Y Pwyllgor Deisebau
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor yn y Senedd a thrwy gynhadledd fideo.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 14:04.
The committee met in the Senedd and by video-conference.
The meeting began at 14:04.
Croeso cynnes i chi i gyd i gyfarfod y Pwyllgor Deisebau.
A very warm welcome to you all to this meeting of the Petitions Committee.
Item 1 on today's agenda for the Petitions Committee is apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest. We have received apologies from Luke Fletcher, and there are no substitutions. I remind committee members who are present that they should note any declarations either now or at the appropriate time during today's proceedings.
Item 2 today is new petitions. Item 2.1 is P-06-1288, 'Deliver Magor and Undy Walkway Station, part of the Burns Delivery Programme, as a quick win':
'We urge the Welsh Government to expedite the opening of Magor and Undy Walkway Station, as a "quick win" in the delivery of the lord Burns report. The station is needed now, with the population of Magor with Undy rapidly expanding and shortly becoming a town.
'Magor Action Group on Rail (M.A.G.O.R.) has been campaigning for 10 years to restore a railway station to the communities of Magor and Undy. It has had massive community support and the full backing of local politicians in the County, Senedd and from our MP. This resulted in it being included in the Burns Report Recommendations and its inclusion in the Burns Delivery Programme. We believe this would be a "quick win" because it is a technically simple and cost-effective element of the plan.
'The full history of the campaign is available on our website'.
This was submitted by Paul Turner, with a total of 547 signatures collected. I will bring committee members in to discuss this particular petition and any actions they may wish to take. I call on Joel James.
Thank you, Chair. I note from the report that the station has been included to be opened amongst the Burns commission's recommendations, but I sense there is a concern at the delay that there's been. I was wondering whether or not it was a possibility to write to the Deputy Minister just to ask for specific timescales about the opening and why this, maybe, could not be expedited quicker to highlight the 'quick win' as the petitioner stated. I think we could also maybe write to the train companies that are operating through the station, Transport for Wales and Great Western Railway, just to see how ready they are to go and what's holding them back, if there is indeed anything.
Thank you for that, Joel. There were two suggestions to write letters there, one to the Deputy Minister with responsibility, and to the two train operators. I can see Buffy live on camera nodding in agreement. So, we'll action that. Thank you, Joel.
Item 2.2 is P-06-1296, 'Make the dorglwyd, Comins Coch junction on the A487 safer':
'This junction on the A487 is very dangerous. There have been many near misses and accidents. Cars come round the blind corner too fast.
'We believe safety could be improved by restricting the speed limit to 30mph or by installing a roundabout or traffic lights.'
It was submitted by Saleena Tomlinson, with 496 signatures. I will bring Members in to discuss. I'm looking at Buffy Williams in the Rhondda.
Diolch, Chair. I can see that the Deputy Minister has made a commitment to look at this once the roads review has been published. He states that if improvement needs to be made following the outcome of the roads review, then this is something that they will look at seriously. So, I think that this is a little bit of a win for the petitioner here. I'd like to thank the petitioner on this occasion and close this petition.
There's been a suggestion to close the petition. Do Members agree? They do.
Item 2.3 is P-06-1298, 'Petition for a Welsh Government inquiry into the campaign of trans rights activists at Cardiff University':
'In recent months at Cardiff University, transgender rights activists have waged a campaign of harassment and violent threats against academics critical of Stonewall. We feel that the university and police have failed to protect the academics, potentially reflecting the links of these organizations with Stonewall. We call for an inquiry into this affair.'
This was submitted by Christian Wilton King, with 2,346 signatures, 638 of those from Wales only. These allegations have been investigated by the university, and although the petitioners are not content with the outcome, police are also aware of it, and the Minister for education has said he is not able to intervene in response to our initial letter. Given that, I think it's clear that the committee cannot progress further with this particular petition. Do all Members agree? I can see that all Members of the committee agree with that. So, on that note, we will thank the petitioner and close the petition.
Item 2.4 is P-06-1301, 'Reconsider the exclusion to care home staff receiving the additional payment for social care workers':
'The Welsh government is currently accepting applications for an Additional social care payment aligned to the Real Living Wage (a taxable payment of £1,498) claiming that: "The additional payment demonstrates our commitment to improve the status, terms and conditions and career pathways for social care workers."
'We feel that by excluding all other essential care home roles, they have devalued our contribution, and are neglecting these essential care providers that Care Managers agree are vital!'
There is additional information available for Members in their packs. It was submitted by Anita Braine, with 540 signatures. I'd like to bring Members in to discuss this petition further, and I look to Buffy Williams again.
Diolch, Chair. I find it hard to see where else our committee can go with this petition. The Minister has made it clear about the reasoning for the real living wage being paid to those social care workers. They're required to register with Social Care Wales to practice, and that's, basically, where it comes from. So, there's not a lot we can do, as a committee, going forward. So, I think we should thank the petitioner and close this petition. As I say, I'm loath to close the petition, but I really don't see where else we as a committee can go with this petition right now.
Thank you, Buffy. I can see that Members are content with your suggestion and agree with what you've said there.
Item 2.5 is P-06-1303, 'Create, fund and sustain sufficient affordable nursery and childcare places for all working parents':
'Too many parents with young families are prohibited from taking up opportunities in employment, education and training due to the lack of affordable local childcare. This is keeping children and families in poverty, reducing choice for employers, and negatively affecting the wellbeing of families and the economy of Wales. It needs intervention at a political level to ensure this situation is addressed.'
This was submitted by Gill Byrne, with 96 signatures online and 164 signatures on paper, making a total of 260 collected signatures. I will bring committee members in to discuss. I'm looking at Joel James.
Thank you, Chair. I'm conscious that the Equality and Social Justice Committee has done quite a lot of work on this earlier in the year, and did a report. I think, if memory serves me right, they also debated it, in about March this year. But I think there's still a lot more that we can do as a Petitions Committee. I was just wondering, if the committee's supportive of it, whether or not we can contact the Deputy Minister again just to get some answers as to how will the Government ensure that, in the whole process across Wales, there's sufficient provision for it, that there is flexibility in that provision, and that it's available earlier in the morning and later in the evenings, taking into account people who work different hours. I know the petitioner has cited the examples of a lack of good provision in Ceredigion; it might be a good idea to share that with the Deputy Minister as well, just to see what the Deputy Minister's thoughts are on that sort of thing.
Thank you, Joel. Buffy, there were two suggestions there: to write back to the Deputy Minister, and also share the letter from the petitioner to the Minister. I can see you agree, and I do too. So, we will action those suggestions from Joel James there.
We move on to item 3 on today's agenda, updates to previous petitions. Item 3.1 is P-05-859, 'Provide Child Houses in Wales for victims of child sexual abuse', which was submitted by Mayameen Meftahi, with 227 signatures. I will bring committee members in to discuss this petition, which has been considered for some time now. Buffy Williams.
Diolch, Chair. I'm really disappointed with the outcome that we've had with this petition, to be perfectly honest. I would like to keep the petition open. I don't want to close the petition. Because it states the committee could accept that this work is progressing and welcomes the establishment of services focusing on children and young people's experiences and needs in Wales who've suffered any form of abuse. For me, we can't keep using Wales's topography as an excuse not to have services that are desperately needed for our young people—and adults, but especially our young people. I'd like to revisit this petition in six months, and I'd like to see what progress actually has been made from the time when I first brought this up on the Chamber floor until six months from this date, then. If there has been more progress or very little progress, then I think it's up to us as a committee to find out why.
Okay. Diolch yn fawr, Buffy, for that, the suggestion to keep the petition open and review in six months' time. Joel.
Thank you, Chair. I know this is something that Buffy has spoken passionately on in the Chamber in the past, and I fully support what Buffy wants to do with this and keep it open. I know we've discussed this before, in a sense, so it might be difficult to advocate for this to go to a Petitions Committee debate, but I know that we have an opportunity to raise debates as Members, and I'm more than happy to support Buffy on that, if she wants to do that.
Thank you for that, Joel. I think there actually is a ballot open at the moment for Members to submit debates, so that might be something to consider outside this committee. We have considered this—I think this is the seventh time—but the strength of feeling from the Member was clearly shown there and, with Joel's support and my support, as Chair—and, I'm sure, Luke's support, in his absence—we can agree to review this in six months' time.
Okay. Item 3.2, P-06-1294, 'Don't leave metastatic breast cancer patients in Wales behind'. This was submitted by Tassia Haines, with 14,106 signatures. Of course, we debated this a couple of weeks ago in the Chamber now, powerfully, and, again, it's incredible to see the inspirational Tassia and her partner, Nick, watching the Senedd's Petitions Committee here in the Senedd today. I do think that the debate was passionate and powerful, but it was led by the inspiration of Tassia, really, and hopefully we did some justice to that. But I will bring committee members in to discuss this petition and any further action, and I will look to Buffy Williams once again.
Diolch, Chair. I'd like to keep this petition open. We still have some questions that have been left unanswered by the Minister, so I think we, as a committee, can go back to the Minister with these questions and ensure that we have the answers that we need, and, if we don't have the answers that we need, we need to find out why, basically. So, I think if we could leave this petition open—. The debate was very passionate, as you said, Chair, and the Members who took part in that debate all spoke with the strength of feeling behind this petition on behalf of Tassia. So, yes, I'd like to keep this petition open.
Okay. Thank you, Buffy. I can see Joel nodding in agreement there. If I remember correctly, I think it was great to see all committee members taking part in the debate as well. That's the strength of this petition. And in discussions that we've had as a committee, there are clearly some unanswered questions arising from that debate that the committee feel need to be addressed, which I must say is not the usual following a debate, but I can see, from the strength of feeling from the committee members in discussions that we've had and from the debate, that there are some questions that we need to bring forward to the Minister for Health and Social Services. So, we will action that. Next, I think we'll have a discussion outside the committee about what that correspondence to the Minister looks like. Okay.
Okay. Item 3.3, P-06-1289, 'Agree 105 day occupancy, not 182 days, to distinguish holiday let businesses from second homes'. This was submitted by Linda Davies with 3,332 signatures, and again I will bring Members in to discuss this and any actions they may wish to take. Joel James.
Thank you, Chair. I know from the correspondence I've been receiving that this is still an issue that's causing a lot of concern for a lot of people who have diversified into having these holiday homes. I'm conscious that the legislation is already in force, but I was wondering if, as a committee, we could just do a little bit more just to find out a bit more about what help and support is going to be there for those who can't necessarily make this new threshold, especially in the transitional years, the next one or two years, and then, ultimately, whether or not the Welsh Government is open to revisiting this threshold, because, from the discussions I've had with the industry, they're not against the idea of there being an occupancy threshold, but they were just concerned where the arbitrary nature of the 182 has come from. If I remember rightly, I don't think it came up prior, in any consultation or anything.
Okay. Thank you for that, Joel. A suggestion from Joel there to write back to the Minister seeking those questions. I can see Buffy is in agreement; myself included.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(ix).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Okay, that does, again, bring us to the end of today's public business. We will go into private session to discuss our work over the next term, following our break at recess. Can I propose in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix) that the committee resolves to meet in private for the remainder of the meeting? Are Members happy? I can see they are. Yes, they are. Okay, thank you very much. We will meet again in a couple of weeks' time on 21 November, and we look forward to seeing you there. Diolch yn fawr. Meeting closed.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 14:22.
The public part of the meeting ended at 14:22.