FMQs: Animal Cruelty, Menai Crossing & Sensible Deals

See last week’s post for a reminder of how I’m “scoring” these mighty, titanic bouts.

FMQs, 10th October 2017

Leader of the Opposition, Andrew RT Davies AM (Con, South Wales Central): Animal Cruelty

The RSPCA has marked a 10% increase in animal cruelty cases last year. The powers to deal with it are devolved, so would the Welsh Government reconsider punishments for animal cruelty to make them harsher. He highlighted examples of dogs being fed cocaine and the owner only being given a 24-week prison sentence.

The First Minister will keep the issue under review, but it’s not something that’s been raised with him. The fact there are more prosecutions is a “good thing” because it means people are being caught. He agreed to write to the Leader of the Opposition with further information.

Verdict: Hit – Carwyn dealt with the question but when a Minister says they’ll “write to the member” it’s usually an admission they’re not up to speed.

Leanne Wood AM (Plaid, Rhondda): Wellbeing of Future Generations Progress & Farming Subsidies

What had the Welsh Government done differently since the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act was made law? Does the Welsh Government’s support for the Newport M4 bypass contradict it, or are the Welsh Government “shifting the goalposts” to suit their needs?

Leanne also asked whether support for farmers would be maintained post-Brexit as Plaid Cymru call for current levels of support to be sustained until 2022 at the least.

The First Minister told the chamber that issues around the bypass will be dealt with at the public inquiry, while on the farming issue he said his government’s position was that farming support should be maintained as is – but the money from the UK Government has to be there.

Verdict: Block – Almost a “Hit”, but Carwyn’s position on farming subsidies has been clear.

Neil Hamilton AM (UKIP, Mid & West Wales): EU Trade Negotiations

It was disappointing Labour and Plaid Cymru MEPs voted in favour of a motion in the European Parliament demanding the EU Commission doesn’t negotiate on trade as little progress has been made in Brexit talks. We can’t expect to “get anything sensible” out of the EU at this rate.

Carwyn said MEPs vote based on facts and 15 months into the process we’re none the wiser as to what the UK Government’s position is. They’ve spent most of that time fighting with each other and are now contemplating a “no deal Brexit”. Fantasies peddled last year are coming home to roost.

Verdict: Miss – Presented an easy opportunity for Carwyn to attack the UK Government (and Brexit), his favourite past time.


Sian Gwenllian AM (Plaid, Arfon): Will the First Minister make a statement on the Welsh Government’s efforts to tackle poverty?

The Welsh Government’s objective is to support everyone to live “healthy, prosperous and rewarding lives”. He defended the decision not to publish an anti-poverty strategy as the Prosperity Strategy already includes measures to address poverty. Once again he rejected the idea of devolution of aspects of the welfare system as he didn’t trust the UK Government to provide necessary funds.

Verdict: Miss – Carwyn explained his way out fairly well.

Jeremy Miles AM (Lab, Neath): What is the Welsh Government doing to increase the availability of housing in Wales?

The Welsh Government are making a “significant investment” to meet their 20,000 new homes policy. He was pleased 35 schemes have applied to the first round of the innovative housing programme (energy efficient building etc.). More financial support is also being provided to establish housing co-operatives.

Verdict: Miss – Nothing controversial.

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM (Plaid, Ynys Môn): Will the First Minister provide an update on plans for a third crossing across the Menai strait?

The project is still on course for completion in 2022. No approach has yet been made to the National Grid for them to contribute towards putting cables over the new crossing instead of via a £200million tunnel; they weren’t interested two or three years ago. Maybe something could happen once the final route is announced next May.

Verdict: Block – Exposed a lack of get up and go on the part of the Welsh Government, but there was a good reason for it.

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