Archive for November 9, 2006

Fair Dues to Clwyd Theatr Cymru (the National Theatre of Wales?)

Dear Alison,                   With your interest in Clwyd Theatr Cymru I thought you would appreciate this. Dear Sandy,                    It is a year or so since I was a Governor of Clwyd Theatr Cymru, but as you know I maintain a keen interest in developments.  I was stunned by last night’s Wales Today coverage (if you did not see the programme you can visit it on the Wales Today website). Getting money for CTC has always been a bit like drawing teeth. CTC had/has the international reputation and it appeared in the first term of the Assembly the recognition as Wales’ National Theatre’. Terry Hands always maintained the highest standards and that on a tight budget from the ACW, yet Peter Tyndal is gung-ho about flashing out money for another venture. Money is to be spent yet again in South Wales, which has more than the lion’s share of prestigious establishments, creating the ‘National Theatre of Wales’ . I understood CTC was the only producing and touring English language Theatre in Wales. Certainly the Director and Associate Director have the reputation and recognition. It was a hard pill to swallow hearing North …..

6 December 2001

Training for Audio Visual Industry Sectors Q2 Alison Halford: What action has the Minister taken to provide suitable training for the audio visual industry sectors in Wales? (OAQ14481) Andrew Davies: Training in Wales is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning. However, the Assembly Government supports a range of programmes to help employers in the industry to train their staff. In addition to funding, through the Education and Learning Wales councils, higher and further education courses and apprenticeship programmes, we have funded the industry with £96,500 for various training projects over the last two years. Alison Halford: Will you tell me how the plan to use the Wales Digital College for courses tailored for the audio visual industry is developing? What steps have you taken to ensure that the college’s benefits are felt throughout Wales in terms of inward investment and increasing the skills base of the industry? Helen Mary Jones: Bearing in mind the potential contribution of these industries to economic development in rural Wales, what steps is the Government taking to ensure that this type of training is available through the medium of Welsh? Andrew Davies: That is a priority for delivering training …..

21 June 2001

Q4 Alison Halford: What plans does the Minister have to increase the use of e-mail and web facilities by small and medium sized enterprises in north Wales? (OAQ12020) Andrew Davies: A large range of projects and programmes are underway and further planned to help encourage small and medium sized enterprises to increase their use of information communications technology. Some of these are large scale and run on an all-Wales basis, such as Wales SMe-Business. Some are available in the Objective 1 area, such as the Opportunities Wales, which was formally known as the Better Business Wales project. Many other valuable projects are run on a more local but long-term basis, such as the Business Connect ICT support centres, which I visited recently in Bangor and north-west Wales. Details of all these schemes can be obtained from Business Connect. Raising awareness of the potential benefits of ICT is also vital in helping businesses to become more competitive. The Assembly Cabinet and myself are wholly committed to that. Alison Halford: What progress has been made on encouraging broadband technology and establishing a supportive commercial gateway for e-business to tackle the 73 per cent of Welsh businesses that have no plans to invest …..

The Mental Health Strategies 3 April 2001

Pauline Jarman: I declare an interest as a member of Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council, which is a social services provider. As many as one in six adults suffer from mental health problems ranging from depression to schizophrenia at any one time, and according to the Office for National Statistics around 10 per cent of five to 15-year-olds suffer from one or more types of mental disorder. Severe social and economic discrimination attached to any kind of mental illness and mental illness services have traditionally received low political priority from Government. Currently in Wales, mental health services for children and teenagers are in disarray, under-developed and random. Some health authorities spend seven times more than others on services. One in ten trusts have more than a six-month waiting time for a routine appointment. Almost half of all child psychotherapist posts are in the London region and few are north of Birmingham because until recently almost all training was undertaken in north London. Only 1 per cent of child psychotherapy posts is in Wales. Staff shortages are so chronic that, in some areas, there is a 40 per cent vacancy rate for psychologists. I will comment briefly on the background …..

20 March 2001

Q3 Alison Halford: Will the First Minister make a statement on his visit to Mostyn docks on 9 March? (OAQ10407) The First Minister: It was an instructive visit for several reasons. From September this year, P&O Ferries will install its fifth ferry port connection between Wales and Ireland, which is mostly for freight, but which has some provision for passenger and car transport. Mostyn Docks Limited is currently in negotiation with British Aerospace to be the transhipment point for the A380 wings. Transporting those enormous wings from a factory in Broughton to the final assembly point in Toulouse—without dropping and damaging them because they are incredibly valuable—will be one of the great logistical feats of twenty-first century European industrial history. We think that they will be transported by barge from Connah’s Quay to Mostyn, transhipped from there to Bordeaux docks and then transported onwards through France. The rail freight terminal at Mostyn has the potential to be the north Wales equivalent of the Euro-freight terminal at Wentloog, which is half way between Cardiff and Newport. Alison Halford: I do not wish to strike a discordant note, but are you aware that North Wales Police is insisting on a full-scale, highly-equipped …..

Foot and Mouth Disease 8 May 2001

Alison Halford: The golf club in Holywell, which has finally been allowed to reopen, feels frustrated at what it sees as buck-passing. I seek clarification, for the third time for my one brain cell. You tell us that the Assembly is an agent of MAFF and that you are responsible for the veterinary service. However, in my view, it seems to have been a case of pass the parcel all the way around. Could you have done anything more to ensure that responsibility for controlling and eradicating this dreadful disease could have been explained more simply to the people who have lost their livelihoods during this crisis? I am not talking about— The Presiding Officer: Order. You have asked four questions. Carwyn Jones: I am not sure that I understand what the question is getting at. Alison Halford: Who is responsible for what? Carwyn Jones: I know that you have asked questions previously about Holywell golf club. Any decision about the opening or closure of land is entirely the decision of the local authority and no other body. Nick Bourne: You have heard from spokespersons from the other three parties that these weekly statements are useful. We have just heard …..

Bentley Jennison Report 22 May 2001

Alison Halford: Further to Richard Edwards’s point, do you agree that we are going down the road of trial by Assembly? Whatever our political persuasion, that is something that I abhor. I was a police officer for 30 years, and it was my job to root out wrongdoing. However, that is not the Assembly’s task. I plead for everybody to give this individual, whatever he has done, the right of being called innocent until he has been found properly guilty. This is not the medium by which it should be done. I gave up my remaining useful years of service and joined the Labour Party to help people and to be fair and just. We are not behaving fairly and justly by continuing with this harassment and witch-hunt. Do you agree that this must stop so that we do not demean ourselves as an Assembly? The First Minister: Due to your considerable experience in the police, I cannot improve on your words. Trial by Assembly or trial by media does not serve any useful purpose. The Presiding Officer: We have spent half an hour on this statement. I will allow two brief questions from the Government and opposition parties. Gareth …..

Drugs?Prevention or Addiction 14 June 2001

Alison Halford: Peter Black’s contribution was timely. I find it depressing that so little has been achieved over the years, despite the fact that government and also now the Assembly have put so much money into the problem. We need radical thinking. As a police officer in 1968, I remember young drug-takers in the Crypt in London playing with their syringes and the walls were spattered with blood. In 1974 I was sent to Baltimore as a chief inspector to find out if police had any role to play in the education of children. In Baltimore I looked at a range of projects, such as programmes to give methadone to addicts and those that attempted to scare potential users to death. Millions of dollars were spent on projects. What have we achieved in 27 years? Enforcement does not work. Early education seems to be the only way of doing it in America. The message must be to start educating children as young as three, four or five years old. Assembly Members should start considering what is available in monitoring rehabilitation centres. We must put in progress plans where treatment can be given early. I will find out whether there are …..

Future Business Support 3 July 2001

Alison Halford: I am pleased that a tribute has been paid to Val Feld. Her pioneering work has eased this burden. She was particularly helpful to me, as I have only been a member of the Economic Development Committee for a short time. We all hope that she will be back soon. The Committee’s challenge was to facilitate service delivery, rather than administrative reform, as the main tool for delivering the £150 million of annual Government aid to Welsh business. The transparency and reliability of funding is a key issue. Are there not too many different pots of money at present? Should not businesses have a single stream of finance upon which they can rely? At present, businesses must apply to various trusts, bodies, services and agencies, all of which have with their own deadlines, contact numbers and expiry dates. We need a transparent, traceable and accountable funding process for every business that we help. I agree with the report that such funding complexities act as a straightjacket to economic growth, but I remain to be convinced that all the recommendations will solve this problem. I agree with the Deputy First Minister that a single regional gateway must be the …..

26 April 2002 Written

Prospects for Manufacturing Jobs Alison Halford: Will the Minster make a statement about the long-term prospects for manufacturing jobs in Wales? (WAQ17139) The Minister for Economic Development (Andrew Davies): Manufacturing is an important sector in Wales and the Assembly Government believes that it has a bright future provided firms innovate and move up the value chain. The Welsh Assembly Government and the Welsh Development Agency have a number of programs to encourage firms in this way, for example, the Accelerate Wales programme. The Assembly Government is also supporting the Welsh centre of manufacturing excellence. The competition for this is shortly to be completed. The successful organisation or consortium will form part of an integrated support system to modernise manufacturing and increase the take-up of leading edge technology and techniques by small and medium-sized enterprises throughout Wales. In addition to this, 20 departments in higher education institutions across Wales were accredited with CETIC (centre of excellence in technology and industrial collaboration) status last year, and are now helping companies gain access to extensive expertise in a wide range of high-tech fields, to develop new and existing products. The Welsh Development Agency also has a number of programmes in place to help …..