Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru

Yn ôl i Chwilio

Y Pwyllgor Deddfwriaeth, Cyfiawnder a’r Cyfansoddiad

Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee

04/05/2020

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Carwyn Jones AC
Dai Lloyd AC
Mick Antoniw AC Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Suzy Davies AC

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Gareth Howells Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
Katie Wyatt Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
P Gareth Williams Clerc
Clerk
Sarah Sargent Ail Glerc
Second 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.

Cyfarfu'r pwyllgor drwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 11:15.

The committee met by video-conference.

The meeting began at 11:15. 

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

I welcome Members to this second virtual meeting of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee. In accordance with Standing Order 34.19, I've determined that the public are excluded from the committee's meeting in order to protect public health. In accordance with Standing Order 34.21, notice of this decision was included in the agenda for this meeting, published last Thursday. This meeting is, however, being broadcast live on Senedd.tv and the Record of Proceedings will be published as usual. So, aside from the procedural adaptation relating to conducting proceedings remotely, all other Standing Order requirements for committees remain in place.

We have a full committee in attendance, so there are obviously no apologies. Can I just ask if there are any declarations of interest from the Members? I can't see that there are any.

I'll just deal, then, with some of the housekeeping arrangements. Can Members please ensure mobile devices are switched to silent mode? The National Assembly for Wales operates through the medium of both the Welsh and English languages. Interpretation is available during this morning's meeting. Members are reminded that the sound operator is controlling the microphones and, as such, there is no need to mute and unmute during the course of the meeting.

2. Offerynnau sy'n codi materion i gyflwyno adroddiad arnynt i'r Cynulliad o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.2 neu 21.3
2. Instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Assembly under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3

Now, if that's all in order, then, we move straight on to the agenda of this meeting, and we move straight on to the Agricultural Wages (Wales) Order 2020. Members have before them the report, the Order, the explanatory memorandum and, indeed, a letter from the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd dated 30 March 2020.

This Order makes provision about the minimum rates of remuneration and other terms and conditions of employment for agricultural workers. The Order revokes and replaces the Agricultural Wages (Wales) Order 2019, with changes that include increases to the 2019 minimum hourly rates for agricultural workers. I'd say also that the Order contains provisions for not just minimum rates of pay for different categories of agricultural worker, but also provisions relating to accommodation, dog allowance, on-call allowance, night work, sick pay, time off and holiday pay, as well as bereavement leave for agricultural workers. So, it's obviously an important Order.

Assembly lawyers, I understand that there are a number of technical and merits points for reporting, so, over to you, Gareth.

Diolch. Yes, there are three technical reporting points and one merits reporting point, starting on pack page 1. The first technical point notes that the Order contains a definition of 'national minimum wage', but that the term 'national minimum wage' is not then used elsewhere in the Order.

The second technical point notes something that has appeared in the committee's reports on previous agricultural wages Orders. Article 15(1) of the Order says that where an employer provides an agricultural worker with a house for a week, the employer can deduct £1.50 from the wages for that week. But then article 15(2) of the Order says that where an employer provides an agricultural worker with other accommodation, the employer can deduct £4.82 from the wage for each day the accommodation is provided. It's our understanding that 'other accommodation' is not going to be as nice and is going to be less substantial than a house, yet based on a five-day working week, a worker provided with a house will have £1.50 a week deducted, while a worker provided with other accommodation will have £24.10 a week deducted.

The third technical point notes inconsistencies between the English and the Welsh versions of the Order. The Welsh Government has not yet responded to those technical reporting points.

The merits point notes a breach of the 21-day rule—that is, the rule that 21 days should pass between the day the Order is laid before the Assembly and the day the Order comes into force. The draft report notes the reasons given by the Welsh Government for the breach. The Welsh Government says that the UK general election led to a delay in announcing the UK national living wage and the UK national minimum wage, and that the agricultural advisory panel for Wales met after that UK announcement and revised the originally proposed Order in light of the UK announcement. The Welsh Government letter to the Llywydd on pack page 94 sets out more detail.

11:20

Yes, just on the initial point regarding accommodation, apart from this generally being a bit of a mess, the alternative accommodation, of course, could mean hotels. So, the distinction between just a bed in a room somewhere, which is not unknown, as we know, in this particular sector, and more glamorous accommodation is quite significant. So, actually, the lack of definitions on that I think is quite serious, because there may be occasions where the higher figure is more justified.

I'm content with the report, and I note the concerns that you've raised, Chair. 

In terms of the points that you raised, Gareth, on this, obviously that definition point is quite an important one as to what exactly it means. We've not had any response on that either, yet.

No, we're waiting for a Government response on all three technical points. 

Okay. I think that's one that we'll come back to as one we need to pay attention to. On the 21-day issue, I think it goes into the pot with a number of others, et cetera. This is one that's more concerning, as to why there was a 21-day breach here. I'm not sure I completely understand the reason given, but I think it's one of these that we will be reviewing in the light of a number of breaches that have occurred, and the reasoning behind them. Many of them are coronavirus related and understandable in those circumstances, but we will need at some stage to focus on those that aren't.

Is everyone content to move on? In which case, we go on to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (No. 2) (Wales) Order 2020, and, again, you have the relevant papers in front of you, together with a letter from the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd of 14 April 2020. This Order amends the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order of 1995 to permit certain developments in Wales for the purpose of preventing, controlling or mitigating the effects of or taking other action in connection with a public health emergency in the United Kingdom. The Trefnydd's letter states that the Order would enable, for example, the setting up of temporary hospitals and testing stations on land not owned or maintained by a local authority or the Crown, such as within private sports arenas. Again, I understand there's a merits point to be reported, so over to you, Gareth.

Only to note that [Inaudible.] health reasons given by the Government for the breach.

No, no points. Okay. We then move on to the next item, which is 2.3, the Local Authorities (Coronavirus) (Meetings) (Wales) Regulations of 2020. Again, the papers are before you, together with correspondence from the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd of 21 April 2020, and, indeed, a written statement. So, these regulations make provision in relation to local authority meetings and the publication of and access to certain local authority documents during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a number of technical and merits points to be reported. Gareth.

Yes, there are two technical points and two merits points. The two technical points on pack page 110 note some incorrect cross-references within the regulations. The Welsh Government responded this morning, accepting the points and saying that a correction slip would be requested so that the electronic version on legislation.gov.uk would be corrected.

Again, there was a merits point noting a breach of the 21-day rule and the reasons given by the Welsh Government for that breach. In brief, these changes need to be made in order to allow local authorities to hold meetings safely and remotely during the current pandemic.

There's also a merits point noting that there's been no formal consultation on these regulations, but the explanatory memorandum states that the Welsh Government has been in contact with both the UK Government and bodies representing local government in Wales before making these regulations.

11:25

Okay, thank you for that. Suzy Davies, any comments or observations? 

Just to note that point of there being no consultation, but it's understandable why. 

3. Offerynnau sy'n codi materion i gyflwyno adroddiad arnynt i'r Cynulliad o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.2 neu 21.3 - trafodwyd yn flaenorol
3. Instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Assembly under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3 - previously considered

Okay. In that case, we then move on to item 3: instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Assembly under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3. We have the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. You have before you, obviously, the report and the Welsh Government response. Now, the committee considered this instrument last week, on 28 April 2020, laid this report the same day and, as Members will know, the Plenary debate on the regulations took place last Wednesday and I delivered the report. The response was received after the committee's report was laid and, for that reason, because of the scheduled Plenary debate, the response was circulated to Members outside of the committee meeting. So, today, we're really just invited to formally note the Government response, but I will invite any comments or observations. So, Suzy Davies. 

No, just again to note it could have been useful to have had this earlier. 

Right, okay. I think that was no additional comments. I think your phone went off for a very short moment. 

4. Papurau i'w nodi
4. Papers to note

We move on to item 4, then. A letter from the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd: Direct Payments to Farmers (Legislative Continuity) Act 2020 (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2020. Members are invited to note the letter from the Minister, which notifies the committee that the UK Government has made the Direct Payments to Farmers (Legislative Continuity) Act 2020 (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2020. The letter notes that the instrument makes provision in relation to Wales, amending primary legislation within the Assembly's legislative competence. Now, we will be considering this broader area in private session, when we go through the legislative consent memoranda. Is everyone happy for me to defer this until we go into private session? 

Actually, Chair, perhaps I should just declare an interest on this one, as my husband is in receipt of support under the current common agricultural policy regulations? 

Okay, we note that declaration of interest. 

We move on to item 4.2: a letter from the Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language on the ministerial forum on trade. Here we are just being invited to note the letter from the Minister, which gives an update following her attendance at the most recent ministerial forum on trade. Of course, this information is, obviously, sent to us in accordance with the inter-institutional relations agreement, which we are aware of. And if there are no comments on that, I will now ask the committee to exclude the public from the meeting for the remainder of the meeting. 

5. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod
5. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

So, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi), I invite the committee to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. Do the Members agree? 

I can see there is agreement, so we will now move into private session. 

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11:28.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 11:28.

Dysgu am Senedd Cymru