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Section highlightThe People’s NHS Part of an initiative to engage the public in creating a safe and sustainable health service for the future.
Spreading the word »Action on the ground to increase learning materials in the medium of Welsh.Learn more »
First Minister’s call for action on the Welsh language
People from across Wales with an interest in the Welsh language are being asked to take action on its future in a national online conversation.
- Local Government Democracy Bill approved
- Minister welcomes report which could change shape and structure of education delivery in Wales for the better
- First Minister’s call for action on the Welsh language
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Welsh languageWelsh-language technology and digital media action plan
The action plan sets out our commitment to drive developments in the field of Welsh-language technology and digital media.Learn more »
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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.
The Strategy for Older People in Wales 2013-2023 »The 3rd phase focuses on ensuring that older people in Wales have the resources to deal with the challenges and opportunities they face.Learn more »
- A new vision for a National Youth Work Strategy
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- Building Control system and Approved Document supporting regulation 7
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Section highlightReview of the Planning Enforcement System
The research covers 18 recommendations for the future Welsh enforcement system.
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.
Infrastructure Investment Case Studies »
Examples of infrastructure investment projects funded by the Welsh Government across Wales.Learn more »
Oral - One Wales Commitments relating to the Arts
Chapter 9 of 'One Wales’ sets out the Government’s agenda for promoting a rich and diverse culture. It envisages high quality cultural experiences being available to all, regardless of domicile or background. By 'experiences’, we mean participation in, and attendance at, arts events.
The establishment of a national English-language theatre for Wales was, I remind Members, a 'One Wales’ commitment. The company has put the spotlight on Wales in a way that can only enhance our reputation as a place where culture matters.
I am delighted with this promising beginning. Some Assembly Members would have liked the new company to have a theatre building in their constituency. The decision has been that National Theatre Wales will exist without a production house. Instead, it will collaborate with existing theatre companies. In the first year, that includes the Welsh National Opera and the Sherman, Torch and Riverfront theatres. I am pleased with this collaborative spirit. We already had a successful national theatre, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, as well as the much-praised Clwyd Theatr Cymru.
The Sherman theatre has begun to modernise its premises. As with the Chapter Arts Centre, the Sherman is vigorously fund raising for this project, although the Arts Council of Wales has been able to provide support. It is good news that, notwithstanding the diversion of lottery resources to the Olympic Games, capital investment in key strategic projects continues. I recently visited the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery to hear about its redevelopment that will make use of an allocation from the strategic capital investment fund.
Investment in the arts helps underpin the remarkable transformation that is taking place in the field in Wales. One could cite here the redevelopment of Chapter Arts in Cardiff, of Galeri in Caernarfon, the striking Ruthin craft centre building and Oriel Mostyn in Llandudno, not to mention smaller venues such as Theatr Twm o’r Nant in Denbigh. I continue to steer the implementation of Elan Closs Stephens’ Wales arts review. The arts strategy board will meet this June to discuss the creative industries and the arts on the world stage. Supporting opportunities for artistic producers on the world stage is, of course, a 'One Wales’ commitment and one that we considered during a Plenary debate last autumn.
In line with our 'One Wales’ commitment, I have recently considered the question of enshrining the concept of artistic freedom in Welsh law. I have taken the view that we should not, at this stage, pursue the development of Welsh legislation, which would be superfluous in the context of an existing comprehensive legal framework. The Stephens review called on the Welsh Assembly Government to make public its commitment to artistic freedom. I am happy to do that today.
I continue to oversee the work of the Arts Council of Wales on the development and delivery of policy for the arts. I have asked it to conduct a root-and-branch review of its current revenue funding model and the board of the arts council will be taking decisions shortly about the organisations that will receive revenue funding in 2011-12. The review has been a major piece of work for the council and is intended to lead to a portfolio of grant-aided, financially sustainable organisations that will produce high-quality arts for both local and international audiences.
The challenge for me, as Minister for Heritage, is to make the case for the arts during the recession in a way that convinces others that the arts matter. My job is to seek the best possible settlement for the arts, so that, regardless of ability to pay, the arts are available, close to home, to the widest possible audience. It is great news that there was a 7.6 per cent increase in ticket sales last year. Arts council research confirms that almost 90 per cent of the people of Wales agree that it is right that there is public funding of the arts.
The Stephens review looked at the role the arts could play in the development of cross-cutting policies. It recommended that the Arts Council of Wales should become a more effective arts development agency. The council has been successful in securing £5 million in European funding for the Reach the Heights programme, which tackles the issue of young people lacking the necessary skills to find work or education and training opportunities.
We are also working with local government, and not only via the statutory duty. With the arts council, we are part of the Arts Connect partnership in south-east Wales. That body is preparing an innovative partnership crossing local authority boundaries. Local communities matter and it is essential that we provide arts for the people of Wales to watch or participate in, wherever they live.
By laying excellent foundations here in Wales, we also ensure that we have high-quality arts to take abroad as part of our work to promote our reputation overseas.
I am exceptionally proud, therefore, to be playing my own part in achieving the Government’s 'One Wales’ commitments on the arts, as well as acknowledging the role of my predecessors. This respect for the arts has been nurtured by successive culture Ministers and goes back to the earliest months and years of the Welsh Assembly. My predecessors and I have done this in part because the arts—as Professor Hargreaves has recently stated—are at the heart of the economy. At present, over 6,500 people are employed by the current portfolio of revenue-funded organisations. It is estimated that the creative industries in Wales account for up to 30,000 jobs. Capital investment is resulting in new jobs being created across Wales, for example in Aberystwyth, where the arts centre’s expansion has generated 80 new posts.
Our artists and artistic premises are award winners. They are also levering in funding from elsewhere; for example, the Welsh National Opera receives support from the Arts Council of England. Our arts are bringing in audiences: over the past 3 years, attendances have increased year on year to record levels. The Wales Millennium Centre, for example, in 2009—its fifth anniversary year—generated a total audience of over 370,000. It was its most successful year ever. The birthday celebrations in November were highly successful and included a memorable concert of Karl Jenkins’s music, conducted by the composer himself. I had the privilege of attending.
I am grateful to have had this opportunity to update Assembly Members on the Government’s progress against its 'One Wales’ commitments for the arts.