Y Cyfarfod Llawn

Plenary

13/01/2021

Yn y fersiwn ddwyieithog, mae’r golofn chwith yn cynnwys yr iaith a lefarwyd yn y cyfarfod. Mae’r golofn dde yn cynnwys cyfieithiad o’r areithiau hynny.

In the bilingual version, the left-hand column includes the language used during the meeting. The right-hand column includes a translation of those speeches.

Cyfarfu'r Senedd drwy gynhadledd fideo am 13:29 gyda'r Llywydd (Elin Jones) yn y Gadair. 

The Senedd met by video-conference at 13:29 with the Llywydd (Elin Jones) in the Chair.

Datganiad gan y Llywydd
Statement by the Llywydd

Croeso, bawb, i'r Cyfarfod Llawn. Cyn i ni ddechrau, dwi eisiau nodi ychydig o bwyntiau. Mae Cyfarfod Llawn a gynhelir drwy gynhadledd fideo, yn unol â Rheolau Sefydlog Senedd Cymru, yn gyfystyr â thrafodion y Senedd at ddibenion Deddf Llywodraeth Cymru 2006. Bydd rhai o ddarpariaethau Rheol Sefydlog 34 yn gymwys ar gyfer y Cyfarfod Llawn heddiw, ac mae'r rheini wedi'u nodi ar eich agenda chi. Dwi eisiau atgoffa Aelodau hefyd am y Rheolau Sefydlog sy'n ymwneud â threfn yn y Cyfarfod Llawn, ac mae'r rheini'n berthnasol wrth gwrs i'r cyfarfod yma heddiw.

Welcome, all, to this Plenary session. Before we begin, I want to set out a few points. A Plenary meeting held by video-conference, in accordance with the Standing Orders of the Welsh Parliament, constitutes Senedd proceedings for the purposes of the Government of Wales Act 2006. Some of the provisions of Standing Order 34 will apply for today's Plenary meeting, and these are noted on your agenda. I would remind Members that Standing Orders relating to order in Plenary meetings apply to this meeting today.

13:30
1. Cwestiynau i'r Gweinidog Cyllid a'r Trefnydd
1. Questions to the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd

Cwestiynau i'r Gweinidog Cyllid yw'r eitem gyntaf ar ein hagenda ni, ac mae'r cwestiwn cyntaf gan John Griffiths.

The first item is questions to the Minister for Finance, and the first question is from John Griffiths.

Effaith COVID-19 ar Anghydraddoldebau
The Impact of COVID-19 on Inequalities

1. Pa ddarpariaeth ariannol bellach y bydd Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei gwneud o fewn ei chyllideb flynyddol i fynd i'r afael ag effaith COVID-19 ar anghydraddoldebau a oedd eisoes yn bodoli yng Nghymru? OQ56099

1. What further financial provision will the Welsh Government make within its annual budget to address the impact of COVID-19 on pre-existing inequalities in Wales? OQ56099

Thank you. Building on allocations made this year to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable, the Welsh Government’s draft budget 2021-22 sets out plans including an extra £23.1 million for free school meals and £200 million for affordable and social housing.

Diolch. Gan adeiladu ar y dyraniadau a wnaed eleni i liniaru effaith yr argyfwng ar y rhai mwyaf agored i niwed, mae cyllideb ddrafft Llywodraeth Cymru 2021-22 yn nodi cynlluniau sy’n cynnwys £23.1 miliwn yn ychwanegol ar gyfer prydau ysgol am ddim a £200 miliwn ar gyfer tai fforddiadwy a thai cymdeithasol.

Thank you, Minister. I think it's clear that the pandemic has particularly affected those who were already struggling in many ways—so, people with more disadvantaged backgrounds have suffered more, in health terms, economically and socially. In that context, I very much welcome that £23 million to extend the free school meals during holidays entitlement through to Easter of next year. I think it's in line with what organisations like the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have said—that, in order to tackle poverty, you have to basically increase families' income and reduce their outgoings. And I think it's really good that people like Marcus Rashford, who's been so effective in campaigning on these matters, very much welcomed that Welsh Government funding of £23 million plus. And it's good to see campaigners like that, Minister, using their profile and their own lived experience to help others and take that wider societal view. It's also very good that, in these times of uncertainty in the pandemic, this lifeline is being made available to our families. So, with all those advantages for this provision, Minister, I wonder if in due course Welsh Government will consider making this a permanent provision here in Wales.

Diolch, Weinidog. Credaf ei bod yn amlwg fod y pandemig wedi cael effaith arbennig ar y rheini a oedd eisoes yn ei chael hi'n anodd mewn sawl ffordd—felly, mae pobl o gefndiroedd mwy difreintiedig wedi dioddef mwy, o ran iechyd, yn economaidd ac yn gymdeithasol. Yn y cyd-destun hwnnw, croesawaf y £23 miliwn ar gyfer ehangu'r hawl i brydau ysgol am ddim yn ystod y gwyliau hyd at y Pasg y flwyddyn nesaf. Credaf fod hynny’n unol â'r hyn y mae sefydliadau fel Sefydliad Joseph Rowntree wedi'i ddweud—fod angen ichi gynyddu incwm teuluoedd a lleihau eu halldaliadau er mwyn trechu tlodi. A chredaf ei bod yn dda iawn fod pobl fel Marcus Rashford, sydd wedi ymgyrchu mor effeithiol dros y pethau hyn, wedi croesawu cyllid Llywodraeth Cymru o £23 miliwn a mwy. Ac mae'n dda gweld ymgyrchwyr o’r fath, Weinidog, yn defnyddio eu proffil a'u profiad bywyd eu hunain i helpu eraill ac yn arddel y safbwynt cymdeithasol ehangach hwnnw. Mae'n dda iawn hefyd, yn y cyfnod hwn o ansicrwydd yn ystod y pandemig, fod y rhaff achub hon ar gael i'n teuluoedd. Felly, gyda'r holl fanteision hynny yn sgil y ddarpariaeth hon, Weinidog, tybed a fydd Llywodraeth Cymru, maes o law, yn ystyried gwneud hon yn ddarpariaeth barhaol yma yng Nghymru.

Thank you very much to John Griffiths for raising this really important issue. It was the case, of course, that Welsh Government decided to extend our free school meals provision through the holidays a long time before the decision was arrived at across the border in England. And I do take my hat off to inspirational people such as Marcus Rashford, who has used his platform in order to effect change over the border. I really do think that that is inspirational.

In terms of moving forward, I'm really pleased that we were able to put this allocation in the budget for next year as well, to give families that kind of certainty. It also goes alongside the additional funding of £2.2 million that we're putting in place for the school holiday enrichment programme, and that's for children aged seven to 11 in deprived areas in the summer holiday so that they can benefit from meeting up with their friends, from learning in a much more informal environment, and access to healthy meals through the day, and so forth. So, I'm pleased that those two initiatives will sit very well together.

In terms of future years, unfortunately it is the case that, again, we've just had a one-year spending round from the UK Government. And we were anxiously awaiting our comprehensive spending review, which hasn't arrived again, but, hopefully, we'll be in a position in due course to have that kind of longer look at public finances and be able to give some multi-year settlements and provide certainty where we can.

Diolch yn fawr iawn i John Griffiths am godi'r mater pwysig hwn. Mae’n wir, wrth gwrs, fod Llywodraeth Cymru wedi penderfynu ymestyn ein darpariaeth o brydau ysgol am ddim drwy'r gwyliau ymhell cyn iddynt wneud y penderfyniad hwnnw dros y ffin yn Lloegr. Ac rwy’n cymeradwyo pobl ysbrydoledig fel Marcus Rashford, sydd wedi defnyddio'r llwyfan sydd ganddo i sicrhau newid dros y ffin. Rwyf yn meddwl o ddifrif fod hynny'n ysbrydoledig.

O ran symud ymlaen, rwy'n falch iawn ein bod wedi gallu cynnwys y dyraniad hwn yn y gyllideb ar gyfer y flwyddyn nesaf hefyd, er mwyn rhoi sicrwydd o’r fath i deuluoedd. Daw hynny ochr yn ochr â'r cyllid ychwanegol o £2.2 miliwn rydym yn ei ddarparu ar gyfer rhaglen gwella gwyliau’r haf, ac mae’r rhaglen honno ar gyfer plant rhwng saith ac 11 oed mewn ardaloedd difreintiedig yn ystod gwyliau'r haf fel y gallant elwa o gyfarfod â'u ffrindiau, o ddysgu mewn amgylchedd llawer mwy anffurfiol, a chael mynediad at brydau iach drwy'r dydd, ac ati. Felly, rwy'n falch y bydd y ddwy fenter ar waith ochr yn ochr â'i gilydd.

O ran blynyddoedd i ddod, yn anffodus unwaith eto, cylch gwario un flwyddyn yn unig rydym wedi’i gael gan Lywodraeth y DU. Ac roeddem yn disgwyl yn awchus am ein hadolygiad cynhwysfawr o wariant, nad yw wedi cyrraedd eto, ond gobeithiaf y byddwn mewn sefyllfa maes o law i gael golwg fwy hirdymor ar gyllid cyhoeddus ac i allu darparu rhai setliadau amlflwydd a rhoi sicrwydd ble bynnag y gallwn.

As the Minister has said, John Griffiths has raised a very important question. I think one of the most shocking things, certainly looking back at this in the future—this pandemic—will be the way that it has disproportionately affected those across society and those suffering from pre-existing social and health inequalities. Minister, you've mentioned free school meals, you've mentioned social housing; there are health inequalities as well, such as diabetes, lifestyle choices, obesity. So, there's no single silver bullet, is there, to actually deal with this issue, moving forward? So, in terms of this budget and future budgets, how are you going to ensure that all of these different strands are brought together, so that there is an overview, so that—hopefully we won't see another pandemic like this in the near future, but these inequalities are pre-existing anyway—these issues are ironed out, so that poorer people aren't affected disproportionately in future when health issues like this arise?

Fel y dywedodd y Gweinidog, mae John Griffiths wedi codi cwestiwn pwysig iawn. Credaf mai un o'r pethau mwyaf syfrdanol, yn sicr pan fyddwn yn edrych yn ôl ar hyn yn y dyfodol—y pandemig hwn—fydd y ffordd y mae wedi effeithio'n anghymesur ar wahanol rannau o’r gymdeithas a'r rheini sy'n dioddef o anghydraddoldebau cymdeithasol ac iechyd sy'n bodoli eisoes. Weinidog, rydych wedi sôn am brydau ysgol am ddim, rydych wedi sôn am dai cymdeithasol; ceir anghydraddoldebau iechyd hefyd, megis diabetes, dewisiadau ynghylch ffyrdd o fyw, gordewdra. Felly, nid oes un ateb syml i’w gael, nac oes, er mwyn mynd i’r afael â'r broblem wrth symud ymlaen? Felly, o ran y gyllideb hon a chyllidebau'r dyfodol, sut y byddwch yn sicrhau y bydd yr holl elfennau gwahanol hyn yn cael eu dwyn ynghyd, fel y gellir cael trosolwg, er mwyn—gobeithio na fyddwn yn gweld pandemig arall fel hwn yn y dyfodol agos, ond mae'r anghydraddoldebau hyn yn bodoli eisoes beth bynnag—er mwyn datrys y materion hyn, fel nad yw pobl dlotach yn cael eu heffeithio'n anghymesur yn y dyfodol pan fydd problemau iechyd fel hyn yn codi?

13:35

Nick Ramsay's right that inequalities have been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic, and we have seen those people who were already disadvantaged become more so as a result of the pandemic. I think the work that we've done to support the third sector in this financial year has been really important in terms of expanding our reach into communities. We, in this financial year, have provided £26.5 million in our third sector response to the COVID-19 crisis, and that was delivered through multi-agency approaches involving the Wales Council for Voluntary Action and the 19 voluntary councils working alongside their statutory partners. So, over 270 organisations have been supported under the voluntary services and emergency recovery fund, enabling nearly 9,000 volunteers to reach out to over 975,000 beneficiaries, and those funds cover a range of support, including advice provision, access to food parcels, medicines delivery and so forth. So, I think that our response to this crisis has created a really strong network upon which we can build in future years. 

Mae Nick Ramsay yn llygad ei le wrth ddweud bod anghydraddoldebau wedi eu gwaethygu gan bandemig COVID, ac rydym wedi gweld sefyllfa’r bobl a oedd eisoes dan anfantais yn gwaethygu o ganlyniad i'r pandemig. Credaf fod y gwaith rydym wedi'i wneud i gefnogi'r trydydd sector yn y flwyddyn ariannol hon wedi bod yn bwysig iawn o ran ehangu ein cyrhaeddiad i mewn i gymunedau. Rydym ni, yn y flwyddyn ariannol hon, wedi darparu £26.5 miliwn drwy ymateb ein trydydd sector i argyfwng COVID-19, a chyflawnwyd hynny drwy ddulliau amlasiantaethol gyda Chyngor Gweithredu Gwirfoddol Cymru a’r 19 cyngor gwirfoddol yn gweithio ochr yn ochr â’u partneriaid statudol. Felly, mae dros 270 o sefydliadau wedi cael cymorth o dan y gronfa argyfwng i adfer y gwasanaethau gwirfoddol, gan alluogi bron i 9,000 o wirfoddolwyr i roi cymorth i dros 975,000 o fuddiolwyr, ac mae'r cyllid hwnnw’n darparu ar gyfer ystod o wahanol fathau o gymorth, gan gynnwys darparu cyngor, mynediad at barseli bwyd, dosbarthu meddyginiaethau ac yn y blaen. Felly, credaf fod ein hymateb i'r argyfwng hwn wedi creu rhwydwaith cryf iawn y gallwn adeiladu arno yn y blynyddoedd i ddod.

Effaith y Coronafeirws
The Effects of the Coronavirus

2. Pa ystyriaeth y mae'r Gweinidog wedi'i rhoi i gefnogi pobl y mae'r coronafeirws yn Nwyrain De Cymru wedi effeithio arnynt wrth lunio cyllideb Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer 2021-22? OQ56117

2. What consideration has the Minister given to supporting people affected by the coronavirus in South Wales East when formulating the Welsh Government's budget for 2021-22? OQ56117

In recognition that the most vulnerable have been hit hardest by the pandemic, we are investing an extra £40 million for the housing support grant and providing an extra £176 million for local government so that they can continue to support people and communities affected by the coronavirus across Wales. 

Gan gydnabod mai’r rhai mwyaf agored i niwed sydd wedi cael eu taro galetaf gan y pandemig, rydym yn buddsoddi £40 miliwn ychwanegol ar gyfer y grant cymorth tai ac yn darparu £176 miliwn ychwanegol ar gyfer llywodraeth leol fel y gallant barhau i gefnogi pobl a chymunedau yr effeithir arnynt gan y coronafeirws ledled Cymru.

Thank you, Minister. You told the Finance Committee last week that there's around £800 million in reserves that will need to be spent in the current financial year if the UK Government continues to refuse to allow you flexibility to carry it forward. You mentioned then that you expect to use some of this to give further support to business, and that you are also considering giving more towards the council tax reduction scheme and the discretionary assistance fund. I thought I'd just take this opportunity to throw a few more ideas into the mix. For example, the Bevan Foundation has put forward five proposals, including extending the self-isolation payment for low-income workers, providing laptops to digitally excluded children, and writing off loans under the tenancy saver loan scheme. The campaign group Undod has also proposed offering a council tax holiday to people living in the bottom two bands as a way of providing much-needed assistance to those who need it most. And finally, Minister, a further idea could be to offer councils funding to replace their proposed council tax increases. I know many residents, including people in Caerphilly, for example, are dreading the 4 per cent increase they're facing. So, Minister, will you give consideration to some of these ideas if you are in the position of needing to allocate additional funds in this financial year?

Diolch, Weinidog. Fe ddywedoch chi wrth y Pwyllgor Cyllid yr wythnos diwethaf fod angen gwario oddeutu £800 miliwn mewn cronfeydd wrth gefn yn y flwyddyn ariannol hon os yw Llywodraeth y DU yn parhau i wrthod rhoi hyblygrwydd i chi ei gario ymlaen. Fe sonioch chi bryd hynny eich bod yn disgwyl defnyddio rhywfaint o’r arian hwn i roi rhagor o gymorth i fusnesau, a'ch bod hefyd yn ystyried rhoi mwy tuag at gynllun gostyngiadau’r dreth gyngor a'r gronfa cymorth dewisol. Hoffwn achub ar y cyfle i gynnig ambell syniad arall. Er enghraifft, mae Sefydliad Bevan wedi cyflwyno pum cynnig, gan gynnwys ymestyn y taliad hunanynysu ar gyfer gweithwyr ar incwm isel, darparu gliniaduron i blant sydd wedi'u hallgáu'n ddigidol, a dileu benthyciadau o dan y cynllun benthyciadau arbed tenantiaeth. Mae'r grŵp ymgyrchu Undod hefyd wedi awgrymu cynnig ysbaid o dalu’r dreth gyngor i bobl sy'n byw yn y ddau fand isaf fel ffordd o ddarparu cymorth mawr ei angen i'r rheini sydd ei angen fwyaf. Ac yn olaf, Weinidog, syniad arall fyddai cynnig cyllid i gynghorau yn lle eu codiadau arfaethedig i'r dreth gyngor. Gwn fod llawer o drigolion, gan gynnwys pobl yng Nghaerffili er enghraifft, yn ofni’r cynnydd o 4 y cant y maent yn ei wynebu. Felly, Weinidog, a wnewch chi ystyried rhai o'r syniadau hyn os ydych mewn sefyllfa i fod angen dyrannu arian ychwanegol yn y flwyddyn ariannol hon?

Thank you to Delyth for raising these really important issues, and it is the case that, at Finance Committee last Friday I was able to set out our current in-year financial position and some of the allocations I expect to make. So, Delyth mentioned the potential allocations for further support for business, a council tax reduction scheme, and other support potentially for and through the councils, and also the discretionary assistance fund, which has been instrumental in supporting people who have been really, really hard hit by the pandemic. 

So, I will be making a series of allocations between now and the third supplementary budget, which is in February. I'm having some discussions in some of the areas that have been raised, for example the issue of meeting the needs of children who are still digitally excluded. We have provided significant funding thus far and enabled lots of children to have MiFi devices and other kit that they require to get online to access their classes, but we are really aware that there's more to be done in that area. So, that's one of the areas where I'm having particular discussions with the education Minister with a view to seeing what more we can do in that area. But, as I say, between now and the third supplementary budget, I intend to make some really significant allocations. 

Diolch i Delyth am godi'r materion pwysig iawn hyn, ac yn wir, yn y Pwyllgor Cyllid ddydd Gwener diwethaf, nodais ein sefyllfa ariannol gyfredol yn ystod y flwyddyn a rhai o'r dyraniadau rwy’n disgwyl eu gwneud. Felly, soniodd Delyth am y dyraniadau posibl ar gyfer cymorth pellach i fusnesau, cynllun gostyngiadau’r dreth gyngor, a chymorth arall a allai fod ar gael ar gyfer y cynghorau a thrwyddynt, yn ogystal â’r gronfa cymorth dewisol sydd wedi bod yn allweddol er mwyn cefnogi pobl sydd wedi cael eu taro’n wirioneddol galed gan y pandemig.

Felly, byddaf yn gwneud cyfres o ddyraniadau rhwng nawr a'r drydedd gyllideb atodol ym mis Chwefror. Rwy'n cael trafodaethau yn rhai o'r meysydd a godwyd, er enghraifft, mater diwallu anghenion plant sy’n dal i fod wedi'u hallgáu'n ddigidol. Rydym wedi darparu cryn dipyn o gyllid hyd yma ac wedi galluogi llawer o blant i gael dyfeisiau MiFi ac offer arall sydd ei angen arnynt i fynd ar-lein i allu cymryd rhan yn eu dosbarthiadau, ond rydym yn ymwybodol iawn fod mwy i'w wneud yn y maes hwnnw. Felly, dyna un o'r meysydd rwy’n cael trafodaethau penodol yn eu cylch gyda'r Gweinidog addysg gyda'r bwriad o weld beth arall y gallwn ei wneud yn y maes hwnnw. Ond fel rwy'n dweud, rhwng nawr a'r drydedd gyllideb atodol, rwy'n bwriadu gwneud rhai dyraniadau sylweddol iawn.

Information, reassurance and continued funding will be absolutely key to keeping our Welsh businesses alive this year and in years to come. It is clear, Minister, that Welsh businesses will require Government support, financial support for some time after this pandemic has ended, but can you reassure them that providing that financial support that they really do need, and will need, will be at the forefront of your decision making when formulating future budgets? And what have you done in order to reach out to those businesses that have fallen through the gaps in terms of being able to get funding this time around, because we do not want to lose those vital businesses? Thank you. 

Bydd gwybodaeth, sicrwydd a chyllid parhaus yn gwbl allweddol er mwyn cadw ein busnesau yng Nghymru yn fyw eleni ac yn y blynyddoedd i ddod. Mae'n amlwg, Weinidog, y bydd angen cymorth y Llywodraeth ar fusnesau Cymru, cymorth ariannol am beth amser ar ôl i'r pandemig hwn ddod i ben, ond a allwch roi sicrwydd iddynt y bydd darparu'r cymorth ariannol hwnnw y mae ei wir angen arnynt, ac y bydd ei wir angen arnynt, yn cael blaenoriaeth wrth ichi wneud penderfyniadau ynghylch llunio cyllidebau yn y dyfodol? A beth rydych wedi'i wneud i roi cymorth i’r busnesau sydd wedi cwympo drwy’r bylchau o ran gallu cael cyllid y tro hwn, gan nad ydym am golli’r busnesau hollbwysig hynny? Diolch.

13:40

Thank you very much for raising the support for business, because protecting both lives and livelihoods have been our priorities during our response to the pandemic. And you'll see some significant allocations in terms of our approach to the economy and supporting jobs and creating jobs in our draft budget, which has been published and which we had the opportunity to debate yesterday. But I'm really aware that there are still individuals and businesses that have not yet been reached by support for a variety of reasons, and that's one of the reasons why my colleague the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip recently met with ExcludedUK to better understand the challenges that the people they represent are facing. And, of course, we'll continue to press the UK Government for further support as well, in terms of meeting the needs of businesses, because we see this very much as a joint effort. There's a specific role very much for the UK Government, in terms of furlough and so on, and we always aim to augment and enhance what's available, which is why we're able to provide the best possible support package anywhere in the UK. 

We have sought, on a number of occasions, to meet the gaps that we understood were already there. So, you'll recall that we introduced the £5 million start-up grant to support businesses that had started up in 2019 with a grant of £2,500 each. And we've also introduced a £10.5 million fund for the freelance community, which, again, we knew had been falling through some of the gaps. And, further to that, we have confirmed that discretionary support will continue to be available through local authorities so that they're able to support businesses who aren't on the non-domestic rates system and who have been materially impacted by the pandemic, and, there, those discretionary grants of up to £2,000 are available. But, of course, we're always looking to see what more we can do to support people who have not managed to access any support thus far. 

Diolch yn fawr am godi'r cymorth i fusnesau, gan fod diogelu bywydau a bywoliaeth pobl wedi bod yn flaenoriaethau i ni yn ystod ein hymateb i'r pandemig. Ac fe fyddwch yn gweld rhai dyraniadau sylweddol o ran ein hymagwedd tuag at yr economi a chefnogi swyddi a chreu swyddi yn ein cyllideb ddrafft, sydd wedi'i chyhoeddi, a chawsom gyfle i'w thrafod ddoe. Ond rwy'n ymwybodol iawn fod rhai unigolion a busnesau nad yw’r cymorth wedi eu cyrraedd o hyd am amryw o resymau, a dyna un o'r rhesymau pam y cyfarfu fy nghyd-Aelod y Dirprwy Weinidog a'r Prif Chwip ag ExcludedUK yn ddiweddar i gael gwell dealltwriaeth o’r heriau y mae'r bobl y maent yn eu cynrychioli yn eu hwynebu. Ac wrth gwrs, byddwn yn parhau i bwyso ar Lywodraeth y DU am gymorth pellach hefyd, er mwyn diwallu anghenion busnesau, gan ein bod yn ystyried mai ymdrech ar y cyd yw hon yn bendant iawn. Yn sicr, mae rôl benodol i Lywodraeth y DU, o ran ffyrlo ac ati, ac rydym bob amser yn anelu at wella ac ychwanegu at yr hyn sydd ar gael, a dyna pam ein bod yn gallu darparu'r pecyn cymorth gorau posibl yn unrhyw ran o'r DU.

Ar sawl achlysur, rydym wedi ceisio llenwi'r bylchau y gwyddem eu bod yno eisoes. Felly, fe fyddwch yn cofio inni gyflwyno'r grant dechrau busnes o £5 miliwn i gefnogi busnesau a oedd wedi cychwyn yn 2019 gyda grant o £2,500 yr un. Ac rydym hefyd wedi cyflwyno cronfa gwerth £10.5 miliwn ar gyfer y gymuned lawrydd, gan ein bod, unwaith eto, yn gwybod eu bod hwy wedi bod yn cwympo drwy rai o'r bylchau. Ac yn ychwanegol at hynny, rydym wedi cadarnhau y bydd cymorth dewisol yn parhau i fod ar gael drwy awdurdodau lleol fel eu bod yn gallu cefnogi busnesau nad ydynt yn rhan o'r system ardrethi annomestig ac yr effeithiwyd arnynt yn sylweddol gan y pandemig, ac yno, mae grantiau dewisol o hyd at £2,000 ar gael. Ond wrth gwrs, rydym bob amser yn edrych i weld beth arall y gallwn ei wneud i gefnogi pobl nad ydynt wedi llwyddo i gael mynediad at unrhyw gymorth hyd yn hyn.

Minister, in south-east Wales we have on average suffered a higher level of coronavirus than the average across Wales, and I just wondered to what degree you consider that the extra costs of dealing with that on a regional level, where incidence has been higher, are met by the allocations in the budget.

Weinidog, yn ne-ddwyrain Cymru rydym ar gyfartaledd wedi dioddef lefel uwch o’r coronafeirws na'r cyfartaledd ledled Cymru, a tybed i ba raddau rydych yn ystyried bod costau ychwanegol mynd i'r afael â hynny ar lefel ranbarthol, lle mae nifer yr achosion wedi bod yn uwch, yn cael eu cynnwys yn y dyraniadau yn y gyllideb.

Well, the local authority hardship fund has enabled local authorities to provide their own applications for funding. So, the funding that goes to the individual local authorities in Wales through that is on the basis of local need and local cost, rather than a per-head factor, for example. So, I think that has been a way in which we've been able to respond to those differential impacts that we've seen across Wales thus far. And, of course, the pandemic does take different shapes. It was only a few weeks ago that we were looking from the south very enviously up at north Wales in terms of the figures for the pandemic there. So, I think that we always need to be aware that things might change very quickly and be able to have the agile support, which I do think we have, available for local authorities and for others. 

Wel, mae’r gronfa galedi i awdurdodau lleol wedi galluogi awdurdodau lleol i ddarparu eu ceisiadau eu hunain am gyllid. Felly, mae'r cyllid sy'n mynd i'r awdurdodau lleol unigol yng Nghymru drwy’r gronfa honno yn cael ei ddarparu ar sail angen lleol a chost leol, yn hytrach na ffactor y pen, er enghraifft. Felly, credaf fod honno wedi bod yn ffordd o allu ymateb i'r effeithiau gwahaniaethol rydym wedi'u gweld ledled Cymru hyd yma. Ac wrth gwrs, mae’r pandemig yn effeithio’n wahanol ar wahanol fannau. Ychydig wythnosau yn ôl yn unig, roeddem yn edrych o'r de yn eiddigeddus iawn ar ogledd Cymru o ran y ffigurau ar gyfer y pandemig yno. Felly, credaf fod angen inni fod yn ymwybodol bob amser y gallai pethau newid yn sydyn iawn, a gallu sicrhau bod gennym gymorth hyblyg, fel y credaf sydd gennym ar gael i awdurdodau lleol ac i eraill.

Cwestiynau Heb Rybudd gan Lefarwyr y Pleidiau
Questions Without Notice from Party Spokespeople

Cwestiynau nawr gan lefarwyr y pleidiau. Llefarydd y Ceidwadwyr, Nick Ramsay. 

Questions now from the party leaders. The Conservatives' spokesperson, Nick Ramsay. 

Diolch, Llywydd. During the pandemic the issue of value for money has become centre stage and making sure, Minister, that we get the best from every Welsh pound spent. Over the last couple of days, it's emerged that the Welsh Government is repaying €3.4 million of rural funding to the European Commission, following last year's Audit Wales report on the rural development programme. Now, I know that the EU's disallowance has been reduced from a little over €33 million to €3.412 million, but can you update us on the current position with this repayment and what lessons the Welsh Government has learned? 

Diolch, Lywydd. Yn ystod y pandemig, mae mater gwerth am arian wedi dod yn fater amlwg iawn, yn ogystal â sicrhau, Weinidog, ein bod yn cael y gorau o bob punt Gymreig a werir. Dros yr ychydig ddyddiau diwethaf, mae wedi dod i'r amlwg fod Llywodraeth Cymru yn ad-dalu €3.4 miliwn o gyllid gwledig i'r Comisiwn Ewropeaidd, yn dilyn adroddiad Archwilio Cymru y llynedd ar y rhaglen datblygu gwledig. Nawr, gwn fod cosb ariannol yr UE wedi’i lleihau o ychydig dros €33 miliwn i €3.412 miliwn, ond a allwch roi diweddariad i ni ar y sefyllfa bresennol gyda'r ad-daliad hwn, a pha wersi y mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi'u dysgu?

I thank Nick Ramsay for raising the issue of disallowance here in the Senedd this afternoon. This is a matter that has been principally dealt with by my colleague the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, being the budget holder for that particular programme. So, if it's acceptable to Nick Ramsay, I will certainly ask my colleague to provide that latest update, because, as I say, it's managed within the particular budget line. 

Diolch i Nick Ramsay am godi mater y gosb ariannol yma yn y Senedd y prynhawn yma. Mae hwn yn fater yr ymdriniwyd ag ef yn bennaf gan fy nghyd-Aelod, Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd, Ynni a Materion Gwledig, gan mai hi yw deiliad y gyllideb ar gyfer y rhaglen benodol honno. Felly, os yw'n dderbyniol i Nick Ramsay, byddaf yn sicr o ofyn i fy nghyd-Aelod ddarparu'r diweddariad hwnnw, oherwydd, fel y dywedaf, caiff ei reoli o fewn llinell y gyllideb benodol honno.

I get the feeling I'm getting told to move on from that subject, so I appreciate it's within her line. If I can broaden that out into value for money across the whole budget itself, Minister, as I said in yesterday's budget debate, we often talk about building back better, and you've spoken about building back better and building back greener and the First Minister has. Now, that's a perfectly reasonable aim to have, but it's easier to say than it is to do. Looking through the budget, there are certain environmental aspects to it, such as, I think, the £5 million—I think I'm right in saying—towards the national forest; you may correct me on the exact figure for that. Projects like that clearly have a bearing on carbon budgeting and providing carbon sinks, but can you tell us how else you're ensuring that the budget does provide proper carbon budgeting or does at least signpost to it happening in future, so that as well as using all the soundbites about building back greener and better, we're actually going to see a future Wales where we do have environmental considerations at the very centre of everything we do?

Rwy'n cael y teimlad fy mod yn cael fy ngorchymyn i symud ymlaen o'r pwnc hwnnw, felly rwy'n derbyn ei fod yn rhan o’i llinell hi. Os caf ehangu hynny i sôn am werth am arian yn y gyllideb yn gyffredinol, Weinidog, fel y dywedais yn y ddadl ar y gyllideb ddoe, rydym yn aml yn sôn am adeiladu nôl yn well, ac rydych chi wedi sôn am adeiladu nôl yn well ac adeiladu nôl yn fwy gwyrdd, ac mae’r Prif Weinidog wedi sôn am hynny hefyd. Nawr, mae hwnnw’n nod cwbl resymol i'w gael, ond mae'n haws dweud na gwneud. Wrth edrych drwy'r gyllideb, mae'n cynnwys rhai agweddau amgylcheddol, fel y £5 miliwn—credaf fy mod yn iawn i ddweud—tuag at y goedwig genedlaethol; efallai y byddwch yn fy nghywiro ar yr union ffigur ar gyfer hynny. Mae'n amlwg fod prosiectau o’r fath yn cael effaith ar gyllidebu carbon a darparu dalfeydd carbon, ond a allwch ddweud wrthym sut arall rydych chi'n sicrhau bod y gyllideb yn darparu cyllidebu carbon cywir, neu o leiaf yn cyfeirio at hynny’n digwydd yn y dyfodol, fel ein bod, yn ogystal â defnyddio'r holl ddatganiadau bachog am adeiladu nôl yn fwy gwyrdd ac yn well, yn gweld Cymru yn y dyfodol lle bydd ystyriaethau amgylcheddol wrth wraidd popeth a wnawn?

13:45

Yes, I'd be happy to provide that update. You'll remember, last year, we published our first ever budget improvement plan and that set out some pieces of work that we would put in train this year in order to better understand the impact of the spend that we make, but also to allow us to take decisions that are better in terms of both gender budgeting, for example, but also understanding the carbon impact of the allocations that we've made. So, alongside the budget this year, you'll see several new pieces of work published. One is a distributional impact of spending on devolved public services in Wales. That's a new piece of work that we've undertaken to better understand the impact on the different socioeconomic groups in Wales. You'll also see the work that we've started to develop in terms of gender budgeting.

But, finally, the third part of the new approach is the pilot to model the estimated greenhouse gas emissions. And this is the first time that we've ever tried anything like this in Wales and it's very much in response to the concerns that you and others have raised in the Finance Committee and elsewhere, that this is something that you'd be interested in pursuing. So, alongside the chief economist's report, I did publish the initial exploratory work that the Welsh Economy Research Unit at Cardiff University had been commissioned to undertake for us, and they estimate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with Welsh Government spending. They did so in the first instance covering the largest revenue budget for the health and social services main expenditure group and that's based on last year's figures, but we do hope, between now and the final budget, to be able to get to a point where we've looked at this year's figures and also to look across all of the different MEGs as well. So, it's certainly not a finished product in terms of understanding our carbon impact, but it's definitely an important step forward in the way in which we demonstrate the impact of the choices that we make.

Rwy’n fwy na pharod i roi’r diweddariad hwnnw. Fe fyddwch yn cofio, y llynedd, inni gyhoeddi ein cynllun gwella’r gyllideb cyntaf erioed, ac roedd hwnnw’n nodi peth o’r gwaith y byddem yn ei gychwyn eleni er mwyn deall effaith ein gwariant yn well, ond hefyd er mwyn caniatáu inni wneud penderfyniadau gwell o ran cyllidebu ar sail rhyw, er enghraifft, ond hefyd i ddeall effaith y dyraniadau rydym wedi'u gwneud ar garbon. Felly, ochr yn ochr â'r gyllideb eleni, byddwch yn gweld sawl darn newydd o waith yn cael eu cyhoeddi. Un ohonynt yw effaith ddosbarthiadol y gwariant ar wasanaethau cyhoeddus datganoledig yng Nghymru. Mae hwnnw’n waith newydd rydym wedi’i gychwyn i gael gwell dealltwriaeth o’r effaith ar y gwahanol grwpiau economaidd-gymdeithasol yng Nghymru. Fe fyddwch hefyd yn gweld y gwaith rydym wedi dechrau ei ddatblygu ar gyllidebu ar sail rhyw.

Ond yn olaf, trydedd ran y dull newydd yw'r cynllun peilot i fodelu'r  allyriadau nwyon tŷ gwydr a amcangyfrifir. A dyma'r tro cyntaf erioed inni roi cynnig ar unrhyw beth o’r fath yng Nghymru, ac mae'n ymateb i'r pryderon rydych chi ac eraill wedi'u codi yn y Pwyllgor Cyllid ac mewn mannau eraill, a bod hyn yn rhywbeth y byddech yn awyddus i’w wneud. Felly, ochr yn ochr ag adroddiad y prif economegydd, cyhoeddais y gwaith archwilio cychwynnol y gwnaethom gomisiynu’r Uned Ymchwil i Economi Cymru ym Mhrifysgol Caerdydd i'w wneud ar ein rhan, ac maent yn amcangyfrif yr allyriadau nwyon tŷ gwydr sy'n gysylltiedig â gwariant Llywodraeth Cymru. Gwnaethant hynny yn y lle cyntaf ar y gyllideb refeniw fwyaf ar gyfer y prif grŵp gwariant iechyd a gwasanaethau cymdeithasol, ac mae hynny'n seiliedig ar ffigurau'r llynedd, ond rydym yn gobeithio, rhwng nawr a'r gyllideb derfynol, y gallwn gyrraedd pwynt lle rydym wedi edrych ar ffigurau eleni, ac wedi edrych hefyd ar bob un o'r gwahanol brif grwpiau gwariant. Felly, yn sicr, nid yw'n waith gorffenedig o ran deall ein heffaith mewn perthynas â charbon, ond mae'n bendant yn gam pwysig ymlaen yn y ffordd rydym yn dangos effaith y dewisiadau a wnawn.

Diolch, Gweinidog. I'm all for carbon budgeting and I think it's great that we're moving that way, but I do appreciate the complexity of trying to achieve that. But, as you've pointed out, we have to start somewhere.

Looking across other aspects of the draft budget, and I appreciate it's still a draft budget, but housing, for instance. I can appreciate how carbon budgeting comes in with providing better broadband, et cetera, because that obviously takes more people off the roads, but your decision on land transaction tax and, for instance, reverting to the previous rate for properties between £160,000 and £250,000—I think they're back to the 3 per cent level pre the pandemic—it's difficult to see how that's going to help those people certainly at the lower end of the housing market—first-time buyers—to get on the housing ladder. So, who do you liaise with and what evidence have you taken into account in taking those decisions on land transaction tax? And are you sure or convinced that the revenues that will be gained from doing that will actually be worth any negative impacts on the first-time-buyer housing market?

Diolch, Weinidog. Rwy’n hollol o blaid cyllidebu carbon a chredaf ei bod yn wych ein bod yn mynd i’r cyfeiriad hwnnw, ond rwy'n sylweddoli pa mor gymhleth yw ceisio cyflawni hynny. Ond fel rydych wedi’i nodi, mae'n rhaid inni ddechrau yn rhywle.

Wrth edrych ar agweddau eraill ar y gyllideb ddrafft, ac rwy’n cydnabod mai cyllideb ddrafft yw hi o hyd, ond tai, er enghraifft. Gallaf ddeall sut y mae cyllidebu carbon yn berthnasol i ddarparu band eang gwell, ac ati, oherwydd mae hynny'n amlwg yn golygu llai o bobl ar y ffyrdd, ond mae eich penderfyniad ynghylch treth trafodiadau tir, ac er enghraifft, dychwelyd at y gyfradd flaenorol ar gyfer eiddo rhwng £160,000 a £250,000—credaf eu bod yn ôl i'r lefel o 3 y cant a oedd yn weithredol cyn y pandemig—mae'n anodd gweld sut y bydd hynny’n helpu'r bobl ar ben isaf y farchnad dai, yn sicr—prynwyr tro cyntaf—i gamu ar yr ysgol dai. Felly, pwy yw eich cysylltiadau a pha dystiolaeth rydych wedi'i hystyried wrth wneud y penderfyniadau hynny ar dreth trafodiadau tir? Ac a ydych yn siŵr neu'n argyhoeddedig y bydd y refeniw a geir o wneud hynny yn cyfiawnhau unrhyw effeithiau negyddol ar farchnad dai prynwyr tro cyntaf?

Well, the existing reduction that is due to end on 31 March—which is also or at least a similar timescale is being thought of across the border in England as well—was intended to be brought in to ensure that we bring forward some of those transactions from next year. So, it was always intended to be a time-limited intervention to increase the number of homes that are transacted in this financial year. But that said, even when we go back to our original rate, the majority of house buyers in Wales will pay no or reduced land transaction tax and certainly less than they would have paid elsewhere. And we're also in the position in Wales where our average house price is much less than elsewhere. I appreciate it's a different situation in the constituency that Nick represents. But I still think that even then, we will have the most progressive approach that there is in the UK. 

Wel, bwriad cyflwyno'r gostyngiad presennol sydd i fod i ddod i ben ar 31 Mawrth—sydd hefyd, neu o leiaf mae amserlen debyg yn cael ei hystyried dros y ffin yn Lloegr yn ogystal—oedd sicrhau bod rhai o'r trafodiadau'n cael eu cyflwyno'n gynt na'r flwyddyn nesaf. Felly, y bwriad bob amser oedd iddi fod yn ymyrraeth am gyfnod penodol i gynyddu nifer y cartrefi sy'n cael eu prynu a'u gwerthu yn y flwyddyn ariannol hon. Ond wedi dweud hynny, hyd yn oed pan fyddwn yn mynd yn ôl i’n cyfradd wreiddiol, ni fydd y rhan fwyaf o brynwyr tai yng Nghymru yn talu treth trafodiadau tir, neu byddant yn talu llai, ac yn sicr, byddant yn talu llai nag y byddent wedi'i dalu yn rhywle arall. Ac rydym hefyd mewn sefyllfa yng Nghymru lle mae prisiau tai ar gyfartaledd yn is o lawer nag mewn mannau eraill. Rwy'n dderbyn bod y sefyllfa’n wahanol yn yr etholaeth y mae Nick yn ei chynrychioli. Ond hyd yn oed wedyn, rwy’n dal i feddwl y bydd gennym y dull mwyaf blaengar o weithredu yn y DU.

13:50

Llefarydd Plaid Cymru, Rhun ap Iorwerth.

Plaid Cymru spokesperson, Rhun ap Iorwerth.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Llywydd. Mae yna gryn sylw wedi cael ei roi ar draws y Deyrnas Unedig yr wythnos yma i ginio ysgol am ddim ar ôl y sgandal o brydau cwbl annigonol yn cael eu rhoi gan gontractwyr preifat i blant yn Lloegr yn ystod y pandemig. Ond mae cefnogaeth yn gyffredinol yn dal yn annigonol i blant sy'n byw mewn tlodi yng Nghymru; rydym ni wedi cyfeirio'n barod yn ystod y sesiwn yma at ymestyn cinio ysgol am ddim yn ystod y pandemig, ond gadewch inni edrych y tu hwnt i'r pandemig yma.

Mae yna 70,000 o blant yng Nghymru, yn ôl y Grŵp Gweithredu ar Dlodi Plant, lle mae eu teuluoedd nhw yn derbyn credyd cynhwysol ond sydd ddim yn gymwys i gael cinio ysgol am ddim. Rŵan, ar ddau achlysur yn ddiweddar mi ydych chi fel Gweinidog wedi cyfeirio at y ffaith bod costings wedi cael eu gwneud gan eich swyddogion chi ar roi cinio ysgol am ddim i bob un o'r rheini, y cyntaf mewn ymateb i gwestiwn ysgrifenedig gan Adam Price ar 4 Ionawr, y llall mewn ymateb i Siân Gwenllian yn y Pwyllgor Cyllid ychydig ddyddiau yn ddiweddarach. Ydych chi yn gallu dweud wrthym ni i ba gasgliad ddaethoch chi ynglŷn â faint fyddai fo'n gostio i sicrhau bod pob plentyn sydd yn byw mewn tlodi yn gymwys i gael cinio ysgol am ddim?

Thank you very much, Llywydd. There's been quite some coverage across the UK this week on free school meals following the scandal of the inadequate meals provided by private contractors to children in England during the pandemic. But support, generally speaking, is still inadequate for children living in poverty in Wales; we've already referred during this session to extending free school meals during the pandemic, but let's look beyond the pandemic.  

There are 70,000 children in Wales, according to the Child Poverty Action Group, whose families receive universal credit but don't qualify for free school meals. Now, on two recent occasions you as Minister have referred to the fact that costings have been undertaken by your officials on providing free school meals to each and every one of those, first in response to a written question from Adam Price on 4 January, and the second in response to Siân Gwenllian in the Finance Committee a few days later. Can you tell us what conclusion you came to as to how much it would cost to ensure that every child living in poverty does qualify for free school meals? 

Llywydd, I did undertake in Finance Committee on Friday to write to the committee with the full detail in terms of the modelling that we have undertaken to explore the cost of extending free school meals, and I'll be certain to share it also with Rhun ap Iorwerth as well as the Finance Committee to give that level of detail. Of course, this issue was raised again with the First Minister in First Minister's questions just this week, and he did make the challenge—which I think is a completely legitimate one—in the sense that if we are going to look at spending tens of millions of additional pounds on this particular initiative—and, of course, there's a very strong argument for supporting families in this way—then we do need to explore where in the budget we would take that funding from. So, I think that we do have to have both sides of that coin when we're making these choices, but I will share that information as soon as I'm able to. 

Lywydd, ymrwymais yn y Pwyllgor Cyllid ddydd Gwener i ysgrifennu at y pwyllgor gyda'r manylion llawn am y gwaith modelu rydym wedi'i wneud i archwilio cost ymestyn y ddarpariaeth o brydau ysgol am ddim, a byddaf yn siŵr o’u rhannu hefyd gyda Rhun ap Iorwerth yn ogystal â'r Pwyllgor Cyllid i roi’r lefel honno o fanylder. Wrth gwrs, codwyd y mater hwn eto gyda'r Prif Weinidog yn y cwestiynau i'r Prif Weinidog yr wythnos hon, a gwnaeth yr her—un gwbl ddilys yn fy marn i—yn yr ystyr, os ydym am ystyried gwario degau o filiynau o bunnoedd ychwanegol ar y fenter benodol hon—ac wrth gwrs, ceir dadl gref iawn dros gefnogi teuluoedd yn y ffordd hon—mae angen inni archwilio o ble yn y gyllideb y byddem yn mynd â’r arian hwnnw. Felly, credaf fod yn rhaid inni edrych ar y ddwy ochr i'r geiniog honno wrth wneud y dewisiadau hyn, ond byddaf yn rhannu'r wybodaeth honno cyn gynted ag y gallaf.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, a dwi yn deall yn iawn, wrth gwrs, mai mater o flaenoriaethu ydy hyn ond dwi'n gobeithio y byddwch chi fel Gweinidog cyllid yn cytuno nad oes yna lawer mwy o flaenoriaeth na rhoi'r gefnogaeth sydd ei hangen ar blant sy'n byw mewn tlodi, ac, yn wir, i'w tynnu nhw allan o dlodi. Ar ôl gwneud y costio, mi benderfynoch chi am ryw reswm bod hyn ddim yn ddigon o flaenoriaeth i roi yn y gyllideb ddrafft. A wnewch chi rŵan ailystyried hyn wrth weithio ar y gyllideb derfynol?

Ac o ran yr hyn glywsom ni gan y Prif Weinidog ddoe, oni bai eich bod chi'n gallu fy nghywiro i dwi'n meddwl bod y Prif Weinidog ddoe wedi camddehongli yr hyn rydym ni'n edrych arno fo drwy awgrymu ein bod ni'n sôn am 70,000 o deuluoedd yn fan hyn. Os buasai un plentyn ym mhob teulu, mi fuasai'n costio £33 miliwn meddai fo, mwy os oes yna ddau blentyn yn y teulu, gymaint â £101 miliwn os oes yna dri phlentyn mewn teulu, ond sôn am 70,000 o blant ydyn ni yn fan hyn. Ar sail y ffigurau yna gawsom ni gan y Prif Weinidog felly, allwn ni gasglu mai £33 miliwn fyddai'r gost o ymestyn cinio am ddim i'r 70,000 o blant?

Thank you very much, and I fully understand that it's a matter of prioritisation, but I hope that you as finance Minister would agree that there isn't a much greater priority than providing the necessary support for children living in poverty and, indeed, bringing them out of poverty. Having undertaken those costings, you decided for some reason that this wasn't a sufficient priority to include in the draft budget. Will you now reconsider your position on this whilst working on the final budget? 

And in terms of what we heard from the First Minister yesterday, unless you can correct me I think the First Minister yesterday misinterpreted what we're looking at by suggesting that we're talking about 70,000 families here. If there were one child in every family, it would cost £33 million he said, more if there were two children, and as much as £101 million if there were three children in the family, but we are talking about 70,000 children here. Given those figures that we received from the First Minister, should we assume that the cost would be £33 million were we to extend free school meals to those 70,000 children?

As I say, I'll share the modelling that we've undertaken and which is being completed by our officials in Welsh Government with Rhun ap Iorwerth and also with the Finance Committee, and then I think that would be the time then to explore where colleagues would suggest that cuts should be made within the draft budget in order to accommodate a change in this approach. 

Fel y dywedaf, byddaf yn rhannu'r gwaith modelu rydym wedi'i wneud ac sy'n cael ei gwblhau gan ein swyddogion yn Llywodraeth Cymru gyda Rhun ap Iorwerth a hefyd gyda'r Pwyllgor Cyllid, a chredaf mai dyna’r adeg i archwilio ble fyddai cyd-Aelodau’n awgrymu y dylid gwneud toriadau yn y gyllideb ddrafft er mwyn darparu ar gyfer newid i’r dull hwn.

Okay. I'll just reiterate once more that this has to be a priority, surely. We're talking about children living in poverty needing every help that they can get, and out of a total budget of £22 billion surely £33 million has to be found. We've seen the shame of the inadequate food boxes. We've seen the frustration and anger triggered by the Marcus Rashford campaign. Let's get this sorted. Look to your unallocated COVID consequentials; is there a contribution there? We know that COVID has amplified poverty problems in Wales. Plaid Cymru is calling clearly for this. Labour councillors in Carmarthenshire, I understand, have backed a Plaid Cymru motion asking the Welsh Government to extend free school meals to all children in families receiving universal credit. It's time the Labour Government acted on this.

Iawn. Fe ailadroddaf unwaith eto fod yn rhaid i hyn fod yn flaenoriaeth, does bosibl. Rydym yn sôn am blant yn byw mewn tlodi, ac angen pob cymorth y gallant ei gael, ac o gyllideb o £22 biliwn, rhaid bod modd dod o hyd i £33 miliwn. Rydym wedi gweld gwarth y bocsys bwyd annigonol. Rydym wedi gweld y rhwystredigaeth a'r dicter yn sgil ymgyrch Marcus Rashford. Gadewch inni gael trefn ar hyn. Edrychwch ar eich cyllid canlyniadol ar gyfer COVID nad yw wedi cael ei ddyrannu; a oes cyfraniad yno? Gwyddom fod COVID wedi chwyddo problemau tlodi yng Nghymru. Mae Plaid Cymru yn galw’n glir am hyn. Mae cynghorwyr Llafur yn Sir Gaerfyrddin, yn ôl yr hyn a ddeallaf, wedi cefnogi cynnig gan Blaid Cymru sy’n gofyn i Lywodraeth Cymru ymestyn prydau ysgol am ddim i gynnwys pob plentyn mewn teuluoedd sy’n derbyn credyd cynhwysol. Mae'n bryd i'r Llywodraeth Lafur weithredu ar hyn.

13:55

I think it's important to recognise that free school meals are one part of an important package of support that we provide to children and families who are struggling. You'll have heard me already this afternoon talk about the additional funding that we're putting into the school holiday enrichment programme, which of course is not just about providing food to those families but providing opportunities to children in terms of meeting up with friends and having learning experiences through the holidays so that they don't fall behind. We've invested heavily in our pupil development grant, which is providing additional funding to schools, early years, and other settings, to enable disadvantaged learners to achieve their best educational outcomes, and in this financial year over £92 million of that was delegated directly to schools and educational settings so that they can support those families who they know need it. And you'll see, of course, additional funding to support children through the additional work we're putting in place for support for mental health, for example, so this is just one part of a wide suite of support that we are putting in place for families who are struggling. I'll just refer again to the commitment I did make at Finance Committee to share further details and information.

Credaf ei bod yn bwysig cydnabod bod prydau ysgol am ddim yn un rhan o becyn pwysig o gymorth rydym yn ei ddarparu i blant a theuluoedd sy'n ei chael hi'n anodd. Byddwch wedi fy nghlywed yn sôn eisoes y prynhawn yma am yr arian ychwanegol rydym yn ei ddarparu ar gyfer rhaglen gwella gwyliau’r haf, sy'n ymwneud â mwy na darparu bwyd yn unig i'r teuluoedd hynny ond cyfleoedd i blant allu cyfarfod â ffrindiau a chael profiadau dysgu drwy'r gwyliau fel nad ydynt ar ei hôl hi. Rydym wedi buddsoddi'n sylweddol yn ein grant datblygu disgyblion, sy'n darparu cyllid ychwanegol i ysgolion, y blynyddoedd cynnar a lleoliadau eraill, i alluogi dysgwyr difreintiedig i gyflawni eu canlyniadau addysgol gorau, ac yn y flwyddyn ariannol hon, cafodd dros £92 miliwn o hynny ei ddirprwyo’n uniongyrchol i ysgolion a lleoliadau addysgol fel y gallant gefnogi'r teuluoedd y gwyddant eu bod ei angen. Ac wrth gwrs, fe welwch gyllid ychwanegol i gefnogi plant drwy'r gwaith ychwanegol rydym yn ei roi yn ei le ar gyfer cymorth iechyd meddwl, er enghraifft, felly un rhan yn unig yw hon o gyfres eang o raglenni cymorth rydym yn ei rhoi ar waith i deuluoedd sy'n ei chael hi'n anodd. Cyfeiriaf unwaith eto at yr ymrwymiad a wneuthum yn y Pwyllgor Cyllid i rannu rhagor o fanylion a gwybodaeth.

Gwasanaethau Ieuenctid
Youth Services

3. Pa flaenoriaeth y mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei rhoi i ariannu gwasanaethau ieuenctid yng nghyllideb y flwyddyn nesaf? OQ56107

3. What priority is the Welsh Government giving to funding youth services in next year’s budget? OQ56107

Supporting Wales’s young people hardest hit by the pandemic is a priority for the Welsh Government. Together with maintaining £10 million for the youth support grant, including support to tackle youth homelessness and mental health, we are providing local government with an increase of £176 million to support vital local services.

Mae cefnogi pobl ifanc Cymru sydd wedi’u taro galetaf gan y pandemig yn flaenoriaeth i Lywodraeth Cymru. Yn ogystal â chynnal £10 miliwn ar gyfer y grant cymorth ieuenctid, gan gynnwys cymorth i fynd i’r afael ag iechyd meddwl a digartrefedd ymhlith pobl ifanc, rydym yn darparu cynnydd o £176 miliwn i lywodraeth leol i gefnogi gwasanaethau lleol hanfodol.

There is obviously a great deal of concern about the viability of youth services going forward. A National Youth Agency report recently highlighted that nearly 70 per cent of youth clubs in England may be forced to close because of the Tory-led austerity squeeze on their finances via local authorities, which have forced them to cut services to the bone. I appreciate that in Wales we have endeavoured to protect local authorities from that UK austerity programme, and I'm extremely grateful that Cardiff council and indeed voluntary organisations like the YMCA have continued to provide outreach to young people on the street, even though they haven't been able to continue to deliver any support indoors during the pandemic, but we know about the rise in self-harm and suicidal thoughts amongst young people, and the fact that the closure of schools differentially impacts much more severely on disadvantaged families. How do you think we can maximise the use of this budget to ensure that both statutory youth services and the support from the voluntary and community sector can still be there for young people to help them recover from the devastating impact of this pandemic?

Yn amlwg, mae cryn dipyn o bryder ynghylch hyfywedd gwasanaethau ieuenctid yn y dyfodol. Amlygodd adroddiad diweddar gan yr Asiantaeth Genedlaethol Ieuenctid y gallai bron i 70 y cant o glybiau ieuenctid yn Lloegr gael eu gorfodi i gau yn sgil gwasgfa cyni’r Torïaid ar eu cyllid drwy awdurdodau lleol, sydd wedi eu gorfodi i dorri gwasanaethau i'r bôn. Rwy'n derbyn ein bod ni yng Nghymru wedi gwneud pob ymdrech i ddiogelu awdurdodau lleol rhag rhaglen gyni’r DU, ac rwy'n hynod ddiolchgar fod cyngor Caerdydd, ac yn wir, sefydliadau gwirfoddol fel yr YMCA wedi parhau i ddarparu allgymorth i bobl ifanc ar y stryd, er nad ydynt wedi gallu parhau i ddarparu cymorth dan do yn ystod y pandemig, ond gwyddom am y cynnydd mewn hunan-niweidio a theimladau hunanladdol ymhlith pobl ifanc, a'r ffaith bod cau ysgolion yn effeithio'n wahaniaethol yn llawer mwy difrifol ar deuluoedd difreintiedig. Sut y credwch y gallwn wneud y defnydd gorau o'r gyllideb hon er mwyn sicrhau y gall gwasanaethau ieuenctid statudol a'r cymorth gan y sector gwirfoddol a chymunedol barhau i fod ar gael i bobl ifanc i'w helpu i ymadfer yn sgil effaith ddinistriol y pandemig hwn?

I think that combination of statutory services and support from the voluntary sector is absolutely vital, and that's why, since 2019, we've annually been providing over £10 million of direct funding for youth work to local authorities and the voluntary sector to ensure that there is that dual approach.

During the pandemic, since the very start, actually, we've been working really closely with the youth work sector to ensure that they have the necessary resources to continue to be confident in their work through the pandemic scenario, and that's included more support around safeguarding, using online resources and platforms, as well as sharing best practice of working in very, very different ways. Our £24 million package of support for the third sector does include the voluntary services emergency fund, and that's supported eight organisations so far, and three of those are in Cardiff, and they've received a total funding of £141,000. The impact of that has been critical, with funding allocated to the Church Army, for example, for counsellors to provide that support by telephone to young people who are at risk of self harm. The voluntary services recovery fund has also supported six organisations identifying as youth services, with a total of £123,000. Again, of those, three are in Cardiff. One of the recipients, the SAFE Foundation, was awarded funding to support positive mental health amongst young people affected by COVID-19 specifically. So, our response to the pandemic has very much been about demonstrating our real concern about the impact on young people's mental health.

Credaf fod y cyfuniad hwnnw o wasanaethau statudol a chymorth gan y sector gwirfoddol yn gwbl hanfodol, a dyna pam ein bod, ers 2019, wedi darparu dros £10 miliwn y flwyddyn o gyllid uniongyrchol ar gyfer gwaith ieuenctid i awdurdodau lleol a'r sector gwirfoddol er mwyn sicrhau y ceir y dull deuol hwnnw.

Yn ystod y pandemig, ers y cychwyn cyntaf mewn gwirionedd, rydym wedi bod yn gweithio'n agos iawn gyda'r sector gwaith ieuenctid i sicrhau bod ganddynt yr adnoddau angenrheidiol i barhau i fod yn hyderus yn eu gwaith drwy gydol senario’r pandemig, ac mae hynny wedi cynnwys mwy o gymorth yn ymwneud â diogelu, gan ddefnyddio adnoddau a phlatfformau ar-lein, ynghyd â rhannu arferion gorau wrth weithio mewn ffyrdd gwahanol iawn. Mae ein pecyn cymorth gwerth £24 miliwn ar gyfer y trydydd sector yn cynnwys cronfa argyfwng y gwasanaethau gwirfoddol, ac mae honno wedi cefnogi wyth sefydliad hyd yn hyn, ac mae tri o'r rheini yng Nghaerdydd, ac maent wedi derbyn cyfanswm o £141,000 o gyllid. Mae effaith hynny wedi bod yn hollbwysig, gyda chyllid wedi'i ddyrannu i Fyddin yr Eglwys, er enghraifft, i gwnselwyr ddarparu'r gefnogaeth honno dros y ffôn i bobl ifanc sydd mewn perygl o hunan-niweidio. Mae cronfa adfer y gwasanaethau gwirfoddol hefyd wedi cefnogi chwe sefydliad sy'n nodi eu bod yn wasanaethau ieuenctid, gyda chyfanswm o £123,000. Unwaith eto, o'r rheini, mae tri ohonynt yng Nghaerdydd. Dyfarnwyd cyllid i un o'r derbynwyr, Sefydliad SAFE, i gefnogi iechyd meddwl cadarnhaol ymhlith pobl ifanc y mae COVID-19 wedi effeithio arnynt yn benodol. Felly, mae ein hymateb i'r pandemig yn sicr wedi ymwneud â dangos ein gwir bryder ynghylch yr effaith ar iechyd meddwl pobl ifanc.

14:00

I wonder whether you could give us an indication of where in the budget we might find support for the Urdd and the Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team—that's EYST—both of whom make essential contributions to youth work my region, targeting particular groups of young people as part other Welsh Government policy work. I'm not sure that all councils look at the Urdd in particular as an organisation that can support them in a number of policy aims, especially community youth work. And I do note from your previous answer that Cardiff seems to have done quite well from the emergency money here, rather than hearing from other parts of Wales.

Tybed a allech roi syniad i ni ble yn y gyllideb y gallem ddod o hyd i gymorth i'r Urdd a'r Tîm Cymorth Ieuenctid Ethnig—neu EYST—sydd ill dau’n gwneud cyfraniadau hanfodol i waith ieuenctid yn fy rhanbarth, yn targedu grwpiau penodol o bobl ifanc fel rhan o waith polisi arall Llywodraeth Cymru. Nid wyf yn siŵr fod pob cyngor yn edrych ar yr Urdd yn enwedig fel sefydliad a all eu cefnogi mewn nifer o nodau polisi, yn enwedig gwaith ieuenctid cymunedol. A nodaf o'ch ateb blaenorol yr ymddengys bod Caerdydd wedi gwneud yn eithaf da o'r arian argyfwng yma, yn hytrach na chlywed gan rannau eraill o Gymru.

I thank Suzy Davies for raising that. I did respond referring specifically to Cardiff because, of course, Jenny Rathbone was the Member who tabled the question and represents Cardiff, so I was sure to have those figures to hand to respond to that. We do support our youth services, as I say, through that £10 million funding for youth services, which is administered to both local authorities and the voluntary sector to ensure that they're able to respond together to the needs of young people right across Wales. I'm familiar with the work of EYST particularly here in Swansea and the excellent work that they do for our community.

I'm really impressed by the work that the Urdd has been seeking to do right through the pandemic. You'll have seen in the response to the pandemic with our in-year allocations that the education Minister did make funding available to the Urdd to ensure that it was in a good place to come out well from the crisis, and that it, as an organisation, wouldn't have been so badly impacted that it wouldn't be able to undertake its good work, as well. So, I hope you'll be able to see some funding for next year for youth services, which is quite explicit in the draft budget, but also take confidence that, this year, we've also been making significant allocations in that regard as well.

Diolch i Suzy Davies am godi hynny. Ymatebais gan gyfeirio'n benodol at Gaerdydd oherwydd mai Jenny Rathbone oedd yr Aelod a gyflwynodd y cwestiwn wrth gwrs, ac mae hi’n cynrychioli Caerdydd, felly roeddwn yn sicr o gael y ffigurau hynny wrth law i ymateb i hynny. Rydym yn cefnogi ein gwasanaethau ieuenctid, fel y dywedais, drwy'r cyllid hwnnw o £10 miliwn ar gyfer gwasanaethau ieuenctid, a weinyddir i awdurdodau lleol a'r sector gwirfoddol i sicrhau eu bod yn gallu ymateb gyda'i gilydd i anghenion pobl ifanc ledled Cymru. Rwy'n gyfarwydd â gwaith EYST yn enwedig yma yn Abertawe a'r gwaith rhagorol a wnânt i'n cymuned.

Mae'r gwaith y mae'r Urdd wedi bod yn ceisio'i wneud drwy gydol y pandemig wedi creu argraff fawr arnaf. Byddwch wedi gweld yn yr ymateb i'r pandemig gyda'n dyraniadau yn ystod y flwyddyn fod y Gweinidog addysg wedi darparu cyllid i'r Urdd i sicrhau eu bod mewn lle da i oroesi’r argyfwng, ac na fyddent, fel sefydliad, wedi cael eu heffeithio i’r fath raddau fel na fyddai modd iddynt gyflawni eu gwaith da hefyd. Felly, rwy'n gobeithio y byddwch yn gallu sicrhau rhywfaint o arian ar gyfer gwasanaethau ieuenctid y flwyddyn nesaf, sy'n eithaf clir yn y gyllideb ddrafft, ond y gallwch fod yn ffyddiog hefyd ein bod ni wedi bod yn gwneud dyraniadau sylweddol yn y ffordd honno hefyd eleni.

I'm grateful to the Minister for her answer, particularly to Suzy Davies. I just wanted to pursue the issue of funding for the Urdd. The funding that has already been granted has been a huge help, but I'm sure that the finance Minister and other relevant Ministers will be aware that the Urdd faced a £14 million loss of its income—the income that it generates itself, its commercial income, if you like—last year. Some very highly skilled Welsh-speaking youth workers' jobs continue to be at risk. I wonder if I could ask the Minister to ensure that she looks at issues of funding the Urdd with Ministers across portfolio—the education Minister, obviously, but there's also the Minister with responsibility for the Welsh language, and, I would argue, the culture budget as well. Because this is such a precious institution to us. It's the largest membership youth work organisation in Europe, and it would be—I'm sure the Minister will agree with me—a tragedy if more people had to be made redundant, with the risk of those vital skills and opportunities for young people to use Welsh outside formal education being lost permanently.

Rwy'n ddiolchgar i'r Gweinidog am ei hateb, yn enwedig i Suzy Davies. Hoffwn fynd ar drywydd mater cyllid ar gyfer yr Urdd. Mae'r cyllid a ddarparwyd eisoes wedi bod o gymorth aruthrol, ond rwy'n siŵr y bydd y Gweinidog cyllid a Gweinidogion perthnasol eraill yn ymwybodol fod yr Urdd wedi wynebu colled o £14 miliwn yn eu hincwm—yr incwm y maent yn ei gynhyrchu ei hunain, eu hincwm masnachol, os mynnwch—y llynedd. Mae rhai swyddi gweithwyr ieuenctid medrus iawn Cymraeg eu hiaith yn parhau i fod mewn perygl. Tybed a gaf fi ofyn i'r Gweinidog sicrhau ei bod yn edrych ar faterion cyllido'r Urdd gyda Gweinidogion ar draws y portffolios—y Gweinidog addysg, yn amlwg, ond y Gweinidog â chyfrifoldeb am y Gymraeg hefyd, a byddwn yn dadlau, y gyllideb ar gyfer diwylliant hefyd. Oherwydd mae hwn yn sefydliad mor werthfawr i ni. Dyma'r sefydliad gwaith ieuenctid gydag aelodaeth mwyaf yn Ewrop, a byddai—rwy'n siŵr y bydd y Gweinidog yn cytuno â mi—yn drasiedi pe bai'n rhaid diswyddo mwy o bobl, gyda'r risg y byddai’r sgiliau a'r cyfleoedd hanfodol hynny i bobl ifanc ddefnyddio’r Gymraeg y tu allan i addysg ffurfiol yn cael eu colli’n barhaol.

I'm very much an admirer of the work of the Urdd, and I have had discussions with both the Minister for Education and also the Minister with responsibility for the Welsh language, when she was in her previous portfolio, although she does maintain responsibility for the Welsh language now, about the future of the Urdd and what support it might need, both in the short term but then, also, as a result of the general challenges that are facing the organisation. I think one of the important things that we've done is approve a request for additional funding on 25 May of last year, 2020, and as a result of that, the additional capital funding will increase their twenty-first century schools funding allocation from £2.75 million to £5.5 million. They will be able to undertake some essential work at their residential centres, and I think that that kind of level of investment does provide assurance that we are confident in, and keen to see, that strong future for the Urdd.

Rwy'n edmygu gwaith yr Urdd yn fawr, ac rwyf wedi cael trafodaethau gyda'r Gweinidog Addysg yn ogystal â’r Gweinidog â chyfrifoldeb am y Gymraeg, pan oedd yn ei phortffolio blaenorol, er ei bod yn dal i fod yn gyfrifol am y Gymraeg nawr, ynglŷn â dyfodol yr Urdd a pha gymorth y gallai fod ei angen arnynt yn y tymor byr, a hefyd o ganlyniad i'r heriau cyffredinol sy'n wynebu'r sefydliad. Credaf mai un o'r pethau pwysig rydym wedi’u gwneud yw cymeradwyo cais am arian ychwanegol ar 25 Mai y llynedd, 2020, ac o ganlyniad i hynny, bydd y cyllid cyfalaf ychwanegol yn cynyddu eu dyraniad cyllid ysgolion yr unfed ganrif ar hugain o £2.75 miliwn i £5.5 miliwn. Byddant yn gallu gwneud rhywfaint o waith hanfodol yn eu canolfannau preswyl, a chredaf fod buddsoddiad ar y lefel honno’n rhoi sicrwydd ein bod yn hyderus ynglŷn â'r dyfodol cryf hwnnw i'r Urdd, ac yn awyddus i'w weld.

14:05
Risgiau i Gyllid Cyhoeddus
Risks to Public Finances

4. Pa gamau y bydd Llywodraeth Cymru yn eu cymryd i leihau'r risgiau i gyllid cyhoeddus yn sgil pandemig COVID-19? OQ56115

4. What action will the Welsh Government take to reduce the risks to public finances in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? OQ56115

I am retaining a fiscal resource reserve of more than £800 million in the draft budget for 2021-22 to deal with the uncertain future path and impact of the pandemic. The fiscal framework protects the budget from the impact on devolved revenues of UK-wide economic shocks that have been caused by the pandemic.

Rwy'n cadw cronfa wrth gefn o fwy nag £800 miliwn o adnoddau cyllidol yn y gyllideb ddrafft ar gyfer 2021-22 i ymdopi â llwybr ac effaith ansicr y pandemig yn y dyfodol. Mae'r fframwaith cyllidol yn diogelu'r gyllideb rhag yr effaith ar refeniw datganoledig ergydion economaidd ledled y DU sydd wedi'u hachosi gan y pandemig.

Thank you for that answer, Minister, and happy new year to you. Last year, I raised the point that the Welsh Government, through the Welsh development bank, is lending money to local councils to buy and let out commercial properties to property developers. Last financial year, it was more than £35 million, and this year, it could be as high as £97 million. My main concern was the news that the COVID pandemic has seen commercial property returns and prices collapse, putting the public money that you have invested at huge risk.

The First Minister admitted that all commercial property values where the Welsh Government has invested public money have been affected by the pandemic, and he said that he expected lending decisions now to be calibrated to the current set of circumstances that we see. If no changes have been made yet to the lending criteria, there is £97 million worth of public money at huge risk. Please tell me what discussions you have had, and what firm decisions have been taken that have changed the lending criteria that were in place before the pandemic to criteria that are, in the First Minister's own words, calibrated to the current set of circumstances.   

Diolch ichi am yr ateb hwnnw, Weinidog, a blwyddyn newydd dda ichi. Y llynedd, codais y pwynt fod Llywodraeth Cymru, drwy fanc datblygu Cymru, yn benthyca arian i gynghorau lleol brynu a gosod eiddo masnachol i ddatblygwyr eiddo. Y flwyddyn ariannol ddiwethaf, roedd yn fwy na £35 miliwn, ac eleni, gallai fod mor uchel â £97 miliwn. Fy mhrif bryder oedd y newyddion fod y pandemig COVID wedi gweld prisiau ac enillion eiddo masnachol yn dirywio'n eithafol, gan roi'r arian cyhoeddus rydych wedi'i fuddsoddi mewn perygl enfawr.

Cyfaddefodd y Prif Weinidog fod holl werthoedd eiddo masnachol y mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi buddsoddi arian cyhoeddus ynddynt wedi cael eu heffeithio gan y pandemig, a dywedodd ei fod yn disgwyl i benderfyniadau benthyca gael eu graddnodi yn awr i'r set bresennol o amgylchiadau sy'n ein hwynebu. Os nad oes unrhyw newidiadau wedi'u gwneud eto i'r meini prawf benthyca, mae risg enfawr i werth £97 miliwn o arian cyhoeddus. Dywedwch wrthyf pa drafodaethau rydych wedi'u cael, a pha benderfyniadau cadarn a wnaed sydd wedi newid y meini prawf benthyca a oedd ar waith cyn y pandemig i feini prawf sydd, yng ngeiriau'r Prif Weinidog ei hun, wedi'u graddnodi i'r set bresennol o amgylchiadau.

Thank you for raising the question, and happy new year to you too. I have looked into this, because I was interested in the question that you raised with the First Minister previously. At present, there is only one deal—and that's of the entire £122 million that has been invested—where the repayment of the loan is reliant on the sale of a commercial development within a project. So, I think that we can be confident that this isn't a pressing issue at the moment. Obviously, officials are in regular communication with the DBW. They are confident, and they reassure myself and Ken Skates, whose department the DBW sits in, that the DBW is taking a prudent approach to investment in these uncertain times, particularly in terms of the maximum loan-to-value rate available for investment as well. But, we have received assurances that what has been undertaken is absolutely appropriate.   

Diolch am ofyn y cwestiwn, a blwyddyn newydd dda i chi hefyd. Rwyf wedi ymchwilio i hyn, oherwydd roedd gennyf ddiddordeb yn y cwestiwn a ofynnwyd gennych gyda'r Prif Weinidog yn flaenorol. Ar hyn o bryd, dim ond un fargen sydd—sef y swm cyfan o £122 miliwn sydd wedi'i fuddsoddi—lle mae ad-dalu'r benthyciad yn dibynnu ar werthu datblygiad masnachol o fewn prosiect. Felly, rwy'n credu y gallwn fod yn hyderus nad yw hwn yn fater sy'n creu pwysau ar hyn o bryd. Yn amlwg, mae swyddogion yn cyfathrebu'n rheolaidd â banc datblygu Cymru. Maent yn hyderus, ac maent yn rhoi sicrwydd i mi a Ken Skates, sydd â banc datblygu Cymru yn rhan o'i adran, fod gan fanc datblygu Cymru agwedd ddarbodus tuag at fuddsoddi yn y cyfnod ansicr hwn, yn enwedig mewn perthynas â'r gyfradd uchaf o fenthyciad mewn cymhariaeth â gwerth sydd ar gael ar gyfer buddsoddi hefyd. Ond rydym wedi cael sicrwydd bod yr hyn sydd wedi'i wneud yn gwbl briodol.

I'm particularly concerned about the SME sector, which has been very badly hit by the COVID crisis, which has closed up high streets and imposed—necessarily, of course—very different working methods. For the health of our high streets, for the health of the foundational economy—and much of our economic strategy is on building up the SME sector—can you assure us that it will receive a very high priority in future business support plans and, indeed, the balance of resources that it gets from the Welsh Government budget?  

Rwy'n pryderu'n benodol am y sector BBaCh, a gafodd ei daro'n wael iawn gan argyfwng COVID, sydd wedi cau'r stryd fawr ac wedi gorfodi dulliau gweithio gwahanol iawn—a hynny o reidrwydd, wrth gwrs. Er lles iechyd ein strydoedd mawr, er lles iechyd yr economi sylfaenol—ac mae llawer o'n strategaeth economaidd yn ymwneud â datblygu'r sector busnesau bach a chanolig—a allwch chi ein sicrhau y bydd yn flaenoriaeth uchel iawn mewn cynlluniau cymorth busnes yn y dyfodol ac yn wir, yng nghydbwysedd yr adnoddau a gaiff o gyllideb Llywodraeth Cymru?

I'm more than happy to provide those assurances. SMEs are absolutely the backbone of the economy here in Wales. I think that our approach to the pandemic has demonstrated particularly our support for small and medium-sized enterprises. You will recall that there was quite a bit of a furore about the Welsh Government's early decision not to allocate rate relief, in terms of non-domestic rates, to those large businesses over £500,000 rateable value. But now, of course, we are seeing businesses such as Tesco offering money back across the border in England where they had received that funding. We took that decision very early on, and that allowed us then to repurpose lots of that funding—if I recall correctly, in the region of £150 million—back to small and medium-sized enterprises, which we understood needed that finance much more than the larger businesses.  

Rwy'n fwy na pharod i roi'r sicrwydd hwnnw. Busnesau bach a chanolig yw asgwrn cefn yr economi yma yng Nghymru. Credaf fod ein hymagwedd at y pandemig wedi dangos ein cefnogaeth i fusnesau bach a chanolig eu maint yn arbennig. Fe fyddwch yn cofio bod cryn dipyn o gynnwrf ynglŷn â phenderfyniad cynnar Llywodraeth Cymru i beidio â dyrannu rhyddhad ardrethi, o ran ardrethi annomestig, i fusnesau mawr gyda gwerth ardrethol o dros £500,000. Ond nawr, wrth gwrs, rydym yn gweld busnesau fel Tesco yn cynnig arian yn ôl dros y ffin yn Lloegr lle roeddent wedi derbyn y cyllid hwnnw. Gwnaethom y penderfyniad hwnnw'n gynnar iawn, ac roedd hynny'n caniatáu inni addasu llawer o'r cyllid wedyn—tua £150 miliwn os cofiaf yn iawn—yn ôl i fusnesau bach a chanolig eu maint, oherwydd roeddem yn deall fod llawer mwy o angen y cyllid arnynt hwy nag ar y busnesau mwy o faint.

I was very interested in the question from Michelle Brown. Councils in England have borrowed far in excess of 100 per cent of their annual income in terms of commercial properties, which is certainly a cause for concern for all of us, because it effects the British economy. What I would say to the Minister is: do you agree with me that the best way of dealing with Government debt is to grow the economy, and thus grow the tax received? Tax received in 2018 was almost 50 times that of 50 years previously. The more you grow the economy, the more tax you receive, the less debt actually matters.

Roedd gennyf ddiddordeb mawr yn y cwestiwn gan Michelle Brown. Mae cynghorau yn Lloegr wedi benthyca llawer mwy na 100 y cant o'u hincwm blynyddol ar gyfer eiddo masnachol, sy'n sicr yn destun pryder i bob un ohonom, oherwydd mae'n effeithio ar economi Prydain. Yr hyn y byddwn yn ei ddweud wrth y Gweinidog yw: a ydych yn cytuno mai'r ffordd orau o fynd i'r afael â dyled y Llywodraeth yw tyfu'r economi, ac felly cynyddu'r dreth a dderbynnir? Roedd y dreth a dderbyniwyd yn 2018 bron 50 gwaith yn fwy na 50 mlynedd ynghynt. Po fwyaf y byddwch yn tyfu'r economi, po fwyaf o dreth y byddwch yn ei derbyn, y lleiaf pwysig yw dyled mewn gwirionedd.

14:10

Thank you to Mike Hedges for raising this. On the issue of local authorities, we do provide statutory guidance for local authorities when they make their borrowing and investment decisions in a way that is appropriate to their statutory responsibilities. On the second part of the question, I also agree with Mike Hedges that we do need to grow the economy here in Wales and ensure that we do grow our tax base here in Wales. We have some structural issues and challenges in terms of our tax base, but I think that if work very carefully through that we can make some inroads. If we look at what we're doing in terms of housing and planning and in education, for example, I think that all of those things are levers that will help us grow the tax base in future. It's something that I've asked the tax engagement group as well to be thinking about. We had a meeting of the tax engagement group back in November, and we did consider some of those challenges to growing the Welsh tax base, including the deterioration in the labour market conditions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. So, it's an issue that we're keen to take expert advice on as well. But the logic of what Mike Hedges sets out is very sound.

Diolch i Mike Hedges am godi hyn. Ar fater awdurdodau lleol, rydym yn darparu canllawiau statudol i awdurdodau lleol pan fyddant yn gwneud eu penderfyniadau benthyca a buddsoddi mewn ffordd sy'n briodol i'w cyfrifoldebau statudol. Ar ail ran y cwestiwn, rwyf hefyd yn cytuno â Mike Hedges fod angen inni dyfu'r economi yma yng Nghymru a sicrhau ein bod yn tyfu ein sylfaen drethi yma yng Nghymru. Mae gennym rai problemau a heriau strwythurol mewn perthynas â'n sylfaen drethi, ond os gallwn weithio'n ofalus iawn drwy hynny, credaf y gallwn symud ymlaen. Os edrychwn ar yr hyn rydym yn ei wneud o ran tai a chynllunio ac ym maes addysg, er enghraifft, credaf fod yr holl bethau hynny'n ysgogiadau a fydd yn ein helpu i dyfu'r sylfaen drethi yn y dyfodol. Mae'n rhywbeth rwyf wedi gofyn i'r grŵp ymgysylltu ar drethi feddwl amdano hefyd. Cawsom gyfarfod o'r grŵp ymgysylltu ar drethi yn ôl ym mis Tachwedd, ac fe wnaethom ystyried rhai o'r heriau i dyfu sylfaen drethi Cymru, gan gynnwys y dirywiad yn amodau'r farchnad lafur sy'n gysylltiedig â phandemig COVID-19. Felly, mae'n fater rydym yn awyddus i gael cyngor arbenigol arno hefyd. Ond mae rhesymeg yr hyn y mae Mike Hedges yn ei ddweud yn gadarn iawn.

Adnoddau wedi'u Neilltuo ar gyfer Addysg
Resources Allocated to Education

5. Pa adnoddau sydd wedi'u neilltuo yng nghyllideb 2021-22 ar gyfer addysg yn y cyfnod ôl-COVID? OQ56104

5. What resources have been allocated in the 2021-22 budget for education in the post-COVID period? OQ56104

In recognition of the impact the pandemic has had on our children and young people, we are boosting the budget for education in 2021-22 by an extra £102 million. This is in addition to the uplift of £176 million for local government, which will support front-line services, including schools.

I gydnabod yr effaith y mae'r pandemig wedi'i chael ar ein plant a'n pobl ifanc, rydym yn rhoi hwb ychwanegol o £102 miliwn i'r gyllideb addysg yn 2021-22. Mae hyn yn ychwanegol at y cynnydd o £176 miliwn i lywodraeth leol, a fydd yn cefnogi gwasanaethau rheng flaen, gan gynnwys ysgolion.

Mi fydd angen cynllun addysg uchelgeisiol er mwyn cefnogi ein plant ni yn y cyfnod nesaf ôl-COVID, yn enwedig y plant rheini sydd wedi colli allan fwyaf ar eu haddysg—llawer o'r rheini o gefndiroedd difreintiedig. Dydw i ddim wedi gweld cynllun o'r math eto, ond yn sicr fydd hi ddim yn bosib talu am y gwaith ychwanegol anferth sydd ei angen o fewn y setliad i lywodraeth leol yn y gyllideb nesaf. Felly, hoffwn i ddeall sut rydych chi a'r Gweinidog Addysg yn bwrw ati yn gyntaf i weithio allan faint o arian fydd ei angen ar gyfer cynllun adfer addysg ystyrlon. Ac yn ail, wnewch chi egluro pa opsiynau sydd ar agor ichi o ran talu am gynllun uchelgeisiol sydd angen cychwyn eleni a pharhau i'r dyfodol?  

We will need an ambitious plan for education if we're to support our children in this post-COVID period, particularly those children who have missed out most on their education—many of those from deprived backgrounds. I haven't seen such a plan as of yet, but certainly it won't be possible to pay for the huge amount of additional work required within the local government settlement in the next budget. So, I would like to understand how you and the education Minister are making progress first of all in working out how much funding will be required for a meaningful plan to restore education. And secondly, can you explain what options are available to you in terms of paying for an ambitious plan, which needs to begin this year and continue for the future?

Thank you very much for the question. The education resource and capital budget now stands at £1.9 billion for 2021-22, and that is an increase, as I say, of £102 million, or 5.8 per cent from our revised baseline. So, there's significant additional funding going into the education MEG. But, of course, the position within local authorities is also extremely important in terms of funding for schools. And that's one of the reasons why we've put such great store on giving local government the best possible settlement in the budget—so, an additional £176 million to local authorities to enable them to support schools.

In terms of our immediate response, you'll see £12 million of additional funding to support the catch-up learning in schools to help combat the loss of learning, skills and productivity that there has been as a result of the pandemic. You'll recall a while back we made an announcement that we would provide funding for the recruitment of an additional full-time equivalent of 900 new posts in the education system, and they consist of teachers, teaching assistants and other roles designed to support learners who are facing the greatest challenges. I'm really pleased that local authorities are reporting really good recruitment levels in that context, in terms of delivering that particular project, which is part of our more urgent and immediate response to the challenges that young people and children are facing as a result of the pandemic. But, clearly, as Siân Gwenllian recognises and says, this isn't something that will be solved immediately; this is something that will require sustained investment.

Diolch yn fawr am y cwestiwn. Mae'r gyllideb adnoddau a chyfalaf addysg bellach yn £1.9 biliwn ar gyfer 2021-22, ac mae hwnnw'n gynnydd, fel y dywedais, o £102 miliwn, neu 5.8 y cant o'n llinell sylfaen ddiwygiedig. Felly, mae cyllid ychwanegol sylweddol yn mynd i brif grŵp gwariant addysg. Ond wrth gwrs, mae'r sefyllfa o fewn awdurdodau lleol hefyd yn eithriadol o bwysig o ran cyllid ar gyfer ysgolion. A dyna un o'r rhesymau pam rydym wedi rhoi cymaint o bwys ar roi'r setliad gorau posibl i lywodraeth leol yn y gyllideb—felly, £176 miliwn ychwanegol i awdurdodau lleol i'w galluogi i gefnogi ysgolion.

O ran ein hymateb uniongyrchol, fe welwch £12 miliwn o gyllid ychwanegol i gefnogi dysgu dal-i-fyny mewn ysgolion i helpu i fynd i'r afael â'r ffaith bod disgyblion wedi colli dysgu, sgiliau a chynhyrchiant o ganlyniad i'r pandemig. Fe fyddwch yn cofio inni wneud cyhoeddiad ychydig yn ôl y byddem yn darparu cyllid ar gyfer recriwtio cyfwerth â 900 o swyddi newydd llawnamser ychwanegol yn y system addysg, ac maent yn cynnwys athrawon, cynorthwywyr addysgu a rolau eraill a gynlluniwyd i gefnogi dysgwyr sy'n wynebu'r heriau mwyaf. Rwy'n falch iawn fod awdurdodau lleol yn adrodd am lefelau recriwtio da iawn yn y cyd-destun hwnnw, o ran cyflawni'r prosiect penodol hwnnw, sy'n rhan o'n hymateb mwy cyflym ac uniongyrchol i'r heriau y mae pobl ifanc a phlant yn eu hwynebu o ganlyniad i'r pandemig. Ond yn amlwg, fel y mae Siân Gwenllian yn cydnabod ac yn dweud, nid yw hyn yn rhywbeth y gellir ei ddatrys ar unwaith; mae'n mynd i alw am fuddsoddiad parhaus.

14:15
Cyllideb yr Amgylchedd a Materion Gwledig
The Environment and Rural Affairs Budget

6. Pa gyllid ychwanegol y mae’r Gweinidog yn bwriadu ei roi i gyllideb yr amgylchedd a materion gwledig yn y flwyddyn ariannol bresenol? OQ56111

6. What additional funding does the Minister intend to allocate to the environment and rural affairs budget in the current financial year? OQ56111

The third supplementary budget is planned for publication on 9 February 2021. Any allocations in the current financial year for the environment, energy, and rural affairs portfolio will be included in that budget.

Disgwylir i'r drydedd gyllideb atodol gael ei chyhoeddi ar 9 Chwefror 2021. Bydd unrhyw ddyraniadau yn y flwyddyn ariannol gyfredol ar gyfer yr amgylchedd, ynni a’r portffolio materion gwledig yn cael eu cynnwys yn y gyllideb honno.

Wel, dŷn ni'n gwybod, wrth gwrs, bod adroddiad Archwilio Cymru wedi amlygu problemau gyda sut mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi bod yn dosbarthu pres y cynllun datblygu gwledig. Mi glywon ni yn gynharach sut rŷch chi nawr yn mynd i orfod talu £3 miliwn yn ôl i'r Undeb Ewropeaidd oherwydd camweinyddu'r pres hwnnw. Gaf i ofyn, yn eich trydydd cyllideb atodol, felly, i chi dalu hwnnw o goffrau canolog y Llywodraeth? Oherwydd mi awgrymoch chi'n gynharach y byddai hwnnw'n gorfod dod o gyllideb y Gweinidog. Nawr, byddai hynny'n meddwl, wrth gwrs, bod yna rywbeth arall yng nghyllideb y Gweinidog sydd ddim yn gallu cael ei ariannu oherwydd bod yr arian yn mynd at hwnnw, a'r hyn y byddech chi'n ei wneud, i bob pwrpas, ydy cosbi cefn gwlad yn ariannol oherwydd methiannau'ch Llywodraeth chi.

Well, we know, of course, that the Audit Wales report highlighted a problem with the way the Welsh Government has been allocating RDP funding. We heard earlier how you're now going to have to pay £3 million back to the European Union because of maladministration of that funding. Can I ask you, therefore, in your third supplementary budget, that you pay that from the central Government funds? Because you suggested earlier that that would have to come from the Minister's budget. Now, that would mean, of course, that there would be something else in that budget that couldn't be funded, because that money would have been spent there, and what you would be doing there would be penalising rural Wales because of the failings of your own Government.

Llywydd, as yet, I haven't had the opportunity to have a discussion with the Minister on this particular issue, but I clearly will intend to do so and will reflect, within the third supplementary budget, the outcome of those discussions. And, of course, I'd be happy to share that information with Llyr before that point.

Lywydd, hyd yn hyn, nid wyf wedi cael cyfle i gael trafodaeth gyda'r Gweinidog ynglŷn â’r mater penodol hwn, ond yn amlwg, rwy’n bwriadu gwneud hynny a byddaf yn adlewyrchu canlyniad y trafodaethau hynny yn y drydedd gyllideb atodol. Ac wrth gwrs, rwy’n fwy na pharod i rannu'r wybodaeth honno gyda Llyr cyn y pwynt hwnnw.

Tryloywder y Broses Gyllidebol
The Transparency of the Budget Process

7. Pa fesurau sydd ar waith i wella tryloywder proses gyllidebol Llywodraeth Cymru? OQ56082

7. What measures are in place to improve the transparency of the Welsh Government's budget process? OQ56082

I have taken additional steps this year to provide full transparency about the fiscal implications of the pandemic to support robust scrutiny of spending decisions. Measures include publishing two supplementary budgets, writing to the Finance Committee with details of consequentials, and providing regular updates to the Senedd in the Chamber.   

Rwyf wedi rhoi camau ychwanegol ar waith eleni i ddarparu tryloywder llawn ynghylch goblygiadau cyllidol y pandemig i gefnogi craffu cadarn ar benderfyniadau gwariant. Mae'r mesurau'n cynnwys cyhoeddi dwy gyllideb atodol, ysgrifennu at y Pwyllgor Cyllid gyda manylion cyllid canlyniadol, a darparu diweddariadau rheolaidd i'r Senedd yn y Siambr.

I thank the Minister for that answer, but the public interest is definitely served by more transparency, and this has been a long journey, and there's still a long way to go. We are, quite properly, demanding of local government in their financial statements and the information, indeed, they send to their council tax payers, and I think a similar process of public engagement is required so that we can truly have a transparent budget process here in the Senedd. It would both encourage many good ideas to come forward—and, dare I say, perhaps from people who are not necessarily the usual culprits—and also, it would identify some areas of waste. So, will you commit to greater public engagement models being used in the future?

Diolch i'r Gweinidog am ei hateb, ond mae mwy o dryloywder yn bendant o fudd i’r cyhoedd, ac mae hon wedi bod yn daith hir, a chryn dipyn o ffordd i fynd o hyd. Rydym ni, yn hollol briodol, yn gofyn llawer gan lywodraeth leol yn eu datganiadau ariannol a'r wybodaeth, yn wir, y maent yn ei hanfon at dalwyr y dreth gyngor, a chredaf fod angen proses debyg o ymgysylltu â'r cyhoedd fel y gallwn gael proses gyllidebol wirioneddol dryloyw yma yn y Senedd. Byddai hynny'n annog llawer o syniadau da i gael eu cynnig—ac nid o reidrwydd efallai, rwy'n mentro dweud, gan y bobl sy’n eu cynnig fel arfer—a hefyd, byddai'n nodi rhai meysydd lle ceir gwastraff. Felly, a wnewch chi ymrwymo i ddefnyddio mwy o fodelau ymgysylltu â'r cyhoedd yn y dyfodol?

I think, over the course of this last year, and certainly since I published the first budget improvement plan, we really have taken great strides, both in terms of transparency but also engagement. I think the fact that we've been able to still progress the work in terms of the gender budgeting, the carbon assessments, and the distributional impact assessments has been a real testimony to the priority that we do put on this agenda, especially during the pandemic.

There is much more happening. So, we've got an easy-read version of the budget this year, which, I think, is quite useful. I know that we've had lots of people downloading that online. And also, again for the first time this year, we have a budget calculator available so that people can go on to the website, they can put in their salary, they can work out then the proportion of their salary that is being spent across the Welsh Government departments in different ways. So, an individual can see how much of their tax is being spent on health, on education, on rural community and so on. So, I think that that again is a new innovation, but I'm always keen and happy to look at what more we can do to be engaging and to engage and also to be transparent.

Just bearing in mind, of course, that the Institute for Fiscal Studies has complemented the Welsh Government on its transparency through the crisis, and the fact that we have provided these supplementary budgets, whereas the UK Government has yet to provide a single supplementary budget. So, we're as in the dark as many people are about the spending that is being undertaken across the border. I really, really anxiously look forward to the publication of the supplementary estimates, where we will finally get a proper understanding of spend across the border and what that means in terms of consequentials for us in Wales. So, I think that the UK Government can learn a lot from the transparency that we've been very keen to work to this year, and I think it's one of the things we can be very proud of through our response to the pandemic.

Dros y flwyddyn ddiwethaf, ac yn sicr ers imi gyhoeddi'r cynllun gwella’r gyllideb cyntaf, credaf ein bod wedi gwneud cryn dipyn o gynnydd, o ran tryloywder ac o ran ymgysylltiad hefyd. Credaf fod y ffaith ein bod wedi gallu parhau i fwrw ymlaen â'r gwaith o gyllidebu ar sail rhyw, yr asesiadau carbon, a'r asesiadau effaith ddosbarthiadol wedi bod yn dyst i'r flaenoriaeth a roddwn i’r agenda hon, yn enwedig yn ystod y pandemig.

Mae mwy o lawer yn digwydd. Felly, mae gennym fersiwn hawdd ei deall o'r gyllideb eleni, sy’n ddefnyddiol iawn yn fy marn i. Gwn fod llawer o bobl wedi’i lawrlwytho ar-lein. A hefyd, unwaith eto am y tro cyntaf eleni, mae gennym efelychydd y gyllideb ar gael fel y gall pobl ymweld â’r wefan, gallant fewnbynnu eu cyflog, yna gallant gyfrifo’r gyfran o’u cyflog sy'n cael ei gwario ar draws adrannau Llywodraeth Cymru mewn gwahanol ffyrdd. Felly, gall unigolion weld faint o'u trethi sy'n cael ei wario ar iechyd, ar addysg, ar y gymuned wledig ac ati. Felly, credaf fod hynny unwaith eto’n rhywbeth newydd ac arloesol, ond rwyf bob amser yn awyddus ac yn fwy na pharod i edrych ar beth arall y gallwn ei wneud i ennyn diddordeb ac i ymgysylltu ac i fod yn dryloyw hefyd.

Dylid cofio, wrth gwrs, fod y Sefydliad Astudiaethau Cyllid wedi canmol Llywodraeth Cymru am ei thryloywder drwy gydol yr argyfwng, a'r ffaith ein bod wedi darparu'r cyllidebau atodol hyn, er nad yw Llywodraeth y DU wedi darparu unrhyw gyllideb atodol eto. Felly, rydym yn y niwl lawn cymaint â llawer o bobl mewn perthynas â’r gwariant dros y ffin. Rwyf ar bigau’r drain yn aros i’r amcangyfrifon atodol gael eu cyhoeddi, pan fyddwn yn cael dealltwriaeth gywir o'r diwedd o’r gwariant dros y ffin a beth y mae hynny'n ei olygu o ran cyllid canlyniadol i ni yng Nghymru. Felly, credaf y gall Llywodraeth y DU ddysgu llawer o'r tryloywder rydym wedi bod yn awyddus iawn i'w gynnal eleni, a chredaf ei fod yn un o'r pethau y gallwn fod yn falch iawn ohonynt drwy ein hymateb i'r pandemig.

14:20

Ac yn olaf, cwestiwn 8—Jack Sargeant.

And lastly, question 8—Jack Sargeant.

Busnesau yn Alun a Glannau Dyfrdwy
Businesses in Alyn and Deeside

8. Pa ystyriaeth y mae'r Gweinidog wedi'i rhoi i gyllid ar gyfer busnesau yn Alun a Glannau Dyfrdwy wrth ddyrannu cyllideb Llywodraeth Cymru? OQ56074

8. What consideration has the Minister given to funding for businesses in Alyn and Deeside when allocating the Welsh Government budget? OQ56074

We continue to do all we can to support businesses across Wales through these incredibly difficult times, and have provided the most generous support package anywhere in the UK. To date, the COVID business rates grant scheme has made 2,616 awards to businesses across Flintshire, which total more than £31.3 million.

Rydym yn parhau i wneud popeth yn ein gallu i gefnogi busnesau ledled Cymru drwy'r cyfnod anodd ofnadwy hwn, ac rydym wedi darparu'r pecyn cymorth mwyaf hael yn unrhyw ran o'r DU. Hyd yn hyn, mae’r cynllun grant ardrethi busnes COVID wedi dyfarnu 2,616 o grantiau i fusnesau ledled Sir y Fflint, sef cyfanswm o fwy na £31.3 miliwn.

Minister, thank you for that answer. As you say, these are really, really tough times for good, sound businesses in Alyn and Deeside, and I welcome the support they have had, and the launch of the new round of funding open today. I've been working hard with a host of businesses—large and small—including aerospace, hospitality, sport and leisure and hair and beauty and many, many others, and it's great to be able to help them with the support from the Welsh Government, and I look forward to seeing this support continue in the new budget. However, I must say: pleas from businesses to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, have often fallen on deaf ears. Now, he has claimed to not be aware of the 3 million businesses and individuals that have been excluded. So, Minister, will you use your office to amplify their voice to help the Chancellor to start listening and, more importantly, to start acting to help the excluded? 

Weinidog, diolch am eich ateb. Fel y dywedwch, mae hwn yn gyfnod anodd tu hwnt i fusnesau da, cadarn yn Alun a Glannau Dyfrdwy, ac rwy'n croesawu'r cymorth y maent wedi’i gael, a lansio'r rownd newydd o gyllid sy'n agor heddiw. Rwyf wedi bod yn gweithio'n galed gyda llu o fusnesau—mawr a bach—gan gynnwys awyrofod, lletygarwch, chwaraeon a hamdden a gwallt a harddwch a llawer iawn o rai eraill, ac mae'n wych gallu eu helpu gyda'r cymorth gan Lywodraeth Cymru, ac edrychaf ymlaen at weld y cymorth hwn yn parhau yn y gyllideb newydd. Fodd bynnag, mae’n rhaid imi ddweud: mae apeliadau busnesau ar y Canghellor, Rishi Sunak, yn aml wedi syrthio ar glustiau byddar. Nawr, mae wedi honni nad yw’n ymwybodol o'r 3 miliwn o fusnesau ac unigolion sydd wedi'u heithrio. Felly, Weinidog, a wnewch chi ddefnyddio eich swydd i roi grym i'w lleisiau er mwyn helpu'r Canghellor i ddechrau gwrando, ac yn bwysicach fyth, i ddechrau cymryd camau i helpu'r rheini sydd wedi'u heithrio?

I thank Jack Sargeant very much for raising this issue, and for the work that he does representing businesses, large and small, from his constituency; some of the largest that we have, in fact, are in his constituency. I know that he's been particularly concerned about the aerospace industry, which he's mentioned. And I'm very much looking forward to that meeting that I will be having with Jack Sargeant shortly to discuss the matter of support for the aerospace industry in particular. But also Jack Sargeant mentioned some of the smallest businesses as well, and those people who are self-employed. The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip met with ExcludedUK on 17 December, and I know that she's keen, as I am, to continue to press the UK Government to be responsive and responsible in terms of supporting those people who continue to fall through the gaps, and have yet to receive the support that they require. And certainly, in my discussions that I will have and do have with Treasury Ministers, I'm always keen to set out what more we must do to support those who have yet to receive any support.

Diolch yn fawr iawn i Jack Sargeant am godi'r mater hwn, ac am y gwaith y mae'n ei wneud yn cynrychioli busnesau, bach a mawr, yn ei etholaeth; mae rhai o'r busnesau mwyaf sydd gennym, a dweud y gwir, yn ei etholaeth ef. Gwn ei fod wedi bod yn arbennig o bryderus am y diwydiant awyrofod, fel y soniodd. Ac rwy'n edrych ymlaen yn fawr at y cyfarfod y byddaf yn ei gael gyda Jack Sargeant cyn bo hir i drafod mater cymorth i'r diwydiant awyrofod yn benodol. Ond hefyd, soniodd Jack Sargeant am rai o'r busnesau lleiaf hefyd, a'r bobl sy'n hunangyflogedig. Cyfarfu’r Dirprwy Weinidog a’r Prif Chwip ag ExcludedUK ar 17 Rhagfyr, a gwn ei bod yn awyddus, fel finnau, i barhau i bwyso ar Lywodraeth y DU i fod yn ymatebol ac yn gyfrifol o ran cefnogi’r bobl sy’n parhau i gwympo drwy’r bylchau, ac sydd heb dderbyn y cymorth sydd ei angen arnynt eto. Ac yn sicr, yn y trafodaethau rwy’n eu cael ac y byddaf yn eu cael gyda Gweinidogion y Trysorlys, rwyf bob amser yn awyddus i nodi beth arall y mae’n rhaid i ni ei wneud i gefnogi'r rheini nad ydynt wedi cael unrhyw gymorth eto.

2. Cwestiynau i'r Gweinidog Addysg
2. Questions to the Minister for Education

Yr eitem nesaf, felly, yw'r cwestiynau i'r Gweinidog Addysg, ac mae'r cwestiwn cyntaf gan Laura Jones.

The next item is questions to the Minister for Education, and the first question is from Laura Jones.

Datblygiad Addysg
Education Progression

1. A wnaiff y Gweinidog roi'r wybodaeth ddiweddaraf am fesurau i alluogi myfyrwyr i ddatblygu eu haddysg yng Nghymru yn ystod y pandemig presennol? OQ56086

1. Will the Minister provide an update on measures to enable students to progress their education in Wales during the current pandemic? OQ56086

Thank you, Laura. The range of measures to support remote learning include extensive professional learning, significant investment in devices, and the enhanced £29 million accelerated learning programme. Building on guidance to support blended learning, further guidance has been published today to enable schools to effectively support learners.

Diolch, Laura. Mae'r ystod o fesurau i gefnogi dysgu o bell yn cynnwys dysgu proffesiynol helaeth, buddsoddiad sylweddol mewn dyfeisiau, a'r rhaglen ddysgu carlam £29 miliwn ar ei newydd wedd. Gan adeiladu ar ganllawiau i gefnogi dysgu cyfunol, cyhoeddwyd canllawiau pellach heddiw i alluogi ysgolion i gefnogi dysgwyr yn effeithiol.

Thank you, Minister. The announcement that Welsh schools will remain closed now until February half term has obviously had a massive impact on children's mental health. And also that stress has been felt by parents also trying to work from home at the same time, as you'll know, as I do. But that is being exacerbated in some families by the access to devices. And I know that there has been some, now, more money been allocated following discussions we have had in committee to devices, but the Child Poverty Action Group has raised concerns that

'Children without access to a laptop are being denied support for home-schooling by means testing'—

with some schools only offering support to children on free school meals. They went on to say that

'Three-quarters of families who lack the kind of devices they need aren't eligible for free school meals.'

So, what action are you taking, Minister, to tackle this inequality of provision of devices to enable home learning, which is stressful enough without children worrying that they are falling behind or don't have the equality of opportunity at home as they do in school? I'd just quickly like to share that I have, on Facebook—it was shared around that people can now access the Hwb on PlayStation and Xbox, and I thought that was really useful, but I'm just wondering, what else are you doing, Minister? Thank you.

Diolch, Weinidog. Mae'r cyhoeddiad y bydd ysgolion Cymru yn parhau i fod ar gau nawr tan hanner tymor mis Chwefror yn amlwg wedi cael effaith enfawr ar iechyd meddwl plant. Ac mae’r rhieni hefyd wedi teimlo’r straen wrth geisio gweithio gartref ar yr un pryd, fel y gwyddoch, ac fel y gwn innau. Ond caiff hynny ei waethygu mewn rhai teuluoedd gan fynediad at ddyfeisiau. A gwn fod mwy o arian wedi’i ddyrannu i ddyfeisiau bellach yn dilyn trafodaethau a gawsom yn y pwyllgor, ond mae'r Grŵp Gweithredu ar Dlodi Plant wedi mynegi pryderon fod

Plant heb fynediad at liniadur yn cael eu hamddifadu o gymorth ar gyfer addysg yn y cartref drwy brawf modd—

gyda rhai ysgolion yn cynnig cymorth i blant sy’n cael prydau ysgol am ddim yn unig. Aethant yn eu blaenau i ddweud nad yw

Tri chwarter y teuluoedd nad oes ganddynt y math o ddyfeisiau sydd eu hangen arnynt yn gymwys i gael prydau ysgol am ddim.

Felly, pa gamau rydych yn eu cymryd, Weinidog, i fynd i'r afael â'r anghydraddoldeb hwn yn y ddarpariaeth o ddyfeisiau i alluogi dysgu yn y cartref, sy'n ddigon o straen heb fod plant yn poeni eu bod ar ei hôl hi, neu heb yr un cyfle cyfartal gartref ag y maent yn ei gael yn ysgol? Hoffwn rannu'n gyflym fy mod i, ar Facebook—cafodd ei rannu y gall pobl bellach gael mynediad at Hwb drwy ddefnyddio PlayStation ac Xbox, ac roeddwn yn meddwl bod hynny'n ddefnyddiol iawn, ond tybed beth arall rydych yn ei wneud, Weinidog? Diolch.

Thank you, Laura. You're correct to say that access to digital devices is one part of the challenge. Since the pandemic began, we have made available approximately 106,000 devices for schools, which they can lend out to children. In the autumn term, we established with our local authority partners a distance learning working group to further understand the barriers to children accessing distance learning should that become necessary. We are working at speed with the local authorities to address the needs of those families that have come forward in the autumn term for additional support, as well as looking at the issues around connectivity, which, at this present time, local authorities tell us is a bigger concern than actual devices themselves.

Diolch, Laura. Rydych yn llygad eich lle yn dweud bod mynediad at ddyfeisiau digidol yn un rhan o'r her. Ers cychwyn y pandemig, rydym wedi sicrhau bod oddeutu 106,000 o ddyfeisiau ar gael i ysgolion, dyfeisiau y gallant eu rhoi ar fenthyg i blant. Yn nhymor yr hydref, fe wnaethom sefydlu gweithgor dysgu o bell gyda'n partneriaid awdurdod lleol i ddeall ymhellach y rhwystrau i blant rhag gallu dysgu o bell pe bai hynny'n angenrheidiol. Rydym yn gweithio'n gyflym gyda'r awdurdodau lleol i fynd i'r afael ag anghenion y teuluoedd sydd wedi gofyn am gymorth ychwanegol yn nhymor yr hydref, yn ogystal ag edrych ar y materion sy'n ymwneud â chysylltedd, ac yn ôl yr hyn a ddywed awdurdodau lleol, mae hwnnw'n destun pryder mwy na’r dyfeisiau eu hunain ar hyn o bryd.

14:25

Minister, I'm sure we can all agree that there is no substitute for face-to-face learning. Attending school is not just about educational achievement, it's an important part of the emotional development of our young people. While COVID is impacting upon school attendance, it must not be allowed to impact a young person's development, and I've been contacted by a constituent who is concerned that schools in Bridgend are not conducting live lessons, albeit via video link, they are merely providing workbook downloads from the Twinkl website. Minister, do you agree with me that this is unacceptable, and will you ensure that children across Wales continue to receive live teaching via video link as long as the schools are closed?

Weinidog, rwy'n siŵr y gall pob un ohonom gytuno nad oes dim yn cymharu â dysgu wyneb yn wyneb. Mae mynd i’r ysgol yn ymwneud â mwy na chyflawniad addysgol, mae'n rhan bwysig o ddatblygiad emosiynol ein pobl ifanc. Er bod COVID yn effeithio ar lefelau presenoldeb ysgolion, mae’n rhaid peidio â chaniatáu iddo effeithio ar ddatblygiad unigolyn ifanc, ac mae etholwr wedi cysylltu â mi sy'n poeni nad yw ysgolion ym Mhen-y-bont ar Ogwr yn cynnal gwersi byw drwy gyswllt fideo, dim ond darparu llawlyfrau i’w lawrlwytho o wefan Twinkl. Weinidog, a ydych yn cytuno â mi fod hyn yn annerbyniol, ac a wnewch chi sicrhau bod plant ledled Cymru yn parhau i gael gwersi byw drwy gyswllt fideo tra bo'r ysgolion ar gau?

Thank you, Caroline. We have published extensive guidance to local education authorities and schools around distance learning at this time. All learners should be provided with the duration of learning time that they would have received should they have been in schools. Obviously, there are some exceptions to that implementation, especially for our youngest children. I'm sure Caroline would agree with me it's not in the best interest of our youngest learners to be sat in front of a screen for long periods of time. We continue, via our regional school improvement service and Estyn, to provide additional support for practitioners to improve practice in this area. I'm also aware, though, we have seen an increase in the use of live lessons in Wales since the previous lockdown, and that brings a different set of stresses to parents who are, especially for our youngest children, now required to sit alongside them to do that work, and sometimes parents find that challenging. I would urge all Members, and indeed parents, to go to the Welsh Government Hwb site to join the 3 million people that log on every month. There are specific resources available, not only to practitioners to learn from good practice, but also support for parents so that they can make the most of the resources that are available so that they can keep their children both safe and learning at this time.

Diolch, Caroline. Rydym wedi cyhoeddi canllawiau helaeth i awdurdodau addysg lleol ac ysgolion ynghylch dysgu o bell ar yr adeg hon. Dylai pob dysgwr gael cymaint o amser dysgu ag y byddent wedi'i gael pe byddent wedi bod mewn ysgolion. Yn amlwg, mae rhai eithriadau i'r gwaith o weithredu hynny, yn enwedig i'n plant ieuengaf. Rwy'n siŵr y byddai Caroline yn cytuno â mi nad yw o fudd i'n dysgwyr ieuengaf eistedd o flaen sgrin am gyfnodau hir. Rydym yn parhau i ddarparu cymorth ychwanegol i addysgwyr wella arferion yn y maes hwn drwy ein gwasanaeth rhanbarthol gwella ysgolion ac Estyn. Rwy'n ymwybodol hefyd, serch hynny, ein bod wedi gweld cynnydd yn y defnydd o wersi byw yng Nghymru ers y cyfyngiadau symud blaenorol, ac mae hynny'n creu set wahanol o densiynau i rieni y mae'n ofynnol iddynt eistedd gyda'u plant, yn enwedig ein plant ieuengaf, er mwyn iddynt wneud y gwaith hwnnw, ac mae rhieni'n ei chael hi'n anodd o bryd i'w gilydd. Hoffwn annog pob Aelod, a rhieni yn wir, i ymweld â safle Hwb Llywodraeth Cymru i ymuno â'r 3 miliwn o bobl sy'n mewngofnodi bob mis. Mae adnoddau penodol ar gael nid yn unig i addysgwyr ddysgu o arferion da, ond hefyd cymorth i rieni fel y gallant wneud y mwyaf o'r adnoddau sydd ar gael er mwyn cadw eu plant yn ddiogel a sicrhau eu bod yn dysgu ar yr adeg hon.

Minister, in order for our young people to make progress in their education, they need to be supported by teachers who are fit and well, both physically and mentally. Nowhere is this more so than in our pupil referral units, where staff work with some of our most challenging young people, including throughout all of the lockdowns. PRUs are classed as special schools, and there was relief and optimism across the sector when the Welsh Government recently announced that staff in special schools would get priority access to the vaccine. However, since, that announcement has been clarified to state that only those staff providing intimate personal care will be eligible. With staff in PRUs having to deal with close contact, pupils spitting, refusing to comply with social distancing or to wear masks, all on a daily basis, will you please commit to seeking priority status for these staff, who consider themselves to be in a uniquely vulnerable position and are experiencing considerable stress as a result?

Weinidog, er mwyn i'n pobl ifanc wneud cynnydd yn eu haddysg, mae angen iddynt gael eu cefnogi gan athrawon sy'n ffit ac yn iach, yn gorfforol ac yn feddyliol. Mae hyn yn arbennig o wir yn ein hunedau cyfeirio disgyblion, lle mae staff yn gweithio gyda rhai o'n pobl ifanc fwyaf heriol, gan gynnwys drwy gydol yr holl gyfyngiadau symud. Mae unedau cyfeirio disgyblion wedi’u dosbarthu’n ysgolion arbennig, a chafwyd rhyddhad a gobaith yn y sector pan gyhoeddodd Llywodraeth Cymru yn ddiweddar y byddai staff mewn ysgolion arbennig yn cael mynediad blaenoriaethol at y brechlyn. Fodd bynnag, ers hynny, cafwyd eglurhad fod y cyhoeddiad hwnnw’n nodi mai dim ond staff sy'n darparu gofal personol uniongyrchol fydd yn gymwys. Gan fod staff mewn unedau cyfeirio disgyblion yn gorfod dod i gysylltiad agos, disgyblion yn poeri, yn gwrthod cydymffurfio â mesurau cadw pellter cymdeithasol neu wisgo masgiau, a hyn oll yn ddyddiol, a wnewch chi ymrwymo i geisio sicrhau statws blaenoriaethol i'r staff hyn, sy'n ystyried eu bod mewn sefyllfa unigryw o agored i niwed, ac sydd o dan gryn dipyn o straen o ganlyniad i hynny?

Thank you, Vikki. I would like to place on record my immense gratitude and thanks to those working in our PRU units, as you quite rightly say, working alongside some of our most vulnerable learners. That is why we have asked local authorities at this time, where at all possible, to continue to provide PRU education, and I'm grateful for those staff that are doing that on a daily basis. Could I reinforce the clarification? All staff, whether they are in a special school, a mainstream school, or indeed a further education college that are involved in the intimate care of pupils will be classed as social care staff. The tasks that they are involved in doing, if they were carrying those out as part of a domiciliary care package, or indeed as a care package, for instance, in a care home, they would be classed as social care staff. And it is those staff that will be eligible for the vaccine in this first round. We continue to discuss with the other parts of the United Kingdom, and with scientists, around when the further education workforce will become eligible for a vaccine. And I am very keen that that should happen as soon as possible. That's all staff that are keeping education going—so that's those working in our schools and those that are taking our children to school. And once the first phase of the vaccination process is completed, I hope we can move to a situation where we will receive advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation about how we can protect other front-line workers.

Diolch, Vikki. Hoffwn gofnodi fy niolch enfawr i'r rheini sy'n gweithio yn ein hunedau cyfeirio disgyblion, gan weithio, fel y dywedwch yn gwbl gywir, ochr yn ochr â rhai o'n dysgwyr mwyaf agored i niwed. Dyna pam rydym wedi gofyn i awdurdodau lleol lle bo modd ar hyn o bryd i barhau i ddarparu addysg mewn unedau cyfeirio disgyblion, ac rwy'n ddiolchgar i'r staff sy'n gwneud hynny’n ddyddiol. A gaf fi atgyfnerthu'r eglurhad? Bydd yr holl staff, p'un a ydynt mewn ysgol arbennig, ysgol brif ffrwd, neu'n wir mewn coleg addysg bellach sy'n ymwneud â gofal personol disgyblion yn cael eu hystyried yn staff gofal cymdeithasol. Byddai'r tasgau y maent yn ymgymryd â hwy, pe byddent yn cyflawni'r rheini fel rhan o becyn gofal cartref, neu'n wir fel pecyn gofal, er enghraifft, mewn cartref gofal, byddent yn cael eu dosbarthu’n staff gofal cymdeithasol. A’r staff hynny fydd yn gymwys i gael y brechlyn yn y rownd gyntaf hon. Rydym yn parhau i drafod â rhannau eraill y Deyrnas Unedig, a chyda gwyddonwyr, pryd y bydd y gweithlu addysg pellach yn dod yn gymwys i gael brechlyn. Ac rwy’n awyddus iawn i weld hynny'n digwydd cyn gynted â phosibl. Golyga hynny’r holl staff sy'n sicrhau bod addysg yn parhau—felly’r rheini sy'n gweithio yn ein hysgolion a'r rheini sy'n mynd â'n plant i'r ysgol. A phan fydd cam cyntaf y broses frechu wedi'i gwblhau, rwy'n gobeithio y gallwn symud i sefyllfa lle byddwn yn derbyn cyngor gan y Cyd-bwyllgor ar Imiwneiddio a Brechu ynghylch sut y gallwn ddiogelu gweithwyr eraill ar y rheng flaen.

14:30
Dysgu o Bell
Remote Learning

2. A wnaiff y Gweinidog ddatganiad am sicrhau bod gan bob disgybl fynediad at yr offer a'r adnoddau sydd eu hangen arnynt i alluogi dysgu o bell? OQ56097

2. Will the Minister make a statement on ensuring that all pupils have access to the necessary equipment and resources to enable remote learning? OQ56097

4. Pa gamau y mae'r Gweinidog yn eu cymryd i sicrhau na chaiff dysgwyr yng Nghymru eu hallgáu'n ddigidol? OQ56113

4. What steps is the Minister taking to ensure that learners in Wales are not digitally excluded? OQ56113

Thank you very much, Alun. At the outset of the pandemic, my officials commissioned local authorities to identify all digitally excluded learners, in conjunction with their schools. Since the pandemic, we've made available approximately 160,000 devices for schools, which they are able to give to, to lend to, their pupils, and some 10,848 MiFi connections.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Alun. Ar ddechrau'r pandemig, comisiynodd fy swyddogion awdurdodau lleol i nodi'r holl ddysgwyr sydd wedi'u hallgáu'n ddigidol, ar y cyd â'u hysgolion. Ers dechrau’r pandemig, rydym wedi sicrhau bod oddeutu 160,000 o ddyfeisiau ar gael i ysgolion, y gallant eu benthyg i'w disgyblion, ac oddeutu 10,848 o gysylltiadau MiFi.

I'm grateful, Presiding Officer, to the Minister for that response. We share, I think, an absolute commitment to the equality of access to learning, and I know the Minister has spoken very forcefully about this, and I agree with the approach that she's taken, and I recognise her commitment to ensuring that all learners have the same opportunity to access learning. And she's already this afternoon addressed issues of the equipment—laptops, tablets, and printing resources. But she also touched upon, in the previous answer, the issue about connectivity. And this is something that really concerns me. She will know from her own constituency that connectivity can be a really serious barrier to learning. Download speeds in Blaenau Gwent are sometimes very low as well. And there are significant pressures on broadband access, particularly if a parent is working from home as well. So, I'd be interested to understand how the Minister can identify how additional support is being distributed, and how it is addressing, potentially, access to broadband and connectivity, to ensure that all children can participate fully in online learning.

Rwy'n ddiolchgar, Lywydd, i'r Gweinidog am yr ymateb hwnnw. Rwy'n credu ein bod yn rhannu ymrwymiad llwyr i gydraddoldeb mewn perthynas â mynediad at ddysgu, a gwn fod y Gweinidog wedi siarad yn rymus iawn am hyn, ac rwy'n cytuno â'r dull y mae wedi'i fabwysiadu, ac rwy'n cydnabod ei hymrwymiad i sicrhau bod pob dysgwr yn cael yr un cyfle i gael mynediad at ddysgu. Ac mae hi eisoes y prynhawn yma wedi ymdrin â materion yn ymwneud ag offer—gliniaduron, tabledi, ac adnoddau argraffu. Ond mae hefyd wedi cyffwrdd, yn yr ateb blaenorol, â'r broblem gyda chysylltedd. Ac mae hwn yn rhywbeth sy'n fy mhoeni'n fawr. Bydd yn gwybod o'i hetholaeth ei hun y gall cysylltedd fod yn rhwystr difrifol iawn i ddysgu. Mae cyflymderau lawrlwytho ym Mlaenau Gwent weithiau'n isel iawn hefyd. Ac mae pwysau sylweddol ar fynediad at fand eang, yn enwedig os yw rhiant yn gweithio gartref hefyd. Felly byddai gennyf ddiddordeb mewn deall sut y gall y Gweinidog nodi'r modd y mae cymorth ychwanegol yn cael ei ddosbarthu, a sut y gall hwnnw fynd i'r afael â mynediad at fand eang a chysylltedd, er mwyn sicrhau bod pob plentyn yn gallu cymryd rhan lawn mewn dysgu ar-lein.

Thank you, Alun. And indeed, our working group with local education authorities have highlighted issues around connectivity as being of concern to them. During the first lockdown, as I said, we did distribute in excess of 10,000 MiFi devices to those learners for whom connectivity was an issue. We continue to explore with local authorities what further devices are necessary in that regard, as well as looking at other innovative solutions with Cabinet colleagues who have responsibility for broader connectivity issues, to see what more we can do at this time.

It's also very important then to understand how those devices are used. I have to say, we have some concerns that the devices that were issued in the first lockdown seem to have had quite low usage. So, once again, we have to understand the barriers to accessing learning. Supplying kit and equipment is one thing, but if it's not used then that effort will be for nought. So, we have to understand what more we can do, not only to supply the kit and equipment, but ensure that learners and those that care for them feel confident and able to use those resources to carry on learning.

Diolch, Alun. Ac yn wir, mae ein gweithgor gydag awdurdodau addysg lleol wedi tynnu sylw at broblemau cysylltedd fel rhai sy'n peri pryder iddynt. Yn ystod y cyfyngiadau symud cyntaf, fel y dywedais, gwnaethom ddosbarthu mwy na 10,000 o ddyfeisiau MiFi i ddysgwyr a oedd yn cael trafferth gyda chysylltedd. Rydym yn parhau i archwilio gydag awdurdodau lleol pa ddyfeisiau pellach sy'n angenrheidiol yn hynny o beth, yn ogystal ag edrych ar atebion arloesol eraill gyda chyd-Aelodau yn y Cabinet sydd â chyfrifoldeb am faterion cysylltedd ehangach, i weld beth arall y gallwn ei wneud ar hyn o bryd.

Mae hefyd yn bwysig iawn deall sut y mae'r dyfeisiau hynny'n cael eu defnyddio. Mae'n rhaid i mi ddweud, mae gennym rai pryderon ei bod yn ymddangos na fu llawer o ddefnydd ar y dyfeisiau a ddosbarthwyd yn ystod y cyfyngiadau symud cyntaf. Felly, unwaith eto, mae'n rhaid i ni ddeall y rhwystrau i ddysgu. Mae cyflenwi cyfarpar ac offer yn un peth, ond os na chaiff ei ddefnyddio bydd yr ymdrech honno'n ddibwrpas. Felly mae'n rhaid i ni ddeall beth arall y gallwn ei wneud, nid yn unig i gyflenwi'r cyfarpar a'r offer, ond i sicrhau bod dysgwyr a'r rhai sy'n gofalu amdanynt yn teimlo'n hyderus ac yn gallu defnyddio'r adnoddau hynny er mwyn parhau i ddysgu.

I think the Minister has requested for this question to be grouped with question 4. If that's the case, Minister, I'll call Lynne Neagle to ask her supplementary question. Yes. Lynne Neagle.

Rwy'n credu bod y Gweinidog wedi gofyn i'r cwestiwn hwn gael ei grwpio â chwestiwn 4. Os yw hynny'n wir, Weinidog, byddaf yn galw ar Lynne Neagle i ofyn ei chwestiwn atodol. Ydy. Lynne Neagle.

Thank you, Llywydd. Minister, I very much welcome the findings of the Education Policy Institute, which said that digital devices in Wales had been rolled out much more quickly than in other UK nations, a finding of course that they also made in relation to school meal provision, which has certainly been brought into very sharp relief this week. As you know, though, the situation, as we continue to grapple with this pandemic, remains challenging. Can I ask what further discussions you've had with local authorities about funding, should they require further devices, and what assurances you can give that that funding will be made available by Welsh Government grant?

Weinidog, rwy’n croesawu canfyddiadau’r Sefydliad Polisi Addysg, a ddywedodd fod dyfeisiau digidol yng Nghymru wedi’u cyflwyno’n llawer cyflymach nag yng ngwledydd eraill y DU, canfyddiad a wnaethant hefyd mewn perthynas â darparu prydau ysgol wrth gwrs, ac mae hynny’n sicr wedi cael llawer o sylw yr wythnos hon. Fodd bynnag, fel y gwyddoch, wrth inni barhau i fynd i'r afael â'r pandemig hwn, mae'r sefyllfa'n parhau i fod yn heriol. A gaf fi ofyn pa drafodaethau pellach rydych wedi'u cael gydag awdurdodau lleol ynglŷn â chyllid, pe baent angen dyfeisiau eraill, a pha sicrwydd y gallwch chi ei roi y bydd y cyllid hwnnw ar gael drwy grant Llywodraeth Cymru? Diolch.

14:35

Thank you, Lynne, and can I thank you for acknowledging the work of both officials in Welsh Government, officials in local government, and indeed schools themselves that were able to act so rapidly during the first lockdown? We are working very closely with local authorities to identify additional needs at this time. We are due to distribute a further 36,000 pieces of kit in the next few weeks, and we are working very closely to identify any additional resources above and beyond that that will be needed, and I have had some very productive conversations with Rebecca Evans, the finance Minister, with regard to ensuring that finance is not a barrier to addressing the needs of local authorities as they are brought forward to me. 

Diolch, Lynne, ac a gaf fi ddiolch ichi am gydnabod gwaith swyddogion yn Llywodraeth Cymru, swyddogion mewn llywodraeth leol, ac yn wir ysgolion eu hunain a lwyddodd i weithredu mor gyflym yn ystod y cyfyngiadau symud cyntaf? Rydym yn gweithio'n agos iawn gydag awdurdodau lleol i nodi anghenion ychwanegol ar hyn o bryd. Byddwn yn dosbarthu 36,000 o ddarnau eraill o offer yn ystod yr wythnosau nesaf, ac rydym yn gweithio'n agos iawn i nodi unrhyw adnoddau ychwanegol y bydd eu hangen yn ychwanegol at hynny, ac rwyf wedi cael sgyrsiau cynhyrchiol iawn gyda Rebecca Evans, y Gweinidog cyllid, mewn perthynas â sicrhau nad yw cyllid yn rhwystr i fynd i'r afael ag anghenion awdurdodau lleol wrth iddynt gael eu cyflwyno imi.

Minister, you've answered a number of questions on digital connectivity, so I'll perhaps be a bit more specific in my question. Both you and I live in Powys, so we know the issues well in terms of the issues around and problems that occur with a lack of broadband. My concern is about the divide that is emerging, I think, sadly, between urban and rural Wales. I wonder what discussions you've had specifically with your colleagues in Government, particularly Ken Skates and Lee Waters, in terms of reprioritising the broadband roll-out across Wales, because, very often, we see that the easy-to-achieve areas are done first, and the most difficult areas are left to last, and there's an obvious negative consequence to that in terms of children in the very rural areas of my constituency and your constituency losing out. So, I wonder what discussions you've had with them about reprioritising broadband roll-out?

Weinidog, rydych wedi ateb nifer o gwestiynau am gysylltedd digidol, felly efallai y byddaf ychydig yn fwy penodol yn fy nghwestiwn. Rydych chi a minnau'n byw ym Mhowys, felly rydym yn gwybod yn iawn am y materion a'r problemau sy'n codi gyda diffyg band eang. Mae fy mhryder yn ymwneud â'r rhaniad sy'n dod i'r amlwg, rwy'n credu, yn anffodus, rhwng y Gymru drefol a'r Gymru wledig. Tybed pa drafodaethau rydych wedi'u cael yn benodol gyda'ch cyd-Aelodau yn y Llywodraeth, yn enwedig Ken Skates a Lee Waters, ar ailflaenoriaethu'r broses o gyflwyno band eang ledled Cymru, oherwydd, yn aml iawn, gwelwn fod yr ardaloedd hawdd eu cyflawni'n cael eu cyflawni yn gyntaf, a bod yr ardaloedd anoddaf yn cael eu gadael tan yn olaf, ac mae canlyniad negyddol amlwg i hynny yn sgil y ffaith bod plant yn ardaloedd gwledig fy etholaeth i a'ch etholaeth chi ar eu colled. Felly, tybed pa drafodaethau rydych chi wedi'u cael gyda hwy ynghylch ailflaenoriaethu cyflwyno band eang?

Thank you, Russell, and can I put on record my thanks to Powys County Council, who have used some of their own capital budget to add to the resources made available by the Welsh Government in an attempt to roll out additional devices for all those studying in Powys sixth forms during this term? And Powys are due their fair share of the additional 36,000 devices that we're currently waiting on to be delivered, but it shows that council's commitment to trying to ensure that all learners have the kit and equipment that they need. 

As I said earlier, connectivity remains a concern across Wales, and we are aware of this in the Government. Both Lee Waters and Julie James are looking at what innovative solutions we can adopt at this time, recognising that that kind of connectivity issue not only helps learners during the period of lockdown, but rural communities in general. I think we're all learning the value, are we not, of it's not a 'nice to have', it is an absolute 'got to have' during this period of uncertainty, not just for children and learners, but also those people who are having to work from home, or are trying to keep their lives going by having digital connectivity. 

Diolch, Russell, ac a gaf fi gofnodi fy niolch i Gyngor Sir Powys, sydd wedi defnyddio rhywfaint o'u cyllideb gyfalaf eu hunain i ychwanegu at yr adnoddau sydd ar gael gan Lywodraeth Cymru mewn ymdrech i gyflwyno dyfeisiau ychwanegol i bawb sy'n astudio yn y chweched dosbarth ym Mhowys yn ystod y tymor hwn? Ac mae Powys i fod i gael eu cyfran deg o'r 36,000 o ddyfeisiau ychwanegol rydym yn aros iddynt gael eu cyflenwi ar hyn o bryd, ond mae'n dangos ymrwymiad y cyngor hwnnw i geisio sicrhau bod gan bob dysgwr y cyfarpar a'r offer sydd eu hangen arnynt.

Fel y dywedais yn gynharach, mae cysylltedd yn dal i fod yn bryder ledled Cymru, ac rydym yn ymwybodol o hyn yn y Llywodraeth. Mae Lee Waters a Julie James yn edrych i weld pa atebion arloesol y gallwn eu mabwysiadu ar hyn o bryd, gan gydnabod bod y math hwnnw o gysylltedd nid yn unig yn helpu dysgwyr yn ystod y cyfyngiadau symud, ond cymunedau gwledig yn gyffredinol. Rwy'n credu ein bod ni i gyd yn dysgu, onid ydym, nad pethau 'braf i'w cael' yw'r rhain, ond pethau sy'n 'rhaid eu cael' yn ystod y cyfnod ansicr hwn, nid yn unig i blant a dysgwyr, ond hefyd i bobl sy'n gorfod gweithio gartref, neu sy'n ceisio dal i fynd drwy gael cysylltedd digidol.

Minister, it's clear now, isn't it, that connectivity is one of those basic rights that we all have, along with gas, water and electricity. I want to re-emphasise the point that has been made, but just to perhaps make it even more clearly. There are homes in my constituency where I know there are people where affordability of the actual connectivity is the issue, not the availability or the level of connectivity. That is, I know that Rhondda Cynon Taf has done a considerable amount of work, working in conjunction with Welsh Government, with regard to equipment, but identifying those homes where people cannot afford to have it, and consequently the children, either openly or subliminally, then don't get that connectivity and aren't able to participate. Now, I know it's an issue RCT have concerns with. I wonder if it's a matter that you could specifically comment on—the issue of financial support for those families who can't afford it.

Weinidog, mae'n amlwg nawr, onid yw, mai cysylltedd yw un o'r hawliau sylfaenol hynny sydd gan bob un ohonom, ochr yn ochr â nwy, dŵr a thrydan. Rwyf am ailbwysleisio'r pwynt sydd wedi'i wneud, a'i wneud hyd yn oed yn gliriach efallai. Gwn mai fforddiadwyedd y cysylltedd yw'r broblem mewn gwirionedd i bobl mewn rhai cartrefi yn fy etholaeth, nid argaeledd na lefel y cysylltedd. Hynny yw, gwn fod Rhondda Cynon Taf wedi gwneud cryn dipyn o waith, gan weithio ar y cyd â Llywodraeth Cymru, mewn perthynas ag offer, ond hefyd yn nodi'r cartrefi lle na all pobl fforddio ei gael, ac o ganlyniad nid yw'r plant, naill ai'n agored neu'n isganfyddol, yn gallu cael mynediad at y cysylltedd hwnnw ac nid ydynt yn gallu cymryd rhan. Nawr, rwy'n gwybod ei fod yn fater y mae gan RhCT bryderon yn ei gylch. Tybed a yw'n fater y gallech roi sylwadau penodol arno—cymorth ariannol i'r teuluoedd na allant ei fforddio.

Thank you, Mick. As I said, we are able to support families with the provision of MiFi devices. We are working closely with colleagues in the Department for Education in England, who are working with communication companies to see what can be done around affordability and access to data. And can I make it clear that, whilst we want to minimise the number of children who are accessing their schools at this time, and that should predominantly be for key worker children and vulnerable children, as an ultimate safety net, there is flexibility for local authorities and headteachers to make provision for students if connectivity is absolutely something that is real barrier to their education? And that is the final safety net that we have put in place as flexibility for local authorities and schools to respond to that, bearing in mind that we are trying to keep numbers in our schools as low as possible for COVID security reasons. 

Diolch, Mick. Fel y dywedais, gallwn gynorthwyo teuluoedd i ddarparu dyfeisiau MiFi. Rydym yn gweithio'n agos gyda chymheiriaid yn yr Adran Addysg yn Lloegr, sy'n gweithio gyda chwmnïau cyfathrebu i weld beth y gellir ei wneud o ran fforddiadwyedd a mynediad at ddata. Ac er ein bod eisiau lleihau nifer y plant sy'n mynychu eu hysgolion ar hyn o bryd, ac y dylent fod ar agor yn bennaf ar gyfer plant gweithwyr allweddol a phlant sy'n agored i niwed fel rhwyd ddiogelwch sylfaenol, a gaf fi ei gwneud yn glir fod hyblygrwydd i awdurdodau lleol a phenaethiaid ddarparu ar gyfer disgyblion os yw cysylltedd yn rhywbeth sy'n rhwystr gwirioneddol i'w haddysg? A dyna'r rhwyd ddiogelwch derfynol rydym wedi'i rhoi ar waith fel bod hyblygrwydd i awdurdodau lleol ac ysgolion ymateb i hynny, o gofio ein bod yn ceisio cadw'r niferoedd yn ein hysgolion mor isel â phosibl am resymau diogelwch COVID.

14:40

Daeth y Dirprwy Lywydd (Ann Jones) i’r Gadair.

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Ann Jones) took the Chair.

Cwestiynau Heb Rybudd gan Lefarwyr y Pleidiau
Questions Without Notice from Party Spokespeople

We now turn to party spokespersons questions, and the first up this afternoon is Bethan Sayed from Plaid Cymru. 

Trown yn awr at gwestiynau llefarwyr y pleidiau, a'r cyntaf y prynhawn yma yw Bethan Sayed o Blaid Cymru.

Diolch yn fawr, Dirprwy Lywydd. Thank you very much. Good afternoon, Minister. Obviously, the disruption to those who are partaking in vocational and other technical courses has been pretty bad. We all need plumbers and electricians all year round, and we are hearing from the sector, for example, that many of these people are not able to go in and do the practical work to be able to complete their term in this academic year. I'm wondering whether you've considered extending this academic year in line with some of the calls from organisations such as Colegau Cymru, because of the inability to potentially go in to carry out their degree or their further education course, and, if so, would you be able to give them upfront resources to be able to do that?

Diolch yn fawr, Ddirprwy Lywydd. Diolch yn fawr iawn. Prynhawn da, Weinidog. Yn amlwg, mae'r tarfu ar y rhai sy'n cymryd rhan mewn cyrsiau galwedigaethol a chyrsiau technegol eraill wedi bod yn eithaf gwael. Rydym i gyd angen plymwyr a thrydanwyr drwy gydol y flwyddyn, ac rydym yn clywed gan y sector, er enghraifft, nad yw llawer o'r bobl hyn yn gallu mynd i mewn a gwneud y gwaith ymarferol i allu cwblhau eu tymor yn y flwyddyn academaidd hon. Rwy'n meddwl tybed a ydych wedi ystyried ymestyn y flwyddyn academaidd hon yn unol â rhai o'r galwadau gan sefydliadau fel Colegau Cymru, oherwydd yr anallu o bosibl i fynd i mewn i gyflawni eu gradd neu eu cwrs addysg bellach, ac os felly, a fyddech yn gallu rhoi adnoddau iddynt ymlaen llaw i'w galluogi i wneud hynny?

Presiding Officer, firstly, can I welcome Bethan Sayed back to the Chamber, although it's a virtual one, and put on the record my congratulations to her and her husband on the birth of her son?  

Lywydd, yn gyntaf, a gaf fi groesawu Bethan Sayed yn ôl i'r Siambr, er ei bod yn un rithwir, a chofnodi fy llongyfarchiadau iddi hi a'i gŵr ar enedigaeth eu mab?

Bethan, you're right: vocational qualifications are particularly challenging. The landscape for those qualifications is much more complicated than for general qualifications, not least because many of them are not regulated by our own qualifications body. The Member will be aware that, as we emerged out of lockdown last year, the learners of whom she speaks were prioritised by their local colleges to be able to return, if students felt able to do so, to allow them to complete those practical assessments so that they could gain their qualifications and their professional accreditation for those particular roles, and we will work closely with Colegau, and financial resources were made available to assist in that process. We were also able to, in some instances, extend provision into the new academic year, and, again, financial resources were made available to assist colleagues in that regard. And we are keen to continue to have conversations with our further education principals as to what can be done to safeguard the progression of those students taking vocational qualifications and seeking professional accreditation. 

Bethan, rydych yn iawn: mae cymwysterau galwedigaethol yn arbennig o heriol. Mae'r dirwedd ar gyfer y cymwysterau hynny'n llawer mwy cymhleth nag ar gyfer cymwysterau cyffredinol, yn bennaf am nad yw llawer ohonynt yn cael eu rheoleiddio gan ein corff cymwysterau ein hunain. Bydd yr Aelod yn ymwybodol, wedi i ni godi'r cyfyngiadau symud y llynedd, fod y dysgwyr y mae'n cyfeirio atynt wedi cael blaenoriaeth gan eu colegau lleol i allu dychwelyd, pe bai myfyrwyr yn teimlo y gallent wneud hynny, i ganiatáu iddynt gwblhau asesiadau ymarferol fel y gallent ennill eu cymwysterau a'u hachrediad proffesiynol ar gyfer y rolau penodol hynny, a byddwn yn gweithio'n agos gyda Colegau, a sicrhawyd bod adnoddau ariannol ar gael i gynorthwyo gyda'r broses honno. Hefyd, mewn rhai achosion, roeddem yn gallu ymestyn y ddarpariaeth i'r flwyddyn academaidd newydd, ac unwaith eto, roedd adnoddau ariannol ar gael i gynorthwyo cydweithwyr yn hynny o beth. Ac rydym yn awyddus i barhau i gael sgyrsiau gyda'n penaethiaid addysg bellach ynglŷn â'r hyn y gellir ei wneud i ddiogelu dilyniant i fyfyrwyr sy'n cyflawni cymwysterau galwedigaethol ac sy'n ceisio achrediad proffesiynol.

Okay, thank you very much for that reply and for your congratulations; I do appreciate that. It's interesting that you say that the money has come to the institutions. What I'm hearing is that, because of students being unable to go back potentially until February—some of them think that they may not be able to go back until even later than that—it will stall their ability to be able to complete their degree in this academic term and, then, obviously for new starters it'll be even more difficult. But you seem to be suggesting that they've had the support that they need. I'm hearing differently, and so would you be able to then clarify what discussions you've had with representative bodies to ensure that they feel that they have enough money? And if they don't feel that they have enough support, would you commit to a long-term education recovery plan for the sector? Because, of course, it doesn't just affect the individuals, but it affects the economic fruition and prosperity of our nation if we simply don't see these people graduating.

Iawn, diolch yn fawr am yr ateb hwnnw ac am eich cyfarchion; rwy'n gwerthfawrogi hynny. Mae'n ddiddorol eich bod yn dweud bod yr arian wedi dod i'r sefydliadau. Oherwydd na all myfyrwyr fynd yn ôl nes mis Chwefror o bosibl—mae rhai ohonynt yn credu efallai na fyddant yn gallu mynd yn ôl nes yn hwyrach na hynny hyd yn oed—yr hyn rwy'n ei glywed yw y bydd yn arafu eu gallu i gwblhau eu gradd yn y tymor academaidd hwn ac yna, yn amlwg, bydd yn anos byth i ddechreuwyr newydd. Ond mae'n ymddangos eich bod yn awgrymu eu bod wedi cael y gefnogaeth sydd ei hangen arnynt. Rwy'n clywed yn wahanol, ac felly a fyddech yn gallu egluro pa drafodaethau rydych wedi'u cael gyda chyrff cynrychiadol i sicrhau eu bod yn teimlo bod ganddynt ddigon o arian? Ac os nad ydynt yn teimlo eu bod yn cael digon o gefnogaeth, a wnewch chi ymrwymo i gynllun adfer addysg hirdymor ar gyfer y sector? Oherwydd, wrth gwrs, mae'n effeithio ar fwy na'r unigolion, mae'n effeithio ar ffyniant economaidd ein cenedl os na welwn y bobl hyn yn graddio.

Well, you're absolutely right: the ability for those individuals to progress is really important, and that's why we prioritised those learners last year. Because of the ongoing disruption, learners who find themselves in this year's cohort, again, will have to have additional support. So, we prioritised those students last year, and we're keen to continue to have conversations to prioritise those students this year, and to work with the colleges to understand what they need to allow those practical assessments of people's skills to go forward. Whilst colleges are closed for face-to-face teaching for the majority of their students, there is an exception where assessments—important external assessments—have to be carried out. Those are still able to be done within colleges and I know colleges are working hard to accommodate students in that regard. But with regard to a longer term plan, and as was referenced by the finance Minister earlier, whilst additional resources are being made available for education in the new financial year, the impact of COVID-19 on students' learning is going to be felt for many, many years. We've made good progress this year in recruiting additional staff, but we're not going to catch up from this pandemic in any one single academic year, and we do indeed need to have ongoing investment and a plan for catch-up.

Wel, rydych yn llygad eich lle: mae'n bwysig iawn fod yr unigolion hynny'n gallu symud ymlaen, a dyna pam y gwnaethom flaenoriaethu'r dysgwyr hynny y llynedd. Oherwydd yr aflonyddwch parhaus, unwaith eto bydd yn rhaid i ddysgwyr sydd yng ngharfan eleni gael cymorth ychwanegol. Felly, gwnaethom flaenoriaethu'r myfyrwyr hynny y llynedd, ac rydym yn awyddus i barhau i gael sgyrsiau i flaenoriaethu'r myfyrwyr hynny eleni, ac i weithio gyda'r colegau i ddeall beth sydd ei angen arnynt i ganiatáu i asesiadau ymarferol o sgiliau pobl fynd rhagddynt. Er bod colegau ar gau ar gyfer addysgu wyneb yn wyneb i'r rhan fwyaf o'u myfyrwyr, mae eithriad lle mae'n rhaid cynnal asesiadau allanol pwysig. Mae'n bosibl cynnal y rheini mewn colegau o hyd a gwn fod colegau'n gweithio'n galed i ddarparu ar gyfer myfyrwyr yn hynny o beth. Ond o ran cynllun mwy hirdymor, ac fel y nododd y Gweinidog cyllid yn gynharach, tra bod adnoddau ychwanegol ar gael ar gyfer addysg yn y flwyddyn ariannol newydd, bydd effaith COVID-19 ar ddysgu myfyrwyr yn cael ei theimlo am flynyddoedd lawer. Rydym wedi gwneud cynnydd da eleni o ran recriwtio staff ychwanegol, ond ni fyddwn yn gallu dal i fyny yn sgil y pandemig hwn mewn un flwyddyn academaidd, ac yn wir mae angen i ni gael buddsoddiad parhaus a chynllun ar gyfer dal i fyny.

14:45

Thank you, and I'm glad that you recognise that the plan for catch-up is going to be much, much longer than one academic year, and I concur with that. 

My final question is with regard to university rent rebates and I've got lots of support for those who have been taking part in strikes across the country in relation to not wanting to pay their rent if they're not able to go to their university accommodation. We've seen today that Cardiff University have said that they will pay back the rent if you are not able to go. Yesterday, Aberystwyth students campaigned hard to ensure that that university made a decision to give a rent rebate. Do you think it's fair that students should have to pay rent for accommodation that they are not in? And if you don't think it's fair, how will you support universities that want to give that rebate—i.e. will you give them more financial support to do so? And have you looked at what's happening in the private sector? I know it's much more complex, but are there any rent rebate possibilities there for students who may be in the private rented sector, who equally deserve to have that rebate, because, of course, they simply are following Welsh Government guidance to stay at home at the moment?

Diolch, ac rwy'n falch eich bod yn cydnabod y bydd y cynllun ar gyfer dal i fyny yn llawer hwy nag un flwyddyn academaidd, ac rwy'n cytuno â hynny.

Mae fy nghwestiwn olaf yn ymwneud ag ad-daliadau rhent prifysgolion ac mae gennyf lawer o gefnogaeth i'r rhai sydd wedi bod yn cymryd rhan mewn streiciau ledled y wlad am nad ydynt eisiau talu eu rhent os nad ydynt yn gallu mynd i'w llety prifysgol. Rydym wedi gweld heddiw fod Prifysgol Caerdydd wedi dweud y byddant yn ad-dalu'r rhent os na allwch fynd. Ddoe, ymgyrchodd myfyrwyr Aberystwyth yn galed i sicrhau bod y brifysgol honno'n gwneud penderfyniad i roi ad-daliad rhent. A ydych yn credu ei bod yn deg fod myfyrwyr yn gorfod talu rhent am lety nad ydynt yn byw ynddo? Ac os nad ydych yn credu ei fod yn deg, sut y byddwch yn cefnogi prifysgolion sydd eisiau rhoi'r ad-daliad hwnnw—h.y. a wnewch chi roi mwy o gymorth ariannol iddynt wneud hynny? Ac a ydych wedi edrych ar yr hyn sy'n digwydd yn y sector preifat? Rwy'n gwybod ei fod yn llawer mwy cymhleth, ond a oes unrhyw bosibiliadau ar gyfer ad-daliad rhent yno i fyfyrwyr a allai fod yn y sector rhentu preifat, sydd hefyd yn haeddu cael yr ad-daliad hwnnw, oherwydd, wrth gwrs, maent yn dilyn canllawiau Llywodraeth Cymru i aros gartref ar hyn o bryd?

I have every sympathy for those students who are abiding by Welsh Government rules and are not travelling to universities at this time to occupy accommodation that they have paid for or are due to pay for as a result of ongoing restrictions. Last year, all of our universities looked to provide rebates or refunds and we welcome that and I welcome the actions by a number of Welsh institutions at this time to do the same. I am in close discussion with the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, universities and, only this afternoon, with the National Union of Students Cymru, to see what more Welsh Government can do to assist with regard to rent and, indeed, general financial hardship that students may be facing at this time, and I hope to make an announcement shortly.

Mae gennyf bob cydymdeimlad â myfyrwyr sy'n cadw at reolau Llywodraeth Cymru ac sydd ddim yn teithio i brifysgolion ar hyn o bryd i fyw mewn llety y maent wedi talu amdano neu y maent i fod i dalu amdano o ganlyniad i gyfyngiadau parhaus. Y llynedd, roedd pob un o'n prifysgolion yn bwriadu darparu ad-daliadau ac rydym yn croesawu hynny ac rwy'n croesawu'r camau a gymerwyd gan nifer o sefydliadau yng Nghymru ar yr adeg hon i wneud yr un peth. Rwy'n cynnal trafodaethau agos gyda Chyngor Cyllido Addysg Uwch Cymru, prifysgolion, a chydag Undeb Cenedlaethol Myfyrwyr Cymru y prynhawn yma, i weld beth arall y gall Llywodraeth Cymru ei wneud i helpu o ran rhent, a chaledi ariannol cyffredinol yn wir y gallai myfyrwyr fod yn ei wynebu ar hyn o bryd, ac rwy'n gobeithio gwneud cyhoeddiad cyn bo hir.

Thank you. The Conservative spokesperson, Suzy Davies.

Diolch. Llefarydd y Ceidwadwyr, Suzy Davies.

Thank you, Dirprwy Lywydd. Thank you for those answers to Bethan Sayed as well, Minister—that was very helpful. 

I just want to begin with schools closing. Obviously, we've been told repeatedly that schools themselves are very low-risk environments, even though this variant itself is more highly infectious than the previous version. The most recent technical advisory cell report points out again that it's behaviours around schools being the place where the transmission risk is, rather than in schools themselves. But that's not new intelligence. Other Members of the Senedd and I were talking about this with our health boards back in the autumn. So, while I'm absolutely not disputing your immediate decision to close schools, just two things on school closures: do you think it would have been useful to have had a very visible campaign targeting older pupils, students and their families to explain that their behaviours connected to a school or college—and I think those are the words—are the reason for closing schools? And what steps are open to you now to protect staff and children from that outside influence short of closing schools? The test and trace solution you spoke of before Christmas doesn't seem to have hit the mark. We haven't heard much about testing since either. You've probably heard as well there's a real inconsistency in the offer for key worker children in the school hubs, which actually are open, which isn't helping to make the argument for closing schools.

Diolch, Ddirprwy Lywydd. Diolch ichi am yr atebion hynny i Bethan Sayed hefyd, Weinidog—roedd hynny'n ddefnyddiol iawn.

Hoffwn ddechrau gydag ysgolion yn cau. Yn amlwg, dywedwyd wrthym dro ar ôl tro fod ysgolion eu hunain yn amgylcheddau risg isel iawn, er bod yr amrywiolyn hwn yn fwy heintus na'r fersiwn flaenorol. Mae adroddiad diweddaraf y gell cyngor technegol yn nodi eto mai ymddygiad o amgylch ysgolion sy'n creu risg o drosglwyddo, yn hytrach nag o fewn yr ysgolion eu hunain. Ond nid yw honno'n wybodaeth newydd. Roedd Aelodau eraill o'r Senedd a minnau'n sôn am hyn gyda'n byrddau iechyd yn ôl yn yr hydref. Felly, er nad wyf yn anghytuno o gwbl â'ch penderfyniad uniongyrchol i gau ysgolion, hoffwn ofyn dau beth mewn perthynas â chau ysgolion: a ydych yn credu y byddai wedi bod yn ddefnyddiol cael ymgyrch weladwy iawn yn targedu disgyblion hŷn, myfyrwyr a'u teuluoedd i egluro mai eu hymddygiad yn gysylltiedig ag ysgol neu goleg—a chredaf mai dyna'r geiriau—yw'r rheswm dros gau ysgolion? A pha gamau sy'n agored i chi nawr i ddiogelu staff a phlant rhag y dylanwad allanol hwnnw heb fynd i gau ysgolion? Nid yw'n ymddangos bod y profi ac olrhain y sonioch chi amdano cyn y Nadolig wedi cyrraedd y nod. Nid ydym wedi clywed llawer am brofi ers hynny chwaith. Mae'n debyg eich bod wedi clywed hefyd fod anghysondeb gwirioneddol yn y cynnig i blant gweithwyr allweddol fynychu hybiau ysgol, sydd ar agor, ac nid yw hynny'n helpu'r ddadl dros gau ysgolion.

Thank you, Suzy. First of all, can I say schools and local authorities as well as colleges and universities have worked really, really hard during July and the autumn term to make their environments as COVID-safe as possible, and I commend them for that? The new variant of the virus does pose new challenges, although the relative risk to schools is not increased, but, of course, anywhere where people gather together is an opportunity for the virus to spread. The Member is also correct to say that it is very difficult to untangle exactly where the source of transmission occurs, and there are concerns around not only end-of-day activities—the beginning of the end of the school day—but, by having schools open, it allows other adults, not in school, to mix more freely, which also impacts upon the R rate.

At this time, we are reviewing our operational guidance in light of SAGE recommendations as to how we can make those environments even more secure, how we can reinforce messages around safe behaviours, such as how you walk to school in the morning, the sharing of mobile phones, cans of fizzy drink, and all the other activities where, perhaps, people are less aware outside of a regulated setting that can be sources of transmission. But, of course, keeping community levels of the transmission as low as possible is also absolutely crucial. Children and those who work in our schools live in our communities, and when community transmission levels are high, that invariably finds its way to disrupting education.

With regard to asymptomatic testing, online webinars were delivered last week with regard to the implementation of a testing regime to support schools when more children can go back to face-to-face learning, and we are working with local authorities to identify any barriers that exist for schools and local education authorities in implementing asymptomatic testing as soon as possible.

Diolch, Suzy. Yn gyntaf oll, a gaf fi ddweud bod ysgolion ac awdurdodau lleol yn ogystal â cholegau a phrifysgolion wedi gweithio'n galed iawn yn ystod mis Gorffennaf a thymor yr hydref i wneud eu hamgylcheddau mor ddiogel â phosibl rhag COVID, ac rwy'n eu cymeradwyo am hynny? Mae amrywiolyn newydd y feirws yn creu heriau newydd, er nad yw'r risg gymharol i ysgolion yn cynyddu, ond wrth gwrs, mae unrhyw le lle mae pobl yn ymgynnull yn gyfle i'r feirws ledaenu. Mae'r Aelod hefyd yn gywir i ddweud ei bod yn anodd iawn canfod lle'n union mae'r trosglwyddo'n digwydd, ac mae pryderon nid yn unig ynghylch gweithgareddau diwedd dydd—dechrau diwedd y diwrnod ysgol—ond drwy gadw ysgolion ar agor, mae'n caniatáu i oedolion eraill, nad ydynt yn yr ysgol, gymysgu'n fwy rhydd, sydd hefyd yn effeithio ar y gyfradd R.

Ar hyn o bryd, rydym yn adolygu ein canllawiau gweithredol yng ngoleuni argymhellion y Grŵp Cynghori Gwyddonol ar Argyfyngau ynglŷn â sut y gallwn wneud yr amgylcheddau hynny hyd yn oed yn fwy diogel, sut y gallwn atgyfnerthu negeseuon ynghylch ymddygiad diogel, megis sut rydych yn cerdded i'r ysgol yn y bore, rhannu ffonau symudol a chaniau diod, a'r holl weithgareddau eraill lle mae pobl, efallai, yn llai ymwybodol y gallant fod yn ffynonellau trosglwyddo y tu allan i leoliad rheoledig. Ond wrth gwrs, mae cadw lefelau cymunedol y trosglwyddiad mor isel â phosibl hefyd yn gwbl hanfodol. Mae plant a'r rhai sy'n gweithio yn ein hysgolion yn byw yn ein cymunedau, a phan fo lefelau trosglwyddo cymunedol yn uchel, mae hynny'n ddieithriad yn llwyddo i amharu ar addysg.

O ran profion asymptomatig, cyflwynwyd gweminarau ar-lein yr wythnos diwethaf ar weithredu trefn brofi i gefnogi ysgolion pan fydd mwy o blant yn gallu dychwelyd i ddysgu wyneb yn wyneb, ac rydym yn gweithio gydag awdurdodau lleol i nodi unrhyw rwystrau sy'n atal ysgolion ac awdurdodau addysg lleol rhag gweithredu profion asymptomatig cyn gynted â phosibl.

14:50

Okay, well, I look forward to seeing some activity on that testing piece; as I said, it had gone a bit quiet. Minister, you'll obviously know that I'm supportive of creating a discrete group of school staff for priority vaccinations after the four groups most affected by mortality risk have been fully treated. The current suggestions for phase 2 devised by the JIVC are primarily based on age. Bearing in mind the long-term implications for the continued loss of learning—and the worries about this are repeatedly captured in these assertions that schools must be the last to close and the first to open—I'm curious to find out what your personal position is on this. Do you think I should be getting my vaccine before any member of school staff just because I'm older than they are?

Iawn, wel, rwy'n edrych ymlaen at weld rhywfaint o weithgarwch mewn perthynas â'r profi hwnnw; fel y dywedais, roedd wedi mynd ychydig yn dawel. Weinidog, yn amlwg fe fyddwch yn gwybod fy mod yn cefnogi'r syniad o flaenoriaethu brechiadau i grŵp ar wahân o staff ysgol ar ôl i'r pedwar grŵp sy'n cael eu heffeithio fwyaf gan risg marwolaeth gael eu trin yn llawn. Mae'r awgrymiadau presennol ar gyfer cam 2 a ddyfeisiwyd gan y Cyd-bwyllgor ar Imiwneiddio a Brechu yn seiliedig yn bennaf ar oedran. O gofio'r goblygiadau hirdymor yn sgil parhau i golli dysgu—ac mae'r pryderon ynglŷn â hyn yn cael eu cyfleu dro ar ôl tro yn yr honiadau mai ysgolion ddylai fod yr olaf i gau a'r cyntaf i agor—rwy'n chwilfrydig i ddarganfod beth yw eich safbwynt personol ar hyn. A ydych yn credu y dylwn fod yn cael fy mrechlyn cyn unrhyw aelod o staff ysgolion oherwydd fy mod yn hŷn na hwy?

Suzy, I fully stand behind the work of the JCVI in how it has identified who is most at risk of serious harm or death as a result of contracting COVID-19. Members of staff, both in school and those who support education in other roles, will receive their vaccination in line with their relative risk of harm. Many of the teachers that I speak to speak of not only their worry about themselves but actually their worry about taking the virus home to a potentially vulnerable member of their family. If we disrupt the vaccination programme, potentially that member of the family might wait a bit longer. Other teachers talk of their concern about children potentially taking the virus home to vulnerable members of their family and their community, and, again, the overall programme is designed to deliver as much safeguarding from harm as possible.

The quickest way we can vaccinate our teachers is to move through the JCVI guidance as quickly as possible, and Welsh Government and health boards are moving every possible mountain to make that happen. As, then, we decide who should be vaccinated next, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to find education staff and, indeed, other front-line workers prioritised, and I know that evidence will be submitted to the JCVI as they make further decisions on the further roll-out of the programme. But, clearly, I am very keen to see our education workforce vaccinated as quickly as possible. 

Suzy, rwy'n cefnogi gwaith y Cyd-bwyllgor ar Imiwneiddio a Brechu yn llwyr o ran sut y mae wedi nodi pwy sydd fwyaf tebygol o wynebu niwed difrifol neu farwolaeth o ganlyniad i ddal COVID-19. Bydd aelodau o staff, yn yr ysgol a'r rhai sy'n cefnogi addysg mewn rolau eraill, yn cael eu brechu yn unol â'u risg gymharol o niwed. Mae llawer o'r athrawon rwy'n siarad â hwy nid yn unig yn poeni am eu hunain ond yn poeni am fynd â'r feirws adref at aelod o'u teulu a allai fod yn agored i niwed. Os byddwn yn tarfu ar y rhaglen frechu, efallai y bydd yr aelod hwnnw o'r teulu yn aros ychydig yn hwy. Mae athrawon eraill yn sôn am eu pryder y gallai plant fod yn mynd â'r feirws adref i aelodau o'u teuluoedd a'u cymuned sy'n agored i niwed, ac unwaith eto, mae'r rhaglen gyffredinol wedi'i chynllunio i sicrhau cymaint o ddiogelwch rhag niwed â phosibl.

Y ffordd gyflymaf o frechu ein hathrawon yw dilyn canllawiau'r Cyd-bwyllgor ar Imiwneiddio a Brechu cyn gynted â phosibl, ac mae Llywodraeth Cymru a byrddau iechyd yn symud pob mynydd posibl i wneud i hynny ddigwydd. Felly, wrth i ni benderfynu pwy ddylai gael eu brechu nesaf, ni fyddai dim yn rhoi mwy o bleser imi na blaenoriaethu staff addysg, a gweithwyr rheng flaen eraill yn wir, a gwn y bydd tystiolaeth yn cael ei chyflwyno i'r Cyd-bwyllgor ar Imiwneiddio a Brechu wrth iddynt wneud penderfyniadau pellach ar gyflwyno'r rhaglen ymhellach. Ond yn amlwg, rwy'n awyddus iawn i weld staff ein gweithlu addysg yn cael eu brechu cyn gynted â phosibl.

Okay, well, thank you for that. I messed up those initials initially, there, as well. Okay, well, you're 'very keen'; I'll take that as a positive statement, then. 

I'd just like to go back, if I can, to this consistency about the quality and quantity of online teaching. I know we've rehearsed a fair bit of it today, but I wonder if you could tell us what's happened so far to that £29 million that was provided for 600 new teachers and 300 teaching assistants to help with maintaining and catching up on learning, particularly as we've just heard there's another £12 million on its way. We accept that the COVID recovery in education is long term, so I'd be wary about rushing to spend quite a lot of money in one go because it's available if it's not going on staff, but if it isn't going on staff but is still being used to support standards, can you tell us how it's being used? I'd be very interested to know if any of this is going to the consortia, for example, because it's their job to maintain standards, and, indeed, whether there are discussions, which we heard a little bit earlier, about even using it to subsidise the cost of broadband for those families who are struggling with getting enough access to broadband, just to provide things like dongles and Wi-Fi extenders, or simply just buying them extra data.

Iawn, wel, diolch am hynny. Fe wnes lanast o'r blaenlythrennau hynny i ddechrau hefyd. Iawn, wel, rydych yn 'awyddus iawn'; fe gymeraf hynny fel datganiad cadarnhaol, felly.

Hoffwn fynd yn ôl, os caf, at gysondeb ansawdd a maint yr addysgu ar-lein. Rwy'n gwybod ein bod wedi siarad amdano gryn dipyn heddiw, ond tybed a allech ddweud wrthym beth sydd wedi digwydd hyd yn hyn i'r £29 miliwn a ddarparwyd ar gyfer 600 o athrawon newydd a 300 o gynorthwywyr addysgu i helpu i gynnal a dal i fyny ar ddysgu, yn enwedig gan ein bod newydd glywed bod £12 miliwn arall ar ei ffordd. Rydym yn derbyn bod adferiad COVID ym maes addysg yn hirdymor, felly byddwn yn wyliadwrus ynghylch rhuthro i wario cryn dipyn o arian ar unwaith, oherwydd ei fod ar gael, os nad yw'n mynd ar staff, ond os nad yw'n mynd ar staff ond ei fod yn dal i gael ei ddefnyddio i gefnogi safonau, a allwch chi ddweud wrthym sut y mae'n cael ei ddefnyddio? Byddai gennyf ddiddordeb mawr mewn gwybod a oes rhywfaint o hwn yn mynd i'r consortia, er enghraifft, oherwydd eu gwaith hwy yw cynnal safonau, ac yn wir, a oes trafodaethau, a chlywsom rywfaint am hyn yn gynharach, ynghylch ei ddefnyddio i gynnig cymhorthdal at gost band eang i deuluoedd sy'n ei chael yn anodd cael digon o fynediad at fand eang, er mwyn darparu pethau fel donglau ac estynyddion Wi-Fi, neu brynu data ychwanegol iddynt.

14:55

Thank you, Suzy. I can report substantial progress on the utilisation of the £29 million, which has indeed led to recruitment, to the targets that we'd set ourselves. Additional resources that are not being spent on staff are being spent in a variety of ways, including indeed to support the regional school improvement services to provide ongoing professional learning, so that teachers can improve their skills and improve their level of confidence, as well as providing additional resources so that teachers have ready-made teaching materials and support materials that they can utilise when they're delivering blended learning. So, that additional resource is being used in a variety of ways to support the distance learning effort.

Diolch, Suzy. Gallaf adrodd am gynnydd sylweddol yn sgil y defnydd o'r £29 miliwn, sydd yn wir wedi arwain at recriwtio, yn erbyn y targedau roeddem wedi'u gosod i'n hunain. Gwerir adnoddau ychwanegol nad ydynt yn cael eu gwario ar staff mewn amryw o ffyrdd, gan gynnwys cefnogi'r gwasanaethau gwella ysgolion rhanbarthol i ddarparu dysgu proffesiynol parhaus, fel y gall athrawon wella eu sgiliau a gwella lefel eu hyder, yn ogystal â darparu adnoddau ychwanegol fel bod gan athrawon ddeunyddiau addysgu parod a deunyddiau cymorth y gallant eu defnyddio pan fyddant yn darparu dysgu cyfunol. Felly, mae'r adnodd ychwanegol hwnnw'n cael ei ddefnyddio mewn amrywiaeth o ffyrdd i gefnogi'r ymdrech dysgu o bell.

Cysondeb Dysgu o Bell
The Consistency of Remote Learning

3. Pa gamau y mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn eu cymryd i sicrhau cysondeb o safbwynt dysgu o bell mewn ysgolion ar draws Cymru? OQ56116

3. What steps is the Welsh Government taking to ensure consistency in relation to remote learning in schools across Wales? OQ56116

Diolch yn fawr, Llyr. Clear guidance has been issued to schools and local authorities on distance learning as well as pre-recorded and live streaming of lessons. A dedicated area on Hwb is available that contains all the relevant information. Guidance has also been produced by both Estyn and the consortia, with a range of support being made available to schools and to parents.

Diolch yn fawr, Llyr. Mae canllawiau clir wedi'u cyhoeddi i ysgolion ac awdurdodau lleol ar ddysgu o bell yn ogystal â ffrydio gwersi byw a gwersi wedi'u recordio ymlaen llaw. Mae lle pwrpasol i'w gael ar Hwb sy'n cynnwys yr holl wybodaeth berthnasol. Cynhyrchwyd canllawiau gan Estyn a'r consortia hefyd, gydag ystod o gymorth ar gael i ysgolion ac i rieni.

Ers i fi osod y cwestiwn yma, wrth gwrs, mae comisiynydd cenedlaethau'r dyfodol hefyd wedi cael rhywbeth i'w ddweud ar y mater yma, ac mae hi wedi disgrifio dysgu ar-lein fel rhywbeth sydd yn fratiog ac yn anghyson, ac mae yna anghysondebau dybryd rhwng nid yn unig awdurdodau addysg gwahanol, ond rhwng ysgolion unigol oddi fewn i awdurdodau addysg hefyd, a dwi ddim jest yn sôn fan hyn am fynediad i gyfarpar a chysylltedd; mae yna anghysondeb o ran faint o oriau dysgu y mae disgwyl i blant wneud bob dydd, pa fath o waith y gellir ei ddisgwyl, pa blatfformau digidol sy'n cael eu defnyddio. Mae rhai yn cael gwersi ar-lein wyneb yn wyneb; mae rhai ddim a dim ond yn cael taflenni gwaith i'w cwblhau. Nawr, dwi ddim yn gwybod os ŷch chi'n cytuno, felly, gyda chomisiynydd cenedlaethau'r dyfodol y dylech chi fod wedi gwneud mwy i sicrhau gwell cysondeb ar draws Cymru trwy roi gwell arweiniad ar hyn i ysgolion ac awdurdodau lleol fel Llywodraeth, oherwydd canlyniad yr anghysondeb yma yw bod gennym ni ryw fath o loteri cod post, lle mae rhai plant ar eu hennill a rhai plant ar eu colled, a'r cyfan mae hynny'n ei wneud, wrth gwrs, yw dwysáu'r anghydraddoldebau sydd eisoes yn rhy amlwg o fewn y gyfundrefn addysg yng Nghymru ar hyn o bryd.

Since I tabled this question, the future generations commissioner has also commented on this issue and she's described online learning as being patchy and inconsistent, and there are grave inconsistencies between not only different education authorities but individual schools within those authorities, and I'm not just talking here about access to equipment and connectivity; there is also inconsistency in terms of how many hours children are expected to learn every day, what kind of work they could expect, what digital platforms are used. Some receive face-to-face learning online, while some don't and only receive worksheets to complete. Now, I don't know if you would agree with the future generations commissioner that you should have done more to ensure consistency across Wales by providing greater guidance for schools and local authorities as a Government, because the upshot of the inconsistency is that we have a postcode lottery, where some children are gaining and others are losing out, and all that does, of course, is exacerbate the inequalities that are already too prominent within the education system in Wales.

Thank you, Llyr. I have to say, I do not know whether additional guidance is what we need. Often we hear from practitioners that Welsh Government is producing far too much guidance and it becomes a burden in itself in trying to keep up with it all. We published our distance learning plans in July. They have been kept updated. There is further guidance, as I said that, will be published today with a focus on our older learners. I think it's really important to recognise the huge strides the Welsh education system has taken at this time, and that's not just me saying that; Estyn, our school inspector, were involved in a number—. Well, actually, they visited all educational authorities during the autumn term. Again, sometimes that was not welcomed by our LEAs because they felt they had enough to do doing their day-to-day job without being answerable to Estyn, but Estyn have been able to provide individual support and recommendations to each of our LEAs, and say that there has been a step change.

While we're on the issue of commissioners, the Children's Commissioner for Wales carried out a listening day back in November, and the unanimous verdict of every young person who took part in the online service said that the online offering of schools had improved markedly from the first lockdown. Now, clearly, we need to continue to identify those schools that find this a challenge and to support those schools to understand the barriers that they have. There is advice and guidance available on Hwb, as well as an opportunity for peers to support one another and to learn from and another. And I have to commend GwE, the regional consortia in the north, who I understand, from speaking to headteachers in the north, have made tremendous efforts during the autumn term to provide professional learning opportunities for practitioners to improve their skills in this area, and we continue to work with LEAs to ensure that the offer is consistent and high quality.

Diolch, Llyr. Rhaid imi ddweud, nid wyf yn gwybod ai canllawiau ychwanegol yw'r hyn rydym ei angen. Yn aml, clywn gan addysgwyr fod Llywodraeth Cymru'n cynhyrchu llawer gormod o ganllawiau a bod ceisio dal i fyny â'r cyfan yn faich ynddo'i hun. Cyhoeddwyd ein cynlluniau dysgu o bell ym mis Gorffennaf. Maent wedi cael eu diweddaru. Mae canllawiau pellach, fel y dywedais, yn cael eu cyhoeddi heddiw gyda ffocws ar ein dysgwyr hŷn. Rwy'n credu ei bod yn bwysig iawn cydnabod y camau breision y mae system addysg Cymru wedi'u gwneud ar yr adeg hon, ac nid fi'n unig sy'n dweud hynny; roedd Estyn, ein harolygydd ysgolion, yn ymwneud â nifer—. Wel, mewn gwirionedd, fe wnaethant ymweld â phob awdurdod addysg yn ystod tymor yr hydref. Unwaith eto, weithiau ni châi hynny groeso gan ein hawdurdodau addysg lleol am eu bod yn teimlo bod ganddynt ddigon i'w wneud yn eu gwaith o ddydd i ddydd heb fod yn atebol i Estyn, ond mae Estyn wedi gallu darparu cymorth ac argymhellion unigol i bob un o'n hawdurdodau addysg lleol, ac mae'n dweud bod newid sylweddol i'w weld.

Gan ein bod yn trafod comisiynwyr, cynhaliodd Comisiynydd Plant Cymru ddiwrnod gwrando nôl ym mis Tachwedd, a dyfarniad unfrydol pob person ifanc a gymerodd ran yn y gwasanaeth ar-lein oedd bod cynnig ar-lein ysgolion wedi gwella'n sylweddol ers y cyfyngiadau symud cyntaf. Nawr, yn amlwg, mae angen inni barhau i nodi'r ysgolion sy'n gweld hyn yn her a chefnogi'r ysgolion hynny i ddeall y rhwystrau sydd ganddynt. Mae cyngor ac arweiniad ar gael ar Hwb, yn ogystal â chyfle i gydweithwyr gefnogi ei gilydd a dysgu oddi wrth ei gilydd. Ac mae'n rhaid i mi ganmol GwE, y consortia rhanbarthol yn y gogledd, sydd wedi gwneud ymdrechion aruthrol yn ystod tymor yr hydref, o'r hyn rwy'n ei ddeall o siarad â phenaethiaid yn y gogledd, i ddarparu cyfleoedd dysgu proffesiynol i addysgwyr wella eu sgiliau yn y maes hwn, ac rydym yn parhau i weithio gydag awdurdodau addysg lleol i sicrhau bod y cynnig yn gyson ac o ansawdd uchel.

15:00

As has been said many times this afternoon, parents and pupils do need fast and reliable online access. That does help to ensure consistency in remote learning, and I think it's important now, Deputy Presiding Officer, to put on record that broadband is a responsibility for the UK Conservative Government, but I must say, their failures over the years are not the fault of my constituents. In that spirit, Minister, parts of my constituency, like many others across Wales, do not have the right fast and reliable access that they deserve, and parents are rightly concerned, so I'm here today seeking assurances that that will not impact their children's education. So, what can you say to residents in Flintshire, in particular, and what can your department do to give those assurances that they'll get the education that those children deserve and are entitled to? Perhaps you could provide a further comment, Minister, on how they would go about accessing in the short term one of these Mi-Fi devices.

Fel y dywedwyd droeon y prynhawn yma, mae rhieni a disgyblion angen mynediad ar-lein sy'n gyflym ac yn ddibynadwy. Mae hynny'n helpu i sicrhau cysondeb mewn dysgu o bell, a chredaf ei bod yn bwysig nawr, Ddirprwy Lywydd, inni gofnodi bod band eang yn gyfrifoldeb i Lywodraeth Geidwadol y DU, ond mae'n rhaid imi ddweud, nid fy etholwyr sydd ar fai am eu methiannau dros y blynyddoedd. Yn yr ysbryd hwnnw, Weinidog, nid oes gan rannau o fy etholaeth, fel llawer o rai eraill ledled Cymru, y mynediad cyflym a dibynadwy iawn y maent yn ei haeddu, ac mae gan rieni le i fod yn bryderus, felly rwy'n ceisio sicrwydd yma heddiw na fydd hynny'n effeithio ar addysg eu plant. Felly, beth y gallwch ei ddweud wrth drigolion Sir y Fflint, yn enwedig, a beth y gall eich adran ei wneud i roi sicrwydd y bydd y plant hynny'n cael yr addysg y maent yn ei haeddu ac y mae ganddynt hawl iddi? Efallai y gallech roi sylw pellach, Weinidog, ar sut y byddent yn mynd ati i gael mynediad at un o'r dyfeisiau Mi-Fi hyn yn y tymor byr.

Thank you, Jack. It is correct to say that, as to ultimately whose responsibility the roll-out of broadband is. Indeed, Welsh Government has committed significant amounts of its own resource to try and address the shortfall that we find in our nation. But nonetheless, as you said, that is no comfort to those parents or students who are struggling at this time. As I said, we have asked for an early assessment from local authorities of their needs at this time, and I'm sure that Flintshire will come forward soon with its requirements, which the Welsh Government is committed to assisting them with.

My advice for families at this time is, if they are struggling with either a laptop or connectivity, in the first instance they should make that known to their school, as to whether there is kit sitting in a classroom that could be lent to them at this opportunity, or to speak to their local authority, who I'm sure would want to help.

I think it is fair to say that there have been some delays in some of the items of equipment that we've been able to supply to schools. That's because of a global demand for IT equipment at this time, but we hope to be able to distribute a further 35,000 pieces of kit in the coming weeks on top of the kit that has already been made available.

Diolch, Jack. Mae'r hyn rydych yn ei ddweud yn gywir, o ran pwy sy'n gyfrifol am gyflwyno band eang yn y pen draw. Yn wir, mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi ymrwymo symiau sylweddol o'i hadnoddau ei hun i geisio mynd i'r afael â'r diffyg a welwn yn ein gwlad. Ond serch hynny, fel y dywedoch chi, nid yw hynny'n gysur i rieni neu fyfyrwyr sy'n cael trafferth ar hyn o bryd. Fel y dywedais, rydym wedi gofyn am asesiad cynnar gan awdurdodau lleol o'u hanghenion ar yr adeg hon, ac rwy'n siŵr y bydd Sir y Fflint yn cyflwyno ei gofynion yn fuan, ac mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi ymrwymo i'w cynorthwyo gyda'r rheini.

Fy nghyngor i deuluoedd ar yr adeg hon os ydynt yn cael trafferth gyda gliniadur neu gysylltedd yw y dylent roi gwybod i'w hysgol yn gyntaf, rhag ofn bod cyfarpar y gellid ei fenthyg iddynt ar gael mewn ystafell ddosbarth, neu i siarad â'u hawdurdod lleol, a fyddai eisiau helpu, rwy'n siŵr.

Rwy'n credu ei bod yn deg dweud y bu rhywfaint o oedi mewn perthynas â pheth o'r offer rydym wedi gallu ei gyflenwi i ysgolion. Mae hynny oherwydd y galw byd-eang am offer TG ar hyn o bryd, ond gobeithiwn allu dosbarthu 35,000 o gyfarpar pellach yn ystod yr wythnosau nesaf ar ben y cyfarpar sydd eisoes ar gael.

Unlike England, where it's mandatory for schools to deliver a minimum amount of remote learning a day, overseen by school inspectors, there's no legal duty on schools in Wales to deliver a minimum amount of online teaching, and school inspectors are not overseeing this here. As reported today, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales not only described online education in Wales while schools are closed as patchy and inconsistent, and stated the Welsh Government should do more to ensure consistency of learning at schools across Wales, but also said that real leadership from the top was needed. How do you therefore respond to the Flintshire parent who e-mailed last week, stating that her primary school children had not been taught effectively and asking why their school was still not in a position to give live lessons online; and to the statement by the Federation of North Wales Secondary School Head Teachers that current years 11 and 13 have had significant reduction in their face-to-face provision, the level of this reduction is not equitable across all schools, and is not equally impacting on all pupils?

Yn wahanol i Loegr, lle mae'n orfodol i ysgolion ddarparu isafswm o ddysgu o bell y dydd, wedi'i oruchwylio gan arolygwyr ysgolion, nid oes dyletswydd gyfreithiol ar ysgolion yng Nghymru i ddarparu isafswm o addysgu ar-lein, ac nid yw arolygwyr ysgolion yn goruchwylio hyn yma. Fel yr adroddwyd heddiw, dywedodd Comisiynydd Cenedlaethau'r Dyfodol Cymru fod addysg ar-lein yng Nghymru tra bod ysgolion ar gau yn dameidiog ac yn anghyson, a dywedodd y dylai Llywodraeth Cymru wneud mwy i sicrhau cysondeb dysgu mewn ysgolion ledled Cymru, ond dywedodd hefyd fod angen arweinyddiaeth go iawn o'r brig. Sut rydych chi'n ymateb felly i riant yn Sir y Fflint a anfonodd e-bost yr wythnos diwethaf yn dweud nad oedd ei phlant ysgol gynradd wedi cael eu haddysgu'n effeithiol ac yn gofyn pam nad oedd eu hysgol mewn sefyllfa o hyd i roi gwersi byw ar-lein; ac i'r datganiad gan Ffederasiwn Penaethiaid Ysgolion Uwchradd Gogledd Cymru fod blynyddoedd 11 a 13 presennol wedi cael gostyngiad sylweddol yn eu darpariaeth wyneb yn wyneb, nad yw lefel y gostyngiad hwn yn gyfartal ar draws pob ysgol, ac nad yw'n effeithio ar bob disgybl i'r un graddau?

What I would say, Mark, is that the description of secondary learning that you've just described is not the fault of the schools, of the local education authority or even the Welsh Government. It's the fault of the fact that different schools have been hit to different levels by positive cases. There are some schools in Wales—indeed, not an insignificant number—that thankfully to date have not had a positive case, although we know that there are other schools in Wales that have been very, very severely affected by positive COVID cases, which has led to significant disruption. Those cases where we have seen the highest levels of the disease in the community are those schools that have seen the highest levels of disruption, and that's nobody's fault. It is a product of how this disease has ravaged our country.

With regard to guidance for distance learning, the Welsh Government has long-standing guidance that is very, very clear around our expectations, and I would rather be working alongside our inspectors who, as I said to Llyr Gruffydd and Mark seems to be unaware, have visited all local education authorities during the autumn term to look at the adequacy of their plans for distance learning and their support for individual schools, and headteachers were interviewed as part of that process so that they were able to give feedback. All local authorities have been given individual reports on their state of readiness and support for their school systems. I'm sure if there are gaps, those local authorities will want to address them. And overall, Estyn say that schools have made significant progress in improving their offer. There is more that we can do by working in partnership together; threatening schools will not help at this time.

Byddwn yn dweud, Mark, nad bai'r ysgolion, yr awdurdod addysg lleol na hyd yn oed Llywodraeth Cymru yw'r disgrifiad o ddysgu uwchradd rydych newydd ei roi. Y ffaith bod gwahanol ysgolion wedi cael eu taro gan wahanol lefelau o achosion positif sydd i gyfrif am hynny. Mae rhai ysgolion yng Nghymru—yn wir, nid yw'n rhif ansylweddol—heb gael achos positif hyd yma, diolch byth, er ein bod yn gwybod bod ysgolion eraill yng Nghymru wedi'u heffeithio'n ddifrifol tu hwnt gan achosion COVID poistif, ac mae hynny wedi arwain at darfu sylweddol. Yr achosion lle rydym wedi gweld y lefelau uchaf o'r clefyd yn y gymuned yw'r ysgolion sydd wedi gweld y lefelau uchaf o darfu, ac nid oes bai ar neb am hynny. Mae'n deillio o'r ffordd y mae'r clefyd wedi anrheithio ein gwlad.

Ar ganllawiau ar gyfer dysgu o bell, mae gan Lywodraeth Cymru ganllawiau hirsefydlog sy'n glir iawn ynglŷn â'n disgwyliadau, a byddai'n well gennyf fod yn gweithio ochr yn ochr â'n harolygwyr sydd, fel y dywedais wrth Llyr Gruffydd, ac mae'n ymddangos fod Mark yn anymwybodol o hyn, wedi ymweld â phob awdurdod addysg lleol yn ystod tymor yr hydref i edrych ar ddigonolrwydd eu cynlluniau ar gyfer dysgu o bell a'u cefnogaeth i ysgolion unigol, a chafodd penaethiaid eu cyfweld fel rhan o'r broses honno fel eu bod yn gallu rhoi adborth. Mae pob awdurdod lleol wedi cael adroddiadau unigol ar eu parodrwydd a'u cefnogaeth i'w systemau ysgolion. Os oes bylchau, rwy'n siŵr y bydd yr awdurdodau lleol hynny am fynd i'r afael â hwy. Ac yn gyffredinol, dywed Estyn fod ysgolion wedi gwneud cynnydd sylweddol ar wella eu darpariaeth. Mae mwy y gallwn ei wneud drwy weithio mewn partneriaeth gyda'n gilydd; ni fydd bygwth ysgolion yn helpu ar hyn o bryd.

15:05

Minister, can I just begin by commending the work that's been going on within schools, both with the teaching staff but also with the heads and deputy heads as well to get the progress that we have? I don't want to labour the point, but the Hwb guidance is very, very good but it does give total discretion to the headteacher and school staff based on the conditions in the school, based on the resources available to them as to how much face time, how much live streaming there is. Now, that's a fair recognition of those conditions in each particular school and particular environment, but I wonder, Minister, whether there's an 'in principle' approach that you have, recognising that on the principles of equity, it also states in the Hwb guidance that there should be those opportunities to maintain connections with teaching and support staff and peers during the period of potential social isolation. So, how do we get the balance right and should there be face-to-face contact and, if so, how much and how often?

Weinidog, a gaf fi ddechrau drwy ganmol y gwaith sydd wedi bod yn mynd rhagddo mewn ysgolion, gyda'r staff addysgu ond hefyd gyda'r penaethiaid a'r dirprwy benaethiaid i sicrhau'r cynnydd sydd wedi'i wneud? Nid wyf eisiau gorbwysleisio'r pwynt, ond mae canllawiau Hwb yn dda iawn ond mae'n rhoi disgresiwn llwyr i'r pennaeth a staff yr ysgol yn seiliedig ar yr amodau yn yr ysgol, yn seiliedig ar yr adnoddau sydd ar gael iddynt o ran faint o amser wyneb yn wyneb a faint o ffrydio byw sy'n digwydd. Nawr, mae honno'n gydnabyddiaeth deg o'r amodau hynny ym mhob ysgol benodol ac ym mhob amgylchedd penodol, ond Weinidog, tybed a oes gennych ymagwedd 'mewn egwyddor', gan gydnabod, ar egwyddorion tegwch, ei fod hefyd wedi'i nodi yng nghanllawiau Hwb y dylai fod cyfleoedd i gynnal cysylltiadau â staff addysgu a staff cymorth a chyfoedion yn ystod y cyfnod o arwahanrwydd cymdeithasol posibl. Felly, sut y mae sicrhau'r cydbwysedd cywir ac a ddylid cael cyswllt wyneb yn wyneb ac os felly, faint a pha mor aml?

There are two issues. There is the issue of the live streaming of lessons, which increasingly we see being utilised across Wales, recognising that that itself poses different challenges for individual learners and families, and that's why we do have to have discretion for headteachers who know their communities and their cohorts, their schoolchildren and parents the best to be able to create a blended learning offer that truly meets the needs. They will also, of course, change depending on the age of the cohort. As I said earlier, I don't think any of us would want our very youngest children being sat in front of screens for hours and hours and hours.

But it is important, quite rightly, as you say, not just from a pedagogy point of view, but from a child safeguarding, welfare and mental health point of view, that children should have regular contact. Therefore, our guidance is very clear that there should be regular check-ins, not just in lessons, but regular check-ins with students to provide an opportunity to understand how that learning experience is going, whether it's working, whether children are thriving and to be able to possibly consider additional support and additional approaches if that is necessary.

Mae dau fater yn codi. Yn gyntaf, mae gennych wersi sy'n cael eu ffrydio'n fyw, ac rydym yn gweld y rhain yn cael eu defnyddio fwyfwy ledled Cymru, gan gydnabod fod hynny ynddo'i hun yn creu heriau gwahanol i ddysgwyr a theuluoedd unigol, a dyna pam y mae'n rhaid i ni gael disgresiwn i benaethiaid sy'n adnabod eu cymunedau a'u carfannau, eu plant ysgol a'u rhieni orau i allu creu cynnig dysgu cyfunol sy'n diwallu'r anghenion yn iawn. Byddant hefyd, wrth gwrs, yn newid yn dibynnu ar oedran y garfan. Fel y dywedais yn gynharach, nid wyf yn credu y byddai'r un ohonom eisiau i'n plant ieuengaf eistedd o flaen sgriniau am oriau bwy'i gilydd.

Ond yn gwbl briodol fel y dywedwch, mae'n bwysig i blant gael cyswllt rheolaidd, nid yn unig o safbwynt addysgeg, ond o safbwynt diogelu plant, lles ac iechyd meddwl. Felly, mae ein canllawiau'n glir iawn y dylid cael cyfarfodydd rheolaidd, nid yn unig mewn gwersi, ond cyfarfodydd rheolaidd gyda disgyblion i ddarparu cyfle i ddeall sut y mae'r profiad dysgu'n mynd, a yw'n gweithio, a yw plant yn ffynnu, ac o bosibl, i allu ystyried cymorth ychwanegol a dulliau ychwanegol os oes angen.

Darparu Addysg
The Delivery of Education

5. Beth mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei wneud i helpu ysgolion i ddod o hyd i ffyrdd mwy arloesol o ddarparu addysg yng nghyd-destun y cyfyngiadau a ddaw yn sgil atal y pandemig? OQ56106

5. What is the Welsh Government doing to help schools find more innovative ways of delivering education amidst the constraints of suppressing the pandemic? OQ56106

Thank you, Jenny. Throughout the pandemic, we have made available a wide range of resources on Hwb, and these continue to be developed to support schools. We continue to capture positive practice and approaches from schools, publishing them on our 'Sharing our experiences' pages, and we look to take every opportunity to support innovation. 

Diolch, Jenny. Drwy gydol y pandemig, rydym wedi darparu ystod eang o adnoddau ar Hwb, ac mae'r rhain yn parhau i gael eu datblygu i gefnogi ysgolion. Rydym yn parhau i gasglu arferion a dulliau cadarnhaol gan ysgolion, gan eu cyhoeddi ar ein tudalennau 'Rhannu ein profiadau', ac rydym yn bwriadu manteisio ar bob cyfle i gefnogi arloesedd.

Excellent. I know that prior to the return of all pupils in the autumn term, Estyn published a document collating the good practice that had been developed by many schools, and I know that some schools in Cardiff embraced the outdoor learning experiences as part of the well-being recovery programme. But I was shocked to learn recently of the hostile reaction of members of the public to one school taking a class in a bubble to the local recreation ground, which was a pretty shocking event given the lack of understanding of what children need.

Now that we have to revert to remote learning, we have some schools who have got really well-formulated blended learning plans, including proper online lessons with differentiated groups of pupils, depending on the levels of learning they're at, but others—. One teacher was told that it wasn't possible to do online lessons because there was a safeguarding issue. I'm aware that we have all this wonderful information on the Hwb, which is the envy of teachers in England, but nevertheless there's bound to be patchy practice, given that some schools have really very considerable responsibilities for safeguarding and deprivation amongst many of their pupils. I just wondered what we can now do to ensure that the consortia and Estyn are really sharing the best practice and giving the most support to those with the most challenges, referring back to what Llyr Gruffydd was saying earlier.

Gwych. Cyn i'r holl ddisgyblion ddychwelyd yn nhymor yr hydref, gwn fod Estyn wedi cyhoeddi dogfen yn coladu'r arferion da a ddatblygwyd gan lawer o ysgolion, a gwn fod rhai ysgolion yng Nghaerdydd wedi croesawu'r profiadau dysgu awyr agored fel rhan o'r rhaglen adfer llesiant. Ond cefais sioc o ddysgu'n ddiweddar am adwaith gelyniaethus aelodau o'r cyhoedd i un ysgol yn mynd â swigen ddosbarth i'r cae chwarae lleol, a oedd yn eithaf brawychus o ystyried y diffyg dealltwriaeth o'r hyn sydd ei angen ar blant.

Gan fod yn rhaid i ni droi'n ôl at ddysgu o bell yn awr, mae gan rai ysgolion gynlluniau dysgu cyfunol sydd wedi'u llunio'n dda iawn, gan gynnwys gwersi ar-lein priodol gyda grwpiau gwahaniaethol o ddisgyblion, yn dibynnu ar eu lefelau dysgu, ond mae eraill—. Dywedwyd wrth un athro nad oedd modd gwneud gwersi ar-lein oherwydd mater yn ymwneud â diogelu. Rwy'n ymwybodol fod gennym yr holl wybodaeth wych hon ar Hwb, sy'n destun cenfigen i athrawon yn Lloegr, ond serch hynny mae'n siŵr y bydd ymarfer yn dameidiog, o ystyried bod gan rai ysgolion gyfrifoldebau sylweddol iawn mewn perthynas â diogelu ac amddifadedd ymhlith llawer o'u disgyblion. Roeddwn yn meddwl tybed beth y gallwn ei wneud yn awr i sicrhau bod y consortia ac Estyn yn mynd ati o ddifrif i rannu'r arferion gorau ac yn rhoi'r gefnogaeth fwyaf i'r rheini sydd â'r heriau mwyaf, gan gyfeirio'n ôl at yr hyn roedd Llyr Gruffydd yn ei ddweud yn gynharach.

15:10

Can I make it absolutely clear that whilst a risk assessment should be undertaken and support and training given to staff, there is nothing in Welsh Government guidance that prevents schools from delivering live lessons? Indeed, those live lessons are happening every day in Wales. They're happening securely and they're happening well, and more and more schools are embracing that element of distance learning as part of their repertoire and as a part of their offer. So, there is nothing to stop that from happening, and there is very clear support and guidance available to both school leaders and practitioners to enable that to happen. You're absolutely right. I have conversations on a weekly basis with colleagues in local education authorities so that we can work together to identify those schools for whom there are concerns or a struggle, and to be able to ensure that they are supported by the regional consortia with their professional development to address these issues. I also understand that live lessons do provide certain challenges for parents, as does the entire distance learning scenario, so there are resources again available on Hwb for parents to understand how to use Hwb, how to log in, how to get free access to Adobe software, free access to Microsoft Office software, and it's important to recognise that that support material is available not just in English and Welsh, but is published also in a variety of community languages, to ensure that all parents can have the opportunity to access that support.

A gaf fi ei gwneud yn gwbl glir, er y dylid cynnal asesiad risg a rhoi cymorth a hyfforddiant i staff, nad oes dim yng nghanllawiau Llywodraeth Cymru sy'n atal ysgolion rhag cyflwyno gwersi byw? Yn wir, mae'r gwersi byw hynny'n digwydd bob dydd yng Nghymru. Maent yn digwydd yn ddiogel ac maent yn gweithio'n dda, ac mae mwy a mwy o ysgolion yn croesawu'r elfen honno o ddysgu o bell fel rhan o'u darpariaeth ac fel rhan o'u cynnig. Felly, nid oes dim i atal hynny rhag digwydd, ac mae cefnogaeth ac arweiniad clir iawn ar gael i arweinwyr ac addysgwyr ysgolion i alluogi hynny i ddigwydd. Rydych yn llygad eich lle. Rwy'n cael sgyrsiau wythnosol gyda chymheiriaid yn yr awdurdodau addysg lleol fel y gallwn gydweithio i nodi ysgolion lle ceir pryderon neu drafferthion, ac i allu sicrhau eu bod yn cael eu cefnogi gan y consortia rhanbarthol gyda'u datblygiad proffesiynol i fynd i'r afael â'r materion hyn. Deallaf hefyd fod gwersi byw yn creu heriau penodol i rieni, fel sy'n wir gyda dysgu o bell yn gyffredinol, felly mae adnoddau ar gael ar Hwb unwaith eto i rieni ddeall sut i ddefnyddio Hwb, sut i fewngofnodi, sut i gael mynediad am ddim at feddalwedd Adobe, mynediad am ddim at feddalwedd Microsoft Office, ac mae'n bwysig cydnabod bod y deunydd cymorth hwnnw ar gael yn Gymraeg ac yn Saesneg yn ogystal ag amryw o ieithoedd cymunedol hefyd i sicrhau y gall pob rhiant gael cyfle i ddefnyddio'r cymorth hwnnw.

Minister, may I take this opportunity to invite you to congratulate Headlands special school in Penarth, which has recently received a recognition of excellence award from the High Sheriff of South Glamorgan because of the innovative way it has responded to the pandemic, particularly in distance and blended learning? One of the key things has been active outreach, whether this be telephone calls, Zoom or Teams, so that parents and children that are perhaps having particular difficulty in accessing this type of education get that sort of specialist support that teachers naturally give in the classroom to those pupils who need that little bit of extra encouragement and assistance, and that's one of the key skills we need to ensure is used properly.

Weinidog, a gaf fi fanteisio ar y cyfle hwn i'ch gwahodd i longyfarch ysgol arbennig Headlands ym Mhenarth, sydd wedi cael gwobr cydnabyddiaeth o ragoriaeth yn ddiweddar gan Uchel Siryf De Morgannwg oherwydd y ffordd arloesol y mae wedi ymateb i'r pandemig, yn enwedig ym maes dysgu o bell a dysgu cyfunol? Un o'r pethau allweddol oedd allgymorth gweithredol, boed yn alwadau ffôn, Zoom neu Teams, fel bod rhieni a phlant sydd efallai'n cael anhawster arbennig i gael mynediad at addysg o'r fath yn cael y math o gymorth arbenigol y mae athrawon yn ei roi yn naturiol yn yr ystafell ddosbarth i'r disgyblion sydd angen ychydig o anogaeth a chymorth ychwanegol, ac mae angen i ni sicrhau bod y sgil allweddol hwnnw'n cael ei ddefnyddio'n briodol.

David, I would absolutely want to offer my congratulations and my sincere thanks to Headlands, who are exemplary in how they have responded so proactively and with great skill and innovation to supporting their learners and their families at this time. They, and others, are there and, I know, are very keen to be able to share their good practice, their knowledge and their skills, so that other schools can respond in similar ways. We're asking so much of our education system at the moment, and while we can share that good practice, it saves individual practitioners reinventing the wheel, and that peer-to-peer support is often seen as the most valuable. It's non-threatening, it doesn't question people's abilities, and therefore that peer-to-peer support often is the most appropriate way of driving change and driving improvement forward.

David, rwy'n awyddus iawn i longyfarch a mynegi fy niolch diffuant i Headlands, sy'n rhagorol yn y ffordd y maent wedi ymateb mor rhagweithiol a chyda sgil ac arloesedd gwych i gefnogi eu dysgwyr a'u teuluoedd ar yr adeg hon. Gwn eu bod hwy ac eraill yno yn awyddus iawn i allu rhannu eu harferion da, eu gwybodaeth a'u sgiliau, fel y gall ysgolion eraill ymateb mewn ffyrdd tebyg. Rydym yn gofyn cymaint gan ein system addysg ar hyn o bryd, a thra gallwn rannu'r arferion da hynny, mae'n arbed addysgwyr unigol rhag gorfod ailddyfeisio'r olwyn, ac yn aml, ystyrir mai cefnogaeth rhwng cymheiriaid yw'r cymorth mwyaf gwerthfawr. Nid yw'n fygythiol, nid yw'n cwestiynu galluoedd pobl, ac yn aml felly, cymorth rhwng cymheiriaid yw'r ffordd fwyaf priodol o ysgogi newid a sbarduno gwelliant.

Safonau Addysg yng Nghanol De Cymru
Education Standards in South Wales Central

6. Beth mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei wneud i wella safonau addysg yng Nghanol De Cymru drwy gydol pandemig COVID-19? OQ56087

6. What is the Welsh Government doing to improve education standards in South Wales Central throughout the COVID-19 pandemic? OQ56087

Welsh Government has awarded local authorities in South Wales Central over £7.5 million grant funding to recruit, recover and raise standards. This will help schools in the local authority area to provide additional support to those children who are most disadvantaged, most vulnerable, and those that should be sitting external qualifications.

Mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi dyfarnu dros £7.5 miliwn o arian grant i awdurdodau lleol yng Nghanol De Cymru i recriwtio, adfer a chodi safonau. Bydd hyn yn helpu ysgolion yn ardal yr awdurdod lleol i ddarparu cymorth ychwanegol i'r plant mwyaf difreintiedig, mwyaf agored i niwed, a'r rhai a ddylai fod yn gwneud cymwysterau allanol.

Thanks for that response. We have covered quite a few issues today related to remote learning. I know there is support for parents who are carrying out home teaching on the Hwb, which you mentioned earlier, which is good, and I also appreciate there is an issue of how much guidance the Welsh Government should provide. It is a bit of a balancing act, as you suggested in an earlier answer. David Melding just cited the good practice of Headlands School, and I think that's interesting, because I'm wondering, in the longer term, once we've emerged from the COVID crisis, if you see any positives arising from the experience of remote learning that we have gone through.

Diolch am eich ateb. Rydym wedi ymdrin â chryn dipyn o faterion heddiw sy'n ymwneud â dysgu o bell. Gwn fod cefnogaeth i rieni sy'n addysgu gartref ar yr Hwb, y sonioch chi amdano'n gynharach, sy'n dda, ac rwyf hefyd yn derbyn bod mater yn codi o ran faint o ganllawiau y dylai Llywodraeth Cymru eu darparu. Mae'n ymwneud â sicrhau cydbwysedd, fel yr awgrymoch chi mewn ateb cynharach. Cyfeiriodd David Melding at arferion da Ysgol Headlands, ac rwy'n credu bod hynny'n ddiddorol, oherwydd rwy'n meddwl tybed, yn y tymor hwy, pan fyddwn wedi cefnu ar argyfwng COVID, a ydych yn rhagweld unrhyw bethau cadarnhaol yn deillio o'r profiad rydym wedi'i gael o ddysgu o bell.

15:15

It is difficult to find silver linings at this most challenging of times, but there are indeed things that we need to learn. For some children who find the school environment challenging, additional new approaches to delivering education are being developed at this time and could be used to assist those individuals. I spoke to one young man in a school in north Wales who had been receiving his distance learning in the firebreak, and he said that he much preferred it to being in school, if for no other reason than he didn't have to suffer the hour-long journey that he has to suffer in the morning to travel to his place of education. I don’t wish to be flippant, but there are lessons that we can learn, and there is good practice that we can share.

David Melding just talked about the example of Headlands. I’m grateful to Ceredigion council, who have offered up the opportunity to support schools in other areas, because they have the experience of the E-sgol that has run for a number of years now, which delivers entire A-levels via a remote learning method to great success. I know that they are very keen to be able to spread their expertise that they have been able to acquire over recent years to be able to develop and support distance learning in other parts of Wales, for which I am grateful. It shows the collective effort that exists in the Welsh education system to do right by Wales’s children at this very challenging time.

Mae'n anodd dod o hyd i fanteision ar yr adegau mwyaf heriol hyn, ond yn wir mae yna bethau y mae angen inni eu dysgu. I rai plant sy'n gweld amgylchedd yr ysgol yn heriol, mae dulliau newydd ychwanegol o ddarparu addysg yn cael eu datblygu ar yr adeg hon y gellid eu defnyddio i gynorthwyo'r unigolion hynny. Siaradais ag un dyn ifanc mewn ysgol yng ngogledd Cymru a oedd wedi bod yn cael ei addysg o bell yn ystod y cyfnod atal byr, a dywedodd ei fod yn llawer gwell ganddo hynny na mynychu'r ysgol, a hynny'n unig am nad oedd yn rhaid iddo ddioddef y daith awr o hyd i'w leoliad addysg sy'n rhaid iddo ei dioddef yn y bore. Nid wyf eisiau bod yn ysgafn, ond mae yna wersi y gallwn eu dysgu, ac mae yna arferion da y gallwn eu rhannu.

Soniodd David Melding am enghraifft Headlands. Rwy'n ddiolchgar i gyngor Ceredigion, sydd wedi cynnig cyfle i gynorthwyo ysgolion mewn ardaloedd eraill, oherwydd mae ganddynt brofiad o'r rhaglen E-sgol sydd wedi bod yn mynd rhagddi ers nifer o flynyddoedd bellach, ac sy'n darparu pynciau Safon Uwch cyfan o bell yn llwyddiannus iawn. Gwn eu bod yn awyddus iawn i allu lledaenu'r arbenigedd y maent wedi'i feithrin dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf er mwyn gallu datblygu a chefnogi dysgu o bell mewn rhannau eraill o Gymru, ac rwy'n ddiolchgar am hynny. Mae'n dangos y cydymdrech sy'n bodoli yn system addysg Cymru i gefnogi plant Cymru ar yr adeg heriol hon.

And finally, question 7, Mandy Jones.

Ac yn olaf, cwestiwn 7, Mandy Jones.

Safonau Addysgol yng Ngogledd Cymru
Educational Standards in North Wales

7. Pa asesiad y mae'r Gweinidog wedi'i wneud o effaith parhau i gau ysgolion ar safonau addysgol yng Ngogledd Cymru? OQ56079

7. What assessment has the Minister made of the impact of ongoing school closures on educational standards in North Wales? OQ56079

Thank you very much, Mandy. COVID-19 has had a major impact on education, including necessitating the current move to online learning for the majority of our children. I commissioned Estyn to undertake a review of local authorities' and regional consortia's approaches to supporting learning and vulnerable learners during the pandemic, and that will be published later this week.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Mandy. Mae COVID-19 wedi cael effaith fawr ar addysg, gan gynnwys y newid presennol i ddysgu ar-lein ar gyfer y rhan fwyaf o'n plant. Comisiynais Estyn i gynnal adolygiad o ddulliau awdurdodau lleol a chonsortia rhanbarthol o gefnogi dysgu a dysgwyr sy'n agored i niwed yn ystod y pandemig, a bydd hwnnw'n cael ei gyhoeddi yn ddiweddarach yr wythnos hon.

Minister, I've expressed my concerns about our young people previously, but I'm now being contacted by worried parents about the standard and consistency of the online learning that their children are receiving. Apart from what Llyr and Mark said earlier, the Welsh future generations commissioner has also said that a chief digital officer for education could be needed. Can you say what guidance schools have received about remote provision and what efforts are being made to ensure a consistent approach, so that it's not patchy and inconsistent, to ensure that kids in school A will get a comparable online education to the kids in school B? And will we be seeing a possible digital education officer in Wales any time soon?

Weinidog, rwyf wedi mynegi fy mhryderon am ein pobl ifanc yn y gorffennol, ond mae rhieni pryderus yn cysylltu â mi yn awr ynglŷn â safon a chysondeb y dysgu ar-lein y mae eu plant yn ei dderbyn. Ar wahân i'r hyn a ddywedodd Llyr a Mark yn gynharach, mae comisiynydd cenedlaethau'r dyfodol Cymru hefyd wedi dweud y gallai fod angen prif swyddog digidol ar gyfer addysg. A allwch chi ddweud pa ganllawiau y mae ysgolion wedi'u cael mewn perthynas â darpariaeth o bell a pha ymdrechion sy'n cael eu gwneud i sicrhau dull cyson, fel nad yw'n dameidiog ac yn anghyson, er mwyn sicrhau y bydd plant yn ysgol A yn derbyn addysg ar-lein y gellir ei chymharu â'r addysg y mae plant yn ysgol B yn ei derbyn? Ac a fyddwn yn gweld swyddog addysg ddigidol posibl yng Nghymru yn fuan?

We have got a chief digital officer for the Welsh Government, who, I understand, has been in correspondence with said commissioner around the approach that Wales is taking at this time. There is considerable guidance that has been published. That guidance is regularly updated to respond to the public health scenario that we find at this time. As I said, we also have additional guidance to support practitioners, not only from the Welsh Government but from Estyn and from the regional school improvement service. Perhaps more importantly than the guidance, there is practical support available, and in your region, I would commend the work that GwE has done to develop distance learning skills for our practitioners during the autumn term, which has been very well received.

Mae gennym brif swyddog digidol ar gyfer Llywodraeth Cymru, sydd, yn ôl yr hyn a ddeallaf, wedi bod yn gohebu â'r comisiynydd dan sylw ynghylch y dull y mae Cymru'n ei ddilyn ar hyn o bryd. Mae cryn dipyn o ganllawiau wedi'u cyhoeddi. Mae'r canllawiau hynny'n cael eu diweddaru'n rheolaidd i ymateb i'r senario iechyd cyhoeddus a welwn ar hyn o bryd. Fel y dywedais, mae gennym hefyd ganllawiau ychwanegol i gefnogi addysgwyr, nid yn unig gan Lywodraeth Cymru ond gan Estyn a'r gwasanaeth gwella ysgolion rhanbarthol. Yn bwysicach na'r canllawiau efallai, mae cymorth ymarferol ar gael, ac yn eich rhanbarth chi, rwy'n cymeradwyo'r gwaith y mae GwE wedi'i wneud ar ddatblygu sgiliau dysgu o bell i'n haddysgwyr yn ystod tymor yr hydref, gwaith sydd wedi cael derbyniad da iawn.

3. Cwestiynau i Gomisiwn y Senedd
3. Questions to the Senedd Commission

Item 3 on the agenda is questions to the Senedd Commission. All the questions this afternoon will be answered by the Llywydd. Question 1, Helen Mary Jones.

Eitem 3 ar yr agenda yw'r cwestiynau i Gomisiwn y Senedd. Bydd yr holl gwestiynau y prynhawn yma yn cael eu hateb gan y Llywydd. Cwestiwn 1, Helen Mary Jones.

Ymgysylltu â Phleidleiswyr Newydd
Engaging with Newly Enfranchised Voters

1. A wnaiff y Comisiwn roi'r wybodaeth ddiweddaraf am gynlluniau i ymgysylltu â phleidleiswyr sydd newydd gael yr hawl i bleidleisio, yn enwedig gan fod ysgolion a cholegau wedi symud i ddysgu ar-lein unwaith eto? OQ56092

1. Will the Commission provide an update on plans to engage with newly enfranchised voters, particularly as schools and colleges have moved once again to online learning? OQ56092

Y llynedd, cafodd adnoddau addysg eu cynhyrchu ar y cyd â phobl ifanc a gweithwyr proffesiynol ym maes addysg. Addaswyd y rhain yn ddiweddarach ar gyfer dysgu gartref oherwydd cyfyngiadau COVID-19 ac fe'u cynigir yn uniongyrchol i ysgolion hefyd drwy blatfform Hwb. Ers dechrau tymor yr hydref, mae ein tîm addysg wedi bod yn cyflwyno sesiynau rhithwir i ysgolion a cholegau ar hyd a lled Cymru a byddant yn parhau i wneud hynny.

Last year, education resources were co-produced with young people and education professionals. These were later adapted for home learning due to the COVID-19 restrictions and they are offered directly to schools through the Hwb platform. Since the beginning of the autumn term, our education team has been delivering virtual sessions to schools and colleges across Wales and they will continue to do so. 

15:20

Diolch yn fawr, Llywydd. Thank you very much. I'm sure that all Members will be very much encouraged to hear that the work has been adapted and is continuing. Is there anything further that the Commission feels that individual Members of the Senedd might be able to do to help promote young people's understanding of their new rights to vote?

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Lywydd. Rwy'n siŵr y bydd pob Aelod yn falch iawn o glywed bod y gwaith wedi'i addasu ac yn parhau. A oes unrhyw beth arall y teimla’r Comisiwn y gallai Aelodau unigol o'r Senedd ei wneud i helpu i hyrwyddo dealltwriaeth pobl ifanc o'u hawliau newydd i bleidleisio?

Wel, cymryd pob cyfle sydd ar gael i'r Aelodau wneud hynny pan rŷch chi naill ai'n siarad yn uniongyrchol ar Zoom mewn unrhyw gyfarfod â phobl ifanc yn eich etholaeth chi, neu'n siarad ar y cyfryngau yn ehangach. Fe ges i gyfle ar y rhaglen Heno nos Lun i hyrwyddo unwaith eto yr hawl newydd sydd gan bobl ifanc yng Nghymru—pobl 16 ac 17 oed—i bleidleisio yn etholiadau'r Senedd. Felly, defnyddiwch eich cyfryngau cymdeithasol, a defnyddiwch bob cyfrwng posibl arall sydd gyda chi, i hyrwyddo realiti'r sefyllfa nawr bod gan bobl ifanc y bleidlais yma, gan annog cymaint ohonyn nhw yn gyntaf i sicrhau eu bod wedi cofrestru ar eu cofrestrau lleol, ac wedyn i ddefnyddio eu pleidlais nhw. Mae'n siŵr y bydd yna damaid bach o wleidyddiaeth bleidiol yn dod i mewn i hynny wrth inni agosáu tuag at yr etholiad, ond yr hyn sydd bwysicaf oll yw bod pobl Cymru, yn eu cyfanrwydd, yn defnyddio eu pleidlais, ond bod pobl ifanc 16 ac 17 oed yn ei defnyddio hi am y tro cyntaf yn etholiad y Senedd. 

Well, to take all possible opportunities to do so, when you're either speaking directly on Zoom in any meeting with young people in your constituency, or whether you are on broader media. I had an opportunity on Heno on Monday evening on S4C to once again promote the new right that young people in Wales will have—those who are 16 and 17 years of age—to vote the Senedd elections. So, use social media, and use all possible media to promote the reality of the situation, namely that young people do have the vote here, and encourage as many of them as possible, first of all to ensure that they are registered to vote, and then to use their vote. I'm sure that there will be some party politics coming into that as we approach the election, but what is most important is that the people of Wales use their vote, but particularly those who are 16 and 17 years old, who will use it for the first time in the Senedd elections.

Llywydd, although we live in this abnormal environment, there is a tremendous opportunity that arises now from the online learning. It seems to me something more direct, which is actually using it also as a tool of engagement—not in terms of any form of political direction, but in terms of specifically identifying, among that 16 to 17 group, and promoting the right to vote, the right to registration, and making it part of it. It is a tool that could actually promote that. I wonder if you've thought about how that might occur. I know that it might involve engagement with the education Minister or whatever, but it seems to me that it's an opportunity not to be missed.

Lywydd, er ein bod yn byw yn yr amgylchedd anarferol hwn, mae cyfle gwych yn codi nawr o ddysgu ar-lein. Ymddengys i mi ei fod yn rhywbeth mwy uniongyrchol, sef ei ddefnyddio hefyd fel offeryn ymgysylltu—nid ar gyfer unrhyw fath o gyfarwyddyd gwleidyddol, ond ar gyfer nodi'n benodol, ymhlith y grŵp 16 i 17 oed hwnnw, a hyrwyddo'r hawl i bleidleisio, yr hawl i gofrestru, a'i wneud yn rhan ohono. Mae'n offeryn a allai hyrwyddo hynny. Tybed a ydych wedi meddwl sut y gallai hynny ddigwydd? Gwn y gallai hynny olygu ymgysylltu â'r Gweinidog addysg neu beth bynnag, ond ymddengys i mi ei fod yn gyfle na ddylid ei golli.

Well, certainly we are aware that our young people are the most digitally aware cohort of the population. Therefore, adapting how we promote the new rights that young people now have to vote as 16 and 17-year-olds in Wales—adapting that to digital platforms that they are very well used to, either in social media or in the educational platforms that they are using every day now, is something that we are doing. As I said in my answer to Helen Mary, we are already placing our resources that are available to schools and to young people on the Hwb platform and other platforms. So, I agree with the question as posed by Mick Antoniw, yes, that there are plenty of opportunities for us to do more in new ways with young people in promoting their democratic experience. But we do so in the—I think you used this term—abnormal context that we are in, Mick Antoniw, and we've just heard the challenges that that poses to our young people as well in the previous set of questions to the education Minister. So, there is a balance to be struck here, but exercising their democratic right in the next election is something that we are excited about, and we want to make sure that young people in Wales are informed of that new right and how to exercise it.

Wel, rydym yn sicr yn gwybod mai ein pobl ifanc yw'r garfan o'r boblogaeth sydd fwyaf ymwybodol yn ddigidol. Felly, mae addasu’r ffordd rydym yn hyrwyddo'r hawliau newydd sydd gan bobl ifanc i bleidleisio bellach fel pobl 16 a 17 oed yng Nghymru—mae addasu hynny i blatfformau digidol y maent wedi hen arfer â hwy, naill ai ar ffurf cyfryngau cymdeithasol neu ar y platfformau addysgol y maent yn eu defnyddio bob dydd bellach, yn rhywbeth rydym yn ei wneud. Fel y dywedais yn fy ateb i Helen Mary, rydym eisoes yn rhoi ein hadnoddau sydd ar gael i ysgolion ac i bobl ifanc ar blatfform Hwb a phlatfformau eraill. Felly, rwy'n cytuno â'r cwestiwn a ofynnwyd gan Mick Antoniw, fod yna ddigon o gyfleoedd inni wneud mwy mewn ffyrdd newydd gyda phobl ifanc i hyrwyddo eu profiad democrataidd. Ond rydym yn gwneud hynny—credaf ichi ddefnyddio'r term hwn—yn y cyd-destun anarferol rydym ynddo, Mick Antoniw, ac rydym newydd glywed yr heriau y mae hynny’n eu creu i'n pobl ifanc hefyd yn y set flaenorol o gwestiynau i'r Gweinidog addysg. Felly, mae cydbwysedd i'w gael yma, ond mae arfer eu hawl ddemocrataidd yn yr etholiad nesaf yn rhywbeth rydym yn gyffrous yn ei gylch, ac rydym yn awyddus i sicrhau bod pobl ifanc yng Nghymru yn cael gwybod am yr hawl newydd honno a sut i'w harfer.

I really welcome the innovations that have been done for the provision online in these difficult circumstances, and I think that it's commendable. I just wonder whether we are missing a trick here for the future—although it's probably too late for this one. I wonder if I could ask your views on whether the Commission would be willing to explore a concept that I strongly support—which they do in other countries such as Sweden, and so on—where they actually use their resources to provide a proper, actual election going on in schools, contemporaneous with the election going on in wider society, for 14-year-olds, for 15-year-olds and so on, so that they are ready. I just wonder, in the future, would this be something that the Commission, and the expertise that it has at its fingertips, would be willing to explore—to take the lead role in doing this within our schools, to prepare young people for democratic engagement?  

Rwy'n croesawu'r datblygiadau arloesol a wnaed ar gyfer y ddarpariaeth ar-lein o dan yr amgylchiadau anodd hyn, a chredaf eu bod yn ganmoladwy. Ond tybed a ydym yn colli cyfle yma ar gyfer y dyfodol—er ei bod yn rhy hwyr i'r un hwn, mae'n debyg. Tybed a gaf fi ofyn beth yw eich barn ynglŷn ag a fyddai'r Comisiwn yn barod i archwilio cysyniad rwy’n ei gefnogi'n gryf—sy’n rhywbeth y maent yn ei wneud mewn gwledydd eraill fel Sweden, ac yn y blaen—lle maent yn defnyddio eu hadnoddau i ddarparu etholiad go iawn mewn ysgolion, ar yr un pryd â'r etholiad sy’n digwydd yn y gymdeithas ehangach, ar gyfer pobl ifanc 14 oed, ar gyfer pobl ifanc 15 oed ac ati, fel eu bod yn barod. Yn y dyfodol, tybed a fyddai hyn yn rhywbeth y byddai'r Comisiwn, a'r arbenigedd sydd ganddo ar flaenau ei fysedd, yn barod i'w archwilio—i gymryd rhan arweiniol yn gwneud hyn yn ein hysgolion, i baratoi pobl ifanc ar gyfer ymgysylltu'n ddemocrataidd?

Well, the mock election of 1983 at Lampeter Comprehensive School was the first election that I took part in, a long time ago, and that was very direct experience. I won't share with you now what political party I stood for at the time, but I've learnt the error of my ways since then. But just to say that the exact direct role of electing and elections in a context that the young people are familiar with, and relating that to the real world—we know that school councils and primary schools and many young people are involved in different democratic ways already. I think that you pose an interesting prospect of formalising that probably a bit more than it's currently done. As you've hinted, it's probably too late for this set of Senedd elections, but it's certainly, I think, something that we could look at into the future. I'd certainly be interested in asking the Commission of the future to look into that for future elections. By the way, I won the election in 1983 in Lampeter Comprehensive School.

Wel, ffug etholiad 1983 yn Ysgol Gyfun Llanbedr Pont Steffan oedd yr etholiad cyntaf imi gymryd rhan ynddo, amser maith yn ôl, ac roedd hwnnw’n brofiad uniongyrchol iawn. Nid wyf am rannu gyda chi nawr pa blaid wleidyddol y sefais drosti ar y pryd, ond rwyf wedi dysgu o fy nghamgymeriadau ers hynny. Ond hoffwn ddweud bod rôl uniongyrchol ethol ac etholiadau mewn cyd-destun y mae'r bobl ifanc yn gyfarwydd ag ef, a chysylltu hynny â'r byd go iawn—gwyddom fod cynghorau ysgol ac ysgolion cynradd a llawer o bobl ifanc yn ymwneud â democratiaeth mewn gwahanol ffyrdd eisoes. Rwy'n credu eich bod yn awgrymu syniad diddorol ynglŷn â ffurfioli hynny ychydig yn fwy na fel y mae pethau ar hyn o bryd, mae’n debyg. Fel rydych wedi awgrymu, mae'n debyg ei bod yn rhy hwyr ar gyfer y set hon o etholiadau’r Senedd, ond yn sicr, credaf ei fod yn rhywbeth y gallem ei ystyried yn y dyfodol. Yn sicr, byddai gennyf ddiddordeb mewn gofyn i Gomisiwn y dyfodol archwilio hynny ar gyfer etholiadau yn y dyfodol. Gyda llaw, fi enillodd yr etholiad yn 1983 yn Ysgol Gyfun Llanbedr Pont Steffan.

15:25

I don't think that was ever in doubt. Question 2, Mandy Jones.

Ni chredaf fod unrhyw amheuaeth wedi bod ynglŷn â hynny. Cwestiwn 2, Mandy Jones.

Addasu Ffyrdd o Weithio
Adapting Ways of Working

Thank you, Deputy Llywydd, and thank you, Llywydd, for that information, it was brilliant. 

Diolch, Ddirprwy Lywydd, a diolch i chi, Lywydd, am y wybodaeth honno, roedd yn wych.

2. Pa gynlluniau sydd gan y Comisiwn i addasu ffyrdd o weithio i Aelodau, eu staff a staff y Comisiwn gan ddefnyddio gwersi a ddysgwyd o'r cyfyngiadau symud cyn y chweched Senedd? OQ56081

2. What plans does the Commission have to adapt ways of working for Members, their staff and Commission staff using lessons learned from lockdowns ahead of the sixth Senedd? OQ56081

Diolch am y Cwestiwn. Fel Comisiwn, rŷn ni wedi bod yn dysgu gwersi o'r dulliau newydd o weithio wrth ymateb i’r pandemig. Mae hyn wedi caniatáu inni barhau i gynorthwyo i gynnal busnes y Senedd, ar ffurfiau rhithwir a hybrid, yn ogystal â gwaith yr Aelodau yn y Senedd a'u swyddfeydd etholaethol. Yn y gwanwyn, bydd cyfarfod y Comisiwn yn ystyried gwerthuso yr hyn a ddysgwyd yn ystod y pumed Senedd, yn enwedig y flwyddyn ddiwethaf yma, a defnyddio yr hyn a ddysgwyd i baratoi ar gyfer y chweched Senedd.

Thank you for the question. As a Commission, we have been learning lessons from new ways of working in response to the pandemic. This has enabled us to continue to support Senedd business, in virtual and hybrid forms, as well as the work of Members in the Senedd and in their constituency office. In the spring, the Commission meeting will evaluate our learning over the course of the fifth Senedd, particularly the past 12 months, and we will be using what we have learnt in preparation for the sixth Senedd.

Thank you for that answer. I'd like to pay tribute to all Commission staff and, indeed, all political support staff who have adapted so quickly and effectively to a completely different way of working. I really miss the vibrancy of the Senedd when it is operating as it used to. I miss the support staff there and all the other staff around, especially security—you could have a really, really good laugh with them, no matter what the weather was outside. However, we've now proved the concept that hybrid sessions work and are feasible, as is remote voting. Considering the benefits to be had in terms of carbon footprint reduction at the very least, does the Commission intend to make any adjustments to the conduct of its parliamentary business in the sixth Senedd term? Thank you.

Diolch am eich ateb. Hoffwn dalu teyrnged i holl staff y Comisiwn, ac yn wir, i’r holl staff cymorth gwleidyddol sydd wedi addasu mor gyflym ac mor effeithiol i ffordd gwbl wahanol o weithio. Rwy'n gweld colli bywiogrwydd y Senedd yn fawr pan fo'n gweithredu fel yr arferai wneud. Rwy'n gweld colli'r staff cymorth yno, a'r holl staff eraill o gwmpas y lle, yn enwedig y staff diogelwch—gallech gael llawer iawn o hwyl gyda hwy, ni waeth sut olwg oedd ar y tywydd y tu allan. Fodd bynnag, rydym bellach wedi profi'r cysyniad fod sesiynau hybrid yn gweithio ac yn ymarferol, yn ogystal â phleidleisio o bell. O ystyried y buddion sydd i'w cael o ran lleihau ôl troed carbon o leiaf, a yw'r Comisiwn yn bwriadu gwneud unrhyw addasiadau i’w fusnes seneddol yn chweched tymor y Senedd? Diolch.

Well, thank you for your gratitude expressed to the staff of the Commission, the staff of the political groups—everybody who has had to adapt their way of working—as well as the Members themselves, of course. I'm sitting here in Tŷ Hywel, the Senedd, today. I'm quite a lonely figure here—not many staff present. I'm here chairing and conducting the vote, and I look forward to welcoming you all back to make it a more vibrant atmosphere here, although I think we've achieved a great deal in being able to hold both the options of the Senedd in its Zoom form, as it's meeting today, and also its hybrid form, to enable us to reflect the reality of the regulations within which we are working.

There will be most definitely lessons to be learned and ways that we will do our work in different ways into the future. Both our committees and our Plenary will look at those lessons and that of our experience of using digital technology and virtual technology to enable us to work, not just in Cardiff Bay, but in every location in Wales. It will be a matter for the next Senedd and the Business Committee in advising that next Senedd how those new practices may well be adopted, but I think it's true to say that we have learned many lessons during this very difficult year that we've all experienced, and some of them will stand us in good stead for the future.

Wel, diolch i chi am ddiolch i staff y Comisiwn, staff y grwpiau gwleidyddol—pawb sydd wedi gorfod addasu eu ffordd o weithio—yn ogystal â'r Aelodau eu hunain, wrth gwrs. Rwy'n eistedd yma yn Nhŷ Hywel, y Senedd, heddiw. Rwy'n ffigwr eithaf unig yma—nid oes llawer o staff yn bresennol. Rwyf yma’n cadeirio ac yn cynnal y bleidlais, ac edrychaf ymlaen at groesawu pob un ohonoch yn ôl i wneud yr awyrgylch yn fwy bywiog yma, er fy mod yn credu ein bod wedi cyflawni llawer wrth allu cynnal dau opsiwn y Senedd ar ei ffurf Zoom, fel y mae’n cyfarfod heddiw, a hefyd ar ei ffurf hybrid, i'n galluogi i adlewyrchu realiti'r rheoliadau rydym yn gweithio oddi mewn iddynt.

Yn bendant, bydd gwersi i'w dysgu a ffyrdd y byddwn yn gwneud ein gwaith mewn gwahanol ffyrdd yn y dyfodol. Bydd ein pwyllgorau a'n Cyfarfod Llawn yn edrych ar y gwersi hynny a'n profiad o ddefnyddio technoleg ddigidol a thechnoleg rithwir i'n galluogi i weithio, nid yn unig ym Mae Caerdydd, ond ym mhob lleoliad yng Nghymru. Mater i'r Senedd nesaf a'r Pwyllgor Busnes wrth gynghori'r Senedd nesaf honno fydd sut y gellir mabwysiadu'r arferion newydd hynny, ond credaf ei bod yn deg dweud ein bod wedi dysgu nifer o wersi yn ystod y flwyddyn anodd hon y mae pob un ohonom wedi byw drwyddi, a bydd rhai ohonynt o fudd i ni ar gyfer y dyfodol.

Timau Ymgysylltu
Engagement Teams

I think my question leads on nicely from my colleague Mandy Jones's question. I would like to endorse her grateful thanks to all our staff. I think it's been remarkable how everyone has adapted so well. 

Credaf fod fy nghwestiwn yn arwain ymlaen yn dwt o gwestiwn fy nghyd-Aelod Mandy Jones. Hoffwn ategu ei diolch i'n holl staff. Credaf fod y ffordd y mae pawb wedi addasu cystal wedi bod yn rhyfeddol.

3. Pa gamau fydd yn cael eu cymryd gan y Comisiwn i adolygu strwythurau ei dimau ymgysylltu yn sgil effaith pandemig COVID-19 a'r gwariant arnynt? OQ56100

3. What steps will be taken by the Commission to review the structures of and expenditure on its engagement teams in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic? OQ56100

15:30

Mae'r pandemig wedi arwain at newid trawiadol yn y modd y mae'r Comisiwn yn cyflawni ei waith ymgysylltu. Pan fo modd, rydym wedi symud gweithgareddau ar-lein. Mae hyn wedi golygu datblygu teithiau rhithwir, sesiynau ymgysylltu rhithwir, yn egluro gwaith y Senedd, a chyflwyno sesiynau rhithwir i ysgolion a grwpiau ieuenctid hefyd. Cyflwynwyd seminarau a theithiau rhithwir i gynulleidfa fwy amrywiol nag erioed o'r blaen, ac rydym wedi sylwi bod demograffeg y rhai sydd wedi ymgysylltu â'n sesiynau rhithwir yn fwy cynrychioliadol o bob sector yn y gymdeithas nag yr oedd pan oeddem yn ymgysylltu wyneb yn wyneb. Rydym yn dysgu gwersi ac yn mabwysiadu arfer gorau er mwyn medru parhau ar ôl y pandemig i gyrraedd y rheini sydd ar y cyrion neu sydd â llai o ymwneud â'n Senedd genedlaethol ni.

The pandemic has led to a dramatic change in the way the Commission delivers its engagement work. Where possible, we've moved activities online. This has meant establishing virtual tours, virtual engagement sessions, explaining the work of the Senedd, and moving our sessions for schools and youth groups also. Virtual seminars and tours were delivered to a more diverse audience than ever before, and we have noticed that the demographic of those who have engaged with our virtual offers are more representative of all sectors of society than was previously the case when we achieved face-to-face engagement. We are learning lessons in terms of best practice in order to continue after the pandemic to reach those who are more marginalised and disengaged with our national Senedd.

Diolch, Llywydd. I have been making some enquiries about the Commission's expenditure on engagement teams. Now, in 2019-20, £1.3 million was spent on staff for the visitor engagement, the customer relations, the visitor experience, and four other engagement teams that currently exist within the structure of the Senedd. Now, despite the pandemic, the forecast expenditure in November for 2020-21—following year—was yet again £1.3 million. Now, looking at the details of the figures, I'm amazed that the actual expenditure in 2020-21 on the visitor experience team has increased, the visitor engagement team has increased, and the community engagement team has increased by £17,000, and finally, the education and young engagement team by £36,000. Now, nobody appreciates more than me that some of these staff have been seconded. But I would be grateful if you could explain why the expenditure has increased on some engagement teams, especially given that the offer now has shifted completely from physical to virtual, and whether perhaps, going forward for the next Senedd term, you might look to restructure the actual seven engagement teams, to bring in some savings, hopefully. Thank you.

Diolch, Lywydd. Rwyf wedi bod yn gwneud rhai ymholiadau am wariant y Comisiwn ar dimau ymgysylltu. Nawr, yn 2019-20, gwariwyd £1.3 miliwn ar staff ar gyfer ymgysylltu ag ymwelwyr, cysylltiadau â chwsmeriaid, profiad ymwelwyr, a phedwar tîm ymgysylltu arall sy'n bodoli ar hyn o bryd o fewn strwythur y Senedd. Nawr, er gwaethaf y pandemig, roedd y gwariant a ragwelwyd ym mis Tachwedd ar gyfer 2020-21—y flwyddyn ganlynol—yn £1.3 miliwn unwaith eto. Nawr, o edrych ar fanylion y ffigurau, rwy'n rhyfeddu bod gwariant gwirioneddol yn 2020-21 ar y tîm profiad ymwelwyr wedi cynyddu, gwariant ar y tîm ymgysylltu ag ymwelwyr wedi cynyddu, a bod gwariant ar y tîm ymgysylltu â'r gymuned wedi cynyddu £17,000, ac yn olaf, fod gwariant ar y tîm addysg ac ymgysylltu â phobl ifanc wedi cynyddu £36,000. Nawr, rwy'n deall yn iawn fod rhai o'r aelodau staff wedi'u secondio. Ond byddwn yn ddiolchgar pe gallech egluro pam y mae'r gwariant wedi cynyddu ar rai timau ymgysylltu, yn enwedig o gofio bod y cynnig bellach wedi symud yn gyfan gwbl o fod yn ffisegol i fod yn rhithwir, ac wrth symud ymlaen at dymor nesaf y Senedd, tybed a allech ystyried ailstrwythuro'r saith tîm ymgysylltu, er mwyn sicrhau rhai arbedion, gobeithio. Diolch.

Thank you for the question. And of course, the first thing to say is that moving virtual is not necessarily a means of saving money; the designing of virtual experiences can be significant in its initial investment. And as you've alluded to, Janet Finch-Saunders, there are of course changes that have had to be made to the responsibilities of work, and many of the people who previously worked in face-to-face engagement have done, and you acknowledged that there has been a considerable programme of secondment to other areas of greater pressure within the Commission work.

The Commission, in its early days of the fifth Senedd, set out as one of its main priorities to refocus much of our work towards public engagement and ensure that the people of Wales were aware of as much of our activity as possible. I think we've made strides towards that. I think our committees, in particular, have made significant strides on that. You chair the Petitions Committee, Janet Finch-Saunders, and the engagement with our Petitions Committee, I would say, has been significantly increased in the last few years, leading up to the pandemic, and during the pandemic. And hopefully you've been able to see that some of the work that those people working in this area have done has proved to be successful in encouraging more people in Wales to interact with us as a Senedd. I wouldn't want to do less public engagement work in the next Senedd. I want the people of Wales to be more aware, not less aware, of what we're doing here on their behalf. But, as you say, Janet, as always, we need to do so with a view to the expenditure that's placed on that activity, and to ensure that we are always reaching for as best value for money as possible.

Diolch am y cwestiwn. Ac wrth gwrs, y peth cyntaf i'w ddweud yw nad yw symud at ddarpariaeth rithwir o reidrwydd yn ffordd o arbed arian; gall cynllunio profiadau rhithwir alw am fuddsoddiad cychwynnol sylweddol. Ac fel y nodwyd gennych, Janet Finch-Saunders, bu'n rhaid gwneud newidiadau i gyfrifoldebau gwaith wrth gwrs, ac mae llawer o'r bobl a fu'n gweithio'n flaenorol mewn meysydd ymgysylltu wyneb yn wyneb wedi gwneud hynny, ac roeddech yn cydnabod y bu rhaglen secondio sylweddol i feysydd eraill sydd o dan fwy o bwysau o fewn gwaith y Comisiwn.

Yn nyddiau cynnar y pumed Senedd, nododd y Comisiwn mai un o'i brif flaenoriaethau oedd ailffocysu llawer o'n gwaith tuag at ymgysylltu â'r cyhoedd a sicrhau bod pobl Cymru yn ymwybodol o gymaint o'n gweithgarwch â phosibl. Rwy'n credu ein bod wedi gwneud cynnydd mawr tuag at hynny. Credaf fod ein pwyllgorau, yn enwedig, wedi gwneud llawer iawn ar hynny. Chi yw cadeirydd y Pwyllgor Deisebau, Janet Finch-Saunders, ac yn ôl yr hyn a welaf, mae'r ymgysylltiad â'n Pwyllgor Deisebau wedi cynyddu'n sylweddol yn ystod y blynyddoedd diwethaf, cyn y pandemig, ac yn ystod y pandemig. A gobeithio eich bod wedi gallu gweld bod y gwaith gan y bobl sy'n gweithio yn y maes wedi llwyddo i annog mwy o bobl yng Nghymru i ryngweithio â ni fel Senedd. Ni fyddwn eisiau gwneud llai o waith ymgysylltu â'r cyhoedd yn y Senedd nesaf. Rwyf am i bobl Cymru fod yn fwy ymwybodol, nid yn llai ymwybodol, o'r hyn rydym yn ei wneud yma ar eu rhan. Ond fel y dywedwch, Janet, fel bob amser, mae angen i ni wneud hynny gyda golwg ar y gwariant a wneir ar y gweithgaredd hwnnw, a sicrhau ein bod bob amser yn ymdrechu i sicrhau'r gwerth gorau posibl am arian.

4. Cwestiynau Amserol
4. Topical Questions

Item 4 is topical questions, of which none have been accepted this week.

Eitem 4 yw'r cwestiynau amserol, ac ni dderbyniwyd unrhyw gwestiynau yr wythnos hon.

5. Datganiadau 90 Eiliad
5. 90-second Statements

Therefore, item 5 is the 90-second statements. Helen Mary Jones.

Felly, eitem 5 yw'r datganiadau 90 eiliad. Helen Mary Jones.

Diolch, Dirprwy Lywydd. A Llanelli bus driver, who is known as Mr Selfie, has set himself another challenge of posting a selfie every day this year to raise funds for the Welsh Air Ambulance. He's asking others to send him selfies to share to help spread the word. Keith held a similar challenge four years ago and raised £3,700 for Marie Curie. The original fundraiser was set up because this grandfather of seven was teased by his colleagues for his love of taking selfies. He has quite a name for this with his colleagues at First Cymru. Following the success of his year-long campaign, Keith was