21/11/2017 First Minister's Questions


21/11/2017

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


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Transcript


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Good afternoon.

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Welcome to the programme

and our weekly coverage

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of questions to the First Minister.

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Carwyn Jones is expecting questions

on issues as varied as unemployment,

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dementia and the housing supply.

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We'll also see if the party leaders

continue to press him about claims

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of bullying within his government.

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We're on Twitter of course.

You can find us @walespolitics.

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Well, business in the Siambr has

already started so let's take a look

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at today's questions

to the First Minister.

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I call members to order. The first

item on our agenda this afternoon is

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questions to the First Minister.

Neil Hamilton. Will the First

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Minister make a statement on an

appointment rates in Mid and West

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Wales?

In 2017 the unemployment rate

was for %, below the Welsh and UK

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averages.

He will know that the

Swansea travel to work area includes

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large part of Carmarthenshire and

therefore the announcement by Amazon

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that they were creating 2000 jobs

for the Christmas trade will be very

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welcome. But less welcome is the

fact that they are doing a lot of

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their recruitment through a company

called the Central European

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recruitment of contract services,

that is basically do best in people

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from Hungary rather than from

Carmarthenshire. One of my

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constituents have contacted me to

say that she has been contacted by

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this company wanting to know if she

had residential rooms to rent which

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could be hot bedded in three shifts

for these workers. Does this tend to

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undermine the purpose of the grants

which Amazon has received from the

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Welsh Government for their

warehousing facility in Swansea?

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Those grants will have been given

some years ago, certainly before my

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time as First Minister. I am

interested in looking further at

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what he has raised. If you can write

to me with the details.

Unemployment

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in mid Wales is very row budgie VAP

ahead lags behind cities like

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Cardiff and Swansea -- but GVHD. A

potential growth deal for mid Wales

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is one of the ways to ensure that we

foster the right skills and training

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for businesses to thrive. As part of

a potential growth deal, do you

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agree with me that the university

status facility within Powys could

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provide the stimulus needed to

ensure that mid Wales has the right

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mix of skills for the future in

order to bring about higher salaries

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and deliver a more prosperous

economy in mid Wales? This it's an

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interesting suggestion.

There is a

university in Aberystwyth, which is

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not in Powys, but he makes the point

about Powys. It is a matter for

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discussion between the further

education provider and any

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particular university. He is right

to say that the way to drive it is

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through investment in skills. We

know productivity is a problem in

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the UK and Wales and we know that

the more skills people have, the

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more productive they become. If

there were such a proposal to be

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made, it would be something that

would be helpful to the local

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economy.

Simon Thomas.

One thing

which would transform the economy in

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West Wales would be to see a tidal

lagoon being allowed in Swansea Bay

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in terms of employment, skills and

in transforming the way we deal with

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energy in Wales and also creating

pathways for people so that they can

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stay in West Wales and stay in Welsh

communities. Wednesday is

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realistically perhaps the last

opportunity for the Westminster

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government to give the green light

for this project. Have you contacted

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them recently? Are you still putting

pressure on the Westminster

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government to make this announcement

on Wednesday in the budget that the

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tidal lagoon should proceed and that

they should be an agreement on the

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way it is going to be paid for and

the way which will benefit the Welsh

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economy?

I have a number of times. I

raise this personally with the Prime

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Minister of the United Kingdom about

three weeks ago when I met her,

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telling her how vital the lagoon was

and how important it was not only to

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the economy of the bay but much more

broadly than that and I have kept

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the pressure on. That includes the

Secretary of State, because it

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appears that he has more influence

in order to ensure that this project

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goes ahead for the benefit of the

West and its economy.

Lynne Neagle.

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Will the First Minister make a

statement on the Welsh Government's

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efforts to make Wales a dementia

friendly country?

We are committed

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to making Wales a dementia friendly

nation. We are developing and

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implementing a new national dementia

plan. We hope to have that agreed

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with stakeholders by Christmas and

publishing it as soon as possible in

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the New Year.

Last month I was

really proud to present a primary

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school with a dementia friendly

award, the first school in Gwent and

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one of the very first in Wales to

receive the award. Every single

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class in the school has taken part

in the initiative, from reception to

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year six, with older pupils also

visiting patients at County Hospital

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and participating in an innovative

scheme where they decorated and

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personalised Zimmer frames so that

people with dementia could recognise

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their Zimmer and use it more often.

Will the First Minister join me in

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congratulating the primary school on

the fantastic achievement of

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achieving this award and also on the

brilliant intergenerational work

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they are pioneering, which we know

can make such a huge difference to

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the lives of people living with

dementia.

Very much so. I think it

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is incredible, the innovation that

has been shown. Ways in which most

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people would not think of. It is

hugely important that, it is not a

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phrase generally, but

intergenerational understanding is

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promoted, so that young people

understand what the effects of

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dementia are, how they can help

people with dementia, and that they

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are able to help what families and

individuals face. It is a fantastic

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idea, fantastic concept and I very

much congratulate the school.

Mark

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Reckless.

As well as Wales ageing as

a nation, the trends are quite

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different within different parts of

Wales and the valleys, for example,

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have a much greater demographic

ageing trend than the nation as a

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whole. Are you confident that our

provision of dementia services is

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sufficiently decentralised and also

the resourcing of it is sufficiently

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aimed at those areas with the easing

-- ageing trend is most severe?

I

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am. If there was any difficulty in

that regard, I would expect it to be

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part of the discussions taking place

with stakeholders over the dementia

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action plan and I expect that to be

reflected in the plan if that is

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identified as a challenge. What I

can say is we have been working with

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the task unfinished group, which has

been working with the Alzheimer's

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Society, and the older prisons

Commissioner as well, -- older

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prisons Commissioner as well. We

hope to be in a position where we

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can agree the plan by the end of

this year.

Rhun ap Iorwerth.

First

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Minister, though one issue that

comes up time and again when I speak

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to families of those who have

dementia of the problem in Wales of

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having a specific contract worker

for families who want someone to

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turn to whenever they wish to do

that. Having that kind of pledge and

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ensuring that such a worker is

available would allow Wales to be

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innovative in the care it provides

to people with dementia and their

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families. Does the First Minister

share my view that we need that as

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part of the final strategy and is he

confident that it will be part of

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the strategy?

Well, this is

something that will have to be

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considered as part of a

consultation. May I say that the

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plan itself is built on the basis of

acknowledging the fact that these

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people suffering with dementia have

rights and therefore in what way can

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we ensure that those rights are

respected? This will have been part

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of the discussion which has taken

place to date and it will be part of

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the discussion on the plan itself.

May I also say that the plan itself

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will also be considered by an action

group in order to make sure that the

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plan works in the way that it

should.

According to health in

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Wales, dementia affects over 42,000

people in Wales alone and it is

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estimated that in just a few short

years this could increase by at

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least a third. It is therefore vital

that Wales becomes a dementia

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friendly nation as soon as possible

to ensure that those living with

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this terrible condition, and their

families, are supported at every

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stage. First Minister, what is your

government doing to increase

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awareness about dementia and how to

reduce the risk of developing this

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devastating condition?

At the heart

of our approach is the need to

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ensure that people can remain as

independent as possible for as long

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as possible and that means working

with organisations to promote

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dementia friendly environments. We

have heard an example from Lynne

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Neagle on how that can be done in

schools. It is important that people

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understand that dementia is not

something that affects everybody in

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the same way and at the same rate.

We know that people's needs will

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change over time. It is hugely

important that people understand

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that. Part of promoting a dementia

friendly Wales, increasing people's

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understanding of the condition is an

important part of that.

Questions

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now from the party leaders. Leader

of Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood.

In the

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next week we are expecting a vote to

convene a session on scrutiny of

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bullying in the Welsh Government and

whether or not this Assembly has

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been misled. You have denied that

you received allegations of bullying

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specifically but you also said that

any issues raised with you were

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dealt with. If you didn't deal with

issues of bullying, can you tell us

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what issues were dealt with and how

you dealt with them?

Members

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understand that if I choose my words

carefully or appear over locally in

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my answers, I am not being evasive,

it is because these are important

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times. People are grieving, the last

thing I want to do is make matters

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worse. But I understand these

questions are scrutiny and I have no

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difficulty with that. We set out

what my explanation is for the

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perceived discrepancies. I am aware

of the comments that have been made

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in the press. All I can say about

those comments is, in relation to

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them, no specific accusation of

bullying was ever presented to me

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either formally or informally. Nor

was that word bullying ever used in

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that way. But if you want me to be

clear about what the issues were, I

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can say, people were sometimes

unhappy with the way things

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happened, with their competing

priorities, of course they were.

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People felt others were more favour?

Of course they did. In politics it

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is felt more intensely than in other

workplaces. People feel very

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passionately about what they believe

in and that will be the situation.

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At the heart of our democracy is the

notion of competition. There will

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always be tension and everyone in

this chamber will recognise that. I

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will continue to deal with those

dentures in as fairer way as

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possible and regardless of what

political -- tensions in a

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straightaway as possible, regardless

of what political side they come

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from. But my door is opened. If they

prefer not to approach me, they can

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go to the secretary.

First Minister,

this was your opportunity to clarify

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this situation. It looks as though

you've given two contradictory

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answers. You say no allegations were

received but also that they were

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issues and that you did deal with

them. I will ask you again, what

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were the issues that were raised

with you and how did you deal with

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them?

As I said, sometimes people

were unhappy with the way things

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happened, people felt others were

more favoured, but that happens in

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any organisation. I dealt with them

as and when they arose. When you are

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dealing with the Cabinet, you have

people who are very talented, they

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feel very strongly about what they

are promoting, and it is impossible

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to reconcile these things when they

arise. If you ask is it the case

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when cabinets are always harmonious

when everyone agrees all the time,

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no, and it would be unrealistic to

say otherwise.

You are not answering

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the question. There were specific

allegations about bullying which you

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have denied yet you have said that

they were issues and you did deal

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with them. You haven't explained to

us what those issues were. Or how

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they were dealt with. Or whether or

not they were reports produced. Will

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you now give us the clarity which

this Assembly deserves, explain to

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us what issues were raised with you

back in 2014 and what exactly you

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did to deal with those issues? If

they weren't issues of bullying,

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that's fair enough, what were they

as Chamakh please be clarifying on

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this now.

They were issues of

competing priorities, of people

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feeling that some people were

listened to more than others, people

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feeling that they want to see you as

First Minister to explain their

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position. These are all the normal

processes of Cabinet government. It

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would be very odd if any Cabinet was

in place when nobody ever disagreed.

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It would be very odd if they Cabinet

was in place where people were in a

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position where they didn't feel that

they wanted to make their views

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known in a particular way. As First

Minister, that is the way I have

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always dealt with government. We

delivered all our manifesto promises

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in the years to 2016 and we are

continuing to deliver that now.

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There are always tensions in any

Cabinet. Surely any party leader

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will recognise that. What's

important is that patients don't get

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in the way of good governance. --

tensions.

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I am grateful for the way you have

engaged with the question so far

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this afternoon in contrast with the

way you engaged last Wednesday with

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the question I put you in the

topical questions. But there is this

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issue where there are two narrative

is running here. There is the

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narrative that you acknowledge, and

I was grateful for you acknowledge

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and that in First Minister's

Questions last week, that you did

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have issues raised with you in

November 2014 and you dealt with

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them. Then there was the issue of

the written question that Darren

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Millar put down and the difference

in the answer said there had not

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been any issues at that time. Can

you understand how people can get

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confused by those two answers? Were

issues of bullying raised

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specifically with you in October,

November 2014, and did you deal with

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them?

I will just repeat what I said

to make it clear. I'm aware of

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comments that have been made in the

press. No specific allegation of

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bullying was presented to me in

relation to those comments, formally

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or informally. No evidence was given

to me, nor was the word bullying

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used in that way. I can't go beyond

that other than to reiterate what

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was said earlier.

I still lack an

understanding of how difficult it is

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to answer this question. I put it

reasonably to you - were allegations

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of bullying put to you? That is the

assertion that has been put by two

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senior figures from your government

at the time and others. It is not

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unreasonable for us to ask the

questions of youth is First

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Minister, because the accusations

levelled at your office and your

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role as First Minister. Can you be

crystal clear in confirming whether,

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and I appreciate you have the

written notes in front of you, but

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most people would remember if

specific allegations around bullying

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were put to them to be dealt with. I

just want to be clear - were

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allegations related to bullying put

to you in the time frame that has

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been identified by your former

senior special adviser and your four

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former cabinet minister?

There were

no specific accusations of bullying.

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They were not presented to me. The

word was not even used in that way.

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OK. There is going to be a motion

next week put before the assembly to

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have an investigation into this.

People will have listened to the

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answers you have given. I think the

two options I gave you were

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straightforward yes or no answers.

You chose not to give a yes or no

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answer. Is it the case that you will

be supporting the motion that will

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come before the assembly next week

to allow detailed scrutiny of this

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interest? There is huge particular

interest in this matter. There are

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conflicting stories here. It is not

unreasonable to want to get to the

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bottom of this and if we can't get

to the bottom of it in this

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institution, then what is the point

of this institution? First Minister,

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will you supporting the motion that

comes before the assembly next

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Wednesday?

There are a number of

ways that this issue can be done

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with. We reserve our position in

terms of the vote next week until we

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have studied carefully the breath of

the terms of reference of that

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motion. Nevertheless, I accept that

this is an issue that will need

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further scrutiny. I am not afraid of

that scrutiny. It is a question of

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finding out what is the most

effective way of that scrutiny being

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exercised.

Leader of the Ukip group,

Neil Hamilton.

I hope the First

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Minister will feel that he owes the

chamber a duty of candour on this

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issue, but we will clearly get no

further on it today and will have to

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wait till the debate next week to

make progress. I would like to turn

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to another issue. The First Minister

said he would like to see air

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passenger duty devolves to Wales so

that he could abolish it for long

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haul flights. I welcome the First

Minister to the ranks of tax cutters

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and tax abolishes in the assembly.

It makes a change from the other

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taxes that he wants to introduce.

But this is of course a way of tax

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avoidance that he is in favour of,

because it will give Welsh apples a

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small but significant advantage over

airports on the other side of the

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border in England which will still

have air passenger duty applying to

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them. So can the First Minister

explained to me how it is that he

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can reconcile his views on air

passenger duty with his other views

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that the tax system should not be

used for tax competition within the

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UK or with other countries?

Because

there already is tax competition.

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Scotland already controls air

passenger duty. There is an element

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of reduced our passenger duty in

Northern Ireland. It makes no sense

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that Wales is denied the same

advantages as those elsewhere in the

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UK. We have presented evidence to

the UK Government that makes it

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clear that this is no threat to

Bristol. This is about developing

0:21:070:21:11

long haul flights from Cardiff. We

believe Cardiff is in a good

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position to do that. And we want to

develop other regional airports to

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link into Cardiff as a hub. The UK

Government have dismissed that

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evidence without offering any

evidence of their own.

I hope the

0:21:290:21:34

First Minister doesn't misunderstand

me. I am in favour of what he

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proposes and I am in favour of the

devolution of taxes to Wales so that

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we can cut them up or abolish them

and give us an advantage over other

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parts of the United Kingdom to

compensate for these Doric or

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disadvantage is that we have to

fight against. -- to compensate for

0:21:470:21:52

historical disadvantages. But I am

interested in the inconsistencies in

0:21:520:22:00

the Labour Party's position. The

purpose of air passenger duty is was

0:22:000:22:04

originally to cut greenhouse gas

emissions, so abolishing it doesn't

0:22:040:22:07

fit with the other enthusiasm is of

the Labour Party in relation to the

0:22:070:22:11

protection of the environment. How

does the abolition of air passenger

0:22:110:22:16

duty on long haul flights, how can

it be reconciled with the Labour

0:22:160:22:20

Party's views on green energy and

the need to cut carbon emissions?

It

0:22:200:22:26

is simple. There are many people in

the south-west of England who are

0:22:260:22:31

travelling to Heathrow at Pleasant

to fly long haul flights. If they

0:22:310:22:34

travel a shorter distance, their

carbon footprint is lower. It makes

0:22:340:22:41

sense to put them in a position

where they are not increasing their

0:22:410:22:44

carbon footprint by giving them the

option to fly closer to home.

The

0:22:440:22:48

First Minister knows that is pure

sophistry. There is another aspect

0:22:480:22:51

which is worth considering. He will

have seen that Monsieur Barnier, in

0:22:510:22:55

his latest pronouncement about

Britain's future trading relations

0:22:550:23:01

with Europe said a couple of days

ago, there will be no ambitious

0:23:010:23:06

partnership without fair

competition, state aid and tax

0:23:060:23:08

dumping. Of course, tax dumping is

the way that French politicians

0:23:080:23:15

referred to tax competition between

nations and they are very much

0:23:150:23:17

against it. The whole trend of the

European Union is to harmonise taxes

0:23:170:23:21

so that there is no possibility to

do what the Irish have done in

0:23:210:23:23

relation to corporation tax, giving

them a significant benefit to their

0:23:230:23:27

economy. Does the First Minister not

see that leaving the EU does give us

0:23:270:23:34

the freedoms that we in Wales could

use to increase the output of the

0:23:340:23:42

Welsh economy and provide the Welsh

government with more money to

0:23:420:23:44

provide the other good public

services that we want?

That is a

0:23:440:23:49

naive approach, because as he knows,

if we are looking to export to

0:23:490:23:53

market and those markets feel that

we have unfettered competition, they

0:23:530:23:56

will impose tariffs against us. It

is not as if the UK has a free hand

0:23:560:24:00

in all this. The UK is a

medium-sized country. It is not in a

0:24:000:24:06

position to dictate terms of trade

to others. I refer him to what Aston

0:24:060:24:10

Martin said that we, that they hard

Brexit would cause them to stop

0:24:100:24:14

manufacturing cars. These are not my

words, they are the words of a

0:24:140:24:18

company which is a significant

employer in Wales and I suspect we

0:24:180:24:21

will see more of that, which is why

we need to understand where the UK

0:24:210:24:25

Government is, and we need to see

their plan. We are not in a position

0:24:250:24:29

where businesses can see that there

is a way forward by the new year,

0:24:290:24:33

and then I fear we will start seeing

negative announcement as far as the

0:24:330:24:37

economy of Britain is concerned.

What action will be Welsh government

0:24:370:24:45

take to increase the supply of new

houses during the fifth assembly

0:24:450:24:50

term?

House-building in Wales is a

priority for this government,

0:24:500:24:53

reflected by our 20,000 affordable

homes target. Statistics show an

0:24:530:24:57

increasing trend in the number of

new homes being completed, which we

0:24:570:25:00

will continue to support with our

successful programmes.

Last year,

0:25:000:25:09

the home builders Federation stated

that poor planning and the higher

0:25:090:25:13

cost associated with building homes

in Wales has compromised investment.

0:25:130:25:20

Now house-builders expressed concern

that the lack of detail over the

0:25:200:25:26

potential tax and vegan development

land could further discourage

0:25:260:25:32

investors from developing Wales.

Does the First Minister agree that

0:25:320:25:39

increasing the regulation on

house-builders will not increase the

0:25:390:25:42

supply of new homes that Wales

desperately needs?

If he is talking

0:25:420:25:47

about the sprinklers, can I remind

him that his own party didn't oppose

0:25:470:25:51

the introduction of the sprinklers

legislation. We always look to

0:25:510:25:56

strike a balance between appropriate

regulation... He was in a different

0:25:560:26:01

party at the time, that is correct.

So I have to revise the point I

0:26:010:26:06

made. He supported the sprinklers

regulation, I believe. We look to

0:26:060:26:12

drag a balance between appropriate

regulation when encouraging

0:26:120:26:14

house-building. We have made sure we

are not losing council houses

0:26:140:26:18

through them being sold, to make

sure they are kept in the public

0:26:180:26:23

housing stock. We have made sure

that there are options available for

0:26:230:26:25

people to buy houses that they would

not otherwise have. We have a good

0:26:250:26:30

record on housing and we are on

track to meet our target.

It is

0:26:300:26:37

important to address housing need, I

would argue, more than housing

0:26:370:26:41

demand. Housing need is the people

on lowest incomes who are not

0:26:410:26:46

recognised on the demand curve.

Local development plans hopelessly

0:26:460:26:49

failed to address housing need and

instead deliver expensive executive

0:26:490:26:54

accommodation in areas like

Caerphilly in my constituency. They

0:26:540:26:59

don't deliver affordable housing.

Will the First Minister accept that

0:26:590:27:03

more needs to be done to deliver

affordable housing and work with

0:27:030:27:08

local authorities and social

landlords to deliver it in the

0:27:080:27:12

northern reaches of communities that

I represent, and recognise that LBPs

0:27:120:27:19

are failing to do that?

Well, LDPs

have to be up-to-date. If a local

0:27:190:27:29

authority has a development plan

where the five-year housing supply

0:27:290:27:32

is no longer relevant, it is

important that there is a good

0:27:320:27:37

development plan in place. But it is

important to have a proper balance

0:27:370:27:42

between houses and the availability

of housing according to what people

0:27:420:27:46

can afford. That is why local

authorities can retain the money and

0:27:460:27:54

build new council homes. We have the

affordable housing grant, which

0:27:540:28:03

looks to help people to buy or get

accommodation that is affordable.

0:28:030:28:11

And of course, making sure people

don't become homeless in the first

0:28:110:28:14

place. We have to be successful in

that. But it is right that local

0:28:140:28:22

authorities should be aware of the

development plans and the need to

0:28:220:28:25

secure the right balance of housing.

It can't all be housing at one end

0:28:250:28:29

of the market, that is true.

I would

like to make a statement on cyclist

0:28:290:28:34

safety.

We have allocated thousands

of pounds to local authorities to

0:28:340:28:42

deliver cycle training to 15,000

people. We are also working with the

0:28:420:28:47

Department for Transport to review

the national standards for cycle

0:28:470:28:49

training over the next few months.

It is road safety week this week,

0:28:490:28:56

and we would commend all measures to

promote road safety. We in south

0:28:560:29:00

Wales also unfortunately have to

reflect on two fatal accidents in

0:29:000:29:04

October and we send our condolences

to the families of the victims. I

0:29:040:29:09

wonder if it is now time for a much

more integrated and ambitious

0:29:090:29:12

approach to these matters along the

lines that we see in the

0:29:120:29:17

Netherlands, Germany and Denmark,

where you have 20 mile an hour zones

0:29:170:29:21

in urban areas in much greater use,

clear designation of off-road and on

0:29:210:29:25

road bicycle paths, priority traffic

signals in key places. We really

0:29:250:29:32

need to have a joined up approach to

this important matter.

I agree. One

0:29:320:29:38

of the incidents he refers to

happened not long ago when I was

0:29:380:29:41

travelling on the same road. I

didn't see it. It is right to say

0:29:410:29:48

that great care needs to be taken

when cyclists and cars used the same

0:29:480:29:51

road. Colours of course have the

prime responsibility, to my mind, to

0:29:510:30:00

consider the safety of cyclists --

cars have the prime responsibility.

0:30:000:30:03

That said, if we are to encourage

more people to cycle, there will

0:30:030:30:09

always be people who are too nervous

to cycle in traffic. There are some

0:30:090:30:13

who are not, but others will say, I

would like to recycle more, but I am

0:30:130:30:17

not keen with mixing with cars on

the road. That is why we need

0:30:170:30:21

dedicated cycle lights. We have the

active travel infrastructure and we

0:30:210:30:28

are making funding available to

local authorities

0:30:280:30:31

are making funding available to

local authorities. There as the

0:30:310:30:32

active travel guidance to provide

clear standards that the

0:30:320:30:34

infrastructure must meet. We will be

updating the guidance to incorporate

0:30:340:30:38

best practice and the Cabinet

Secretary will make announcements

0:30:380:30:43

soon on the local transport fund for

the coming financial year.

0:30:430:30:49

Can he Rathbone.

I am delighted that

you mentioned the guidance because

0:30:490:30:56

it has been lauded by the Welshman

is a government -- Westminster

0:30:560:31:02

government. We have got these

excellent design guidance but what

0:31:020:31:06

monitoring has the Welsh Government

and of how much attention local

0:31:060:31:10

authorities are paying to the design

guidance when they are delivering

0:31:100:31:14

the active travel bans that they

need to deliver in order to address

0:31:140:31:18

some of the issues that David

Melding has raised around combating

0:31:180:31:21

the levels of accidents that happen

particularly at junctions.

Local

0:31:210:31:26

authorities must comply with the law

but as part of the updating of the

0:31:260:31:30

guidance that will take place, as

part of that guidance, we will have

0:31:300:31:38

an idea of what has been happening

around Wales in order for the

0:31:380:31:41

guidance to be strengthened. The

member is absolutely right to say

0:31:410:31:46

that we have the act in place but it

is important that it is observed and

0:31:460:31:49

there is still a great deal of scope

in many of our city and town centres

0:31:490:31:54

to do more when it comes to cycle

lanes, particularly. That is

0:31:540:31:58

something we will be considering.

Gareth Bennett.

There are issues of

0:31:580:32:05

cyclist safety, as have been raised

by the last two members, and we do

0:32:050:32:11

need to make steps to encourage safe

cycling. Unfortunately, when

0:32:110:32:15

cyclists come off the road and onto

the pavement, they can also become a

0:32:150:32:20

danger to pedestrians. In

Peterborough, the councils are

0:32:200:32:25

currently issuing notices which are

public space protection orders to

0:32:250:32:27

stop dangerous cyclists. 1000

cyclists have been fined in three

0:32:270:32:33

months. We do have powers to issue

these orders in Wales as well.

0:32:330:32:38

Should we encourage Welsh councils

to use similar notices to tackle the

0:32:380:32:42

growing problem of dangerous

cycling?

This is something I know

0:32:420:32:47

the UK Government is considering.

The current law dates back to the

0:32:470:32:52

furious driving of horses and carts

in Victorian times which has not

0:32:520:32:54

been updated. I do get concerned. It

is important for us to understand

0:32:540:33:01

that just like most drivers, most

cyclists are responsible cyclists

0:33:010:33:06

who are well illuminated as well at

night. But I have seen cyclists on

0:33:060:33:11

pavements, I have seen people

cycling at night with no lights and

0:33:110:33:15

they are invisible practically.

There is nothing on them that could

0:33:150:33:18

identify them to cars. I think what

is hugely important is that we

0:33:180:33:22

continue to emphasise that for

cyclists' own safety, it is

0:33:220:33:27

important that they have lights on

at night, they don't wear it

0:33:270:33:30

entirely dark clothing so they

cannot be seen, for their own safety

0:33:300:33:34

and to enable cars to see them. But

we are talking about a small

0:33:340:33:38

minority of people. There is a duty

on car drivers to consider the

0:33:380:33:42

safety of cyclists but it is

important as well that cyclists take

0:33:420:33:46

steps to ensure that they can be

seen.

Mark Isherwood.

How is the

0:33:460:33:53

Welsh Government maximising the use

of preventative services to help

0:33:530:33:56

vulnerable groups in Wales?

Prosperity for all sets out our

0:33:560:34:00

commitment to strong and safe

communities that protect and support

0:34:000:34:04

the vulnerable. What we look to do

is to tackle inequality and support

0:34:040:34:08

vulnerable people.

Housing related

support funded through the

0:34:080:34:17

supporting people programme and

delivered through the housing

0:34:170:34:19

associations and third sector bodies

has been improving lives and saving

0:34:190:34:24

significant sums for statutory

sector providers, health boards,

0:34:240:34:28

local authorities, for many years.

In your deal on the draft Bridget

0:34:280:34:33

with Plaid Cymru, you agreed you

would ring fence the funding for two

0:34:330:34:40

years, the £124 million, but a

letter to a local authority Chief

0:34:400:34:44

executives on the 24th of October

revealed that seven local

0:34:440:34:46

authorities will be given 100%

spending flexibility and the other

0:34:460:34:52

15 15% spending Flex ability across

supporting people and for other

0:34:520:34:56

non-housing related grants. How do

you respond to concerns that this

0:34:560:35:01

effectively removes the ring fence

in 2018-19, meaning that supporting

0:35:010:35:07

people funding is not guaranteed to

be protected at these levels and the

0:35:070:35:12

lack of existing budget line for

supporting people gives no

0:35:120:35:16

assurances that the funding will be

protected in 2019-20.

We expect

0:35:160:35:22

local authorities to comply with the

law and the housing Wales at says

0:35:220:35:27

that local authorities have a duty

to prevent homelessness and by and

0:35:270:35:32

large they have performed well in

lamenting that legislation. Progress

0:35:320:35:36

has not been as consistent as we

would like and we will continue to

0:35:360:35:39

monitor progress to make sure that

some progress continues in the

0:35:390:35:47

future.

Can I also support the

importance of preventative services

0:35:470:36:00

but across all of our public

services. For example, in one local

0:36:000:36:07

health board they have been piloting

free health checks for the over 50s

0:36:070:36:11

and as a result they are picking up

early signals of health problems

0:36:110:36:15

that allows for cost inventive

preventative actions. Will the First

0:36:150:36:20

Minister agreed that this type of

work is vital to improving our

0:36:200:36:24

health and wider public services as

well as ensuring the most effective

0:36:240:36:27

youth of public funds?

It is hugely

important we are able to do that. I

0:36:270:36:33

hear from the Conservative benches

that is not enough but after several

0:36:330:36:38

years of austerity they are no

position to criticise. If they are

0:36:380:36:43

so concerned about increasing

funding in every single area,

0:36:430:36:46

perhaps they could prevail on their

colleagues in the UK Government to

0:36:460:36:49

provide more money or to provide the

£1.67 billion equivalent that

0:36:490:36:54

Northern Ireland has had. They are

in no position to complain given

0:36:540:36:57

they are so ineffective at lobbying

their own colleagues in Westminster.

0:36:570:37:04

Will the First Minister make a

statement on the Welsh Government's

0:37:040:37:07

International policy.

The focus of

our international work is to create

0:37:070:37:11

a more prosperous and sustainable

Wales.

He is aware of my view that

0:37:110:37:20

there needs to be a new competitive

international policy for Wales that

0:37:200:37:24

income is everything from trade to

international development and I

0:37:240:37:27

believe that there are many lessons

we can learn from other substate

0:37:270:37:29

nations. I know he is reluctant to

do so at the moment because of the

0:37:290:37:34

ongoing uncertainty around our

separation from the European Union

0:37:340:37:40

but doesn't he agreed that as a

first step to a new copper rancid

0:37:400:37:44

international policy for Wales we

need to ascertain our country's

0:37:440:37:47

global reputation. -- a new

all-encompassing international

0:37:470:38:02

policy. Will the First Minister to

see Wales included on the global

0:38:020:38:07

brand indexed so that we have a

first step in to ascertaining our

0:38:070:38:11

global reputation that could then

inform the future policy of our

0:38:110:38:19

country.

We are not waiting to see

what happens with Brexit Indians of

0:38:190:38:23

developing our international policy.

We know we need to increase our

0:38:230:38:27

staff presence abroad, working with

the UK Government to ensure that we

0:38:270:38:31

can work with them. But I know that

we will need to increase our

0:38:310:38:35

presence in different countries

around the world and that work is

0:38:350:38:39

ongoing. I hope to be in a position

to make an announcement about that

0:38:390:38:42

in the very near future. Regarding

the brands index, we have taken part

0:38:420:38:49

in that survey in the past. It is

expensive. The question was, what

0:38:490:38:55

does it deliver for us? What I will

do is write to the member with more

0:38:550:39:01

details to inform you of the

reasoning of that decision in order

0:39:010:39:05

for him to understand why that

decision was taken and whether there

0:39:050:39:08

is scope to look at rejoining the

index at some point in the future.

0:39:080:39:13

Russell George.

I have just heard

your previous response. Do you agree

0:39:130:39:21

with me that we ought to be looking

at appointing trade envoys to boost

0:39:210:39:26

exports to countries outside of the

EU and that will of course raise

0:39:260:39:32

Wales' commercial presence and

international profile.

We look to

0:39:320:39:37

trade with any country we can around

the world within reason. But the

0:39:370:39:41

reality is that most effective

market is the European single market

0:39:410:39:46

and that can't be replaced

overnight. We constantly expect to

0:39:460:39:49

export dairy produce to the US

because of the issues that exist

0:39:490:39:53

there, nor should we try and ignore

our biggest market which is on our

0:39:530:39:58

doorstep. But it doesn't mean we are

not proactive in developing markets

0:39:580:40:02

elsewhere. The Middle East is one

example. The very fact that working

0:40:020:40:06

with the airport we have established

a link to the Ohio from next year,

0:40:060:40:10

the fact that we have been working

to gain investment from Middle

0:40:100:40:15

Eastern countries, we have a

situation where Welsh lamb is the

0:40:150:40:22

market leader in the United Arab

Emirates, something that I and the

0:40:220:40:26

Presiding Officer would fall for

that to happen. It is not the case

0:40:260:40:30

that we only focus on Europe but

Europe is our most important market

0:40:300:40:34

by far. It is not realistic to think

it can be replaced by anything else

0:40:340:40:37

in the short term.

Vikki Howells.

How is the Welsh Government

0:40:370:40:44

prioritising support for mental

health services in the name two

0:40:440:40:47

during this Assembly term?

It is one

of five priorities specifically

0:40:470:40:53

included in Prosperity for All. We

have provided an additional £40

0:40:530:40:58

million for mental health services

over the next two years. I am really

0:40:580:41:02

glad that quoting deliberate --...

We have the highest percentage of

0:41:020:41:16

people taking antidepressant

medication. I recently met with an

0:41:160:41:23

organisation that I have been

championing since I was elected as

0:41:230:41:26

Assembly Member for name two and

they are carrying out a pilot based

0:41:260:41:33

on offering alternatives to

medication but they are concerned

0:41:330:41:35

that funding for the project will

not be carried forward. Can the

0:41:350:41:39

Welsh Government commit to continue

funding for this project for an

0:41:390:41:42

adequate period to enable it to

promote a non-medication

0:41:420:41:45

alternatives. I can say that I do

understand that the health board is

0:41:450:41:52

working collaboratively with the

programme and my officials are in

0:41:520:41:58

discussions with the health board

over its ongoing work with the

0:41:580:42:02

programme. I hope that a resolution

can be achieved soon.

David Melding.

0:42:020:42:08

I was very pleased to hear that

Health Secretary, Cabinet Secretary

0:42:080:42:13

and Education Secretary announced

additional investment for services

0:42:130:42:18

in schools. I hope we will see some

of this benefit in places like

0:42:180:42:22

Aberdare.

Every secondary school has

a school counsellor but there is a

0:42:220:42:30

reluctance among some to go and see

that counsellor for fear that others

0:42:300:42:35

will find out. I think that is an

issue that... I am aware that that

0:42:350:42:40

is an issue. So being able to extend

the reach of services beyond its

0:42:400:42:48

traditional areas to do preventative

work is hugely important. Given the

0:42:480:42:54

pressures that teenagers are under,

when I was a teenager, what I

0:42:540:42:58

happened at school didn't follow you

at night to your home, but it does

0:42:580:43:02

now. I have seen it. The stuff on

social media. That is why it is so

0:43:020:43:07

important that we have a system in

place which is needed to provide

0:43:070:43:12

teenagers with support in school and

outside.

Will the First Minister

0:43:120:43:19

make a statement on local

development plans in North Wales?

0:43:190:43:23

There are five local development

plans that have been adopted in

0:43:230:43:28

North Wales and we expect two other

authorities, Wrexham and Flintshire,

0:43:280:43:32

to adopt their plans by the year

2020.

It is five years since the

0:43:320:43:38

planning Inspectorate insisted that,

or rather rejected Wrexham's bid and

0:43:380:43:44

told Denbighshire and Connolly that

they weren't sufficient housing in

0:43:440:43:50

their development plans. That

decision was based on the population

0:43:500:43:54

forecasts of the government but now,

of course, the sensors has

0:43:540:43:58

demonstrated that those projections

were erroneous and that we didn't

0:43:580:44:04

need to increase the number of

houses in those plans. The original

0:44:040:44:08

LDP was quite close to the mark in

terms of the numbers but the cost of

0:44:080:44:12

having to redo the LDP in Wrexham

alone has been over £200,000. So who

0:44:120:44:19

in your view should be compensating

Wrexham Council for that process for

0:44:190:44:22

forcing them to return and rerun a

process that was clearly

0:44:220:44:30

unnecessary, a complete waste of

time.

Well, there is a process

0:44:300:44:35

which, according to the law, has to

be followed. If I remember rightly

0:44:350:44:40

it is possible for local authorities

to bring their own figures forward

0:44:400:44:43

as regards to housing. If they

believe the target they have been

0:44:430:44:49

set by Welsh Government is

inaccurate. I believe that is still

0:44:490:44:55

true now. But Wrexham is in a

position, if I understand the

0:44:550:45:00

situation properly, where they are

targeting 2019 for the adoption of

0:45:000:45:09

that plan. It is important that they

do adopt the plans.

We have got

0:45:090:45:16

issues in Aberconwy now as a result

of your government's policy as

0:45:160:45:21

regards to this, where planning

officers are actually interpreting

0:45:210:45:25

that it has much stronger weightings

than any other of the tans. It is

0:45:250:45:32

not even in our LDP, some of the

land, and it is making a mockery of

0:45:320:45:36

the town council depositing its

money with the Welsh Government.

0:45:360:45:41

Will you look at this because it

really is impacting on our few

0:45:410:45:44

remaining greenfield sites. Frankly,

developers are looking to be able to

0:45:440:45:51

land bank, to the detriment of our

local communities. We haven't got

0:45:510:45:55

the health services or the education

facilities. The whole thing is a

0:45:550:46:00

fiasco and I would ask you, as your

responsibility as First Minister, to

0:46:000:46:05

really look at this and provide this

chamber with some ways forward.

Tan

0:46:050:46:13

one is being looked at the moment.

These are matters largely for the

0:46:130:46:16

council.

Tell your planning

Inspectorate that.

The council isn't

0:46:160:46:27

obliged to give planning permission.

They have to take responsibility

0:46:270:46:31

themselves for the decision they

take. However, she did mention tan

0:46:310:46:35

one and the Minister informs me that

it is being examined at the moment.

0:46:350:46:39

Paul Davies.

Will the Minister

outline what the Welsh Government is

0:46:390:46:46

doing to support the agriculture

industry in Pembrokeshire? For

0:46:460:46:54

example, thousands of people in

temperature are signed up to Farming

0:46:540:47:02

Commence -- Farming Connect to learn

more about the environmental

0:47:020:47:05

performance of their businesses. We

would still urge the United Kingdom

0:47:050:47:09

government to make sure they will

not be any barriers to the ability

0:47:090:47:13

of the farmers of Pembridge and

selling in the single market.

One

0:47:130:47:18

way to support the agriculture

industry in temperature is not to...

0:47:180:47:24

Given the negative impact that such

a quality could have on the

0:47:240:47:28

agriculture industry, can you give

us an update on Welsh Government

0:47:280:47:33

plans for nitrate vulnerable zones

in Wales and can you confirm that a

0:47:330:47:37

statement on this issue will be made

to this chamber and when will that

0:47:370:47:41

happen?

There were very many

representations made. Over 2500.

0:47:410:47:55

Sorry, over 250. I apologise. They

are very detailed and a summary of

0:47:550:48:01

all those will be published. The

review of this is statutory under

0:48:010:48:09

the nitrates directive. Of course,

that has to be considered in the

0:48:090:48:16

context of pollution as well so

striking the balance is what's vital

0:48:160:48:20

here and we must ensure that

everything that is done ensures that

0:48:200:48:26

we do strike that balance between

reducing pollution and of course

0:48:260:48:31

ensuring that any changes are not

excessive.

Simon Thomas.

Your

0:48:310:48:40

Cabinet Secretary for finance and

local government told the external

0:48:400:48:44

affairs committee yesterday that you

were close to agreeing a framework

0:48:440:48:51

for agriculture as we exit the

European Union. Farmers in

0:48:510:48:55

temperature and elsewhere will be

very interested in understanding

0:48:550:48:58

what that framework is and what that

agreement entails. When will we hear

0:48:580:49:03

those details rather than just

rumours in the committee?

Well, once

0:49:030:49:09

the framework is in place, I will

announce it to the Assembly. It is

0:49:090:49:13

no secret what our position as a

government is, namely that the

0:49:130:49:17

powers should come to the rightful

place, namely disassembly. And,

0:49:170:49:23

secondly, nothing should change

without an agreement to change. And,

0:49:230:49:28

thirdly, we must ensure the same

amount of money is available to make

0:49:280:49:32

the payments as at present is and

they should be made to the Welsh

0:49:320:49:35

Government in the same way as at

present. It would not be right if

0:49:350:49:40

those payments came through the

Barnett Formula. It would be a huge

0:49:400:49:44

cut to the budget. That is the

stance we have taken and that is the

0:49:440:49:48

stars that has steered us through

these discussions.

Thank you, First

0:49:480:49:52

Minister.

0:49:520:49:54

There we are, that was

First Minister's Questions.

0:49:540:49:56

Don't forget about the latest

edition of our new political

0:49:560:49:58

programme, Wales Live.

0:49:580:50:00

That's tomorrow evening over

on BBC One Wales at 10:30pm.

0:50:000:50:03

If you want more coverage

of the National Assembly

0:50:030:50:05

you can go online

to BBC Wales news' page.

0:50:050:50:09

But that's it for First

Minister's Questions.

0:50:090:50:12

From all of us on the

programme, goodbye.

0:50:120:50:15

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