17/01/2017 First Minister's Questions


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


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


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


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


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


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


is issued. How is the worst government assisting disabled people


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


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


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


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


Independent living grants to local authorities, campaigners in Wrexham,


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


graduation last month, expressed concerns that they felt that


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


more fighting. Disability Wales expressed disappointment that the


Welsh government didn't follow Scotland in setting up an


independent living fund. Ministered by inclusion in Scotland, Northern


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


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


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


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


public authorities to promote the involvement of people in the


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


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


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


March this year. Why we considered the arrangements


that were appropriate to provide support the longer term. Following


advice from the stakeholders adviser group which includes organisations


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


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


through normal social care provision.


Presiding Officer, I want to highlight the importance of sign


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


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


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


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


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


qualifications Wales, they are responsible for the development and


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


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


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


matter I will take on his behalf with corporations Wales.


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


attendance allowance is to be devolved to Wales from Westminster.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


lose out if they did this were to occur?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


part of the getting ahead to programme a learning disability


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


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


or difficulty. That is through undertaking a paid work placement


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


the Welsh government's determination to assist people with disabilities


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


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


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


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


work that's already been put in place.


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


Welsh government is doing to support farmers in Pembrokeshire?


The Welsh government is working to support the farming industry in


Pembrokeshire as in all parts of Wales.


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


are hugely concerned about the possibility of the introduction of


nitrate vulnerable zones which would have huge impact on the businesses


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


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


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


this issue again and to consider introducing a voluntary approach to


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


by working with them, rather than introducing burdensome regulations.


Well, their response to because attention will be considered in


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


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


taking place. Thank you, Minister, what will you


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


fact there is no assurance whatsoever that anything would be


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


has been no assurance given as regards to subsidies themselves.


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


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


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


completely against any route that would mean that farmers would lose


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


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


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


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


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


community and wanted legislation brought forward from your


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


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


brought before the Assembly to improve rights for people who suffer


with autism. Yesterday, you brought forward your


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


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


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


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


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


union Bill against people with autism?


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


party won to remove confidence from this Assembly over employment rights


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


workers, scene of his party champ will follow them.


It is the Conservative Party delivering for Welsh workers as they


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


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


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


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


people upstairs after this debate will genuinely in tears and


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


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


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


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


about informing employees when strike action would be taken. What


is unreasonable about seeking this threshold? There is nothing


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


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


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


government bring forward a separate piece of legislation?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


trailblazing regional pay by bringing the Bill forward because


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


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


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


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


the Assembly but you should apologise to people in the autism


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


workers even as he is indifferent to them.


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


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


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


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


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


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


businesses and jobs from the decision to leave the European


Union. From a safeguarding jobs perspective Wales continues to


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


the Welsh national interest to continue to participate fully in the


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


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


anything that impairs ability of businesses to export from Wales and


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


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


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


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


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


party. There were issues about recognising rights of devolved


nations although there is a country diction in saying the British


Parliament decides the final deal without devolved parliament is


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that we are heading for neoliberalism, based on deregulation


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


down environmental regulations that keep our country clean. We face


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


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


this path of economic and social vandalism and will you championed


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


highest possible standards for workers, consumers and for


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


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


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


contradiction expressed by the Prime Minister what she said the British


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


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


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


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


hard Brexit and he mentioned lowering corporation tax, one of


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


believe as they would put it deregulating the employment market,


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


in destroying environmental protections that have not just helps


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


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


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


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


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


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


makes sense for Wales to work closely with other devolved


governments. Scotland is prioritising single market


membership ahead of any other constitutional aims but they are


prepared to hold an independence referendum if they are compromised


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


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


work with the Scottish Government and the next Northern Ireland


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


pushing through a plan for more deregulation and privatisation which


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


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


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


forming common ground, which is sensible diplomacy. Northern Ireland


is difficult because the First Minister and Deputy First Minister


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


against lower taxes on business because the Irish Republic has


successfully used a lower rate of corporation tax to attract firms


into Dublin, particularly financial services and it seems to me


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


clarified the government position. Can the First Minister clarify what


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


time ever in history there will be wholly different immigration


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


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


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


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


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


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


more than anything is somehow Northern Ireland gets a better deal


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


of hormones coming into the market and undercutting beef farmers in


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


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


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


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


your public services to privatisation, because that is what


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


down. Question three. What is the Welsh


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


would have a significant financial benefit for both individuals and for


the environment. What is interesting, going alongside that,


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


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


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


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


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


is available for businesses and communities. We have trained over


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


holistic solutions rather than doing it by a compartmentalised formula.


Welsh government support for the valleys project based in my


constituency could see food waste providing enough power for 100,


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


evaluation has the Welsh government made of this project?


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


the local authorities involved in the tomorrow Valley helped to


provide targeted campaign support and it decrease the amount of food


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


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


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


Borders rail franchise? I can say the agreement of the


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


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


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


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


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


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


will take approximately three years to procure from the procurement to


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


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


see new carriages until 2021 at the earliest.


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


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


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


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


and have rolling stock sufficient quality and number two ease the


overcrowding problem? The problem, historically, is not


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


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


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


that the current model involves operators who lease the rolling


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


important artery for so many communities in Wales. It runs


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


laws the future. David Rowlands. Given that a new


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


First Minister in a position to specify to any interested parties


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


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


system? These are issues being considered as


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


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


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


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


whatever model is chosen for any particular line the terms and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


country of the world and would maintain a relationship with the


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


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


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


understood what she said in that speech does she understand it


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


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


issues? -- negotiate along with the rest.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


have safeguarded every aspect of employment legislation currently


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


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


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


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


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


ensure workers are protected post Brexit and does he further agreed


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


a similar approach for Wales to defend our Portland economy?


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


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


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


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


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


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


significant competitive advantage over the Welsh coast. That


represents, for me, Alan Ferro block.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


projecting to the world Britain still seeks to fulfil its


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


Brexit is like standing in a restaurant and somebody saying what


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


important the goodwill and cooperation that has built up since


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


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


discuss the package of proposals Tata Steel has presented to the


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


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


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


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


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


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


expressed in my party but also widely shared among the workforce


about the highly uncertain nature of the commitments on investment and


employment and also the potential consequences of the proposal to D


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


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


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


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


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


The money we made available is conditional and we want guarantees


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Welsh Government officials and by representatives such as David Rees,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


have made it clear to Tata it is important they communicate


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


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


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


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


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


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


alternative strategy in the event the current proposal is rejected?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Caernarfon-Bontnewydd. I met yesterday with the contractors for


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


regards the Welsh Government commitment. The commitment to build


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


will be distributed and some businesses have said they are in


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


Welsh Government publish full details and how businesses will be


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


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


reiterate a new permanent rate relief scheme will be available next


year onwards.


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