Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru

Yn ôl i Chwilio

Y Pwyllgor Cyllid

Finance Committee

27/06/2019

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Alun Davies AC
Llyr Gruffydd AC Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Mike Hedges AC
Nick Ramsay AC
Rhun ap Iorwerth AC

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Matthew Denham-Jones Dirprwy Gyfarwyddwr Rheolaeth Ariannol, Llywodraeth Cymru
Deputy Director Financial Controls, Welsh Government
Rebecca Evans AC Y Gweinidog Cyllid a’r Trefnydd
Minister for Finance and Trefnydd
Sharon Bounds Pennaeth Rheoli Cyllidebau a Pholisi Ariannol, Llywodraeth Cymru
Head of Budgetary Control & Financial Policy, Welsh Government

Swyddogion Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru a oedd yn bresennol

National Assembly for Wales Officials in Attendance

Bethan Davies Clerc
Clerk
Owen Holzinger Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Samantha Williams Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Cynhaliwyd y cyfarfod yng Ngwesty'r Marine, Aberystwyth.

The meeting was held in the Marine Hotel, Aberystwyth.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 10:00.

The meeting began at 10:00.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Bore da a chroeso ichi gyd i gyfarfod—[Anhyglyw.]—Aberystwyth. Rydym ni yma ar gyfer digwyddiad gyda rhanddeiliaid yn nes ymlaen heddiw, ond mae cyfarfod ffurfiol, wrth gwrs, yn digwydd cyn hynny, felly, croeso i chi i gyd. Gaf i, ar y cychwyn, achub ar y cyfle i ddiolch yn ffurfiol i Neil Hamilton, fydd bellach ddim yn aelod o'r pwyllgor hwn, ac i groesawu'n ffurfiol Mark Reckless fel aelod newydd o'r pwyllgor? Gaf i nodi hefyd bod clustffonau ar gael ar gyfer cyfieithu ar y pryd ac addasu lefel y sain? Ac a gaf i ofyn i Aelodau hefyd i sicrhau bod unrhyw declynnau electronig wedi'u distewi?

Rŷm ni wedi derbyn ymddiheuriadau oddi wrth Mark Reckless a Rhianon Passmore, ac rŷm ni'n gobeithio bydd Nick Ramsay yn ymuno â ni yn nes ymlaen y bore yma. Gaf i hefyd ofyn a oes gan unrhyw Aelodau unrhyw fuddiannau i'w datgan? Nac oes. Iawn.

Good morning and welcome to you all to—[Inaudible.]—Aberystwyth. We are here for a stakeholder event later today, but the formal meeting, of course, will take place before then. So, a very warm welcome to you all. Could I just take this opportunity to thank Neil Hamilton, who is no longer a member of this committee, and to formally welcome Mark Reckless as a new member of the committee? I also note that headsets are available for interpretation and amplification, and may I ask Members to ensure that any electronic devices are turned to silent? 

We've received apologies from Mark Reckless and Rhianon Passmore, and we hope that Nick Ramsay will join us later this morning. May I also ask if any Member has any declarations of interest? No, fine.

2. Papurau i’w nodi
2. Papers to Note

Felly, ymlaen â ni at yr ail eitem ar yr agenda, sef papurau i'w nodi. Fe welwch chi'r papur cyntaf, yn llythyr gan y Llywydd ar ariannu'r Comisiwn Etholiadol ac atebolrwydd y sefydliad. Mae hwnna'n rhywbeth y mae angen i ni ei nodi'n ffurfiol. Yr ail—

We'll move on to our second item on the agenda, which is papers to note. You will see that the first paper is a letter from the Llywydd on the financing and accountability of the Electoral Commission. That is something that we need to formally note. The second—

Cyn i ni nodi fe, dwi'n gweld ei fod wedi'i ysgrifennu at Mick Antoniw yn lle'r pwyllgor yma. Ydyn ni'n bwriadu cymryd unrhyw farn ar hyn?

Before we note it, I see that it's addressed to Mick Antoniw rather than to this committee. Do we intend to take a view on this?

Mae yna lythyr wedi mynd mewn ymateb, ond mi gawn ni drafod hynny nes ymlaen y bore yma, os ydy hynny'n iawn. Diolch, Alun.

Mae'r ail bapur i'w nodi—llythyr gan y Cwnsler Cyffredinol ar y Bil Deddfwriaeth (Cymru)—yn nodi bod y Cwnsler Cyffredinol wedi ymdrin â dau o'r pedwar argymhelliad y gwnaethom ni, a bydd Aelodau, dwi'n siŵr, yn ymwybodol bod yr asesiad effaith rheoleiddiol wedi'i ddiweddaru ar y sail honno hefyd. Felly, mae hynny'n rhywbeth i ni ei nodi. Ac mae yna ddau set o gofnodion, o 5 Mehefin eleni a'r 13 Mehefin. Felly, ydy Aelodau'n hapus i nodi'r papurau yna? Iawn, diolch yn fawr iawn.

A letter has been sent in response, but we'll discuss that later this morning, if that's okay. Thank you, Alun.

The second paper to note is a letter from the Counsel General on the Legislation (Wales) Bill, and it notes that the Counsel General has dealt with two of the four recommendations made by us, and Members will be aware that the regulatory impact assessment has been updated on that basis too. So, that's something for us to note. We have two sets of minutes, from 5 June of this year and 13 June. Are Members happy to note those papers? Okay, thank you very much.

3. Cyllideb Atodol Gyntaf Llywodraeth Cymru 2019-20: Sesiwn dystiolaeth
3. Welsh Government First Supplementary Budget 2019-20: Evidence session

Ymlaen â ni, felly, at brif ffocws ein cyfarfod ni'r bore yma, sef cyfle i graffu ar gyllideb atodol gyntaf Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer 2019-20. A gaf i groesawu'r Gweinidog Cyllid a'r Trefnydd, Rebecca Evans, atom ni, a hefyd Matthew Denham-Jones, dirprwy gyfarwyddwr rheolaeth ariannol Llywodraeth Cymru, a Sharon Bounds, pennaeth rheoli cyllidebau a pholisi ariannol Llywodraeth Cymru? Croeso i'r tri ohonoch chi.

Awn ni'n syth i gwestiynau, os cawn ni, i ddechrau, ac fe wnaf i gychwyn gyda'r ffaith bod y gyllideb atodol, wrth gwrs, yn dyrannu dros £260 miliwn net yn ychwanegol i adrannau, fel rŷm ni'n gwybod, ac mae'r rhan fwyaf o hwnnw'n gysylltiedig â phensiynau sector cyhoeddus. Mi fyddwn ni wedi nodi, dwi'n siŵr, fel Aelodau, eich datganiad chi'r bore yma ynglŷn â'r ffaith nad yw Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig yn ariannu'n llawn y swm sydd ei angen arnom ni ar gyfer cwrdd â'r gofyniad o safbwynt y pensiynau hynny. Allwch chi amlinellu i ni, efallai, pa drafodaethau rŷch chi wedi'u cael gyda Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig a sut rydym ni wedi dod i'r pwynt lle mae yna ddiffyg o £36 miliwn?

We'll move on to the main focus of our meeting today, which is an opportunity to scrutinise the Welsh Government's first supplementary budget for 2019-20, May I welcome the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, Rebecca Evans, along with Matthew Denham-Jones, deputy director of financial controls within Welsh Government, and Sharon Bounds, head of budgetary control and financial policy in Welsh Government. A warm welcome to you all. 

We'll move immediately to questions, if we may, and I will start by noting the fact that the supplementary budget does allocate over £260 million additional net funds to departments, as we know, and the majority of that is associated with public sector pensions. We will have noted, as Members, your statement this morning on the fact that the UK Government is not fully funding the amount required for meeting requirements in terms of those pensions. Can you outline to us what discussions you've had with the UK Government on this subject and how we have come to this point where there's a deficit of £36 million?

Diolch, Cadeirydd. On 7 March, I issued a written statement that updated Members about the allocation of funding that would be needed to meet the additional public sector pensions cost in Wales in 2019-20, and I set out the assurances that Welsh Government, alongside the Scottish Government and officials from Northern Ireland, have repeatedly sought from the UK Government that they would be funding that additional cost. The additional cost arises from a decision that the UK Government took in respect of pensions, and therefore our firm understanding, and one that is set out in the statement of funding policy, is that, when the UK Government makes a decision that materially impacts on Welsh Government spend, then it should make up that amount of money.

And it's set out very clearly in the statement of funding policy, which says that, where decisions are taken by any of the devolved administrations or bodies in their jurisdictions have financial implications for departments or agencies in the UK Government, or alternatively, where decisions of UK Government departments or agencies lead to additional costs for any of the devolved administrations where other arrangements do not exist automatically to adjust for those extra costs, then the body whose decision leads to those additional costs will meet that cost. Therefore, we had a legitimate expectation that the UK Government would meet those costs. Very late in the day, we had confirmation of the final allocation, and the final allocation is £219 million, which leaves a shortfall of £36 million. Now, Welsh Government is not in a position to not fund those pension increases. Of course, it's the right thing to do for our public sector staff, and, as such, that means that we've had to divert £36 million of revenue from other investment and other priorities that we would have as a Government to meet that shortfall. So, the Northern Ireland officials, Welsh Government and Scottish Government have jointly sent a very strongly worded letter to the UK Government demanding a meeting with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to discuss this issue. We're being very clear that if we don't come to a satisfactory resolution, then we will use the escalation powers to take that to the Joint Ministerial Committee.

10:05

There's a number of questions coming on that, of course, and I'd initially like to ask, really, what was the UK Government's rationale, then, for not meeting the full sum. Was it not a straightforward consequential or do they have a different way of working it out, or have they just said they don't want to give you the full figure? What's the rationale?

The UK Government treated us as any other department. So, the UK Government didn't fully fund the amounts to its departments, and therefore it didn't fully fund the Welsh Government.

There'll be headteachers the length and breadth of Wales who'll want you to answer this question: will the additional cost of support staff pensions be covered in this additional funding? The teachers' pensions have been funded. Will the support staff in schools also be funded from this additional fund—i.e. will schools have a supplementary budget sent to them to update on this?

I think the Welsh Government's in the absolutely right position on this and I think it's incumbent upon us as the parliamentary arm of governance in Wales, if you like, that we also write to the Prime Minister or to the Chancellor to support the Welsh Government in this because it's absolutely essential. This is a fundamental tenet of the settlement, which the UK Government seems to be unilaterally treating as some sort of pick and mix. It is something where I think we should be very protective of the settlement because it's very fundamental to the funding elements of how we operate. So, I think Welsh Government's in exactly the right place on this and we should be proactively seeking to find ways to support the Welsh Government and potentially talking to our colleagues in the Scottish Parliament as well.

Also, if we could ask for as much information as Welsh Government could give us, as a committee, about the settlement in Northern Ireland and Scotland to see whether the settlements that have been provided for them have been drawn up along similar parameters, what formulas have been used, what the causes and effects are. That would be very useful because—.

And also, there's an issue here of Government thinking that it had an assurance and, clearly, that assurance either not having been really given or the UK Government reneging on it. So, the more detail you can give us on the nature of the assurance, the better, in order for us to be able to judge what UK Government has done here.

Are you in a position to give us more detail about where the £36 million is coming from in terms of your budget? Are you taking it from reserves or—?

It's from reserves, yes. But I'll certainly explore with colleagues in Scotland and Northern Ireland in terms of what level of information they're happy to share. I know that they have, as we have, written independently and individually to the UK Government as well as our joint letter that has been sent to the UK Government. And, obviously, we would very much welcome any support that committee feels able to give on this particular issue.

And another thing, it's important that, in escalating this, as, I'm sure, committee members here would support Government in doing that, we need assurances that any gain, any success you have through that escalation process isn't a one-off; that this is setting precedents for years to come.

It is a settlement, and my position is that we need to ensure that the United Kingdom Government delivers on the devolution settlement. We usually talk about this in terms of legislative issues and statutory matters, but, in this financial matter, we need to be absolutely clear on that. And I think the Minister's explained exactly, as I understand the situation to be, and I think we should be very supportive of the Government in this.

Can I just agree? The command paper was absolutely specific on this: no detriment.

Yes. And your statement highlights, as well, that future funding is going to be dependent on the CSR.

That's right. We have no confirmation of future funding, so it would be part of the discussion of a comprehensive spending review and, Chair, as you know, we don't yet know when that might take place. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury has recently said that it wouldn't now take place before the summer recess, so we're looking to the autumn, which would be a discussion for us to have as well in terms of when we are able to table a budget for the Assembly.

10:10

Just another concern to note, financial statements that have been made in the past, and financial statements made alongside the Government of Wales Act 2014, for example, have been reneged on in other areas. One that we mentioned in the Assembly this week was on borrowing powers and the promise, the assurance that borrowing powers coming to Welsh Government would be able to be used as flexibly as Welsh Government wanted, and we know, with the conditionality attached to borrowing powers in relation to the M4, that that was reneged on too, so there's a pattern.

I agree with the points that have been made, Chair, but I think this opens us up—. I don't want to hold a conversation this morning on this, but I think this reflects poorly on the overall structure of funding and financing in the structure of the United Kingdom in a way that we discussed to some extent last week with the Office for Budget Responsibility, because what it demonstrates—. The Minister here this morning is the second Minister I've heard this week talking about how they're unable to take decisions in terms of future planning because of issues around the comprehensive spending review being run by the Treasury. Now, I'm not sure I wholly accept that argument from Ministers, I'll be quite frank, because I think there are things that Ministers can do, and you certainly hope that there are. However, what it does do is demonstrate that the current structure of funding and financing of the devolved administrations is not robust enough and is too dependent on day-to-day or month-to-month financial decisions taken by the Treasury without reference to the Governments in either Wales or Scotland. I don't think that that is a robust way of managing UK finances. I thought the OBR were very good last week, in terms of some of the things they said about overall structures of funding, and I think it would be incumbent on this committee at a future date to review some of those issues in terms of how we take forward future funding structures.

Chair, we've started some of those conversations already in terms of the finance quadrilateral meetings that we have—and they are less frequent than I would like them and, I think, less frequent than the other devolved nations would like them to be. But, in the meeting that we did have with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, I was very clear that we did need to review the statement of funding policy, and that work is being led by Welsh Government officials in partnership with officials across the other nations. But it certainly needs to be, I think, tightened up, so there's absolutely no room for ambiguity and no room for UK Government not to deliver on the items that are in the statement.

Just coming back to Alun's point, I agree with that. I think it'd be a good time for us to do a piece of work on the overall funding structure, moving forward. I think Gerry Holtham did a piece of work on this in advance of income tax being devolved. He said it would be good if there could be some overarching body or some way of dividing funding amongst UK that wasn't totally dependent on one massively powerful partner within the UK. He didn't have any answers at the time, but I think it's a good time for us to revisit it now.

Okay, that's something we need to consider, then, and we could probably pick up on that in later discussions—

Yes, indeed. [Laughter.] I did have a couple of more technical questions around the pensions, and they're straight 'yes' or 'no' questions, I think. I was just wondering whether you could confirm that the approach to funding these pension costs for directly funded bodies is the same as for other public sector bodies.

Yes. There we are. Good. Also, the Wales Audit Office, in its supplementary budget, advised us that it had agreed with the Welsh Government a new approach to accounting for its cash balance at year end and that there's now a notional return and redraw from the consolidated fund. So, can you confirm that you're satisfied with that approach?

Can I ask Matthew to answer that question, because I know that he actually had—or was it Sharon? Officials had the meeting with the WAO.

We meet with the finance officials in all the bodies that are also directly funded from the Welsh consolidated fund. We met with WAO to talk about the amount of cash they held at year end, partly because they've got funding from fees that they raise from bodies that they audit, and we agreed that they shouldn't hold large amounts of cash there, and if they're drawing funds from the Welsh consolidated fund, there are two mechanisms by which you can regularise that position. One is effectively to actually just physically pay the cash back into the fund. The other is to notionally make a payment, and effectively it comes off your next year total. So, we've had that discussion with them and we're content with their proposal in that respect. We haven't looked in detail at or discussed their actual request for additional cash this year. I think that's more something for the committee to look at. 

10:15

I'm interested, Minister, in some of the reductions in annually managed expenditure. As you're aware, we've already as a committee discussed some of the variances in student loans annually managed expenditure in the past, and this year there's also a £40 million decrease in forecasts for impairments and provisions relating to the NHS. I was wondering if you could give us the reasons for that, and also whether you have any concerns around the forecasting of annually managed expenditure provision. 

Thank you for that question. With regard to annually managed expenditure specifically within the health and social services main expenditure group, it mainly relates to the movement of impairments on specialised properties in the Welsh NHS, and also provisions for clinical negligence claims on the Welsh risk pool. But I'll ask Sharon to give a little bit more detail.

Yes, as the Minister said, annually managed expenditure, the budget that is there for the health and social services MEG, mainly relates to what we would term non-cash transactions—in the main it's impairments and provisions for clinical negligence for the Welsh risk pool. In terms of the £40 million, £25 million is in relation to the impairments, £15 million is for the provision on the Welsh risk pool. And just to put that into perspective, the £25 million actually represents less than 1 per cent of the overall capital asset base. So in that perspective, it's a very small movement. Similarly, £15 million for the provision on the Welsh risk pool again is less than 1 per cent of the overall risk pool that is being held. 

I'm interested as well, Minister, in the tax forecasts for 2019-20. You haven't updated the tax forecasts in the supplementary budget. Could you run through how you undertake any in-year monitoring of tax forecasts and tax receipts? We had some very interesting conversations on this matter last week with the OBR, and I think you did begin to have that conversation in questions yesterday as well. I think it would be useful for us to understand at what point does the Welsh Government feel that it has the confidence of understanding that its tax income reflects its tax forecasts.

Thank you for raising that. We do monitor the in-year tax receipts information that we receive from the Welsh Revenue Authority, and that helps us develop our understanding of the likely position at the end of the year for 2019-20, but it also informs part of our in-year financial management system as well. But the reason why there's not been an update in forecasts or revised forecasts in the supplementary budget at this point is because we just don't have enough information at this stage to do that. But the OBR will be publishing its revised forecast for devolved taxes and UK taxes in the autumn, and it will be at that point then that we're able to make a revision in our second supplementary budget. 

We're at a very early stage in the devolution of income tax, clearly, and I'm wondering—I accept that you're not going to have tax receipts information at this point in the year, and we understand that. But are you confident, because there have been issues in Scotland, haven't there, where the revenue has not reflected some of the forecasts? I'm wondering whether you have sufficient confidence as to whether the revenue, HMRC, have the structures in place to provide you with the information on income tax receipts that you feel confident that you can rely upon.

I think that we do have those systems in place. We have the memorandum of understanding with HMRC to ensure that we do have accurate and timely data from them. I met with the OBR myself last week, just after they'd come to speak to Finance Committee in fact, and we did discuss the Scottish experience and some of the differences between the situation in Wales and Scotland. One of the key differences is that the OBR provides figures for Welsh Government and UK Government. So, they're using the same set of data and the same methodology, whereas in Scotland they take forecasts from the Scottish Fiscal Commission, which obviously is a different organisation and may have different ways of using and analysing data. So, in that sense, I think that we are more secure.

I think that the differentials in tax in Scotland are different, because obviously they have power over the setting of different levels of tax, whereas we only have power over our Welsh rate of income tax. So, we're less exposed in that way. Nonetheless, I don't want to be complacent and we'll obviously be keeping a tight eye on it. 

10:20

I think you're right in that we're less exposed, but I think the argument over the fiscal commission in Scotland and the OBR simply means, if they make a mistake for England, they make the same mistake for Wales. I don't think it provides us with that much cover. And what the Scottish Fiscal Commission is supposed to do is to provide the Scottish Government with more granular information about the situation in Scotland, rather than the OBR, which uses less granular information on both Wales and Scotland, and looks more at a UK basis than a Welsh or Scottish basis. So I'm less convinced by that argument. Have you given any consideration to creating a Welsh fiscal commission?

No, we haven't, because I think we're satisfied with the level of service and information that I think we are getting from the OBR at this stage. Obviously, we'll watch the situation in Scotland very closely. It's extremely early days for us in our tax devolution journey, but obviously we will watch what happens elsewhere closely. 

Sure. I'll let you in, Mike, but I am keen to keep a focus on the supplementary budget. 

Okay. This will be very quick. Don't we have protection in the first year for income tax?

And the second one is: have you started profiling land transaction tax so that you can see exactly how you would expect to be doing against how you're actually doing as the year progresses?

Yes, we do look at those forecasts. That's part of the work that we undertake, and we get information from the WRA as tax receipts come through. 

But profiled forecasts. We know, with land transaction tax, that people buy and sell properties at certain times of the year, and some months, like December, tend to be slightly quieter and other months, like the end of year, tend to be slightly bigger. We know that. So, do you hold those profiles?

We do know that. We look at a profile of a forecast, but, of course, as you'll be aware, property taxes are notoriously volatile, so that is very difficult. 

Diolch, Mike.

Dwi eisiau gofyn cwpwl o gwestiynau ynglŷn â Brexit ac effaith Brexit. Does dim un pwyllgor Cynulliad yn digwydd heb ein bod ni'n cyfeirio at Brexit, wrth gwrs, ond mi baratowyd drafft o'r gyllideb a'r gyllideb derfynol eleni, wrth gwrs, ar sail disgwyliad y byddem ni allan o Ewrop erbyn mis Mawrth eleni. Felly, a gaf i ofyn sut mae'r gyllideb atodol yma yn diwygio'r cynlluniau hynny i ystyried, wrth gwrs, y ffaith ein bod ni'n dal i mewn?

Thanks, Mike. 

I want to ask a few questions about Brexit and the effect of Brexit. No Assembly committee happens without a reference to Brexit. But, of course, you did prepare a draft budget and a final budget this year on the basis of the expectation that we would be out of Europe by March this year. So, can I ask how this supplementary budget amends those plans to take consideration of the fact that we're still in?

Well, there are two main areas where the latest situation on Brexit has been reflected, the first being the capital allocations of £85 million to support Wales, particularly in the event of a 'no deal'. As a Government, we view the threat of 'no deal' extremely seriously. It's looking more likely, I think, the longer things drag on and the rhetoric we hear from leadership candidates in the UK Conservative Party. Clearly, it's something that we need to be sure that we have done everything possible to prepare for. So, the capital stimulus package was intended to give some confidence and some certainty to business. We've seen already, over the last month or so, just how fragile the sector can be at the moment. So that was the main allocation of £85 million, and we can talk a bit more about how that's broken down, if you like. 

The other main allocation is £11.4 million allocated from the EU transition fund. And that's been, again, designed to help business, the public sector, third sector organisations and others prepare for Brexit, providing support across sectors, from UK field epidemiology to enhanced export services, compliant wood packaging, and so on. So there have been a large number of projects that have been funded in that £11.4 million. Most of them are under £1 million, and they reflect bids that were put in by individual Ministers based on the kind of representations they're getting from their stakeholders and others. 

10:25

Fe fydden i yn licio mynd ar ôl yr £85 miliwn yma, fel roeddech chi'n sôn amdano fe, a'r ffaith bod e wedi'i dorri lawr i bedwar cynllun ariannu. Efallai gallech chi ddweud ychydig ynglŷn â sut mae'r pedwar maes yna yn adlewyrchu eich blaenoriaethau chi, a'r meysydd rŷch chi yn awyddus i'w blaenoriaethu yn y senario dim cytundeb. 

I would like to follow up on that £85 million, the way you were talking about how it's cut down into four funding schemes. Could you tell us a little about how these four areas reflect your priorities, and the areas that you're keen to prioritise in the 'no deal' scenario?  

So, when we talked to Cabinet colleagues about the projects that could be brought forward in a capital stimulus package, one of the main criteria was that it could be something that could be delivered very quickly in year, and that would reflect all of the announcements that we've made, which are: £50 million for a social housing investment programme; £20 million for local authorities; £10 million towards the economy futures fund; and £5 million for trunk road and motorway carriageway maintenance. So, these things can all happen very quickly, and can be done across the length and breadth of Wales. Those were two of the main priorities, but in our documentation we also asked colleagues to consider, as they normally would, the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, and also look for further opportunities within those to promote biodiversity specifically when the projects do start rolling out. 

Iawn, diolch. Wrth edrych ar y sefyllfa bresennol, wrth gwrs, dydyn ni'n dal ddim yn gwybod a fyddwn ni fewn neu allan o'r Undeb Ewropeaidd; mae'n bosib y byddwn ni allan—yn gynyddol debygol, efallai, fel mae'n mynd—ar ddiwedd mis Hydref. Felly, gaf i ofyn sut ydych chi'n cynllunio ar gyfer dyraniadau oddi fewn i'r flwyddyn ariannol ac, wrth gwrs, wrth edrych ar yr ail gyllideb atodol efallai? Sut ydych chi'n paratoi ar gyfer hynny? Er enghraifft, ydych chi yn fwriadol yn edrych ar arian wrth gefn a chlustnodi arian wrth gefn ar gyfer delio â goblygiadau Brexit yn ystod y flwyddyn ariannol yma? 

Okay, thank you. In terms of looking at the current situation, of course, we still don't know whether we'll be in or out of the European Union; it's possible we will be out—it's increasingly likely, it seems, as things are going—at the end of October. So, can I ask you how you are planning for allocations within the financial year and, of course, for the second supplementary budget? How are you preparing for that? For example, are you looking at reserves and earmarking reserves for dealing with the implications of Brexit during this financial year?   

I've held back an element of our capital reserves in 2019-20 to enable us to respond to those scenarios that might befall us in October. So, I was clear when I made the announcement of the £85 million that there would be the potential for a further capital stimulus package, should it be needed, as we get closer to that Brexit date. And I'm asking colleagues already to start prioritising items within their portfolios, which, again, could be brought forward and delivered quickly. 

But I would add, Chair, that on the wider issue of Brexit, we've been clear that the impacts would be disastrous for Wales in so many ways, and that we would be looking, in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit, to the UK Government to provide additional funding to help us deal with the issues that would flow from that. Again, it's the same discussion that we and the other devolved nations are having with the UK Government. 

Iawn. Diolch yn fawr, a dwi'n siŵr ein bod ni i gyd yn deall pa mor anodd yw hi o dan yr amgylchiadau i allu gwneud y cynllunio y byddai unrhyw Lywodraeth yn dymuno ei wneud heb wybod, wrth gwrs, beth sydd o'u blaenau nhw. Ie, Rhun, wrth gwrs. 

Right. Thank you, and I'm sure we all understand how difficult it is under these circumstances to make the plans that any Government would wish to do not knowing what's facing them, of course. Rhun, of course.  

Pa mor ddatblygedig ydy'r trafodaethau yna efo Llywodraeth Prydain ynglŷn â'r cymorth ariannol fyddai Llywodraeth Cymru yn anochel ei angen pe baem ni'n gadael heb gytundeb? O ystyried tystiolaeth amgen ynglŷn â pharodrwydd Llywodraeth Prydain i roi yr hyn sydd ei angen i Gymru, pa obaith gwirioneddol sydd yna y daw yna gymorth ychwanegol? 

How developed are those negotiations with the UK Government on the financial support that the Welsh Government would inevitably need were we to leave without a deal? Given the other evidence we've seen in terms of the willingness of the UK Government to provide what Wales needs, what real hope is there that additional support will be provided? 

As I say, we're making the case but, unfortunately, the response is not as we would wish it to be. When I was discussing it with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, she was adamant that there was no need to have a discussion about funding in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit, because a deal would be done and we didn't need to concern ourselves with planning for a 'no deal' Brexit, because it wouldn't be on the cards. 

Well, that's all right, then. Nothing to worry about. [Laughter.] 

The discussions across the piece, really, are unsatisfactory, and that's an example of what we're dealing with. 

Wel, mi fyddwn ni'n adleisio hynny hefyd. Mike. 

Well, we will certainly echo that. Mike. 

I'd like to raise an issue that I, and perhaps only I, think is far more important than Brexit, and that's the climate change emergency. I would like to ask: how are you balancing up the expenditure you're taking in the supplementary budget— and I'm probably going to ask you this at the second supplementary budget and next year's budget as well—how are you balancing out the need to re-inflate the economy, put money into the economy, and the need to decarbonise?  

The first supplementary budget is relatively small in the sense that it represents only 1.9 per cent of the budget; 1.6 per cent is relating to the pensions issue. So, in effect, we're talking about just over 0.5 per cent of the budget, which is why what we can actually do in terms of climate change is relatively constrained. But nonetheless, looking forward—and you said that you'll raise these issues with the budget—I think that the issue of the whole climate emergency and where we are now has changed the nature of the discussions that we're having.

So, I've started my initial rounds of bilaterals with colleagues, and, in every one of those, we've had conversations about climate change, about the climate emergency, and the well-being of future generations Act, and that's very much at the centre now of the approach. The First Minister has asked each Cabinet member to take responsibility for one area within our programme for government—so, again, decarbonisation is one of those. That's being led by Vaughan Gething, and the role there is for us to provide challenge to each other. So, Vaughan will be asking colleagues, in the decisions that they're taking about their budget, to demonstrate how are they responding to the climate emergency, how are they dealing with decarbonisation in the decisions that they're making. It's to make sure that we aren't missing opportunities and that there isn't opportunity for join-up across Government that we haven't yet spotted.

Alongside that, I know the committee was really interested in the future generations commissioner's challenge of Government last year in terms of our budget. One of her key asks, I think, of Government was to develop a journey checker so that we can understand the route that we're on, how far we've come so far in terms of embedding the Act, but then how much further we need to go to really ensure that it is at the centre of decision making. So, officials have been working really closely with her and her office to develop that journey checker as well. So, I think it is fair to say that the conversations that are being had are changing now with decarbonisation and climate change more widely at the centre of it. 

10:30

Finally, you talked very strongly in answer to Llyr Gruffydd earlier about how this extra money is going to prove a stimulus to the economy. What I'm saying is: why isn't the same effort going in to have a stimulus to try and reduce the amount of carbon? Because stimulating the economy in the short term may be fine, but, if we haven't got a planet to live on, it won't matter.

I think there are opportunities within the funding that has been announced. So, for example, the additional funding for the economy futures fund—well, that has several work streams within it, one of which is about helping businesses become more environmental and to decarbonise and so on. So, there are certainly opportunities there.

I appreciate highway maintenance wouldn't be on the top of everybody's list when we're talking about decarbonisation, but I think that we all recongise that it is important as well in the sense that Welsh Government has 1,000 km, I think, of trunk road that we have to look after. So, this is important work nonetheless, and I don't think anyone would disagree with that. 

But it is your Government that declared a climate emergency and an emergency would—you know, reasonably, you would expect a palpable shift in priorities within Government, but that isn't reflected really, is it, in this supplementary budget.

Well, as I say, this supplementary budget represents less than half a—just over 0.5 per cent of the Welsh Government's budget. 

That probably says something as well in terms of surely the Government should be moving more money around and reprioritising a bit more urgently than maybe leaving it until next year's budget. Alun Davies.

I sympathise with the Minister. This is the first supplementary budget, not the second. We are, I think—I've got to get my maths right—into the third month, is it, of the financial year. So, there is always at this point in time a need to make adjustments, but not fundamental shifts, in where the budget is sitting for the year. So, I've got some sympathy for the Minister on this occasion.

I think, as a committee, what we need to be able to do, though, is to ask the Government to demonstrate, as the year progresses, that in subsequent supplementary budgets and in setting the budget for the following financial year they're able to demonstrate where the climate emergency is actually influencing and changing funding decisions. I think we will anticipate seeing more fundamental changes, possibly, in the second and third supplementary budgets. 

Perhaps you could consider help—. It's not just businesses that want to decarbonise—I'll declare an interest here; I would like to decarbonise at home as well, and I would like, not Government money, not Government funding to decarbonise my house, but Government support, and a place that Government provides information to people. That's the kind of area that you need to invest in so that people can make the choices themselves.

10:35

So, when I was in the housing portfolio, I started a piece of work that looked at decarbonisation of individual homes and retrofitting. That work now is starting to culminate into something that I think we can use. So, it identified, across Wales, I think around seven different types of home, and then looked at the different ways in which they could become more carbon efficient and warmer and so on, by taking various steps—or the homeowner can take various steps. So, I think that, hopefully, we'll be in a place to be able to have that information so that homeowners can make choices. I know in the piece of work that the future generations commissioner has done, which sets out how she would like to see an additional £1 billion of spend allocated to address decarbonisation, she has referred to work, I think from the Institute of Welsh Affairs, which said that we would need to spend £5 billion over the next 15 years on a retrofit programme. But, of that, it wouldn’t be all Government—it would be about allowing homeowners to take informed decisions about the investments that they need to make.

And doing so would generate savings as well for the NHS and all sorts of other sectors.

Ocê, dŷn ni'n dod at Rhun nesaf. 

Okay, we come to Rhun next.

I was going to suggest the European Investment Bank would be a good place to go.

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Cwpl o gwestiynau ynglŷn â gwariant ar gefnogaeth busnes a £15 miliwn o'r pecyn cyllid cyfalaf o £85 miliwn sydd wedi cael ei ddyrannu i'r prif grŵp gwariant economi a thrafnidiaeth. Mae £10 miliwn o hwnnw wedi'i ddyrannu ar gyfer cronfa economi'r dyfodol i—a dwi'n dyfynnu fan hyn—gyflymu'r gwaith o ddarparu'r gwahanol becynnau cymorth. Allwch chi roi syniad i ni o'r mathau o becynnau cymorth sydd wedi cael eu dewis a pha bryd dŷn ni'n mynd i deimlo effaith y gwariant yma?

Thank you very much. Just a few questions about the expenditure on business support and £15 million of the capital funding package of £85 million that's been allocated to the main expenditure group. Some £10 million of that has been allocated to the economy futures fund that's going to—and I'm quoting here—speed up the work of providing various support packages. Can you give us an idea of the kind of support packages that have been chosen and when we will feel the effects of this expenditure?

The Minister for economy is currently considering funding packages to support a range of projects across all regions in Wales, and he wants to build on his intention to mainstream a greater regional dimension to decision making in terms of delivering fairer and more equitable outcomes closer to home. But I can say that the kind of areas that could be supported would be the automotive sector, manufacturing, life sciences and advanced battery manufacturing. And those sectors could be supported through the six schemes that are currently included in the economy futures fund, which are capital investment and aid for job creation, SMART Cymru research and development, the tourism investment support scheme, the environmental protection scheme and the creative production funding and also a repayable fund for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Ac, os caf i ofyn: ydy'r rhain yn gynlluniau sy'n barod i fynd? Hynny ydy, a ydy'r arian wedi cael ei ddyrannu er mwyn ymateb i alw penodol ar gyfer meysydd lle gallai'r arian gael ei wario'n eithaf cyflym er mwyn cael canlyniadau'n eithaf cyflym?

And, may I ask: are these schemes that are ready to go? That is, is the money already allocated in order to respond to specific needs in areas where the money could be used quite quickly to see the results we need?

The schemes themselves haven’t yet been agreed, but the whole purpose of this capital stimulus package was that the funding could be deployed quickly and in-year. So, we would expect those schemes to be identified shortly.

Mae yna £5 miliwn arall wedyn allan o'r un £85 miliwn sydd ar gyfer cynnal a chadw cefnffyrdd a thraffyrdd. Mae o'n nodi'n benodol fod yna fwriad yn fan hyn i gefnogi'r gadwyn gyflenwi arbenigol. Wn i ddim os oes yna ragor o fanylion allwch chi rannu ynglŷn â beth yn union dŷch chi'n ei feddwl wrth hynny.

Another £5 million of the same £85 million support package is allocated for trunk and motorway maintenance. The allocation notes, specifically, that there is an intention here to support the specialist supply chain. I'm not sure whether there's any more detail that you could share regarding what you mean by that.

That was, again, language that was used in the bid which I received from the Minister, and it refers, specifically, to the supply chain, which services the need for road maintenance schemes. So, it’s that specific part of the supply chain.

Ocê, mae'n bosibl gawn ni ragor o wybodaeth gan Weinidog yr economi, felly. Diolch yn fawr.

Okay. Perhaps we may get some more information from the economy Minister, therefore. Thank you.

Diolch. Morning, Minister. A non-controversial subject here: can you confirm what the final cost to the M4 relief project project—irony, of course—will be, and how much the future steps outlined by the First Minister will cost?

So, the total expenditure since 2014 on the M4 relief road is £114 million, and that includes VAT. That covers everything, from the judicial review of the strategic decision to proceed with the project right through to design and development and the extensive public engagement, and then obviously the full inquiry process. In terms of next steps, the First Minister has been clear that the work that the commission does in terms of identifying potential solutions for congestion and traffic problems in and around Newport would have the first call on the funding that would otherwise have been spent on the M4 black route. There are some shorter term initiatives, which the First Minister has also talked about—so, increased or additional traffic officers, increased live journey time information and a behavioural campaign. We expect that to amount to around between £4 million and £5 million over two years, and you'll see that reflected in the second supplementary budget.

10:40

So, the £114 million to date—. I know the Public Accounts Committee are going to be looking at this next month, so I won't go too much into that sum. But, in terms of the future steps and the money that would be available for whatever the commission decides upon, is there any specific amount within this budget that is kept aside for any decision that might come from the commission, or is that still up in the air?

There's nothing in the first supplementary budget that relates to that. In terms of money that we would have expected to have spent on the M4, should the decision have been made to proceed with the black route, it would have been in the region of around £20 million of capital money this year, but obviously now that remains in reserves for deployment to other projects.

You mentioned short-term solutions such as behavioural change and maybe, I don't know, timetabling, public transport changes, but longer term there could be—. I mean, if the commission comes back, for instance, and says, 'Okay, the black route has been shelved but there might be a case for improving the existing motorway'—I don't know, new tunnels at Brynglas or something—then any money, then, that will be allocated for that will be done so at the time. There's nothing that's in this budget that is being kept aside for that. 

No, that would be looked at at the time at which the advice came forward and decisions were made to take forward pieces of work.

Thank you for that. In terms of the budget available to the commission, you've repeated what the Minister repeated on his feet in the Chamber on Tuesday, that the commission will have first call on the budget that would have been available to build a black route. Now, that to me means that the commission has a budget of potentially £1.4 billion available to it. Is that correct?

There's no set budget. I think we have to remember that when the First Minister made his decision he did talk about it in the wider context of affordability. So, he disagreed with the inspector opinion in terms of the environmental balance—that was one part of the decision. The other was around affordability in respect of the choices that Government has to make about building new schools, houses and other infrastructure projects. So, there's no set budget for the commission, but I think that the First Minister and the economy Minister don't want the commission to feel constrained and not suggesting potential solutions.

So, the budget could be £1.4 billion or it could be zero. If there is no budget available to it, there is no budget available to it.

Well, the First Minister said that they will have the first call on additional funding, and any projects will obviously be—

—but any decisions will obviously need to be taken in terms of the effectiveness of any projects that might come forward, the affordability, and balancing those against other priorities and pressures on Government at that time.

You've just appointed a former Secretary to the Treasury to lead this work, and I suggest that, if he was given that sort of budget, he would ask the same questions as I'm asking today. There is either a budget available to it, available—. You said £20 million in the current financial year. So, there is £20 million available in the current financial year, yes.

Okay, so there isn't £20 million available in this current financial year, because reserves can be spent as the Government deems fit. So, in future financial years, there have been some potential reviews of how the black route may have been afforded, we know that, but it appears to me that the Government is giving a nod and a wink that there's plenty of money available but I can't see it in any budget and that worries me.

10:45

Well, we don't want the commission, which is only now being established, to feel constrained or to design projects to meet a specific budget. The commission needs to have the space to do its work and come back with the recommendations that they think will make a difference and then we can judge those in the round in terms of the affordability of projects.

But if £1.4 billion is unaffordable, what number do you think, as the finance Minister, is affordable?

—about projects that have not yet been developed or proposed. So, I think that when projects are developed or proposed, then that's the time to have that discussion about what funding might be made available and over what period and what the choices are in terms of what we don't do as a result of that.

This morning, you're not giving any undertaking to provide dedicated funding for any project to relieve the pressures on the M4 corridor around Newport. The Government has been very clear that establishing the commission was a means of delivering relief to that corridor more quickly—and this is part of what the FM said—than providing the black route and all the issues around that. Now, I don't understand how the Government can make a commitment to delivering that relief if the Government itself—and you're saying this morning—doesn't have a budget to deliver that.

I'm not putting a figure on what money is or isn't available to the commission at this stage, but as the commission does its work, then they can do so in the confidence that the First Minister has said that they would have first call on that available funding.

Just to add to that, to try to tease a bit more out: until recently, Welsh Government was considering spending upwards of £1.4 billion on a new black route relief road around Newport. It was decided that that was too much to spend, but the money was there to spend, otherwise there is no decision to make whether to proceed with it or not. Where is that potential £1.4 billion now and how much of that £1.4 billion potential is available to be dipped into to improve road resilience around Newport and, as my party would say, to look at that as part of a wider Wales-wide transport strategy?

So, in terms of the funding profile, it would have been, as I said, in the region of £20 million capital this year and then the profile over future years would have drawn on our ability to draw down borrowing, so—. And that's—

But—and I'm very sorry to interrupt—you can't make a decision that you are willing to borrow up to £1.4 billion unless you have made the calculation that it's affordable to repay that £1.4 billion. So, we might be asking the wrong question. It's not, 'Where is the £1.4 billion?', but, 'Where now is the money that had been earmarked over a 30-year period, presumably, to repay the borrowing on the M4?' That, surely, is available for borrowing still. How much borrowing capacity, then, is there still, which the Government is willing to commit to, if £1.4 billion was too much?

So, we can only borrow up to a maximum of £1 billion and we can draw down £150 million a year, and that was profiled into the spend in terms of delivering the M4. And on top of that, then, we would have been using our capital budgets in those years as well. So, you can see the decisions that were made in the overall view of what was affordable, bearing in mind all of our other ambitions for housing and so on.

I take it back: it was a controversial question. [Laughter.] It's run away from me, I think. Just on the back of what Rhun and Alun said, borrowing in this budget is at £125 million.

So, without labouring the point, was any of that borrowing specifically allocated? You've mentioned the £20 million figure. Was any of that borrowing specifically allocated for the M4?

We only borrow to increase our overall spending capacity. So, we don't borrow specifically for specific projects, but we had plans to borrow—. We do plan to borrow £125 million this year, of which £25 million has now been allocated. The rest remains in reserves for allocation throughout the year.

And a question, which I think Rhun might have asked, actually, earlier this week in relation to that borrowing—when the commission comes forward with whatever proposal it wants, if that includes an engineering solution of some sort, albeit not the black route, is that borrowing still available for another scheme, or is your understanding that that borrowing was only there for the black route scheme?

10:50

No, we can still borrow £150 million a year, up to £1 billion, for any project. We don't have to agree with the UK Government which projects funding will be—

Okay. As I said, we'll be returning to this on public accounts, so I will leave that there. 

Bridgend Ford has obviously been a big concern recently—has the Welsh Government committed or earmarked in reserves any funding for potential mitigation in this supplementary budget?

There's nothing in the supplementary budget specifically relating to Ford. In the normal way, it would be for the Minister for Economy and Transport to explore in the first instance within his MEG if he did feel that there was additional funding needed and to prioritise that within the MEG.

And in terms of the—I've got a figure here of £63 million that's gone to the plant since 2006 to support jobs. Has there been any assessment of the potential to claw back any of that money, particularly now the decision's been taken to close? 

So, each of those grants will have terms and conditions attached to them, so we're currently working through those terms and conditions to explore whether there is a possibility to either claw back funding that has already been provided or to cease any other funding should there be any other funding due to them. So, that's a piece of work that the economy Minister's currently seeking some advice on. 

Thank you. I'd like to ask a question about the financial state of local health boards, because their accounts, which were published in the final budget for this year, show that the net overspend for the three years to 2018-19 has deteriorated to £411 million, and I'm just wondering what action you're taking to close that funding gap and whether you'd expect them to make any further in-year funding available to the health boards in response to that situation. 

So, in terms of action that we're taking to support health boards, you'll be aware that in our main budget we're investing over £0.5 billion of new funding in health and social care in response to the vision set out in 'A Healthier Wales', but also to meet the cost in the growth of demand that was predicted by the Nuffield Trust. In terms of any additional funding this year, it would be really for Vaughan Gething to explore within his own MEG. I don't envisage providing additional funding from reserves for this.

A clear message to the health Minister there. Yes, okay; thank you. Mike.

Can I turn to housing? An extra £50 million has been allocated to support the delivery of up to 650 affordable homes. Two questions relating to that—are they by local authorities or by registered social landlords, and how are you going to build houses for less than £80,000 each?

So, the funding for affordable housing will be allocated using the standard social housing grant formula, which means that every local authority will receive their share of the additional funding, and, again, this funding was determined to be a priority because there were projects that could be started in-year, and we would expect schemes from local authorities' programme development plans to come forward as a result of that. In terms of the cost of those individual units, well, those are the figures provided by the Minister for Local Government and Housing, and obviously she would have taken advice on that. 

I just thought that £80,000 people would think was quite—even if assuming your land is free—cheap for building properties. But can I return to the first question? Is it going to be built by registered social landlords or councils or a combination of the two? And who will decide?

So, the funding has gone to local authorities through the social housing grant. Whether or not they would seek then to work with registered social landlords would be for the local authorities. 

Yes. That was the answer I wanted from the beginning. 

And you've got another £20 million allocated to local government general capital funding, which is just under £1 million per local authority. Obviously, some will have more or less in the formula—. I assume it will go out by a formula, a general formula, because, apart from highway maintenance, what can local authorities spend capital on of less than £1 million a year?

10:55

Well, the Minister for Housing and Local Government has her officials currently liaising with the Society of Welsh Treasurers' executive, to explore ensuring that the grant gives local authorities enough flexibility to use that funding as they choose, in terms of their own priorities locally. Again, this is about ensuring that local authorities are able to take forward projects very quickly and in year, based on their local priorities.

Diolch. Following the second supplementary budget last year, this committee, of course, recommended amongst other things that more detail be provided in terms of narrative and impact assessments in relation to future supplementary budgets. The Government hasn't really expanded the narrative for this supplementary budget, and there's no impact assessment included, so could you explain to us why that's the case?

I think, in terms of being proportionate, of course, if we don't include the—. Well, the vast majority of the supplementary budget relates to pensions money, and, if we don't include that, obviously we're looking at just over 0.5 per cent of the Welsh Government's budget, so I think we have to be proportionate in terms of the kind of information that we provide. But, of course, all of these decisions that are reflected in the second supplementary budget have been through the normal impact assessment work that goes on. But, if there are specific details that the committee feels it could have benefited from in the first supplementary budget, I will endeavour to provide you with the details but also consider that in the way we present things next time.

Yes. We'll have to capture that in another recommendation, I think, to you. You've mentioned the impact assessment tool, and the work with the future generations commissioner as well, and I'm just wondering if you could give us an update, really, of where you are with that. You mentioned it earlier on this morning, but I'd just like to dig a bit deeper, really, in terms of how that's affected, particularly, this supplementary budget as well, and what the timescale is for the development and broader implementation of some of those tools across Government.

So, we've committed to reviewing our integrated impact assessment this year, so we'll be doing that work over the summer. I know officials have a meeting with the future generations commissioner and other stakeholders in July—is that right? 

I think that's right, but I'll check as well.

And is there anything you can tell us in terms of how the processes that you have in place have impacted on this current budget, given the work that we as a committee have done previously in trying to encourage the Government to do more in terms of these integrated assessments?

I think that the integrated impact assessment has been well received by colleagues, but one of the things it's fair to say is that colleagues now are recognising that they need to employ this much earlier on in the decision-making process. So, we need to demonstrate the decisions that are being considered or the advice that is being presented to Ministers and how that has changed as a result of impact assessments, and I think that's what the commissioner particularly wants to see, and I think it's what Ministers want to see as well, to show that the impact on people with protected characteristics or the environment and all of these items have been considered early on in the development of proposals, rather than working up proposals and then working out how they will impact on people and the environment and so on.

Yes, and what we would like to see as a Finance Committee is evidence of how that sort of change in culture is really taking root and isn't just being talked up, but clearly we'll be pursuing that on each and every occasion that you appear before us, I'm sure. A final word to Alun Davies.

By asking a question that has nothing to do with the supplementary budget. In giving the business statement on Tuesday, you gave notice that there would be a statement on future public spending on 17 July. The way in which I'd like to abuse your presence here is to ask you whether you'd consider making that into a debate rather than a statement, because one of the issues that we're looking at as a committee is to look at future priorities for public spending and ways in which the Government will, as we've discussed this morning, shape its future budget priorities. And it might well be that a better way, in order to enable Members to have that conversation, is through a debate rather than a ministerial statement. 

11:00

Can I just add to that? We've had for budgets a statement debate, where a statement is made and we then engage in a debate and the answer comes at the end. It speeds it up dramatically, and it does work better. 

We've had it on a number of budgets, where we've had a budget statement but instead of the Minister getting up and answering after everybody speaks, we've had everybody speaking and then a summing up at the end, and that's worked a lot better. So, a statement debate. We don't have a vote on it, but you do have the opportunity to—

Maybe we'll ask the Minister to consider whether she's open to that kind of approach this time. We're always up for trying different things and I think that kind of approach would be our preference as a committee, I'm sure. 

Diolch yn fawr. A gaf i ddiolch i'r Gweinidog a'i swyddogion am fod gyda ni y bore yma? Dŷn ni'n ddiolchgar i chi am y ffaith eich bod chi wedi dod atom ni yma yn Aberystwyth. Mi fyddwn ni, wrth gwrs, yn adrodd ar y gyllideb atodol yma yn fuan. Ac wrth gwrs, mi fydd hefyd yn destun trafodaeth bellach yn y Senedd. Felly, diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am fod gyda ni. 

Thank you very much. May I thank the Minister and her officials for joining us this morning? We're extremely grateful to you for joining us here in Aberystwyth. Of course, we will be reporting on this supplementary budget relatively soon. It will also be subject to further debate in the Senedd. So, thank you very much for joining us. 

4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod hwn ac ar gyfer dechrau'r cyfarfod ar 3 Gorffennaf 2019
4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting and the start of the next meeting on 3 July 2019

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod, a dechrau'r cyfarfod ar 3 Gorffennaf, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting, and the start of the meeting on 3 July, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Mi fydd y pwyllgor nawr yn symud i sesiwn breifat. Felly, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi), dwi'n cynnig fod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod ar gyfer eitem 5 a hefyd o ddechrau’r cyfarfod ar 3 Gorffennaf yr wythnos nesaf. Ydy Aelodau yn fodlon gyda hynny?

The committee will now move into private session. So, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi), I propose that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the meeting for item 5 and the start of the meeting on 3 July, which is next week. Are Members content?

Can I remind the Minister she's going to write to us on one issue?

On whether the money—your official is nodding. Yes, you will be.

Ydy Aelodau'n hapus, felly, i ni symud i sesiwn brefat? Iawn, diolch yn fawr iawn i chi i gyd. Diolch.

Are Members content for us to move to private session? Thank you very much.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11:01.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 11:01.

Archwilio Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru