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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 »
Industry and government plan for a healthy future for farming in Wales
Farmers and Welsh Government will come together today to plan for a healthy and vibrant agricultural industry.
- Statement from First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, on the Woolwich attack
- Historic garden is a breakfast TV star
- Industry and government plan for a healthy future for farming in Wales
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- Business and economy
- Children and young people
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- Education and skills
- Environment and countryside
- Equality and diversity
- Health and social care
- Housing and community
- Improving public services
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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 »
- Future management of private water supply pipes
- Higher Education (Wales) Bill: Technical consultation
- Renting Homes White Paper
- The draft School Governors’ Annual Reports (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2013
- The future of agricultural statistical data collection methods in Wales
- Consultation - Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (Wales) Regulations 2006 (Amendment) Regulations 2013
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
24 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 »
Oral - Veterans and serving members of the Armed Forces in Wales
Today I would like to make a statement on the great value that we place on our armed forces community and the Assembly Government’s commitment to improving our delivery of public services to them. Before doing so, it is right to mention yesterday’s tragic news that the number of British personnel killed in Afghanistan has now reached 300. As a Flintshire Member, I am only too aware of the recent loss in Helmand of Lance Corporal Alan Cochran. His funeral will take place on Friday, and I offer my sincere condolences to his family. I also offer my condolences to the families of service personnel who have lost their lives in active service and pay great tribute to operational service personnel around the world today. News of this kind brings into sharp focus how much we demand of our armed forces.
On Saturday, Cardiff will host the UK celebration of Armed Forces Day in Cardiff bay. Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, will lead the people of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in honouring our armed forces community. Armistice Day has long been established as an occasion for remembering those who perished in the defence of our state. However, until four years ago, there was no national event to recognise living members of the armed forces community, and the sacrifices that they have made to protect our security and defend our freedoms. In 2006, the first Veterans Day took place. It quickly became firmly established in the national calendar and, last year, it expanded to become Armed Forces Day. It is not just our regular troops that we honour on Armed Forces Day, although they do a vital and difficult job; this is also a day for recognising veterans of earlier conflicts, forces families, reservists and cadets—many of whom are likely to form the next generation of serving personnel.
While defence policy is not devolved, we can take considerable pride in Wales’s long military tradition. Our nation is closely identified with several regiments, and the army currently has a significant presence here, mainly split between Brecon, Brawdy and St Athan. The RAF also has a long-standing association with various parts of Wales. The Royal Navy maintains close links, with several ships and submarines affiliated to Welsh towns and cities. There are also a number of reservist and cadet detachments here. As a former member of T.S. Tuscan, I am very familiar with it.
Joining the armed forces is a popular career option for many of our young people. We believe that the proportion of recruits from Wales consistently runs ahead of our 5 per cent share of the UK population. Nearly 3,000 soldiers, sailors and Royal Air Force personnel are based in Wales. With their families, they are an integral part of Welsh society. They use our schools, our health services and our public transport. Therefore, the Assembly Government has an obligation to ensure that these and other public services are delivered in a way that meets their needs. They must not be disadvantaged just because the military chain of command expects them to relocate every two or three years. They must not lose out on service provision simply because they live behind the fence of a Ministry of Defence base.
Over the last few years, we have focused particularly on improving the delivery of public services to armed forces communities. In some cases, we have recognised their particular sacrifice by treating them more favourably than other service users, and rightly so. For example, veterans are now entitled to priority NHS treatment for health conditions that are attributable to their military service. The Minister for Health and Social Services has rolled out a dedicated veterans’ mental health service across Wales. She has also put work in hand to improve liaison between health services and the military to improve healthcare for ex-service personnel.
When service families with children have to relocate to a new area, there are special arrangements allowing them to apply for school places in advance of the move.
From next April, severely disabled veterans will qualify for concessionary bus travel without having to wait until they are 60. Service personnel wishing to purchase homes with the support of the homebuy scheme have been given priority status. They can also, exceptionally, apply to sublet their homes if they are moved away on active service. Members of the forces who have a second home in Wales have had their council tax reduced by 50 per cent. That is particularly helpful to people who are buying a home for their retirement from military service.
Looking ahead, we are determined to make sure that our policies and programmes take proper account of the particular needs of the armed forces community. To help with this, I have established an expert group to advise the Assembly Government on issues of concern to the armed forces community in Wales, and on how these might best be addressed. The group includes the three service commanders for Wales, representing the Royal Navy, the army and the RAF Families Federation, together with third sector nominees, two of whom are service veterans. I chaired the group’s first meeting on 26 May, and was pleased by the open and positive approach taken by all participants.
Armed Forces Day falls on the last Saturday of June, but local events across the UK extend its currency over a period of some weeks. Each year, the Ministry of Defence selects a town or city to host the UK’s national celebration. I am delighted that Cardiff, with support from the Welsh Assembly Government, was chosen to be the host this year. Events have already been held in some parts of Wales, and others will be held later. However, on Saturday, the main focus will be on Cardiff. The formal part of the day will begin with a parade of serving personnel, veterans, reservists and cadets, who will march from Cardiff castle to the bay, where the salute will be taken by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. This will be followed by an open-air drumhead service in Roald Dahls Plass, led by the chaplain-in-chief to the RAF. In the afternoon and evening, there will be a free programme of military displays and public entertainment. I urge all Assembly Members to show their support for our armed forces community by joining in this year’s Armed Forces Day events, either here in Cardiff or in their constituencies.