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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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- Consultation on Draft Technical Advice Note (TAN) 23 Economic Development
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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.
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Examples of infrastructure investment projects funded by the Welsh Government across Wales.Learn more »
- Michael German OBE AM (Chair)
- Andrew Davies AM
- Huw Brodie, Director of Agriculture
- Alec Dauncey, Special Adviser
- Lesley Punter, Special Adviser
- Jasper Roberts, Rural Policy Division
- Steve Pomeroy, Head of Cabinet and Constitution Unit
- Emma Barton, Cabinet Sub-Committee Secretary
- Hywel Evans, Menter a Busnes (Items 1 and 2)
- Stuart Harries, Newidiem (Items 1 and 2)
- Sioned Lewis, Newidiem (Items 1 and 2)
- Paul Milbourne, Cardiff University (Items 1 and 2)
- Jane Hutt AM
- Jane Davidson AM
- Jenny Randerson AM
- Sue Essex AM.
Item 1: Minutes of the previous meeting
1.1 The minutes were agreed without amendment.
Item 2: Draft Report and Action Plan - Age Balanced Communities Study
2.1 The Minister for Rural Development and Wales Abroad began by registering his thanks to Carwyn Jones AM who had initially put this work in motion.
2.2 The Minister for Rural Development and Wales Abroad welcomed the representatives from Newidiem, Cardiff University and Menter a Busnes and handed over to them for the presentation.
2.3 Work had been undertaken on this study over the past six to eight months. The aim had been to investigate the reasons for the net outward migration of young people from rural areas and then to establish an action plan to combat these.
2.4 The research had been undertaken in the context of previously published studies (from Wales, UK and Europe). These studies had been reviewed and lead to the identification of themes which cut across the different studies.
2.5 There were six themes to the study:
2.5.1 Employment opportunities. The economic structure could restrict employment opportunities and there was often a predominance of low paid and low skill work.
2.5.2 Access to housing and key services. A lack of affordable housing existed along with transport problems and a lack of advice services and leisure facilities.
2.5.3 Young people's perceptions of rural areas as places to live and their experiences. Their experiences and perceptions at times coincided with reality, but at others contradicted it.
2.5.4 Involvement of young people in local political and policy processes. Many had a desire to be involved but felt excluded from political processes.
2.5.5 Local social networks. The research showed that there was a limited provision of formal advice and hence social networks were important.
2.5.6 Geographical, social and age differences. Differentiation needed to be taken into account - such as housing and labour markets, social differences and the stage of people in the life cycle.
2.6 The study methodology had been a multi-method approach which had combined quantitative and qualitative methods and statistical and interview-based research. The main focus had been qualitative as this was the best way to capture young people's perceptions. The quantitative element had been an analysis of migration statistics broken down by age groups and inward and outward movement.
2.7 The bulk of the work had focussed on the local level in six study areas (Bodedern, Pwll Glas, Botwnnog, Talybont, Fishguard and Crickhowell). Three types of research had then been undertaken within the 6 areas. These were focussed discussion groups, local stakeholder consultations and interviews with leavers.
2.8 The findings from these local areas had then been taken to the national level and had been discussed with national stakeholders and at two workshops (one in North Wales and one in South Wales).
2.9 All the findings and the reactions to the findings had been drawn together to form the Action Plan. The headline statistics that had arisen were that there had been a net outflow from Wales of people between the ages of 20 and 29 and that rural local authorities had experienced the greatest loss in population in the same age group.
2.10 The research had been gathered from 4 main groups:
- School age
- Students at Further Education colleges
- Parents of pre-school children
- People between the age of 18 and 40 not falling into any of the above categories
2.11 The key findings could be summarised under the six themes as detailed below.
2.12 Economic and Employment factors had been the main concern. There was a perceived lack of jobs and also the wrong type of jobs in some areas, combined with a lack of opportunities for progression. Some people had adapted to different ways of working - for example living in a rural area but commuting to an urban area, or by teleworking. A desire for greater flexibility from employers had been expressed - for example the ability to work part-time.
2.13 Under the theme of Education and Training findings could be divided into three main categories. Problems had been identified with further education due to the lack of range of courses that were offered locally and also the practical difficulty encountered by some in actually getting to college. Higher education and training was seen by some as an escape route and a chance to see the outside world. Rural schools could play a part in attracting leavers back to an area as the perception was that smaller schools in community and rural areas could provide a better quality of education. This was especially true of primary and/or Welsh-medium schools.
2.14 The theme of Accessing Services had proved less strong, but frustrations existed especially in the areas of public transport and access to advice. One factor in the area of advice was the fear of lack of privacy and confidentiality arising from living in a small community. There had only been minor issues raised about the lack of, for instance, leisure facilities and where changes had been suggested these had generally not been major. The lack of childcare (other than a reliance on family and friends) had often prevented people returning to work. The housing issue had been less strong than had been expected but there were nevertheless concerns - particularly regarding the affordability of being able to move out of the family home.
2.15 The findings had shown that the Access to the Decision-Making Process theme was an important element. Young people wanted to be part of the local decision-making process and hence feel a sense of belonging and affinity to an area. Currently many young people felt excluded from this process and that the processes in place were unappealing. It was important for them not to just be involved but also to be given the responsibility to take the decisions forward.
2.16 Under the Social Networks theme the study had examined the sense of community. It appeared that the strength of this varied across geographical areas with the East of Wales being weaker than the West. In some places a community spirit did not exist at all. The reality appeared to be that a geographically-defined community spirit was declining. There had been a change so that socialising patterns were now geographically wider.
2.17 The final theme, Returning, had looked at the factors of attraction to an area and at what was needed to make returning possible. The factors of attraction, which changed over the lifecycle, included the natural beauty of an area, safety, rural primary schools and a healthy environment. The main factor that made returning possible was the economic aspect - the ease of finding employment on return. In addition the ease of keeping in touch with new (urban) contacts played a role.
2.18 The outcome of the research was that there were two scenarios - the status quo (the old scenario with limited employment opportunities) and the new scenario which it was hoped to reach via the Action Plan. This would be a rural Wales with job opportunities, an attractive, fashionable lifestyle relying on new technology (for example broadband).
2.19 It was estimated that the process of achieving the new scenario would take a minimum of ten years. A range of structures towards achieving it already existed (for example the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Rural Regeneration, the Rural Policy Division of the Welsh Assembly Government and also the Rural Partnership). It would be important that there was an interaction and co-ordination of all of the strands of action and that delivery was via the appropriate organisations.
2.20 Actions had been identified under each of the strands. It would be important to ensure that there was co-ordination and that existing policies and projects were linked to and built on.
2.21 Ministers gave their thanks for the work that had been undertaken and for the presentation and raised a few questions about the work. The Minister for Economic Development asked if the original literature search had been undertaken on an international level and if so whether successful areas of rural regeneration had been found.
2.22 The work had been undertaken at a European level with the aim of identifying the key themes and defining the study methodology. There was little in the published literature concerning successful schemes. The policy review undertaken by the group had focussed primarily on Wales and the rest of the UK.
2.23 Ministers were interested to know where people went when they left areas. The data used had come from the 1991 Census and had not given any specific indication that the majority had moved to Cardiff. Most of the flow appeared to be to England.
2.24 It was recognised that some similarities existed between rural areas and the Valleys with regard to outward migration, but not inward. However the difference was that movements from the latter tended to be within an area whereas moves from the former were of a greater distance. It was agreed that it would be useful if the Statistical Directorate was involved in work on this area.
2.25 Ministers requested that the role of the private sector was reflected when the final report was drawn up in addition to the public sector role.
2.26 The Minister for Rural Development and Wales Abroad thanked the group for their work and the presentation and added that the Sub-Committee looked forward to a further presentation, focussing on the final report, at the next meeting on 3rd February.
2.27 Ministers requested a report from officials on how this work would be co-ordinated across the Assembly. The Minister for Rural Development and Wales Abroad would write to those Ministers identified as having a portfolio responsibility and invite comments from them as to the areas the next presentation should focus on.
2.28 It was recognised that there would be a need to address the issues that were specific to rural areas and to look at this work in the context of the Spatial Plan. The Sub-Committee also agreed that there should be a Cabinet discussion on this issue.
Item 3: Hunting Bill: Possible Devolution of Regulatory Regime
3.1 The Minister for Rural Development and Wales Abroad introduced the paper.
3.2 The paper focussed on the possibility of devolution of regulatory regime in this area.
3.3 The Sub-Committee agreed the recommendation that there should be a preparatory exploration of the prospects for devolving the prescription of animal welfare bodies, tribunal and registrar functions, to the National Assembly.
Item 4: Any Other Business
4.1 There was no other business.
Cabinet and Constitution Unit