Full coverage of AM's questions to the first minister from the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.
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Hello, welcome to the programme
and our weekly coverage of questions to the First Minister.
Assembly members gathered earlier than usual today to hear
a statement on the attack in Manchester last night
and to pay tribute to
the former First Minister Rhodri Morgan, who died last week.
The Assembly then returned to its normal business with questions
on health, the economy and rail services amongst other topics.
Don't forget, we are @walespolitics on Twitter.
You can find out all you need to know about Welsh politics there,
but for now, let's cross to the Siambr for today's questions
to the First Minister.
Questions now to the First Minister, and the first question is
from Paul Davies.
-TRANSLATION FROM WELSH:
What is the Welsh government doing to improve health services
in Pembrokeshire over the next 12 months?
-Well, our priority is to provide the people
of Pembrokeshire with health services
that deliver the best possible outcomes for patients.
First Minister, it's important that we do improve
health services in Pembrokeshire over the next 12 months to start
to tackle obesity because, unfortunately, obesity rates
in the Hywel Dda University Health Board
have increased as compared to other health boards.
Now, I accept that the Assembly passed
a Public Health Wales Bill recently
which will assist in tackling
the problems of obesity, but can you tell us what specific steps
the Welsh government intends to introduce in the next 12 months
in order to start to tackle obesity problems?
Well, of course, we have considered this previously and it's fair
to say that there is more yet to be done,
we want to build on that basis in order to ensure that
strategies are put in place to deal with this problem.
It's not just the problem in Wales but in
every wealthy country in Western Europe,
and of course, it's arising too in countries
where it hasn't been seen previously.
First Minister, you know that the people of Pembrokeshire are
very eager to return to a situation where paediatric services are
available in Withybush during the night-time hours and that
they are available 24/7.
There's a petition to be presented to the Assembly to that end.
Just for clarity,
do you agree that that is the ideal position we should aim towards
and do you, as a government, have a timetable for achieving that?
Well, what's important, of course, is that services are secure.
Where services have been amended, and the Royal colleges have said
that that is something that should have been done
then we support that as a government, but, having said that,
we must ensure that every service that can be delivered at Withybush
is available in the hospital, but it doesn't mean to say that
everything that people would wish to see
has to be there, but we must ensure that the whole services are secure.
What support is the Welsh government giving to the North Wales economy?
We continue to support economic development across
the whole of Wales by helping businesses to grow
and investing in high-quality infrastructure and improving
-economic development conditions.
At the CBI North Wales dinner a week ago last Thursday,
of course your colleague Ken Skates attended alongside some
other members, we heard that the North Wales growth deal bid was
nearing completion and then ready to go to UK government
and obviously Welsh government.
When the UK government first made the growth bid offer,
it said it would be looking to work with the Welsh government to
devolve powers down, and in his stakeholders' update in April,
the Chief Executive of Flintshire Council, who's leading the team
putting together the bid for the six North Wales councils,
said ambitions for devolved powers to be granted to
the region include transport function,
strategic land-use planning,
business innovation, advisory functions,
careers advice and taxation,
by which he means devolve taxation of powers,
all powers which were within the gift
or otherwise of Welsh government.
How will your government be responding to this call?
Well, "carefully," I think is the word that I would use.
Firstly, if we look at business rates, if they were to be devolved
to local authorities then 17 of the 22 local authorities would lose out.
So we must be careful that we don't see that situation arise.
We will look to devolve powers to appropriate bodies where we can,
it's fair to say that not all local authorities are able to
exercise those powers effectively.
We want local authorities to work in regional bodies, but we are
fully committed to the growth bid and of course we will work
with the UK government in order to take that bid forward.
Since being elected a year ago, I've not only wanted to serve
my own constituency but also to be a strong voice for the whole of
north-east Wales, and I'm pleased that in the past 12 months
we've witnessed much Welsh government investment in
my own constituency alone from Flint Castle to Theatr Clwyd,
to support for local businesses, but alongside major proposals to improve
our infrastructure across the whole of North Wales.
Does the First Minister agree with me that what the people
and communities of North Wales need is action
and not just words,
and further reassure us in North Wales that the Welsh government
remains committed to investing and supporting our region?
Very much so. I mean, work is already underway of course to help
to deliver the project,
we announced the £20 million fund to establish an advanced
manufacturing and research institutes, supporting key employers
like Airbus, we've announced plans of course to
invest more than £200 million in the A55/A494 corridor,
we've committed £50 million to take forward the first phase of
the North East Wales Metro, and of course backing
a little further west for the third crossing of the Menai.
That's in addition to a million of the funding to develop
a new business hub in Wrexham supporting 100 new businesses.
-I now call questions from the party leaders,
first of all Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood.
First Minister, people across Wales
are grieving for those in Manchester
and further afield following the horrific events last night.
I would like to pass on my condolences and solidarity
with everyone affected.
The senseless violence and the fact that there are children
and young people among the victims
has left the whole of the UK devastated.
I know you made a statement earlier on, but can you place on record
all of our appreciation for the men and the women of
the emergency services and all of those people
who have worked overnight and today
to treat the wounded and to help those get to safety.
It's worth reiterating in my view how much our public service workers
-are valued at a difficult time like this.
-Very much so.
I'm sure that the entire chamber was supportive of what I said
earlier on and indeed what the leader of Plaid Cymru has said.
There are always exercises to deal with...
To look at how attacks like this can be dealt with, but when it
actually happens then of course the system is tested
very rigorously, and certainly,
what we have seen from the emergency services, what we have seen
from the hospitals, what we have seen from the community,
shows the level of resilience even in the face of tragedy.
Thank you for that answer, First Minister.
And while the facts as to who is responsible are still being
established, we know that attacks like this can put
enormous strain upon community relations in Welsh cities
as well as in other parts of the UK.
One of the objectives of extremists,
aside from harming innocent people, is to divide communities.
They want to make people fearful and suspicious of each other
so that they can profit from alienation and division.
The real story is of people of all backgrounds and faiths -
emergency workers, taxi drivers -
coming together to face down those extremists.
Will you reiterate today, First Minister,
that none of us here will let terrorists divide our communities?
Absolutely not. Extremists only represent themselves.
A very small number of people with a worldview that is intolerant
and is driven to violence.
They are happy to murder people of all religions or none, they are
happy to murder young people who are doing nothing more than going out
for a night out. It's too early to say of course the extent
of what surrounded the events of last night, the police are
still investigating, and it is important
that there is no speculation in order
for those investigations to be carried forward.
But, make no mistake,
whoever carried out the attacks of last night represented
only themselves and a very small group of people around them.
They can never represent an entire community.
Diolch yn fawr, First Minister, I'm sure that message will be
appreciated by many communities throughout Wales and beyond.
It's important, First Minister,
that everyone remains calm and that we don't change the way we live
our lives in the face of this senseless and tragic violence.
People are planning to visit our capital city in the coming weeks
and need further reassurance.
Can you update the Assembly on the security preparations for
major events such as the Champions League final in Cardiff on June 3rd?
Yes, I touched on this in the conversation I had
with the deputy national security adviser.
The security arrangements for the Champions League final are robust.
I met with a number of the organisations involved last week
for the final time, including Gold Command,
all the preparations are in place in terms of communications,
in terms of security. Members, and indeed,
members of the public will see over the course of the next
few days the arrangements being put in place in order
that people can come to our capital city to enjoy themselves
and be left with a favourable impression.
We know there are some people who would not wish that to be so,
and anything that can be learned from the events of the last 24 hours
will be factored in to the security arrangements for
the Champions League final, but we are... This is the world we live in.
We are aware of what needs to be done in order to provide for
the security of the public when they come to our capital city,
and working with the police and other authorities,
that's exactly what we intend to do.
-Leader of the Opposition, Andrew RT Davies.
If I may, presiding officer, I will not take my three questions
today, given I think
we need to stand shoulder to shoulder and face down
this act of evil, this atrocity that happened in Manchester last night.
As a father, I cannot think of anything more horrific than
being separated from your children, separated from your loved ones
in the uncertain knowledge of what might have happened to them.
I, like many parents,
would have dropped my children off at events to meet at
a designated spot and they come back safely, and I can only offer
my love, my support, my condolence to each and every member
who has gone through a bereavement,
the injured in hospital, and tribute to the dedication of
the public services who responded so quickly and so professionally
to that atrocity, that act of evil that visited Manchester last night.
But I would like to put three points to you if I may, First Minister.
The First is what became evident today was
the amount of people that did go from North Wales to Manchester,
as on an everyday basis, attend events in Manchester.
On the radio this morning, many parents, many youngsters
who had attended that event.
There will be a requirement for help and support.
I don't know the destination of some of the bereaved,
or obviously the injured parties in the hospitals,
where they have come from, but I'm sure some of those individuals
will have come from North Wales, and I know it's early hours
and early days yet,
but what calibration, what work is the Welsh government doing
with the public services in North Wales to make sure
that help and support is there for the families in the education field,
but also in the health field
as well to make sure that no stone is left unturned when families
look for that support and look for that help from those services
in North Wales, and if extra resources are required,
I'm sure you would confirm this,
those extra resources will be made available to local authorities
and also to the health boards.
Secondly, as the leader of Plaid Cymru quite clearly identified,
we do have a major sporting event,
in the Champions League happening here,
the final in a little over ten days' time, but there are events
across the whole of Wales that happen on a day-to-day,
and it forced all of us to play our part to work
with the security services,
whether it be police or MI5 or any of the security services,
to make sure we can be the eyes and ears on the streets
and reporting what we see. But how can the Welsh government
distil down any information it has so that the public
can have confidence that they can
attend these events in the full knowledge
that every measure possible has been put in place to protect
the public and to allow democracy and our free society
to continue to function?
Because we must not be cowered by these acts of violence.
That is one thing that is quite critical and, thirdly,
what I'd like to just seek off the First Minister as we do
go forward is that any information that is available, and the
First Minister has indicated that he has received
a security briefing this morning,
and I presume that some of that information,
if not all of that information, might be confidential.
But, where information can be made available it is made available
in a timely manner to the public in Wales, to organisers
of events, so that again people can go about
their everyday lives and play the important role that we all
have to play in our great democracy of standing up against
these acts of evil that visited Manchester last night.
We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Manchester
and whatever happens, we will not be beaten by such atrocities.
I thank the leader of the Welsh Conservatives for his comments.
It is difficult for us in this chamber,
and the vast majority of people across the world to conceive
of a philosophy that holds that murdering young people
advances the cause of humanity.
How can we understand those thought processes?
But we know there are some, unfortunately, who hold
those views and there is, of course, a duty in all authorities to provide
as much protection as possible to the public against these people.
After the events in Tunisia, we did set up a helpline that looked
to provide signposting to counselling for people.
We will look to do the same thing
again in the aftermath of this event.
We are not aware of anybody who has been injured or killed
who comes from Wales as yet, nothing to indicate that,
but of course we will monitor the situation very, very closely.
One thing I think we do need to be careful of is not to
put people off coming to events.
He is right when he says that the last thing we should do is to modify
our behaviour and our beliefs for that matter
in the face of terrorism.
That's exactly what they want.
They want us to become more intolerant
so that we share their intolerance.
They want us to alter the way in which we exercise our freedom
and go to events, they see that as a victory.
What I can say to people is, of course we will be taking
further advice with regards to the Champions League.
But a lot of work's already been done
regarding security around the Champions League
and that work has been in train for many, many months,
as members would expect, given that it is an event of significant size.
In terms of information,
he has identified the issues.
Firstly, some information is shared
on what is essentially Privy Council basis - it's confidential.
Members will understand that
there is information that needs to be kept confidential
so as not to interfere with any police investigation,
but of course, where information is no longer sensitive
and where that information needs to be shared with the public
then that will happen at the appropriate time.
TRANSLATION: Leader of the Ukip group Neil Hamilton.
Can I congratulate the First Minister
on speaking so finely for us all in this Assembly
in his statement at the start of today's proceedings,
and to add my condolences and the condolences of my party,
all my members here
and members of the party in the country,
to those who have lost their lives
and been maimed in the horrible outrage in Manchester.
Er, I agree with the First Minister
that it is impossible for us to understand the mind-set of those
who are prepared to indiscriminately slaughter children
in the way that happened last night.
Not the first time in the Arndale Centre, of course,
in Manchester, where an event of this kind has occurred.
I was a Member of Parliament just a few miles away from
the centre of Manchester back in the 1990s -
we had a similar kind of outrage from, in those days, the IRA.
But, er, I'm sure the First Minister will agree with me
that the best way that a democratic society
can fight against such tendencies
is to carry on as normal so far as we can,
and for a democratic assembly like the National Assembly for Wales,,
whilst it is right that we should suspend
the party-political dogfight for today,
we're in the middle of an election campaign nationally as well
and the best act of defiance for us
is to continue to do what democratic societies do
and which totalitarian societies do not,
and that is to solve our differences by means of debate
rather than by the bomb and the bullet.
And so I have no further questions for the First Minister today,
but I'd like to express my solidarity with everyone else
who has spoken on what was going to be a sombre day for us in any event
because of tributes to Rhodri, but which has been
made immeasurably worse by the events of last night.
Can I thank the leader of Ukip for his comments?
One of the main purposes of acts such as this
is to make us more angry and more intolerant
in order to provoke an even greater reaction.
We do not need to do that. We are bigger than they are.
Today, the mood of the chamber is sombre, that's true,
and with good reason.
In the next few days, we'll get back to debate,
we'll get back to robust electioneering -
that's the nature of what we do.
But that is the essence of our democracy.
Robust debate and exchange of ideas
is what gives us the ability to see ourselves as a free society,
and the actions of last night were designed to close down
that which makes us a free society.
It is absolutely right to say that we should carry on.
Of course we have to be cautious when it comes to security,
and for people who visit not just Wales, but any other country,
they need to be assured that their security is paramount to us,
and I can say that is absolutely true as far as the Welsh government
and indeed the UK government is concerned.
I have children in the age range
of the majority of those who'd have been at that concert last night.
What exactly did they do to deserve to be injured or killed?
We can't answer that question.
The answer to that question
lies in a tormented, intolerant and dangerous mind,
and that was the mind, I believe,
of the perpetrator who carried out the attack last night.
But as I said, we can get above that.
The strongest message that we can send
to those who wish to terrorise our society
is that they cannot win.
And they cannot win because we will carry on enjoying our freedoms,
we will carry on enjoying
what we have built over many decades and centuries,
and we will never give way to their intolerance and their violence.
Cwestiwn tri, Steffan Lewis.
Question three, Steffan Lewis.
..rail network in the last financial year.
Every year the Welsh government provides £180 million
in franchise subsidy payments
and funding for additional services and rolling stock.
I thank the First Minister for his answer
and I declare an interest
that my sister's an employee of Network Rail.
I wonder if the First Minister can provide updated figures
on the amount of profit made by the current operator of that franchise.
I have figures for 2012
that show that that company made a profit of £13.6 million,
and of course as a company
that is entirely owned by the German government,
and bidding is under way for the next franchise,
I wonder if the First Minister can tell us
whether he remains committed to returning the rail network
to public ownership,
and if so, does he believe that an opportunity has been missed
in not using the "operator of last resort" provision
in order to bring it back into Welsh public ownership
as quickly as possible?
I do remain committed to that.
Unfortunately, of course, due to the provision in the Wales Act,
it's not an option open to us.
We have not been permitted to look at an arm's-length public body
being used to run the franchise.
Unlike in Scotland, you will know
that this is an issue where we share the same view
and something where we are in dispute with the UK government over.
As part of the franchising process next year
we expect to see the best value for money
delivered for Welsh customers,
and of course significant investment in rolling stock.
There are many people who use the Valleys lines
who are on rolling stock many, many decades old.
They deserve better than that, and we want to see that delivered
over the course of the next franchise period.
Er...it is a strange irony, is it not,
that Arriva Trains receives one of the highest subsidies
of any public train provider
and yet has just declared record profits.
I'm sure you, like me, would like to see a government
with a more rational approach
to the way we run our railways after June 8th,
but for now we have a UK government
that is unfortunately committed to insisting that the £125 million
that has been set aside to improve our rail services
must be spent on electrifying the Valleys lines
when all the experts are clear that light rail
is both more cost-effective
and will improve the journey times
in a way that electrification will not.
What do you think your government can do
to ensure that there is a much more rational approach
to the way we invest public money
to ensure that we get the gains that are needed
in the Metro system that we hope to deliver across south-east Wales?
Well, we have a curious system where a public subsidy of £180 million
is provided to a private company
who then make a profit of £40 million on top.
I mean, it's very difficult to justify that sort of level.
We weren't in charge of the franchise
when it was awarded last time around,
but it's very difficult to justify that to the public.
Of course, light rail is electrified.
There are different ways of doing it -
you don't have to have overhead cabling,
there are other means of doing that - but for me,
the core principle of the Metro
is that it should be extendable.
Yes, of course we have the core network in place at the moment,
but in time, the plan is to look at new routes
that are not currently served by heavy rail.
If we are serious about developing
the region around Cardiff and beyond,
then we have to make sure that people can travel
without having to get in their cars, thus causing greater congestion.
So that extendability, and also the mix of provision
that will be part, no doubt, of the Metro,
will provide that flexibility for the future as well.
First Minister, 60 years ago I would have been able to travel
from my village of Raglan in Monmouthshire
by rail to Cardiff.
That can't be done now because obviously we lost a lot of
the branch line rail network back in the '50s and '60s.
You've mentioned the need to make sure that the Metro is expandable
and that it reaches areas of South Wales
and the South Wales city region that it hasn't to date,
and wouldn't be able to at the moment.
Have you looked any more at the issue of a potential Metro hub
at the Celtic Manor, or in that area?
I have raised this in the past
with the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure.
I think if you looked at developing a hub at that point,
you could then have a very good core to build out from
into the rural areas around Newport and up in my neck of the woods
to make sure that everyone can benefit from the Metro.
Yes, I'm tempted to pull his leg and say, "Well, a Tory government
"closed down the railway line," but I'm not sure whether it was or not.
-But it was a long time ago.
-Not that one!
-What we do know...
-I think we share that.
-..is in the early '60s,
late '50s, early '60s, many lines were closed
by governments of either persuasion.
We also saw, of course, the closure of the Carmarthen/ Aberystwyth line
to passengers in '64 and to milk in 1973,
with the track being taken up very soon after.
A great tragedy, and something we could have...
profited from, in terms of being able to run a service
on that line at least as far as Strata Florida, er, now.
But, yes, I take his point. It is usually important
that areas of Wales that are not being served by any form of railway
should be served by...in the future, by a form of transport
that may include probably light rail rather than heavy rail.
We know of course in his constituency
that much of the former rail track going up to Monmouth
has been built over by the dual carriageway,
and the Celtic Manor is an important part of our plans
for the Metro. As I said, at the core of the Metro,
of thinking for the Metro,
is that the system should be flexible and extendable,
and that means looking at parts of Wales
that have not had a rail service for many, many years,
as much of his constituency has not had.
Cwestiwn pedwar, John Griffiths.
Question four, John Griffiths.
Er, excuse me, I'm temporarily embarrassed, I'm afraid.
I'll have to get that question up.
Yes. Er, will the First Minister provide an update on progress
with integrated transport in south-east Wales? Diolch yn fawr.
-I think you should thank Huw Irranca-Davies for that.
The National Transport Finance Plan is a live document
and it contains an ambitious programme of interventions
that are in varying stages of development.
We will update the plan periodically to reflect developments over time
and of course the changing profile of need across Wales.
Would you agree with me, First Minister,
that active travel must be an important part of
integrated transport in south-east Wales?
And now that local authorities are working out their integrated plans
for the future, the Welsh government
must continue to take a keen interest in those plans,
and make sure they fit with that wider integrated transport agenda?
The change that is happening - it's not yet happened
across every local authority -
the change that is happening at the moment
is that cycling and walking are seen as modes of transport
rather than means of recreation alone.
And we know that many of our cities are well-placed to deliver
cycle paths and cycle routes,
we know that the issue for many people who might cycle
is they don't want to be on the road with cars.
For the brave, yes, they do, I know that, and quite rightly so,
because they have every right to be on the road.
But the more we can develop cycle routes
that are physically separated from cars,
the more people we will attract, I believe, onto those routes
because they don't feel they have to compete with cars and lorries
on the road, and that's very much part, of course,
as he will know, of the Active Travel Act.
Following the very welcome abolition of the southern tolls
and we hope the construction of an M4 relief road,
does the First Minister agree with me
that the importance of rail as an alternative
to integrate with the road system only increases,
and does he welcome the decision of his Cabinet Secretary
that the Magor-Undy proposal for a new train station
should be taken forward as well as Llanwern and St Mellons
that are identified within the first 12,
as putting three new rail stations
on that route between Cardiff and the Severn
would transform the nature of the service.
I'm not sure the toll's actually been abolished yet,
but certainly that's something that we would welcome.
I always welcome statements made by my cabinet ministers,
and it's right to say that...
in different stages, we are looking at reopening lines
to the east of Cardiff and Newport area
that's not being well served by the rail network.
We know for example that the eastern part of the city of Cardiff
has been historically very poorly served.
There is a need to improve public transport links
to the eastern part of the city,
and the same applies, of course,
to settlements between Newport and the Severn Bridge.
We can't simply build roads.
We must make sure that as roads are improved and built,
that we also provide better public transport connections as well.
One of the harder things to achieve with public transport
is the travelcard that enables passengers to travel
on different types of transport.
Now, I know that your government is going to be involved with
negotiating the new rail franchises.
How much of a priority will be providing that kind of travelcard
form in your talks with the rail companies?
Well, there are two issues.
Firstly, it's trickier dealing with travelcard negotiations
at railway stations because there's more than one operator.
In terms of the Metro, it's essential that there is
an integrated Oyster-style travelcard available,
although even in London now, of course,
it's possible to travel simply by using a contactless debit card.
So actually, Oyster cards are now even less essential
than once they were for some people. Of course, they're important to
those who don't have access to contactless cards,
yes, they need them to travel,
but it is absolutely crucial
that the network of the south-east Wales Metro
has one card that covers all journeys within the Metro area,
otherwise, of course, it's not an integrated system.
TRANSLATION: Michelle Brown is not in the chamber to ask question five.
Question six, Hannah Blythyn.
Can the First Minister provide an update on how the Year of Legends
will benefit north-east Wales?
Yes. Our tourism strategy sets out our priorities
in supporting the tourism industry,
including capital development funding,
along with marketing and promotional opportunities.
We know that, er, the Year of Legends provides an opportunity
for us to build on that foundation.
Thank you, First Minister. As part of the Year of Legends
we are awaiting with great anticipation the winning design
for a new Welsh government-supported installation at Flint Castle.
I'm sure everybody in the community is looking forward to
this latest legend descending on the shores of the castle.
But there was another local legend of old
that the constituency, in particular the community of Mold,
are rightly proud of.
The Mold Gold Cape was found in 1833
by workmen quarrying for stone in a burial mound
and is currently part of the British Museum collection in London.
It previously left the British Museum
to be temporarily exhibited in Wrexham,
but it has never actually made it back to Mold
to be temporarily exhibited in the town
where it was found.
As we commemorate and celebrate the Year of Legends,
do you share with many of my constituents
that it would be great to see the gold cape returned
to be exhibited in the town where it was discovered?
Yes. The gold cape is famous.
I'm sure the people of Mold
would like to see the actual gold cape there,
rather than it being commemorated in the name of a pub.
It was in Wrexham.
The difficulty at the moment, of course,
is that there's nowhere in Mold for the cape to be exhibited.
And that is what needs to be resolved first.
In order for that to happen...
The local authority in Flintshire could look at taking leads
talking with us, as the Welsh Government,
to see what could be done
in order to provide a facility with the right atmosphere,
and in terms of the right security,
in order to provide a home for the gold cape,
even if temporary, in the years to come.
We're more than happy, of course, to work with the local authority
and with local people to see how we can move this forward
to bring the cape home, and for the people of Mold
to be able to see the cape in its hometown.
And a good question from the Member there
for us in North Wales.
First Minister, Visit Britain has launched
Where Stories Become Legends,
an international film tourism campaign
with Warner Bros to coincide with the release
of the King Arthur film,
parts of which were filmed in Snowdonia.
How is Visit Wales using the Year of Legends campaign
to collaborate on this,
and what future plans do you have to promote the region of North Wales,
home to some of the most dramatic and beautiful landscapes
in the world, that are available to the film industry
and its fans?
Well, King Arthur was a film, if I remember rightly,
we supported as a government.
A film that we took a stake in.
It's a film that, yes, it's been located in Wales
and also a film that, of course, has benefitted from, I believe,
post-production in Wales as well.
The Member has asked what we have done particularly for
the north of Wales.
I can say that just over £0.5 million has been made available
in this financial year for projects in the north.
So five projects via the Regional Tourism Engagement Fund,
totalling £0.25 million,
and a further £265,000 via the Tourism Product Innovation Fund
to support six projects across the north as well.
I can say, since April 2013,
the Tourism Investment Support Scheme
has made offers of funding to 48 businesses in the north,
totally nearly £8 million.
That's brought in additional investment of £12.5 million,
and assisted 551 jobs,
in terms of them being secured,
with another 433 jobs being created.
-Thank you. Whilst it's quite appropriate that we attract
people to celebrate and become aware of our legends and our story
in north-east Wales, to refer back to the question,
there is a significant market also
in the north-east of Wales,
and very often the local people don't appreciate
the history and the assets that we have in those areas.
May I ask, while this project encourages the whole of Wales,
shouldn't we do far more to work at a local level?
That worked with the National Trust,
in my days, the number of visitors increased significantly
and the number of people who were volunteering and taking
ownership of those assets which
strengthened the wider offer within north-east Wales.
-Well, it's true to say
that we never appreciate what's on our doorstep.
As regards the projects I've already alluded to,
many of those projects are working in order
to raise awareness of local history
by local residents, and a lot of work, of course, is being done by
voluntary organisations also, but, of course, it is vital that we
ensure that people know what's available
and have an interest in their own history,
so that they can act as ambassadors for their own areas and regions
and ensure that more people come and stay and spend money.
-Question seven, Russell George.
Will the First Minister make a statement
on access to GP legal services in Montgomeryshire?
We continue to work with the health board and other partners
in Wales to take a range of actions
to improve access to health care services
that are safe and sustainable and as close to people's homes as possible.
Thank you, First Minister. I've been contacted
by a parent who has been trying to arrange
for a simple medical examination
for her daughter at her local surgery in Newtown.
And this is a requirement in advance of her going abroad to study.
Now, the surgery has made the decision not to undertake any
further medicals of this nature due to the GP shortage.
Now, no other practices in the area are able to also offer this...
..appointment. The parent has even offered to pay.
My office has been in contact with
the local health board, who are also not able to offer any support.
So, as it stands, from my understanding, the only option
available now for this young lady to get the medical
that she needs to go and study abroad
is to pay for it privately and she would need to go...
The nearest area to do this would be somewhere in England.
So, one, I'd be grateful if you
could offer any advice to my constituent
and, two, if you could offer any update
on the shortage of GPs that we see, particularly in mid Wales
that is becoming, I'm sure you would agree,
also, more of a crisis that we have to deal with.
I don't understand the view taken by the GP practice.
What I don't know, of course...
I would invite to write to me, as well, of course, with more details.
But GPs don't provide every service for free.
Some services have always been paid for.
GPs are paid sometimes through the NHS.
For example, if they carry out blood tests.
Sometimes, of course, they charge the individual directly -
signing for things quite often.
So, I don't know whether this is a service that would routinely
be provided on the NHS or not, but he has raised the issue with me.
If he provides me with the details, I will of course respond.
-Question eight, Angela Burns.
Good afternoon, First Minister.
What is the Welsh government doing to promote
staff wellbeing within the Welsh public sector?
We do work closely with public sector employers
and trade unions to promote staff wellbeing
as an essential part of the delivery of good Welsh public services.
You will be aware that almost 8,000 staff members of the NHS in Wales
were affected by anxiety, stress, depression and a number of other
psychiatric illnesses in the year 2015/16,
and the trend appears to be the same going forward.
Aneurin Bevan health board created and filled
the post of Head of Employee Wellbeing,
and Adrian Neal and his colleagues are making great strides
forward in reducing staff absence and improving employee morale.
But, First Minister, this wellbeing position
is not filled in all the Welsh health boards.
Some created the post and then
decided to remove it for budgetary reasons.
Others have got the post, but they are vacant -
again, for budgetary reasons.
Given the scale of the challenge that we face
and how difficult it is to recruit people into the Welsh NHS,
I wondered if you might be able to
outline what plans you could have to rectify this issue.
Well, a health and wellbeing programme board
has been established, which oversees the programme
and the collaborative agenda of NHS Wales in respect of
improving staff health and wellbeing
and reducing levels of sickness and absence.
All NHS organisations have achieved
or are working towards the corporate health standard.
So we would expect all NHS boards to achieve that standard
and provide the right level of support to staff,
particularly with regards to their own mental health.
Question nine, Nathan Craig.
Thank you. First Minister,
would you make a statement please on the North Wales growth deal?
Yes, we'll continue to press the case for
a North Wales growth bid with the UK government,
the reference by the Chancellor to the North Wales growth bid
in his recent budget, which seems some time ago now,
is a positive step forward and we trust
the UK government will maintain that commitment.
Thank you, First Minister.
A key part of the North Wales growth deal is Wylfa Newydd,
the nuclear power plant which will be built on Anglesey,
which will create many well-paid jobs, highly skilled,
not just on Anglesey but throughout the whole of North Wales.
Now, having read through the Labour Party manifesto,
there is clear support for our nuclear energy sector.
But just days before the general election was called,
the Labour Shadow Chancellor vowed to end nuclear power as part
of a Labour government's first 100 days in office.
Now it is well known, of course,
about the fact that Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of
the Labour Party, has for many years opposed nuclear power.
Could you take this opportunity to not only clarify yourself
and your government's opinion and goals for nuclear power, but also
the Labour Party's aspirations for the nuclear industry?
We are 100% committed to Wylfa Newydd.
We have already been working with with Wylfa itself
and the skill suppliers to make sure that there will be as many
local people as possible will have the skills required there.
It will provide many temporary construction jobs,
and importantly, around 600 jobs in the community.
There is no wavering in our support for the project.
Firstly, can I thank you, First Minister, for the remarks
you made this afternoon in relation to the attack in Manchester?
I'm sure they will be words of comfort at this
very difficult time for many families.
As a Mancunian myself, I'm very familiar with that part of
the world, and I know that many of my constituents,
some of my constituents, were present at the event,
because they have been in touch with me.
There's no doubt that events like this have an impact,
not just on the night for those who have been
injured or lost their lives, but indeed,
for many years to come, including the psychological impact
potentially, for those who were present.
Many of them, as you have already indicated, were teenagers.
Now, as a father, I know of teenagers,
I know how important it is that young people receive support
in a timely manner when they need it. And I was very pleased to hear
that the you are considering the establishment of a helpline for
any individuals from Wales who may need access
to support in the future.
Can I just ask you to confirm that there will be that
psychological support also, not just in terms of
the physical support which might be available,
but the psychological support
should it be needed by any of those young people,
or indeed any of the adults that were attending last night as well?
That's the intention. The intention is that people can be signposted
to organisations that can provide that support in the longer term.
It tends to be the case with PTSD, for example,
that people don't see it at the beginning -
it develops over time as people begin to understand the consequences
of what might have happened, or understand the consequences
of what they've seen.
So it is hugely important to make sure that
that support is available, not just for a week or two
but over the course of time that the individual needs it
in order to come to terms with what they've witnessed
or they've experienced.
-Thank you. We know that significant sums
will be invested in light of this growth bid
in North Wales, but the local authorities have come together
to create a joint committee which will oversee that process.
But may I ask how you as a government
will ensure that these investments do reflect your strategic priorities
in North Wales and aren't led to run in parallel
so that everything works together
as one effort for economic regeneration in North Wales?
Because I'm not really sure where the government voice is heard
within the context of this new joint committee or other sectors
such as the business sector, HE and FE in the region,
which were a prominent part of the economic ambition board,
but will now have a non-voting role in these new structures.
-Well, as regards the bid itself of the city deal
that's taking place now, it's the local authorities
that are in the lead, and not Welsh government.
We are part of the process, but they ensure
that the governance structure
is in place and that they consider regional projects,
not just projects that benefit only one county.
And so we, of course, want to ensure that the structures are in place,
and we're confident that that is the case.
We've seen the local governments working together,
whoever may run those local authorities,
and we are confident that the funding will be used
in the way in which we would wish to see.
And we of course will collaborate with local authorities
to ensure that our priorities as a government are secured
and there isn't very much difference
between our priorities and the counties' priorities
to ensure that they are of mutual benefit.
Thank you, First Minister.
There we are. That was First Minister's questions.
If you want more coverage of the National Assembly,
go online to BBC Wales' newspage...
That's it from us on the programme. Thanks for watching.