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Section highlightHouses into homes This report details findings to emerge from the evaluation during the first six months of delivery (April to September 2012).
Written Statement - Update on tobacco policy »Standardised packaging of tobacco products and Sub Committees on The Smoke-free Premises etc. (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012.Learn more »
Internet short cut for Welsh village with the longest name
The Welsh village with the longest name in the UK has succeeded in at least making one thing a whole lot shorter – the time it takes to surf the internet.
- Cardiff Airport key to Wales’ position in global market – First Minister
- Consultation on proposals for ground-breaking legislation to reform arrangements for renting homes
- Internet short cut for Welsh village with the longest name
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Section highlightAccess to information
The Welsh Government has followed the principles of openness in government for many years. Find out how you can make a freedom of information request or see requests that have already been made.
Sky lanterns: environmental and risk assessment »To establish an evidence base to help any future policy decisions on sky lanterns and helium balloons.Learn more »
- Higher Education (Wales) Bill: Technical consultation
- Renting Homes White Paper
- Continuity and Change - Refreshing the Relationship between Welsh Government and the Third Sector in Wales
- Development of a national standards and outcomes framework for Children and Young People's advocacy services in Wales
- Strategic Environmental Assessment: Environmental Report, Rural Development Plan for Wales 2014-2020
- The draft School Governors’ Annual Reports (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2013
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
26 days left
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Section highlightFurther and Higher Education (Governance and Information) (Wales) Bill 2013
Removes a number of technical restrictions and controls on colleges without changing the principal powers of colleges to provide further, higher and secondary education.
Legislative programme 2012 - 2013 »
Addressing the Assembly in the Senedd today, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, detailed the eight bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the second year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightCommunity Infrastructure Levy
Local authorities can charge a Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments to support the infrastructure needed.
2nd Supplementary Budget 2012-13 »
Proposes a number of changes to the 1st Supplementary Budget for 2012-13, which was published on 26 June 2012.Learn more »
First Year of Free Entry to the National Museums & Galleries of Wales
It has been over a year since the Welsh Assembly Government provided additional funding to the National Museums and Galleries of Wales which enabled them to offer free admission, for every visitor, to each of its eight sites in Wales. The free entry policy has been a resounding success. Visitor numbers have risen beyond all expectations – overall visitor figures at the eight sites have risen by almost 90 per cent.
Two sites in particular have seen an exceptional increase in visitor numbers ;-
- the Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans where numbers have risen by 115 per cent ; and
- the Welsh Slate Museum in Llanberis which has seen an increase in visitors of 168 per cent.
It is fitting that both these marvellous museums won major prizes in the recent Wales Tourist Board competition. I have visited both sites during the past year and I know that the award for the "Wow Factor" to St Fagans and the "Sense of Place" award to the Welsh Slate Museum are fully deserved.
Free admission has meant that people and families from all walks of life are now able to see, enjoy and learn from the wonderful diversity of our national collections. The barrier of paying for admission has been removed. And it has helped to instil in many of these new visitors the habit of visiting our local museums generally, along with other heritage sites.
The introduction of free entry from 1st April 2001 put Wales ahead of the game, as English national museums did not follow suit until 1st December, seven months later. And the timing of this new policy, coming as it did at the start of the foot and mouth epidemic, meant that it gave a much needed fillip to our tourism industry.
I must mention here the dedication of the Museum staff, who have coped magnificently with the massive increase in visitors, and all that that entails. I am pleased to report that the Museum's shops had a bumper year which saw takings rise due to increased visitor numbers.
I know that there are a few people who have some misgivings about the benefits of free admission to the wider tourism industry in Wales. There are those who feel that visitors have preferred to visit National Museum sites because they are free, to the detriment of privately owned attractions. I appreciate this point of view but it is my firm belief that, in time, free admission to the National Museum will benefit all heritage and tourism attractions in Wales.
It is important to note here that a number of Local Authorities also offer free admission to their museums and that the number of authorities who have free entry schemes has increased over the past year.
The National Museum is taking steps to help spread the benefits of free admission. They are currently working with the Tourist Board and the Wales Association of Visitor Attractions to help to put together initiatives that will boost the Welsh tourism Industry as a whole.
The National Museum is also working with local museums to enable objects from their collections to be seen and enjoyed at local museums and galleries throughout Wales. The Museum already lends many objects, of course, but facilities at many local museums and galleries are not up to the standard needed to display some important items. The Welsh Assembly Government has pledged £50,000 pounds per year to help upgrade and refurbish facilities at local museums. Last week I had the pleasure of launching this partnership project at Wrexham Museum which is one of three venues chosen to pilot the scheme in the first year along with Oriel Ynys Môn in Anglesey and Brecknock Museum in Powys. Sharing the Treasures – Cyfoeth Cymru Gyfan is a partnership between the National Museum, the Council of Museums in Wales and local museums and galleries. I am pleased that this investment by the Welsh Assembly Government will lead to many more items from the national collections being on show at venues throughout Wales.
I am confident that Free Entry will continue to have a key role in promoting Wales and the Welsh tourist Industry. The Museum is not sitting on its laurels. They have several exciting new developments underway this year which my Culture Strategy fully supports, and which I am sure will help to maintain the high number of visitors to the eight sites :-
At Big Pit work is under way, with the help of lottery funding, to refurbish the Pit-head Buildings, to provide better interpretation displays and to greatly enhance visitor facilities at the mine.
The Museum of the Welsh Woollen Industry, which I had the great pleasure of visiting recently, is undergoing a major restoration of its listed mill buildings and enhancement of facilities for both educational and regular visitors. The site will re-open for business in the spring of 2003.
The National Museum is also engaged in a partnership with the City & County of Swansea to develop the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea Marina. A bid for Stage Two funding was recently submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Assembly Government is supporting the project with a grant of up to £6 million, and I wish the project partners every success in taking forward the project.
I am also pleased to announce that a new home has been identified for the National Museum's collection of paintings by Graham Sutherland. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, in conjunction with local partners, has offered land in St David's for the building of a new gallery in which to display the collection. I am delighted that these paintings will return to a venue in Pembrokeshire, as the artist found so much inspiration there.
All in all, free entry has been a wonderful gift to the people of Wales. It has helped put us on the map. It has given everyone the freedom to visit our national collections as often as they wish and has brought our history alive for so many people from within Wales and elsewhere.
I am proud of this initiative by the Welsh Assembly Government and I commend it to Assembly Members.