28/02/2017 First Minister's Questions


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

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Good afternoon. Welcome to the programme. Our weekly coverage of


questions to the First Minister. There is a change to the usual


format today, Carwyn Jones is in the United States so the Leader of the


House is standing in. She is expected to be asked questions on a


range of issues from agriculture to the Welsh Government's support for


start-up businesses. We're on Twitter. At Wales politics is the


address. For now, let's take a look at today's questions to the First


Minister. TRANSLATION: I call the National


Assembly to order and the first item on our agenda this afternoon is


questions to the First Minister and I have received notification


understanding order 12.58 that the Leader of the House Jane Hut will


answer questions today on behalf of the First Minister. Thank you. Will


the minister replacing the First Minister make a statement on recent


discussions with the UK Government regarding agriculture and


countryside policies following the decision to leave the European


Union? We continue to actively engage with the UK Government in


relation to agricultural and countryside policies. The Cabinet


secretary for environment and rural affairs met with ministers from both


the UK Government and devolved administrations on 23rd February in


Edinburgh. I thank the Minister for Her reply.


I have been interested in what happened in that meeting in


Edinburgh. The Scottish rural economy, Fergus Ewing said today's


meeting did not achieve anything. There was no factual information on


any of the serious matters raised by farmers. The Environment Secretary


in Scotland said the meeting had been a deflection at the meeting by


Andrea Leadsom when the devolution issue was raised and Scotland's


Brexit Minister said that Andrea Leadsom may have been at a different


meeting than everyone else. Does the UK Government actually understand


what devolution of agriculture and environmental policies means? Is the


minister in place of the First Minister able to give assurances


that the Welsh Government will not allow any land grab of our devolved


policies by the UK Government? Well, I can certainly assure Simon Thomas


of that as he would agree with me and the Welsh Government in relation


to the future of agriculture and environment policy in Wales is that


the Government we have been engaging with stakeholders for the last six


months, through our round table meetings and the implications of


exiting the European Union. We've underlined how essential it is that


devolved administrations play a full part. Of course, the Cabinet


secretary for finance and Local Government only attended the EU


joint committee council only ten days ago with the colleagues of


course from Scottish Government and Northern Ireland devolved


administration. The health experts are now telling


us that we shouldn't just eat five a day, but we need to eat ten a day if


we want to live a long-life. What discussions have been had around


food security in the light of the reduction of the value of the pound


and in particularly in relation to makes us more self-sufficient across


the UK in the production of fruit and vegetables and I wondered


whether that has been at all discussed in the UK negotiations?


Well, this is crucially important and of course, we have got our


action plan for the food and drink industry working closely with food


security and food safety stakeholders, partners to sustain


and enhance the food production base in Wales and working with the


industry and that's about improving resilience, productivity,


competitiveness of food and farming businesses adding value to our


supply chains and clearly, the food production does put us at a


competitive advantage for Wales. Ideally suited, of course, in terms


of I shall ceasing the variety of our food products, but looking to


our own needs and that's where Wales' farming businesses make a


critical contribution to safeguarding the UK's food security.


TRANSLATION: Thank you. The Leader of the House, the Cabinet secretary


responsible for agriculture has said that the UK-wide agricultural


framework maybe appropriate. So in light of this can you tell us what


kind of framework Government would want to see introduced and can you


tell us what the Welsh Government's objective is when it comes to such a


framework? We will play an active part in developing frameworks and


with the other devolved nations. I think we need to look at where UK


frameworks and structures are needed to replace those currently set by


the EU. But we see these as big collectively developed and agreed of


the that's crucially important, collectively developed and agreed


and not imposed and most importantly, there must be an


independent arbitration mechanism to resolve disputes over interms.


-- interpretations. Secretary, the library of Wales series, thanks to


Welsh Government assessment... You need to ask the question on the


order paper. Would the minister tell us how the


library of Wales series has been promoted in schools? The Welsh


Government continues to fund the library of Wales series through the


Welsh Books Council, gifts sets of one copy of each title are being


secondary to all secondary schools and colleges. Thanks to the Welsh


Government investment of ?600,000 over the last ten years, 46


important literary works are now back in print in English. The most


two recent books Ride The White Stallion are an impressive addition


to that. Before the recess John Gower and I held an event where we


discussed the books with local sixth form students. Having invested so


much in the titles, it is vital that local people get to know about the


works, about the communities and John Gower is of the view that every


community within Wales has a title that can tell them something about


their community and about their past that can help us reflect on our


common heritage. I'd welcome any further initiatives to make sure


that schools and colleges make use of the copies they have so we can


reflect on this important investment.


Well,ual' glad that the member has drawn attention to that most


interesting, I'm sure, visit with John Gower and draw attention to the


fact that William Glyn Jones is featured in the new series. It is


important that it isn't just gift sets going to schools. Clearly, they


have to be, those books have to be used widely. They need to be


borrowed, shared, read, shared and discussed throughout schools and


colleges. I think as the member has said, the fact that we have brought


this new generation of series to readers, 46 titles being published,


is vitally important, but it actually is also crucial that we see


this as part of our world developing our world-class education system


geared to equipping our children and young people to thrive amid the


challenges of the 21st century. Cabinet secretary, whilst I welcome


the continued commitment to the national Wales series, are you aware


of the report that was published last week which talked about the


reading trends and reading ability of pupils across the UK in that


particular report, it demonstrated that Wales had seen a slump in


reading ages. So that actually in terms of the situation against


chronicle age, pupils in secondary schools are a full year behind on


average than their actual chronicle, their chronological ages and wonder


what action the Welsh Government is going to take to address this


particular problem in terms of addressing these reading ages in our


secondary schools? Well, in March we published our national literacy and


numeracy programme. That plan gave us a clear vision of our strategy


for literacy and numeracy going forward. It ensures there is


significant on going support for numeracy and literacy. The report


showed that standards are improving in Wales and we will work to


maintain that momentum. TRANSLATION: Questions now from the


party leaders. The leader of the Welsh Conservatives.


We were all horrified by the story about Ellie May Clarke, the death


over the weekend, and the tragedy that led up to the sequence of


events that her mother went to the GP surgery, ultimately sought the


appointment and given the medical history of little Ellie should have


been seen by the GP. No right minded person could fail to be horrified by


what led to those tragic events. I'd be grateful to understand what the


Welsh Government is doing and I'm not blaming the Welsh Government


here, what I'm saying is as the Government of Wales, and this


happened in Wales, what is the Welsh Government doing to work with the


regulator to address the matters that were raised in the report that


looked into this incident? Well, I thank you for that question


because we are all aware here today of the tragic death of Ellie May and


my thoughts are with her family at this difficult time. It is a


professional regulatory matter for the GMC who oversee such cases that


the UK level as the leader of the Welsh Conservatives will recognise


and as you've acknowledged, it is what role can we play? It would be


appropriate for Welsh Government to intervene, but I think we have to


say that from our understanding, the GMC's investigation of the GP's


actions underlines the need for high standards of care to be delivered at


all times. I'm also aware that the Crown is now investigate and an


inquest is due to be held. Leader of the House, it is quite clear if The


Mail on Sunday hadn't under taken an investigation this report would have


been buried in the deep, deep recesses of the GMC report. And


wouldn't have come to light and we owe The Mail on Sunday a great debt


of gratitude because they have informed the family of the outcome


because as I understand t the family had not been informed of the outcome


of the investigation, but it cannot be right that when you look at these


circumstances, these types of investigations, are conducted behind


closed doors and that the family and those concerned with these matters


are not fully informed of the process and the outcome. Do you


believe, like me, Leader of the House, that the GMC's procedures in


these matters leave a lot to be required and addressed and not fit


for purpose? I think the case was reviewed in accordance with the


current GMC procedures and it is important also say this afternoon


that the health board took the action to refer the doctor to the


GMC following their own internal investigation, that's again where we


must recognise that responsibility that action that was taken. I mean I


also noticed that Sir Donald Irvine, the former president of the GMC


himself was calling for greater transparency as a result of this


tragic case. May be what aren't De Angelis it is


a proactive approach from Welsh government toy identify that these


purposes are not fit for purpose and many times the Welsh government is


called to make representations on various matters, I would look to you


to try and encourage the Cabinet Secretary for health to write to the


GMC to address its protocols and procedures because the GMC is there


not to look after its own but to look after everyone. In this case in


particular it has fallen down and I hope in responding to my first


question you indicate that the Welsh government will be writing to the


GMC to ask them to address the deeply, deeply, deeply held concerns


of members of this institution and the wider public in this specific


case which really has led the families down and above all is


letting Ellie and her memory down. We are certainly going to be looking


at this case in terms of the GMC, but I think it is important that you


put your point on record today and I'm sure that those points can be


made and will be made across this chamber. Leader of Plaid Cymru


Leanne Wood. You will be aware over the past few years I have pressed


the First Minister on the question of widening access for drugs and


treatments in Wales. Today we have some people in the public gallery


who are living with multiple sclerosis and I would like to


welcome them to the Senedd. They have asked me to take forward an


issue which is of utmost importance to the quality-of-life. Everyone in


the chamber is aware of the difficulties in accessing drugs and


treatment specifically for MS. Leader of what was the Welsh


government's review on the availability of those drugs and


treatments? Clearly there is an opportunity now as a result of the


discussions that we have had to look very carefully at the opportunities


for those judged to be made available and of course this is part


of the way forward in terms of the review of the prescribing of those


drugs. Thank you, Leader of the House. We know that Wales was the


first country in the UK to approve the cannabis -based drug in 2014,


the evidence from patients is consistent and clear. It is


effective, it reduces pain and spasms but access to Sativex is


patchy. The survey found only 1% of the blue said they were eligible for


Sativex actually had access to it. The survey also suggests that a


number of people living with MS who take disease modifying therapies


appears to be lower than in Scotland or England. There is a real concern


that other new drugs and treatments coming through the system will be


equally as difficult to access. If you accept there is a patchy


availability of these drugs and that is a major obstacle to the


quality-of-life of citizens Wells, what resources is the Welsh


government prepared to allocate to the infrastructure around MS, MS


nursing and neurology, in order to help patients get support they need?


I very much welcome the engagement of the MS Society, an organisation


that has represented patients with MS so effectively in Wales. And of


course their evidence is vitally important and the considerations of


very clear clinical arrangements in terms of prescribing of drugs. But


it is important we look at the impact and availability of access in


terms of those medications such as Sativex which you have just raised.


I think your second point also relates to the wider services we can


provide to MS sufferers. Much progress has been made in terms of


availability, in terms of research, and drugs and appropriate


treatments. But it also has to be the wider care pathway is way. I


very much hope we do see of extra resources. The lack of availability


Sativex has led people to pursue alternatives of their own. I


recently went with the 60th -- 64-year-old woman who has primary


progressive MS, and she experiences pain and spasms every day. Her daily


drug regime includes morphing, coding, paracetamol and diazepam.


Because Sativex is not available in her area she uses cannabis as a


replacement, obviously risking problems with the law. How is it OK


to take morphine but by buying cannabis she risks prosecution? On


every tenth following a government review, we joined many countries


around the world in recommending that cannabis should be legalised


for medicinal use. There is also support for this in Scotland and we


have heard at least one police and crime commission for Wales


recommending that the same thing happens here. Will the Welsh


government follow our Irish and Scottish counterparts and advocate


the decriminalisation of cannabis to relieve the symptoms of multiple


sclerosis and other conditions? What I would like to do is ensure that we


can make those medications and drugs are available such as Sativex which


obviously has proven benefits. I certainly would want to ensure from


your questions today that we look very carefully at access and


availability of those proven and clinically beneficial medications


for people with MS in Wales. The leader of the Ukip group Johannsson.


If you exclude the leader of Plaid Cymru raised -- Neil Hamilton. The


First Minister appealed for calm. Is then the leader of Plaid Cymru has


interpreted calmness in a rather unusual way. Plaid Cymru have said


that internet trolls upon the activists who want to maintain


medication in the village and have twisted innocent Facebook posts in


an attempt at character assassination. Jonathan Edwards, the


MP for Carmarthen East supported by the leader of Plaid Cymru has


engaged in a public campaign of intimidation for having the temerity


to seek my help as one of the AMs in the fight against Plaid Cymru


intolerance and indeed the leader of Plaid Cymru has even published on


her Facebook page a photograph of one of them following which this


lady has been verbally abused in the street and spat at. As Leader of the


House will you defend our collective rights as members in this assembly,


as representatives of the people of Wales to seek redress and grievances


on half of all the -- all our constituents and condemned the


attack on the constitutional rights of all my constituents to seek help


on the future education of their children? I have to say I'm


concerned that the leader of Ukip is not helping to reduce the toxic


situation, in fact the maybe as has been described. This is something


where in terms of our responsibilities and indeed your


responsibilities, we must be very clear here, the Welsh government


can't comment on any proposals for change that are under consideration


by a local authority. It is the responsibility for the local


authorities, the planning of school places rests with them. I fully


accept that but the process by which the decision was arrived at in the


county council has wide imprecations and calls for change in legislation.


There was a consultation exercise which was carried out which was a


complete sham. There was 1418 responses, 698 responses in support


of the proposal, 720 against. But one of the responses against had 757


signatures, that was regarded as one vote. You do not have to provide an


address or postcode if you respond to the consultation, 27 of these


were anonymous, not even a name. In these circumstances given that there


is clearly a very substantial opposition within the catchment area


to the imposition of Welsh language only instruction surely there is a


case here for a stay in the proceedings whilst we consider


whether this change, which in the longer term may be desirable, should


be brought in so that public opinion can come with us rather than


fighting it. These are as I have said matters for Caernarfonshire


Council. As a gum and we are supportive of the Welsh language you


want to see an extension of it and more children involved. But it is


for the Council to justify the decisions it takes. Clearly


sensitive to the fact that local authorities must comply with the


School standards and organisation Wales act 2013 and the code and look


at the range of factors when proposing change. It is true they


must comply with the legislation but they can comply with the letter of


the whilst wholly ignoring its spirit which is exactly what has in


this case. There hasn't been a consultation, there has been a


nonsultation because the decision was arrived at before the


consultation exercises. Isn't it time for a proper consultation


exercise which is independently conducted of all those within the


catchment area alone and ignoring the responses which are nothing to


do with the area which is most concerned. Again I have to say it is


not a matter for Welsh government to intervene. Of course it is important


that any local authority does take into account the views of those who


live locally. And indeed the consultation was held between


January 28 and 18 of March last year to which there were 267 responses.


It is now for us to elect the process redress in terms of the


legislation. The School standards act 2013 and the school organisation


code. Question three, Dawn Bodenham. Will the Cabinet Secretary please


make a statement on the Welsh government support for start-up


business. We continue to provide support through the business Wales


service and we encourage business start-up from a young age through


our big ideas campaign. 'S thank you for that response. Last week I met


with representatives from the borough council and training to talk


about the support they gave to new businesses in the area. One of those


successes is the meanwhile use programme which replaces funding and


under that scheme the enterprise centre encourages local landlords


with vacant properties to let them out to new businesses. That enables


new enterprises to test out and amend their business models based on


working experience. And allows the landlord to realise the potential


benefit of letting out vacant premises for business to the


element. This has enabled seven new businesses to start-up up in vacant


premises in the town centre. Additionally through the effect


programme Merthyr Tydfil enterprise Centre has given support to around


170 businesses in the area, creating 51 jobs and safeguarding a further


151 jobs. Does the Cabinet Secretary agree with me that it is support


like this which is contributing to the situation where Merthyr Tydfil


has become the leading growth Centre for new business in Wales and can


she gave an assurance that funding under vibrant and viable places,


which has been so crucial to the success of these schemes, will


remain a key component of the Welsh government strategy to encourage new


start-ups for small businesses? Dawn Bodenham illustrates a very good


way, constructive way in which we have been able to invest the vibrant


and vital places investment in investment in Merthyr Tydfil


obviously in partnership with the local authority and other partners.


I think in terms of the way forward, if there is a flagship regeneration


programme over ?124 million capital funding, in 18 areas across Wales,


and forecasting a programme to and deliver more than 2000 jobs and


support my Busby bling to work. So this of course takes us forward with


regards to the future particularly with regard to the capital


regeneration programme. Data shows the number of new


businesses starting up across Wales has fallen by a staggering 26% over


the last five years. Can I ask what the Welsh Government is doing to


reverse this trend and also can I ask what the Welsh Government is


doing to encourage younger people to consider starting up their own


business as a positive life choice following leaving school? Well, I


don't know where those figures that rustle George quotes this afternoon


are emmating from in terms of the evidence, but I'd like to put the


record straight that the latest data shows the number of business births


in Wales has grown every year since the financial crisis and in 2015


reached a record high of 11525. I'm sure Russell George will agree with


me that the results are extremely encouraging and they demonstrate a


climate in Wales where businesses are confident to start, grow and


thrive. A group of London-based investors


accelerate me are looking to create a new fund with four million of


their own money, hopefully backed by ?6 million of Welsh Government money


to back Welsh start-ups and create a home-grown version of the highly


successful start-up accelerator programme. Does the Leader of the


House agree this kind of approach supporting indigenous business and


connecting them with external capital and knowledge should be at


the heart of the Welsh Government's new economic strategy and on that


basis would she urge her Cabinet colleagues to meet with the


proposals of the idea? Well, I don't think there is a word I would


disagree with. I think the Cabinet secretary would only be too


delighted to meet with the London-based investors. I think it


is important you mention indigenous businesses and we are continuing to


support indigenous business and we have got a record number of


enterprises headquartered in Wales and Wales has the highest number of


new businesses in over a decade and to date ?13 million has been


invested and 1703 start-ups in Wales through the start-ups loan company.


This is encouraging that there are more who want to invest in Wales.


TRANSLATION: Question four is withdrawn. John Griffiths. What


steps will the Welsh Government to strengthen Wales' international


relationships? This week the First Minister hosted the London-based


diplomatic core and will be visiting and is visiting the United States,


the Cabinet secretary for environment and rural affairs and


finance and Local Government are in Dubai and will be in Brussels this


week and last week the Cabinet secretary for infrastructure visited


China. Thank you for that. Cabinet


secretary, the European Union is a great economic social and political


force in the world and leaving the European Union threatens to greatly


diminish the standing of Wales and UK in the world. So could you


reassure me that as far as Wales is concerned, Welsh Government must


find new ways of working with the European Union and European Union


member states in the run-up to Brexit and beyond and that the UK


Government should commit through its Brexit negotiations to securing


continuing participation in key European Union programmes open to


non member states such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus Plus and secure


continuing participation in trance national economic development


programmes particularly with our close neighbour, the Republic of


Ireland. I thank John Griffiths for that


question because we make it very clear in our White Paper, securing


Wales' future, Wales is leaving the EU, but not Europe and we strongly


believe that Wales and the UK should continue to participate in those key


EU programmes. You mention Horizon 2020. That's supporting research and


development projects between higher education, private sector, partners,


erasious Plus again, those education exchanges that can transform the


prospects and opportunities of young people. We want to see a


far-reaching and far clearer commitment from the UK Government to


securing this outcome from the Brexit negotiations and of course,


they form part of the negotiations which Cabinet secretaries are


engaged with, but you also mentioned our Ireland. That is also crucially


important because we have the Ireland-Wales programme which we are


responsible for and which also includes a number of very important


R D projects and indeed, projects and initiatives that can improve and


constructively help Wales as well as Ireland.


It is clearly vital that we develop stronger economic links across the


world in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union. And if we


could still in some way access schemes such as Horizon 2020 and


similar programmes following Brexit in some way then that would be a


bonus. I was pleased to hear you mention that. However, I would say a


trade mission and the First Minister is away on a trade mission at the


moment, a trade mission only works if enough planning has gone into it


and the right companies have been unviteded in good time and the


mission is clear about its objectives, that didn't happen


entirely in 2012 on the previous US mission of that time. Has it


happened this time around? Who is on that mission with the First Minister


and have they been given adequate preparation time? Well, I am


disappoint that you speak of trade missions disparagingly and don't


welcome the trade missions and I will go on to your point about the


US trade mission, but mean last week, I'm sure he'd welcome the fact


that the Cabinet secretary actually had an important visit to China.


With two new investments announced with the creation of 38 hi-tech jobs


and two new stores in Wales by Flooring Republic. The clear links


with the US in terms of the fact that we have not only those US


companies based in Wales, who are informing our trade mission, but


also demonstrating the impact that we can have for a leader, a Welsh


Labour First Minister, going to the States saying that Wales is clearly


open for business. TRANSLATION: Thank you. As chair of


the cross party group on Wales internationally it has been good to


see a consensus developing across the parties on the need to develop


relationships and to develop the potential of close links between


Wales and its diaspra. There was agreement on the need for the Welsh


Government to develop a clear strot gee on how to secure that and that


in addition to the kinds of international relationships that's


currently undertaking and trade visits and so on and so forth. Does


the Leader of the House agree with the group on this point and what


steps are being put in place by Government to ensure that those


links with the Diaspra are developed? It is important that we


have a cross party group and you are chairing that and bringing together


that consensus that we need here in this chamber to support our First


Minister who is in the US. Welsh Government has always promoted Wales


around St David's Day and that's a key focus of these visits. And also,


indeed, not only in terms of visits to USA, China, Dubai, Brussels,


there are also events happening in embassies, high commissions across


Europe and elsewhere. I think it is important that we recognise that for


example, the First Minister his programme in the US includes


business and political meetings. He'll make a statement as Cabinet


secretary's always do on their return from the trade missions and


recognise it is with the Diaspra that we engage, it is with the


companies in Wales that are US companies, but also that the trade


mission and cultural visiting delegation visiting China also


provided a profile. So I've already given you some outcomes from the


Chinese trade mission. I'm sure we will have outcomes from the US visit


by the First Minister in due course. TRANSLATION: Question 16, Neil


Hamilton. Will the First Minister make a statement on what the Welsh


Government is doing to assist park home residents who face paying a 10%


commission on the sale of their homes. It delivered important


safeguards for park home residents. As the Cabinet secretary knows there


will be a review of the 2013 legislation this year. Will the


Welsh Government be contributing to that and will the Welsh Government


intend to do anything about this 10% commission which is compulsorily


extracted from those who want to sell their homes in exchange for


which mobile home park owners do nothing. Since the 2013 Act they


have no role in the sale of the mobile homes. It is a significant


inhibition on people from selling their homes especially if they tend


to be elderly and on low incomes, it is a significant problem. I


appreciate that Neil Hamilton wasn't here during the session when we have


supported and the Welsh Government supported the mobile homes


legislation presented by Peter black. It then became the mobile


homes Wales Act 2013 which you refer to. I just need to remind the member


that this legislation consolidates previous legislation relating to


park or residential homes and it is much further than legislation in


England. We require all seats to be relicensed and for site managers to


fit a proper person test. The Welsh Government did commission an


independent review of the economics of the park home industry in 2015.


The report has been published and clearly the Cabinet secretary is


looking at that and the options. I think it is very important that we


have a system that is transparent and fairly reflects the costs that


site owners have and also the ability for people who, the


residents of mobile homes to, you know, have a knowledge of what the


costs are to and to challenge them if necessary. At the moment it is


very opaque and it seems very unfair and in terms of where the power is,


it is lauded against the mobile homeowners. Well, there is a


balanced view about the site owners and those, of course, who are


purchasing those homes on the park home sites and I am I aware that


there is a lot of concern that's been raised. There is a petition


that's also come forth. I think it is very important to, again repeat,


that we have done more to protect park home residents which is crucial


than other parts of the UK. All park home sites in Wales have had toy


afor a new licence and I have said about the fit and proper person


tests and we have allowed time for a stricter regulatory regime resulting


from the mobile homes Wales Act which was supported by the whole


Assembly as it came through and in fact I remember Peter black was


congratulated by Mark I shaller wood when the Bill came through, but we


must look at the points that's been raised this afternoon and that's


what the Cabinet secretary is doing. A mart majority of park home


residents in Wales are over the age of 55 and the most recent report


suggests they are on average 71 years old and they don't envisage


leaving or selling their homes in the foreseeable future. Increase in


pitch fee to say cover losses incurred by park owners which would


result from the reduction of sales commissions is not a good long-term


solution and what considerations has your Government given to this? Well,


the independent report didn't actually recommend that removal of


the commission rate, but the Cabinet secretary obviously is looking at


the recommendations of the report. He's not bound by them. He's


considering a range of options on whether further action is merited.


TRANSLATION: Question 7. Will the First Minister make a statement on


concessionary travel schemes? Our concessionary bus travel scheme is


hugely popular with 760,000 older or disabled pass holders resident in


Wales and we are continuing to support the discounted bus travel


arrangements for 16, 17 and 18-year-olds throughout Wales while


we design a different scheme over the coming months.


TRANSLATION: Thank you for that response and further to that,


naturally there has been some concern particularly among young


people following that uncertainty that you've already mentioned


surrounding the My Travel PASS scheme. I was pleased to hear the


statement by the Cabinet secretary for infrastructure talking about the


Government had committed to establishing a similar scheme as


we've mentioned to encourage young people to use busesment now, we need


assurances in this area. So when can you expect the consultation on the


new scheme to commence? Well, as you say, the Cabinet secretary for


economy and transport did issue a written statement on 21st February.


He outlined his plans. We have agreed with local authorities and


the bus industry that the existing discounted travel arrangements will


continue. As I said in answer to your first question, we have


accepted the offer to come forward with proposals for a new marketing


campaign because we know we needed to increase the uptake of passes. We


intend to launch a new travel pass from 2018. We will be consulting


over the summer. Could I ask what assurances you can


give under the preparation for the end of the current funding agreement


on concessionary fares next year, discussions with the bus industry


and local authorities will be given plenty of time so that the stability


of the scheme is maintained. I mean I think in terms of the commitment


we have made to concessionary bus fares over the years, the fact that


we are estimating local authorities reimburse bus operators in 2016-17


between 65 million and 70 million including ?10 million from their own


budgets for carrying older and disabled pass holders for free, we


are continuing of course with a scheme for young people. And clearly


this is an important plank of our Welsh Labour government 's


programme. We had a petition delivered to the assembly last year


by a pupil at Treorchy comprehensive, this petition calling


for rail travel to and from school to be restored, free rail traveller


should say, to be restored by Arriva trains who had decided to end the


scheme. With the rail franchise for renewal next year I wondered if Ford


be given by the government to giving Arriva shove towards restoring the


free fares scheme they previously offered. I think rail concessionary


travel is a very important way particularly where bus services are


limited. It is of course concessionary travel passes can be


used on certain train lines and the rostrum has ensured that.


Concessionary rail travel is available on some routes, which you


will be aware of particularly in Wrexham, Swansea, and the heart of


Wales. As you know we have no powers to injuries mandated tree schemes


but we do fund voluntary concessionary schemes with Arriva


trains Wales. But clearly this is an area where we will be looking at


future prospects. What actions is the Welsh government taking to


support people from disadvantaged communities? We will take forward a


cross government all Wales approach focused on helping people into


decent jobs, giving people the best chance in life and ensuring local


people are engaged in the design of local services. On February 14 there


was a statement regarding these actions and in that statement there


was the ambition to get to those furthest from the Labour market.


Unfortunately some of those furthest from the market in skills are also


physically furthest because they live in communities that are not


served by services. What are you doing to actually get jobs closer to


them or get them to jobs? The national transport financial plan


published in July 20 15th sets out investment for transport


infrastructure services across Wales. It has to provide


comprehensive solutions for local transport needs. But as the member


says it is about improving local public transport and I think an


integrated transport type in your area will be a major significance


and importance. But we also have very important jobs closer to home


initiative and enables people to access jobs. Of course we will hear


more from the Cabinet Secretary for economy and transport very shortly


in terms of the future of bus services. Will the Minister make a


statement on female genital mutilation protection orders.


Gunnestad until September 2016 no protection orders were issued in


Wales. The Welsh government does not tolerate any form of violence


against Wales including FGM and together with our partners we are


working hard to tackle this heinous crime. I thank you. It is somewhat


amusing that there have been no protection orders whatsoever issued


and then consequently no prosecutions for FGM in Wales. It is


a crime against the Person and it is the brutal abuse of minors and we


need to really in my opinion call it out for what it is. It is child


abuse. Nothing more, nothing less. What I am going to ask the Cabinet


Secretary is, according to the charity currently supporting 788


families affected one way or another by FGM in Wales whether the


government will work more closely with them to see if that support can


be increased to allow those people to move forward if it is required.


To seek some pretension orders. So that we can actually start


prosecuting people in this country and send a very clear message that


this will not be tolerated, because it seems at the moment that it is


being tolerated. I thank Joyce Watson for the leadership she has


taken in terms of addressing this and also I thank Jenny Rathbone who


chaired the recent events which was attended by many members here today.


It is crucial that we enable and support the leadership group, which


concerns data collection, ensuring we have FGM safeguarding leads in


all our health boards, ensuring that we develop effective FGM care for


Wales so we can have referrals into primary health care or third sector


provision. Public Health Wales is revising and updating image is


worth's safeguarding training and also we have the social services and


well-being at strengthening safeguarding procedures. While all


of this of course will lead to the point where we feel that mandatory


reporting and the ability to take things forward to protection orders


will be much more easily facilitated. STUDIO: There we are,


that was First Minister's Questions this week. If you want more coverage


you can go online to the Senedd live page one our website. More Welsh


politics this week, the Wales report after the Ted Ginn news tomorrow. --


ten o'clock news. But from all of us on this programme, thanks for




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