38:14.:38:18.

a year-on-year increases in demand for health and social services. As I

:38:19.:38:20.

have spoken to people on the doorstep all across the North Wales,

:38:21.:38:23.

the last thing they want is the Tories in charge and Jeremy Hunt in

:38:24.:38:30.

charge. First Minister, a couple of months ago, Lee Naylor report was

:38:31.:38:33.

published. The report highlights the dire state of the NHS in England.

:38:34.:38:43.

Theresa May has indicated she will action the recommendations, which

:38:44.:38:46.

includes selling of many parts of the NHS in England as part of a

:38:47.:38:50.

process including a two for one, buy one get one free deal, to tempt

:38:51.:38:54.

private companies. Can you assure me, First Minister, that in Wales we

:38:55.:38:58.

will maintain the publicly owned status of our NHS estate, and not

:38:59.:39:03.

follow the proposed route of the Tories in selling it off to mask

:39:04.:39:06.

their gross underfunding of the NHS in England? We see waiting times

:39:07.:39:14.

going up in England, we see the great popularity of Jeremy Hunt, of

:39:15.:39:18.

course, as the Secretary of State, mobbed in the streets, we know that.

:39:19.:39:21.

We saw the doctors strike that took place in England. We have no plans

:39:22.:39:26.

to follow what is suggested in England, to sell off large chunks of

:39:27.:39:29.

the NHS to plug a gap in funding that the Tories themselves have

:39:30.:39:41.

created. How does the Welsh government plan to raise awareness

:39:42.:39:44.

of dementia in Wales? We are running campaigns on how individuals can

:39:45.:39:49.

reduce their risk. The action plan due to be published in the autumn

:39:50.:39:52.

was set out further plans to raise awareness of dementia in Wales.

:39:53.:39:59.

There are an estimated 45,000 people in Wales living with dementia. If

:40:00.:40:02.

the current trend continues, the number of people living with the

:40:03.:40:06.

disease will increase by over 40% over the next 12 years, raising

:40:07.:40:11.

awareness and understanding the disease is crucial. I was proud to

:40:12.:40:18.

present South Wales fire and rescue Newport stations with their Dementia

:40:19.:40:22.

Friends logo. I am particularly pleased that Saint Joseph high

:40:23.:40:28.

school has become the most dementia friendly school in Wales. Will you

:40:29.:40:32.

join me in congratulating them, and look at how the Welsh government can

:40:33.:40:37.

work closely with others to promote free training, particularly among

:40:38.:40:42.

young people? I very much welcome the example that has been given. We

:40:43.:40:46.

do work with other organisations such as the Alzheimer's Society and

:40:47.:40:51.

others, to maintain the momentum of the Dementia Friends and community

:40:52.:40:55.

campaigns, so that more and more people understand what it is like to

:40:56.:41:02.

work with dementia. That means making sure we do look at how we can

:41:03.:41:06.

make more buildings and environments dementia friendly, to enable people

:41:07.:41:09.

to live as normal a life as they can, for as long as they can.

:41:10.:41:16.

TRANSLATION: First Minister, a year-long study by the educational

:41:17.:41:23.

trust on the farm network has noted a number of concerns about the

:41:24.:41:27.

impact of dementia in rural areas that we need to tackle, including

:41:28.:41:31.

lack of awareness and support available in rural areas, as well as

:41:32.:41:35.

the difficulty in accessing support services. In light of those

:41:36.:41:38.

concerns, what additional work is the Welsh government doing to raise

:41:39.:41:40.

awareness of the support available for those living in more rural and

:41:41.:41:47.

isolated communities? Can you also tell us one specific measure your

:41:48.:41:51.

government has put in place over the last 12 months to assist people in

:41:52.:41:55.

rural communities which have dementia? TRANSLATION: Well, we of

:41:56.:42:02.

course consider any new report that shows how we can improve the

:42:03.:42:08.

services in rural areas. Across Wales we have funded an information

:42:09.:42:11.

pack, as regards living with dementia. That has been welcomed by

:42:12.:42:14.

the professionals working in the field. People suffering with

:42:15.:42:21.

dementia, their families and their carers. And, of course, there is a

:42:22.:42:28.

helpline available on a daily basis. It is available 24/7, throughout the

:42:29.:42:35.

year, and it can give people emotional support, those that have

:42:36.:42:38.

been diagnosed with dementia, and those that care for them. Those are

:42:39.:42:42.

some of the ways in which we have ensured there is support available,

:42:43.:42:46.

not only for sufferers, but for carers as well. What is the

:42:47.:42:53.

government doing to increase affordable housing in North Wales?

:42:54.:43:01.

We support a number of housing ten years in north-east Wales. We are

:43:02.:43:05.

bringing forward new programmes aimed at making buying a home more

:43:06.:43:12.

accessible. Thank you, I welcome the commitment to create new and

:43:13.:43:16.

affordable homes. We have seen it put into action in Flintshire. We

:43:17.:43:19.

have seen the partnership of a Labour council and a Welsh Labour

:43:20.:43:22.

Government working together to seek the first new council house in a

:43:23.:43:27.

generation. 82 new council houses, and we have the pleasure of going to

:43:28.:43:33.

visit the first few with my colleague, David Hanson, and the

:43:34.:43:35.

Cabinet Secretary of local government. These are amazing,

:43:36.:43:39.

brilliant new homes for people in the heart of Flint and the

:43:40.:43:45.

community. Would you give a further commitment to build on this and

:43:46.:43:56.

create more affordable homes? I very much welcome building new homes,

:43:57.:44:00.

particularly by an innovative council like Flintshire. I have seen

:44:01.:44:02.

the homes twice in the last fortnight. It is an innovative

:44:03.:44:09.

approach that has been taken. We want to see more of that approach

:44:10.:44:13.

across the whole of Wales. Flintshire are ahead in their

:44:14.:44:17.

approach. I want others to follow the example of a good, Labour led

:44:18.:44:24.

authority. What discussions has the First Minister had with the UK

:44:25.:44:30.

Government with regards the steel industry in Wales? The UK Government

:44:31.:44:35.

has lost interest in it, I'm afraid, is my understanding. We will work

:44:36.:44:39.

with them to try to aid the steel industry in Wales. I think it is

:44:40.:44:44.

telling, the answer you have given. Last week, I met with senior

:44:45.:44:47.

managers at the works and we are discussing the progress that has

:44:48.:44:50.

been made in the sector and the plant. I think we all came to the

:44:51.:44:54.

conclusion that, unfortunately, there are still serious challengers

:44:55.:44:59.

for the sector in the UK, in the light of Brexit and tariffs that may

:45:00.:45:01.

be imposed if we leave without any deal. The benefit costs we are still

:45:02.:45:07.

facing, and the markets, which might be shrinking, because of the rules

:45:08.:45:14.

which may go ahead on steel imports in the US. The plans are breaking

:45:15.:45:19.

records in production. They are showing the future for steel.

:45:20.:45:23.

Unfortunately, the UK Government so far has failed these workers. They

:45:24.:45:26.

failed the steel industry. They have shown scant regard in the industrial

:45:27.:45:30.

strategy and there is no mention of steel in their manifesto for this

:45:31.:45:35.

election. Do you agree with me that, just like the Welsh government has

:45:36.:45:39.

shown, the steel industry is safer in the hands of a UK Labour

:45:40.:45:43.

Government June the 8th? Absolutely. We have worked hard, with Tata,, to

:45:44.:45:50.

ensure a sustainable industry for the steel industry in Wales. There

:45:51.:45:56.

is a threat of Brexit, a hard Brexit would mean that the only free market

:45:57.:46:01.

the UK steel would be able to access is the UK itself, and it is too

:46:02.:46:05.

small to provide a robust market. I hope that is not the case. We would

:46:06.:46:09.

like to see them exporting to as many markets as possible. I pay

:46:10.:46:18.

tribute to the workers in Tata. They have shown when the going gets

:46:19.:46:23.

tough, the tough get going. They are amongst the hardest workers we have

:46:24.:46:26.

in Britain. They have a long and proud history and they know, when it

:46:27.:46:29.

comes to the support they can expect, Welsh Labour will deliver

:46:30.:46:36.

that. Will the First Minister make a statement on what they are doing to

:46:37.:46:41.

improve primary care services? We continue to work with other partners

:46:42.:46:50.

to create a range of actions to improve primary care services. The

:46:51.:46:52.

British Medical Association was warning many years ago, in fact as

:46:53.:46:57.

far back as 2013, that we needed to be treading more doctors in Wales

:46:58.:47:02.

and they were warning of a crisis in GP recruitment. You dismissed those

:47:03.:47:08.

assertions at that time. Yet, since then, we have seen over a dozen

:47:09.:47:12.

surgeries across Wales handing in their contracts, saying that they

:47:13.:47:16.

want to terminate contracts. Usually it is because of recruitment

:47:17.:47:20.

problems. The most recent of which is: Bay, my own constituency. The

:47:21.:47:27.

second in Colwyn Bay, in six months. This is a big concern to the

:47:28.:47:31.

thousands of people registered with the surgery in my constituency. At

:47:32.:47:39.

the moment, it is in a purpose-built primary care centre, which it shares

:47:40.:47:42.

with another local surgery. There are concerns that the withdrawal of

:47:43.:47:48.

the Russell Dean contract may put the viability of that new facility

:47:49.:47:53.

at risk. Can I ask, why didn't you listen to the BMA when they raised

:47:54.:47:57.

their concerns? Why didn't you increase sufficiently the number of

:47:58.:48:01.

GP training posts in Wales? You have been responsible for the lack of GP

:48:02.:48:06.

training over the years in Wales. You have been at the helm, nobody

:48:07.:48:11.

else, you can't blame the UK Government. What action are you

:48:12.:48:14.

taking to rescue the situation in my own constituency of Colwyn Bay?

:48:15.:48:18.

Furthermore, what action are you taking to make sure Wales has

:48:19.:48:22.

sufficient numbers of GPs going forward? On the first point, what is

:48:23.:48:26.

important is the service that is provided to those who need it. It

:48:27.:48:29.

does not have to be provided with the same model across the

:48:30.:48:52.

whole of Wales. He will be aware that in Prestatyn, two surgeries did

:48:53.:48:56.

the same thing. They handed in their contracts. What was put in place was

:48:57.:48:59.

better than what was there before, a service run directly by the health

:49:00.:49:02.

board. I know the health board is looking to provide a similar service

:49:03.:49:04.

to the people Colwyn Bay, understandably. They want to know

:49:05.:49:06.

what the future of the services, but it does not have to be on the

:49:07.:49:09.

contractor model. Incr easingly, we know of them, are not interested in

:49:10.:49:12.

buying into a practice and they want to be salaried. Some will want to be

:49:13.:49:15.

brought into a practice. It is an issue though, in terms of what the

:49:16.:49:17.

model should be in future. It could still be an important part of GP

:49:18.:49:20.

services in the future. But younger ones increasingly want to become

:49:21.:49:23.

salaried and are happy to work for a health board director. In terms of

:49:24.:49:27.

recruitment, in October 2016 we launched a new international

:49:28.:49:30.

campaign to promote Wales as a place for doctors to work and train. The

:49:31.:49:35.

National campaign resulted in a 16% increase in the number of GP

:49:36.:49:38.

training places filled so far, compared to last year. As part of

:49:39.:49:44.

that campaign, an incentive scheme is in place to recruit people to

:49:45.:49:48.

some areas. Trainees who take up a training place will receive some

:49:49.:49:54.

financial support. That is an example of us delivering to make

:49:55.:49:58.

sure the supply of GPs is at least sufficient in years to come.

:49:59.:50:06.

TRANSLATION: Will the First Minister make a statement on waiting times

:50:07.:50:10.

for outpatient eye care services in Welsh hospitals? TRANSLATION: We

:50:11.:50:16.

expect all patients to be seen in order of clinical priority within

:50:17.:50:22.

waiting times targets. Of course, the Welsh government, the NHS and

:50:23.:50:25.

the third sector partners are working together to improve the

:50:26.:50:30.

delivery of ophthalmology services, both new and follow patients.

:50:31.:50:36.

TRANSLATION: Thank you for that response. In the cross-party group

:50:37.:50:41.

meeting, we discussed data which shows that health boards the length

:50:42.:50:45.

and breadth of Wales had 37,000 patients that were suffering delays

:50:46.:50:48.

in terms of follow-up appointments in ophthalmology. Some 90% of these

:50:49.:50:57.

patients are at risk of permanent damage to their site. That is 33,331

:50:58.:51:04.

individuals that are at risk of losing their sight. Do you agree

:51:05.:51:08.

this is a disgrace, and would you agree to publish the number of

:51:09.:51:11.

patients who are suffering delays to their full of treatment? --

:51:12.:51:21.

follow-up treatment. We have seen an increase in the number of people

:51:22.:51:27.

that want such treatment. The scheme has been established, led by the

:51:28.:51:31.

clinicians themselves, in order to transform the way in which the

:51:32.:51:34.

services are delivered. Health boards have stated that arrangements

:51:35.:51:41.

are in place to ensure that more clinics are available, and to ensure

:51:42.:51:45.

that people can receive the treatment and, of course, that is

:51:46.:51:48.

very effective in getting rid of the backlog for the patients that

:51:49.:51:54.

neither treatment now, rather than having to wait. That means the

:51:55.:51:59.

waiting time is now under a fortnight for wet Ebbw Vale. -- NMD.

:52:00.:52:12.

That was first ministers questions. If you want more coverage, you can

:52:13.:52:23.

go online to the news page. That is it for First Minister's questions

:52:24.:52:26.

today. Don't forget, the latest election news is on Wales Today from

:52:27.:52:36.

6:30pm. Thursday night, 9.55, a full results programme. Thanks for

:52:37.:52:40.

watching. Goodbye.

:52:41.:52:43.

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