Senedd Bites #43: You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two

Criticism of Local Government Secretary’s “Oliver Twist” comment

The leader of Swansea Council, Cllr. Rob Stewart, has called on the First Minister to consider sacking the Public Services & Local Government Secretary, Alun Davies (Lab, Blaenau Gwent) after he accused councillors of “coming to me like Oliver Twist – ‘Can we have some more?'” in an interview with BBC Radio Cymru.

Plaid Cymru said the comments were “in poor taste” but Cllr. Stewart – who is also one of the WLGA’s Deputy Leaders – said the First Minister should, “distance himself from the comments of the cabinet secretary and consider whether or not it is appropriate for him to remain in the cabinet in his current position.”

Smart devices “should enable Welsh language use”

Smart devices such as virtual assistants and other voice-controlled technology in the home should be developed for future use according to the Lifelong Learning & Welsh Language Minister, Eluned Morgan AM (Lab, Mid & West Wales).

Launching a new Welsh Language Technology Plan on 23rd October, the Minister said the move was to enable people to use Welsh in more circumstances instead of using English by default.

She said, “Technology also provides many opportunities for us to increase our use of Welsh or to learn Welsh but to do this we need to have the correct infrastructure in place. Technology moves quickly. Welsh needs to move with technology. That is the aim of our Plan.”

£5.4million in public fraud and overpayments found

The Auditor General uncovered £5.4million worth of overpayments and fraud within Welsh public bodies for 2017-18 – an increase of £1million on the previous financial year.

Auditor General, Adrian Crompton, said: “I’m proud to support Welsh public bodies in their fight against fraud, as it’s not a victimless crime.

“When fraudsters claim for services and benefits they’re not entitled to, it means that those in genuine need may have to wait longer for services, treatments or help.

“Uncovering £5.4 million in this latest National Fraud Initiative exercise is a considerable help to public services facing huge financial challenges.”

Plaid AM sets up an anti-harassment network

Leanne Wood AM (Plaid, Rhondda) has set up a new support network to address harassment against women after telling AMs that current procedures to deal with it were inadequate.

She said, “One year on from the #MeToo movement, and the sea change that many of us hoped it would spark has not happened.

“Encouraging people to report is important, but all too often, when they do, nothing happens.

“Police and victim support services are underfunded, waiting lists for counselling and other support are unacceptably along.”