07/03/2017 First Minister's Questions


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

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 07/03/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



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


questions to the First Minister. From the order paper I can see there


are questions on economic development, Cardiff airport and


digital communications amongst other topics. We are on Twitter. Business


has already started so let's cross to today's questions to the First


Minister. TRANSLATION: I called the national Assembly to order and the


first item on our agenda is questions to the First Minister and


the first question from John Griffiths.


Will be First Minister make a statement on the Welsh Government's


policy on economic developer in South East Wales? Yes, we plan to


support businesses in their growth, to invest in high-quality


infrastructure and to improve economic conditions. Newport has


great economic potential with its transport and economic strengths.


There is the mainline and coast, with the neighbour Bristol, it is


the hub of its wider regional economy. Would you agree with me


that driving economic development in Newport would be a major factor in


Wales achieving its great economic potential? Yes, I do. We obviously


need Newport to develop to its full potential. Work is under way which


will bring benefit to Newport including the ongoing regeneration


activity establishment of innovation point, and the proposals being taken


forward with regard to the M4. A report by the workcentre for


well-being identified four Southeast local authorities as ranking among


the highest for well-being in equality. These included tour van,


Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly. There are a number of


possible solutions but we should not dismiss the indications that we use


which include how worthwhile people feel about their day-to-day lives.


Economic development will be central to addressing those very deep


feelings in those communities. Will the First Minister commit to


rejecting now a trickle-down approach to economic development and


instead put on record his commitment to a place -based approach so any


future economic plans he reveals for this country are centred on what


really matters which is people and their communities? Yes, it is


certainly not a case we accept trickle-down economics, far from it.


We want to make sure communities are connected and that's what the


south-west metro is about. And digital as well. And to ensure that


people have the skills that they need in order to improve their


incomes and to get jobs in the future and that something as a


government we are very much focused on. First Minister, research by


Lloyds bank shows that the number of new businesses starting up in Wales


has dropped by more than a quarter over the last five years. The number


of business start-ups fell by 27% in Caerphilly, more than 33% in


Monmouth and less than 9% in Newport and 8% in Blaenau Gwent. That


doesn't show a good picture of start-up businesses in south-east


Wales. What measures and incentives does the Welsh Government intend to


introduce to ensure economic conditions to encourage new


businesses to start up in south-east Wales? We have a record number of


start-ups. We are seeing more and more young people getting involved


in businesses and becoming very successful in business. It is right


to say of course that Brexit introduces an element of uncertainty


and these are uncertain times indeed for businesses but as a government


we will continue to support start-ups and are sure that many of


those businesses become SMEs and even larger in the future. Question


two, David Rowlands. Will the First Minister outlined the Welsh


Government's plans to improve access to Cardiff airport? We are


continuing with proposals to improve access to Cardiff airport by public


transport and car, supporting the current bus and rail arrangements. I


thank the First Minister for his answer and I think all in the


chamber welcomes the huge improvement in the airport's


performance since the government's intervention. But does the First


Minister not agree that a rail link will greatly enhance its


appeal to the international traveller and give a competitive


edge over other local airports? Can he tell us why this has not been


included in the metro project? And I welcome what the member has said,


particularly regarding the improvements the Welsh Government


has made since taking it over. He does asked an important question.


The focus is on the bus service, at looking at improving the frequency


on the current role in line and beyond that looking to see either


where we should consider a rail spur, there are issues with that.


There will be opposition that is true or whether in fact at some


point in the future the terminal itself would move closer to the


existing railway line. At the moment it is a question of improving what


is already there and looking to see if there is a way of locating the


terminal closer to the rail link. Adam Price. The agreement announced


yesterday between the Welsh Government and Heathrow Airport is


welcome, but in stark contrast to that published in relation to


Scotland, there is no concrete targets in the agreement. On the --


nothing on the amount of construction spent, nothing on


landing charges or development fund for flights? Is that because


essentially the First Minister negotiated any leverage she had away


from announcing his support for Heathrow, without actually getting


these concessions, in contrast to what the Scottish government did?


The question is about access to Cardiff airport but I am more than


happy to answer the question about Heathrow. I'm surprised he's not


welcoming that 8000 jobs will be secured, all that investment, the


fact that we work with Heathrow... High pitched screaming won't help


him! The fact that we have secured commitment to manufacturing outside


Wales, we have an event on the 5th of July to ensure that Welsh


businesses... There is still high-pitched screaming won't help


him! The fact that we have secured commitment to manufacturing outside


Wales, we have an event on the 5th of July to ensure that Welsh


businesses... There is still high pitched screaming. He still hasn't


learned his lesson. That Welsh businesses... I think the members


may be screaming because the member did well these great mentor. -- --


he did welcome the statement. We will ensure there is manufacturing


outside Wales. We will be ensuring there are routes being looked that


not just Cardiff and what was announced yesterday is far more


substantial than Scotland has achieved. Russell George. I will


give another welcome this afternoon. I will welcome the growth in


passenger numbers on the T9 bus service. I think that is fantastic


news to welcome. The service is a success and is now proving to be


sustainable in the long term, but would he commit to scrapping the


half a million pound Welsh subsidy for this service and instead of the


subsidies to other bus services which have been axed by cuts to the


bus operators' grants. What he seems to be suggesting is we should not


have a bus service to the airport. They did not want the airport to


succeed. At the end of the day, the Welsh Conservatives did not want the


airport to grow. They were happy to see the airport the climb. They


would have sat on their backsides to see the airport closed down. They


are still not happy that the airport is doing well in reality. They do


not want a bus service to the airport and we want to make sure our


service links to the airport in Cardiff and they will continue.


Having public transport links surely, whether they are bus or rail


are hugely important to the future development of any airport. I


welcome the partnership agreement, in relation to the fact that flights


want to fly out of Cardiff airport and the potential new jobs boosting


the Welsh economy, however, Mike concern -- my constituents have a


better connection to airports which serve them? Better train links form


a key part of the Welsh Metro plans. Reva Wales started operating


services in May of last year and we are working with Mersey travelled to


develop opportunities to deliver better services to Liverpool and


John Lennon airport in the next franchise. First Minister, I put in


a Freedom of Information request to Cardiff airport owned by the Welsh


public. I wanted to know how much money had been spent on lobbying


firms, what companies had been employed and whether or not there


had been a tender process gone through by those lobbying companies?


Now, this is owned by the Welsh public, so the public have a right


to know these things. The airport have refused to answer. What to make


of this? Well, there are ways of appealing if he feels his question


has not been dealt with. Neil Hamilton. While the First Minister


was away last week, he may have seen that the secretary of finance rate


to the Chancellor of the Exchequer about proposed public spending cuts


in two or three years' time which are said to amount to ?3.5 billion.


The government this year is running a budget deficit equivalent to ?60


billion on George Osborne managed the singular achievement of


borrowing twice as much money in six years as Gordon Brown and Alistair


Darling, and the national debt is now 1000 800 billion compared with


1000 200,000,000,006 years ago. That is ?28,000 for every person in Wales


and indeed the United Kingdom. It is very easy to spend money we haven't


got, of course, and everybody would be like -- would like to be able to


borrow interminably and never pay it back. By how much does he think the


government's borrowing should increase on a permanent basis? It is


a case for borrowing to invest in the future. It has never been


cheaper to borrow on the world markets. We know from the experience


after the Second World War when the UK was in a far worse position than


it is now financially, that the government of the day took the


position that it would seek to borrow money in order to invest in


the future and then we saw the economic growth of the 1950s and


1960s. I am unashamedly Keynesian in this regard and I take the view that


government should be borrowing now in order to invest in order to be


able to pay back the cost of the borrowing and more in the future.


But the First Minister knows that never happens and he has only to


look at the recent history of the UK government's debt position to see


what is the reality. We have a well-being and future generations


act in Wales, a very good thing it is indeed but what we are doing in


carrying on this Rake 's progress of borrowing is to hand onto the next


generation and massive debt which they will have to reply. I do think


that is a terrible immoral position for us to hold. But there is a


better solution for us. We do not have to borrow that money at all. We


can look at what the government spends


money on at the moment and cut that risk to anybody in Britain being


disadvantaged. Let's take the foreign aid budget for example in


which we are spending ?12 billion this year. If we knocked 3.5 billion


of that 12 billion it would amount to the same sort of savings that the


Cabinet sector of finance wants the Chancellor of the Exchequer to avoid


deducting from the Welsh government's budget. There are


plenty of reasons why we should cut the foreign aid budget. Is the First


Minister putting the interests of people in foreign countries before


the people of Wales? There is the obvious moral question


of those countries who are rich helping the poor. Norway is a prime


example, grants set up by the Norwegian government because they


felt they had done well out of oil and gas and wanted to give something


back. That desire to help humanity is hugely strong. Looking at it


economically, aid, it buys friends and colleagues. -- allies. If you do


not do it, someone else will. There is a strong moral case for aid, but


in diplomatic terms, if you offer aid, they will remain your friends


and trade with you in the future, increasing the wealth of their own


people and buying the goods you manufacture. There is a humanitarian


case for aid and no one is against that but a lot of the aid budget


goes to country spending a huge amount of money on projects we would


not regard for a moment as humanitarian. We are increasing aid


to Pakistan this year by ?100 million to nearly ?450 million a


year and Pakistan this year is increasing its defence budget by 635


million to 6.7 billion. They spend far more per capita on defence than


we do in the UK. They have a nuclear programme and a space programme. We


are increasing the amount of aid to Pakistan, it is indirectly funding


the space and military budgets. There are many other examples of


countries where people have suffered greatly, a lot of it because of the


ineptitude of European powers who left those countries with artificial


boundaries and economic incoherence, without a tradition of governance


and they struggled as a result. Many have good governance now. Barna, for


example. Governance is robust. -- Ghana. I see nothing wrong with


providing aid to people in order for them to survive and also to enable


people to develop themselves economically and of course to enable


those people to provide for those families. I was in Uganda two years


ago and what struck me was the entrepreneurial spirit of the


people. But they did not have capital. Offaly was the -- coffee


was the main cash crop. The great thing that happened was banking via


mobile phones. For many people around the world, they just need a


bit of help to prosper and that is why we give aid to people to make


sure they can prosper in the future and their communities can prosper.


On the 16th of January, you introduced the Trade Union Bill and


the intention is to do supply aspects of the UK Government's trade


union act. Light country supports this, we believe industrial


relations should be decided upon here and not in Westminster the --


Plaid Cymru. It will be incompetence under the assembly's current powers.


Do you believe it will be incompetence under the reserved


powers model under the new Wales act? The competence will change. We


will pass this legislation. We will do what is right by the people of


Wales. It is a matter for the UK Parliament to decide whether it


wishes to override an act passed by the people of Wales in their


parliament. If they choose to do that, they will precipitate a


constitutional crisis. The Wales act implements a heavy list of


restrictions and industrial relations is one of those and we


heard from the constitutional and legal affairs committee yesterday


that the UK Government intends to legislate on industrial relations


once the Wales act is in force and they used the words at the earliest


opportunity. If you want to reduce strike action, the best way is not


through legal restrictions, but through negotiation, dialogue and a


social partnership approach that is advocated by a majority of people in


this assembly. You have said you still intend to take the Trade Union


Bill through this assembly, what is your plan to ensure that its


provisions are not overruled by the UK Government? We will do everything


we can to make sure it does not happen. We will take this


legislation through the assembly and we believe it will pass with the


support of not just the governing parties but our own party as well.


It is a matter for the UK Parliament, the House of Lords


particularly, to decide whether it is constitutionally appropriate to


seek to overturn legislation made in a devolved parliament by the elected


members of that devolved parliament acting within competence. That is a


serious constitutional matter that the UK Parliament will embroil


itself and if it goes down that line. Hankey. I wonder if we will


now see another Supreme Court case. -- thank you. I am sure you agree it


would be a damning verdict on the Wales act. Plaid Cymru voted against


the legislative competence motion because we were the view it could


lead to Westminster power grab. Would you agree that this now looks


like a vindication of our position on that vote must not there is


agreement across most of this to Chamber that the Wales act is not


going to provide a lasting settlement, as the UK Government


stated its objective was to achieve that. Will you state whether you


believe the Wales act 27 is unworkable and if you do think it is


unworkable, do you support Plaid Cymru's call for a new Wales Bill


immediately? It is not unworkable, but it is not satisfactory. It was


part of a package and parts of it we did not accept but nevertheless it


took this assembly forward when it was viewed as a package. Does it


mean there is unfinished business? Of course, the issue of jurisdiction


and policing is still unfinished. Yes, undoubtedly, there will be


another Wales Bill which will improve on the one we have had


recently. First Minister, today there is the startling news that


five people a week are dying in Wales five people a day, sorry, I


dying in Wales because of air pollution. It a frightening figure


that has been raised many times in this Chamber. Many communities would


rightly be looking to the Welsh Government to try to understand what


measures the Government will be taking to improve our quality


through the lifetime of the assembly -- air quality. I would be grateful


you could give us some understanding of the action the Welsh Government


is taking so that communities can take comfort from it and see real


improvement. It is for local authorities to review local air


quality. We assist them. We are considering responses to the recent


consultation held on the subject. It recognised the immediate and


long-term health benefits to be gained by reducing pollution


exposure. One area which has a beneficial effect on air quality is


to encourage more people onto public transport which is why we passed the


tram act for that to happen. We need more investment in public transport


in Wales. We are doing our bit with the Metro. We need electrification


to take place to Swansea as promised by the UK Government to encourage


more people onto the trains. The more we can reduce car use and


provide an alternative, the better it will be for air quality. Five


people a week dying because of air quality in Wales, 2000 people a


year, it is a frightening figure and as Public Health Wales have


identified, one of the biggest if not the biggest issue we face. The


programme today invited the Welsh Government to take part in the


programme and regrettably they chose not to and issued a written


statement. Can you understand why people are concerned they are not


seeing real progress in their communities when they cannot see the


lead coming from the Welsh Government to make these


improvements? The figure of infringements is eating and yet the


community in Caerphilly has had many more infringements of air quality


and yet they are still blighted day in, day out, with the pollutants in


the atmosphere -- the figure of infringement is 18. We need a sense


of the figures we can calibrate. What would you do deem a successful


outcome for the measures you will be taking by 2021? A reduction in the


amount in the atmosphere. If we look at reducing emissions, I mentioned


the consultation earlier, our responses to be published shortly.


What is our contribution? Looking at the Metro providing an alternative


to car use, meaning a reduction in exhaust fumes coming out of cars,


making sure people have that alternative, promoting cycling as


well, not using cars, the problem is, with the new changes to vehicle


excise duty coming in, after the first year of a car's existence,


every car, regardless of its emissions, will pay the same road


tax. We have had a system for years were those cars who pollute the most


pay the most. Now it is a flat fee and I think it is wrong. I


understand the UK Government having to change the system. Otherwise no


one would pay road tax eventually. But effectively now if you have a


car that has a huge amount of emissions, you pay the same as


someone whose car is very light in emissions. That will not help air


quality in Wales. Would you agree to convene a summit on this issue of


all the interested public bodies so there can be a joined up approach to


it on the basis that we do across parties want to see improvements?


When you have a public health issue taking 2000 lives a year, I would


suggest it is rated as pressing number one button in your list of


rarities. There seems to be an element of divergence when it is


delivered in Wales -- list of priorities. Will you agree to host a


summit to make sure progress can be made on this agenda item so that we


can see genuine improvements across Wales, but importantly, improvements


to make sure we do not continue to see the number of people dying from


poor air quality going up in Wales? One of the issues increasingly a


problem is cars idling in traffic jams are leaving the engines on. It


creates a particular low air quality. One way to deal with it is


making sure the blockages are removed. It means of course is also


looking at ways of promoting electric cars. As part of the


response to the consultation taking place, we will look to be as


inclusive as possible in our approach. We have to work with local


government as well, as the main monitors of local air quality, to


make sure we can continue to improve the air the people of Wales breeze.


-- breeze. How is the Welsh Government helping to reduce


barriers to employment for people with long-term fluctuating health


problems? We have a plan to support low activity groups including


support for those with longer term health conditions. After action for


any delivered employment support programme for people with any for


the North Wales, Bristol NHS -- ME. How will you ensure the Welsh


Government looking at the good practice across the border will


address the barriers faced by people with long-term fluctuating


conditions such as ME and ensure these are produced code productively


in borders with the social and well-being act when you 14? I have


mentioned the employability plan. In terms of healthy working Wales,


there are three -- 3000 organisations engaged with healthy


working Wales. 33% of the working population. An investment of


?800,000 per year in the programme. We are also supporting workplaces to


tackle Eskimo nation associated with mental health problems through the


Time To Change. -- to tackle discrimination. I welcome your


reference to mental health issues which is what I was going to raise.


One effective measure in treating mental health problems is talking


therapy which can reduce the need to prescribe medication which would


itself enhance the ability of people to enter the job market. What is the


Welsh Government doing to assist with the provision of talking


therapy in Wales? We recognise that they cannot all be pharmaceutical


intervention. Counselling is important, as is exercise and


exercise is available in most of Wales in terms of it being


prescribed to people. Our delivery plan, for mental health, is there to


help people become more resilient and be able to tackle poor mental


well-being when it occurs. Looking as part of that plan, we look at


different therapies to help people in different and more effective


ways. Will be First Minister make a


statement on digital communications in Wales? Less, with our superfast


Camry project and ongoing negotiations with the UK government


we have access to fast fibre broadband to over 60,000 Welsh


premises and achieved 90% of coverage in Wales by the end of this


year. Can I congratulate the Welsh Government in rolling out superfast


broadband. It is clear that the Tobruk fee of Wales, beautiful as it


is, poses particular challenges to digital connectivity and we need


greater proportional access to reach the same level of coverage -- the


topography. I hope there are steps to press operators to share with the


structure. We'll be First Minister confirm that how the publicly owned


land can be used to help locate digitally connected infrastructure


and how we look post-Brexit to how we can use public funds to support


land management? At how we can use programmes to incentivise the


digital structure in rural and semi rural areas where they can make a


difference to connectivity worldwide? We can look carefully


with the forthcoming mobile action plan to see how best this could


support the targeted delivery of Communications of the structure on


the more regional basis. -- communications infrastructure. We


know some parts of Wales, the island of Anglesey for example, where there


appears to be coverage but it is not powerful enough to deliver data


coverage so there are issues that will need to be resolved for the


future and using regional economic funding is one-way. TRANSLATION:


Thank you very much. First Minister, I have received complaints from


representatives of the business community on the quality of Wi-Fi


services on trains running from Swansea to Paddington. This is often


because of a poor signal on route. As this is a crucially important


service for us in Wales, what is your government doing in connection


with the Welsh Government and the private companies have to improve


the signal along this route and other routes across Wales?


TRANSLATION: Well, as one who has used that service many times, I have


to say that the majority of the time it doesn't work and when it does


work it doesn't work effectively. We are in touch with great Western of


course to ensure that the service will ultimately improve. I know it


is possible, I have seen it on other trends where the system works well


and we wish to ensure that by considering the franchise next year,


that this is something that will be quite normal in every train in


Wales. First Minister, you mentioned fast fibre in your initial question.


I will start with good news that the village of Tintern in my


constituency has been recently connected to a superfast broadband


box which is pleasing the village no end. On the flip side, in the rural


hinterland in a village just outside, they haven't benefited from


that box. BT seem to be under the impression that the whole area is


now being served by superfast broadband and the problem has been


dealt with. Can you liaise with BT that when a village in a rural area


is connected, that a neighbouring village is not felt to be dealt with


in the same way because then those people don't have any hope for any


end date for their broadband problems. I will investigate the


issue and write to the member with a response. I think mine is a


straightforward question with a straightforward answer. There is


fantastic work being done by superfast Wales in their workshops


and road shows across the country. They are raising the potential on


how to get those connections up. But the one place that is missing is one


of the Hartland is of great industry in South Wales and it is Bridgend.


Could I suggest that through his good offices on mine they might be


able to bring one of the road shows to Bridgend, possibly north of the


M4. Standing here, I cannot comment on behalf or Bridgend but I hope the


member's words will find resonance with that member. Question five,


Angela Burns. Good afternoon. What what plans does the First Minister


have to address the barriers that are facing GP recruitment in Wales?


We are investigating the money which was announced at the weekend. I work


with organisations that represent all facets of the GP work sphere and


the issue of professional indemnity is one of the points that comes


across as a barrier for getting more GPs who are currently thinking of


retiring, work part time, to release more of their GP hours and going to


GP practices which would help with all of the queues and the problems


we see in GP practices. I am aware that some of that ?27 million is


earmarked to help offset some of that indemnity but what I really


wanted to know is that I understood the Cabinet secretary had issued a


report into this report -- had compiled a report into this issue.


This is something which is under active discussion with the


profession in order to move that forward. I can say that the package


which was announced on the weekend is designed amongst other things to


increase the contribution towards the rising costs of professional


indemnity, as well as dealing with things like the increasing costs of


pensions administration and the general uplift to deal with


increasing practice costs. Adam Price. TRANSLATION: One of the


frustrations is that qualifying students from Wales to want to be


trained in Wales in our medical schools, but do not have the


opportunity to undertake that training. If you look at the


percentages in England, 80% of the students in medical schools are from


England, 50% in Scotland, but only 20% in Wales. Can we guarantee that


all Welsh domiciled students who have the ability to study can access


a training place here in Wales and of course that has a great impact


then with the ability to retain them in our health service. TRANSLATION:


Well, I must say that he has said the same thing that people have told


me they have seen examples of young people who have not received an


offer to study in Cardiff, but have received an offer to study in


England, and this is something which concerns me, because if they are


good enough to go to England, then they should be good enough to attend


a Welsh university. This was being considered recently but I will write


to the member on this subject. I have heard people telling me this


and I'm sure he said the same and it is important that we understand the


selection system for students in order to ensure that Welsh students


receive fair play. There is strong evidence -based suggesting that


medical students are more likely to want to practice in the long term


where they have trained. Therefore I welcome a health board's initiative


where in partnership with Cardiff medical School, 60 medical students


each year have experienced the early part of their training in GP


surgeries in the south Wales valleys. Do you agree that giving


medical students this exposure to general practice early on is crucial


to promoting it as a career choice and how else can we promote the


values as a good place for GPs to work? This is something which is


hugely important as the member says. We look at the Rhondda cluster. That


has been particularly active in terms of recruiting. It is hugely


important that a student goes some warrant has a positive experience,


and that is why it is important that we are able to do that. If we look


at the Rhondda cluster as an example, they have a cluster


communications officer to build up the Rhondda as a great place to


work. They developed the website which describes the lifestyle and


career available in the Rhondda and they have developed a recruitment


survey and analysis. That is one example that can be used or adapted


by other clusters in order to make sure that when students actually do


their GP training in Valley areas that they feel they are coming to a


place that is forward thinking, that is well resourced and has GPs who


are dedicated to their community. Question six, Jayne Bryant. Will the


First Minister make a statement on midwifery practices in Wales? Every


woman has a named midwife to provide individual care during pregnancy.


The ?95 million funding package announced recently introduced an


increase in midwifery training places and that is the highest


number. Thank you. The Royal College of Midwives report this year


highlighted the growing age of the midwifery workforce and the need to


replace those highly skilled and dedicated workers when they retire.


The increase of student places and the continuing support for bursaries


is very welcome. Commitment like this is essential to ensure that our


maternity services attract more midwives over the coming years so


they can deliver safe, high-quality care for women and babies. Will the


Welsh Government pay tribute to the dedicated workforce we have and will


the government worked with health boards and trade unions to make sure


those approaching retirement can pass on their valuable skills and


experience to the next generation of midwives? Absolutely. It's why we


have increased the number of midwife training places. We know it is


important to invest in the workforce of the future by making that


investment now rather than wait for a time when we find we have a


demographic problem with the workforce and we are making that


commitment now. TRANSLATION: Thank you, I will also draw the First


Minister's attention to a letter from AWI branch in my constituency,


which makes the case for investment in midwifery services. They


optically concerned about the sustainability of the workforce, and


yes, you say there has been investment in more training places


but does the First Minister agree with me that unless we see a


significant increase in the training places available in Wales, that it


will be impossible for us to provide for mothers and their families in


the future, the kind of care that they need and deserve. Well, yes, we


have invested to ensure there are more places available. We have seen


a 40% increase in the number of training places available, and as I


said earlier, that since -- that is since 1979. First Minister, you will


be aware of the massive campaign a couple of years ago to ensure we had


appropriate midwifery services and a consultant led maternity ward. We


previously welcomed the development proposals of the unit and it would


be really great if you could update members here on how well that is


progressing and how that will lead to providing a first class


consultant led midwifery service in North Wales? Well, that unit is a


specialist unit. The original proposal was to move those services


to Arrow Park. I took the view that we had to review that decision to


see if it was possible and safe for that service to be delivered in


Wales and sure enough that unit is the result of that. It is


progressing well in terms of recruitment and building and I look


forward to opening. Caroline Jones. First Minister, during the previous


Assembly, the Welsh Government increased the number of student


midwifery places. However, in the latest stated midwifery services,


the Royal College of Midwives state it is no longer appropriate to


maintain a steady number of training places at the midwifery population


is ageing. What plans does your government have two increase the


number of training places for student midwives in Wales?


The funding package announced recently includes a 40% increase in


midwifery training places. Will the First Minister make a statement on


enforcement action under the animal welfare breeding of dogs Wales


regulation 2014? The enforcement is the responsibility of the local


authorities but officials are working with the heads of trading


standards in Wales on a partnership delivery programme to capture data


to assess the effectiveness of the regulations. Information received


from anti-puppy farming campaigner says local authorities do not have


the resources to enforce the legislation. The committee


recommended the Government in the UK ban third-party sales of dogs and


dogs should only be available for licensed regulated breeders or


approved re-homing organisations, it would go a long way to shutting down


the puppy farming industry. The UK Government has decided to ignore the


recommendation. If the First Minister has the devolved powers to


do so, does he intend to ban third-party dog sales in Wales and


if he doesn't, how does the First Minister propose to take this issue


further? We must separate out the issue of puppy farming and


legitimate third-party sales. I do not accept there is no difference. I


think there are those who sell us third-party... The third-party


route, I think there are those who are dedicated to their animals.


There are those who don't and they are the puppy farmers. What is


hugely important is that local authorities devote the resources


they should to ensuring the regulations are enforced and the law


is observed and I know there was a recent court case in Ceredigion


where the council did just that and they didn't force the law, followed


the judicial process -- they did enforce the law. It lead to


prosecution and they have also ensured suitable arrangements have


been made for dogs removed from the premises. Local authorities are


enforcing the law and it is hugely important those who are the real


rogues, the puppy farmers, are dealt with and the law provides the means


to do that. On a wider issue, of animal cruelty, it is widely


established cruelty to animals is considered a gateway behaviour to


violence against people, many of those perpetrators, as with other


things, would deny their responsibility in these acts of


violence, but what are you doing to consider this as part of wider


animal abuse legislation and would you support the call I and others in


this Chamber have asked of your animal Welfare Minister to have an


animal abuse register for Wales? If we can track these perpetrators who


are taking part in the violence against animals at the early stage,


if they then go on to perpetrate against people, we can try and


deflect from the seriousness of the potential things they may do in


these positions, I would urge you to consider this seriously and to carry


out research in this area. Can I give that consideration? It is an


idea that is worth investigating. I do not know the practical issues but


I wouldn't -- I would want to consider it further. I will write to


the member. First Minister, I appreciate the Government gathers


data at the moment which will steer any review into these regulations.


Under these circumstances, can you give us an idea when this review


will be held and can you also publish a timetable on this issue?


There is no timetable in place at present but this is something of


course the Minister will issue to the assembly once it is decided.


That was First Minister's Questions. If you want more coverage of the


assembly, you can go online to BBC Wales Senedd live page. That is it


from us this week. We will be back next week. Thank you for joining us.


How well do you know your Six Nations?


OK, then. Fingers on the keypads, everybody.


Who's made most appearances in the Six Nations in an England shirt.


Scott Gibbs scored our last ever Five Nations try.


Who scored our first ever Six Nations try?


2011 was the first time an Italian player has been named


Player of the Tournament. Who was it?


Download Subtitles