31/01/2017 First Minister's Questions


31/01/2017

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


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and our weekly coverage of Questions to the First Minister.

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As ever, Carwyn Jones will be answering questions

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on a range of topics which fall under his responsibility,

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including health policy, his plans for industry

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and his reaction to local bank closures.

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Don't forget we're @walespolitics on twitter,

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where you can see all the latest on Welsh politics.

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and today's Questions to the First Minister.

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I call the National Assembly to order and the first item on our

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agenda this afternoon is questions to the First Minister. Janet

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Finch-Saunders. Will the First Minister make a statement on the

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health service in north Wales? Our priorities for the health service in

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the north and throughout Wales are to continue to protect investment

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and deliver the range of commitments in taking Wales forward. Clearly

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your priorities are not orthopaedic care because I hope you are as

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shocked as I am with the recent findings of a 5000 per increase in

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those having gone longer than the 36 weeks treatment time for orthopaedic

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and trauma services. That is 3052 patients now having gone

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considerably longer than that. I have constituents waiting for a new

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replacement, 130 weeks for a hip replacement. They are in constant

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pain, fed up with popping really serious painkillers. We learned

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yesterday that all orthopaedic replacement surgery at Ysbyty Glan

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Clwyd is now on hold. I am now advise the entry ward is now closed

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for surgery. That frustrates me and my constituency even more. Such

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delays in this kind of treatment is a national scandal and if this is an

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example of your government putting the health board in special measures

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18 months ago, then serious questions must be raised. How, under

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your watch, have you allowed such scandalous waiting times and what

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will you do now as First Minister on behalf of my constituents and those

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patients across North Wales to investigate the matter urgently and

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to provide my constituents and others with the appropriate

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treatment... You need to bring your question to an end. The approach --

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appropriate treatment they not only need but deserve. The majority of

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patients in North Wales are within less than 26 weeks but we understand

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that Orthopaedics is a challenging area. Extra money has been made

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available to Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board in order to reduce waiting

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times. They are outsourcing some activity to alternative providers

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and we expect to see the situation improved markedly over the next two

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months. Earlier this month, the annual safeguarding report from

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Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board was published which was quite a

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frightening read. The risk register showed 13 serious risks, including

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failure to comply with various pieces of safeguarding legislation

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or that there was a real risk that a child or a person couldn't be

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identified if they were to go to A, which could lead to serious

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harm to that individual. After a year and a half in special measures,

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do you believe that is acceptable? We know that the board is not yet

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ready to come out of special measures at present but, having said

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that, we also know that looking broadly at the performance of the

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health board, things have improved and we saw that in looking at the

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framework in November where it showed that very good work had been

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done and what's important now is to make sure that every part of service

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being delivered by the health board improves in the same manner as the

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cancer treatment times and so on and also the waiting times for

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diagnostic tests. First Minister, how can you justify offering free

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prescriptions and additional childcare regardless of income and

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at huge cost while the number of people waiting for orthopaedic

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treatment in North Wales has rocketed. Where are your priorities?

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Because we were elected on that basis. I can't speak for her party

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but we like to keep our promises. Question two. Will the First

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Minister make a statement on the provision of bespoke mental health

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services for former armed services personnel? Taking Wales forward

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confirms our commitment to making sure that runs receive health care

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that meets their needs and we will maintain that, which provides access

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to evidence -based treatment for veterans with mental health

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problems. Can I welcome what you said about preserving the service.

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You are leading the way in the UK and I commend you for that but as we

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now revealed this service, which has had a lot of initial success, I

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think we are too reliant on self referral. That is one of the things

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that has come through at the moment. One key objective is to inform

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veterans that the resettlement stage as they moved back into civilian

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life, that in itself can be very challenging, but they may then have

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information that could be very important to them a few months or

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years hence. I take the point that the member makes. We know there are

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high levels of satisfaction that the service has provided. I think we can

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do this, we can raise the issue with the Royal British Legion and the

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Armed Forces to see what more could be done to inform veterans of the

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availability of the service and also to encourage them to seek help from

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the service rather than hold back but I will, the Minister will have

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heard what's been said in the chamber and if we can do more to

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improve communication to ensure that people who can benefit from a

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service which does have such high risk of satisfaction, we will. I

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wonder if you know that there was a motion to bring forward a No

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Soldier, left behind. ... Can I just direct, the decision taken by the

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business committee is not to be questioned on this floor and is not

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to be timetabled. Priority has been given to another member as a

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legislative proposal. Thank you for your clarification. So we do have an

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opportunity to bring it back, it seems. But too many veterans are

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struggling for health care, struggling for housing, especially

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as the colleague across the chamber said, mental health care. Local

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authorities don't have to give veterans priority. The reality is

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that we don't leave soldiers behind on the battlefield and we shouldn't

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be leaving them behind when they come home. Will your government

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support a Bill, legislation, to make sure that what a lot of people are

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suffering at the minute no longer happens and we make a difference and

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make a change to the lives of these people? All I know there is a

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suggestion and we have to see what the detail might be. It may be that

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a lot of the issues the member raises has been covered by the

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service as it stands. We do make ?585,000 available each year to fund

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the service. It does provide therapeutic interventions in each

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local health board. It also has a referral pathways to signpost that

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runs to other areas in order for them to get help and support. The

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question will be, would a Bill add to that and much would depend would

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depend on what is in the Bill before taking a proper view on whether a

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Bill would add to the services available already. Caroline Jones.

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Just over two years ago, a Welsh government review of the veterans

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NHS Wales service found that veterans were waiting at 280 days

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for an initial assessment and up to 140 days from assessment. The review

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also highlighted the fact that the service would face additional

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pressures resulting from the UK defence and security review. In

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total 15 recommendations were made as a result of the review. First

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Minister, can you update us on the progress that has been made by Welsh

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government and the local health boards in implementing the --... And

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ensuring the service can respond to future demand? That report was

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received in November 2014 and it did show high satisfaction rates among

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veterans using the service. The recommendations have been accepted

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and are being taken forward. Questions now from the party

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leaders. Leanne Wood. Following the announcement of President Trump's

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racist travel ban, they have been demonstrations throughout the world

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including in Wales, rejecting the idea of division. But the issue is

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wider than that just of a specific ban. The whole question of migration

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has become a toxic debate. Will you join me and others in this Assembly

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to make it clear that Wales remains open for business, open to visitors

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and, just as importantly, open to those fleeing prosecution. --

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persecution. And do you agree with me that this ban on the grounds of

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place of origin or religion has no ground here? We are, each and every

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one of us in this chamber, the descendants of immigrants, it just

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depends when they came to these islands. I do share the view that

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the current debate in more than one country around the world regarding

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migration is toxic. It is ironic that the debate is sometimes at its

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most toxic in countries that are made up of immigrants, first, second

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and third generation. That is the irony of this. But the irony is that

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we know that where nationalism in terms of extreme right-wing

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nationalism is allowed to take a grip, as we saw in the 1930s, the

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result is calamity. Thank you for your answer and I agree with much of

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your sentiment there. One of the factors that was influential in the

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EU referendum result was the issue of wages and the undercutting of

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Labour. There is no doubt about that. You will be aware, as I am,

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and an scruple employers charging for accommodation and nominally

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deducting it from people's wages. Those workers are not in trade

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unions. They are often being paid less than the minimum wage. Migrant

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workers are being exploited and those employers are also

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undercutting Welsh workers so both types of workers are losing out.

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Yesterday we met with the UK Government Secretary of State for

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exiting the European Union and this point was made, I think it's great

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to say, strongly. This morning I've written to the UK Prime Minister

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calling for much stronger enforcement, just as I called on

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previous Labour governments to do. It has to be dealt with because this

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undercutting and exploitation is being used by some politicians to

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exploit people's concerns about migration. Even the Secretary of

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State for Wales yesterday was joining in, flying in the face of

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facts and evidence, as to why wages have been stagnant. Does the First

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Minister agree with me that the exploitation of workers by

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unscrupulous employers has to stop and will he agreed to tackle it

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using whatever powers may be available to him regardless of the

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Brexit negotiations? She and I were at that meeting with David Davies

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yesterday and he agreed with what we said but the question is, agreeing

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is one thing, action is another. The point was made and she made the

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point that we have not seen prosecutions for breaches of minimum

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wage legislation, largely because it's not as straightforward as that.

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I have mentioned in this chamber before now that I have heard

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believable testimony from Polish workers particularly that they have

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been paid the minimum wage is -- wage but they have used other

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methods to take money from them, such as a realistic bonds when they

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go into accommodation, such as against damage and when they go

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there it is white furniture, white walls, and it is very difficult to

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keep it in full order. We made the point yesterday that there is a huge

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amount of work to do to make sure these people are brought to account

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because, she is quite right, they exploit migrant workers and make

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things of a lower standard as a result for workers from the UK.

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Unfortunately many of the people who sit in the UK Government at the

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moment are not interested. You are right, there are number of ways that

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unscrew bless employers can exploit workers but this question of the

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minimum wage is a key one. Last I looked HMRC only employed six people

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to enforce the National Minimum Wage and it is clearly not a priority for

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the UK Government. There have been minimal prosecutions in recent years

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and that was the case under the previous Labour government as well.

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Will you join me in condemning in the strongest possible terms those

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politicians who seek to peddle myths about the reasons behind people's

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wages being squeezed because while we are pointing out at migrants

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instead of the government's inaction towards rogue employers, we are

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letting the real culprits off the hook. Will you also commit to this

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Assembly today to let us know what Welsh government resources you will

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be able to identify to stop this exploitation so that enforcement

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and, if necessary, the What I'd like to do is work closely

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with those communities affected so they don't feel afraid to come

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forward to offer their testimony. Quite often, that will be done and

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the promise of anonymity will be taken forward. Recently, I finished

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reading Dennis Skinner's autobiography. He isn't a politician

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I'd normally share a lot in common but what he did say about Polish

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workers in the mines after the war was interesting. There was no

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animosity towards them because they were members of the trade union.

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They weren't seen as undercutting wages. They had the same protection

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as workers in the UK. That is what we need to get back to. Too many

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people have low wages because of austerity and because they don't

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have the support of a trade union. And we know were places that are

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unionised have better terms and conditions for people in those

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workplaces, which is why it is important that all workers are

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covered through trade union membership, wherever they come from

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in the world. First Minister, on Saturday, it is world Cancer Day,

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something which many members in this chamber would have been touched by

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and I know myself and my family have had an unfortunate episode where we

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have lost a loved one to cancer. One in two of us going forward will have

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an episode of cancer in our lives, down from one in three. So the odds

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of people getting cancer are increasing by the day and by the

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week. Regrettably, the Welsh government's target of a 62 day

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target time hasn't been met since 2008. That aside, there is good

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progress is going on in cancer services across Wales. What is your

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overview of the delivery of cancer services here in Wales, bearing in

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mind we have the National Cancer day to look forward to on the weekend to

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reflect on where where at and one in two of us will of cancer in a

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lifetime? I declare an interest here. My wife is employed by

:17:07.:17:11.

Macmillan. What is clear is that there are two developments that

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people will find if they're diagnosed with cancer. More and more

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people are living with cancer, that is the phrase that is used, cancers

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that cannot be cured in the conventional sense of five years

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remission. But that actually allow people to live a normal life and

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doesn't necessarily shorten their lives with the right level of

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treatment. Secondly, huge progress is being made and we are fortunate

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to have the unit in Cardiff in developing treatments that are

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tailored to the genetic needs of the individual. Cancer treatment has

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been a blunt instrument for many years. The same treatment was

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applied to people over the years, it was more like trial and error. We

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are in the forefront of genetic treatment in Wales and I want to

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make sure more and more people have the opportunity to be rid of cancer

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in the course of their lives and are able to live with cancer because

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they have the support of pharmaceutical and moral, in order

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to do that. You are right to point out the positive since cancer

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treatments and the developments and the way Wales is leading the way. We

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have pioneering science, pioneering technology here. Your government has

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targets are having 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050. There is a

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statement this afternoon towards 2030 from the education secretary.

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There is a girl that the British Cancer coalition have which is to

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increase the survival rates from lung cancer, irrespective of where

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you live. The survival rates are very, very poor. 16% in other parts

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of the UK, 5-6% in Wales. You'll agree with me that is something

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we've got to desperately improve. They have a target to increase the

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survival from lung cancer after five years up to 25% by 2025. I've

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highlighted other goals your government has set. Will you be

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prepared to set that as a goal for your government to work too,

:19:16.:19:24.

certainly up to 2021 and hopefully to deliver? I think that is

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reasonable. We want to see more people live with and survive long

:19:27.:19:29.

cancer. The survival rates are about 8% - 9%. They are low figures. Much

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of it is because early diagnosis is so crucial, common to any type of

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cancer. And symptoms don't manifest so readily. I believe our GPs are

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referring people as they should, there's no question to my mind that

:19:47.:19:51.

is happening and that people are receiving attention as they need.

:19:52.:19:55.

Where there are complex cancers, it does take some time to get the right

:19:56.:20:05.

treatment for them. I am looking to support an initiative that wants to

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cut the number of deaths through long cancer in the way the leader of

:20:09.:20:13.

the Welsh Conservatives has described. Thank you for that

:20:14.:20:18.

commitment. If it is met, it could save 600 lives, who were dying

:20:19.:20:23.

prematurely to lung cancer at the moment in Wales. Ultimately, that is

:20:24.:20:27.

a goal we should all be striving to. Two weeks ago I heard an event for

:20:28.:20:32.

patient voices around cancer services. Tom Crosby, the clinical

:20:33.:20:37.

need for cancer services in Wales, highlighted the importance of

:20:38.:20:41.

bringing forward a Cancer plan to underpin cancer development in

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services, putting oncologists into Wales and developing long-term

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sustainable services. If were going to hit that target of an increase in

:20:50.:20:55.

survival up to 25% by 2025, and if we want to be serious about getting

:20:56.:20:59.

on track now, we need to bring that plan forward, and when people like

:21:00.:21:04.

Tom Crosby are identifying that has a need, I hope you'll agree the

:21:05.:21:08.

government does need to listen to him and listen to others who are

:21:09.:21:12.

saying that is what is required to drive the strategy forward.

:21:13.:21:17.

Macmillan, who you identified in members interests, identified only

:21:18.:21:21.

last week there needs to be a dramatic improvement in the delivery

:21:22.:21:26.

of services for patients in 2017. Will you commit to bringing forward

:21:27.:21:30.

a Cancer plan along the lines of what Tom Crosby has identified and

:21:31.:21:35.

an improvement in services that Macmillan have called for in 2017?

:21:36.:21:39.

The leader of the Welsh Conservatives will no doubt know

:21:40.:21:41.

these are issues that are raised constantly in the house where I live

:21:42.:21:46.

and the points I make fresh strongly and rightly so. We will listen to

:21:47.:21:54.

those who suggest how cancer can be dealt with. We want to ensure we

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have the right level of medical staffing, which is why we have a

:21:59.:22:01.

recruiting campaign which were launched last year. And it's

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important to what the third sector organisations. They provide support

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for people who are shocked with the cancer diagnosis. The knocking their

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income, the knock in the confidence, and it is a question as well that

:22:21.:22:26.

people have support outside. I've seen similar examples of people who

:22:27.:22:32.

because they have received support because they've kept their spirits

:22:33.:22:36.

in the right place, they have survived cancer, whereas other

:22:37.:22:41.

people who have lost their spirit don't survive. And I've seen that.

:22:42.:22:44.

It is hugely important that while he makes the point that we have the

:22:45.:22:49.

right level of medical staff to give treatments, we also need to make

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sure people have support around them and ordered to help them fight the

:22:53.:22:58.

disease as well. Leader of the Ukip group. First Minister will know the

:22:59.:23:07.

Fordham motor company cancelled ?1.6 billion in Mexico and decided

:23:08.:23:10.

instead to invest in its plant in Michigan. This is partly, they say,

:23:11.:23:20.

a vote of confidence in the Trump administration policy. 1850 jobs in

:23:21.:23:30.

Bridgend, depending on company, despite slashing investment by ?100

:23:31.:23:36.

million in September. Are those jobs rendered more secure by his

:23:37.:23:40.

insulting call to cancel the proposed invitation to President

:23:41.:23:49.

Trump to visit to the UK? The Ford Motor Company has condemned his

:23:50.:23:55.

comments over the weekend. We'll see the chaos that has resulted. What I

:23:56.:24:06.

can say to him, it is a great threat, the barrier between it and

:24:07.:24:11.

it's only customer in Germany. It exports every single engine it

:24:12.:24:14.

makes. If there are barriers in place between that engine plant and

:24:15.:24:18.

Germany, Ford will be tempted to shift their production to Romania or

:24:19.:24:23.

other plants in Europe. We ought to be on a level playing field and not

:24:24.:24:30.

be put in a position of weakness. My point is the prospering trade

:24:31.:24:33.

relationship with the United States, which will, to an extent, depend

:24:34.:24:38.

upon having a positive relationship with the United States government. I

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appreciate there will be different views around the chamber on the

:24:42.:24:47.

domestic policies the United States government and, indeed, President

:24:48.:24:51.

Trump's apparent views on world trade, but given the United States

:24:52.:24:58.

is Wales' biggest individual nation trading partner, we exported 2600

:24:59.:25:06.

?44 million worth of exports to that country, 22% of all the exports from

:25:07.:25:12.

Wales, is it not vitally important that we should be as positive

:25:13.:25:17.

towards President Trump in our international relations and

:25:18.:25:19.

therefore welcome the state visit from him later this year? First of

:25:20.:25:26.

all, it is right to engage the US government. I will be in America at

:25:27.:25:33.

the end of next month, working with the Congress, the Caucus, the Welsh

:25:34.:25:36.

caucus of Congress members, and I will keep on doing that. Theresa May

:25:37.:25:41.

herself said that we should speak to friends. And she has not done that.

:25:42.:25:49.

I think it is hugely important these points are made. The phrase that

:25:50.:25:53.

I've used, it is difficult to imagine a successful state visit at

:25:54.:25:57.

the moment given the controversy and the timing of this. Bill Clinton

:25:58.:26:10.

didn't have a state visit Noorda George Bush nor did Ronald Reagan.

:26:11.:26:13.

At least two years after they became president did presidents have state

:26:14.:26:15.

visits. The timing is strange, I have to say. I don't criticise

:26:16.:26:17.

Theresa May were trying to force links with the US government, that

:26:18.:26:21.

is the nature of international diplomacy, but it means that if we

:26:22.:26:26.

are truly to be, as it were, friendly critics, if I can use that

:26:27.:26:30.

phrase, of the US government, then the British government shouldn't

:26:31.:26:35.

refrain from doing that. Theresa May has given from the criticism to

:26:36.:26:40.

President Trump already in various ways. And I'm not against being

:26:41.:26:47.

candid with our allies. But there is a difference in diplomacy between

:26:48.:26:50.

candid criticism given a date-mac in a polite way, and megaphone

:26:51.:27:00.

criticism which is more about grandstanding for domestic political

:27:01.:27:05.

game. He sat down when he heard the words Nigel Farage being mentioned,

:27:06.:27:20.

to do with the megaphone. The weather chosen are appropriate and I

:27:21.:27:26.

think they are self-evident to most people in Britain. As I said

:27:27.:27:31.

yesterday, its circumstances change, the circumstances around the visit

:27:32.:27:35.

might change as well. Could the last few days and members can make up

:27:36.:27:38.

their own minds about what is happening in the US, because we have

:27:39.:27:43.

no clarity despite what Boris Johnson said, and I think there are

:27:44.:27:47.

issues for the Prime Minister. First question is when did she know about

:27:48.:27:52.

this? Was it Friday? Did she make representations? When did she know

:27:53.:27:55.

about the conditions that are attached to the executive order? If

:27:56.:28:00.

so, did she make representations for British citizens and British

:28:01.:28:03.

passport holders? Which was asked about the order, why did she say it

:28:04.:28:07.

is a matter for the US? If it had been any other country, she wouldn't

:28:08.:28:13.

have made that response. Why did it take so long for Boris Johnson to

:28:14.:28:16.

get on the phone to clarify the position? It isn't as clear as he

:28:17.:28:21.

has suggested in Parliament. These are all questions I think the prime

:28:22.:28:26.

minister has to answer. Of course, we have to have a relationship with

:28:27.:28:30.

the US government. Of course we will continue our relationship with the

:28:31.:28:36.

businesses. But it doesn't mean that we should say nothing about policies

:28:37.:28:41.

put in place with which we disagree. We haven't done that with countries

:28:42.:28:46.

like China or Russia. It is right we should also make our views known

:28:47.:28:51.

when we disagree with something the US does, rather than be quiet and

:28:52.:28:55.

sit in the corner. That I believe isn't the right way for the UK to

:28:56.:29:03.

conduct its affairs. Question three. Will the First Minister make

:29:04.:29:10.

statements on the Welsh Common's progress on physical activity? We

:29:11.:29:18.

have measures which are being considered and are forthcoming.

:29:19.:29:28.

Every Saturday morning at 9am right across Wales, thousands of people

:29:29.:29:33.

take part in a park runs. They are volunteer led, they are timed people

:29:34.:29:38.

are able to chart their progress as they hopefully their times over the

:29:39.:29:46.

months and, indeed, the years. In Newport, the park run has been added

:29:47.:29:50.

to with the city centre urban park run along the riverside. I took part

:29:51.:29:56.

in recent events and enjoyed the benefits, as so many others do,

:29:57.:30:01.

although my joy in setting a personal best was reduced when the

:30:02.:30:05.

man who finished in front of me confided he'd just had a hip

:30:06.:30:12.

replacement. Nonetheless, they are very important events, and I did set

:30:13.:30:18.

a personal best. Will you join me, First Minister, in recognising and

:30:19.:30:23.

paying tribute to the importance and significance of these park runs,

:30:24.:30:26.

which are making a growing contribution to getting a more

:30:27.:30:29.

physically active population right across Wales?

:30:30.:30:34.

It is hugely important that people feel comfortable in taking exercise

:30:35.:30:41.

in ways that are appropriate to them. They were two points that I

:30:42.:30:47.

feared he would make. The first when he did make, namely that he has been

:30:48.:30:51.

involved in a part run himself, and the second he didn't make, which I

:30:52.:30:56.

welcome, which was an invite for me to join him in a park run because I

:30:57.:31:00.

know full well he would have the edge on me there. But it is

:31:01.:31:03.

important to encourage people to take exercise in new ways. Dai

:31:04.:31:14.

Lloyd. Following on from John Griffiths' question, the First

:31:15.:31:27.

Minister will recall the last time we had a ballot was to safeguard

:31:28.:31:31.

playing fields and so I hope there will be some development along the

:31:32.:31:35.

line as John suggested but it is also a matter of concern that 13% of

:31:36.:31:40.

children in Wales do no physical activity from one week to the next.

:31:41.:31:44.

What plans do you have in place to tackle the situation? Well, the

:31:45.:31:54.

Welsh schools network, healthy schools network scheme, does support

:31:55.:31:58.

schools to promote schemes to improve the health of pupils in

:31:59.:32:03.

schools. 99% of schools are part of the programme. Those schools that

:32:04.:32:13.

aren't private schools. And of course we also work with the W LGA

:32:14.:32:20.

in order to support the children in continuing with their exercise,

:32:21.:32:26.

including in the summer holidays, by ensuring there are activities

:32:27.:32:27.

available. It could bring substantial benefits for

:32:28.:32:41.

the health and well-being of the nation. The consultation on

:32:42.:32:52.

improving... When will your government be in a position to bring

:32:53.:32:57.

forward proposals that will encourage activities such as cycling

:32:58.:33:02.

and horse riding while protecting the environment and the livelihood

:33:03.:33:04.

of people who work in the countryside in Wales? Let's Walk,

:33:05.:33:15.

Wales, is aimed at introducing walking into people's daily lives to

:33:16.:33:22.

tackle the onset of heart disease and obesity. It is important that

:33:23.:33:25.

people know where they can walk and where they can cycle and the active

:33:26.:33:30.

travel act is a piece of legislation that helps us to develop those

:33:31.:33:35.

methods of both exercise and transport in Wales in the future.

:33:36.:33:41.

Question four. What are the implications of the UK Government's

:33:42.:33:46.

industrial plan on Wales? Thus far it is not full of detail but we have

:33:47.:33:51.

a call for the rebalancing of the economy and we will look at the

:33:52.:33:54.

Green Paper when we see it in more detail. Obviously, the industrial

:33:55.:34:01.

plan will impact on devolved matters in some way but although we don't

:34:02.:34:06.

exactly know that until the Welsh government publishes an industrial

:34:07.:34:09.

plan for Wales itself and in response to a question from my

:34:10.:34:11.

friend, the member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr last week, the

:34:12.:34:17.

economy secretary dismissed any need for an urgent industrial plan for

:34:18.:34:20.

Wales with a suggestion we might have to wait until late in the

:34:21.:34:24.

summer. When will the Welsh government stop playing hide and

:34:25.:34:27.

seek with the future prosperity of this country? The unemployment rate

:34:28.:34:32.

is 4.1%, lower than England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We

:34:33.:34:38.

take the view that it is hugely important that we develop business.

:34:39.:34:43.

We have set up the development bank for Wales. Some supporting sectors

:34:44.:34:49.

where they need support. We have not seen support from the UK Government

:34:50.:34:53.

for steel. We have provided that support and it is for that reason

:34:54.:34:56.

there is a future in prospect for the Welsh steel industry so from our

:34:57.:35:04.

perspective, we have invested in skills as well, and we believe the

:35:05.:35:12.

story we can tell is a good one. First Minister, you just mentioned

:35:13.:35:16.

steel. Are you as disappointed as I am when I read through the

:35:17.:35:18.

industrial plan from the UK Government that there is very little

:35:19.:35:24.

reflection on steel. Their approach to steel is nonexistent,

:35:25.:35:30.

effectively. Manufacturing is 16% of the GPA in Wales. It's a major

:35:31.:35:34.

sector so when you produce the economic strategy, will you make

:35:35.:35:38.

sure the industrial strategy ensures that our manufacturing sector and

:35:39.:35:41.

steel sector are reflected in the actions we take? We are judged by

:35:42.:35:47.

what we have done for the steel sector in Wales. The financial

:35:48.:35:51.

support we have provided, the fact we have engaged so much with Tata

:35:52.:35:55.

and other steelmakers, showing them that we see steel as an important

:35:56.:36:00.

part of the Welsh economy. There is scant reference to it in the Green

:36:01.:36:03.

Paper it self despite what we have heard from the UK Government. We

:36:04.:36:07.

need to see more detail on how the UK Government will do its bit to

:36:08.:36:10.

support the steel industry. Russell George. In regards to your White

:36:11.:36:17.

Paper on exiting the EU, First Minister, there is much I can agree

:36:18.:36:21.

on but there does seem to be a lack of strategic planning to the

:36:22.:36:25.

opportunities to grow the Welsh economy. We know that Welsh exports

:36:26.:36:31.

were down in 2015, new business start-ups since 2011 have reduced by

:36:32.:36:37.

26%, so in growing the Welsh economy, how is your paper linking

:36:38.:36:44.

with a prosperous and secure strategy that your Cabinet secretary

:36:45.:36:49.

talked about last week? What Welsh government plans are there to

:36:50.:36:55.

reverse the export declines and support particularly new business

:36:56.:36:59.

start-ups? I thank him for what he said about the White Paper. He

:37:00.:37:12.

talked about SMEs. We offer repayable finance to SMEs.

:37:13.:37:15.

Immediately following the referendum, we did launch the

:37:16.:37:19.

business confidence plan aimed at promoting business confidence. We

:37:20.:37:25.

want Wales to remain an attractive place for businesses to invest. On

:37:26.:37:31.

top of that, Finance Wales has introduced two new funds. For

:37:32.:37:35.

example, the Wales technology venture investment fund and the

:37:36.:37:38.

Wales business fund. We are determined to make sure that we can

:37:39.:37:42.

provide as much support as SMEs need. It is right to say that there

:37:43.:37:46.

is still some uncertainty as to what happens post-Brexit. We don't know

:37:47.:37:50.

what the arrangements will be for accessing the single market until

:37:51.:37:53.

those questions are answered so it's natural that some businesses will

:37:54.:37:57.

want to wait and see what happens before they take investment

:37:58.:38:01.

decisions. Question five. What assessment has the First Minister

:38:02.:38:03.

made of bank closures in north Wales? What is absolutely crucial is

:38:04.:38:15.

that people, with a loot their bank branches are able to access banking

:38:16.:38:20.

services through the Post Office. Just last week, HSBC announced its

:38:21.:38:24.

intention to close its branch in Holywell, hot on the heels of

:38:25.:38:27.

NatWest taking the same decision in the same town. The consequence of

:38:28.:38:32.

which will hit the high street hard. I joined members of the community

:38:33.:38:37.

last Friday to take a stand against this latest closure and the hurt and

:38:38.:38:41.

anger of local people was palpable. They really feel enough is enough

:38:42.:38:46.

for the area. When HSBC closed its bad in Flint last year, they advised

:38:47.:38:53.

customers to use the Holywell Arch. -- branch. While the banks make

:38:54.:38:59.

clear it is possible to use the local post office, this is not

:39:00.:39:04.

applicable to business customers and the future of Hollywood post office

:39:05.:39:08.

is far from certain. While I recognise that any legislation to

:39:09.:39:11.

protect our local bank branches would need to be eaten at the UK

:39:12.:39:15.

level, what can the Welsh government do to make sure that people and

:39:16.:39:19.

businesses in my constituency and across Wales continue to access

:39:20.:39:23.

face-to-face banking and support our high streets? We have over the years

:39:24.:39:31.

supported our post offices financially and they are hugely

:39:32.:39:34.

important in local communities. It is right to say that while personal

:39:35.:39:39.

banking services can be provided by post offices, the reality is that

:39:40.:39:42.

most business customers don't get that kind of service. When

:39:43.:39:48.

businesses cash at the end of the day, where do they take their money?

:39:49.:39:55.

Is one of the issues. It helps the football of a post office as well.

:39:56.:40:01.

The difficulty with banking is that football has dropped in branches. We

:40:02.:40:06.

must find a way, working with the Post Office, to make sure that those

:40:07.:40:09.

services are available to the people that need them. We have made

:40:10.:40:13.

representations over the years to the Post Office and the banks to

:40:14.:40:17.

make sure that where banks decide they no one to be -- no longer want

:40:18.:40:22.

to be in the community, the Post Office is able to take over the

:40:23.:40:25.

services they offer, and to look at whether credit unions can take over

:40:26.:40:39.

as well. Rhun ap Iorwerth. I have also raised concerns in this chamber

:40:40.:40:42.

to the First Minister on a series of announcements in my constituency.

:40:43.:40:44.

They have been further announcements recently on financial institutions,

:40:45.:40:52.

not only banks closing, HSBC in Holyhead, the Yorkshire building

:40:53.:40:55.

society in Llangefni, they are the latest two. The outcome of this is

:40:56.:41:02.

that there is a centralisation of services and regional hubs. We are

:41:03.:41:06.

seeing a pattern of that emerging at the moment and that does deprive

:41:07.:41:09.

people of services as other members have said. There is the First

:41:10.:41:13.

Minister agree that the Welsh government does need to put pressure

:41:14.:41:17.

on the UK Government to make sure that banks, not as individual

:41:18.:41:21.

companies but as a wider sector, should make sure that there are

:41:22.:41:24.

financial services which are accessible to all communities in

:41:25.:41:30.

Wales? Yes, that is a fair point. If the banks can't do it, in my view

:41:31.:41:35.

they are duty bound to offer alternative ways of delivering the

:41:36.:41:41.

financial services, via the Post Office and also, as a government, we

:41:42.:41:47.

want to make sure that credit unions can fill the gap that the commercial

:41:48.:41:52.

banks are leaving. As I said earlier, by so doing, I think it

:41:53.:41:56.

will be possible to make sure that people will receive the services

:41:57.:42:02.

they should receive. Mark Isherwood. As he Jess be told me when I met

:42:03.:42:06.

them last year to discuss the closures in Flintshire, as NatWest

:42:07.:42:09.

replied to me when I wrote to them regarding their closure in

:42:10.:42:14.

Hollywood, and as the Yorkshire building society is now saying, the

:42:15.:42:18.

reason for this is the switch from bank raised service usage to digital

:42:19.:42:27.

usage. That, as is now being said by HSBC in Holywell, Hollywood head and

:42:28.:42:31.

Llanrwst, leaves those without transport, those without Internet

:42:32.:42:35.

access, shopkeepers and small businesses, losing out. What

:42:36.:42:40.

dialogue and what submission did your government made to Professor

:42:41.:42:44.

Grigg's independent review into how banks have intimated the banking

:42:45.:42:47.

protocol to minimise the impact of bank closures and into dialogue with

:42:48.:42:52.

the Post Office regarding the newly announced partnership to secure

:42:53.:42:58.

access to local banking services? We welcome the recommendations for

:42:59.:43:02.

better engagement and communication between the banks and customers but

:43:03.:43:07.

it is important the UK Government, as the lead organisation here, to

:43:08.:43:10.

make sure that what the review actually suggests is taken forward,

:43:11.:43:16.

namely that the banks improve the way they engage with communities

:43:17.:43:19.

facing branch closures, including working with small business

:43:20.:43:22.

customers to mitigate the challenge of cash deposits. While we welcome

:43:23.:43:28.

the recommendations, we do need to see action now on the part of the UK

:43:29.:43:33.

Government. Question six. Will the First Minister make a statement on

:43:34.:43:35.

support for micro businesses in Wales? Business support is available

:43:36.:43:42.

for entrepreneurs, Micro, small and medium-sized businesses across

:43:43.:43:47.

Wales, through our business Wales service, and our focus remains on

:43:48.:43:50.

supporting innovation, jobs and the economy. As well as the support you

:43:51.:43:57.

have referred to, I am aware that business Wales provides considerable

:43:58.:44:01.

practical support for guidance on developing businesses such as

:44:02.:44:07.

business plans, research, bands etc. In Merthyr Tydfil we have a

:44:08.:44:11.

fantastic organisation which offers facilitated office space for

:44:12.:44:13.

businesses to share resources and ideas under one roof. The space

:44:14.:44:19.

offers a one-stop cost-effective environment to kick-start ideas and

:44:20.:44:24.

share skills, knowledge and success. An important part of the hub's role

:44:25.:44:29.

is not just to provide the facilitated office space but it

:44:30.:44:33.

provides a forum for these new or developing small businesses to share

:44:34.:44:36.

experience and good practice and mutual support. Do you agree with me

:44:37.:44:41.

that initiatives like this can be incredibly beneficial to small

:44:42.:44:45.

businesses, particularly in their formative years, and have an

:44:46.:44:47.

important role to play in supporting the continued growth of small

:44:48.:44:51.

businesses in Wales, supplementing the work done by business Wales?

:44:52.:44:57.

Sharing expertise, good practice is a good factor for start-ups. I note

:44:58.:45:05.

the sector in Conwy, in conjunction with the entrepreneurial sector, is

:45:06.:45:12.

looking at the type of spaces needed to make sure that provision is

:45:13.:45:14.

available. Will the First Minister make a

:45:15.:45:26.

statement on the Hendry review? We welcome it. It supports the case for

:45:27.:45:31.

the tidal lagoon and the specific recognition that gives to the

:45:32.:45:35.

projects already under development around our coast. Thank you. We all

:45:36.:45:41.

welcome it. What we don't need of course is the issue of the marine

:45:42.:45:45.

licence holding up progress. Bearing in mind that I raise the delay in

:45:46.:45:53.

September 2015, how often has your government chased and Derby to come

:45:54.:45:59.

forward with the license, and what reasons has it given for its species

:46:00.:46:06.

report? NRW at arms length organisation. There is a limit to

:46:07.:46:10.

what we can appropriately say to them as they are determining a

:46:11.:46:14.

marine licensing application. I will say the application needs to be

:46:15.:46:20.

determined as possible. And we all understand in this chamber of the

:46:21.:46:24.

importance of the tidal lagoon in terms of jobs. We also need to see a

:46:25.:46:28.

firm commitment from the UK government in terms of the strike

:46:29.:46:31.

price in order to ensure this worthwhile project goes ahead.

:46:32.:46:38.

Question eight. We were delighted Charles Hendry visited the Assembly

:46:39.:46:47.

last week. What discussions has the First Minister had with the Prime

:46:48.:46:51.

Minister regarding the Swansea Bay tidal lagoons since the Hendry

:46:52.:46:56.

review was published? Can I thank the member for the heads up on his

:46:57.:47:01.

supplementary? Not directly with the Prime Minister but I know the

:47:02.:47:06.

Cabinet Secretary for Conwy infrastructure met last week and

:47:07.:47:10.

officials are in close contact with the Department in Whitehall. Thank

:47:11.:47:21.

you for your patience. It was a clear and resounding endorsement of

:47:22.:47:26.

the Swansea Laguna Seca Pathfinder, he said, and the cost of the project

:47:27.:47:31.

would be about 30 people are household were a year for the first

:47:32.:47:41.

30 years. The benefits he said that investment could be huge, especially

:47:42.:47:44.

in South Wales but also in many other parts of the country. Having

:47:45.:47:48.

looked at the evidence and spoken to the key players on both sides of the

:47:49.:47:53.

debate, it is my view we should seize the opportunity to move this

:47:54.:47:57.

technology forward now. Would be First Minister note the cross-party

:47:58.:48:01.

support here in the Senedd? The cross-party support among Welsh MPs?

:48:02.:48:08.

The cross sector business support? The University support? And whilst

:48:09.:48:12.

we need to deal with the environmental concerns, the wider

:48:13.:48:17.

NGO support for this sustainable energy scheme? Would you further

:48:18.:48:21.

agree that this, as I said to Charles Hendry when he first came

:48:22.:48:24.

here to take views, is a no-brainer or as he said, in no regret policy

:48:25.:48:30.

for government. And we would welcome a supportive statement from the UK

:48:31.:48:35.

government for the pathway Project at the earliest opportunity. What

:48:36.:48:38.

can he do to help to get that statement? We have made it very

:48:39.:48:43.

clear that this is a project that doesn't just deliver green anergy

:48:44.:48:46.

beyond our own lifetimes, which is not something we are used to

:48:47.:48:51.

predicting in politics. It also has the potential to create 1300 jobs,

:48:52.:49:00.

particular import tool but that is required. -- particular in Port

:49:01.:49:08.

Talbot. And I hope we can move forward with the project that will

:49:09.:49:14.

only be good for the Welsh people. Will the First Minister make a

:49:15.:49:18.

statement on recognition given those who carried out their National

:49:19.:49:22.

Service as Bevin Boys during and after the Second World War? I know

:49:23.:49:25.

the member has a very firm interest in this issue and we know that Bevin

:49:26.:49:31.

Boys, many of whom worked in dangerous minds, played their part

:49:32.:49:36.

in winning the Second World War and it is fitting memorial commemorating

:49:37.:49:41.

them has been planned in the Staffordshire arboretum. I was

:49:42.:49:47.

contacted by my constituent who turns 91 this year and was a Bevin

:49:48.:49:51.

Boys during the Second World War. When the Bevin Boys programme was

:49:52.:49:55.

wound up in 1948, they didn't receive medals and their efforts

:49:56.:50:01.

went unrecognised until VE Day, the 50th anniversary celebrations, in

:50:02.:50:07.

May 19 95. In June 2007, the UK government announced Bevin Boys

:50:08.:50:11.

would get a badge for their service. I feel it wasn't enough. I will be

:50:12.:50:15.

writing to the Bevin Boys association to ask them to contact

:50:16.:50:18.

my constituent. With the First Minister pay tribute to my

:50:19.:50:23.

constituent and people like him and recognise his contribution to our

:50:24.:50:27.

country's security during the Second World War? Indeed, I would because

:50:28.:50:31.

even though they weren't competence, without them, there would not have

:50:32.:50:34.

been the ability to release those who went into the armed forces,

:50:35.:50:38.

there wouldn't have been the ability to fill so many of the engines that

:50:39.:50:43.

were needed in ships particularly and we know the economy would have

:50:44.:50:47.

ground to a halt. That would have been as debilitating as military

:50:48.:50:51.

reversal. War pensions, for example, are not devolved and they haven't

:50:52.:50:55.

been applied to Bevin Boys, they are the response poverty of the UK

:50:56.:50:59.

government. But I'd be happy to write to the responsible minister in

:51:00.:51:01.

the UK government to make him aware of the issues you phrase today, and

:51:02.:51:08.

the issue of war pensions and what should be done now to honour all of

:51:09.:51:12.

those who are still with us who contributed so much to the war

:51:13.:51:16.

effort. That was First Minister's questions.

:51:17.:51:20.

Proceedings continuing Cardiff Bay and if you want more coverage of the

:51:21.:51:25.

National Assembly, go online to BBC Wales live page, which is. More

:51:26.:51:35.

politics on Wales Today at 6:30pm. As for today, from all of us on the

:51:36.:51:40.

programme, thanks very much for watching. Goodbye.

:51:41.:52:21.

When people talk about the game being in the nation's soul,

:52:22.:52:26.

We only taste delirium because we've had despair as well.

:52:27.:52:32.

Eddie Butler meets the fans and players who make it what it is.

:52:33.:52:36.

It's probably the most emotionally charged rugby you play.

:52:37.:52:38.

Friday night at 8:00, on BBC One Wales.

:52:39.:52:46.

CHEERING 'Well, this is the moment

:52:47.:52:48.

'that the whole of Wales has been waiting for...'

:52:49.:52:51.

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