06/06/2017 First Minister's Questions


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


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


Thursday's general election. Assembly Members have just returned


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


strike mostly young people going about their weekend leisure


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


would mean trading under World Trade Organisation rules. Nobody wants


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


significant barriers to Welsh exports into our biggest and most


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


economic outlook published in November 2016, which did identify,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


I received from the Liberal Democrats on Monday in Aberystwyth,


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


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


Cabinet discussions you have had with the Liberal Democrats on


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


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


free access to single markets, from agriculture to manufacturing in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


written answers by the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Structure And


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


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


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


your government, with the direct knowledge of your own private


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


information from the Heads Of The Valleys Information Commission


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


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


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


very much welcome your positive statement about wanting the circuit


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


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


demonstrating confidence in the project and urging a swift and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


result in decision-making taking place until the most rigorous


assessment of the viability and economic benefit of this project has


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


TRANSLATION: Questions from the party leaders. Thank you Presiding


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


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


shoulder to shoulder with the citizens of London and Manchester


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Kezia Dugdale. We know the Conservatives will take money away


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


know, the agreement between the Welsh and Westminster Government put


the funding floor in place warmly endorsed by your Finance Minister


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


what the Scottish Conservatives are saying. I offered you the


opportunity to actually clarify your position. Because you were very


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


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


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


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


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


consultation to look at the public expenditure that comes from


Westminster tone sure it reflects the nations and regions of the


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


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


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


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


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


want to ensure Wales receives fair funding. The UK Government


resolutely refused to look at funding as far as Wales is


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


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


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


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


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


clear last night saying thaw were scrapping the Barnett formula full


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


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


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


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


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


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


question. Ultimately the funding of public services is a vital


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


there to make these points in subsequent debates on television.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


same person in three different debates. So lacking in confidence


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


leader of Plaid Cymru might have noticed that devolution occurred in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


statements about your leader or would you like to take this


opportunity to distance yourself from the views of those Welsh Labour


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


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


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


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


would deliver a proper devolved settlement for Wales based on the


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


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


LAUGHTER They always trot that one out don't


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


unmitigated support to those policies now that it's official


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


economic future for Wales collectively, supporting other


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


to the question which Adam Price asked immediately before party


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


his supplementary about how the Government must conduct proper due


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


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


opportunities for due diligence to be conducted over the last five


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


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


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


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


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


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


proposal, which then led to intensive discussions with officials


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


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


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


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


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


know that the Auditor General has made a number of important


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


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


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


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


project for the future. Its transformative potential is so great


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


diligence wouldn't have occurred during the planning application


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


TRANSLATION: Question three. TRANSLATION: Will the First Minister


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


commitment from the Government to proceed with renovation work on the


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


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


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


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


useless. TRANSLATION: Discussions have taken place with Network Rail


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


the considerations and the developments of the port itself,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


government announced before Christmas last year that it had


appointed consultants to look at routes for proposed new crossing to


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


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


we had similar assurances after a commissioned report was produced for


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


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


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


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


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


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


aware of plans for the facility and are working closely with


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


Secretary told us that Ford management said that employment


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


thought that Ford management could communicate better with members


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


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


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


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


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


achievement against that? There are a number of possibilities being


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


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


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


single engine that leaves the plant is exported into the European


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


in London to ensure transitional agreements with the European Union


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


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


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


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


Europe. There are concerns about what will happen following the


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


complete agreement in March 20 19. So the transitional arrangements


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


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


companies in Wales that they have admission to the European Union


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


increase for orthopaedics and trauma. I have repeatedly asked


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


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


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


have asked you for details to how you are monitoring performance


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


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


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


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


measures, believing that your interventions have worked, that they


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


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


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


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


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


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


introduced. Campsa performance is consistently the best in Wales.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Theresa May has indicated she will action the recommendations, which


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


created. How does the Welsh government plan to raise awareness


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


present South Wales fire and rescue Newport stations with their Dementia


Friends logo. I am particularly pleased that Saint Joseph high


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


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


work closely with others to promote free training, particularly among


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


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


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


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


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


make more buildings and environments dementia friendly, to enable people


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


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


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


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


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


the difficulty in accessing support services. In light of those


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the professionals working in the field. People suffering with


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


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


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


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


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


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


government doing to increase affordable housing in North Wales?


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


bringing forward new programmes aimed at making buying a home more


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


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


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


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


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


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


Cabinet Secretary of local government. These are amazing,


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


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


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


particularly by an innovative council like Flintshire. I have seen


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


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


across the whole of Wales. Flintshire are ahead in their


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


conclusion that, unfortunately, there are still serious challengers


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


surgeries across Wales handing in their contracts, saying that they


want to terminate contracts. Usually it is because of recruitment


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


recruitment, in October 2016 we launched a new international


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the third sector partners are working together to improve the


delivery of ophthalmology services, both new and follow patients.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


services are delivered. Health boards have stated that arrangements


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


watching. Goodbye.


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