Pwyllgor yr Economi, Seilwaith a Sgiliau - Y Bumed Senedd

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee - Fifth Senedd


Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Helen Mary Jones AS
Joyce Watson AS
Russell George AS Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Suzy Davies AS
Vikki Howells AS

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Cerys Furlong Prif Weithredwr, Chwarae Teg
Chief Executive, Chwarae Teg
Dr Alison Parken Ysgol Busnes Caerdydd, Prifysgol Caerdydd
Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University
Dr Sioned Pearce Ysgol y Gwyddorau Cymdeithasol, Prifysgol Caerdydd
School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
Laura-Jane Rawlings Prif Swyddog Gweithredol, Cyflogaeth Leuenctid y DU
Chief Executive Officer, Youth Employment UK
Yr Athro Ewart Keep Yr Adran Addysg, Prifysgol Rhydychen
Department of Education, Oxford University
Ruth Coombs Pennaeth Cymru, Y Comisiwn Cydraddoldeb a Hawliau Dynol
Head of Wales, Equality and Human Rights Commission
Rhian Davies Prif Weithredwr, Anabledd Cymru
Chief Executive, Disability Wales

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Gareth David Thomas Ymchwilydd
Lara Date Ail Glerc
Second Clerk
Phil Boshier Ymchwilydd
Robert Donovan Clerc
Robert Lloyd-Williams Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Sam Mason Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser

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 09:45.

The committee met by video-conference.

The meeting began at 09:45. 

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

Croeso, bawb. I'd like to welcome Members and Members watching in to the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee this morning. I move to item 1. We have one apology, from Hefin David, this morning. If there are any declarations of interest, please say now. It's also important to note that, under Standing Order 34.19, I've determined that the public be excluded from this committee in order to protect public health, but the broadcast is live on, and the transcript of proceedings et cetera will all be available as normal following the meeting.

If there are any interruptions to this meeting today from my connection, it's been previously agreed that Joyce Watson will stand in as the temporary Chair. All being well, we won't have any connection problems. 

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

I move to item 2, and there is one paper to note. Under item 2.1, we have a letter from the Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales regarding the Transport for Wales remit letter. It doesn't require any action, it's just there for Members to note. Are Members happy to note that? Thank you very much. Diolch yn fawr. 

3. COVID-19: Adferiad—Diweithdra ymhlith pobl ifanc
3. COVID-19: Recovery—Youth unemployment

I move to item 3, and item 3 is in regard to our work on COVID-19 and recovery. Today, we have a panel—our first panel of today, I should say, as we have two panels, with a panel later on in the morning as well, but this is our first panel, and this is in regard to youth unemployment. We have three witnesses with us, and I appreciate you coming to committee this morning. Perhaps I could ask you to introduce yourselves for the public record. 

Helo, I'm Ewart Keep, I'm a professor at the Department of Education at Oxford university. 

Good morning. I'm Laura-Jane Rawlings, I'm the chief executive of Youth Employment UK. 

Bore da. Good morning. I'm Sioned Pearce, I'm a research fellow at the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods at Cardiff University, studying youth unemployment. 

Diolch yn fawr. Thank you very much, all, for introducing yourselves. Members have got a series of questions, but if I could just ask an opening question to start with, and by all means expand if you want to or if you've got any other opening comments you want to make. But perhaps you could just outline the scale and pattern of youth unemployment as you see it in Wales, and the implications for recovery. Is there any one of you who would particularly like to jump in first on that? Professor Ewart—

I'll have a go. 

Yes, I'll have a go. I think the thing is, though, that it's early—it's a terrible thing to say, but it's early days yet in the sense that we don't really know the full scale of the unemployment problem until somewhat later in the year. Youth unemployment, the data, the figures, are always backward looking, so it'll take a while for people to filter through the benefits system or to be captured by the systems that the Welsh Government have got in place for tracking what happens to young people in education and the labour market. But my guess is that it'll be about Christmas before we really know the full scale of the effects. Obviously, adult unemployment will have impacts on youth unemployment, and we certainly don't know the full scale yet of adult unemployment. The bigger the adult unemployment total, the more people are competing for that limited pool of jobs. We know that, quite often, employers favour older workers over younger workers when they're recruiting, particularly in some sectors. So, what happens to the adult unemployment count is really going to matter. It'll have knock-on effects on young people.  

Young people told us before the crisis that they weren't confident they were going to find good jobs where they lived, and so what we've seen through coronavirus is just an extension of the areas of disadvantage that were already in our systems. So, those young people who were struggling to find work before coronavirus are going to struggle so much harder. And Ewart is right, we probably won't see the picture—I don't think we'll see the full picture before the end of this year. When you look at the 2008 recession, it took until 2011 to have that peak rise in youth employment, where we saw 1 million young people not in education, employment or training. So, it took a three-year pattern, really, to play out.

What we also know from young people—and Youth Employment UK are youth-led, so all of the information I have about youth unemployment comes directly from young people who are experiencing it and living it—what we know from young people is that they also won't engage with the benefits system. The youth voice census is a survey that we run every year at Youth Employment UK, and in this year's report 19 per cent of young people who are NEET claim benefits through the universal credit system. So, that leaves a lot of young people who will fall through the net and get left behind in the wake of coronavirus, too. So, there is a real concern about what numbers we're counting, how we're counting those young people and measuring their progress and journey into employment. 


I would agree with both Ewart and Laura-Jane there that we won't see the full extent of the crisis for quite some time, and that the figures are backward facing. And just to add, really, to emphasise what Laura-Jane said about claimant count—analysis of Nomis data by Sheffield Hallam University researchers has shown that the number of young people eligible who claim benefits is declining, and this could be for a number of reasons, but one very possible reason is the increase in precarious employment—zero-hours contracts and periodic unemployment, so almost not being unemployed long enough to warrant going through the whole system to claim benefits, and also perhaps falling back more on family support and friends, which leads to the extension of the—[Inaudible.]—phase, which is increasing. 

Just to add as well, while we're watching the data emerge and the levels of youth employment rise, I think it's worth nothing—this was something I was going to come to later, but to just to say now—in terms of Eurostat data and the way that youth unemployment is measured across Europe with Brexit, I think it's important for the Welsh Government to consider almost keeping in tune with youth unemployment levels as they arise around Europe, so that we're comparing with a wider frame of reference rather than just looking at what's happening in the UK.  

Sure. Members might want to dig into that a bit later on as well. Thank you, Sioned. Vikki Howells. 

Thank you, Chair. Thank you all for your very useful introductory comments as well. I'm wondering what we can learn about youth unemployment from previous recessions that we've been through, and how you think this recession might impact on youth employment in different ways.  

As I'm the eldest of the witnesses, I'll have a go because I can remember some of the earlier—. I think probably the closest analogy we're going to have is actually the youth unemployment crisis of the early 1980s. I think this is going to last quite a long time. It will all depend on how the recovery happens, at what pace and in what sort of shape, but I'm not really relying on a V-shaped recovery of the economy and the labour market; I think it's going to be dangerously L-shaped, particularly in some sectors in those parts of Wales that are reliant on those sectors, so hospitality, catering, tourism, leisure, retail. 

What we saw in the early 1980s was exactly the point that Laura-Jane made, that it takes a while for the cumulative impacts of youth unemployment to mount up. So, you've got this summer's worth of people who've left the education and training system, and what happened in the early 1980s was that several years' worth of people—. So, it became cumulative, rather like a bath filling up—every year, more young people came into the labour market and only a relatively small proportion of them got a job. And so youth unemployment just kept on rising. 

I think the big message I'd take from it is that the Department for Work and Pensions' Kickstart scheme is probably going to turn out to be too short in duration. In the early 1980s—in 1981 the UK Government ditched the youth opportunities programme, which was almost exactly like Kickstart. So, it was a six-month work placement with not much training and it wasn't long enough, and people were just going straight off it back into the unemployment pool. So, a one-year youth training scheme was introduced and within three years, that had become a two-year youth training scheme for the young unemployed. So, I think, thinking about—. One of the key messages is to think quite hard about what happens when the first cohort of people graduate from Kickstart and a lot of them can't get a job. What do you do? Do you put them back on a kickstarter, their next kickstarter? So, there is a question about duration, and I think that's probably the biggest lesson from the early 1980s—we underestimated how long the effects of youth unemployment would last. Even the recession that came after 2008—it took seven or eight years for the youth labour market to fully recover. 


I would probably argue it hadn't fully recovered. We have not solved youth unemployment across the UK. I have only been working in this sector since that last recession of 2008, but I came from the commercial sector, and one of the things that I was quite struck by was the amount of investment that goes into youth unemployment without measure—without measure of the impact that it's having, without measure of the quality, and without accountability into outcomes. So, we've spent of money on employability workshops, or curriculum vitae workshops, and that sort of training activity, and young people can end up gathering certificates from those programmes, from one provider to another provider, and just get cycled and cycled and cycled. And, actually, the impact of that cycling through is really negative on that young person, on their life earning chances, on their mental health and well-being, on their self-belief, and their personal systems, where they live and how they contribute to society.

So, for me, one of the things that struck me, coming from a commercial background into the youth employment space, was just that by not prescribing some of this more clearly from funders or central Government, as to what should happen along that journey, we've created an open market system around young people that has led to a lot of poor quality, and a lot of different frameworks and standards and language changes. And I think there is something in that that we have to think differently and more centrally about, that has to be delivered at a local level. I think there is some real need to have a real strategy across, a national policy around young people and their journey into work. 

I think also the thing that we should learn from is something that makes us rather unique in this space is by having young people in the co-creation and design of that strategy, of what that looks like for them. I'm afraid to say that none of us look as though we are 14 to 24, and we probably, then, shouldn't guess what young people of the ages of 14 to 24 want from our systems, and how they would engage with them, and where they are and what they need. And that, again, strikes me, from a commercial background. You don't see a trainer manufacturer just making trainers without doing any sort of user testing to see if they will work. So, there is a lot we can learn from our young people, and they should be part of the solutions.

And just to Ewart's point, and my final one, we have to create jobs. We cannot just have young people on programmes—we have to create jobs. And without jobs, we will not move these unemployment data. 

Thank you. Sorry, Vikki, did you have any further questions or are you happy for other Members to jump in? 

I just had something to add to that in respect of the lessons learnt. 

So, in my written submission, in terms of the lessons learnt from the last recession, I talked a bit about the principle of no-one left behind, and the move away from the elements of flexible unemployment and precarity that are most damaging, speaking to Laura's point there. Part of my research is around welfare regimes and the devolved implications for welfare regimes. And there was a strong correlation between more generous welfare regimes across western Europe and good recovery from the past recession, which is why I made that point. And then, more practically, and closer to home, we can look to the Scottish report from the advisory group on economic recovery, which does recommend two years instead of the six—as in two-year apprenticeships, rather than the six-month apprenticeships. And I have more to say on that perhaps later, around how Jobs Growth Wales could be perhaps used to move in that direction. 

There's also the triage system of the Developing the Young Workforce programme in Scotland, which has taken that approach, and that's been shown to work very well as well. So, there are those principles, I think, around at least the devolved will to move towards things like a living wage, fair work, fair work policies, and no-one left behind, and I think that's a big lesson that we can learn in terms of recovery from the last recession, if we're looking at it wider than the UK.


Absolutely. I know that some Members want to ask about some of the issues later on in the session. Suzy Davies, if you want to ask any supplementaries, and then come on to your subject area—you're just on mute, sorry, Suzy.

It's a very popular thing in our meetings, on Zoom, to say—'just unmute'.

Yes, that's happened to me—anyway, you don't want to know about that.

It's okay, Chair, I think the supplementary I wanted to ask may come up in the next set of questions, and if it doesn't, I'll come in then, if that's okay.

Welcome, everybody. I just wanted to ask you about young people as individuals, because it's so easy to talk about young people as homogenised masses of—a problem to be solved, rather than individuals who've got life chances that need looking at. What are your observations on particular groups of young people—where they might be, what backgrounds they might be from, what sectors they're already working in, and the interests they may already have in the education system? How will the impact of COVID, in particular, going to affect them? How different is it going to be for different young people?

If I can, I might try and answer first. Yes, you're quite right, Suzy—our young people are so very, very different, with different experiences. Back to my very first comments, what COVID is doing is it's widening the disadvantage gaps that already exist. So, if you are a young person with additional needs, disabilities, mental health challenges, you come from a low socioeconomic background—all of those issues are being exacerbated. You are likely not to have had educational support during lockdown, you're unlikely to—. We're hearing from Children in Need and other charities that they've seen double the amount of phone calls during that lockdown period. So, there are a lot of other complex issues that have woven into the young person's experience because of lockdown and the implications that has. So those gaps—. Young people with disadvantaged characteristics were already disadvantaged in the labour market; this will be exacerbated under COVID because they will be competing, then, as Ewart says, with the 500,000 young people who've left education this summer, and will leave again next summer, and they will be in the labour market with young people who have barriers and other challenges to employment. So, those young people are the young people who really do need us.

But, again, back to the youth voice census report, young people weren't feeling prepared when they left education for the labour market as it was, pre-COVID. So, in this labour market, being able to change your career aspiration if you had plans to work in retail or hospitality—. Adults might be thinking differently about their careers now; young people weren't necessarily having that careers education advice and experience in our schools to know that they now need to make different choices, or they'll find things more difficult. I know from experience that a lot of young people in our network hadn't had contact with schools during that period. So, those who were leaving education in the summer weren't necessarily getting access to advice to help them plan their next steps, post-16 or 18.

So, for me, there's this kind of balance of those young people who were furthest away and are going to get further away, and we have to do more to shore up that support, just as Sioned says, and no young person being left behind, but also to recognise that this cohort of young people just haven't had that preparation and training in our education system to even prepare for what is coming their way over the next years—resilience, careers education, careers management skills, those types of things.

Yes, I wish I'd had those, actually, back in school. Can I ask you, though, because I think it's going to be fairly obvious that this is where a lot of Government attention will go, for the reasons you've already mentioned—is there a risk then that we might not keep an eye on our young entrepreneurs and those who are, a couple of years down the line, going to be the ones that create the jobs that you, in your last contribution, said were so critical? Can we afford to not watch them as well?

In my view, we can't afford to let anyone go—we have to just tighten our hold on our young people, we have to take more accountability ourselves as the system around them to make sure that everybody can progress and fulfil their potential. The reason why it's so complex is because you focus on one group at the distraction of another and we have to be really careful that we don't do that because so many young people need that support. Some might need light-touch support, but they are going to need some form of support to make those next steps.


Yes, I would say, just leading on from what—[Inaudible.]

I was off and on again. Yes, just leading on from what Laura-Jane said, I think the role of civil society organisations is really important. There will be groups that are harder hit by the shutdown and the recession that we're currently in: black, Asian, minority ethnic and refugee groups; disabled people; people with mental health issues; and women in Wales, in particular—I think the data was announced yesterday. But, I think, knowing this can be done better through working with civil society organisations that are working on the ground with different groups of young people. So, I think a good knowledge of what's happening—.

And also, just to add that I think the evaluation of Jobs Growth Wales was broadly favourable, but one of the big criticisms was the lack of targeting and the achievements that were made, which could have been made anyway, were seen as a point of criticism in the evaluation. And I think that's somewhere where this kind of approach could really be well used and well leveraged.

And then just again to emphasise what Laura-Jane said about a more holistic approach: the distance from the labour market tool—the five-tier model that Careers Wales has created is a really good start and that's in the youth employment and progression framework for Wales. But I think there's still a lot to be done around a more holistic, confidence-building, empowering approach—not just targeting people who are close to the labour market or focusing on people who may be further away, is a really important approach.

Well, the only thing I'll add is that I suspect that one of the things that's going to be slightly different about this youth unemployment crisis is that, this time around, there are going to be a lot more graduates who are going to be unemployed. This is going to be probably the first time we've seen mass graduate unemployment.

There were signs of that after 2008, but because the higher education system has got bigger and the graduate labour market is a bigger slice of the overall youth labour market, I think we're going to see some really quite considerable problems for graduates, particularly from certain subject areas and certain kinds of institution, and we're not really geared up for dealing with that. And I think that that's going to be quite a shock for a lot of people who've invested a lot of time and energy in acquiring degrees and who are going to still find themselves quite a long way back in the labour market queue, partly because there are going to be so many displaced, experienced adults going for the same jobs as they would have been.

I think that's an important point, actually. A final point from me, Chair, is whether our witnesses think that a different approach might be needed in rural areas. We had a report out today saying that rural poverty or rural child poverty is much higher than perhaps many of us would have anticipated. Any views on that? That's a different—[Inaudible.]—from the labour market.

Don't feel that you all have to answer, but if anybody does want to take up that point.

I think I will just say, I think there can be some really interesting work done on a place-based approach, working in communities, as Sioned says, with social enterprises, the community, charities and partners. I think you have to deal with this top-down and bottom-up, because you have to come at it from every which angle that you possibly can.

Okay, thank you. In that case, I'll move on to questions from Helen Mary Jones.

Thank you, Chair, and thank you to all witnesses for your testimonies so far. We've actually begun to talk about this in your answers to Vikki and Suzy, but I wonder if you could say a bit more about how those young people who are most marginalised already in the labour market—how we can make sure that they are not left even further behind. And do you have any views as to whether existing Welsh Government schemes will be sufficient to address that? And, if they're not, I think we'd particularly welcome any practical suggestions about what else the Welsh Government ought to be doing for that particular group, and just taking on board the point about we're going to have graduates, for example, who are going to be potentially competing for much lower level jobs. So, is the Welsh Government's response to this likely to work? And, if not, what else might they do? Sioned?


Yes, I'm happy to start off on this. I can speak to some of my research and the civil society element of it. It's based on a piece of research that was carried out across western Europe post the 2008 recession on youth unemployment and civil society. The study found that a more structural positioning of youth unemployment, as opposed to an individualisation of youth unemployment, where the onus is on the young person to update their CV and apply for as many jobs as possible—found that a more structural approach, positioning youth unemployment in a more structural way, had more favourable outcomes. So, just to say that.

I can talk more about that a little bit further on, but, in terms of more directly answering your question, Helen Mary, in terms of youth unemployment being sectorised hand in hand with precarity and in-work poverty and so on, I think, again, the more holistic approach would be a good one and looking at how the Welsh Government can work alongside the Kickstart scheme in Wales to provide perhaps a more no-one-left-behind principle-orientated approach. Just drawing on some research from Quebec in Canada, to say that, in doing so, in involving civil society in this approach as well, I would recommend a more strategic and partnership-based relationship between the Welsh Government and civil society in Wales. In Quebec in Canada, civil society is quite strong, and it's actually funded to carry out strategic work, rather than just delivering projects.

So, some really great research from Sheffield Hallam University on 'The value of small' has looked at the increasingly valuable role of civil society, and this has only been magnified by the pandemic, on the front line providing services, even things like laptops for young people; working with them and kind of, firefighting. But then also looking at the more durable long-term things that we've talked about.

There's a lot going on, and I think the Welsh Government could really do well to work more strategically with these organisations through umbrella organisations. An example of this in Scotland is the co-writing of the youth work strategy with the charity YouthLink, so, YouthLink isn't delivering the policy; it's co-writing the policy with the Government. I think that's a really good example. 

Sorry, I'm going a little bit around the houses with the answer, but that is pretty much my point: I think a more strategic approach to working with civil society is one practical way that we can get to the young people who are more left behind. 

Just before I ask the other two to come in, can you say what you mean by a 'more structural approach' to youth unemployment, Sioned? I mean, it's probably a huge academic question that needs five lectures to answer, but if you could try and sum it up in five minutes or in a couple of minutes, that would be great. 

Yes. The countries in the study that I'm talking about were Sweden, Germany, Italy and Poland, and they're categorised by their welfare regimes. And so, the civil society organisations in those countries broadly reflect the types of welfare regimes—I'm really running through this quickly. But, what the more structural approach basically means is viewing youth as something to be invested in, rather than a problem to be solved. And again, as I mentioned earlier, it's moving away from putting the onus on the individual to solve the problem of employment, and, also, not making employment the be-all and end-all of youth employment, if that makes sense. So, it's actually not just whether you're in a job, or out of a job; it's a very complicated issue, as we all know. But the more structural approach takes that into account a little bit more, and it's not just about, 'This is what you need to do: apply for x number of jobs, do this to your CV, and either you're in a job or you're out of a job'. Tick numbers. Because it isn't that straightforward, and a job doesn't necessarily mean that you can pay rent. In-work poverty is at an all-time high. So, the structural approach takes all of that into account. Again, I've really skipped over a lot of important details.


That makes a lot of sense to me. Laura-Jane or Ewart, do you want to add to what Sioned said, particularly focusing on what Welsh Government could or should be doing for those young people furthest away from the labour market? Laura-Jane.

Yes, thank you. Understanding what works and scaling. So, there will be those solutions, there will be those amazing civil society organisations that are already doing this; we've got some great evidence and track record. What they really tend to struggle with is having the ability to scale that work that they're doing and to have the power to reach out to more communities. So, I think it's about looking outside of the Government itself and looking at what's happening and what's working, and putting the Welsh Government power into some of those organisations, just as Sioned said.

I'm a board director of an organisation called Youth Futures Foundation, which has a remit of evaluating what works in the usual employment space, and it feels like, for the first time, we're really trying to understand that programmatic approach to how we help young people and move them into employment. So, it's using evidence to make investment, rather than just putting money into the system.  

Good morning, all. I think you've probably already started, but I want to—I'm going off piste a bit. I want to explore this notion of individualising—that it's an individual's fault if they don't get into the labour market. If we do that—. We do it in several ways by measurement of outcomes, and if the outcome is that you've got a job or an organisation has delivered a job for you, and you don't get into that category, then it becomes your fault. As you've worked out, I'm not between 16 and 24 either, so I remember a few recessions, and I remember the result of that on young people's mental health, with them going around thinking, 'What is wrong with me?', not 'What is wrong with the system?' So, I have gone completely off piste with my question.

So, I want to explore that, and I'll come to the question I was supposed to ask with that in mind—that's my backdrop—about your views on what the Welsh Government are already proposing, and that are already in situ, if you like, to help individuals, young people, whoever they are, whether they're high flyers or whether they're not in education, employment, or training. What do you think about the programmes, with the backdrop of what I've just asked, in terms of delivering for individuals? Because each one of these people are individuals.

Who would like to address that first? I thought, Sioned, you might have been, but I've mistaken it for scratching your head. It's like being in an auction. I'm going to come to you, Sioned.

Yes, of course. So, just to make sure I've understood the question correctly, Joyce, you want to explore the issue of individualisation and perhaps how to move away from that through some of the announcements that Welsh Government has already made in terms of how to—. Okay. It's a big question, but I think, just to run through my understanding of what's happening—. So, the £40 million fund for skills and learning and other things like the joint Scottish and Welsh Government support for the aerospace industry, the extension of Citizens Advice free advice, and then all the other existing employment policy mechanisms like Jobs Growth Wales, Achieving Change Through Employment, Communities for Work and Communities for Work Plus and so on.

I suppose it's a lot around joint working and developing a joint understanding of the underpinning principles behind how and why. We want to get young people back into employment or closer to the labour market. So, I think—. I've got it noted here that it's the employment group—is that correct? The employment group, which is a cross-departmental approach to encouraging youth into employment—I think that's incredibly important. 

I think we could look at lessons from the past. So, in Wales, my past area of expertise has been Communities First, so, obviously, a massive anti-poverty—or was an anti-poverty programme running for 17 years across Wales. And I actually think that the founding principles for that were very strongly a move away from the individualisation of poverty, a little bit more broad than youth unemployment, but obviously it included unemployment and youth unemployment in that. So, I think the Welsh Government has got a history of—starting with the ideological principles of moving away from individualisation, to slightly more social, democratic approaches to dealing with poverty, and unemployment within that.

But in terms of the implementation, with Communities First, as we all know, there were issues, and it goes back to, I think, Helen Mary's point about measurement—no, sorry, Laura-Jane's point about measurement and how we measure success. So, I think that's across all the programmes that have been implemented or that are already running to address youth unemployment. I think the way that successes are measured—that's a really good way of moving away from individualisation, and I think you could look to Communities First. I can say more on this; I've just had a paper accepted on Communities First, on the modes of measurement for that policy and how they gradually moved away from the more structural approach to a more individualised one, and I think there are things that could be done there in future. But I'm conscious I'm taking up a lot of air time, so I'll stop now and hope that—. I can send more information on this, if you'd like.


Helen Mary, are you happy for Suzy to come in, if you've finished your particular questions? Suzy Davies.

Okay, yes, thank you for taking my question. With this structural approach, I'm not hearing very much about what incentives employers need to be offered in order to be part of this great structural change. Any thoughts on that?

Yes. I might come in on the point of employers, and it feeds into something else that I was going to comment on. We had to look to things like apprenticeships and ensuring that they are really solid pathways for our young people to safely experience the world of work and learn skills outside of formal education.

So, I think we've heard a little bit about the Kickstart programme that's been announced, and that really is just one small measure of lots that we'll need to be thinking about. Employers are chomping at the bit for Kickstart over apprenticeships, traineeships and some of those other programmes, which worries me a little bit because the value offer for an employer right now shouldn't be, 'Here's some free labour'; it should be the role of employers to think about the community in which they're serving and operating, to be thinking about future skills and talent pipelines down the road, because if they don't continue to support young people during this time, they will wake up in three years and realise they haven't been investing in skills and talent coming through and they'll go back into panic mode, which I saw early in 2010 and 2011—they realised that they hadn't kept that investment up and then were missing out on massive talent. So, employers have got to be encouraged, and incentives do work, but I think we have to get the right value employers doing this for the right reasons and not because there's a potential for free labour at the end of it. 

Thank you. Joyce Watson, did you want to come in or had you finished your line of questioning? 

No, I did want to carry on. I did, as I said, go off-piste, but there have been intervention policies announced by Welsh Government; we've talked about a number of them. And what I was really looking for was in terms of what I said—my preamble, so to speak—do you think that they're going to be successful in delivering for the young people we're talking about? And particularly, Ewart, you quite rightly said we're going to see one year this year, we're going to see another year next year, and if we're not careful, the accumulative effect—and that's really what made me go off-piste—is going to be huge, because those people who don't succeed in the first year are going to be knocked back and then if we got to year 3, you've got two years who are knocked back, which is potentially a million young people, by the figures that you've said. So, that's where my—perhaps I could have been clearer, but that's my concern.


Okay. Whatever a Government does in terms of trying to tackle youth unemployment, or unemployment generally, the key thing is going to be the rate of recovery in terms of the degree to which new job openings occur, and you can slot people into them, and then there are issues about the quality of the jobs that are created, but I'll put that to one side. Now, I have significant fears that, actually, a lot of the jobs that will be created in the next two or three years will be even worse than some of the jobs that have vanished, in terms of they'll be very precarious—they'll be labour by the hour. You'll see more, I suspect, of the gig economy, and I think one of the key questions the Government will have to ask itself is to what extent—what's the trade-off between job quality and job volume? And how can we boost the quality of the jobs that are being created? But basically trying to stimulate job creation is going to be critical, because however good the youth unemployment or general unemployment schemes are, if there's only a finite number of jobs, and the number of people available to do that finite number of jobs exceeds it considerably, then all that you do is move people up and down a job queue with your intervention. So, however good the youth employment schemes are, it's equally important that the Government thinks really hard about how more jobs can be created and what economic incentives, what economic development initiatives, what infrastructure projects and so on can be stimulated that will actually create new job openings, because in the long run, that's the key to crack—to at least starting to crack—this problem.

Thank you. I couldn't agree more with Ewart. It is absolutely about job creation and there's only one way out of this and it is good-quality jobs for young people, and I think apprenticeships; as I say, traineeships, play a real part here. I also just want to say, whilst we're again focusing on moving young people who are unemployed now, today, who are NEET, we have to think about policy down the line. If young people are leaving education systems telling us at the don't feel prepared, unless we start stimulating education policy and thinking of curriculum development to align with the jobs of the future when there is going to be economic stimulus, then we're still going to have that mismatch and we'll have another cohort coming out of education next year who don't feel confident—and they're entering, you know, the double whammy that we were just talking about there—and the next cohort and the next cohort. So, your immediate policy responses are right, but you also have to look at this as a very long game that you're looking to address—how do you stem that tide of young people leaving our education system feeling ill-prepared for their futures?

Just a very small point, because I also couldn't agree more with what's been said, but just to note to say that I think even Northern Ireland—there's a joint consideration between the departments for communities and economy around incentivising employers for retaining young people, rather than for taking them on in the first place, and I thought that that was worth just noting.

Thank you, Sioned. Have you finished your line of questioning, Joyce? Yes. Before I just come to Helen Mary With perhaps the last, final question, Professor Ewart, I'll direct this at you: we heard evidence from yourself and the others on the panel that perhaps some schemes that are being developed, whether they're being by Welsh Government or UK Government, aren't long enough. You mentioned the Kickstart scheme was one where it's a six-month period. What I'm grappling with is if Government do develop policy, they're doing it without knowing exactly where we're ending up, so, for example, I think at the start, I think you said, 'Well, we won't know until Christmas what the scale is.' So, do you think that some of these schemes that Government are creating can be adapted? Whether it's the Kickstart scheme, for example—it's for six months initially, but if we find that we need to extend that scheme, then that scheme should be the extended; the same for Welsh Government schemes. The Government have got this challenge of designing schemes without knowing exactly where we're ending up, and I'm just wondering how we get around that.


Absolutely. The history of previous—. As I say, the 1980s is very telling; what happened in the 1980s is really—there are some lessons from history there. One of the key ones is that you may have to reformulate your schemes in terms of tweaking them, upgrading the quality of the training element, if there is one in the scheme, because the evidence suggests that that's generally been a weakness in earlier times. But also duration. Yes, if people keep coming off Kickstart and go straight back on to benefits, and then have to be put on other kickstarters, sooner or later this gets quite embarrassing; it did it in the 1980s, and so the schemes lengthen. So, I think Government needs to very responsive, but I think that there's a message that's come across from all three of us as witnesses, and it's that, underlying that, there's got to be some really serious long-term thought. The Welsh labour market was far from perfect before COVID struck, and, in a way, COVID is merely going to make those weaknesses and problems bigger. I really think that both Wales and Scotland have grasped the nettle around the fair work agenda, and I think pursuing that agenda, around improving job quality, in the long term is going to be absolutely critical. It's not merely that people get a job, they get a job that's actually a decent job that allows them to live decent and productive lives. And that's actually a much bigger challenge. It won't solve the immediate crisis, but if we chipped away at that for 10 years, when the next recession comes, because recessions do, inevitably, I think the Welsh economy and labour market might be in a much stronger position than it currently is. 

Thank you, Chair. Just a final question from me, and it slightly builds on some of the evidence that you've already given us. Obviously, it's this committee's job, in some ways, not just to identify to Welsh Government what the problems are, and I think everybody knows that, but to make some specific suggestions as to what else they might do. So, I've picked up something from what you've said—something about actually creating jobs, investing to create work, which I think, certainly from my perspective, I'd agree with. But are there any other specific things—are there other interventions that have been successful elsewhere that we could refer them towards, so that we've got something specific and positive to say? And I completely take your point about where we might want to be in 10 years' time, but there are an awful lot of people who are out of work or are facing being out of work now, and we need to be encouraging the Government to respond to that as well, I guess. So, does anybody want to make some specific suggestions? Sioned, I can see you're unmuted and ready to go.

It's really kind of reiterating that the Developing the Young Workforce approach in Scotland has been very successful—the triage approach also. Deploying what already exists—the Jobs Growth Wales specifically, I think, and how that can complement Kickstart and the other parts of the Plan for Jobs package, and how that might work better in Wales for the specific socioeconomic conditions of Wales. And then just going back to what I said about the data, in terms of Eurostat and measurements of youth unemployment, and I think, with the advent of Brexit, it's a low-hanging fruit, in a sense, to keep Welsh data somewhat in line with the measurement of youth unemployment across Western Europe so we don't lose that very big, important frame for comparison. StatsWales is there, it exists, and I think there's certainly scope for looking at the questions that Eurostat are asking on youth unemployment, and keeping that wider frame of reference, so that there's just a better knowledge of what's going on.

And then, finally—[Interruption.] Oh, sorry.

Can I just ask you a quick—? Sorry, we'll come back to you for your final point. So, maintaining that level of data, is that because some more traditional measures of youth unemployment don't catch all young people who are actually not working? Is that things like benefit claimant count? I think we heard earlier that lots of young people don't end up claiming benefits.


Yes. It's just being able to match the questions, essentially, so that you can look at where Wales sits in the EU, or in Europe—sorry, as a European country, rather than just as a country within the UK.

Just to reiterate the working strategically with civil society organisations. I think there's a missed trick there. The youth employment and progression framework, the previous one, well, a report by the Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services found that civil society organisations in local authority areas were hitting the targets of the framework, but were not involved in the policy in any way whatsoever. So, in some cases, civil society organisations are already hitting policy targets, but are not involved. And that's just a missed trick, really, to my mind. And that, to me, is a quite straightforward, positive and practical thing that can be done: better strategic work with civil society.

Yes, thank you. I was asked a couple of weeks ago what three things I'd wish for for the education and training sector to be able to improve outcomes for young people. And I said, 'Actually, I only wish for one thing: I wish that the sector was accountable to young people, because I think it would change the way that we all thought about and served our young people if there was a different accountability structure here.' And I think that that would be my recommendation: to look to the young people across Wales and make sure that they are part of that measurement and bringing their accountability measures to you to hold you to account, as you're developing and the Government's developing its policy. Because without those young people in that place, we will keep designing things for them, without them, that we expect them to use and will be successful through. So, I would just make sure that your youth voice work becomes a really core part of your youth employment strategy.

Two things. I mean, I think, first of all, put as much effort and as much resource as you can into tracking where young people are in terms of their progress towards a job and their ability to be sustained in that job. Because just getting them into the job doesn't mean they're going to stay in it. There are a lot of young people who fall out of jobs very rapidly, partly because the job is very precarious. So, having a really good tracking system is crucial, and both Wales and Scotland have got much better tracking systems than England, though that wouldn't be hard. But I think putting all the effort you can into knowing where young people are, what they're doing and what package of support each one of them, as an individual, is going to need is going to be really important.

The second thing sounds really obvious, but I think trying to help the Department for Work and Pensions to make Kickstart placements of high quality is going to be really important. There's a really strong danger that certain sorts of employers will sign up for Kickstart because basically it's free labour. And that's exactly what we all need to avoid. So, I think putting a lot of effort into helping as much as you can the Jobcentre Plus youth hubs to find high-quality placements, not least in the public sector, that can actually deliver worthwhile work experience from which young people actually gain some skills and confidence, rather than just being exploited. Because, if that happens, we're really going to have a serious problem and there'll be an enormous backlash, because the press will pick it up and Kickstart has a potential to become something that will get a very bad name very quickly.

Do Members have any other questions or do members of the panel have any other final points to make? No. In that case, can I thank our panel, Professor Ewart, Laura-Jane and Sioned Pearce? Thanks ever so much for your time. It was a really interesting session for identifying what the problems were and then coming on to the potential solutions. So, a very invaluable piece of evidence this morning. So, can I thank you all for you time? It's very, very much appreciated. We'll send you a copy of the Record of Proceedings, and by all means, follow up the rest of our work on this and send in any further information. But thank you for the advance evidence that you sent also. Diolch yn fawr. Thank you very much. Bye, all.

In that case, we'll take a short 20-minute break. Can I ask Members to stay on for a moment, but we'll just go into private session until we resume just before 11 o'clock?

Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:40 ac 11:08.

The meeting adjourned between 10:40 and 11:08.

4. COVID-19: Adferiad i bawb
4. COVID-19: Recovery for all

Croeso, bawb. Welcome back. I move to item 4 in regards to our COVID-19: recovery for all session. This is the tenth session in our piece of work looking at the recovery in terms of infrastructure, economy and skills, and this is the first of two panels. We've got two panel sessions, this is the first, looking at equality issues relating to COVID recovery. So, we do have four witnesses today, and if I could ask them to introduce themselves for the public record.

Hi, Dr Alison Parken, I'm honorary senior research fellow at Cardiff Business School.

Hi. I'm Cerys Furlong, chief exec of Chwarae Teg.

Hello. I'm Rhian Davies, and I'm chief executive at Disability Wales.

That's okay. Hello, I'm Rev Ruth Coombs, I'm the head of Wales for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

There we are. These are the issues with using Zoom, I nearly missed you off the end, Ruth, so, apologies for that.

Thanks ever so much for being with us today in regards to supporting us with our piece of work. You've obviously been briefed ahead of today's session about what we're looking at. I suppose I could ask you to make some very general opening comments, but particularly, what you think, from your perspective, are the challenges in terms of recovery and how we need to address the issues that I know you'll all be aware of. Who would like to go first? Shall I come to you, Dr Alison, first? Would you just—? You're muted still, Alison.


There we go. Okay. So, we often get asked about how COVID has exacerbated existing inequalities, and I think we often then quickly move to current sets of schemes. But I think it is important to remember that, in the last 10 years, we've seen those at the bottom end of labour markets and those unemployed take the biggest hit on austerity; that we haven't had any [correction: that they haven't seen any] wage growth for about 10 years. We were beginning to see some last year, and our biggest concern, I guess, is that we know that COVID has hit those people who already have very low incomes and little resilience the hardest. So, particularly women, people from BAME communities, disabled people and the young, who are, disproportionately, in these shutdown sectors and for whom furlough and the plan for jobs may not be enough to keep them out of poverty, food insecurity and housing issues.

So, in terms of the recovery, I think we need some very good short-term fixes, and I think there are some welfare issues there. And I know we don't have the levers for that within the Welsh Government, but we do have a voice. And I think we need some long-term measures in terms of what is the future labour market going to look like. Are we still thinking that we've got a big AI and digital recovery? We need to know whether that's the case, and what we already know is only 30 per cent of digital workers are women. If the infrastructure only means construction, physical buildings, retrofitting houses, the latest two quarters of apprenticeships and 99 per cent of construction apprentices are boys, and 86 per cent [correction: and 86 per cent of health and social care apprentices are girls]. So, whatever we do, we're going to have to be really cognisant of making sure that we include atypical workers in retraining, reskilling, or we are going to be part of exacerbating those sets of existing inequalities as we come into recovery or come out of the pandemic—either one of those.

Thank you, Dr Alison. If I come to Cerys Furlong now. Again, looking at how the pandemic has, ultimately, perhaps, highlighted economic inequalities.

I think Alison summarised it really well, I'm sure, for all the contributors this morning. We know that COVID has impacted, from women's perspective, on all aspects of their lives—from their housing to their health and safety, their employment, their financial situation, their role as carers. So, as Alison's highlighted, it's really exacerbated the existing inequalities that already existed. And, I think, for us, what's really clear is that we can't just continue with gender-blind, disability-blind ethnicity-blind policy making that will lead us to the same inequalities that we are seeing so starkly at the moment. So, we are calling for a feminist economic recovery: a recovery that seeks to absolutely and deliberately respond to and prioritise the needs of those who've been hardest hit by the crisis, but that also seeks to really deliver system change and tackle structural causes of inequality. We've said before, we continue to say, we don't want to return to business as usual, because that simply didn't work for too many people, and if ever we needed the short, or long, shock to really bring that home, then this is that time.

Thank you. Well, COVID has had a massive impact on disabled people in every way. I mean, tragically, 69 per cent of deaths in Wales comprised disabled people—just as a headline. However, in terms of the debate here this morning, in terms of employment and economy, disabled people already start from a very low base. So, the disability employment gap in Wales is 32 per cent and the disability pay gap is nearly 10 per cent. It's interesting in that 15.4 per cent of the critical key workers in Wales are disabled people. So, there's actually a slightly higher proportion of disabled people working as critical workers in Wales. However, nearly 16 per cent of people who are employed in industries that were told to close as a result of COVID were disabled people. What that means overall is that over 16.5 per cent of all people employed in those industries—there's a higher proportion of disabled people in those industries told to close. So, there's a significant impact. I think, in terms of the recovery, the success story has been around remote working—something that disabled people have long called for as a reasonable adjustment. I think we've now shown that you can be an effective and productive worker working from home, so I think it's very important to build on that.

But I think it's vital that policies and programmes and investment going forward are fully inclusive of disabled people. We're a key part of the workforce, and I think investment made has to be matched by commitments from employers and from those running transport infrastructure, et cetera. They have to demonstrate concrete steps towards inclusive workplaces and infrastructure, and the progression of disabled people in the workplace.


Thank you, Chair. Yes, just to echo what colleagues have said, we know that these structural inequalities have been around for a very long time. Our 'Is Wales Fairer?' reports in 2015 and 2018 actually demonstrate that, although some small progress has been made in Wales, not an awful lot has been made, even before the pandemic. Race inequality still persists; we still have violence against women and girls holding back life chances; socioeconomic disadvantage is still way too high in Wales; and we've got the highest rates of poverty in Britain—so, in 2019, 23 per cent of people in Wales were living in poverty, rising to one in three when you consider children. That was before this hit and had a bigger impact on people in precarious work. We've got 17 per cent of people in precarious and insecure work, and we know that that has impacted disproportionately, as Rhian has said, on disabled people, and also people from BAME backgrounds, because we know that more BAME workers work in the gig economy, for example, than others. They're highly over-represented in that sector. So, I think what COVID-19 has done is it's peeled back those layers that we already had, and has laid everything really bare.

In terms of going forward, it's really important that Welsh Government and all policy makers use the existing levers that they have, and the tools that they have. So, for example, using the public sector equality duty to its best effect. I was particularly disappointed to see little reference to equality, and certainly no reference to the Equality Act, in some of the recovery documents that are coming out of Welsh Government. They're very focused on the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, which is one very useful piece of legislation, but we have got other legislation that is not really being used. The intention, I think, is there, but the evidence isn't there. And the evidence needs to be visible. The duty is there to demonstrate the actions that policy makers have taken, so I think using those existing levers—. I absolutely echo what Rhian has said, that people with protected characteristics and the socioeconomically disadvantaged people need to be at the heart of decision making. When leaders don't look like the people they serve, in all sectors, for example in growth deals and those regional deals—if you look around the table, they're all people in suits; they don't look like the people they're trying to lift out of—. And so, those equality considerations aren't often taken, because there aren't diverse people in the room, and I think there need to be more diverse people in the room. And I'll stop at that. Thank you.


Thank you, Ruth. Thank you. We've got quite a few questions to get through. I'm just conscious—if Members asking questions could direct them to a particular witness and, to our witnesses, please don't feel that you all have to answer. In fact, we probably haven't got time for that, but if you do want to come in, just lift your hand so I can see you've indicated and I'll lift my hand to say that I've noted you. So, there we are. Suzy Davies. 

Thank you, Chair. Just picking up on the last few points that Ruth Coombs made, if I may. You're all here because you represent different groups who have been disadvantaged particularly during COVID. What's your overall impression of how successful the interventions have been for your particular groups and, actually, for groups within your groups, at a more individual level? Are you able to say what's worked well and what's missing? Ruth, you've given a few examples, so I'm going to ask Cerys.

Okay, thank you. Sorry, I was asked to unmute, so I was taking the pointer.

Yes, absolutely. I think that it's been clearly demonstrated that a lot of things have worked for people in secure employment, in those jobs that they're able to do from home. The work from home, stay at home, don't go to school—all of that was really helpful at the beginning, and I think some of the Welsh Government initiatives around getting, for example, IT equipment to children was a good thing, and that was helpful. But we do know that children with additional learning needs and children from BAME backgrounds did not have the same levels of take-up, did not get what they needed. I know that, for children who were considered in the vulnerable group, which included children with additional learning needs, those messages that they had school places did not get out to families. I know that from talking with families of people with disabled children. They didn't get any firm direction about what they could do, and we know from the statistics that very few children and young people with additional learning needs actually took up those places; it was mostly key workers' children. So that's one area.

And then I would just say that we know that women, particularly pregnant women and women on maternity leave, were disproportionately either furloughed, their maternity leave was started early, or they were put on to sick pay, or just their contracts were terminated. We know that that happened a lot. And we know that BAME workers in front-line health and social care were disproportionately impacted.  

A good thing that has been done is the development of the all-Wales risk assessment tool, but the message needs to get out that that's not just for BAME people; it's for all workers that they can use this risk-assessment tool so that they can feel, working with their line manager, more confident about going into work spaces if they can't work from home. I'll give somebody else a chance, now. 

And can I just say both Governments as well, not just Welsh Government, although I think that's what we really want to hear about? Thanks.

Yes, thanks, Suzy. Perhaps if I just say a bit about how support for businesses and workers has impacted on women, and what's worked and hasn't. Just to put it in context, furlough was great at the start for businesses and employees in terms of allowing people to stay safe, stay at home and have some comfort and security that their wages would still be covered. But as Ruth has rightly pointed out, there were some women particularly who missed out during that, or told us in our recent research that they declined the offer of going onto furlough because they were worried about the long-term impact on their career progression and an important part of their identity as working women. So furlough helped at the beginning, grants helped businesses to survive to the point of reopening after summer, but now, as we face a second lockdown, which feels very much impending, many of those businesses and employees are feeling extremely vulnerable because that support blanket is not there anymore for the second time.

I think one of the things that we haven't perhaps touched on yet is that the crisis has really revealed the dependence on unpaid care that women often provide, particularly for children but also for elderly relatives and neighbours. And that dependence as a society on that unpaid care hasn't really been recognised in the responses that we've given so far. There have been some changes to the childcare offer, which are really welcome, but I think we have to recognise that the burden is still falling overwhelmingly on women. The Institute for Fiscal Studies report a couple of years ago stated that the average mother was doing nearly 60 per cent of the number of uninterrupted work hours that the average father did. 

There are other gaps, I think, around support for self-employed people. So, for women with caring responsibilities, again, those who've recently been on maternity leave, that support has been particularly difficult to challenge. If I give an example of my sister who's self-employed as a hairdresser and had to use her previous financial year's declaration to claim funding. For six months of that, she was on maternity leave and not working. So, her earnings look depleted and therefore what she's been able to claim for this year is significantly depleted. 

And again, as Ruth said, there are some good things to highlight. It's good to see that equality impact assessments are being published for some of the decisions that Welsh Government have taken during the crisis. Personally and for Chwarae Teg, we've seen good engagement from officials throughout, but there will almost inevitably be examples of gender-blind policy making. I've said before in committee that the rhetoric, which I think has changed, from the UK Government around build, build, build was unhelpful, because it suggested a traditional, construction-led delivery, which, actually, we've seen some evidence of that as well in the latest documents from Welsh Government. And I think when we talk about rebuilding, we've got to think much differently about what infrastructure is, and think about how we can put care and social care at the heart of that, and not just the jobs that we've traditionally prioritised. 


Do you want to come back in, Suzy, and then I'll bring in Dr Alison who wanted to come in? 

No, I'm just aware of time, so I was hoping that others might have a little bit of time to respond as well. 

Okay. Did you have any other questions or was that your last question, Suzy?

That's fine. I'll just briefly come to Alison and then I'll come to Rhian. Dr Alison. 

Thank you, Russell, and please just call me Alison.

There is some research beginning to emerge now around furlough and how it worked for different groups of people, and I'm just going to refer to some survey work done by Adams-Prassl. So, rather than waiting for labour force data, this was using existing consumer panels and going back to people as a representative sample, and saying, 'How's it working for you?' And what they found was that there was less use of furlough in Wales—around 36 per cent of workers—possibly because of the high density of public sector workers, which has actually been quite protective for the economy. Women were more likely than men to be furloughed when they were working in the same kind of jobs. Inequalities in care responsibilities seems to have played a part here, with 10 per cent more mothers asking to be furloughed than fathers, rather than the decision being made mainly or entirely by the employer. You know, the schools were shut, there were no nurseries apart from those for key workers. So, that could account for some of the higher furlough, particularly for mothers. 

Women were less likely than men to have their wages topped up beyond the 80 per cent that the Government provided, and workers without employer sick pay were more reluctant to return from furlough. If you return from furlough and then you get sick, you only get £95 a week, which, our statutory sick pay in the UK is amongst the lowest in Europe. And that has created some not-very-good behaviours in terms of people working with symptoms. And furloughed workers were more likely to think that they would lose their jobs in the short or medium term, and were more likely to be looking for new jobs than non-furloughed workers.

So, furlough—very good, but some initial problems. Parents weren't sure at all; there was no communication about whether they could ask for furlough if they needed to work from home because of lack of childcare. So, there could have been a bit more gender reflexivity there in the beginning. And just to reiterate what has been said: pregnant women have suffered quite badly here in terms of being forced to take unpaid leave or use their holiday leave, or being forced on to statutory sick pay. And then there were issues with women on maternity leave only being paid 80 per cent of their maternity leave, in line with the furlough scheme. So, a number of issues there. 

And just coming on to the new support plan for jobs, we have a high proportion of minimum-wage jobs in Wales, and two thirds of those salaries—if they're only going to get two thirds of that pay, that could actually drive them well below the actual hourly minimum wage rate. So, we're going to have—. Most households in poverty have one person working. If you're only going to get two thirds of your minimum wage, or if your household is relying on part-time hours, and you only do two thirds of your part-time hours, 12 hours a week, I think we're going to see a significant rise in in-work poverty. 


Yes, thank you. I've already mentioned remote working, and the opportunity to be able to work remotely has been a big gain, a big win, for disabled people. Nevertheless, even if you're working from home, you still need reasonable adjustments, access to particular equipment, or support such as British Sign Language interpreters, or whatever. And so many disabled employees rely on Access to Work for support to provide the finances for that kind of support, and there were issues, particularly in the early days of lockdown, in accessing the necessary support from Access to Work. My understanding is that a number of Access to Work staff were redeployed to things like dealing with universal credit claims, for example, so there's quite a lot of backlog created. So, that has caused a lot of problems for disabled people, although Access to Work have sought to remedy that by extending timelines for getting claims in, and that sort of thing.

But I think going forward there needs to be much more focus on the role of Access to Work, the vital role it plays in enabling many disabled people to work, promoting the scheme, and making it easier to take it up. But also, bringing Access to Work in at an earlier stage, when people are actually applying for jobs, and support with making applications, interviews, and making sure that it's available from day one of the job. We've had evidence from members where they've had to turn jobs down because the Access to Work support wasn't going to be available from the first day of working, to enable them to carry out their job. 

Sorry, Chair, I was waiting for my unmute thing to happen. Thank you all for your evidence so far. I think, from everything you've said, we're obviously facing a pretty serious situation. It's obviously our job as a committee to make recommendations, most specifically to Welsh Government, about what they might do to address some of these issues. And so I'd like to invite you now to tell us what are the main changes that you would like to see made in Welsh Government policy and spending in order to deliver a more equal recovery. Do the reconstruction plans, as they stand at the moment, sufficiently prioritise that? I think, in a sense, we've heard from you that they don't, so if we can focus on what changes you would like Welsh Government to make now to try and address some of those inequalities you've highlighted. I don't know who wants to start. Cerys. 

Thanks. There are a couple of things; I'll try to be quick to make sure there's time for others. I think it would be really important to have further detail on who's currently benefiting from the schemes that have been introduced by the Welsh Government, as well as UK Government. So, if we look at the economic resilience fund, let's see the data on the sectoral breakdown and support, the number of women-led businesses, the number of individuals who are benefiting from that, because we know from evaluations of previous schemes around economic recovery that, often, the unintended consequence is that we reinforce the same structural inequalities that we've always had. And if we don't collect and publish the data, then we can't learn from that quickly. So that's the first thing.

I've said already that we need to commit to taking a feminist approach to economic recovery, and I think that is in stark language recognising that the economy is more than just the production of things for the market. The survival and reproduction of people in society requires not only the production of material goods but everything that people need to grow and flourish, including the provision of care. So we've got a really good opportunity to avoid falling back on those old economic models that have proven themselves to be unsustainable, and instead build a future economic model built on different principles, such as tackling inequality, fair work, well-being, and caring for individuals—so, refocusing the economic approach.

In the last week or so, the Women's Budget Group in the UK has published a really significant report that I'd draw to your attention. They call for a care-led recovery, recognising the value of unpaid care and investing in social infrastructure such as social care and childcare. That report suggests that the UK could produce 2.7 times more jobs than an equivalent investment in construction, and 6.3 times as many jobs for women, as well as 10 per cent more for men.

So, it's important that the warm words around equality that we have seen in the response from Welsh Government so far actually translate into action. And I think what Ruth said earlier about the lack of reference to the Equality Act is really, really important. It's something we highlighted in the gender equality review—that, often, new bits of legislation come to the top of the pile and we forget about the importance of that underpinning legislation, including the Equality Act. So that's absolutely crucial.

And lastly, I would say, we've mentioned construction—and I don't mean to single it out—but there is significant focus in the current plan on the stimulus of the construction sector, and while that's important, it's not a sector most hard hit by the risk of economic hardship as a result of coronavirus. It is also a largely male-dominated workforce. So we need to ensure that the interventions in the construction sector, or whatever sector they are, are accompanied by really targeted schemes to diversify those workforces, and that we also back that up with a similar focus on supporting sectors of the economy where women and other under-represented groups are more likely to be working.


Thank you. Can I just reiterate what Cerys has been saying about the care-led economy? I think we really ought to be investigating that, and thinking about what that might mean in Wales; Australia and Canada have just done the same thing. And I think it's also important because we're talking about investment in viable sectors. Now, my fear is that viable sectors will be energy, where about 30 per cent of women work, but they work in customer-facing and admin roles, infrastructure, which we've already talked about in terms of construction and retrofit, and aerospace and manufacturing. They are, essentially, sectors dominated by men, and women are going to miss out on this investment. So I'd echo the social care stuff.

I'm a bit concerned about the Kickstart scheme. You have to take a minimum of 30 apprentices. Wales is not blessed with a huge number of large companies, so I think the Welsh Government should help a little bit more SMEs to band together. Then there can be SMEs and third sector people working together to try and take on that number of apprentices. Things outside our gift but for which we ought to lobby I think include retaining the £20 universal credit top-up. I've talked about the plan for jobs and whether or not that will keep people out of poverty, and the issues there. But also on training, I think we need an equity approach to training—what do people need to be able to take part?

So, when we talk about women, we talk about childcare, but we also need that encouragement and mentoring that we used to have, for instance, through the Women's Workshop. Women need help and support to be encouraged into gender atypical jobs, with foundation courses and the kind of introductory skills that maybe boys get in IT and digital and automotive and construction just by doing stuff with their dads, which young girls don't get. The Women's Workshop was a really good example of previous work around IT and manual skills. I know they've had a fantastically diverse set of women from deprived communities, including lots of BAME people. So, that is a really, really good example. And those things still run in Scandinavia. It's a shame we've lost the Women's Workshop in Wales.

I remember a conversation with the Equality and Human Rights Commission Wales committee and a further education college principal who said, 'Well, if we didn't have European Social Fund money, about 30 per cent of my learners couldn't attend because they couldn't afford the bus fare. They always had free school meals before and they wouldn't be able to come to college unless we also paid for their lunch'. So, what do people actually need to be able to take part in this training? That's the equity approach I think we need. Thank you.


Helen Mary, I'm aware that Ruth and Rhian both wanted to come in. Do you have any further questions you want to—?

No—just if I can ask people to be as specific as they can about what they think we should recommend, because that's where we can help deliver some of the change. But I'm happy to hear from Rhian and Ruth.

Thank you. I think we should be using fair work principles and really embedding them in everything we should be doing: the economic contract, the opportunity that the social partnership Bill will give us and also using the procurement duty in the public sector equality duty. It's a duty that is very little used to any great or visible extent. In using those together, you would be able to say, 'Well, yes, you can access this amount of money that we've put aside, but if you access this money, you have to have ethical procurement, you have to have this many apprenticeships for disabled people, this many apprenticeships for BAME people, and this for women', and you could really plug it in. I think we're missing a trick because we don't really plug those things into that practical tool.

Thank you. The Welsh Government published its framework for action on disability, 'The Right to Independent Living', a year ago. That's its cross-cutting approach to tackling a wide range of barriers that disabled people face in achieving independent living. There was quite a strong focus in the action plan around various employment measures, some of which I know Welsh Government have been progressing, like developing an employer toolkit, for example, and recruiting disability employment champions to work with employers across Wales. We're also working with them on delivering social model training for employment providers and agencies around Wales. However, with a 32 per cent disability employment gap, we're talking about systemic failure of successive governments to tackle the unemployment of disabled people, and I think the problem in the past is that it's been always seen as the problem of disabled people and not the problem of society. 

So, I totally agree with Ruth's point that, going forward—because billions has literally been ploughed into things like furlough schemes and grants et cetera and then future recovery plans, but there has to be a return on that investment, and it has to be employers, for example, making commitments to creating inclusive working environments, systemically going through their policies on things like recruitment selection, progression, and training for disabled people. There needs to be tangible, measurable differences in the rate of employment of disabled people. And although some of those things have been put in place in the past, I think where things fall down is that there is never any follow-up. So, to get the funding, employers will make all of these commitments, but then nobody ever goes back to make sure that they're delivering. So, we're looking at what's the regulation here, what's the inspection approach. Should there be penalties in the last resort? So, I think there needs to be a much tougher stance on the part of Welsh Government and, I would also say, UK Government, in requiring action, specifying that action, but also making sure that those actions and those commitments are delivered.

Thank you, Rhian. We've got 15 minutes left and I know that Vikki wants to come in with a section, I do and so does Joyce Watson. So, we've got three Members with different sections, so we've got about five minutes for each section, so if I can ask us all to be really succinct to get through all the questions. Vikki Howells. 


Thank you, Chair. I think I can help with timings, because I think my section has been very well covered by Cerys, in particular, already, so I'll just ask if anyone wants to add anything to it. So, I was going to ask about how the Welsh Government should prioritise infrastructure investments to support a more equal and green recovery, and what kind of balance you'd all like to see between economic and social infrastructure. And, Cerys, you've already talked a lot about that more equal way of looking at infrastructure and what you'd like to see there, so, if I could just ask the other panellists, to start with, if there's anything else that they'd like to add. I believe some of you have touched on some of these issues already, but if there's anything you'd like to add to that it would be very helpful.

Thank you for that. What would be really great is to see schemes that actually play to the strengths and expertise and lived experience of disabled people, which would also, then, contribute to the recovery. So, for example, we recently met with colleagues in the Centre for Accessible Environments, who are running a training scheme for young disabled people around how to—so, it's around inclusive design and how to create accessible environments. It's quite a comprehensive programme, but it would equip disabled people with credible skills, which would potentially lead to either meaningful jobs, say working as local authority access officers or equality officers, for example, or actually setting up their own businesses as consultants around things like access and equality and then, as a result, people would be seen as part of contributors to supporting the recovery for all of us. 

I'm going to try and be really brief. The conversation we're having is still about adding in women, adding in disabled people, adding in people from BAME backgrounds, if you like, to what is already on the table. I do think we've got an opportunity at the moment to make a step change. So, we should be saying, 'Okay, what we want in Wales, because we've got the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, is this green recovery. Is it digital? Is it AI? Is it care?', setting out exactly what we want to look at and then making that a fully inclusive set of training and jobs and business infrastructure, rather than doing what we usually do and then try and add people in who would otherwise lose out. 

Thank you. I would just like to add that putting people at the centre—. Pretty much similar to Alison, we can't be seen—. Equality and human rights cannot be seen as a bolt-on; it can never be seen as a bolt-on; it has to be a central pillar. And we have to look at balancing of rights, and we have to consider the needs of different people in different communities and not have this fairly bland, high-level 'this is what it's going to look like' without considering the implications for older people, for disabled people, et cetera. An economy that works for young workers and works for older workers is really important and that mix of work from home/don't work from home—I think there might be a question about that in a minute, so I'll hold that thought for now, but, if it isn't, there is just something I'd like to add at the end about that, if I may. Thank you. 

No, that's fine. If you want to address that now, Ruth, that's absolutely fine. 

Okay, fine. Working from home and the idea of 30 per cent of the workforce working from home does throw up a lot of inequality in Wales. It's fine if you work for an organisation like I do, or like you do, with respect, but if you are socioeconomically disadvantaged you're more likely to be in a job where you can't actually work from home. If you're an older person, you might not have the technological expertise to work from home. So, there are lots of different things that—. It may work for the majority of people, but I've got some young colleagues who are absolutely desperate to get back to office working because of their mental health and well-being. They either live on their own, so they feel really isolated, or they're living in a shared house, not with a partner, but with just four or five other people that happen to be living in that house, because that's the only way you can afford to live in Manchester or London. So, they're working from their bedrooms, or they're working balanced on the kitchen table.

So, yes, it does work, and, when it does work well, it works brilliantly well, but it doesn't work for everybody, and we need to think about mental health needs as well, and we know that some autistic people would have more difficulties with this, because there's too much stimulation, there's too much going on. So, when we're rebuilding, think about being a little bit more granular about the needs and don't just think of 'disabled people', 'older people'. My father happens to be an IT guru, so, at the age of 80, he's still building his own computers, but his next-door neighbour isn't like that. So, we can't be this homogenous.


Thank you, that is helpful. You actually moved on to the area that I wanted to cover, so perhaps—. Helen Mary wants to come in as well, but, Alison, perhaps if I may just address this issue to you as well, in terms of working from home. Just give us in bullet-point form, if you can, the negatives and positives.

So, Alan Felstead did some recent research that showed that working from home was increasing, but, in early February 2020, it was about 5.7 per cent of people working at home—GB, this is. By April, it was 43.1 per cent. So, the percentage absolutely rocketed. We know women have struggled with the extra childcare, home schooling, trying to work from home, and there's a lot of academic papers coming out now about career lag for women, and, anecdotally, they just have not had time do the research, which is the thing that gets you promoted. So, we are concerned about that.

The Fawcett Society did a piece of research that showed that particularly BAME women were struggling with the demands of working at home and also, potentially, outside the home, and also doing childcare and home schooling. And the group that were least worried about working from home [correction: about work/life balance and working from home] were white men.

Sorry, yes, Helen Mary. Was yours on working from home, Helen Mary? If it is, do you want to address it to Cerys?

It was slightly going back to a previous point, which was—. And perhaps, Chair, I could ask, because it's a big question, the witnesses perhaps to write to us. Because the points that Cerys and Rhian and others were making about Welsh Government ought to be building actions around equalities in from the beginning, rather than adding them in at the end, I would be really interested in your take—and perhaps write to us about this, rather than trying to deal with it—about why that hasn't happened. Because, at a political level, Welsh Governments for the last 20 years have been saying that that's what they want to do, and I'm interested in your take about why that hasn't happened, and, from our point of view, why that hasn't happened around the economy and skills, but it applies more broadly, and specifically what you think the Welsh Government could do to make it happen in future. I was struck, Chair, by some of Rhian's points about setting clear targets, setting clear expectations, and then going back and checking that that's happened. Can I just leave that on the table, Russ, rather than asking them, and come back to the home-working stuff?

But I think if we don't understand that this becomes a bit of theoretical conversation, because I've been having these conversations on various Senedd committees on and off for the last 20 years.

Thank you very much, Helen Mary. Our second panel, in regard to looking at equalities, is not actually for three weeks, so we've got some time for this particular area. So, please, I'd say to the witnesses, if you're able to and you've got the resource, please drop us a note on that. 

Or refer us, if there are academic papers that you're aware of, if there's existing research—you know, just e-mail us.

That's it, thank you very much. Yes, absolutely. Cerys, you wanted to come in on the home-working aspect.

Yes, and I'll be as brief as possible. It won't come as any surprise that we've been talking about the benefits of homeworking for accessibility and inclusion and productivity for many, many years, and it's been interesting for us to see employers and businesses who have previously said, 'We're keen but we're not ready' actually now, in this period of having to embrace it, coming to see the benefits. So, it does have the potential to significantly improve opportunities for people trying to progress in work for a number of groups, but with all the caveats that others have spoken about. So, remote working in and of itself, giving people the kit, won't automatically be inclusive, and moving from one one-size-fits-all default, office working, to another one-size-fits-all, default homeworking, doesn't actually address that and it needs a much more nuanced, flexible kind of hybrid model. And I think Welsh Government could be much clearer about the intended impact and outcome it wants to see through this drive towards more homeworking, and we will certainly write to you as a committee to build on that.

I think, touching on what Helen Mary's just asked, there's a lot of evidence again in the gender equality review, in the chapters that Alison wrote, about mainstreaming and how we can mainstream policy to model, how that could support some of what we've been talking about today, so I draw your attention to that and I will do that in the letter as well.

But just two final things, really—


It'll have to be really quick, I'm really sorry, because I want to get time for Joyce. But, no, by all means, carry on, Cerys, I'm just conscious of time. 

Well, one is let's do some research on the long-term impact of this on different groups of people, because I don't think that kind of longitudinal research has been done. All of us will have, from our own staff, those experiences that Ruth and others have spoken about, about isolation, worries about innovation, creativity, those incidental conversations we're all missing, and the long-term impacts on different people who may be out of sight, out of mind, for progression and so on.

Finally, just while I can, I just want to say the job support scheme was mentioned earlier, and the support for that will go to employers, and I'll be amazed if there's much uptake of that; employers will simply put people on zero-hours contracts. So, I just don't think employers are going to embrace that scheme; it's not going to help the groups that we've all talked about today.

Thank you, Cerys. I know you want to come in, Rhian. Do you mind if I just come back to you, because I want to make sure I give Joyce Watson five minutes, otherwise she'll be very unhappy with me? Joyce Watson.

Yes, I would be. But I want to pick up—I was going to ask about 'out of sight, out of mind', and I don't expect an answer now, but I was particularly going to aim it at Rhian, I suppose, because you said that this has been a big opportunity for disabled people to work from home, and then I'm going to widen it to opportunities—working from home in terms of career development. So, that was my question. And particularly for Rhian, are you looking at any evidence where employers who might have given a chance, now that they finally realise that people can work from home and disabled people should take their place in society, if we move forward back into the workplace, are not improving the workplace environment, by simply saying, 'Well, you can work from home. You've done that for six months. We don't really need to invest. We're short of funds, after all. I'm sure you understand'?

Yes, I think that's a very well-made point, because what we could end up with is even more division and isolation for disabled workers and there's an expectation—'yes, work from home'—and unless the connections are set up for people to be fully part of the workplace, aware of what's going on and able to contribute to the strategic planning or take part in training, et cetera, then, yes, it's going to be—disabled people once again will be forgotten.

I think part of the reconstruction and recovery is—. I think, if we're moving more to a hybrid model of some working from home, some working in an office or in a hub, how is that going to be supported? So, we're coming into the winter now, or we are in winter, so, for people working from home, you've got extra heating and lighting costs. So, there is—. Employers can make a £6 a week allowance, but that's not statutory. I know, from our own point of view, we've got an office with banks of computers, but we're also needing to purchase laptops for staff and that sort of thing. So, how do we manage these different costs? As we move to a hybrid model, what is the support to enable all of us who are involved in employment to move to that? And I think, you know, we are interested—we've been having discussions with Welsh Government about these remote working hubs that they're talking about developing. But again, where are they going to be located? Are they going to be close to public transport? Accessibility needs to be built in from the beginning. How are they going to actually support people to work in those places?

So, there's a lot of collective thinking that we all need to be doing, and it's not going to happen by magic. We all reacted to an emergency situation, setting up virtual organisations overnight, but we can't keep working from an emergency point of view. We've now got to be starting to plan this, and I think it needs to be a collective and shared responsibility for how we're going to make it work.


Okay. What I'm supposed to ask you is how the opportunities for ensuring the skills systems going forward actually don't leave people behind, and do actually contribute to a more equal recovery.

So, Joyce, I'd just like to go back and say we need the data, we need to know what the Welsh economy is going to look like and what these viable sectors are, and then challenge that if they are in aerospace, infrastructure, because we do want to focus on the foundation economy, and we do still want job progression. But I kind of feel that we need a really simple—where are the opportunities, how is the careers service working, not just for young people, but for adults, with the DWP work coaches, and does the money for retraining go direct to employees, potentially through tax, or do we allow people on welfare to do the training as well, and not trip over the conditionality element about looking for work, rather than wait for employers. Because again, we don't have a huge number of large employers to invest in retraining. So, I think it's an opportunity to set out: 'Right, what is the Wales we want? What are the jobs?' We know all the barriers to atypical workers working in those particular sectors, because they are very gendered. And we set out a really good scheme that ensures that employees have the help they need to take control of their own training in reskilling for the future.

Thank you. Building on Alison's point, I just wanted to make a particular point about apprenticeships. Recent figures from Welsh Government show that 3,000 apprentices are on furlough and 300 apprentices have been terminated. We know that disabled people and some people with learning difficulties have been more likely to have been either furloughed under apprenticeships, or their apprenticeships have ended. We know that some training providers are working really hard to try and find an alternative employment setting for some apprentices, but we also know that this is set in the context that 1.4 per cent of apprenticeships are started by disabled people—not finished, but started. The proportion of BAME starts is higher than that—it's about 7 per cent—but it's still not representative of young people, for example. We only collect evidence about who starts an apprenticeship; we don't collect evidence about who finishes an apprenticeship. So, there's a big data gap there, and there needs to be much more done.

And the other thing we haven't touched on today—I just don't want people leaving without thinking about intersectionality. If you are a young black disabled woman trying to get into work, you will struggle even more. It's not three separate things. It's that multiple layer that intersectionality brings; it brings multiple disadvantages. And I think with the schemes and the funding we've got, there's a real opportunity to start making conditions and saying, 'You have to demonstrate what you're doing, and you have to show your finishers as well as your starters'.


It's on the recovery, and it's construction, because I've already said it, so I'll say it again. The construction industry is at most 11 per cent women—on average 1 per cent—and Cerys and I have worked on this before. So, in terms of training opportunities, it's about perception of the opportunities that exist within the construction industry being bricks and mortar, mostly, or engineering. But, it's much wider than that. It's about design, which women are really good at and excel at. And it's about opportunities for disabled people as well, because you don't actually have to be on the floor physically. So, in your experience—and you might not be able to give me an answer now—but in your collective experiences when we're talking about construction, which I have an interest in, are you hearing, from anybody that you work with, that they're being given evidence that the construction industry is much wider than the three skills that are generally thought of? And if you haven't got time now, because it's a whole debate, I suppose, are you able to send that to us?

Thank you. I'll ask Cerys to respond, and others, perhaps, will have to do that in another way. Cerys.

I think you've summed up the issue, and probably answered your own question, Joyce, in many ways. I'm not aware of significant evidence, but we will check again. I think, for me, the problem has always been the narrow perception and reality of the routes of entry into that sector and many others, and that there's a lot more that we need to do to highlight what those roles really look like and entail, and what a fantastic career all sorts of different groups people could have in construction, engineering and a variety of STEM subjects. But, at the moment, those routes of entry, certainly at perception level, are very limited, and I think there's a lot more that could be done around that.

Thank you. Thank you, Cerys. Can I thank our witnesses today for your invaluable contributions? I apologise that sometimes we had to cut short some of the discussion, due to time constraints, to get through all our questions, but as Helen Mary has asked and pointed out, if you do have work that you can point us to, please do prompt us, directly or via the clerking team, and we can incorporate that. Again, I should say we've got another section in regards to equality issues at our next meeting, which happens to be in three weeks' time, as well. But, thanks ever so much for attending and contributing to today's session. So, thank you. Diolch yn fawr. If I could say to our witnesses: you're free to leave us now, because we've got another item to move onto in our public session. So, bye to our witnesses. Thank you.

5. Ystyried Memorandwm Cydsyniad Deddfwriaethol ar y Bil Ardrethu Annomestig (Rhestrau) (Rhif 2)
5. Consideration of Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Non-Domestic Rating (Lists) (No. 2) Bill

I move to item 5. This is in regards to consideration of a legislative consent memorandum for the Non-Domestic Rating (Lists) (No. 2) Bill. I know that Members have previously discussed this. Are Members content with the draft that we've got before us today? If there are any comments, please say now. In that case, I know that Members have indicated that they are content with the draft as is, so that'll be laid appropriately. Thank you.

6. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(ix) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod
6. Motion under Standing Order 17.42(ix) to resolve to exclude the public for the remainder of the meeting


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


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

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

I move to item 6. Under Standing Order 17.42, can we resolve to exclude the public for the remainder of the meeting? Thank you for agreeing. That brings our public meeting to an end.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 12:09.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 12:09.