31/01/2017 First Minister's Questions


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and our weekly coverage of Questions to the First Minister.


As ever, Carwyn Jones will be answering questions


on a range of topics which fall under his responsibility,


including health policy, his plans for industry


and his reaction to local bank closures.


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


where you can see all the latest on Welsh politics.


and today's Questions to the First Minister.


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


agenda this afternoon is questions to the First Minister. Janet


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


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


the north and throughout Wales are to continue to protect investment


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


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


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


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


and trauma services. That is 3052 patients now having gone


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


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


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


yesterday that all orthopaedic replacement surgery at Ysbyty Glan


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


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


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


example of your government putting the health board in special measures


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


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


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


patients across North Wales to investigate the matter urgently and


to provide my constituents and others with the appropriate


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


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


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


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


available to Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board in order to reduce waiting


times. They are outsourcing some activity to alternative providers


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


months. Earlier this month, the annual safeguarding report from


Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board was published which was quite a


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


failure to comply with various pieces of safeguarding legislation


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


prescriptions and additional childcare regardless of income and


at huge cost while the number of people waiting for orthopaedic


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


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


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


Minister make a statement on the provision of bespoke mental health


services for former armed services personnel? Taking Wales forward


confirms our commitment to making sure that runs receive health care


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


to evidence -based treatment for veterans with mental health


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


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


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


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


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


veterans that the resettlement stage as they moved back into civilian


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


improve communication to ensure that people who can benefit from a


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


struggling for health care, struggling for housing, especially


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the service. It does provide therapeutic interventions in each


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


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


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


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


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


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


NHS Wales service found that veterans were waiting at 280 days


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


also highlighted the fact that the service would face additional


pressures resulting from the UK defence and security review. In


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


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


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


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


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


veterans using the service. The recommendations have been accepted


and are being taken forward. Questions now from the party


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


racist travel ban, they have been demonstrations throughout the world


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


and an scruple employers charging for accommodation and nominally


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


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


workers are being exploited and those employers are also


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


Yesterday we met with the UK Government Secretary of State for


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


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


calling for much stronger enforcement, just as I called on


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


undercutting and exploitation is being used by some politicians to


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


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


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


Minister agree with me that the exploitation of workers by


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


using whatever powers may be available to him regardless of the


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


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


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


point that we have not seen prosecutions for breaches of minimum


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


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


believable testimony from Polish workers particularly that they have


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


unscrew bless employers can exploit workers but this question of the


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


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


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


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


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


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


wages being squeezed because while we are pointing out at migrants


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


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


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


be able to identify to stop this exploitation so that enforcement


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


unionised have better terms and conditions for people in those


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


covered through trade union membership, wherever they come from


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that cannot be cured in the conventional sense of five years


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


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


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


to have the unit in Cardiff in developing treatments that are


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


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


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


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


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


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


they have the support of pharmaceutical and moral, in order


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


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


have pioneering science, pioneering technology here. Your government has


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


statement this afternoon towards 2030 from the education secretary.


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


increase the survival rates from lung cancer, irrespective of where


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


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


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


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


highlighted other goals your government has set. Will you be


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the Welsh Conservatives has described. Thank you for that


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


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


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


patient voices around cancer services. Tom Crosby, the clinical


need for cancer services in Wales, highlighted the importance of


bringing forward a Cancer plan to underpin cancer development in


services, putting oncologists into Wales and developing long-term


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


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


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


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


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


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


Macmillan, who you identified in members interests, identified only


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


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


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


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


The leader of the Welsh Conservatives will no doubt know


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


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


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


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


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


important to what the third sector organisations. They provide support


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Fordham motor company cancelled ?1.6 billion in Mexico and decided


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


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


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


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


insulting call to cancel the proposed invitation to President


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


appreciate there will be different views around the chamber on the


domestic policies the United States government and, indeed, President


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


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


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


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


towards President Trump in our international relations and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


criticism which is more about grandstanding for domestic political


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


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


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


yesterday, its circumstances change, the circumstances around the visit


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


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


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


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


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


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


so, did she make representations for British citizens and British


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


have measures which are being considered and are forthcoming.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


which are making a growing contribution to getting a more


physically active population right across Wales?


It is hugely important that people feel comfortable in taking exercise


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Welsh schools network, healthy schools network scheme, does support


schools to promote schemes to improve the health of pupils in


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


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


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


including in the summer holidays, by ensuring there are activities


available. It could bring substantial benefits for


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


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


forward proposals that will encourage activities such as cycling


and horse riding while protecting the environment and the livelihood


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


exactly know that until the Welsh government publishes an industrial


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


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


economy secretary dismissed any need for an urgent industrial plan for


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


summer. When will the Welsh government stop playing hide and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


industrial plan from the UK Government that there is very little


reflection on steel. Their approach to steel is nonexistent,


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


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


sure the industrial strategy ensures that our manufacturing sector and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


with a prosperous and secure strategy that your Cabinet secretary


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


reverse the export declines and support particularly new business


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


talked about SMEs. We offer repayable finance to SMEs.


Immediately following the referendum, we did launch the


business confidence plan aimed at promoting business confidence. We


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


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


example, the Wales technology venture investment fund and the


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


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


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


what the arrangements will be for accessing the single market until


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


want to wait and see what happens before they take investment


decisions. Question five. What assessment has the First Minister


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


applicable to business customers and the future of Hollywood post office


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


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


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


businesses in my constituency and across Wales continue to access


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


supported our post offices financially and they are hugely


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


They have been further announcements recently on financial institutions,


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


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


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


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


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


Minister agree that the Welsh government does need to put pressure


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


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


financial services which are accessible to all communities in


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


they are duty bound to offer alternative ways of delivering the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Llanrwst, leaves those without transport, those without Internet


access, shopkeepers and small businesses, losing out. What


dialogue and what submission did your government made to Professor


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


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


the Post Office regarding the newly announced partnership to secure


access to local banking services? We welcome the recommendations for


better engagement and communication between the banks and customers but


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


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


namely that the banks improve the way they engage with communities


facing branch closures, including working with small business


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


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


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


support for micro businesses in Wales? Business support is available


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


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


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


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


practical support for guidance on developing businesses such as


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


fantastic organisation which offers facilitated office space for


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


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


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


is not just to provide the facilitated office space but it


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


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


that initiatives like this can be incredibly beneficial to small


businesses, particularly in their formative years, and have an


important role to play in supporting the continued growth of small


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


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


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


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


available. Will the First Minister make a


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


the tidal lagoon and the specific recognition that gives to the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


firm commitment from the UK government in terms of the strike


price in order to ensure this worthwhile project goes ahead.


Question eight. We were delighted Charles Hendry visited the Assembly


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


Minister regarding the Swansea Bay tidal lagoons since the Hendry


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


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


Cabinet Secretary for Conwy infrastructure met last week and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


we need to deal with the environmental concerns, the wider


NGO support for this sustainable energy scheme? Would you further


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


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


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


government for the pathway Project at the earliest opportunity. What


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


statement on recognition given those who carried out their National


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


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


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


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


them has been planned in the Staffordshire arboretum. I was


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


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


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


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


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


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


writing to the Bevin Boys association to ask them to contact


my constituent. With the First Minister pay tribute to my


constituent and people like him and recognise his contribution to our


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


effort. That was First Minister's questions.


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


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


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


programme, thanks very much for watching. Goodbye.


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


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


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


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


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


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