In this section
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 »
National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
On Saturday 25 May, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth will be host to US radio star, Peter Greenberg.
- Industry and government plan for a healthy future for farming in Wales
- Historic garden is a breakfast TV star
- National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
In this section
- Business and economy
- Children and young people
- Culture and sport
- Education and skills
- Environment and countryside
- Equality and diversity
- Health and social care
- Housing and community
- Improving public services
In this section
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 »
- Future management of private water supply pipes
- Amendments to the Motor Vehicle (Competitions and Trials) Regulations 1969 and the Motor Vehicles (Off Road Events) Regulations 1995
- Higher Education (Wales) Bill: Technical consultation
- Consultation - Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (Wales) Regulations 2006 (Amendment) Regulations 2013
- Draft action plan for pollinators
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
22 days left
In this section
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 »
The Welsh Assembly Government’s response to the Culture, Welsh Language and Sport Committee’s Report on Newspapers/Trinity Mirror.
I warmly welcome the Culture, Welsh Language and Sport Committee’s report on English-language newspapers in Wales. The report is the result of an important review of the industry, and I am pleased that the committee was able to achieve cross-party support on how some of the issues identified might be tackled. I am also pleased to be able to respond positively to the committee report.
North Wales Members are well aware of the success that is the Daily Post, the bestselling morning read across the north, but that success is not matched across our nation each morning. In contrast to Scotland, where most readers choose either a Scottish title or a Scottish version of a UK title, most Welsh readers choose a London-based title for their daily morning read. We have many strong local or sub-regional evening titles in Wales, such as the South Wales Echo, the South Wales Evening Post, the Evening Leader, and the South Wales Argus. In addition, many weekly titles are produced all over Wales and they carry an interesting assortment of local news.
Given the strong position of UK titles produced in London, readers in Wales are, in many cases, presented with news stories and opinions that have little relevance to them. They learn about health and education announcements in Westminster and probably assume that the same policies apply to their local schools and hospitals. They hear, for example, endless arguments against and in favour of hosepipe bans, standard assessment testing in schools, rising prescription charges or bus fares for pensioners, when none of that agenda applies in Wales. I cannot be the only sports fan in Wales who was irritated about the exhaustive treatment of Wayne Rooney’s metatarsal during the world cup.
A further problem is the proportion of roof-top television aerials pointing at transmitters in England, despite the fact that it is often possible to receive a perfectly good picture from a transmitter in Wales. English regional television does not, of course, cover, to any extent, what is happening on this side of the border and BBC, ITV and Sky network coverage does not always clearly differentiate between UK and English news stories.
This is a serious threat to an informed democracy. In a few months’ time, we will have our third Assembly elections, but the danger is that voters in Wales will be simply unaware of the legislative proposals of the various parties and the leadership choices on offer—Welsh Labour or the Plaid-Tory coalition, for example.
This is the context for the cross-party interest in, and concern about, the future of the newspaper industry in Wales. Newspapers here, as elsewhere, face increasing difficulty in retaining both their readership and their advertising income, given that there are now so many other means of accessing news and advertising goods for sale. The Western Mail sold nearly 100,000 copies a day at the time of the first devolution referendum; today it sells fewer than 40,000 copies most days of the week.
The newspaper industry needs to believe in itself and invest in itself. If it does not, and if it considers maximising profits in the short term to be more important than sustainable profits in the long term, it will continue this downward spiral of erosion. With the right support from owners, newspapers in Wales can be developed and sustained, producing good quality newspapers for the people of Wales and providing a solid platform for a national Welsh political debate. The people of Wales need to have available to them, accurate and intelligent sources of information about what is relevant to them and about their own elected Assembly and Government.
The committee’s report, ably led by Rosemary Butler, makes a number of important observations. I share the committee’s concern about the continued erosion of skilled media jobs in the industry in Wales. While the feared compulsory redundancies at the Western Mail and South Wales Echo, which led to the committee instigating this review in the first place, did not come to fruition, we have, nevertheless, seen those two publications cut their workforce by 5.1 per cent. Those are in addition to other cuts made at those two titles, and at other publications, in recent years.
I have carefully considered the committee’s two recommendations. First, the provision of publicly funded training courses for journalists in further and higher education will be considered in the context of the annual assessment of learning and skills, carried out by the Assembly Government’s Department of Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills. The sector body that deals with journalism is the publishing skills group, which is an alliance of trade associations and related organisations covering books, journals, magazines and newspapers. The publishing skills group has undertaken research on skills and training issues for the sector and that will be included in the next national learning and skills assessment consultation exercise.
On the second recommendation, recruitment is a matter for the Permanent Secretary. A new on-line recruitment system will start to come on-stream towards the end of this year. As part of that system, officials will be moving to the signposting of advertisements from Welsh newspapers to the Assembly website and the civil service recruitment gateway website. As part of the process of implementation, officials are also reviewing the advertising process itself, including the best way to ensure that signposting advertisements are placed in newspapers across the whole of Wales so that as many people as possible will see them.
I thank the Culture, Welsh Language and Sport Committee and its Chair, Rosemary Butler, for its thorough and comprehensive report and for its contribution to the discussion on English-language newspapers in Wales. I also thank all the contributors to this policy review.