17/01/2017 First Minister's Questions


17/01/2017

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


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so let's cross over for today's questions to the First Minister.

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I call on the National Assembly to order. Before starting on this

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afternoon's agenda I would like to welcome the Parliamentary delegation

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from Basra, Iraq. While visiting the National Assembly today. And who are

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in the public gallery this afternoon. Welcome. The first item

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on our agenda are questions to the First Minister. The first question

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is issued. How is the worst government assisting disabled people

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in Wales? Framework for action, our Independent living sets out our plan

:00:41.:00:44.

to assist disabled people in Wales. We will work together with the

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public sector bodies across Wales to refresh the frame of this year.

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Thank you. Well before the Welsh and announcement transferring the Welsh

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Independent living grants to local authorities, campaigners in Wrexham,

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Nathan Davies, who presented the goods to enabling Wales North Wales

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graduation last month, expressed concerns that they felt that

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disabled people had been sold down the river, or they could see was yet

:01:14.:01:18.

more fighting. Disability Wales expressed disappointment that the

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Welsh government didn't follow Scotland in setting up an

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independent living fund. Ministered by inclusion in Scotland, Northern

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Ireland has also commissioned its ILS from. How, therefore, would you

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engage with such concerns to ensure that not only the local authorities

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and health boards, but the Welsh government itself is complying with

:01:40.:01:42.

the intention of the social services and well-being act placing a duty on

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public authorities to promote the involvement of people in the

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designed and delivery of care and support services? The decision was

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taken to enable payments to be made and interrupted to former recipients

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in Wales. It was an interim decision designed to last until the 31st of

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March this year. Why we considered the arrangements

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that were appropriate to provide support the longer term. Following

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advice from the stakeholders adviser group which includes organisations

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that represent the same people in Wales we are producing a promise in

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April, a two-year transitional arrangement whereby support will be

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through normal social care provision.

:02:20.:02:24.

Presiding Officer, I want to highlight the importance of sign

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language to the deaf community. For many deaf people it is a major

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method of communication. My sister is profoundly deaf. Will he first Mr

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join me in supporting the creation of GCSE first language sign language

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to be treated as the equivalent of first language Welsh and English at

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GCSE? It's a matter, ultimately, for the

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qualifications Wales, they are responsible for the development and

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out of patience in Wales. That said, I think it is important, and they're

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taking what the member has said, to promote sign language and to promote

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the availability of qualifications in British sign language. It is a

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matter I will take on his behalf with corporations Wales.

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There's been a great deal of talk that there is a possibility that the

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attendance allowance is to be devolved to Wales from Westminster.

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Some 100,000 people in Wales received this benefit at a cost of

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some ?400 million per annum. Now, if these benefits are devolved to

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Wales, we will then have to decide what the role of local authorities

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would be. And Plaid Cymru, of course, always welcomes additional

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power was residing here in Wales for the benefit of the people of Wales,

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but there are concerns that this move is a money saving mechanism,

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ultimately. How can you ensure that older disabled people in Wales won't

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lose out if they did this were to occur?

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Well, there is an unfortunate history in this place where benefits

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have been devolved but without all the funding to follow. And that

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happened with the council tax benefit. I'm not in favour of

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receiving any powers without funding, and also, am not in favour

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of getting the full funding in following on that. If that was

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offered to us we would never wish to take any new powers without the

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funding to follow and without the insurance in the long term about the

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source of that funding. Thank you. In March last year as

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part of the getting ahead to programme a learning disability

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Wales were given 10 million over five years to transform the lives of

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over 1000 young people aged 16 to 25. Who have a learning disability

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or difficulty. That is through undertaking a paid work placement

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between six and 12 months. What does this commitment to demonstrate about

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the Welsh government's determination to assist people with disabilities

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in Wales and how is this actively helping to change people's lives?

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We can see the results for ourselves. We are working with the

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advisory group to develop a strategic action plan. That will go

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to White consultation later this year in order to build on the good

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work that's already been put in place.

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Question two, Paul Davies. Will he First Minister outline what the

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Welsh government is doing to support farmers in Pembrokeshire?

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The Welsh government is working to support the farming industry in

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Pembrokeshire as in all parts of Wales.

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As I am sure you are aware the number of farmers in my constituency

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are hugely concerned about the possibility of the introduction of

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nitrate vulnerable zones which would have huge impact on the businesses

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and on the rural economy more generally. Your government's

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consultation has been concluded, can you tell us when you will take a

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decision on this issue, in the meantime, can I urge you to look at

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this issue again and to consider introducing a voluntary approach to

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improve water quality, because that is the way to support our farmers,

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by working with them, rather than introducing burdensome regulations.

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Well, their response to because attention will be considered in

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detail over being suing weeks, and, of course, they will be discussion

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with the agricultural industry over those weeks. As part of the review

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taking place. Thank you, Minister, what will you

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do now to protect farmers in Pembroke show the length and breadth

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of Wales now that the Prime Minister in Westminster, Theresa May, has

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decided that we will be out of the single market, with tariffs on Welsh

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produce, there is to be a free trade market with New Zealand, where lamb

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can come in, and this could undermine the quality produce of

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Wales. What will the Government is doing out to protect the interests

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of Wales in the face of the decision taken by the Conservatives in

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Westminster to make farmers in Wales poorer and less able to compete?

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May I say am completely against tariffs on Welsh produce. In any

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market. And I am against any free-market agreement that would

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weaken the culture of Wales, be it New Zealand, or Brazil on beef. We

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have to be make a full as regards which countries agreements are made

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with. May I also say that there is a major problem with regards to the

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fact there is no assurance whatsoever that anything would be

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available for farmers of Wales post 2020. Because of the fact that there

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has been no assurance given as regards to subsidies themselves.

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Some people in deaf rest say that they won't be any payments at all

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for farming throughout the UK. And so farmers will have to deal with

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the situation without any payments at all in a very short time. I am

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completely against any route that would mean that farmers would lose

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their money and their markets. I call upon the party leaders to

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question me First Minister. The leader of the Welsh Conservatives,

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Andrew RT Davies. First Minister, last October, one of

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the most passionate debates was held within this Chamber and the Chamber

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upstairs was for a lot of people who are interested in the autism

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community and wanted legislation brought forward from your

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government. We were led to believe, there was a consensus, that all a

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critical of the parties believe that they should be an autism Bill

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brought before the Assembly to improve rights for people who suffer

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with autism. Yesterday, you brought forward your

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trade union Bill. Many people will find it difficult to comprehend why

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you are standing in the way of bringing forward an autism Bill that

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could greatly improve access to services and give a legal right for

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people who have a diagnosis of autism over the trade union Bill

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that you decided to bring forward. Why have you prioritise the trade

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union Bill against people with autism?

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There are two reasons. Post what you need to protect worker's writes. His

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party won to remove confidence from this Assembly over employment rights

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and regulations. It's his party's fault. We wouldn't have to bring

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this forward at the speed of it wasn't for the Wales Bill. He can't

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sit there and claim it's nothing to do with him. We will claim up for

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work's writes as his party presses down on them. That is why we will

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introduce a trade union Bill to this Chamber. We look for support from

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this Assembly to protect the rights of workers and let's see what

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happens within the competence changes. We will stand up for Welsh

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workers, scene of his party champ will follow them.

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It is the Conservative Party delivering for Welsh workers as they

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are for UK workers. By delivering an economy that has delivered record

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rates of employment and opportunity and prosperity. I notice you did not

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dwell on the reasoning why your government stood in the way of

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delivering an autism Bill. As opposed to the trade union Bill when

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people upstairs after this debate will genuinely in tears and

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disgusted with the outcome from this Labour government over the betrayal,

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as they thought, of your government's commitment in the

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Assembly election, the words spoken in that Chamber in this debate.

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What is an reasonable? What is annually reasonable about this bill

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about informing employees when strike action would be taken. What

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is unreasonable about seeking this threshold? There is nothing

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unreasonable about that. It is your party that has taken us back to the

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70s. Moving away from empowering workers to get on in this country.

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So what is unreasonable and that trade union Bill that demands your

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government bring forward a separate piece of legislation?

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It is odious that the leader of the Welsh Conservatives uses people who

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are dealing with autism as a way to attack workers. The reality is that

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unemployment is lower in Wales than it is in England, Scotland and

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Northern Ireland because of the actions of the Welsh government. He

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talks about a threshold. I don't remember talk of thresholds in the

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Brexit referendum? Thresholds weren't important. I don't believe

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in thresholds. I don't believe any threshold as far strike action,

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balloting, is concerned. I believe in we stand up for the rights of

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workers in Wales despite what is being imposed on them by a hostile

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Tory government. 50 of his own MPs, 50 of his own MPs were calling for

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strike to be banned in the public sector. We are going to arrest

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strikers now, are you? Going back to the 70s? He'd taken back to the 30s.

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The people you repay our union general secretary is. I challenge

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you to bring forward the autism bill that people were asking for. I have

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not heard people calling for a trade union bill in Wales because they

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feel discriminated against. The real danger is that you will be

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trailblazing regional pay by bringing the Bill forward because

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you will lower the threshold for strike action in Wales, vis-a-vis

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other parts of the United Kingdom and most parts when strike action is

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taken is around terms and conditions and pay and you will be a

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trailblazer for regional pay if you continue to push this Bill through

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the Assembly but you should apologise to people in the autism

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community who feel let down by you and your legislative programme. It

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is odious, I used the word again, to suggest that those people who are

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dealing with autism, who are caring for those people with autism, should

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be set against people who want to have their rights as workers. It is

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typical that the Tories' attitude is set people each other, divide and

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rule, we will do all we can to help those people with autism and people

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caring for people with autism, which we have done through legislation and

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funding. We have not cut social services spending by 6% as he has

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and his in London. The disaster of the NHS in England at the moment

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caused by a lack of spending on social services. I make no apology

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for standing up for the rights of workers in Wales and representatives

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and if he does not like that he can explain to voters in Wales is why he

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wants people to be in a position where they no longer have the

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ability to exercise their right to strike. He yaps away, doesn't he?

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There has been a lot of yapping. We will stand up for the rights of

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workers even as he is indifferent to them.

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On December the 15th last year, figures on the performance and value

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of the Welsh economy were published. They have not received huge

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attention but showed the Welsh economy stands at 71% of UK index,

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down from 71.4% in 2014. We need to close the wealth gap and not

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presiding over it whitening. Aside from the risk we face from losing

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funds currently received by deprived communities, there is a risk to

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businesses and jobs from the decision to leave the European

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Union. From a safeguarding jobs perspective Wales continues to

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participate in the single market, do you agree with Plaid Cymru it is in

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the Welsh national interest to continue to participate fully in the

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single market without tariffs or barriers? It is a position we have

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howled. We save full and unfettered access. What we have to work is

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anything that impairs ability of businesses to export from Wales and

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makes it more difficult for them to employ people. GDP needs to increase

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and we need to invest in skills. As people have more skills they can

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better attract investment that leads to better paid job. I have listened

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to the Prime Minister's speech. Some of it was welcome. The tone was

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better, not as aggressive as the nationalist wing of Theresa May's

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party. There were issues about recognising rights of devolved

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nations although there is a country diction in saying the British

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Parliament decides the final deal without devolved parliament is

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having their own view as well. Leaving the single market I do not

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agree with. Half in half out of the customs union needs explanation and

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how you control immigration with an open border has not been explained.

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There is some clarity, not all welcome, and some of it is better

:16:40.:16:43.

from the Prime Minister but there is a lot of work to be done to make

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sure we have the best outcome. Plaid Cymru would argue Wales is facing a

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made in London plan for withdrawing from the EU and I'm glad you

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mentioned the question of exports. On this map the risk to Wales from

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hard Brexit is illustrated strongly. The Welsh economy is the most

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dependent part of the UK on exports to the EU and manufacturing

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economies like ours relied the most upon that market and we are talking

:17:16.:17:21.

about industrial jobs, the food industry, in tourism, jobs that are

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vital to people in Wales which cannot be put at risk. We know that

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much of the non-European investment into Wales has been attracted here

:17:32.:17:35.

because of our position in the single market and another risk to

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this country, beyond losing our position in the single market is

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that we are heading for neoliberalism, based on deregulation

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and privatisation based on slashing workers' rights, based on watering

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down environmental regulations that keep our country clean. We face

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losing so many of the hard won gains and none of us should be prepared to

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put them at risk. Will you commit to exploring how we can avoid taking

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this path of economic and social vandalism and will you championed

:18:14.:18:18.

the need for continued participation in the single market and for the

:18:19.:18:22.

highest possible standards for workers, consumers and for

:18:23.:18:26.

businesses? I will as I have done since June. There will be nothing to

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stop the Assembly implementing EU directive if it wishes. There is no

:18:34.:18:39.

ban on doing that. It is a matter for the democratic process. One

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contradiction expressed by the Prime Minister what she said the British

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Parliament should have a vote on the final deal, but a lot of it will

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involve devolved areas. There are issues that will need to be resolved

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there. I was concerned at the Chancellor's remarks on Sunday when

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he said the British economic model would have to change if there was a

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hard Brexit and he mentioned lowering corporation tax, one of

:19:08.:19:11.

many things he would like to do not the taste of her or me. I do not

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believe as they would put it deregulating the employment market,

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which would mean slashing workers' rights and pay and I don't believe

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in destroying environmental protections that have not just helps

:19:26.:19:32.

the environment but tourism. I share with her a concerned there are some

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in the Conservative Party who see it as an opportunity to introduce

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radical right-wing thinking without any kind of restraint. Something I

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know I and she would resist. Plaid Cymru stated we are not prepared to

:19:50.:19:53.

sign up to a negotiation plan that has been hatched by Westminster a

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leakeds if there is no regard to the devolved administrations. We know it

:20:01.:20:04.

makes sense for Wales to work closely with other devolved

:20:05.:20:08.

governments. Scotland is prioritising single market

:20:09.:20:13.

membership ahead of any other constitutional aims but they are

:20:14.:20:17.

prepared to hold an independence referendum if they are compromised

:20:18.:20:24.

-- their options are not met by the UK Government. The situation in

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Northern Ireland is sensitive will stop will you confirm that you will

:20:30.:20:34.

work with the Scottish Government and the next Northern Ireland

:20:35.:20:38.

Executive to ensure that the Prime Minister of the UK is deterred from

:20:39.:20:44.

pushing through a plan for more deregulation and privatisation which

:20:45.:20:47.

would be harmful to people in this country? We do work with the

:20:48.:20:52.

Scottish Government. We do not have the same view on the final

:20:53.:20:56.

destination but we work with them and talk to them with a view to

:20:57.:21:00.

forming common ground, which is sensible diplomacy. Northern Ireland

:21:01.:21:05.

is difficult because the First Minister and Deputy First Minister

:21:06.:21:09.

have different views on Brexit and we see this situation in Northern

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Ireland and part of the dynamic of the problem in Ireland is Brexit. It

:21:13.:21:19.

sits there, because of the peace agreement put in place and the only

:21:20.:21:23.

identity the people of Northern Ireland share is a European one and

:21:24.:21:27.

that must be managed carefully. It is important whatever the outcome of

:21:28.:21:30.

the election in Northern Ireland that we work with them and with

:21:31.:21:36.

Scotland to remind Whitehall it is not just about the Whitehall bobbled

:21:37.:21:45.

about all nations of the UK. The First Minister is trying to compete

:21:46.:21:49.

with the leader of Plaid Cymru as a Jeremiah of Wales in relation to

:21:50.:21:53.

Wales's future outside the EU and I am sorry to hear him say he is

:21:54.:21:59.

against lower taxes on business because the Irish Republic has

:22:00.:22:01.

successfully used a lower rate of corporation tax to attract firms

:22:02.:22:07.

into Dublin, particularly financial services and it seems to me

:22:08.:22:10.

counter-productive to Wales' interest to rule it out. Last week

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the First Minister said about the single market, I don't believe you

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can have access to the single market and say you want full control over

:22:21.:22:25.

immigration. That is what we do have with the South Korea trade

:22:26.:22:30.

agreement, why is it not possible for us in Britain? How can you have

:22:31.:22:36.

control over immigration if you have an open border with the EU? Theresa

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May referred to this in her speech. We had a common travel area with the

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Irish Republic before either were members of the EU and this is a

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practical question that does need to be solved and there is no reason to

:22:53.:22:57.

think it cannot be solved. I am interested in... As a result...

:22:58.:23:05.

Let's allow the leader of the Ukip group to be heard, please. As a

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result of Theresa May's speech, she has clarified a number of issues.

:23:14.:23:19.

Not all, I accept. Customs union needs clarification but she

:23:20.:23:23.

clarified the government position. Can the First Minister clarify what

:23:24.:23:27.

is the Labour Party policy on managed migration from the EU? I

:23:28.:23:32.

have explained the policy, freedom of movement to work, something close

:23:33.:23:36.

to what the Norwegians have, and it takes away the fears of some people

:23:37.:23:41.

that people move to a country in order to claim benefits. Whether

:23:42.:23:45.

that is true or not, we know the perception was there. It is a

:23:46.:23:49.

reasonable position to take that most people in the UK would accept.

:23:50.:23:54.

He's right about the situation, it needs to be solved. For the first

:23:55.:24:04.

time ever in history there will be wholly different immigration

:24:05.:24:06.

policies on both sides of the border. Ireland is not part of

:24:07.:24:11.

Schengen at freedom of movement, if you go to Ireland you can get into

:24:12.:24:15.

the UK with no control and that is the reality. In terms of customs,

:24:16.:24:22.

are we to see the return customs posts on the border and on Welsh

:24:23.:24:26.

ports? That has not been resolved. The effect it would have on the

:24:27.:24:31.

throughput of vehicles and people through those ports. What I fear

:24:32.:24:36.

more than anything is somehow Northern Ireland gets a better deal

:24:37.:24:41.

in terms of customs than Wales, that will channel traffic through

:24:42.:24:44.

Cairnryan and possibly Stranraer at a cost of jobs in Welsh ports. The

:24:45.:24:50.

situation, the Welsh ports or Northern Ireland border, has to be

:24:51.:24:53.

the same to ensure fairness of treatment. He is talking about

:24:54.:25:01.

transitional points which have to be considered, and we had similar

:25:02.:25:06.

difficulties when we entered the EU. Problems of transition. These can be

:25:07.:25:11.

dealt with. What I am concerned with is that the First Minister is always

:25:12.:25:15.

looking on the black side of things and imagining the worst. He did this

:25:16.:25:22.

in relation to Donald Trump. I have raised this with him several times.

:25:23.:25:29.

He said that Donald Trump believes in America first and it would not be

:25:30.:25:34.

possible to agree a free trade agreement with the United States.

:25:35.:25:38.

What is clear is it is not going to be possible for the EU to agree a

:25:39.:25:43.

free trade agreement, but Donald Trump himself has said in the last

:25:44.:25:49.

24, 48 hours, he would move quickly to make a new trade deal with UK, he

:25:50.:25:55.

said I am a big fan of the UK, we are going to work hard to get it

:25:56.:25:59.

done and done properly. Good for both sides. Can I persuade the First

:26:00.:26:08.

Minister to have optimism? I do not believe that the American government

:26:09.:26:12.

will want a free trade agreement with anybody that is anything other

:26:13.:26:17.

than very positive for the US and negative for the other party. Donald

:26:18.:26:23.

Trump has said he wants to tear up the transpacific partnership and

:26:24.:26:27.

Nafta and have an agreement with the UK. Does it mean we will see be full

:26:28.:26:34.

of hormones coming into the market and undercutting beef farmers in

:26:35.:26:41.

Wales? Does it mean we will see, for example, in his party, T-Tip, he was

:26:42.:26:45.

campaigning saying it was a bad deal, does it mean that if it is

:26:46.:26:48.

back on the table he will support it? Does it mean the UK will

:26:49.:26:53.

collapse at the knees if the US government says, you must open up

:26:54.:26:57.

your public services to privatisation, because that is what

:26:58.:27:07.

they will press for? I am in favour of good relations with the US and

:27:08.:27:10.

with all countries, but I am sometimes touched by the sweet

:27:11.:27:12.

naivete of the leader of Ukip and his fellow traveller the leader of

:27:13.:27:15.

the Welsh Conservatives when they think the world will be an easy

:27:16.:27:19.

place and free trade agreements are easy to negotiate. They are not. The

:27:20.:27:24.

one with Greenland took three years, one with Canada, seven years. I have

:27:25.:27:30.

looked at tariffs involved. There are tariffs on hats and umbrellas.

:27:31.:27:35.

Agriculture is always excluded from free trade agreements. It is not

:27:36.:27:40.

there with Canada, Norway and the EU. The agricultural tariff is

:27:41.:27:44.

nearly 50%. Welsh farmers cannot live with a tariff on Welsh lamb and

:27:45.:27:49.

beef of 50% and anybody who thinks they can is letting Welsh farmers

:27:50.:27:50.

down. Question three. What is the Welsh

:27:51.:27:59.

women doing to reduce food waste in Welsh households. Food waste has

:28:00.:28:05.

decreased by 12% from 2009 to 2015 and we as a government find to

:28:06.:28:12.

refund a programme, Admiral of food, heat waste. You are right that food

:28:13.:28:24.

waste has reduced by 12%, and it has so deliberately saved tonnes of

:28:25.:28:28.

carbon over that period. But even with that 12% reduction there has

:28:29.:28:35.

been 188,000 tonnes of food worth ?70 million phone away by Welsh

:28:36.:28:42.

households in 2015. -- thrown away. Given that 50% of that waste comes

:28:43.:28:47.

from households, it is clear that reducing the amount of waste here

:28:48.:28:52.

would have a significant financial benefit for both individuals and for

:28:53.:29:00.

the environment. What is interesting, going alongside that,

:29:01.:29:04.

is that 16% of people who were questioned thought that they were

:29:05.:29:09.

not wasting any food whatsoever. So given those facts, First Minister,

:29:10.:29:13.

what do you think that the Welsh government could do in terms of at

:29:14.:29:17.

least educating people about the food that they are wasting, to the

:29:18.:29:25.

tune of 35mm pounds a year? I can say that the cascade training

:29:26.:29:32.

is available for businesses and communities. We have trained over

:29:33.:29:36.

4300 people in Wales. That helps consumers to make the most food they

:29:37.:29:42.

buy. Is still more to do. We have reduced the amount of food waste in

:29:43.:29:49.

Wales by 24,000 tonnes. We know there is further to go, but that

:29:50.:29:55.

work is now ongoing. Of course, it's not just households,

:29:56.:29:59.

its public services as well with this needs attention. The action

:30:00.:30:05.

programme, wrap, is working with the University has bored to identify how

:30:06.:30:10.

to reduce food waste in hospitals. That is one thing. Admissions to

:30:11.:30:15.

malnutrition were up highest for five years. So these agencies can

:30:16.:30:21.

work together to identify and share ideas, in fact, I am hosting a love

:30:22.:30:27.

food hate waste fashion in Bridgend this Thursday. But do you think food

:30:28.:30:32.

waste is just part of a bigger issue for government and society about

:30:33.:30:35.

nutrition and attitude to food which we need to take more seriously,

:30:36.:30:47.

rather than fragmented responses. Part of the problem is that cheap

:30:48.:30:51.

food is not healthy food, for so many people may have seen a squeeze

:30:52.:30:56.

on them in come since 2008. People often say I'd love to eat healthy

:30:57.:31:00.

food, but the reality is I can't afford to. It's not just about

:31:01.:31:04.

targeting health issues it's about ensuring people have the skills they

:31:05.:31:08.

need to get the jobs they need to increase their incomes and eat

:31:09.:31:13.

healthier. Bad is the way this government operates. Looking at

:31:14.:31:17.

holistic solutions rather than doing it by a compartmentalised formula.

:31:18.:31:25.

Welsh government support for the valleys project based in my

:31:26.:31:29.

constituency could see food waste providing enough power for 100,

:31:30.:31:36.

sorry, 1500 homes, by generating one megawatt of clean out today. What

:31:37.:31:40.

evaluation has the Welsh government made of this project?

:31:41.:31:45.

Our priority is to reduce food waste by households. We are working with

:31:46.:31:50.

the local authorities involved in the tomorrow Valley helped to

:31:51.:31:53.

provide targeted campaign support and it decrease the amount of food

:31:54.:31:57.

waste captured by local authorities for recycling. -- increase. Question

:31:58.:32:11.

for, well the first list provide an update on plans for the procurement

:32:12.:32:14.

of new rolling stock at the commencement of the new wheels and

:32:15.:32:18.

Borders rail franchise? I can say the agreement of the

:32:19.:32:22.

contract has started. We expect to see how you quality rolling stock

:32:23.:32:28.

introduced as part of that process. Travelling on the Romney to Cardiff

:32:29.:32:33.

line in rush hour on the valleys lines, is a grim experience. I know

:32:34.:32:38.

that from journeys they take myself, and the valleys lines generally, I'm

:32:39.:32:43.

told, are the same. Riva have told me several times there is simply no

:32:44.:32:46.

rolling stock available to reduce the overcrowding. A new diesel train

:32:47.:32:51.

will take approximately three years to procure from the procurement to

:32:52.:32:54.

the receipt of the stock. That means, if new diesel stock is

:32:55.:32:58.

ordered as part of the new franchise agreement rail passengers may not

:32:59.:33:03.

see new carriages until 2021 at the earliest.

:33:04.:33:05.

What is the Welsh government is doing to ease the problem in the

:33:06.:33:09.

short term with regard to rolling stock? Moreover, is there any way

:33:10.:33:13.

the Welsh government can order a new rolling stock today, or in the

:33:14.:33:17.

coming months of the new operators when they take over the franchise

:33:18.:33:22.

and have rolling stock sufficient quality and number two ease the

:33:23.:33:28.

overcrowding problem? The problem, historically, is not

:33:29.:33:32.

having control of the franchise. We still won't be able to put into

:33:33.:33:36.

place the public sector industry to run the franchise. Unless there are

:33:37.:33:40.

changes at Westminster. We won't be able to do that. The difficulty is

:33:41.:33:43.

that the current model involves operators who lease the rolling

:33:44.:33:48.

stock, so when they do face capacity problems they've got no stock. When

:33:49.:33:54.

it was British rail, the stock was there. That is the problem at the

:33:55.:33:58.

moment and its weaknesses compared to British rail, the model before

:33:59.:34:03.

the early 90s. We are making it clear, as part of the crewmen expect

:34:04.:34:07.

to see higher quality rolling stock. It's not going to be good enough in

:34:08.:34:10.

the future simply to say there is a limit on what the company simply to

:34:11.:34:14.

say there is a limit on what we can kill stock. We want to make sure

:34:15.:34:21.

there to be the Metro Sons of the best in Europe. I have a similar

:34:22.:34:29.

concern about the heart of Wales line from Swansea to shrews brew.

:34:30.:34:35.

Travellers feel that it is a long way short of being fit for purpose.

:34:36.:34:40.

Can you are sure that we are looking to provide more, faster and better

:34:41.:34:43.

trains as part of the next franchise. We intend that no railway

:34:44.:34:49.

line in Wales is left behind. We want the travel experience to be as

:34:50.:34:53.

good on a heavily used line as the heart of Wales line which is an

:34:54.:34:57.

important artery for so many communities in Wales. It runs

:34:58.:35:02.

through six marginal constituencies, so the urban myth has it, so it is

:35:03.:35:07.

good to see it there. It is not just about passenger rail, but freight

:35:08.:35:16.

diversion as well. By January 2020 rolling stock in Wales will need to

:35:17.:35:23.

comply with the new UK wide rules on disability access. As it stands, the

:35:24.:35:27.

majority of the Wales and border rolling stock would not meet these

:35:28.:35:31.

new standards. We've got evidence to suggest that securing this stock

:35:32.:35:36.

could take up to four years. Are you confident that the fleet could be

:35:37.:35:44.

modernised in time for the deadline? There are expectations placed on

:35:45.:35:48.

those bidding to run the Wales franchise contract as part of the

:35:49.:35:53.

expectations that we will have we want to make sure they proved not

:35:54.:35:58.

just against laws that currently stand, but ensure they comply with

:35:59.:36:02.

laws the future. David Rowlands. Given that a new

:36:03.:36:09.

rolling stock is an essential demand within the franchise decision is the

:36:10.:36:13.

First Minister in a position to specify to any interested parties

:36:14.:36:17.

weather, and to what extent, light rail stop would be required as

:36:18.:36:22.

opposed to standard way. Given the implications of the proposed Metro

:36:23.:36:25.

system? These are issues being considered as

:36:26.:36:29.

part of the process. It's right to say that, certainly in the future,

:36:30.:36:34.

we will be looking at light rail in terms of new services. It's easy to

:36:35.:36:38.

do that through heavy rail. And we will examine the most effective way

:36:39.:36:42.

of providing rail services will be in the future. I emphasise that

:36:43.:36:47.

whatever model is chosen for any particular line the terms and

:36:48.:36:50.

conditions of those working in the really service will be protected.

:36:51.:36:58.

Question five, Dafydd Ellis Thomas. When did the First Minister last

:36:59.:37:02.

meet with the Prime Minister to discuss Wales's relationship with

:37:03.:37:12.

the European Union? I met with her in October, and I

:37:13.:37:17.

spoke to her this morning, prior to the speech she made this morning.

:37:18.:37:21.

She didn't tell me much about what she was going to say. Apart from

:37:22.:37:28.

saying that United Kingdom would be looking outwards to the rest of the

:37:29.:37:33.

country of the world and would maintain a relationship with the

:37:34.:37:36.

countries of Europe. I'm pleased to hear that the First

:37:37.:37:40.

Minister has spoken to the UK Prime Minister this morning, I'm not

:37:41.:37:44.

surprised that he didn't get much light on the matter, but having

:37:45.:37:47.

understood what she said in that speech does she understand it

:37:48.:37:52.

wouldn't be appropriate for her, as the UK Prime Minister, to try and

:37:53.:37:55.

the cruciate along with the rest of the European Union on devolved

:37:56.:38:01.

issues? -- negotiate along with the rest.

:38:02.:38:06.

She said they would be no change as regards dissolved powers did not

:38:07.:38:15.

devolved powers. She also said she wanted to strengthen the union

:38:16.:38:19.

between the United Kingdom. I don't know what that means. If that means

:38:20.:38:24.

we will have a system where there is a mechanism of securing agreement

:38:25.:38:30.

between Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland about some of the

:38:31.:38:33.

common issues between us, then I welcome that. If that is some kind

:38:34.:38:39.

of message to say that some things would be determined by the United

:38:40.:38:42.

Kingdom government on the half of all of the other home nations, then

:38:43.:38:48.

I would not welcome mat. First Minister, no doubt you will as

:38:49.:38:53.

appalled as I was last week when Tory MPs in Westminster talked for

:38:54.:39:00.

four hours to talk out the bill from the Private Members Bill which would

:39:01.:39:05.

have safeguarded every aspect of employment legislation currently

:39:06.:39:08.

protected under EU law once we leave the union. I know, that in stark

:39:09.:39:13.

contrast to the actions of MPs last week, the Prime Minister, in her

:39:14.:39:19.

statement gave certain assurances on worker's writes. But as the first Mr

:39:20.:39:22.

agree with me that this indicates there is a clear split in the Tory

:39:23.:39:28.

party. Meaning that it is going to be more difficult than ever to

:39:29.:39:31.

ensure workers are protected post Brexit and does he further agreed

:39:32.:39:35.

with the TUC that we need to know exactly what the framework for

:39:36.:39:41.

worker rights and jobs will be? I welcome what she said. Not only

:39:42.:39:46.

would rights be protected but extended. I didn't expect that, but

:39:47.:39:50.

it's something I welcome. It's undermined by the Conservatives this

:39:51.:39:54.

afternoon tried to make a bullet to that argument. I hope this is a sign

:39:55.:39:58.

she is prepared to face down the right in her own party and to fulfil

:39:59.:40:03.

the promise she made. We know that there are some in the Conservative

:40:04.:40:05.

Party will take the view that the best way forward is to make the UK a

:40:06.:40:11.

model of deregulation, along the lines of some countries in the world

:40:12.:40:15.

where there are no worker's writes with people live in fear of their

:40:16.:40:19.

job security and whose quality of life is far lower the matter the UK.

:40:20.:40:26.

I was interested in the First Minister's earlier comments about

:40:27.:40:29.

Irish but the EU, particularly the occasion is for Welsh ports. --

:40:30.:40:37.

Welsh implications within the EU. In that context, in that scenario,

:40:38.:40:41.

would it be going against such terms for Northern Ireland, would he seek

:40:42.:40:46.

a similar approach for Wales to defend our Portland economy?

:40:47.:40:50.

I don't see customers at all between any point in the UK or Republic of

:40:51.:40:56.

Ireland. -- Customs. I fear a deal would be done whereby they would be

:40:57.:41:02.

no customs at all on the border between Northern Ireland and the

:41:03.:41:04.

Republic, but they will be in Welsh ports. As an operator the last thing

:41:05.:41:10.

you would want is to go through customs, physically, so instead of

:41:11.:41:13.

going through Holyhead you'd go into Northern Ireland which gives them a

:41:14.:41:18.

significant competitive advantage over the Welsh coast. That

:41:19.:41:21.

represents, for me, Alan Ferro block.

:41:22.:41:25.

A clear Brexit was always the most likely outcome, but now what happens

:41:26.:41:33.

afterwards has to be our focus. Do you agree we should seek

:41:34.:41:38.

arrangements based on respect for our EU neighbours, there should be

:41:39.:41:42.

no part of wishing the EU to fail, which would cause huge problems for

:41:43.:41:47.

us directly. A strengthening of the role of the world for the

:41:48.:41:52.

Organisation. -- World Trade Organisation. Many of what people

:41:53.:41:58.

arguing for Brexit predicated their view on that we should move to World

:41:59.:42:03.

Trade Organisation rules if that was what required. Finally the role of

:42:04.:42:07.

Nato, we remember the successful summit in Newport, is a way of

:42:08.:42:10.

projecting to the world Britain still seeks to fulfil its

:42:11.:42:15.

international obligations and to be a good neighbour. Absolutely true.

:42:16.:42:23.

Brexit is like standing in a restaurant and somebody saying what

:42:24.:42:26.

they don't want from the menu and trying to guess what they want.

:42:27.:42:32.

Politicians have all been trying to guess what they want. There are many

:42:33.:42:39.

different models. For me it is about making sure we preserve and protect

:42:40.:42:44.

and enhance the Welsh economy, which is fundamental, and it is about

:42:45.:42:49.

being a good neighbour. Europe does not do disputes well, history tells

:42:50.:42:53.

us. We are always stronger when we work together and the EU was a

:42:54.:42:58.

framework for peace and for peace in Northern Ireland, and it is

:42:59.:43:01.

important the goodwill and cooperation that has built up since

:43:02.:43:05.

the end of the war is not lost as we seek a new relationship with the EU

:43:06.:43:12.

in the future. Will the First Minister state what plans he has two

:43:13.:43:17.

discuss the package of proposals Tata Steel has presented to the

:43:18.:43:21.

workforce with its interim chair Ratan Tata are? I have discussed the

:43:22.:43:26.

issue with the CEO yesterday in a meeting I had with him and I have

:43:27.:43:34.

written to the CEO Finance of Tata, who is influential on these matters

:43:35.:43:39.

and I have made it clear it is important Tata should explain

:43:40.:43:42.

clearly to the workforce the implications of the changes. In his

:43:43.:43:49.

meeting, was he able to outline the nature of the concerns that we have

:43:50.:43:54.

expressed in my party but also widely shared among the workforce

:43:55.:43:59.

about the highly uncertain nature of the commitments on investment and

:44:00.:44:06.

employment and also the potential consequences of the proposal to D

:44:07.:44:13.

link the Rishi steel pension scheme and Tata effectively creating a fund

:44:14.:44:22.

and was he able to seek assurances or concessions from Tata Steel in

:44:23.:44:27.

relation to these concerns? What we know is they are committed to at

:44:28.:44:31.

least the next five years at Port Talbot, if there is an agreement on

:44:32.:44:35.

the pension scheme we know they will be committed to two blast furnaces.

:44:36.:44:41.

The money we made available is conditional and we want guarantees

:44:42.:44:44.

put in place if the money is released. It is also fair to say

:44:45.:44:52.

difficult the decision is for the workers, there is nothing else on

:44:53.:44:55.

the table. The choices are accepting what is there, or we are back to

:44:56.:45:02.

square one. It is a difficult choice, but that is the choice

:45:03.:45:07.

workers face. We have come a long way from March when the situation

:45:08.:45:11.

was grim. If you asked me then whether Port Talbot would remain I

:45:12.:45:17.

would say it was unlikely and because of the hard work put in by

:45:18.:45:23.

Welsh Government officials and by representatives such as David Rees,

:45:24.:45:27.

because of the hard work put in by our officials and the money put on

:45:28.:45:34.

the table, we are in a position to offer, Tata can offer an opportunity

:45:35.:45:37.

to Welsh workers that workers must now consider. It is clear, meeting

:45:38.:45:47.

with the trade unions again to discuss the issues and the proposal

:45:48.:45:53.

came on. What was clear was the lack of confidence. In tartar in itself

:45:54.:45:59.

will stop I have passed that of myself, but will you raise it with

:46:00.:46:04.

the new chair because it is important that a voice from the top

:46:05.:46:10.

of Tata is there to say we support the deal, it will be on the table

:46:11.:46:15.

and we will deliver? That voice from the top is important to workers to

:46:16.:46:20.

gain the confidence they have lost. It is an interesting suggestion. I

:46:21.:46:24.

have made it clear to Tata it is important they communicate

:46:25.:46:29.

effectively to the workforce what is on the table and their own

:46:30.:46:34.

commitment. I have no reason to doubt the commitment Tata has made

:46:35.:46:38.

that it is important to repeat in order for people to understand

:46:39.:46:43.

commitments are being made. You said there is no other offer on the

:46:44.:46:49.

table. Can I ask what initial discussions you had as a government

:46:50.:46:55.

with the UK Government, unions and other parties, in developing an

:46:56.:46:59.

alternative strategy in the event the current proposal is rejected?

:47:00.:47:03.

The UK Government is not interested and has not been since the change of

:47:04.:47:08.

Prime Minister. We are in a situation where the issue of energy

:47:09.:47:13.

intensive industries and the price of electricity in the UK is an

:47:14.:47:18.

issue. Tata said the UK is an expensive place to do business

:47:19.:47:22.

because of energy prices and we have yet to see action from the UK

:47:23.:47:25.

Government to support the good work put in by the Welsh Government. Will

:47:26.:47:35.

you please make a statement to provide an update on the boat.

:47:36.:47:40.

TRANSLATION: We are reviewing the responses received to draft orders.

:47:41.:47:45.

We will make an announcement on the next stage shortly --

:47:46.:47:50.

Caernarfon-Bontnewydd. I met yesterday with the contractors for

:47:51.:47:56.

this programme and they were hugely concerned that no date has been

:47:57.:48:01.

announced for a public enquiry. That in turn will lead to delay unless

:48:02.:48:07.

moves are made shortly in that regard. The proposal has been

:48:08.:48:14.

delayed already by 12 months. Because of arguments about issues.

:48:15.:48:21.

We do not want any further delay, so can you give an assurance the

:48:22.:48:26.

contractors can proceed with this proposal early in 2018, which is

:48:27.:48:32.

according to the timetable? We did go through... We are going through

:48:33.:48:39.

the issues raised in the statement to ensure they are resolved as

:48:40.:48:44.

regards the Welsh Government commitment. The commitment to build

:48:45.:48:49.

the bypass still exists, although there has been delayed, it was not

:48:50.:48:54.

possible to avoid that delay, but no, it is important the road is

:48:55.:49:02.

built as soon as possible. Will the First Minister make a statement of

:49:03.:49:06.

financial support for new business in Wales. Support is available to

:49:07.:49:09.

all businesses including new through a variety of funds. Including the

:49:10.:49:14.

growth and prosperity fund. We know the problems businesses in some

:49:15.:49:20.

areas are facing with a huge hike in business rates. This is particularly

:49:21.:49:27.

difficult for new businesses. While I welcome the commitment of extra

:49:28.:49:31.

support in the budget there is a lack of clarity about how the money

:49:32.:49:34.

will be distributed and some businesses have said they are in

:49:35.:49:40.

limbo, particularly those who need to to longer term leases. Will the

:49:41.:49:44.

Welsh Government publish full details and how businesses will be

:49:45.:49:49.

able to apply? That will be published soon. It is important to

:49:50.:49:54.

get the budget through in order not to prejudge the outcome and also I

:49:55.:50:00.

reiterate a new permanent rate relief scheme will be available next

:50:01.:50:01.

year onwards.

:50:02.:50:03.

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