Y Cyfarfod Llawn

Plenary

07/02/2024

Yn y fersiwn ddwyieithog, mae’r golofn chwith yn cynnwys yr iaith a lefarwyd yn y cyfarfod. Mae’r golofn dde yn cynnwys cyfieithiad o’r areithiau hynny.

In the bilingual version, the left-hand column includes the language used during the meeting. The right-hand column includes a translation of those speeches.

Cyfarfu'r Senedd yn y Siambr a thrwy gynhadledd fideo am 13:30 gyda'r Llywydd (Elin Jones) yn y Gadair. 

The Senedd met in the Chamber and by video-conference at 13:30 with the Llywydd (Elin Jones) in the Chair.

1. Cwestiynau i Weinidog yr Economi
1. Questions to the Minister for Economy

Prynhawn da a chroeso, bawb, i'r Cyfarfod Llawn y prynhawn yma, a'r cwestiynau i Weinidog yr Economi sydd gyntaf. Mae'r cwestiwn gyntaf gan Sarah Murphy.

Good afternoon and welcome to this afternoon's Plenary meeting. The first item this afternoon is questions to the Minister for Economy, and the first question is from Sarah Murphy.

Cefnogi Pobl Ddi-waith
Supporting Unemployed People

1. Beth mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei wneud i gefnogi pobl ddi-waith i ddechrau eu busnes eu hunain? OQ60656

1. What is the Welsh Government doing to support unemployed people to start their own business? OQ60656

Thank you for the question. Business Wales helps unemployed people to start their own business in Wales through a range of business support initiatives. It is committed to helping individuals and young people furthest away from the labour market to overcome any barriers to business start-up.

Diolch am y cwestiwn. Mae Busnes Cymru yn helpu pobl ddi-waith i ddechrau eu busnes eu hunain yng Nghymru drwy amrywiaeth o fentrau cymorth busnes. Mae wedi ymrwymo i helpu'r unigolion a'r bobl ifanc sydd bellaf i ffwrdd o'r farchnad lafur i oresgyn unrhyw rwystrau i ddechrau busnes newydd.

Thank you very much, Minister. Earlier this year—well, not earlier this year—last year, I was delighted to see the news that the Welsh Government has extended its barriers to start-up grant. Since 2020, the grant has supported over 1,500 unemployed people across Wales and had a marked impact on those who are able to take up the grant, with almost four out of five still trading. According to Cwmpas, small and medium businesses account for 99 per cent of the business count and 62 per cent of private sector employment in Wales, with family ownership common. We know that SMEs have a huge impact on their communities, with them often employing from the nearby area and then investing back into the area. So, in my constituency of Bridgend and Porthcawl, local businesses came together to provide CCTV, floodlights and drainage for Cornelly United. However, Minister, it’s important that we consider the challenges faced by SME owners. In the same report, Cwmpas found that one in five business owners are either looking at closing or stepping away from their business in the next five years—a very real time bomb. So, considering this, Minister, what steps will you be taking to ensure that programmes like the barriers to start-up grant are introduced and to maintain that Wales remains the best place in the UK to start a business? Diolch.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Weinidog. Yn gynharach eleni—wel, nid yn gynharach eleni—y llynedd, roeddwn wrth fy modd yn gweld y newyddion fod Llywodraeth Cymru wedi ymestyn ei grant rhwystrau rhag dechrau busnes. Ers 2020, mae'r grant wedi cefnogi dros 1,500 o bobl ddi-waith ledled Cymru ac wedi cael effaith amlwg ar y nifer sy'n gallu manteisio ar y grant, gyda bron i bedwar o bob pump yn dal i fasnachu. Yn ôl Cwmpas, busnesau bach a chanolig yw 99 y cant o fusnesau a 62 y cant o gyflogaeth y sector preifat yng Nghymru, gyda pherchnogaeth deuluol yn gyffredin. Gwyddom fod busnesau bach a chanolig yn cael effaith enfawr ar eu cymunedau, gan eu bod yn aml yn cyflogi o'r ardal gyfagos ac yna'n buddsoddi yn ôl yn yr ardal. Felly, yn fy etholaeth i ym Mhen-y-bont ar Ogwr a Phorthcawl, daeth busnesau lleol at ei gilydd i ddarparu teledu cylch cyfyng, llifoleuadau a draeniau ar gyfer Clwb Pêl-droed Corneli. Fodd bynnag, Weinidog, mae'n bwysig ein bod yn ystyried yr heriau sy'n wynebu perchnogion busnesau bach a chanolig. Yn yr un adroddiad, canfu Cwmpas fod un o bob pump perchennog busnes naill ai'n ystyried cau neu gefnu ar eu busnes yn y pum mlynedd nesaf—bom amser real iawn. Felly, o ystyried hyn, Weinidog, pa gamau y byddwch chi'n eu cymryd i sicrhau bod rhaglenni fel y grant rhwystrau rhag dechrau busnes yn cael eu cyflwyno ac i sicrhau bod Cymru'n parhau i fod y lle gorau yn y DU ar gyfer dechrau busnes? Diolch.

Thank you for the question and for the recognition of the value of small businesses and business start-ups, not just in the sense of the jobs and the employment, because we know that the economy here in Wales has an even greater proportion of small and medium businesses within it, but also about the local connection and local investment that businesses often make in their community, and a real sense of place that is generated by the local and small business offer. 

I'm pleased that you recognise that, on my figures, now over 1,600 individuals have been helped to start a new business with the barriers to start-up grant. The latest phase opened on 7 January—so, into this calendar year—and so far, it's had over 100 expressions of interest. I'm pleased that you've highlighted the fact that it's got a good record of people who are still trading following that as well. 

In addition to the barriers to start-up grant, we also run Big Ideas Wales, and that has supported over 200 young people to explore ideas and, in fact, that's for the young person's guarantee element. In the broader offer, it's already made over 200 grants for people to help start a business. So, we do have a range of initiatives that we'll carry on promoting and we'll look at the budgets we have to help people to take an idea, to be encouraged how to do it, and then provide practical support, before opening as well as when it's open, on how to be a successful business. That is a key part of what we need to do—new businesses being created and then helping those businesses to grow and to scale up, as many of them want to. I'm thinking about when small become medium and when medium businesses become large ones as well.

Diolch am y cwestiwn ac am gydnabod gwerth busnesau bach a busnesau newydd, nid yn unig o ran swyddi a chyflogaeth, oherwydd gwyddom fod gan yr economi yma yng Nghymru gyfran hyd yn oed yn fwy o fusnesau bach a chanolig, ond hefyd am y cysylltiad lleol a'r buddsoddiad lleol y mae busnesau'n aml yn ei wneud yn eu cymuned, a'r ymdeimlad gwirioneddol o le a gynhyrchir gan y cynnig busnes lleol a bach. 

Rwy'n falch eich bod yn cydnabod, ar fy ffigurau i, fod dros 1,600 o unigolion bellach wedi cael cymorth i ddechrau busnes newydd gyda'r grant rhwystrau rhag dechrau busnes. Agorodd y cyfnod diweddaraf ar 7 Ionawr—felly, i mewn i'r flwyddyn galendr hon—a hyd yma, cafwyd dros 100 o ddatganiadau o ddiddordeb. Rwy'n falch eich bod wedi tynnu sylw hefyd at y ffaith bod ganddo hanes da o bobl sy'n dal i fasnachu yn dilyn hynny. 

Yn ogystal â'r grant rhwystrau rhag dechrau busnes, rydym hefyd yn rhedeg Syniadau Mawr Cymru, ac mae hwnnw wedi cefnogi dros 200 o bobl ifanc i archwilio syniadau a hynny ar gyfer yr elfen gwarant i bobl ifanc. Yn y cynnig ehangach, mae eisoes wedi rhoi dros 200 o grantiau i bobl i helpu i ddechrau busnes. Felly, mae gennym ystod o fentrau y byddwn yn parhau i'w hyrwyddo a byddwn yn edrych ar y cyllidebau sydd gennym i helpu pobl i gael syniad, i gael eu hannog ar sut i'w wneud, a darparu cymorth ymarferol, cyn agor a hefyd pan fydd ar agor, ar sut i fod yn fusnes llwyddiannus. Mae hynny'n rhan allweddol o'r hyn sydd angen inni ei wneud—busnesau newydd yn cael eu creu a helpu'r busnesau hynny wedyn i dyfu ac i ehangu, fel y mae llawer ohonynt eisiau ei wneud. Rwy'n meddwl ynglŷn â phryd y daw bach yn ganolig a phryd y daw busnesau canolig yn rhai mawr hefyd.

I was pleased to see that company start-ups in Wales have hit a record high, which is very welcome news and I'm pleased that the Welsh Government are continuing to fund the barriers to start-up grant and I hope that the start-up boom in Wales continues indeed. With the employment rate in Wales being the highest in the UK at 4.8 per cent, this scheme is particularly important to get people into work, earning money and stimulating the Welsh economy. Unfortunately, however, company insolvencies are rising in Wales, with many start-ups failing within their first three years. Times are tough, especially for hospitality and retail, after COVID-19, with one in six shops in Wales currently empty. With the planned cuts to business rate relief, significant cuts to Business Wales's budget and a reduction in funding for export trade and inward investments, keeping a profitable new business afloat is going to get harder in Wales. The barriers to start-up grant will be squandered if the businesses set up using the grant are not supported after they start trading. With the planned cuts in the draft budget, start-ups will need some additional help to sustain themselves in the first year or two of business. So, can the Minister outline what support is, or will be, offered to start-ups in Wales to get them off the ground and stay afloat in the first year of business? Thank you.

Roeddwn yn falch o weld bod busnesau newydd yng Nghymru wedi cyrraedd y lefel uchaf erioed, sy'n newyddion i'w groesawu'n fawr ac rwy'n falch fod Llywodraeth Cymru yn parhau i ariannu'r grant rhwystrau rhag dechrau busnes ac rwy'n gobeithio'n fawr y bydd ffyniant busnesau newydd yng Nghymru yn parhau. Gyda'r gyfradd gyflogaeth yng Nghymru yr uchaf yn y DU ar 4.8 y cant, mae'r cynllun hwn yn arbennig o bwysig i gael pobl i mewn i waith, i ennill arian ac ysgogi economi Cymru. Yn anffodus, fodd bynnag, mae nifer y cwmnïau sy'n wynebu ansolfedd ar gynnydd yng Nghymru, gyda llawer o fusnesau newydd yn methu o fewn eu tair blynedd gyntaf. Mae'n adeg anodd, yn enwedig yn y sector lletygarwch a manwerthu, ar ôl COVID-19, gydag un o bob chwe siop yng Nghymru yn wag ar hyn o bryd. Gyda'r toriadau arfaethedig i ryddhad ardrethi busnes, toriadau sylweddol i gyllideb Busnes Cymru a gostyngiad yn y cyllid ar gyfer y fasnach allforio a buddsoddiadau mewnol, mae cadw busnes newydd proffidiol yn weithredol yn mynd i fod yn anos yng Nghymru. Bydd grantiau rhwystrau rhag dechrau busnes yn cael eu gwastraffu os na chefnogir y busnesau a sefydlir drwy ddefnyddio'r grant ar ôl iddynt ddechrau masnachu. Gyda'r toriadau arfaethedig yn y gyllideb ddrafft, bydd angen help ychwanegol ar fusnesau newydd i gynnal eu hunain yn y flwyddyn neu ddwy gyntaf. Felly, a all y Gweinidog amlinellu pa gymorth sydd, neu a fydd yn cael ei gynnig i fusnesau newydd yng Nghymru i'w cael yn weithredol ac i gadw eu pennau uwch y dŵr yn y flwyddyn gyntaf? Diolch.

Well, as the Member knows, the Welsh Government's budget has been significantly reduced—it's down £1.3 billion in real terms over the last two years. That's more than the size of a reasonably sized health board in Wales. That's a huge amount of spending power, and you can't, on the one hand, celebrate the settlement the Welsh Government has and then complain about all of the consequences of it. I'm pleased to hear a more positive view on start-up businesses compared to yesterday's unfortunate intervention in the budget debate from the Member.

When it comes to the challenges for businesses facing start-up, the reason why I was so pleased to have the question from Sarah Murphy is that it recognises what we are doing to help promote business start-up—so, it's the advice and guidance before a business is created, as well as the up to £2,000 start-up grant that is provided, and, indeed, the offer of support and mentorship thereafter. And we continue to provide that support and advice through Business Wales in helping businesses on their journeys, to think about what they can do to survive and what they can do to grow. And I'm very pleased that you mentioned our international trade activities, because it's been a good year for Wales on international trade. That is because of the dedication of the staff in my department, it's because of a forward-looking programme, and exporters in Wales are growing in, actually, very difficult circumstances. But, above all, it's down to the resilience and ambition of those businesses and how we can help them to find, secure and maintain new markets.

Wel, fel y gŵyr yr Aelod, mae cyllideb Llywodraeth Cymru wedi cael ei lleihau'n sylweddol—mae wedi gostwng £1.3 biliwn mewn termau real dros y ddwy flynedd ddiwethaf. Mae hynny'n fwy na maint bwrdd iechyd o faint cymedrol yng Nghymru. Mae'n swm enfawr o bŵer gwario, ac ni allwch, ar y naill law, ddathlu'r setliad y mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi'i gael a chwyno wedyn am holl ganlyniadau hynny. Rwy'n falch o glywed barn fwy cadarnhaol ar fusnesau newydd o'i gymharu â'r ymyriad anffodus ddoe yn y ddadl ar y gyllideb gan yr Aelod.

Ar yr heriau i fusnesau sy'n dechrau, y rheswm pam fy mod mor falch o gael y cwestiwn gan Sarah Murphy yw ei fod yn cydnabod yr hyn a wnawn i helpu i hyrwyddo busnesau newydd—felly, y cyngor a'r arweiniad cyn creu busnes, yn ogystal â'r grant dechrau busnes hyd at £2,000 sy'n cael ei ddarparu, ac yn wir, y cynnig o gefnogaeth a mentoriaeth wedi hynny. Ac rydym yn parhau i ddarparu'r cymorth a'r cyngor hwnnw trwy Busnes Cymru i helpu busnesau ar eu taith, i feddwl am yr hyn y gallant ei wneud i oroesi a'r hyn y gallant ei wneud i dyfu. Ac rwy'n falch iawn eich bod wedi sôn am ein gweithgareddau masnach ryngwladol, oherwydd mae wedi bod yn flwyddyn dda i Gymru o ran masnach ryngwladol. Mae hynny oherwydd ymroddiad y staff yn fy adran, oherwydd y rhaglen flaengar, ac mae allforwyr yng Nghymru yn tyfu mewn amgylchiadau anodd iawn mewn gwirionedd. Ond yn anad dim, mae'n dibynnu ar wytnwch ac uchelgais y busnesau hynny a sut y gallwn eu helpu i ddod o hyd i farchnadoedd newydd, eu diogelu a'u cynnal.

13:35
Cefnogi Bwytai
Supporting Restaurants

2. Beth mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei wneud i gefnogi bwytai yng Nghymru ar ôl i nifer ohonynt gau ers dechrau'r flwyddyn newydd? OQ60653

2. What is the Welsh Government doing to support restaurants in Wales following several closures since the start of the year? OQ60653

Restaurants in Wales benefit from all the support services offered by Business Wales. They are eligible for non-domestic rates relief and will be supported in 2024-25 by a new £20 million capital fund to help hospitality, retail and leisure businesses futureproof their business.

Mae bwytai yng Nghymru yn elwa o'r holl wasanaethau cymorth sy'n cael eu cynnig gan Busnes Cymru. Maent yn gymwys i gael rhyddhad ardrethi annomestig a byddant yn cael eu cefnogi yn 2024-25 gan gronfa gyfalaf newydd gwerth £20 miliwn i helpu busnesau lletygarwch, manwerthu a hamdden i ddiogelu eu busnes ar gyfer y dyfodol.

Diolch yn fawr, Dirprwy Weinidog. Since the cost-of-living crisis, Wales has lost some of its highest quality restaurants and eateries. It feels on occasions that, every time I look on Wales Online, it is announcing the closure of yet another well-established restaurant in Cardiff. It's clear that small businesses are struggling to stay afloat. The main concern of restaurants are the levels of non-domestic rates, whose relief is going to be cut under the new budget, from 75 per cent to 40 per cent. Instead of battling with business rates, I agree with Luke Fletcher, who last week spoke of producing a timescale to move away from them. In 2019, the Treasury Committee produced a report that presented some alternatives to this archaic model, such as a hybrid system, which would be more flexible to changes in a modern economy. I hope the Deputy Minister will agree with me that the brunt of tax should be felt by corporations, with limited interest in the community, rather than local businesses. What consideration has the Welsh Government given to potential replacements to the non-domestic rates system, if further tax is devolved to Wales? Diolch yn fawr.

Diolch yn fawr, Ddirprwy Weinidog. Ers yr argyfwng costau byw, mae Cymru wedi colli rhai o'i bwytai a'i lleoedd bwyta o'r safon uchaf. Mae'n teimlo ar adegau, bob tro yr edrychaf ar Wales Online, ei fod yn cyhoeddi bod bwyty hirsefydlog arall yng Nghaerdydd yn cau. Mae'n amlwg fod busnesau bach yn ei chael hi'n anodd aros ar agor. Prif bryder bwytai yw lefelau ardrethi annomestig y bydd y rhyddhad ar eu cyfer yn cael ei dorri o dan y gyllideb newydd, o 75 y cant i 40 y cant. Yn hytrach na brwydro gydag ardrethi busnes, rwy'n cytuno â Luke Fletcher, a siaradodd yr wythnos diwethaf am gynhyrchu amserlen i symud oddi wrthynt. Yn 2019, lluniodd Pwyllgor y Trysorlys adroddiad a oedd yn cyflwyno dewisiadau amgen yn lle'r model hynafol hwn, megis system hybrid, a fyddai'n fwy hyblyg i newidiadau mewn economi fodern. Rwy'n gobeithio y bydd y Dirprwy Weinidog yn cytuno â mi y dylai corfforaethau deimlo baich treth, corfforaethau sydd â fawr o ddiddordeb yn y gymuned, yn hytrach na busnesau lleol. Pa ystyriaeth y mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi'i rhoi i ddewisiadau amgen posibl yn lle'r system ardrethi annomestig, os caiff trethiant ei ddatganoli ymhellach i Gymru? Diolch yn fawr.

Can I thank Rhys ab Owen for that supplementary question, which, I have to say, I think would be better directed to my colleague the Minister for finance, because she's responsible for financial measures and taxation? But can I sympathise absolutely with the position that a number of local businesses do find themselves in? You've highlighted the plight of local restaurants, Rhys, and, absolutely, I think we see that right across Wales. On the other hand, we also do see businesses thriving. I know, from the businesses that are struggling, that we know about the issue—it is not just about the national domestic rates because those new rates haven't come in yet. So, any businesses that we actually see going under at the moment, that's for a number of other factors, which we're all well versed in—whether it's the cost-of-living crisis, the energy crisis, the supply chains, food prices, the cost of living impacting on whether or not people can go out to eat and choose not to. So, those are the kinds of factors that really are at the root of the current business failures, and all of the levers to deal with that are actually with the UK Government, and not with the Welsh Government. But it's also encouraging to see that there are a number of new businesses that are starting up, and I think that the answer that my colleague the Minister for Economy gave to the last question, about the support that is available from Business Wales for start-ups, for businesses that are trying to expand, or for businesses that are struggling, was that they can provide the relevant advice to those businesses. I will take your points about non-domestic rates back to my colleague the Minister for finance, because, as I say, that is a matter for her and not for me.FootnoteLink But, I think it is important to say that the current system of non-domestic rates has been a support that's been in place for some considerable time, and the current level of support that's been in place was really there to see businesses through COVID and was only ever meant to be a temporary measure. So, what we're now seeing, as a result of this budget, is actually a move towards a more sustainable level of support for businesses.

A gaf i ddiolch i Rhys ab Owen am y cwestiwn atodol hwnnw, y byddai'n well ei gyfeirio at fy nghyd-Aelod y Gweinidog cyllid, mae rhaid i mi ddweud, gan mai hi sy'n gyfrifol am fesurau ariannol a threthiant? Ond a gaf i gydymdeimlo'n llwyr â'r sefyllfa y mae nifer o fusnesau lleol ynddi? Rydych chi wedi tynnu sylw at gyflwr bwytai lleol, Rhys, ac yn hollol, rwy'n credu ein bod ni'n gweld hynny ledled Cymru. Ar y llaw arall, rydym hefyd yn gweld busnesau'n ffynnu. O'r busnesau sy'n ei chael hi'n anodd, gwn ein bod ni'n gwybod am y broblem—mae'n ymwneud â mwy na'r ardrethi domestig cenedlaethol yn unig oherwydd nid yw'r ardrethi newydd hynny mewn grym eto. Felly, unrhyw fusnesau a welwn yn methu ar hyn o bryd, mae hynny'n digwydd am nifer o ffactorau eraill, y gŵyr pawb ohonom amdanynt—yr argyfwng costau byw, yr argyfwng ynni, y cadwyni cyflenwi, prisiau bwyd, costau byw'n effeithio ar allu pobl i fynd allan i fwyta neu'n dewis peidio â gwneud hynny. Felly, dyna'r mathau o ffactorau sydd wrth wraidd y methiannau busnes presennol, ac mae'r holl ddulliau o ymdrin â hynny gyda Llywodraeth y DU, ac nid gyda Llywodraeth Cymru. Ond mae hefyd yn galonogol gweld bod nifer o fusnesau newydd yn dechrau, ac rwy'n credu mai'r ateb a roddodd fy nghyd-Aelod, Gweinidog yr Economi, i'r cwestiwn diwethaf, am y gefnogaeth sydd ar gael gan Busnes Cymru i fusnesau newydd, i fusnesau sy'n ceisio ehangu, neu i fusnesau sy'n ei chael hi'n anodd, oedd eu bod yn gallu rhoi'r cyngor perthnasol i'r busnesau hynny. Fe af â'ch pwyntiau am ardrethi annomestig yn ôl at fy nghyd-Aelod, y Gweinidog cyllid, oherwydd, fel y dywedais, mater iddi hi yw hynny, ac nid i mi.FootnoteLink Ond rwy'n credu ei bod yn bwysig dweud bod system bresennol yr ardrethi annomestig yn gymorth a fu ar waith ers cryn dipyn o amser, ac roedd y lefel bresennol o gymorth yno er mwyn i fusnesau ddod trwy COVID mewn gwirionedd a dim ond mesur dros dro oedd hwnnw i fod o'r cychwyn. Felly, yr hyn a welwn nawr, o ganlyniad i'r gyllideb hon, yw symud tuag at lefel fwy cynaliadwy o gymorth i fusnesau.

13:40

Deputy Minister, on the same theme, we know that 63 pubs have closed over the last year, and many pubs and restaurants and hotels in my constituency are mere miles from the border with England but will have to pay double the rates in business rates following the decision of your Government not to pass on the 75 per cent. And that's going to disadvantage them significantly. Minister, do you think that the Welsh Government is doing enough to support our hospitality sector on the borders of Wales? And are you concerned about the situation that's developing in the sector?

Ddirprwy Weinidog, ar yr un thema, gwyddom fod 63 o dafarndai wedi cau dros y flwyddyn ddiwethaf, ac mae llawer o dafarndai a bwytai a gwestai yn fy etholaeth i rai milltiroedd yn unig o'r ffin â Lloegr ond bydd yn rhaid iddynt dalu dwbl yr ardrethi busnes yn dilyn penderfyniad eich Llywodraeth i beidio â throsglwyddo'r 75 y cant ymlaen. Ac mae hynny'n mynd i'w rhoi dan anfantais sylweddol. Weinidog, a ydych chi'n credu bod Llywodraeth Cymru yn gwneud digon i gefnogi ein sector lletygarwch ar ffin Cymru? A ydych chi'n poeni am y sefyllfa sy'n datblygu yn y sector?

[Inaudible.]—be absolutely clear, what we are doing is we are putting in place a maximum level of support that is affordable, using all the consequential funding that came to Wales as a result of the multiplier announced by the UK Government's autumn statement, which is what you're referring to. But I do think it's important to say that there is not a direct comparison between what we're doing in Wales and what they're doing in England. And it's also worth saying, of course, that Scotland no longer provide any business rates relief at all. So, we are still putting in a significant amount of support—some £78 million of support—for local businesses. But we only have a single multiplier tax base for the whole of Wales, and that's something that we're seeking to address through the local government and finance Bill, so that we can get across the limitation that we have in the existing legislative framework for Wales. 

But it's also worth highlighting again the differences between England and Wales. It's not like comparing apples with apples. Our small business rates relief, of course, supports up to two properties per local authority for businesses in Wales, and that's much more generous than it is in England, where businesses can only claim for one property. And, of course, small businesses here account for a much higher proportion of the local rates revenue compared to England. The cost of small business rates relief in Wales is fully funded by the Welsh Government and makes up 10 per cent of the total revenue, compared to only 4 per cent in England. So, I think it would be more beneficial if we talked about how we deliver this support in Wales rather than a comparison with England, which is not on a like-for-like basis. 

[Anghlywadwy.]—yn gwbl glir, yr hyn a wnawn yw rhoi uchafswm o gymorth ar waith sy'n fforddiadwy, gan ddefnyddio'r holl gyllid canlyniadol a ddaeth i Gymru o ganlyniad i'r lluosydd a gyhoeddwyd gan ddatganiad y hydref Llywodraeth y DU, sef yr hyn y cyfeiriwch chi ato. Ond rwy'n credu ei bod hi'n bwysig dweud nad oes cymhariaeth uniongyrchol rhwng yr hyn a wnawn yng Nghymru a'r hyn a wnânt yn Lloegr. Ac mae'n werth dweud hefyd, wrth gwrs, nad yw'r Alban bellach yn darparu unrhyw ryddhad ardrethi busnes o gwbl. Felly, rydym yn dal i roi cryn dipyn o gymorth—gwerth £78 miliwn o gymorth—i fusnesau lleol. Ond dim ond sylfaen dreth un lluosydd sydd gennym ar gyfer Cymru gyfan, ac mae hynny'n rhywbeth yr ydym yn ceisio mynd i'r afael ag ef drwy'r Bil llywodraeth leol a chyllid, fel y gallwn oresgyn y cyfyngiad sydd gennym yn y fframwaith deddfwriaethol presennol ar gyfer Cymru. 

Ond mae'n werth tynnu sylw eto at y gwahaniaethau rhwng Cymru a Lloegr. Nid yw fel cymharu tebyg am debyg. Mae ein rhyddhad ardrethi busnesau bach yn cefnogi hyd at ddau eiddo ym mhob awdurdod lleol ar gyfer busnesau yng Nghymru, ac mae hynny'n llawer mwy hael nag yn Lloegr, lle gall busnesau hawlio am un eiddo'n unig. Ac wrth gwrs, mae busnesau bach yma'n gyfran lawer uwch o'r refeniw ardrethi lleol o'i gymharu â Lloegr. Mae cost rhyddhad ardrethi busnesau bach yng Nghymru yn cael ei hariannu'n llawn gan Lywodraeth Cymru ac mae'n 10 y cant o gyfanswm y refeniw, o'i gymharu â dim ond 4 y cant yn Lloegr. Felly, rwy'n credu y byddai'n fwy buddiol pe byddem yn siarad ynglŷn â sut y darparwn y cymorth hwn yng Nghymru yn hytrach na chymhariaeth â Lloegr, nad yw ar sail debyg am debyg. 

The Minister's mentioned some of the range of factors that are causing problems in the sector at the moment. And I'm wondering, do you accept that, when all of those are happening all at once, it's, essentially, an existential crisis for the sector? People working in the sector say that they have never, ever seen it this bad, and, of course, some of the factors are specific to this sector, in terms of the staff shortages that have driven wage pressures, and the cost-of-living crisis and discretionary spending, and the COVID debt, which is particularly a problem in this sector. Of course, the issue now is that many of the businesses are trading at a loss, and the decision to increase the business rates is coming at a time when many of them are weighing up whether to continue in business at all. So, unless the policy changes, we will see a whole raft of businesses going under in April and May. So, can I urge you, through the Minister for Economy, in your department, to raise this issue again? Is there a case for at least transitional relief for this sector in particular, because it is 8 per cent of the Welsh economy and it will have a huge impact in every community in Wales?

Mae'r Gweinidog wedi sôn am rai o'r ystod o ffactorau sy'n achosi problemau yn y sector ar hyn o bryd. Tybed a ydych chi'n derbyn, pan fydd pob un o'r rheini'n digwydd ar unwaith, ei fod, yn y bôn, yn argyfwng dirfodol i'r sector? Mae pobl sy'n gweithio yn y sector yn dweud nad ydynt erioed wedi ei weld mor ddrwg â hyn, ac wrth gwrs, mae rhai o'r ffactorau yn benodol i'r sector hwn, o ran y prinder staff sydd wedi sbarduno pwysau cyflog, a'r argyfwng costau byw a gwariant dewisol, a'r ddyled COVID, sy'n broblem arbennig yn y sector hwn. Wrth gwrs, y broblem nawr yw bod llawer o'r busnesau'n masnachu ar golled, ac mae'r penderfyniad i gynyddu'r ardrethi busnes yn dod ar adeg pan fo llawer ohonynt yn pwyso a mesur a ddylent barhau mewn busnes o gwbl. Felly, oni bai bod y polisi'n newid, byddwn yn gweld llu o fusnesau'n methu ym mis Ebrill a mis Mai. Felly, a gaf i eich annog, drwy Weinidog yr Economi, yn eich adran, i godi'r mater hwn eto? A oes achos dros ryddhad trosiannol o leiaf i'r sector hwn yn enwedig, oherwydd mae'n 8 y cant o economi Cymru a bydd yn cael effaith enfawr ym mhob cymuned yng Nghymru?

Can I thank Adam Price for that question? And he's absolutely right, of course—hospitality is a key sector in our economy and for our communities, and it is struggling for all the reasons that he has outlined and Rhys ab Owen also outlined earlier on. The vast majority of the reasons why these businesses are struggling are not within the gift of the Welsh Government to be able to rectify. They are primarily levers for the UK Government to pull and to put right. The cost of living, inflation, energy prices and so on, the food prices, the supply chain issues, most of those issues are not something that we have the control to rectify.

As I said in response to both Peter Fox and Rhys ab Owen, we are putting £78 million of support into the sector. This is the fifth year running that we've had a significant amount of support going into the sector since the start of COVID. That builds on almost a £1 billion of support that's gone into that sector since 2021, and the way in which the business rates support package is being delivered, through the budget for next year, is to look at also building into that a £20 million loan scheme, which will enable businesses to become futureproofed going forward. So, this is not just about sticking plaster to get them over a hump; this is about looking at how we can deliver long-term sustainability for those vital tourism and hospitality industry businesses.

A gaf i ddiolch i Adam Price am y cwestiwn hwnnw? Ac mae'n hollol gywir, wrth gwrs—mae lletygarwch yn sector allweddol yn ein heconomi ac i'n cymunedau, ac mae'n ei chael hi'n anodd am yr holl resymau y mae wedi'u hamlinellu ac a amlinellwyd gan Rhys ab Owen yn gynharach hefyd. Nid yw'r mwyafrif helaeth o'r rhesymau pam mae'r busnesau hyn yn cael trafferth yn bethau y mae gan Lywodraeth Cymru bŵer i'w hunioni. Maent yn ysgogiadau i Lywodraeth y DU eu defnyddio a'u cywiro. Nid yw costau byw, chwyddiant, prisiau ynni ac yn y blaen, y prisiau bwyd, problemau'r gadwyn gyflenwi, nid yw'r rhan fwyaf o'r materion hynny'n bethau y mae gennym reolaeth i'w hunioni.

Fel y dywedais mewn ymateb i Peter Fox a Rhys ab Owen, rydym yn rhoi £78 miliwn o gymorth i'r sector. Dyma'r bumed flwyddyn yn olynol i ni gael cryn dipyn o gymorth yn mynd i mewn i'r sector ers dechrau COVID. Mae hynny'n adeiladu ar bron i £1 biliwn o gymorth sydd wedi mynd i mewn i'r sector hwnnw ers 2021, a'r ffordd y mae'r pecyn cymorth ardrethi busnes yn cael ei ddarparu, drwy'r gyllideb ar gyfer y flwyddyn nesaf, yw edrych hefyd ar ymgorffori cynllun benthyciad £20 miliwn a fydd yn galluogi busnesau i ddod yn ddiogel ar gyfer y dyfodol. Felly, nid dim ond mesur dros dro i'w cael dros un broblem fach yw hyn; mae'n ymwneud ag edrych ar sut y gallwn ddarparu cynaliadwyedd hirdymor i fusnesau hanfodol yn y diwydiant twristiaeth a lletygarwch.

13:45
Cwestiynau Heb Rybudd gan Lefarwyr y Pleidiau
Questions Without Notice from Party Spokespeople

Cwestiynau nawr gan lefarwyr y pleidiau. Llefarydd y Ceidwadwyr, Paul Davies.

Questions now from the party spokespeople. Conservative spokesperson, Paul Davies. 

Diolch, Llywydd. Minister, as you know, it's National Apprenticeship Week, and this is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of apprenticeships to the Welsh economy. Now, on 27 February, you'll be making a policy statement in this Chamber on apprenticeships, and I sincerely hope that apprenticeship providers will hear something positive from you in that statement. So, can you tell us today whether that statement includes a u-turn on the cuts that your Government is currently making to apprenticeships in its draft budget? 

Diolch, Lywydd. Weinidog, fel y gwyddoch, mae'n Wythnos Genedlaethol Prentisiaethau, a dyma gyfle i fyfyrio ar bwysigrwydd prentisiaethau i economi Cymru. Nawr, ar 27 Chwefror, fe fyddwch yn gwneud datganiad polisi yn y Siambr hon ar brentisiaethau, ac rwy'n mawr obeithio y bydd darparwyr prentisiaethau yn clywed rhywbeth cadarnhaol gennych yn y datganiad hwnnw. Felly, a allwch chi ddweud wrthym heddiw a yw'r datganiad hwnnw'n cynnwys tro pedol ar y toriadau y mae eich Llywodraeth yn eu gwneud ar hyn o bryd i brentisiaethau yn ei chyllideb ddrafft? 

Well, I'll certainly have lots of positivity to talk about apprenticeships. The fact that we are going to see at least a 10 per cent increase in apprenticeship starts in this Senedd term, compared to the last Senedd term, is good news; the fact that we're in National Apprenticeship Week, looking at all the value that apprenticeships provide—. The Construction Industry Training Board were here earlier, and a number of you had a go on the virtual reality headset. I think the machine's broken. We saw the variety of different construction careers there are, and it's a sector with above average wages, so we will continue to invest in apprenticeships. And I'll be honest with people about the reality that our choices are constrained.

The loss of £1.3 billion in spending power is separate to the loss of former EU funds. This year that we are coming in to, we face a cliff edge with the loss of former EU funds. As the Member will know from his committee, which he chairs, the reality is that those funds have gone. The design of those funds, decided by his colleagues in Whitehall, means that those funds are not available to use on a strategic apprenticeship programme. And we have not been able to find the money within our significantly reduced budget to avoid any of those challenges. I look forward to the money and the powers returning to Wales, and I am personally committed to seeing more money going to apprenticeships in the future.

Wel, yn sicr bydd gennyf lawer o bositifrwydd i siarad am brentisiaethau. Mae'r ffaith ein bod yn mynd i weld cynnydd o 10 y cant o leiaf mewn prentisiaethau newydd yn nhymor y Senedd hon, o'i gymharu â thymor diwethaf y Senedd, yn newyddion da; y ffaith ein bod ni yn Wythnos Genedlaethol Prentisiaethau yn edrych ar yr holl werth y mae prentisiaethau'n ei ddarparu—. Roedd Bwrdd Hyfforddi'r Diwydiant Adeiladu yma yn gynharach, a chafodd nifer ohonoch gyfle i roi cynnig ar y clustffonau realiti rhithwir. Rwy'n credu bod y peiriant wedi torri. Gwelsom yr amrywiaeth o yrfaoedd adeiladu gwahanol, ac mae'n sector sydd â chyflogau uwch na'r cyfartaledd, felly byddwn yn parhau i fuddsoddi mewn prentisiaethau. Ac fe fyddaf yn onest â phobl am y realiti fod ein dewisiadau'n gyfyngedig.

Mae colli £1.3 biliwn o bŵer gwario yn dod ar ben colli cronfeydd blaenorol yr UE. Yn y flwyddyn a ddaw, rydym yn wynebu ymyl clogwyn gyda cholli cronfeydd blaenorol yr UE. Fel y bydd yr Aelod yn gwybod o'r pwyllgor y mae'n ei gadeirio, y gwir amdani yw bod yr arian hwnnw wedi mynd. Mae cynllun y cronfeydd hynny a benderfynwyd gan ei gymheiriaid yn Whitehall yn golygu nad yw'r cronfeydd hynny ar gael i'w defnyddio ar raglen brentisiaeth strategol. Ac nid ydym wedi gallu dod o hyd i arian yn ein cyllideb sylweddol is i allu osgoi unrhyw un o'r heriau hynny. Rwy'n edrych ymlaen at weld yr arian a'r pwerau'n dychwelyd i Gymru, ac rwyf wedi ymrwymo'n bersonol i sicrhau bod mwy o arian yn mynd tuag at brentisiaethau yn y dyfodol.

Well, here we go again: the First Minister in waiting blaming everyone else. At the moment, you are responsible for apprenticeships, Minister, and you must take responsibility for that. And let's be clear, the apprenticeship budget has been reduced by 3.65 per cent, which is a 24 per cent cut to the contract value, and if the Welsh Government proceeds with this cut, there will be a huge impact on young people and on the Welsh economy. Your own leadership manifesto recognises the importance of apprenticeships, and yet it's under your ministerial department that they're facing a cut.

Now, as you already know, apprenticeship providers need to prioritise supporting people already enrolled on their courses, so the combination of the reduced budget and increased costs will fall on new starters. So, what direct discussions are you having with apprenticeship providers about the impact of the current cut to their provision? And what support is the Welsh Government looking to make available to support them through this difficult period?

Wel, dyma ni eto: y darpar Brif Weinidog yn beio pawb arall. Ar hyn o bryd, chi sy'n gyfrifol am brentisiaethau, Weinidog, a rhaid i chi gymryd cyfrifoldeb am hynny. A gadewch inni fod yn glir, mae'r gyllideb brentisiaethau wedi gostwng 3.65 y cant, sy'n doriad o 24 y cant i werth y contract, ac os bydd Llywodraeth Cymru yn bwrw ymlaen â'r toriad hwn, bydd effaith enfawr ar bobl ifanc ac ar economi Cymru. Mae eich maniffesto eich hun ar gyfer yr arweinyddiaeth yn cydnabod pwysigrwydd prentisiaethau, ac eto o dan eich adran weinidogol chi y maent yn wynebu toriad.

Nawr, fel y gwyddoch eisoes, mae angen i ddarparwyr prentisiaethau roi blaenoriaeth i gefnogi pobl sydd eisoes wedi cofrestru ar eu cyrsiau, felly bydd y cyfuniad o gyllideb lai a chostau uwch yn disgyn ar ddechreuwyr newydd. Felly, pa drafodaethau uniongyrchol rydych chi'n eu cael gyda darparwyr prentisiaethau ynghylch effaith y toriad presennol i'w darpariaeth? A pha gymorth y mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn bwriadu ei darparu i'w cefnogi drwy'r cyfnod anodd hwn?

There are a number of points to make there. The first is that, in the draft budget debate we had yesterday, there wasn't a dispute about the strategic direction of the budget in prioritising health and local government. In fact, we had a budget debate where there were demands to put more money into virtually every area that that particular speaker identified. No-one identified where the money would come from, no-one identified where we would find £40 million to put into the apprenticeship spend area if there were to be no fall in contract value. If, as is the truth, our budget has fallen by £1.3 billion in real terms—that's not blaming someone else, that is telling the truth—if that is the truth and the Member accepts that, then that means you can't simply say you're going to spend more in every area as the demand regularly is.

And the Member knows that it is the truth, not an opinion, that the money from former EU funds has stopped in Whitehall with the design and delivery of it. It is a disgrace that this Senedd and this Welsh Government have had those powers and that money taken from us by his colleagues in Whitehall, after more than 20 years of exercising those powers and being scrutinised properly in this Chamber and through our committees. So, when it comes to what I will be talking through with apprenticeship providers and others, I will reiterate the value of apprenticeships, I will reiterate my own pledge to make sure that, in the future, when the money and powers return with a UK Labour Government, we will invest that money back into apprenticeships, and I'll have that discussion directly with further education principals when I meet them on Thursday this week.

Mae nifer o bwyntiau i'w gwneud yno. Yn gyntaf, yn y ddadl ar y gyllideb ddrafft a gawsom ddoe, nid oedd dadl ynghylch cyfeiriad strategol y gyllideb yn blaenoriaethu iechyd a llywodraeth leol. Mewn gwirionedd, cawsom ddadl ar y gyllideb lle roedd galwadau am roi mwy o arian tuag at bron bob maes a nodwyd gan bob siaradwr penodol. Ni nododd neb o ble y byddai'r arian yn dod, ni nododd neb o ble y byddem yn dod o hyd i £40 miliwn i'w roi i faes gwariant prentisiaethau pe na bai gostyngiad yng ngwerth contract. Os yw ein cyllideb wedi gostwng £1.3 biliwn mewn termau real, fel sy'n wir—nid beio rhywun arall yw hynny ond dweud y gwir—os mai dyna'r gwir a bod yr Aelod yn derbyn hynny, mae hynny'n golygu na allwch chi ddweud eich bod chi'n mynd i wario mwy ym mhob maes fel y gelwir yn rheolaidd am ei wneud.

Ac mae'r Aelod yn gwybod mai'r gwir, nid mater o farn, yw bod yr arian o gronfeydd blaenorol yr UE wedi aros yn Whitehall o ran ei gynllun a'r modd y'i darperir. Mae'n warth fod y Senedd hon a Llywodraeth Cymru wedi gweld y pwerau hynny a'r arian hwnnw'n cael ei dynnu'n ôl oddi wrthym gan ei gymheiriaid ef yn Whitehall, ar ôl mwy nag 20 mlynedd o arfer y pwerau hynny a'u craffu'n iawn yn y Siambr hon a thrwy ein pwyllgorau. Felly, o ran yr hyn y byddaf yn siarad drwyddo gyda darparwyr prentisiaethau ac eraill, byddaf yn ailadrodd gwerth prentisiaethau, byddaf yn ailadrodd fy addewid fy hun i sicrhau, yn y dyfodol, pan fydd yr arian a'r pwerau'n dychwelyd gyda Llywodraeth Lafur y DU, y byddwn yn buddsoddi'r arian hwnnw yn ôl i mewn i brentisiaethau, a byddaf yn cael y drafodaeth honno'n uniongyrchol gyda phenaethiaid addysg bellach pan fyddaf yn eu cyfarfod ddydd Iau yr wythnos hon.

13:50

The language of politics is about priorities, Minister. You make these decisions, you are the Minister responsible for these budget cuts and, as we all know, your Government are spending money on extra politicians, for example, when you could actually be spending money on apprentices. So, you should reflect on that. 

Now, the recent developments at Tata are another reminder of the need for good-quality apprenticeships. And with the development of two free ports in Wales, it's even more important than ever that a pipeline of talent is being developed to meet the skills needs that these major developments bring. And, as I've already said, and as you've said, it's National Apprenticeship Week, and we should be celebrating and promoting apprenticeships as a valuable pathway into work or a new career, and the Welsh Government should be working with stakeholders and the private sector to explore how they can better support the delivery of apprenticeships in Wales. This is happening in other countries in Europe, where apprenticeships are prioritised and vocational skills and training have much better parity of esteem with academic education.

So, Minister, can you tell us what the Welsh Government is doing to encourage the private sector to be more involved in the delivery of apprenticeships in Wales? Could you also tell us what discussions have taken place with stakeholders regarding the two free ports in Wales about the delivery of apprenticeships in those communities in the future? And what lessons is the Welsh Government learning from other countries, like Germany, for example, about the way in which apprenticeships can be better supported and promoted here in Wales?

Mae iaith gwleidyddiaeth yn ymwneud â blaenoriaethau, Weinidog. Chi sy'n gwneud y penderfyniadau hyn, chi yw'r Gweinidog sy'n gyfrifol am y toriadau hyn yn y gyllideb ac fel y gwyddom i gyd, mae eich Llywodraeth yn gwario arian ar wleidyddion ychwanegol, er enghraifft, pan allech fod yn gwario arian ar brentisiaid. Felly, fe ddylech gnoi cil ar hynny. 

Nawr, mae'r datblygiadau diweddar yn Tata yn atgoffa eto am yr angen am brentisiaethau o ansawdd da. A chyda datblygiad dau borthladd rhydd yng Nghymru, mae'n bwysicach nag erioed fod ffrwd o dalent yn cael ei datblygu i ddiwallu'r anghenion sgiliau a ddaw yn sgil y datblygiadau mawr hyn. Ac fel y dywedais eisoes, ac fel y dywedoch chi, mae'n Wythnos Genedlaethol Prentisiaethau, a dylem fod yn dathlu a hyrwyddo prentisiaethau fel llwybr gwerthfawr i waith neu yrfa newydd, a dylai Llywodraeth Cymru weithio gyda rhanddeiliaid a'r sector preifat i archwilio sut y gallant gefnogi'r gwaith o ddarparu prentisiaethau yng Nghymru yn well. Mae hyn yn digwydd mewn gwledydd eraill yn Ewrop, lle mae prentisiaethau'n cael eu blaenoriaethu a lle ceir parch mwy cydradd ag addysg academaidd i sgiliau a hyfforddiant galwedigaethol.

Felly, Weinidog, a allwch ddweud wrthym beth mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei wneud i annog y sector preifat i gymryd mwy o ran yn y gwaith o ddarparu prentisiaethau yng Nghymru? A allwch chi ddweud wrthym hefyd pa drafodaethau sydd wedi digwydd gyda rhanddeiliaid mewn perthynas â'r ddau borthladd rhydd yng Nghymru ynghylch darparu prentisiaethau yn y cymunedau hynny yn y dyfodol? A pha wersi y mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn eu dysgu o wledydd eraill, fel yr Almaen, er enghraifft, am y ffordd y gellir cefnogi a hyrwyddo prentisiaethau yn well yma yng Nghymru?

The Member started by talking about priorities; it's not a priority for the UK Government to put more money into apprenticeships. It's not a priority for the UK Government to properly and fairly fund Wales, which is why we are here in this Chamber with £1.3 billion less than we should have had, compared to two years ago. That's the reduction in our spending power. [Interruption.] And all of the farmyard noises from the Tories don't stop the reality. The truth is that £1.3 billion equates to more money than the whole of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board had to spend last year. That's the scale of the reduction that your party has delivered to Wales. So, we then have even more difficult choices to make as a direct consequence of Tory cuts to Wales. 

He then talked about the private sector. We have a very good relationship with the private sector, about delivery and the actual completion of apprenticeships. We have a much better record than England on apprenticeship delivery. When you look at what we're doing on degree apprenticeships and look at what we're doing on shared apprenticeships, they're all integral to the private sector being involved. And the standard apprenticeships running through further education colleges, too. It is an essential part of what an apprenticeship gives that there is learning in a setting in a college and, indeed, there's learning in the workplace as well. And I'm very keen to promote the real value of an apprenticeship for people individually and for our wider economy—skills that I don't have and many other people in this room don't have, as Jack Sargeant isn't here. You have a different set of skills that are all valuable to the economy. We need to be much better at valuing those in this Chamber and outside when people come to make their choices. 

I'll finally just touch on Germany, which the Member mentioned. I was in Germany recently and, of course, they have had a much longer and more stable period of government within the Länder and at federal level, where they haven't had significant varying between different forms of apprenticeship policy. That sustained, long-term investment provides certainty for businesses, for providers and for individuals. And, actually, some of it is a requirement. The Member might not like what they do in a number of places in Germany, where businesses are required to join a business forum, they're required to pay a fee for that, and that provides a great deal of stability in that setting. I think, in Wales, with the powers and the money, we can again show a level of ambition and delivery in this area, and I look forward to doing so with a future UK Labour Government.

Dechreuodd yr Aelod drwy siarad am flaenoriaethau; nid yw'n flaenoriaeth gan Lywodraeth y DU i roi mwy o arian tuag at brentisiaethau. Nid yw'n flaenoriaeth gan Lywodraeth y DU i ariannu Cymru'n briodol ac yn deg, a dyna pam ein bod ni yma yn y Siambr hon gydag £1.3 biliwn yn llai nag y dylem fod wedi'i gael, o'i gymharu â dwy flynedd yn ôl. Dyna'r gostyngiad yn ein pŵer gwario. [Torri ar draws.] Ac nid yw holl synau anifeilaidd y Torïaid yn atal y realiti. Y gwir yw bod £1.3 biliwn yn cyfateb i fwy o arian nag a oedd gan Fwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Cwm Taf Morgannwg yn ei gyfanrwydd i'w wario y llynedd. Dyna faint y gostyngiad y mae eich plaid chi wedi'i roi i Gymru. Felly, mae gennym ddewisiadau anos fyth i'w gwneud o ganlyniad uniongyrchol i doriadau Torïaidd i Gymru. 

Siaradodd wedyn am y sector preifat. Mae gennym berthynas dda iawn â'r sector preifat, ynghylch cyflwyno a chwblhau prentisiaethau. Mae gennym hanes llawer gwell na Lloegr o ddarparu prentisiaethau. Pan edrychwch ar yr hyn a wnawn ar radd-brentisiaethau ac edrych ar yr hyn a wnawn ar rannu prentisiaethau, maent i gyd yn golygu bod y sector preifat yn rhan ganolog o hyn. A'r prentisiaethau safonol sy'n rhedeg trwy golegau addysg bellach hefyd. Mae'n rhan hanfodol o'r hyn y mae prentisiaeth yn ei gynnig fod dysgu'n digwydd mewn lleoliad mewn coleg ac yn wir, fod yna ddysgu yn y gweithle hefyd. Ac rwy'n awyddus iawn i hyrwyddo gwerth go iawn prentisiaeth i bobl yn unigol ac i'n heconomi ehangach—sgiliau nad wyf i a llawer o bobl eraill yn yr ystafell hon yn meddu arnynt, gan nad yw Jack Sargeant yma. Mae gennych set wahanol o sgiliau sydd oll yn werthfawr i'r economi. Mae angen inni fod yn llawer gwell am werthfawrogi'r rheini yn y Siambr hon a'r tu allan pan fydd pobl yn gwneud eu dewisiadau. 

I orffen, rwyf am gyffwrdd â'r Almaen, y soniodd yr Aelod amdani. Roeddwn yn yr Almaen yn ddiweddar ac wrth gwrs, maent wedi cael cyfnod llawer hwy a mwy sefydlog o lywodraeth o fewn y Länder ac ar lefel ffederal, lle nad ydynt wedi gweld amrywio sylweddol rhwng gwahanol fathau o bolisi prentisiaethau. Mae'r buddsoddiad hirdymor parhaus hwnnw'n rhoi sicrwydd i fusnesau, i ddarparwyr ac i unigolion. Ac mewn gwirionedd, mae rhywfaint ohono'n ofyniad. Efallai na fydd yr Aelod yn hoffi'r hyn y maent yn ei wneud mewn nifer o leoedd yn yr Almaen, lle mae'n ofynnol i fusnesau ymuno â fforwm busnes, mae'n ofynnol iddynt dalu ffi am hynny, ac mae hynny'n darparu llawer iawn o sefydlogrwydd yn y lleoliad hwnnw. Rwy'n credu, yng Nghymru, gyda'r pwerau a'r arian, y gallwn ddangos lefel o uchelgais a chyflawniad yn y maes hwn eto, ac edrychaf ymlaen at wneud hynny gyda Llywodraeth Lafur yn y DU yn y dyfodol.

13:55

Diolch, Llywydd. As Paul Davies mentioned, of course, it's National Apprenticeship Week, and to mark the occasion, last night, we launched the apprenticeship cross-party group, which both Huw Irranca-Davies and I co-chair. Now, of course, the launch of this CPG is timely, given the crisis that was set out clearly by Paul Davies. What was clearly put across last night in the launch is the impact of these proposed cuts; that these cuts don't just trim around the edge. You mentioned putting the money back in when it becomes available, but the cuts as they currently stand would result in a decade of recovery for the sector to get back to where it is today. Cuts that, when they've happened, cannot simply be reversed the next financial year.

It was pointed out in your leadership manifesto launch that you propose to increase the number of apprenticeships. Is that based on an increase from where figures are today, and, if so, given the severity of the cuts, how do you propose to do it?

Diolch, Lywydd. Fel y soniodd Paul Davies wrth gwrs, mae'n Wythnos Genedlaethol Prentisiaethau, ac i nodi'r achlysur, neithiwr, fe lansiwyd y grŵp trawsbleidiol ar brentisiaethau y mae Huw Irranca-Davies a minnau yn ei gadeirio. Nawr, mae lansio'r grŵp trawsbleidiol hwn yn amserol, o ystyried yr argyfwng a nodwyd yn glir gan Paul Davies. Yr hyn a gafodd ei gyfleu'n glir neithiwr yn y lansiad yw effaith y toriadau arfaethedig hyn; fod y toriadau hyn yn fwy na thocio ar yr ymylon. Roeddech chi'n sôn am roi'r arian yn ôl i mewn pan fydd ar gael, ond byddai'r toriadau fel y maent ar hyn o bryd yn arwain at ddegawd o adferiad er mwyn i'r sector ddychwelyd i ble mae arni heddiw. Toriadau na ellir eu gwrthdroi yn y flwyddyn ariannol nesaf pan fyddant wedi digwydd.

Nodwyd yn lansiad eich maniffesto ar gyfer yr arweinyddiaeth eich bod yn bwriadu cynyddu nifer y prentisiaethau. A yw hynny'n seiliedig ar gynnydd o ble mae'r ffigurau heddiw, ac os felly, o ystyried difrifoldeb y toriadau, sut ydych chi'n bwriadu ei wneud?

Well, there's a long-term need to reinvest in apprenticeships following the cliff edge, following the thievery of the former EU funds that have been taken from Wales. We are facing the undeniable consequences of that. And I know that Luke Fletcher doesn't want to give a free pass to the Tories for the significant and deliberate reductions they've made to our budgets and the way that former EU funds have stopped at Whitehall. The lack of any strategic choice for those funds is a choice that was made in Whitehall. There were options that would have allowed apprenticeship spend to have continued. It is a deliberate choice not to allow that to happen.

Now, what we face is: can we find additional and significant sums, within a reducing window, when health and local government are the priorities that we have set within the budget? And we're left with the choices we have. It is, though, in the draft budget, a genuine period of it being draft and a consultation. And I have said in committee and in this Chamber, if there are serious proposals about how to move money around, then I will look at those seriously, as indeed will every Minister in the Government. These are not choices that any of us take pleasure in making, but we have to balance the budget.

What I've set out for the future is a future direction of what I want to achieve, to build on what we are doing today, to make sure, not just in the next year to two years, but on a more sustained basis, that we see continued and sustained investment in apprenticeships for people and for the future of the economy, and I am confident that we'll be able to do so.

Wel, mae angen hirdymor i ailfuddsoddi mewn prentisiaethau yn dilyn yr ymyl clogwyn, yn dilyn lladrata arian blaenorol yr UE a gafodd ei ddwyn oddi wrthym yng Nghymru. Rydym yn wynebu canlyniadau diymwad hynny. Ac rwy'n gwybod nad yw Luke Fletcher eisiau anwybyddu'r gostyngiadau sylweddol a bwriadol y mae'r Torïaid wedi'u gwneud i'n cyllidebau a'r ffordd y mae arian blaenorol yr UE wedi aros yn Whitehall. Mae diffyg unrhyw ddewis strategol ar gyfer y cronfeydd hynny yn ddewis a wnaed yn Whitehall. Roedd yna opsiynau a fyddai wedi caniatáu i wariant ar brentisiaethau barhau. Mae'n ddewis bwriadol i beidio â gadael i hynny ddigwydd.

Nawr, yr hyn sy'n ein hwynebu yw: a allwn ddod o hyd i symiau ychwanegol a sylweddol, o fewn cyfle sy'n lleihau, pan mai iechyd a llywodraeth leol yw'r blaenoriaethau a osodwyd gennym yn y gyllideb? A chawn ein gadael gyda'r dewisiadau sydd gennym. Fodd bynnag, yn y gyllideb ddrafft, mae'n gyfnod gwirioneddol o'i fod yn ddrafft ac yn ymgynghoriad. Ac rwyf wedi dweud yn y pwyllgor ac yn y Siambr hon, os oes cynigion difrifol ynghylch sut i symud arian o gwmpas, fe edrychaf ar y rheini o ddifrif, fel y gwnaiff pob Gweinidog yn y Llywodraeth. Nid yw'r rhain yn ddewisiadau y mae unrhyw un ohonom yn mwynhau eu gwneud, ond mae'n rhaid inni gydbwyso'r gyllideb.

Yr hyn a nodais ar gyfer y dyfodol yw cyfeiriad yr hyn rwy'n awyddus i'w gyflawni yn y dyfodol, adeiladu ar yr hyn a wnawn heddiw, i sicrhau, nid yn unig yn y flwyddyn i ddwy flynedd nesaf, ond yn fwy parhaus, ein bod yn gweld buddsoddiad parhaus a pharhaol mewn prentisiaethau i bobl ac ar gyfer dyfodol yr economi, ac rwy'n hyderus y gallwn wneud hynny.

Of course, that doesn't provide any comfort to the sector, does it? I mean, it was very clear that the cuts will have a devastating impact in terms of the longevity of the sector to deliver on the ambitions that we all want to see here. In order to reverse those cuts, we are talking about a decade or more. That's the reality here.

Given the policy statement that was announced on 27 February—to happen on 27 February—by listening to your answers to Paul Davies, I take it that there is no good news for apprenticeships here, other than, of course, the 10 per cent increase that you mentioned in response to Paul Davies. But my question is: is that increase sustainable, given the cuts that we are going to see? If there is a reduction in the size of the cuts, then the sector needs to know now. Long-term planning in this particular sector is vitally important, and one thing, again, that was clear last night is that communication hasn't been where it should be.

The sector will listen closely to what is said on 27 February, and I can tell you now that they don't want to hear about how well they're doing currently; they want to know about how well the Government will do in terms of helping them progress forward. So, my plea to the Minister is, on 27 February, find the funds to reverse the cuts, perhaps not in their entirety, but at least meet the sector halfway. Because they've heard enough about how important they are as a sector, what they need now is that help.

Wrth gwrs, prin fod hynny'n rhoi unrhyw gysur i'r sector. Hynny yw, roedd yn amlwg iawn y bydd y toriadau'n cael effaith ddinistriol ar hirhoedledd y sector i gyflawni'r uchelgeisiau y mae pawb ohonom eisiau eu gweld yma. Er mwyn gwrthdroi'r toriadau hynny, rydym yn sôn am ddegawd neu fwy. Dyna'r realiti yma.

O ystyried y datganiad polisi a gyhoeddwyd ar 27 Chwefror—i ddigwydd ar 27 Chwefror—o wrando ar eich atebion i Paul Davies, rwy'n cymryd nad oes unrhyw newyddion da i brentisiaethau yma, heblaw am y cynnydd o 10 y cant a grybwyllwyd gennych mewn ymateb i Paul Davies wrth gwrs. Ond fy nghwestiwn i yw: a yw'r cynnydd hwnnw'n gynaliadwy, o ystyried y toriadau y byddwn yn eu gweld? Os oes gostyngiad ym maint y toriadau, mae angen i'r sector wybod nawr. Mae cynllunio hirdymor yn y sector penodol hwn yn hanfodol bwysig, ac un peth, unwaith eto, a oedd yn amlwg neithiwr yw nad yw cyfathrebu wedi bod cystal ag y dylai fod.

Bydd y sector yn gwrando'n astud ar yr hyn a ddywedir ar 27 Chwefror, a gallaf ddweud wrthych nawr nad ydynt eisiau clywed pa mor dda y maent yn ei wneud ar hyn o bryd; maent am wybod pa mor dda y bydd y Llywodraeth yn ei wneud i'w helpu i symud ymlaen. Felly, rwy'n erfyn ar y Gweinidog, ar 27 Chwefror, i ddod o hyd i'r arian i wyrdroi'r toriadau, nid yn eu cyfanrwydd efallai, ond o leiaf i gyfarfod â'r sector hanner ffordd. Oherwydd maent wedi clywed digon am ba mor bwysig ydynt fel sector, yr hyn sydd ei angen arnynt nawr yw help.

And to do that, you need to find the money to do so. And, again, I go back and I say that when there's £1.3 billion less in real terms, you cannot hide that or avoid that. If there are serious proposals for how to move money in real terms around, to identify where that money won't be spent, then I will take those seriously, as indeed will every Minister in any portfolio.

And I should just point out that I don't accept his characterisation that there will be a decade of lost ground. I don't accept that at all. He also said that there was no good news, and then referred to the fact that there's going to be a 10 per cent rise in apprenticeship starts. Actually, a 10 per cent rise in apprenticeship starts is good news. The challenge is we want to do even better, and that's what I am looking to do in the future.

When it comes to the point about communication, there have been regular and honest conversations between my officials and the sector. I recognise the disappointment, because no Minister is celebrating the position that we find ourselves in. But being in Government requires a level of honesty about what we can do, the opportunity to go out and deliver things for your country, but also the honesty around what you can and can't do with the resources you have available to you. It's why I'm looking forward to the opportunity to once again design a coherent way to use former EU funds with the powers and the resources here with this Welsh Government where they should be, with all the scrutiny functions where they should be, within this Parliament. That's a future that I think is well worth fighting for, and I remain unashamedly optimistic and positive about the future for apprenticeships here in Wales.

Ac i wneud hynny, mae angen i chi ddod o hyd i'r arian i'w wneud. Ac unwaith eto, rwy'n mynd yn ôl ac rwy'n dweud, pan fydd £1.3 biliwn yn llai mewn termau real, na allwch guddio hynny nac osgoi hynny. Os oes cynigion difrifol ar sut i symud arian o gwmpas mewn termau real, i nodi lle na fydd yr arian hwnnw'n cael ei wario, fe roddaf ystyriaeth ddifrifol i hynny, fel y gwnaiff pob Gweinidog mewn unrhyw bortffolio.

A dylwn nodi nad wyf yn derbyn ei ddisgrifiad y bydd yna ddegawd o dir coll. Nid wyf yn derbyn hynny o gwbl. Dywedodd hefyd nad oedd unrhyw newyddion da, ac yna cyfeiriodd at y ffaith y bydd cynnydd o 10 y cant mewn prentisiaethau newydd. Mewn gwirionedd, mae cynnydd o 10 y cant mewn prentisiaethau newydd yn newyddion da. Yr her yw ein bod am wneud hyd yn oed yn well, a dyna rwy'n edrych ymlaen at ei wneud yn y dyfodol.

Ar y pwynt ynglŷn â chyfathrebu, bu sgyrsiau rheolaidd a gonest rhwng fy swyddogion a'r sector. Rwy'n cydnabod y siom, oherwydd nid oes yr un Gweinidog yn dathlu'r sefyllfa yr ydym ynddi. Ond mae bod mewn Llywodraeth yn galw am lefel o onestrwydd ynghylch yr hyn y gallwn ei wneud, y cyfle i fynd allan a chyflawni pethau dros eich gwlad, ond hefyd gonestrwydd ynghylch yr hyn y gallwch ac na allwch ei wneud gyda'r adnoddau sydd gennych ar gael i chi. Dyna pam rwy'n edrych ymlaen at y cyfle i lunio ffordd gydlynol unwaith eto o ddefnyddio cronfeydd blaenorol yr UE gyda'r pwerau a'r adnoddau yma gyda Llywodraeth Cymru lle dylent fod, gyda'r holl swyddogaethau craffu lle dylent fod, o fewn y Senedd hon. Dyna ddyfodol y credaf ei fod yn werth ymladd drosto, ac rwy'n parhau i fod yn ddigywilydd o optimistaidd a chadarnhaol am y dyfodol i brentisiaethau yma yng Nghymru.

14:00
Adfywio Lleoliadau Diwylliannol
The Regeneration of Cultural Venues

3. Pa waith ymgysylltu y mae'r Gweinidog wedi'i wneud gyda Chyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr ar adfywio lleoliadau diwylliannol? OQ60643

3. What engagement has the Minister had with Bridgend County Borough Council on the regeneration of cultural venues? OQ60643

I thank Huw Irranca-Davies for that question. Although I have not had any direct engagement with Bridgend County Borough Council, I visited Blaengarw Workmen's Hall in November and heard first-hand about the work being done to widen access to arts and culture across the county borough. It is clearly a very valued resource in the community.

Diolch i Huw Irranca-Davies am ei gwestiwn. Er nad wyf wedi ymgysylltu'n uniongyrchol â Chyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr, ymwelais â Neuadd y Gweithwyr Blaengarw ym mis Tachwedd a chlywais yn uniongyrchol am y gwaith sy’n mynd rhagddo i ehangu mynediad at gelfyddydau a diwylliant ar draws y fwrdeistref sirol. Mae’n amlwg yn adnodd gwerthfawr iawn yn y gymuned.

Thank you, Minister. I attended last Saturday the amazing production by Bridgend Youth Theatre of We Will Rock You in the Grand Pavilion Porthcawl in the constituency of my friend Sarah Murphy MS. After the standing ovation for those talented youngsters, there were some really emotional speeches at the final curtain call, as it was also the curtain coming down for a couple of years for the major refurbishment and expansion of this iconic venue, which has hosted so much talent over the years, including the legendary transatlantic telephone link-up between the Miners' Eisteddfod choirs and the singer, actor and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson. It demonstrated the power of song to unite campaigners and performers across the seas and against those dark forces.

Maesteg Town Hall is also undergoing a major multimillion pound refurbishment. It's another iconic venue. It has hosted so much arts and entertainment, including former Californian governor Arnie Schwarzenegger in a body building contest, but also local choirs and musical groups, and huge political rallies—fundraising meetings for the fight against Franco and in support of striking miners. Would she therefore commit to continue to work in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council to help these venues thrive and survive for generations to come, noting that they're not only the beating heart of our culture and entertainment, but so often the showcase for our progressive values of internationalism and solidarity, which are enshrined in the communities of south Wales?

Diolch, Weinidog. Ddydd Sadwrn diwethaf, euthum i weld cynhyrchiad anhygoel Theatr Ieuenctid Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr o We Will Rock You ym Mhafiliwn y Grand Porthcawl yn etholaeth fy ffrind, Sarah Murphy AS. Ar ôl i’r dorf godi i gymeradwyo'r bobl ifanc ddawnus hynny, cafwyd areithiau emosiynol iawn gyda'r len-alwad olaf, gan fod y llen yn dod i lawr am flwyddyn neu ddwy hefyd ar gyfer gwaith adnewyddu ac ehangu sylweddol ar y lleoliad eiconig hwn, sydd wedi rhoi llwyfan i gymaint o dalent dros y blynyddoedd, gan gynnwys y perfformiad aruthrol gan gorau Eisteddfod y Glowyr a’r canwr, actor ac ymgyrchydd hawliau sifil, Paul Robeson, dros y ffôn o'r ochr draw i'r Iwerydd. Dangosodd rym cerddoriaeth i uno ymgyrchwyr a pherfformwyr o bedwar ban byd yn erbyn y grymoedd tywyll hynny.

Mae gwaith adnewyddu sylweddol gwerth miliynau o bunnoedd yn mynd rhagddo hefyd yn Neuadd y Dref Maesteg. Mae hwnnw'n lleoliad eiconig arall. Mae wedi rhoi llwyfan i gymaint o gelfyddydau ac adloniant, gan gynnwys cyn-lywodraethwr Califfornia, Arnie Schwarzenegger, mewn cystadleuaeth arddangos cyhyrau, ond hefyd corau lleol a grwpiau cerddorol, a ralïau gwleidyddol enfawr—cyfarfodydd codi arian ar gyfer y frwydr yn erbyn Franco ac i gefnogi streic y glowyr. A wnaiff hi ymrwymo, felly, i barhau i weithio mewn partneriaeth â Chyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr i helpu’r lleoliadau hyn i ffynnu a goroesi am genedlaethau i ddod, gan nodi eu bod nid yn unig yn hollbwysig i'n diwylliant a’n hadloniant, ond yn aml yn gyfle i arddangos gwerthoedd blaengar rhyng-genedlaetholdeb ac undod, sy'n rhan annatod o gymunedau de Cymru?

Can I thank Huw Irranca-Davies for that supplementary question? He is absolutely right, of course. If you go anywhere across the south Wales Valleys you will find these institutions. I have some in my own constituency that hosted Keir Hardie and the suffragettes and so on. So, wherever we go, we will see these iconic and historic buildings that have contributed so much to our history and our communities. I absolutely commend the lead that authorities like Bridgend County Borough Council have taken to invest in those local cultural venues.

You mentioned Maesteg Town Hall, and the amount of money that Bridgend has put into that, that the Welsh Government has put into that, that the Arts Council of Wales has put into that, alongside the upcoming redevelopment of the pavilion in Porthcawl, and of course the Blaengarw miners' institute, which I visited with you last year. Amongst all of that, of course, you have the amazing Awen Cultural Trust that is working to deliver the kind of goals that we're seeking to deliver through our cultural support to develop the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 objectives of making sure that we have a thriving cultural society. None of that is easy against the financial backdrop that we're currently facing that's been set out by the Minister for Economy very clearly. But within the scope that we have, there is still so much that we can do, if we're working with partners that are willing to work with us and deliver those cultural benefits.

A gaf fi ddiolch i Huw Irranca-Davies am ei gwestiwn atodol? Mae'n llygad ei le, wrth gwrs. Os ewch i unrhyw le yng Nghymoedd de Cymru, fe welwch y sefydliadau hyn. Mae gennyf rai yn fy etholaeth i a groesawodd Keir Hardie a’r swffragetiaid ac ati. Felly, ble bynnag yr awn, byddwn yn gweld yr adeiladau eiconig a hanesyddol hyn sydd wedi cyfrannu cymaint at ein hanes a’n cymunedau. Rwy'n canmol arweiniad awdurdodau fel Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr drwy fuddsoddi yn y lleoliadau diwylliannol lleol hynny.

Fe sonioch am Neuadd y Dref Maesteg, a’r swm o arian y mae Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr wedi’i ddarparu, y mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi’i ddarparu, y mae Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru wedi’i ddarparu ar ei chyfer, ochr yn ochr â’r gwaith ailddatblygu sydd ar y ffordd ar y pafiliwn ym Mhorthcawl, ac wrth gwrs, sefydliad y glowyr ym Mlaengarw, yr ymwelais ag ef gyda chi y llynedd. Ynghanol hynny oll, wrth gwrs, mae gennych Ymddiriedolaeth Ddiwylliannol Awen, sefydliad anhygoel sy’n gweithio i gyflawni’r math o nodau y ceisiwn eu cyflawni drwy ein cymorth diwylliannol i ddatblygu amcanion Deddf Llesiant Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol (Cymru) 2015 i sicrhau bod gennym gymdeithas ddiwylliannol ffyniannus. Nid yw dim o hynny'n hawdd yn y cyd-destun ariannol a wynebwn ar hyn o bryd ac sydd wedi'i nodi'n glir iawn gan Weinidog yr Economi. Ond o fewn y cwmpas sydd gennym, mae cymaint y gallwn ei wneud o hyd, os ydym yn gweithio gyda phartneriaid sy'n barod i weithio gyda ni a sicrhau'r buddion diwylliannol hynny.

14:05

It's good to hear Huw Irranca-Davies and you, Minister, mention the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl. I am obviously, like many, sad to see it close this week. But the reason it's closing, which neither of you mentioned, is it is benefiting from £18 million in UK Government levelling-up money. In fact, I might have heard you in the answer suggest that the Welsh Government had some financial investment in the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl, and that is not the case. I'd appreciate if you could clarify that in your next answer.

Amongst other things, the pavilion is the centrepiece of the Porthcawl Elvis Festival. It's where the main competition of the Porthcawl Elvis Festival is held. Obviously, with the closure of the Grand Pavilion this year, having spoken to the organisers, they are worried that the thousands of people that descend on Porthcawl, and the millions that it brings to the local economy, will assume that there is no competition because there is no Grand Pavilion to host it in. Obviously, the competition itself is being held in a different venue in Porthcawl, but there's no recognition of that on the Visit Wales page for the Porthcawl Elvis Festival. It makes no mention of that at all. So, can I ask you, Deputy Minister, whether you will look at that and what other ways you can promote the Porthcawl Elvis Festival this year specifically, given the change in venue?

Mae’n dda clywed Huw Irranca-Davies a chithau, Weinidog, yn sôn am Bafiliwn y Grand ym Mhorthcawl. Fel llawer o bobl, mae'n flin gennyf ei weld yn cau yr wythnos hon. Ond y rheswm pam ei fod yn cau, na soniodd yr un ohonoch amdano, yw am ei fod yn elwa o £18 miliwn mewn cyllid ffyniant bro gan Lywodraeth y DU. A dweud y gwir, efallai imi eich clywed yn eich ateb yn awgrymu bod Llywodraeth Cymru wedi rhoi rhywfaint o fuddsoddiad ariannol i Bafiliwn y Grand ym Mhorthcawl, ac nid yw hynny’n wir. Buaswn yn gwerthfawrogi pe gallech wneud hynny'n eglur yn eich ateb nesaf.

Ymhlith pethau eraill, y pafiliwn yw canolbwynt Gŵyl Elvis Porthcawl. Dyma ble y cynhelir prif gystadleuaeth Gŵyl Elvis Porthcawl. Yn amlwg, gan fod Pafiliwn y Grand yn cau eleni, ar ôl siarad â’r trefnwyr, maent yn poeni y bydd y miloedd o bobl sy’n dod i Borthcawl, gyda’r miliynau o bunnoedd a gaiff ei ddenu i’r economi leol, yn cymryd yn ganiataol nad oes cystadleuaeth am nad oes Pafiliwn y Grand i'w chynnal. Yn amlwg, mae'r gystadleuaeth ei hun yn cael ei chynnal mewn lleoliad gwahanol ym Mhorthcawl, ond ni cheir cydnabyddiaeth i hynny ar dudalen Croeso Cymru ar gyfer Gŵyl Elvis Porthcawl. Nid oes unrhyw sôn am hynny o gwbl. Felly, a gaf i ofyn i chi, Ddirprwy Weinidog, a wnewch chi edrych ar hynny ac ar ffyrdd eraill y gallwch hyrwyddo Gŵyl Elvis Porthcawl eleni yn benodol, o ystyried y newid lleoliad?

I thank Tom Giffard for that question. He's absolutely right, of course; the Elvis festival is quite iconic now, isn't it, in Porthcawl. I absolutely hope that it remains as successful as it's always been, despite the fact that we're not going to have the pavilion available for the next couple of years.

Can I just clarify that, yes, absolutely, the UK Government is supporting the Porthcawl pavilion with levelling-up finding? But there is also funding for the refurbishment through the Arts Council of Wales, which, of course, comes directly from the Welsh Government. So, it's a combined project, and it's being supported by Bridgend County Borough Council as well. I think it's absolutely right that all arms of Government and local authorities can work together to make sure that these iconic venues thrive—not just survive, but absolutely that they thrive.

I'm more than happy to take away the question that he specifically raised with me about the publicising of the Elvis festival in Porthcawl this year through Visit Wales and how we can make sure that it remains successful even with the reduced number of venues that they've got to use this year.FootnoteLink

Diolch i Tom Giffard am ei gwestiwn. Mae'n llygad ei le, wrth gwrs; mae gŵyl Elvis yn eithaf eiconig bellach ym Mhorthcawl, onid yw. Rwy’n mawr obeithio ei bod yn parhau i fod mor llwyddiannus ag y bu erioed, er gwaethaf y ffaith nad yw'r pafiliwn yn mynd i fod ar gael am y flwyddyn neu ddwy nesaf.

A gaf i egluro bod Llywodraeth y DU, yn sicr, yn cefnogi pafiliwn Porthcawl gyda chyllid ffyniant bro? Ond mae cyllid yn cael ei ddarparu hefyd ar gyfer y gwaith adnewyddu drwy Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru, sy'n dod yn uniongyrchol gan Lywodraeth Cymru wrth gwrs. Felly, mae'n brosiect cyfunol, ac mae'n cael ei gefnogi gan Gyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr hefyd. Credaf ei bod yn gwbl briodol fod pob cangen o Lywodraeth ac awdurdodau lleol yn gallu gweithio gyda'i gilydd i sicrhau bod y lleoliadau eiconig hyn yn ffynnu—nid yn unig yn goroesi, ond yn ffynnu.

Rwy’n fwy na pharod i ystyried y cwestiwn a godwyd ganddo yn benodol ar roi cyhoeddusrwydd i ŵyl Elvis ym Mhorthcawl eleni drwy Croeso Cymru a sut y gallwn sicrhau ei bod yn parhau i fod yn llwyddiannus hyd yn oed gyda’r gostyngiad yn nifer y lleoliadau sydd ganddynt i'w defnyddio eleni.FootnoteLink

Economi De-ddwyrain Cymru
The South-east Wales Economy

4. Pa gamau y mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn eu cymryd i gefnogi'r economi yn ne-ddwyrain Cymru? OQ60665

4. What action is the Welsh Government taking to support the economy in south-east Wales? OQ60665

Thank you for the question. We continue to work with local authorities across the capital region to increase the economic prosperity of the area. Our regional economic framework for south-east Wales has identified the development of a number of growth clusters as priorities, including the creative sector, semiconductors, the cyber sector, fintech and much more.

Diolch am eich cwestiwn. Rydym yn parhau i weithio gydag awdurdodau lleol ar draws y brifddinas-ranbarth i gynyddu ffyniant economaidd yr ardal. Mae ein fframwaith economaidd rhanbarthol ar gyfer de-ddwyrain Cymru wedi nodi datblygu nifer o glystyrau twf fel blaenoriaethau, gan gynnwys y sector creadigol, lled-ddargludyddion, y sector seiber, technoleg ariannol a llawer mwy.

Thank you, Minister. Last week, Lloyds Banking Group announced disappointing news that it was going to close its Tredegar Park office in Newport in 2026, and all staff relocated to Cardiff. I understand from Lloyds that the increase in hybrid working since the COVID pandemic has meant that the office in Newport has been underoccupied for some time. As staff are expected to spend 40 per cent of their time in the office, every day 200 people will have to travel to work in Cardiff in future instead of Newport. While I'm very glad that the relocation does not involve job losses, I am sorry to see a company choose to leave Newport. The economic and well-being impact will not be felt immediately, but a longer commute for many workers will affect families with children in local schools, as well as local businesses. Minister, what more can be done to ensure that people in Newport and across Wales have access to good-quality jobs closer to home?

Diolch, Weinidog. Yr wythnos diwethaf, cyhoeddodd grŵp bancio Lloyds y newyddion siomedig eu bod yn mynd i gau eu swyddfa ym Mharc Tredegar yng Nghasnewydd yn 2026, a symud yr holl staff i Gaerdydd. Deallaf gan Lloyds fod y cynnydd mewn gweithio hybrid ers pandemig COVID wedi golygu nad yw’r swyddfa yng Nghasnewydd wedi’i defnyddio’n ddigonol ers peth amser. Gan fod disgwyl i staff dreulio 40 y cant o’u hamser yn y swyddfa, bob dydd, bydd yn rhaid i 200 o bobl deithio i’r gwaith yng Nghaerdydd yn lle Casnewydd yn y dyfodol. Er fy mod yn falch iawn nad yw’r adleoli'n golygu bod swyddi'n cael eu colli, mae’n ddrwg gennyf weld cwmni’n dewis gadael Casnewydd. Ni fydd yr effaith ar yr economi a llesiant yn cael ei theimlo ar unwaith, ond bydd amseroedd cymudo hwy i lawer o weithwyr yn effeithio ar deuluoedd â phlant mewn ysgolion lleol, yn ogystal â busnesau lleol. Weinidog, beth arall y gellir ei wneud i sicrhau bod pobl yng Nghasnewydd a ledled Cymru yn gallu cael mynediad at swyddi o ansawdd da yn nes at adref?

Thank you for the question. I understand the Member's concern for the movement of employment as opposed to there not being a loss in head count, but the reality of both to local work and local spend and what that means. There are a number of businesses that are thinking about their office footprints, how much they need high-quality office accommodation, which is still a requirement, and what that then means for more hybrid forms of work. I think that, in the medium term, there will still be significant demand for high-quality office accommodation in Newport, Cardiff and beyond. I'm interested, though, in understanding what more we can do about this issue. If it's helpful, I'm happy to meet the Member in order to convene a meeting with the council and herself.

When it comes to Newport as a destination, I think it has a number of pluses. Look at the city as it's launching the soft-landing pad for tech businesses that is being run by Tramshed, where we are very encouraged about what is happening already. The creative sector already has a footprint, and indeed there's the physical rejuvenation of the city centre with the market, where, of course, the Member has her own office, and I'm sure she enjoys the food offering that's there. But there's a lot that is already being done to try to make sure there is a thriving city centre, and good reasons for people to see the opportunity to invest in Newport. Indeed, as we'll continue to discuss, there's the reality of the semiconductor jobs—not just the KLA expansion, but I believe there is more to come. My officials and I are keen to carry on working with the capital region and Newport council to do just that.

Diolch am eich cwestiwn. Rwy’n deall pryder yr Aelod ynghylch swyddi'n symud yn hytrach na bod swyddi'n cael eu colli, ond realiti’r ddau beth i swyddi lleol a gwariant lleol a'r hyn y mae hynny’n ei olygu. Mae nifer o fusnesau'n meddwl am ôl troed eu swyddfeydd, faint o angen swyddfeydd o ansawdd uchel sydd arnynt, faint sy’n dal yn ofynnol, a beth mae hynny wedyn yn ei olygu ar gyfer ffyrdd mwy hybrid o weithio. Yn y tymor canolig, rwy'n credu y bydd galw sylweddol o hyd am swyddfeydd o ansawdd uchel yng Nghasnewydd, Caerdydd a thu hwnt. Mae gennyf ddiddordeb, fodd bynnag, mewn deall beth arall y gallwn ei wneud am y mater hwn. Os yw’n ddefnyddiol, rwy’n fwy na pharod i gyfarfod â’r Aelod er mwyn cynnull cyfarfod gyda’r cyngor a hithau.

O ran Casnewydd fel cyrchfan, credaf fod gan y ddinas nifer o fanteision. Edrychwch ar y ddinas wrth iddi lansio'r pad glanio esmwyth ar gyfer busnesau technoleg sy'n cael ei redeg gan Tramshed, lle rydym wedi ein calonogi'n fawr gan yr hyn sy'n digwydd eisoes. Mae gan y sector creadigol ôl troed yn barod, ac yn wir, mae adnewyddiad ffisegol yn mynd rhagddo yng nghanol y ddinas gyda'r farchnad, lle mae swyddfa'r Aelod, wrth gwrs, ac rwy'n siŵr ei bod yn mwynhau'r bwyd sydd ar gael yno. Ond mae llawer yn mynd rhagddo eisoes i geisio sicrhau bod canol y ddinas yn ffyniannus, a rhesymau da i bobl weld cyfle i fuddsoddi yng Nghasnewydd. Yn wir, fel y byddwn yn parhau i'w drafod, mae swyddi i'w cael ym maes lled-ddargludyddion—nid yn unig gydag ehangu KLA, ond credaf fod mwy i ddod. Mae fy swyddogion a minnau’n awyddus i barhau i weithio gyda’r brifddinas-ranbarth a chyngor Casnewydd i wneud yn union hynny.

14:10

My colleague Jayne Bryant raised a rather interesting question that really got me thinking: what is the Welsh Government doing in order to support the economy? A bit of an oxymoron, if you ask me. The economy in south-east Wales is seriously hampered by poor transport infrastructure, and there's no denying it. Just look at the M4: the main artery into south Wales is regularly gridlocked, with workers and freight brought to a standstill—[Interruption.] Let's focus on the M4, because we're talking about south-east Wales. And don't even get me started on the damage Labour will inflict on our economy if your colleagues in Monmouthshire get their way and bring the dreaded Severn bridge tolls back.

'Doing nothing is no longer an option on the M4 relief road. Businesses across South and West Wales need certainty that the M4 will not be left as it is. I am determined that we will act and go ahead with an M4 relief road.'

Those are not my words, Minister; they're yours. So, does that mean that if you become the next First Minister you'll end this Government's anti-business agenda, and finally build the much-needed M4 relief road, or are you going to be flip-flopping on that issue too?

Gofynnodd fy nghyd-Aelod, Jayne Bryant, gwestiwn diddorol a wnaeth imi feddwl: beth mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei wneud i gefnogi’r economi? Ocsimoron braidd, yn fy marn i. Mae’r economi yn ne-ddwyrain Cymru yn cael ei llesteirio’n ddifrifol gan seilwaith trafnidiaeth gwael, ac nid oes modd gwadu hynny. Edrychwch ar yr M4: mae'r brif rydweli i mewn i dde Cymru yn dioddef tagfeydd yn rheolaidd, gyda gweithwyr a nwyddau'n dod i stop—[Torri ar draws.] Gadewch inni ganolbwyntio ar yr M4, gan ein bod yn siarad am dde-ddwyrain Cymru. A pheidiwch â sôn am y difrod y bydd Llafur yn ei wneud i'n heconomi os bydd eich cyd-bleidwyr yn sir Fynwy yn cael eu ffordd ac yn dod â'r tollau ofnadwy ar bont Hafren yn eu holau.

'Nid yw gwneud dim yn opsiwn bellach mewn perthynas â ffordd liniaru’r M4. Mae angen sicrwydd ar fusnesau ar draws De a Gorllewin Cymru na fydd yr M4 yn cael ei gadael fel y mae ar hyn o bryd. Rwy'n benderfynol y byddwn yn gweithredu ac yn bwrw ymlaen â ffordd liniaru'r M4.'

Nid fy ngeiriau i, Weinidog; eich rhai chi. Felly, a yw hynny'n golygu, os mai chi fydd y Prif Weinidog nesaf, y byddwch yn rhoi diwedd ar agenda wrth-fusnes y Llywodraeth hon, ac yn adeiladu ffordd liniaru fawr ei hangen yr M4 o'r diwedd, neu a fyddwch chi'n mynd yn ôl ar eich gair ar y mater hwnnw hefyd?

There are a couple of things there. Let's just deal with the fake news about the Severn bridge. There are no proposals to reintroduce tolls on the Severn bridge—[Interruption.] Let's just deal with the fact that there are no proposals to reintroduce tolls on the Severn bridge. When it comes to the M4 relief road, the reality is there is not the resource there. The Member may not have noticed, but actually there is real pressure on capital budgets here in the Welsh Government and it is simply not a credible choice to say that the M4 relief road is going to happen.

When we then look at what we are doing, we're very proud to be a pro-business and pro-worker Government. Look at the work that we are already doing on the increase in investment that is coming to Wales through foreign direct investment. Look at the work we're doing on increasing exports, with businesses in Wales that are being actively supported by this Government. Look at the work we're doing on the growth clusters I mentioned, around the creative sector, semiconductors, the cyber sector and fintech—all areas where this Government is active and proactive, all areas where I've been directly engaged and involved in securing new investment.

If you want to think about the Tory record, it's an undeniable truth that there is a long tail from the Liz Truss Government with the damage that was done that is still being felt today in increased mortgage rates—[Interruption.] They're not my words, actually; they're the words of one of your former ministerial colleagues in the UK Government who said that last night on Newsnight. There is a recognition within your own party of the long-lasting harm that Liz Truss has done, and then she returns again claiming that she's going to save us all. Well, I would be delighted to see Liz Truss take another central role in the Conservative Party, as it will guarantee a much better future and a much larger majority for an incoming UK Labour government.

Mae dau beth i'w hateb yno. Gadewch inni ymdrin â'r newyddion ffug am bont Hafren. Nid oes unrhyw gynigion i ailgyflwyno tollau ar bont Hafren—[Torri ar draws.] Gadewch inni ymdrin â’r ffaith nad oes unrhyw gynigion i ailgyflwyno tollau ar bont Hafren. Ar ffordd liniaru’r M4, y gwir amdani yw nad yw'r adnoddau ar gael. Efallai nad yw’r Aelod wedi sylwi, ond mae pwysau gwirioneddol ar gyllidebau cyfalaf yma yn Llywodraeth Cymru, ac yn syml iawn, nid yw’n ddewis credadwy i ddweud bod ffordd liniaru’r M4 yn mynd i ddigwydd.

Pan edrychwn ar yr hyn a wnawn, rydym yn falch iawn o fod yn Llywodraeth sydd o blaid busnes ac o blaid gweithwyr. Edrychwch ar y gwaith a wnawn eisoes ar y cynnydd mewn buddsoddiad sy’n dod i Gymru drwy fuddsoddiad uniongyrchol o dramor. Edrychwch ar y gwaith a wnawn ar gynyddu allforion, gyda'r Llywodraeth hon yn mynd ati'n weithredol i gefnogi busnesau yng Nghymru. Edrychwch ar y gwaith a wnawn ar y clystyrau twf y soniais amdanynt, yn y sector creadigol, lled-ddargludyddion, y sector seiber a thechnoleg ariannol—pob un yn faes lle mae'r Llywodraeth hon yn weithgar ac yn rhagweithiol, pob un yn faes lle bûm yn ymwneud yn uniongyrchol â'r gwaith o sicrhau buddsoddiad newydd.

Os ydych am feddwl am record y Torïaid, ni ellir gwadu'r ffaith bod cynffon hir gan Lywodraeth Liz Truss, gyda’r difrod a wnaed ac y mae ei effaith yn dal i gael ei deimlo heddiw mewn cyfraddau morgeisi uwch—[Torri ar draws.] Nid fy ngeiriau i; geiriau un o'ch cydweithwyr gweinidogol yn Llywodraeth y DU, a ddywedodd hynny neithiwr ar Newsnight. Mae cydnabyddiaeth yn eich plaid eich hun o’r niwed parhaol y mae Liz Truss wedi’i wneud, ac yna daw yn ei hôl eto gan honni ei bod yn mynd i’n hachub ni i gyd. Wel, buaswn yn falch iawn o weld Liz Truss mewn rôl ganolog arall yn y Blaid Geidwadol, gan y bydd yn gwarantu dyfodol llawer gwell a mwyafrif llawer mwy i Lywodraeth Lafur newydd y DU.

Swyddi â Chyflogau Uwch
Higher Paid Jobs

5. Beth mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei wneud i greu mwy o swyddi â chyflogau uwch yn y canolbarth? OQ60659

5. What is the Welsh Government doing to create more higher paid jobs in mid Wales? OQ60659

We will continue to work with our regional partners to invest in skills and business support and provide support for capital infrastructure projects through the mid Wales growth deal. Our aim is to help realise a shared ambition of delivering better jobs closer to home. 

Byddwn yn parhau i weithio gyda’n partneriaid rhanbarthol i fuddsoddi mewn sgiliau a chymorth i fusnesau a darparu cymorth ar gyfer prosiectau seilwaith cyfalaf drwy fargen twf canolbarth Cymru. Ein nod yw helpu i wireddu uchelgais a rennir o ddarparu swyddi gwell yn nes at adref.

Thank you for your answer, Minister. I'm grateful for your update in regard to the mid Wales growth deal earlier this week, and I've been an advocate for that growth deal. It's been slow coming, but I'm pleased that it is now in place and has the support of both the Welsh and the UK Government. What certainly I believe is it's not so much that we need more jobs; we need better jobs, higher skilled jobs, and better paid jobs. In your letter to me this week in regard to the growth deal, Minister, you mentioned that the deal must be seen as a catalyst to secure and leverage additional funding from various sources, including the private sector. I do fully agree with that. Can I ask, Minister, how you are going about that, how you're engaging with the private sector to achieve that?

Diolch am eich ateb, Weinidog. Rwy'n ddiolchgar am eich diweddariad mewn perthynas â bargen twf canolbarth Cymru yn gynharach yr wythnos hon, a bûm yn dadlau dros y fargen twf honno. Mae wedi bod yn hir iawn yn dod, ond rwy'n falch ei bod bellach ar waith a bod ganddi gefnogaeth Llywodraeth Cymru a Llywodraeth y DU. Yn sicr, yr hyn rwy'n ei gredu yw nad mwy o swyddi sydd ei angen arnom fel y cyfryw, ond swyddi gwell, swyddi sgiliau uwch, a swyddi sy'n talu'n well. Yn eich llythyr ataf yr wythnos hon ynglŷn â’r fargen twf, Weinidog, fe sonioch fod yn rhaid i’r fargen gael ei hystyried yn gatalydd i sicrhau ac ysgogi cyllid ychwanegol o wahanol ffynonellau, gan gynnwys y sector preifat. Rwy’n cytuno’n llwyr â hynny. A gaf i ofyn, Weinidog, sut yr ewch chi ati i wneud hynny, sut rydych chi'n ymgysylltu â’r sector preifat i gyflawni hynny?

There are a number of examples. I'll give you a couple of examples in your own constituency. You think about Atherton Bikes, one of the best brands, if not the best brand, within the bicycle arena and off-road. They don't just run a business park for that, but actually you've got a multi-storey, multi-world-cup-winning family there, and we've helped them with investment to go into that. These are high-end products and high-skill products, so all of the jobs that they provide are relatively well-paid jobs. And, again, the Member will know about the Marrill group and its purchase of a building in Llanfyllin, securing 102 jobs, and the fact they're investing in research and development—the same with YASA as well. So, you can see there is a commitment from this Government, partnering with those businesses, to make sure that that investment does deliver more jobs and better jobs, better-paid jobs, in particular with the R&D, in each of those three businesses within the Member's constituency. That's a marker of what we are already doing, and what we want to see more of, with the successful delivery of the mid Wales growth deal.

Mae nifer o enghreifftiau. Rhoddaf un neu ddau o enghreifftiau i chi yn eich etholaeth eich hun. Os meddyliwch chi am Atherton Bikes, un o'r brandiau gorau, os nad y brand gorau, ym maes beicio a beicio oddi ar y ffordd. Nid yn unig eu bod yn rhedeg parc busnes ar gyfer hynny, ond mae gennych gyfleuster aml-lawr hefyd, teulu sydd wedi ennill sawl cwpan y byd yno, ac rydym wedi eu helpu gyda buddsoddiad ar gyfer hynny. Mae’r rhain yn gynhyrchion ym mhen uchaf y farchnad a chynhyrchion sgìl uchel, felly mae’r holl swyddi y maent yn eu darparu yn swyddi sy’n talu’n gymharol dda. Ac unwaith eto, bydd yr Aelod yn gwybod am grŵp Marrill a'u bod wedi prynu adeilad yn Llanfyllin, gan ddiogelu 102 o swyddi, a'r ffaith eu bod yn buddsoddi mewn ymchwil a datblygu—yr un peth gydag YASA hefyd. Felly, gallwch weld bod ymrwymiad gan y Llywodraeth hon, mewn partneriaeth â’r busnesau hynny, i sicrhau bod y buddsoddiad yn darparu mwy o swyddi a swyddi gwell, swyddi sy’n talu’n well, yn enwedig gydag ymchwil a datblygu, ym mhob un o’r tri busnes hynny yn etholaeth yr Aelod. Dyna arwydd o'r hyn a wnawn eisoes, a'r hyn y dymunwn weld mwy ohono wrth i fargen twf canolbarth Cymru gael ei chyflwyno'n llwyddiannus.

14:15

According to the latest Economic Intelligence Wales quarterly report, in quarter 1 of this financial year, 48 per cent of total Development Bank of Wales investments were made to firms in south-east Wales, as compared to 29 per cent in mid and west Wales and 23 per cent in north Wales. Now, this was linked to the creation of more than 250 jobs in south-east Wales, less than 150 in mid and west Wales and under 100 jobs in north Wales. And this data is indicative of a long-running trend whereby development bank investment related to job creation has tended to be concentrated in south-east Wales. Minister, can I ask you, therefore, whether, in your view, the Development Bank of Wales is doing enough to support small and medium-sized businesses in mid and west Wales, and what more might be done to ensure that businesses in my region are both made aware of, and are able to access, the kinds of support and finance on offer via the bank?

Yn ôl adroddiad chwarterol diweddaraf Dirnad Economi Cymru, yn chwarter 1 y flwyddyn ariannol hon, gwnaed 48 y cant o holl fuddsoddiad Banc Datblygu Cymru mewn cwmnïau yn ne-ddwyrain Cymru, o gymharu â 29 y cant yng nghanolbarth a gorllewin Cymru a 23 y cant yn y gogledd. Nawr, roedd hyn yn gysylltiedig â chreu mwy na 250 o swyddi yn y de-ddwyrain, llai na 150 yng nghanolbarth a gorllewin Cymru a llai na 100 swydd yn y gogledd. Ac mae'r data hwn yn arwydd o duedd hirdymor lle mae buddsoddiad y banc datblygu sy'n gysylltiedig â chreu swyddi wedi tueddu i fod wedi'i ganolbwyntio yn ne-ddwyrain Cymru. Weinidog, a gaf i ofyn i chi, felly, a yw Banc Datblygu Cymru, yn eich barn chi, yn gwneud digon i gefnogi busnesau bach a chanolig eu maint yng nghanolbarth a gorllewin Cymru, a beth arall y gellid ei wneud i sicrhau bod busnesau yn fy rhanbarth yn gwybod am, ac yn gallu cael mynediad at, y mathau o gymorth a chyllid sydd ar gael drwy'r banc?

Well, I've just given an example, in response to Russell George, of the Marrill Group, who have had support from the development bank, to secure and further grow their business. So, there are examples, and I do think there is something about the visibility of what the Development Bank of Wales already does and provides.

I met the board of the Development Bank of Wales at one of their strategy days last week, and, again, part of my challenge to them was, bearing in mind the relative success of the bank since its creation, how do they go further to understand the areas of the economy where they can make the biggest difference, with the levers they have, and how we do something that is both about generating a return on investment, but, actually, looking at the different parts of the country—the different challenges, but also the different opportunities. And I'm very pleased they're looking at mid Wales, for example, not just in the businesses that are already there, but, for example, in some of the opportunities around renewable energy, which is one of the actual pillars underpinning the ambition in the mid Wales growth deal. So, I think you can see that this is an organisation that understands it has an all-Wales remit. It's headquartered in north Wales, not here in south Wales. It is something that understands there is opportunity that is different in different parts of the country, and they understand how to secure that opportunity, or to make sure that different sources of finance can be made available.

I'll be more than happy to send again to the Member a more detailed breakdown of investments and opportunities supported within mid and west Wales by the development bank, because I don't think his question quite gave us the whole remit and the whole coverage of what DBW are doing to grow economic activity and well-being within mid and west Wales.

Wel, rwyf newydd roi enghraifft, mewn ymateb i Russell George, sef grŵp Marrill, sydd wedi cael cymorth gan y banc datblygu, i sicrhau a thyfu eu busnes ymhellach. Felly, mae enghreifftiau, a chredaf fod rhywbeth am amlygrwydd yr hyn y mae Banc Datblygu Cymru eisoes yn ei wneud ac yn ei ddarparu.

Cyfarfûm â bwrdd Banc Datblygu Cymru yn un o’u diwrnodau strategaeth yr wythnos diwethaf, ac unwaith eto, rhan o fy her iddynt, o gofio llwyddiant cymharol y banc ers ei greu, oedd sut maent yn mynd ymhellach i ddeall y meysydd yn yr economi lle gallant wneud y gwahaniaeth mwyaf, gyda’r ysgogiadau sydd ganddynt, a sut rydym yn gwneud rhywbeth sy’n ymwneud â chynhyrchu elw ar fuddsoddiad, ond mewn gwirionedd, yn edrych ar y gwahanol rannau o’r wlad—y gwahanol heriau, ond hefyd y gwahanol gyfleoedd. Ac rwy'n falch iawn eu bod yn edrych ar y canolbarth, er enghraifft, nid yn unig ar y busnesau sydd yno'n barod, ond er enghraifft, gyda rhai o'r cyfleoedd sy'n gysylltiedig ag ynni adnewyddadwy, sef un o'r pileri sy'n sail i'r uchelgais ym margen twf canolbarth Cymru. Felly, rwy'n credu y gallwch weld bod hwn yn sefydliad sy’n deall bod ganddo gylch gwaith Cymru gyfan. Mae ei bencadlys yn y gogledd, nid yma yn y de. Mae’n rhywbeth sy’n deall bod cyfle sy’n wahanol mewn gwahanol rannau o’r wlad, ac maent yn deall sut i wireddu'r cyfle hwnnw, neu sicrhau y gellir gwneud yn siŵr fod ffynonellau cyllid gwahanol ar gael.

Rwy'n fwy na pharod i anfon dadansoddiad manylach arall at yr Aelod o’r buddsoddiadau a’r cyfleoedd a gefnogwyd gan y banc datblygu yn y canolbarth a’r gorllewin, gan nad wyf yn credu bod ei gwestiwn wedi rhoi'r holl gylch gwaith i ni, a holl gwmpas yr hyn y mae Banc Datblygu Cymru yn ei wneud i dyfu gweithgarwch economaidd a llesiant yng nghanolbarth a gorllewin Cymru.

Y Diwydiant Paneli Pren
The Wood Panel Industry

6. A wnaiff y Gweinidog ddatganiad am werth economaidd y diwydiant paneli pren i Gymru? OQ60645

6. Will the Minister make a statement on the economic value of the wood panel industry to Wales? OQ60645

Thank you for the question. The wood panel industry provides a valued economic contribution to the timber sector in Wales. We welcome the continued engagement with the wood panel industry, as we prepare this Welsh Government's first timber industrial strategy, to develop and sustain high-value production and processing of Welsh wood.

Diolch am eich cwestiwn. Mae’r diwydiant paneli pren yn gwneud cyfraniad economaidd gwerthfawr i’r sector pren yng Nghymru. Rydym yn croesawu’r ymgysylltiad parhaus â’r diwydiant paneli pren, wrth inni baratoi strategaeth ddiwydiannol gyntaf Llywodraeth Cymru ar bren, i ddatblygu a chynnal diwydiant cynhyrchu a phrosesu pren Cymreig o werth uchel.

Well, Minister, thank you for that answer, and it will reassure, I'm in no doubt, more than 600 people who are employed at the Kronospan plant in Clwyd South, almost all of whom are unionised. They are members of Unite the Union, and they contribute, and the business contributes, and the sector contributes, not only to growing the economy in a sustainable way, but also to the circular economy and to prosperity in their community. Would you join me in thanking the workforce and the company for how they contribute to economic growth in this area, and would you recommit to ensuring that the wood panel sector grows and thrives in the years to come?

Wel, Weinidog, diolch am eich ateb, ac rwy'n siŵr y bydd yn tawelu meddyliau mwy na 600 o bobl sydd wedi'u cyflogi yn ffatri Kronospan yn Ne Clwyd, y mae bron i bob un ohonynt yn aelodau o undeb. Maent yn aelodau o undeb Unite, ac maent yn cyfrannu, ac mae’r busnes yn cyfrannu, ac mae’r sector yn cyfrannu, nid yn unig at dyfu’r economi mewn modd cynaliadwy, ond hefyd at yr economi gylchol ac at ffyniant yn eu cymuned. A wnewch chi ymuno â mi i ddiolch i’r gweithlu a’r cwmni am y ffordd y maent yn cyfrannu at dwf economaidd yn y maes hwn, ac a wnewch chi ailymrwymo i sicrhau bod y sector paneli pren yn tyfu ac yn ffynnu yn y blynyddoedd i ddod?

I thank the Member for the question. I had the opportunity to visit, twice, this particular significant employer, and it's not just an example of its business but, actually, of its local and community impact. So, I've seen the sponsorship shirts, the fact that it helps provide a significant outlet for leisure activity for that community that it supports. And, indeed, having met the Unite convener there on previous visits, it is an employer that values its good set of industrial relationships, and that's helped it to invest in its plant to both decarbonise in terms of some of the power and the new processing opportunities it has, and the investment in capital. So, it's thinking about the future of its business.

Now, there aren't many champions for the wood power industry, but I'm sure Kronospan are pleased that you're one of them, because it is a good example of a circular approach for reprocessing Welsh wood. So, lots of wood that would otherwise be waste can be reprocessed and turned into really high-quality products that are actually well sought-after, and a growing market here within Wales and the wider UK. It is the largest accredited reprocessor of wood in the UK of wooden pallets and has innovative product design with circularity and reuse in mind. So, it's a very good example of a business that we want more of, with good wages, grounded in the local community, and they're reinvesting in their business for the future. That is part of the journey we all need to be on to create a lower carbon economy, but one that is still successful in providing good jobs closer to home. 

Diolch i’r Aelod am ei gwestiwn. Cefais gyfle i ymweld, ddwywaith, â’r cyflogwr pwysig hwn, ac mae'n enghraifft nid yn unig o'i effaith fusnes, ond o'i effaith leol a chymunedol hefyd. Felly, rwyf wedi gweld y crysau nawdd, y ffaith ei fod yn helpu i ddarparu man pwysig ar gyfer gweithgarwch hamdden i'r gymuned honno y mae'n ei chefnogi. Ac yn wir, ar ôl cyfarfod â chynullydd Unite yno ar ymweliadau blaenorol, mae'n gyflogwr sy'n gwerthfawrogi ei set dda o gysylltiadau diwydiannol, ac mae hynny wedi ei helpu i fuddsoddi yn ei ffatri i ddatgarboneiddio peth o'r pŵer a'r cyfleoedd prosesu newydd sydd ganddo, a'r buddsoddiad mewn cyfalaf. Felly, mae'n meddwl am ddyfodol ei fusnes.

Nawr, nid oes llawer o hyrwyddwyr ar ran y diwydiant pŵer coed, ond rwy'n siŵr bod Kronospan yn falch eich bod yn un ohonynt, gan ei fod yn enghraifft dda o ddull cylchol ar gyfer ailbrosesu pren Cymreig. Felly, gellir ailbrosesu llawer o bren a fyddai fel arall yn wastraff, a'i droi'n gynhyrchion o ansawdd uchel iawn y mae galw mawr amdanynt, ac sy'n farchnad sy'n tyfu yma yng Nghymru a'r DU yn ehangach. Dyma'r ailbrosesydd paletau pren achrededig mwyaf yn y DU, ac mae cynllun ei gynnyrch yn arloesol, gyda chylcholrwydd ac ailddefnyddio mewn golwg. Felly, mae'n enghraifft dda iawn o fusnes yr ydym yn awyddus i weld mwy ohono, gyda chyflogau da, wedi'i wreiddio yn y gymuned leol, ac maent yn ailfuddsoddi yn eu busnes ar gyfer y dyfodol. Mae hynny’n rhan o’r daith y mae angen i bob un ohonom fod arni i greu economi carbon is, ond un sy’n dal i lwyddo i ddarparu swyddi da yn nes at adref.

14:20
Sgiliau'r Gweithlu
Workforce Skills

7. Pa gamau y mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn eu cymryd i sicrhau bod gan weithlu Cymru y sgiliau sydd eu hangen ar gyfer y farchnad swyddi yn y dyfodol? OQ60646

7. What action is the Welsh Government taking to ensure the Welsh workforce has the necessary skills for the future jobs market? OQ60646

Thank you for the question. Through key skills programmes such as apprenticeships that we discussed earlier, personal learning accounts and the flexible skills programme, we continue to work in collaboration with industry, business, learning providers, trade unions and other key stakeholders to increase our skills capacity across Wales. I look forward to publishing a sector skills road map this spring.

Diolch am eich cwestiwn. Drwy raglenni sgiliau allweddol, megis y prentisiaethau a drafodwyd gennym yn gynharach, cyfrifon dysgu personol a rhaglen sgiliau hyblyg, rydym yn parhau i weithio mewn cydweithrediad â diwydiant, busnes, darparwyr dysgu, undebau llafur a rhanddeiliaid allweddol eraill i gynyddu ein capasiti sgiliau ledled Cymru. Edrychaf ymlaen at gyhoeddi cynllun sgiliau'r sector yn y gwanwyn.

Thank you for your response, Minister. The world of work is changing rapidly, as are the needs of society at large. As we adapt to external pressures such as climate change or changing demographics, we have to ensure that not only our future generations are equipped for the demands of the future job market, but that the current workforce has full support and opportunities to retrain at any point in their career. Minister, what steps are you taking to maximise training places and ensure apprenticeships are available to workers at any age, not just school leavers? 

Diolch am eich ymateb, Weinidog. Mae'r byd gwaith yn newid yn gyflym, fel y mae anghenion cymdeithas yn gyffredinol. Wrth inni addasu i bwysau allanol megis y newid yn yr hinsawdd neu ddemograffeg sy’n newid, mae’n rhaid inni sicrhau nid yn unig fod cenedlaethau’r dyfodol yn barod ar gyfer gofynion marchnad swyddi’r dyfodol, ond bod gan y gweithlu presennol gefnogaeth lawn a chyfleoedd i ailhyfforddi ar unrhyw adeg yn eu gyrfa. Weinidog, pa gamau rydych chi'n eu cymryd i gael cymaint â phosibl o leoedd hyfforddi ac i sicrhau bod prentisiaethau ar gael i weithwyr o bob oedran, nid pobl sy’n gadael ysgol yn unig?

lI'm proud of the fact that we have an all-age apprenticeship programme here in Wales, and when I meet apprentices in different businesses I of course meet younger workers near the start of their working career, but I often meet people who have had time in different businesses. So, when I've met Unite stewards at Airbus UK, I've met a number of people in that apprenticeship programme who've had a change of career in their later 20s and 30s, the same when I've met workers in GE Aviation, for example, as well—people who have come in from the auto engineering industry and have transferred into aerospace. So, you can and do continue to see people moving careers.

Apprenticeships are one of the routes to do that. There are also other forms of skills interventions. So, for some people, they'll have a larger business that can continue to invest in them whilst continuing to take an apprenticeship. In other businesses, they may not be able to provide the same sort of wage level, so it's how we make sure that the skills interventions are fit for purpose both for the skills that the worker and the business need, but also taking account of that person's real-world responsibilities as well. And I think we've managed to do it. 

It's important, I think, to reflect on the fact that trade union learning is part of this as well. It both helps people to come forward, sometimes with basic skills needs, but certainly higher skills opportunities as well, because having different routes for people to access that training and learning is of real value. I've seen that myself with the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers at Tesco, for example, where Tesco themselves welcome the fact that there's trade union learning through USDAW. This is of benefit to the individual worker outside their work, but they also see that benefit within the workplace as well.

Again, this is all-age training and development opportunities that we want to see more of. The Government are looking to do our part: we want to see more businesses continue to invest in their biggest asset, which is, of course, their people. 

Rwy’n falch o’r ffaith bod gennym raglen brentisiaethau pob oed yma yng Nghymru, a phan fyddaf yn cyfarfod â phrentisiaid mewn gwahanol fusnesau, rwy’n cyfarfod â gweithwyr iau yn agos at ddechrau eu gyrfa, wrth gwrs, ond rwy’n aml yn cyfarfod â phobl sydd wedi treulio amser mewn gwahanol fusnesau. Felly, wrth gyfarfod â stiwardiaid Unite yn Airbus UK, cyfarfûm â nifer o bobl yn y rhaglen brentisiaeth honno sydd wedi newid gyrfa yn eu 20au hwyr a'u 30au, a'r un peth wrth gyfarfod â gweithwyr yn GE Aviation, er enghraifft, hefyd—pobl sydd wedi dod o'r diwydiant peirianneg ceir ac wedi trosglwyddo i faes awyrofod. Felly, gallwch barhau i weld pobl yn newid gyrfaoedd.

Prentisiaethau yw un o’r llwybrau i wneud hynny. Ceir mathau eraill o ymyriadau sgiliau hefyd. Felly, i rai pobl, bydd ganddynt fusnes mwy a all barhau i fuddsoddi ynddynt wrth barhau i ddilyn prentisiaeth. Mewn busnesau eraill, efallai na fyddant yn gallu darparu’r un lefel o gyflog, felly dyna sut rydym yn sicrhau bod yr ymyriadau sgiliau yn addas i’r diben ar gyfer y sgiliau sydd eu hangen ar y gweithiwr a’r busnes, ond hefyd gan ystyried cyfrifoldebau'r unigolyn hwnnw yn y byd go iawn hefyd. A chredaf ein bod wedi llwyddo i wneud hynny.

Rwy'n credu ei bod yn bwysig myfyrio ar y ffaith bod dysgu drwy undebau llafur yn rhan o hyn hefyd. Mae’n helpu pobl i gamu ymlaen, gydag anghenion sgiliau sylfaenol weithiau, ond yn sicr, gyda chyfleoedd sgiliau uwch hefyd, gan fod cael llwybrau gwahanol i bobl gael mynediad at yr hyfforddiant a’r dysgu hwnnw'n wirioneddol werthfawr. Rwyf wedi gweld hynny fy hun gyda'r Undeb Gweithwyr Siopau, Dosbarthu a Gwaith Perthynol (USDAW) yn Tesco, er enghraifft, lle mae Tesco eu hunain yn croesawu'r ffaith bod modd dysgu drwy undeb llafur USDAW. Mae hyn o fudd i’r gweithiwr unigol y tu allan i’w gwaith, ond maent hefyd yn gweld y budd yn y gweithle hefyd.

Unwaith eto, mae'r rhain yn gyfleoedd hyfforddi a datblygu pob oed yr ydym am weld mwy ohonynt. Mae’r Llywodraeth yn awyddus i chwarae ein rhan: rydym am weld mwy o fusnesau’n parhau i fuddsoddi yn eu hased mwyaf, sef eu pobl, wrth gwrs.

Cyfleoedd Economaidd i Bobl Ifanc
Economic Opportunities for Young People

Diolch, Llywydd, and good afternoon, Minister. 

Diolch, Lywydd, a phrynhawn da, Weinidog.

8. Pa asesiad y mae'r Gweinidog wedi'i wneud o gyfleoedd economaidd i bobl ifanc yng Nghanolbarth a Gorllewin Cymru? OQ60647

8. What assessment has the Minister made of economic opportunities for young people in Mid and West Wales? OQ60647

Prynhawn da. Diolch am y cwestiwn. 

Good afternoon. Thank you for the question. 

For young people, making the choice to remain within rural communities is, I believe, about ensuring that the rural economy can thrive and prosper to offer them good work close to home. Our 'Economic mission: priorities for a stronger economy' sets out our four national priorities, one of which is focused upon young people. 

I bobl ifanc, credaf fod gwneud y dewis i aros mewn cymunedau gwledig yn ymwneud â sicrhau y gall yr economi wledig ffynnu a llwyddo i gynnig gwaith da iddynt yn agos at adref. Mae ein 'Cenhadaeth economaidd: blaenoriaethau ar gyfer economi gryfach' yn nodi ein pedair blaenoriaeth genedlaethol, ac mae un ohonynt yn canolbwyntio ar bobl ifanc.

Diolch yn fawr iawn. A 2022 survey by Aberystwyth University found that four in 10 young people in rural Wales expect to be living outside of Wales in five years' time. That's a staggering statistic. And at the same time, we know that skills shortages are acting as a break on investment and growth in rural Wales. Research from the Federation of Small Businesses, for example, found that 80 per cent of small firms have been struggling to recruit over the last 12 months. Taken together, these figures illustrate the mismatch between the aspirations of our rural young people and the needs of our local industries and small businesses in the countryside.

One of the issues that may help in relation to keeping young people in rural areas is transport, and in evidence submitted last year to the Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee, Careers Wales called for improved rural public transportation links and exploring reduced fares for young people to facilitate those skills getting to the right places. I would like to see free public transport in Wales to be available to all under-25s. Do you agree that this could help our young people in rural Wales? Diolch yn fawr iawn.

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Canfu arolwg gan Brifysgol Aberystwyth yn 2022 fod pedwar o bob 10 o bobl ifanc yng nghefn gwlad Cymru yn disgwyl byw y tu allan i Gymru ymhen pum mlynedd. Mae hwnnw'n ystadegyn syfrdanol. Ac ar yr un pryd, gwyddom fod prinder sgiliau yn atal buddsoddiad a thwf yng nghefn gwlad Cymru. Canfu ymchwil gan y Ffederasiwn Busnesau Bach, er enghraifft, fod 80 y cant o gwmnïau bach wedi'i chael hi'n anodd recriwtio dros y 12 mis diwethaf. Gyda'i gilydd, mae’r ffigurau hyn yn dangos yr anghydweddiad rhwng dyheadau ein pobl ifanc yng nghefn gwlad ac anghenion ein diwydiannau lleol a busnesau bach gwledig.

Un o’r materion a all fod o gymorth mewn perthynas â chadw pobl ifanc mewn ardaloedd gwledig yw trafnidiaeth, ac mewn tystiolaeth a gyflwynwyd y llynedd i Bwyllgor yr Economi, Masnach a Materion Gwledig, galwodd Gyrfa Cymru am well cysylltiadau trafnidiaeth gyhoeddus mewn ardaloedd gwledig ac am archwilio prisiau gostyngol i bobl ifanc er mwyn ei gwneud hi'n bosibl i'r sgiliau hynny gyrraedd y lleoedd iawn. Hoffwn weld trafnidiaeth gyhoeddus am ddim yng Nghymru i bawb o dan 25 oed. A ydych chi'n cytuno y gallai hyn helpu ein pobl ifanc yng nghefn gwlad Cymru? Diolch yn fawr iawn.

14:25

I think there are two points. The first is I'd like to see a free transport offer for young people. Our challenge is being able to afford it, and so, actually, that is a budgetary choice for us to make, and at the moment we can't in all good conscience say we want to do that. There is a future aspiration for wanting to make bus travel in particular more affordable for people across the country.

The second point I’d make, and this came up in First Minister’s questions yesterday—some of the challenges around the bus network and our ability and willingness to reintroduce regulation for a franchising model that means that different routes are sustained in the way that we reward and organise bus travel within Wales. I’m very pleased to say that every member of this Government is committed to re-regulating buses, because we believe we will have a more stable network that will protect what we currently have, it will be a better use of public money, and give us opportunities to grow the bus network in the future, and to address the point that the Member makes about its affordability for people of all ages, but especially the point she makes around young people.

Credaf fod dau bwynt yma. Y cyntaf yw yr hoffwn weld cynnig trafnidiaeth am ddim i bobl ifanc. Yr her i ni yw gallu fforddio hynny, ac felly, mewn gwirionedd, mae hwnnw'n ddewis cyllidebol i ni ei wneud, ac ar hyn o bryd, gyda phob ewyllys da ni allwn ddweud ein bod eisiau gwneud hynny. Mae yna ddyhead ar gyfer y dyfodol i wneud teithio ar fysiau yn enwedig yn fwy fforddiadwy i bobl ledled y wlad.

Yr ail bwynt y buaswn yn ei wneud, a chodwyd hyn yn ystod y cwestiynau i’r Prif Weinidog ddoe—rhai o’r heriau sy'n gysylltiedig â'r rhwydwaith bysiau a’n gallu a’n parodrwydd i ailgyflwyno rheoleiddio ar gyfer model masnachfreinio sy’n golygu bod llwybrau gwahanol yn cael eu cynnal yn y ffordd y gwobrwywn ac y trefnwn deithio ar fysiau yng Nghymru. Rwy’n falch iawn o ddweud bod pob aelod o’r Llywodraeth hon wedi ymrwymo i ailreoleiddio bysiau, gan y credwn y bydd gennym rwydwaith mwy sefydlog a fydd yn diogelu’r hyn sydd gennym ar hyn o bryd, a bydd yn ddefnydd gwell o arian cyhoeddus, ac yn rhoi cyfleoedd inni dyfu’r rhwydwaith bysiau yn y dyfodol, a mynd i’r afael â’r pwynt y mae’r Aelod yn ei wneud am ei fforddiadwyedd i bobl o bob oed, ond yn enwedig y pwynt y mae’n ei wneud ynghylch pobl ifanc.

Diolch i'r Gweinidog a'r Dirprwy Weinidog.

I thank the Minister and Deputy Minister.

2. Cwestiynau i'r Gweinidog Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol
2. Questions to the Minister for Health and Social Services

Y cwestiynau nesaf, felly, fydd y cwestiynau i'r Gweinidog Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol, ac mae'r cwestiwn cyntaf gan Sam Rowlands. 

The next questions will be questions to the Minister for Health and Social Services, and the first question is from Sam Rowlands. 

Gwerth am Arian
Value for Money

1. Beth mae'r Gweinidog yn ei wneud i sicrhau gwerth am arian wrth gaffael cynhyrchion i'w defnyddio yn y GIG? OQ60638

1. What is the Minister doing to ensure value for money when procuring products for use in the NHS? OQ60638

Welsh public sector contracting authorities, including NHS Wales, are expected to have regard to the principles set out in our Wales procurement policy statement. This approach seeks to ensure that public procurement in Wales maximises social and economic value outcomes when delivering goods and services for the people of Wales. 

Disgwylir i awdurdodau contractio sector cyhoeddus Cymru, gan gynnwys GIG Cymru, roi sylw i’r egwyddorion a nodir yn natganiad polisi caffael Cymru. Nod y dull gweithredu hwn yw gwneud yn siŵr fod caffael cyhoeddus yng Nghymru yn sicrhau’r canlyniadau gorau posibl o ran gwerth cymdeithasol ac economaidd wrth ddarparu nwyddau a gwasanaethau i bobl Cymru.

Thank you for your response, Minister. You will accept, as you've outlined there, that value for money is something that should be running through every Government department, and should be an absolute priority for every Minister and official in Welsh Government, and, of course, this applies to health services in Wales too. You’ll be aware that earlier this year the UK Conservative Government, on behalf of all parts of the UK, and the pharmaceutical industry entered a new voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing, access and growth—the VPAG. This deal, brokered by the UK Government, means that the very latest innovative medicines are available to the NHS in Wales and can be used with patients, ensuring best value for money.

Now, historically these schemes have enabled hundreds of millions of pounds to come to the Welsh Government, and usually targeted at the health department. So, could you confirm today that this money will continue to be retained within health, and where you expect these additional funds to be targeted?

Diolch am eich ymateb, Weinidog. Fe fyddwch yn derbyn, fel rydych newydd ei amlinellu, fod gwerth am arian yn rhywbeth a ddylai fod yn rhedeg drwy bob adran yn y Llywodraeth, a dylai fod yn flaenoriaeth lwyr i bob Gweinidog a swyddog yn Llywodraeth Cymru, ac wrth gwrs, mae hyn yn berthnasol i wasanaethau iechyd yng Nghymru hefyd. Fe fyddwch yn ymwybodol fod Llywodraeth Geidwadol y DU, yn gynharach eleni, ar ran pob rhan o’r DU, a’r diwydiant fferyllol wedi ymrwymo i gynllun prisio, mynediad a thwf gwirfoddol newydd ar gyfer meddyginiaethau wedi'u brandio—y VPAG. Mae’r fargen hon, a frocerwyd gan Lywodraeth y DU, yn golygu bod y meddyginiaethau arloesol diweddaraf ar gael i’r GIG yng Nghymru ac y gellir eu defnyddio gyda chleifion, gan sicrhau’r gwerth gorau am arian.

Nawr, yn hanesyddol, mae’r cynlluniau hyn wedi galluogi cannoedd o filiynau o bunnoedd i ddod i Lywodraeth Cymru, a'i dargedu fel arfer at yr adran iechyd. Felly, a allwch chi gadarnhau heddiw y bydd yr arian hwn yn parhau i gael ei gadw ar gyfer iechyd, a lle rydych chi'n disgwyl i’r cronfeydd ychwanegol hyn gael eu targedu?

Thank you very much. The Member is correct, in January a new voluntary scheme, the voluntary pricing, access and growth scheme, came into effect. What this does is to set an annual cap on the value of total sales of branded medicines across the NHS, and what happens then is, if sales go above the cap, then there’s a rebate. Each rebate is apportioned between the four nations of the UK, and that’s based on the medicines expenditure in each nation. So, what it does is it doesn’t actually provide new money. Any funding derived from the voluntary pricing, access and growth scheme has already been factored into budget planning to deliver for the NHS and the people of Wales. 

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Mae’r Aelod yn llygad ei le, ym mis Ionawr, daeth cynllun gwirfoddol newydd, y cynllun prisio, mynediad a thwf gwirfoddol, i rym. Yr hyn y mae'n ei wneud yw gosod cap blynyddol ar uchafswm gwerthiant meddyginiaethau wedi’u brandio ar draws y GIG, a’r hyn sy’n digwydd wedyn yw, os yw gwerthiannau’n mynd uwchlaw’r cap, ceir ad-daliad. Caiff pob ad-daliad ei ddosrannu rhwng pedair gwlad y DU, ac mae hynny’n seiliedig ar y gwariant ar feddyginiaethau ym mhob gwlad. Felly, nid yw'n darparu arian newydd mewn gwirionedd. Mae unrhyw gyllid sy’n deillio o’r cynllun prisio, mynediad a thwf gwirfoddol eisoes wedi’i gynnwys wrth gynllunio’r gyllideb i ddarparu ar gyfer y GIG a phobl Cymru.

Un ffordd o sicrhau gwerth am arian ydy gwneud gwaith ymchwil manwl iawn, trafod efo clinigwyr sy'n mynd i fod yn defnyddio rhyw offer newydd, a gwneud yn siŵr bod y cynnyrch gorau posibl yn cael ei gaffael. A dyna'n union gafodd ei wneud drwy drio dewis system electronic patient record ar gyfer gwasanaethau opthalmoleg. Mi fuddsoddwyd miliynau yn y gwaith hwnnw, a'r casgliad oedd y dylid caffael y system OpenEyes, system sydd yn cael ei ddefnyddio'n eang iawn yn barod, yn cynnwys mewn canolfannau llygaid blaenllaw fel Moorfields. Mae wedi'i gyflwyno yn yr Alban hefyd.

Ond, bum mlynedd yn ddiweddarach, does yna ddim byd wedi digwydd. Fe wnes i gyfarfod opthalmolegwyr yn Ysbyty Singleton, Abertawe, yr wythnos diwethaf. Roedd yna gynrychiolaeth o ar draws de Cymru yno. Fe wnaeth Llyr Gruffydd ddoe godi hyn ar ran opthalmolegwyr yn y gogledd. Maen nhw wir, wir yn erfyn ar y Gweinidog i plîs bwyso'r botwm ar gaffael y system yma. Mi fyddai'n trawsnewid eu gwaith nhw, yn arwain at well gofal llygaid. Ydy'r Gweinidog yn barod i wneud y penderfyniad hwnnw ar frys, o ystyried bod y gwaith wedi cael ei wneud?

One way of ensuring value for money is to do very detailed research, to discuss with clinicians who will be using new equipment, and ensuring that the best products are procured. And that's exactly what was done by trying to select the electronic patient record system for ophthalmology services. Millions were invested in that work, and the conclusion was that the OpenEyes system should be procured—a system used very broadly already, including in leading eye centres such as Moorfields. It has been introduced in Scotland too.

But, five years later, nothing has happened. I met ophthalmologists at Singleton Hospital last week. There was representation from across south Wales there. Llyr Gruffydd, yesterday, raised this on behalf of ophthalmologists in north Wales. They are urging the Minister to please press the button to procure this system. It would transform their work, and would lead to better eye care. So, is the Minister willing to take that decision as a matter of urgency, given that the work has already been done?

14:30

Diolch yn fawr. I have been looking into the issues in relation to the digital eye care programme, because it’s also been brought to my attention. What happened was that there was an initial funding allocation that was granted, and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board were responsible for hosting and delivering that. And the idea was to digitise the referral process from primary care to secondary care as well as to introduce an electronic patient record. The programme didn’t progress as planned as far as I understand. And so there were some concerns reported in initial technology deployment, and clinical safety issues were raised by the health board.

So, what’s happened is that that was then transitioned to Digital Health and Care Wales, and I’ve asked for a meeting with Digital Health and Care Wales to progress this, because it is frustrating, I know. So, I have asked for a meeting, not just with Digital Health and Care Wales, but also with the ophthalmologists to make sure that I hear every side of the argument in relation to this.

Diolch yn fawr. Rwyf wedi bod yn ymchwilio i'r materion mewn perthynas â'r rhaglen gofal llygaid ddigidol, oherwydd cafodd ei ddwyn i fy sylw hefyd. Yr hyn a ddigwyddodd oedd bod dyraniad cyllid cychwynnol wedi cael ei gymeradwyo, a Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Caerdydd a'r Fro oedd yn gyfrifol am gynnal a darparu hwnnw. A'r syniad oedd digideiddio'r broses atgyfeirio o ofal sylfaenol i ofal eilaidd yn ogystal â chyflwyno cofnod cleifion electronig. Yn ôl yr hyn rwy'n ei ddeall, ni wnaeth y rhaglen fynd yn ei blaen fel y cynlluniwyd. Ac felly adroddwyd am rai pryderon wrth ddefnyddio technoleg ar y cychwyn, a chodwyd materion diogelwch clinigol gan y bwrdd iechyd.

Felly, cafodd hynny ei drosglwyddo wedyn i Iechyd a Gofal Digidol Cymru, ac rwyf wedi gofyn am gyfarfod gydag Iechyd a Gofal Digidol Cymru er mwyn bwrw ymlaen â hyn, oherwydd mae'n rhwystredig, rwy'n gwybod. Felly, rwyf wedi gofyn am gyfarfod, nid yn unig gydag Iechyd a Gofal Digidol Cymru, ond hefyd gyda'r offthalmolegwyr i sicrhau fy mod yn clywed pob ochr i'r ddadl mewn perthynas â hyn.

Gwasanaethau Iechyd Meddwl Cymunedol
Community Mental Health Services

2. A wnaiff y Gweinidog ddatganiad am fynediad at wasanaethau iechyd meddwl cymunedol yng Ngogledd Cymru? OQ60651

2. Will the Minister make a statement on access to community mental health services in North Wales? OQ60651

As part of the special measures escalation, a comprehensive programme of work has been agreed to ensure that the health board is able to make the sustained progress required in mental health services.

Fel rhan o uwchgyfeirio i fesurau arbennig, cytunwyd ar raglen waith gynhwysfawr i sicrhau bod y bwrdd iechyd yn gallu gwneud y cynnydd parhaus sydd ei angen mewn gwasanaethau iechyd meddwl.

Thank you for that answer. Deputy Minister, you'll be aware that, yesterday, I raised concerns with the First Minister about the poor experience of patients at the Nant y Glyn community mental health centre in Colwyn Bay. Patients are simply not getting the service that they need, and that is resulting in some of them having much worse mental health than would have been the case otherwise. I know that Healthcare Inspectorate Wales has previously raised concerns about access for patients to services provided by Nant y Glyn and that an announced inspection took place recently.

However, I am concerned that the inspection regime is insufficient. It does not always include patient experiences or reaching out to patients who have made their experiences known to elected representatives like me. I would therefore urge the Welsh Government to encourage HIW to look at its inspection framework to ensure that engagement with elected representatives and patients is paramount in terms of one of the pillars of their inspection regime in the future, including on the Nant y Glyn experiences that my constituents have been experiencing. 

Diolch am yr ateb hwnnw. Ddirprwy Weinidog, fe fyddwch yn ymwybodol, ddoe, fy mod wedi codi pryderon gyda'r Prif Weinidog am brofiadau gwael cleifion yng nghanolfan iechyd meddwl gymunedol Nant y Glyn ym Mae Colwyn. Nid yw cleifion yn cael y gwasanaeth sydd ei angen arnynt, ac mae hynny'n golygu bod iechyd meddwl rhai ohonynt yn llawer gwaeth nag y byddai fel arall. Gwn fod Arolygiaeth Gofal Iechyd Cymru wedi codi pryderon yn y gorffennol am fynediad cleifion at wasanaethau a ddarperir gan Nant y Glyn a bod arolygiad lle rhoddwyd rhybudd wedi ei gynnal yn ddiweddar.

Fodd bynnag, rwy'n pryderu nad yw'r drefn arolygu yn ddigonol. Nid yw bob amser yn cynnwys profiadau cleifion nac yn estyn allan at gleifion sydd wedi gwneud eu profiadau'n hysbys i gynrychiolwyr etholedig fel fi. Felly, hoffwn erfyn ar Lywodraeth Cymru i annog Arolygiaeth Gofal Iechyd Cymru i edrych ar ei fframwaith arolygu i sicrhau bod ymgysylltiad â chynrychiolwyr etholedig a chleifion yn hollbwysig ac yn cael ei ystyried yn un o bileri eu trefn arolygu yn y dyfodol, gan gynnwys ar y profiadau y mae fy etholwyr wedi bod yn eu cael yn Nant y Glyn. 

Can I thank you, Darren, for that supplementary question? And I listened carefully to your exchange with the First Minister yesterday, and I know that he gave you assurances, and I would like to repeat those assurances. We're waiting for the HIW report to come through and I'll certainly be looking very carefully at that.

As you're aware, HIW is independent of Welsh Government as an inspectorate, and I'm also conscious that they do attempt, as I understand it, to take account of service-user feedback as part of the work that they do. But, in relation to community mental health teams, I will make enquiries as to whether there was feedback sought from service users. And just to repeat the First Minister's assurance that I will get the report, I will look at it and we will make sure that everything that needs to be followed up is followed up.

A gaf i ddiolch i chi am y cwestiwn atodol, Darren? Ac fe wrandawais yn ofalus ar eich trafodaeth gyda'r Prif Weinidog ddoe, a gwn ei fod wedi rhoi sicrwydd i chi, a hoffwn ailadrodd y sicrwydd hwnnw. Rydym yn aros i adroddiad Arolygiaeth Gofal Iechyd Cymru gael ei gyhoeddi a byddaf yn sicr yn edrych yn ofalus iawn ar hwnnw.

Fel y gwyddoch, mae Arolygiaeth Gofal Iechyd Cymru yn annibynnol ar Lywodraeth Cymru fel arolygiaeth, ac fel rwy'n ei ddeall, rwyf hefyd yn ymwybodol eu bod yn ceisio ystyried adborth gan ddefnyddwyr gwasanaeth fel rhan o'r gwaith a wnânt. Ond mewn perthynas â thimau iechyd meddwl cymunedol, fe wnaf ymholiadau ynglŷn ag a ofynnwyd am adborth gan ddefnyddwyr gwasanaeth. A hoffwn ailadrodd sicrwydd y Prif Weinidog y byddaf yn cael yr adroddiad, byddaf yn edrych arno a byddwn yn sicrhau bod popeth y mae angen mynd ar ei drywydd yn cael sylw.

Cwestiynau Heb Rybudd gan Lefarwyr y Pleidiau
Questions Without Notice from Party Spokespeople

Cwestiynau nawr gan lefarwyr y pleidiau. Llefarydd y Ceidwadwyr, Russell George.

Questions now from party spokespeople. Conservative spokesperson, Russell George.

14:35

Diolch, Llywydd. Llywydd, rural mid and north Wales needs a strong ambulance service, particularly in emergencies. With the lack of a district general hospital in these areas, it makes the need for an air ambulance service all the more vital. Now, Minister, you will be aware, of course, that the final engagement process has now begun. The review is being led by a service within the Welsh NHS, but, of course, you are the heath Minister and you are responsible for ensuring appropriate policy is in place, and ensuring that patients are transferred to appropriate medical facilities rapidly. And I know, Minister, that you've been involved in this process as well. So, you have the ability to intervene, to influence and to decide what happens. So are you, Minister, prepared to take on board the significant concerns that have come across from communities in north and mid Wales, to ensure that both sites in Welshpool and Caernarfon remain open, so that we have an ambulance service that reaches all parts of Wales and takes into account the very specific nature of some of the most rural parts of Wales?

Diolch, Lywydd. Lywydd, mae angen gwasanaeth ambiwlans cryf yng nghefn gwlad canolbarth a gogledd Cymru, yn enwedig mewn argyfwng. Mae'r ffaith nad oes ysbyty cyffredinol dosbarth yn yr ardaloedd hyn yn golygu bod yr angen am wasanaeth ambiwlans awyr yn bwysicach fyth. Nawr, Weinidog, fe fyddwch yn ymwybodol, wrth gwrs, fod y broses ymgysylltu derfynol bellach wedi dechrau. Mae'r adolygiad yn cael ei arwain gan wasanaeth o fewn GIG Cymru, ond wrth gwrs, chi yw'r Gweinidog iechyd a chi sy'n gyfrifol am sicrhau bod polisi priodol ar waith, a sicrhau bod cleifion yn cael eu trosglwyddo i gyfleusterau meddygol priodol yn gyflym. Ac rwy'n gwybod, Weinidog, eich bod wedi bod yn rhan o'r broses hon hefyd. Felly, mae gennych allu i ymyrryd, i ddylanwadu ac i benderfynu beth sy'n digwydd. Felly a ydych chi, Weinidog, yn barod i ystyried y pryderon sylweddol sydd wedi cael eu codi gan gymunedau yng ngogledd a chanolbarth Cymru, i sicrhau bod y ddau safle yn y Trallwng a Chaernarfon yn parhau ar agor, fel bod gennym wasanaeth ambiwlans sy'n cyrraedd pob rhan o Gymru ac yn ystyried natur benodol iawn rhai o rannau mwyaf gwledig Cymru?

Thanks very much. Well, the Wales Air Ambulance Charity, of course, is an independent charity—it's independent of Government. But you're quite right to point out that there is obviously a relationship with the Welsh Government, in the sense that there's a link with the emergency aspect of it and the Emergency Ambulance Services Committee, and the chair of EASC has been absolutely instrumental in terms of ensuring that the public has had its voice heard in relation to any proposed changes. So, as you say, there has been significant feedback already to inform the review during the last phase. What's happened now I think as a result of that is that two options have been put forward, and that's what's now going out to the public. I did ask the chair of EASC specifically to make sure that he'd listened in to the conversations that took place within this Chamber, just to get a real sense of what were the concerns of people in this Chamber.

Diolch yn fawr. Wel, elusen annibynnol yw Elusen Ambiwlans Awyr Cymru wrth gwrs—mae'n annibynnol ar y Llywodraeth. Ond rydych yn llygad eich lle i dynnu sylw at y ffaith bod yna berthynas â Llywodraeth Cymru, yn yr ystyr bod cysylltiad â natur frys y mater ac mae'r Pwyllgor Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans Brys, a chadeirydd y Pwyllgor Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans Brys wedi bod yn gwbl allweddol yn sicrhau bod llais y cyhoedd yn cael ei glywed mewn perthynas ag unrhyw newidiadau arfaethedig. Felly, fel y dywedwch, cafwyd adborth sylweddol eisoes i lywio'r adolygiad yn ystod y cam diwethaf. Yr hyn sydd wedi digwydd nawr, rwy'n credu, o ganlyniad i hynny, yw bod dau opsiwn wedi cael eu cyflwyno, a dyna'r opsiynau sydd bellach yn cael eu cynnig i'r cyhoedd. Gofynnais i gadeirydd y Pwyllgor Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans Brys i wneud yn siŵr yn benodol ei fod wedi gwrando ar y trafodaethau a gafwyd yn y Siambr hon, er mwyn cael gwir ymdeimlad o'r hyn sy'n destun pryder i bobl yn y Siambr hon.

Thank you, Minister. First of all, the Wales Air Ambulance Charity, as you say, is a charity, but they are commissioned by the Welsh NHS. And they've also accepted the result of this process, and they will follow the result of this process, and of course the NHS pays for the paramedics and the equipment on those air ambulance vehicles. So, it's important, Minister, that this is ultimately a decision for the Welsh Government and the Welsh NHS.

I was a little bit concerned when you said that there are two options that have now come forward, because the commissioner has told me, and it says so in the documentation, that there are six options that have come forward, and two are preferred. Of those two preferred options, both mean the closure of Caernarfon and Welshpool bases, which is entirely unacceptable. And I think, Minister, that what is frustrating here is that, whilst you've pointed out that there's been an engagement process that has taken place—yes, that is right, a significant one; thousands of people have attended meetings or responded to consultations—this is the issue: have they been listened to? Because that doesn't come through when you see two preferred options that close these two bases. And to go from four bases to three bases across Wales just isn't appropriate, Minister. I'm disappointed that we've got to this position, and I think now is the time that you, Minister, certainly need to intervene.

And it's not only the public that have got concerns; it's clinicians as well. They're saying that they fear lives will be put at risk should these two bases close. They're also saying that many of them will actually leave the service—these experienced people in Welshpool, in Caernarfon, will leave the service. Now, I and the public have repeatedly been told that this is never about saving money. Is that still the case? And if a case was made for an expansion of the air ambulance service, are you still committed to considering such proposals and financing such proposals?

Diolch yn fawr, Weinidog. Yn gyntaf oll, elusen yw Elusen Ambiwlans Awyr Cymru, fel y dywedwch, ond cânt eu comisiynu gan GIG Cymru. Ac maent hefyd wedi derbyn canlyniad y broses hon, a byddant yn dilyn canlyniad y broses hon, ac wrth gwrs mae'r GIG yn talu am y parafeddygon a'r offer ar y cerbydau ambiwlans awyr hynny. Felly, mae'n bwysig, Weinidog, mai penderfyniad i Lywodraeth Cymru a'r GIG yng Nghymru yw hwn yn y pen draw.

Roeddwn ychydig yn bryderus pan ddywedoch chi fod dau opsiwn wedi eu cyflwyno bellach, oherwydd mae'r comisiynydd wedi dweud wrthyf, ac mae'n dweud hynny yn y ddogfennaeth, fod yna chwe opsiwn wedi'u cyflwyno, a bod dau yn cael eu ffafrio. Mae'r ddau opsiwn a ffefrir fel ei gilydd yn golygu cau canolfannau Caernarfon a'r Trallwng, sy'n gwbl annerbyniol. Ac rwy'n credu, Weinidog, mai'r hyn sy'n rhwystredig yma yw, er eich bod wedi tynnu sylw at y ffaith bod yna broses ymgysylltu wedi bod—mae hynny'n wir, proses sylweddol; mae miloedd o bobl wedi mynychu cyfarfodydd neu wedi ymateb i ymgynghoriadau—dyma'r broblem: a ydych wedi gwrando arnynt? Oherwydd nid yw hynny i'w weld pan welwch ddau opsiwn a ffefrir sy'n golygu cau'r ddwy ganolfan. Ac nid yw mynd o bedair canolfan i dair canolfan ar draws Cymru yn briodol, Weinidog. Rwy'n siomedig ein bod wedi cyrraedd y sefyllfa hon, ac rwy'n credu ei bod yn bryd i chi ymyrryd nawr, Weinidog.

Ac nid y cyhoedd yn unig sydd â phryderon; mae gan glinigwyr bryderon hefyd. Maent yn dweud eu bod yn ofni y bydd bywydau mewn perygl pe bai'r ddwy ganolfan yn cau. Maent hefyd yn dweud y bydd llawer ohonynt yn gadael y gwasanaeth mewn gwirionedd—bydd y bobl brofiadol hyn yn y Trallwng, yng Nghaernarfon, yn gadael y gwasanaeth. Nawr, rwyf fi a'r cyhoedd wedi clywed dro ar ôl tro nad yw hyn yn ymwneud ag arbed arian. A yw hynny'n dal i fod yn wir? Ac os cafodd achos ei wneud dros ehangu'r gwasanaeth ambiwlans awyr, a ydych chi'n dal i fod wedi ymrwymo i ystyried cynigion o'r fath ac ariannu cynigion o'r fath?

Thanks very much. Well, you're right, it's not about saving money, but it is about maximising efficiency, and I think that is something that is a responsibility of Government to do. So, you'll know that there were some principles that were set out: if people get the service now, they will continue to get it, and more people will get the service. So, those are the two things that were absolutely key in terms of driving any proposed changes. I think one of the things that has been suggested is that there could be more cars at strategic points. This is something that I heard very clearly in the debates that we've had in the past in this Chamber. So, if, for example, you have somebody at the far end of Pen Llŷn, and there's fog and the helicopter can't make it, actually, the issue is not the helicopter; it's about the strategic positioning of the vehicles. And I think that's something that has very much come across and has been understood, which is why I think that has become, certainly, part of the options that have been put forward.

Diolch yn fawr. Wel, rydych chi'n iawn, nid yw'n ymwneud ag arbed arian, ond mae'n ymwneud â sicrhau cymaint o effeithlonrwydd â phosibl, ac rwy'n credu bod cyfrifoldeb ar Lywodraeth i wneud hynny. Felly, fe wyddoch fod rhai egwyddorion wedi'u nodi: os bydd pobl yn cael y gwasanaeth nawr, byddant yn parhau i'w gael, a bydd mwy o bobl yn cael y gwasanaeth. Felly, dyna'r ddau beth a oedd yn gwbl allweddol wrth lywio unrhyw newidiadau arfaethedig. Rwy'n credu mai un o'r pethau a awgrymwyd yw y gellid cael mwy o geir ar bwyntiau strategol. Mae hwn yn awgrym rwyf wedi'i glywed yn glir iawn yn y dadleuon a gawsom yn y Siambr hon yn y gorffennol. Felly, er enghraifft, os oes gennych chi rywun ym mhen pellaf Pen Llŷn, a bod niwl ac nad yw'r hofrennydd yn gallu cyrraedd yno mewn gwirionedd, nid yr hofrennydd yw'r broblem; mae'n ymwneud â lleoliad strategol y cerbydau. Ac rwy'n credu bod hynny'n sicr yn rhywbeth sydd wedi cael ei gyfleu ac sydd wedi cael ei ddeall, ac rwy'n credu mai dyna pam mae hynny wedi dod yn rhan o'r opsiynau sydd wedi'u cyflwyno.

14:40

Well, thank you for your answer, Minister. Certainly, you're right in one sense—at the beginning of this process, we were told that 500 more people would be able to be reached under the original proposal. That, as I now certainly understand it, is something that has been dismissed, but the First Minister mentioned it again last week. So, I do hope, Minister, that you and the First Minister can intervene in this process and take a lead on this process, because it's important that you know the feelings on the ground, what the feelings are in mid and north Wales and in these communities. 

You also mentioned the issue of fog. Well, we've got a weather warning coming in for mid and north Wales tomorrow, which is significant. At the moment, we've got two bases—Welshpool and Caernarfon—covering mid and north Wales. If proposals come forward to have one centralised base, then that base—. If that closes due to adverse weather, there is then no cover in the mid and north Wales area from a mid and north Wales base. So, there's greater flexibility by having those two bases, and that makes and answers the point that you made about fog. Fog, adverse weather—this is exactly why we need to retain both bases in Welshpool and Caernarfon.

So, can I ask you, Minister—? Given the fact that the First Minister I think perhaps made some statements that I'm not sure are entirely accurate last week, can I ask that you and the First Minister actively get involved in this process, intervene, and, ultimately, you, as the Minister, make the final decision in terms of what happens to the current bases in Welshpool and Caernarfon, because moving from four to three bases is entirely unacceptable for the population of mid and north Wales?

Diolch am eich ateb, Weinidog. Yn sicr, rydych chi'n iawn ar un ystyr—ar ddechrau'r broses hon, dywedwyd wrthym y byddai modd cyrraedd 500 yn rhagor o bobl o dan y cynnig gwreiddiol. Mae hynny, fel rwy'n sicr yn ei ddeall erbyn hyn, yn rhywbeth sydd wedi'i wrthod, ond soniodd y Prif Weinidog amdano eto yr wythnos diwethaf. Felly, rwy'n gobeithio, Weinidog, y gallwch chi a'r Prif Weinidog ymyrryd yn y broses hon a chymryd yr awenau yn y broses hon, oherwydd mae'n bwysig eich bod yn gwybod beth yw'r teimladau ar lawr gwlad, beth yw'r teimladau yng nghanolbarth a gogledd Cymru ac yn y cymunedau hyn. 

Fe wnaethoch chi sôn hefyd am niwl. Wel, mae gennym rybudd tywydd yn dod i mewn ar gyfer canolbarth a gogledd Cymru yfory, sy'n sylweddol. Ar hyn o bryd, mae gennym ddwy ganolfan—y Trallwng a Chaernarfon—ar gyfer canolbarth a gogledd Cymru. Os daw cynigion gerbron i gael un ganolfan ganolog, yna bydd y ganolfan honno—. Os yw honno'n cau oherwydd tywydd garw, ni fydd darpariaeth yn ardal canolbarth a gogledd Cymru o ganolfan yng nghanolbarth a gogledd Cymru. Felly, ceir mwy o hyblygrwydd drwy gael y ddwy ganolfan, ac mae hynny'n gwneud ac yn ateb y pwynt a wnaethoch am niwl. Niwl, tywydd anffafriol—dyma'n union pam mae angen inni gadw'r ddwy ganolfan yn y Trallwng a Chaernarfon.

Felly, a gaf i ofyn i chi, Weinidog—? O ystyried bod y Prif Weinidog efallai wedi gwneud rhai datganiadau nad wyf yn siŵr eu bod yn gwbl gywir yr wythnos diwethaf, a gaf i ofyn i chi a'r Prif Weinidog gymryd rhan weithredol yn y broses hon, ymyrryd, ac yn y pen draw, eich bod chi, fel y Gweinidog, yn gwneud y penderfyniad terfynol ynghylch yr hyn sy'n digwydd i'r canolfannau presennol yn y Trallwng a Chaernarfon, oherwydd mae symud o bedair canolfan i dair yn gwbl annerbyniol i boblogaeth canolbarth a gogledd Cymru?

Well, I think it is important that local populations, once again, become involved in this consultation. There has been an incredible response to the consultation so far. We know how much this service is loved by the populations, in particular, of mid and north Wales. So, I would encourage them to feed into that response, and, obviously, a decision will be made after we've had the final recommendation. 

Wel, rwy'n credu ei bod yn bwysig fod poblogaethau lleol, unwaith eto, yn cymryd rhan yn yr ymgynghoriad hwn. Cafwyd ymateb anhygoel i'r ymgynghoriad hyd yn hyn. Rydym yn gwybod cymaint o feddwl sydd gan y boblogaeth o'r gwasanaeth hwn, yn enwedig yn y canolbarth a'r gogledd. Felly, carwn eu hannog i ymateb i'r ymgynghoriad hwnnw, ac yn amlwg, fe wneir penderfyniad ar ôl i ni gael yr argymhelliad terfynol. 

Llefarydd Plaid Cymru, Mabon ap Gwynfor.

Plaid Cymru spokesperson, Mabon ap Gwynfor.

Diolch, Llywydd. Ddaru'r Gweinidog yn ei hateb hi i Russell George rŵan ddweud ei bod hi eisiau gwybod beth ydy barn Aelodau yn y Siambr yma ynghylch yr ambiwlans awyr. Felly, dwi'n ategu'n llwyr yr hyn ddaru Russell George ei ddweud hefyd, ac yn gobeithio y byddwch chi'n dilyn ar rhai o'r cwestiynau yna ac yn cymryd y cyfrifoldeb. 

Thank you, Llywydd. The Minister in her response to Russell George said that she wanted to know what the views of Members in this Chamber are on the air ambulance. So, I echo everything that Russell George said, and I hope that you will follow up on some of those questions and will take responsibility for this.

At the end of this month, the UK COVID inquiry hearings for module 2B will be heard here in Cardiff. The Welsh Government has, of course, so far resisted establishing a full inquiry into its own handling of the pandemic, in stark contrast with the Scottish Government. According to the First Minister, this is because the UK inquiry represents the best option for scrutinising the decisions that were made here in Wales. Almost eight months since the UK inquiry formally commenced its proceedings therefore, it's worth reflecting on the credibility of this assessment. 

Firstly, we heard Baroness Hallett herself acknowledge that the scope of the UK inquiry would not be able to cover every issue relating to Wales. Then, we had both the First Minister and the former health Minister provide their testimonies for module 1 over a single day in July last year, at which the former admitted that Wales was not as prepared as it could have been for the pandemic. We've also discovered that organisations such as the Children's Commissioner for Wales, the Older People's Commissioner for Wales and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board have been denied core participant status, with the latter being told they would not receive the degree of focus that they initially believed. And though this Government has belatedly set up a special purpose committee to cover gaps in the UK inquiry, to date, it's only met four times, always behind closed doors, with the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru group justifiably concerned about the ability of the committee to go beyond merely duplicating existing work. 

So, Minister, do you still believe that a full Wales inquiry into the pandemic is unnecessary, and, if so, why?

Ddiwedd y mis hwn, bydd gwrandawiadau ymchwiliad COVID y DU ar gyfer modiwl 2B yn cael eu cynnal yma yng Nghaerdydd. Mae Llywodraeth Cymru, wrth gwrs, wedi gwrthod sefydlu ymchwiliad llawn i'w hymateb ei hun i'r pandemig, mewn cyferbyniad llwyr â Llywodraeth yr Alban. Yn ôl y Prif Weinidog, mae hyn oherwydd mai ymchwiliad y DU yw'r opsiwn gorau ar gyfer craffu ar y penderfyniadau a wnaed yma yng Nghymru. Bron i wyth mis ers i ymchwiliad y DU ddechrau ei drafodion yn ffurfiol felly, mae'n werth myfyrio ar hygrededd yr asesiad hwn. 

Yn gyntaf, clywsom y Farwnes Hallett ei hun yn cydnabod na fyddai cwmpas ymchwiliad y DU yn gallu ymdrin â phob mater yn ymwneud â Chymru. Yna, clywsom y Prif Weinidog a'r cyn Weinidog iechyd yn darparu eu tystiolaethau ar gyfer modiwl 1 dros un diwrnod ym mis Gorffennaf y llynedd, pan gyfaddefodd y cyntaf nad oedd Cymru mor barod ag y gallai fod ar gyfer y pandemig. Rydym hefyd wedi darganfod bod sefydliadau fel Comisiynydd Plant Cymru, Comisiynydd Pobl Hŷn Cymru a Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Caerdydd a'r Fro wedi cael eu hamddifadu o statws cyfranogwyr craidd, gyda'r olaf yn cael gwybod na fyddent yn derbyn yr un lefel o ffocws ag yr oeddent wedi'i feddwl yn wreiddiol. Ac er bod y Llywodraeth hon yn hwyr yn y dydd wedi sefydlu pwyllgor diben arbennig i ymdrin â bylchau yn ymchwiliad y DU, dim ond pedwar cyfarfod a gawsant hyd yma, a hynny bob amser y tu ôl i ddrysau caeedig, gyda grŵp COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru yn poeni, yn ddigon teg, am allu'r pwyllgor i fynd gam ymhellach na dim ond dyblygu gwaith presennol. 

Felly, Weinidog, a ydych chi'n dal i gredu nad oes angen ymchwiliad llawn i ymateb Cymru i'r pandemig, ac os felly, pam?

Well, I do think it's unnecessary, for the reasons that have been said over and over again in this Chamber. What we have seen in the inquiry is plenty of evidence to suggest that, actually, in the link between the decision making in London and the decision making here, we were restricted by certain issues in relation to our ability to put in, for example, some supportive funding if we wanted to lock down for longer. So, there were some areas where it was almost impossible for us to take different actions. Another example, of course, is our ability to close the borders—very difficult for us to, for example, stop people coming in from countries where there was a high prevalence of COVID occurring. So, that link between them, I think, means it does make sense that we wait for the inquiry to report. Now, having said that, I know and, I think, the two Chairs—the Co-chairs, who are sitting in the Chamber today, and they will have heard what you said; I'm sure they won't agree with what you said—that, clearly, we haven't really started on the interrogation of module 2B yet, and I think there will be an opportunity after that for the committee to undertake more scrutiny, because then the gaps will become a bit more obvious.

Wel, rwy'n credu ei fod yn ddiangen, am y rhesymau sydd wedi'u hailadrodd dro ar ôl tro yn y Siambr hon. Yr hyn a welsom yn yr ymchwiliad yw digon o dystiolaeth i awgrymu, mewn gwirionedd, yn y cysylltiad rhwng y penderfyniadau yn Llundain a'r penderfyniadau a wnaed yma, ein bod wedi cael ein cyfyngu gan rai materion mewn perthynas â'n gallu i ddarparu, er enghraifft, rhywfaint o gyllid cymorth, pe byddem am barhau â chyfyngiadau symud am gyfnod hwy. Felly, roedd rhai meysydd lle roedd hi bron yn amhosibl inni roi camau gwahanol ar waith. Enghraifft arall, wrth gwrs, yw ein gallu i gau'r ffiniau—roedd yn anodd iawn i ni, er enghraifft, atal pobl rhag dod i mewn o wledydd lle roedd llawer iawn o achosion COVID. Felly, mae'r cysylltiad rhyngddynt, rwy'n credu, yn golygu ei bod yn gwneud synnwyr ein bod yn aros am adroddiad yr ymchwiliad. Nawr, wedi dweud hynny, rwy'n gwybod, a'r ddau Gadeirydd, rwy'n credu—y Cyd-gadeiryddion, sy'n eistedd yn y Siambr heddiw, a byddant wedi clywed yr hyn a ddywedoch chi; rwy'n siŵr na fyddant yn cytuno â'r hyn a ddywedoch—yn amlwg, nid ydym wedi dechrau archwilio modiwl 2B eto, a chredaf y bydd cyfle ar ôl hynny i'r pwyllgor wneud mwy o waith craffu, oherwydd erbyn hynny bydd y bylchau ychydig yn fwy amlwg.

14:45

It is disappointing to hear the Minister blame London for everything. While Boris Johnson and London were certainly to blame for a number of things, here in Wales the Government decided to introduce mask wearing at a later date than in England, for instance, and it was the Welsh Government that decided to release or allow elderly people to go back to care homes. So, those are entirely Welsh Government decisions. We also have best practice in Wales. Look at the test and trace in Ceredigion, which then rolled out to other parts of the UK. So, we've got things that we need to learn, and lessons to learn, here in Wales. 

A creation of a Welsh-specific inquiry would not only give the thousands of bereaved individuals across Wales the answers and the closure they richly deserve, it would also ensure that the experiences of the pandemic can effectively inform future preparedness and resilience measures, so that we're never again in a position where we're not as prepared as we could be. And since the impact of climate change is increasing the likelihood and frequency of future pandemic outbreaks, this process of a constructive retrospection has never been more important.

One of the key issues to have emerged since the last set of legal restrictions were lifted is mask wearing by healthcare workers in Wales. Following the spread of a new sub-variant of the Omicron strand of the virus in December, the World Health Organization recommended the reintroduction of mask wearing in health and social care settings. While the risk posed by this new variant was ultimately deemed low, it, nevertheless, highlighted the need for vigilance and caution in how we manage the post-pandemic approach to COVID. 

Mae'n siomedig clywed y Gweinidog yn beio Llundain am bopeth. Er mai Boris Johnson a Llundain a oedd ar fai am nifer o bethau, penderfynodd Llywodraeth Cymru gyflwyno'r rheol i wisgo masgiau yn ddiweddarach nag yn Lloegr, er enghraifft, a Llywodraeth Cymru a benderfynodd ryddhau neu ganiatáu i bobl oedrannus fynd yn ôl i gartrefi gofal. Felly, penderfyniadau Llywodraeth Cymru yn gyfan gwbl yw'r rheini. Mae gennym arferion gorau yng Nghymru hefyd. Edrychwch ar y cynllun profi ac olrhain yng Ngheredigion, a gafodd ei gyflwyno i rannau eraill o'r DU yn ddiweddarach. Felly, mae gennym bethau y mae angen inni eu dysgu, a gwersi i'w dysgu, yma yng Nghymru. 

Byddai creu ymchwiliad penodol i Gymru nid yn unig yn darparu atebion ac yn cynnig y diweddglo y maent yn eu haeddu i'r miloedd o unigolion sydd mewn profedigaeth ledled Cymru, byddai hefyd yn sicrhau y gall profiadau'r pandemig lywio mesurau parodrwydd a gwytnwch ar gyfer y dyfodol mewn modd effeithiol, fel na fyddwn ni byth eto mewn sefyllfa lle nad ydym mor barod ag y gallem fod. A chan fod effaith newid hinsawdd yn cynyddu tebygolrwydd ac amlder digwyddiadau pandemig yn y dyfodol, nid yw'r broses hon o ôl-weithredu adeiladol erioed wedi bod yn bwysicach.

Un o'r materion allweddol sydd wedi dod i'r amlwg ers i'r set ddiwethaf o gyfyngiadau cyfreithiol gael eu codi yw'r mater gwisgo masgiau ymhlith gweithwyr gofal iechyd yng Nghymru. Yn dilyn lledaeniad is-amrywiolyn newydd straen Omicron y feirws ym mis Rhagfyr, argymhellodd Sefydliad Iechyd y Byd y dylid ailgyflwyno gwisgo masgiau mewn lleoliadau iechyd a gofal cymdeithasol. Er y barnwyd yn y pen draw fod y risg a achosir gan yr amrywiolyn newydd hwn yn isel, roedd yn tynnu sylw at yr angen am wyliadwriaeth a gofal yn y ffordd y rheolwn y dull ôl-bandemig o weithredu ar COVID. 

I have been very generous with timing for your preambles and your very short questions at the end—

Rwyf wedi bod yn hael iawn gyda'r amseru ar gyfer eich rhagymadrodd a'ch cwestiynau byr iawn ar y diwedd—

—so, if you can get to your very short question at the end, then I'd appreciate it.  

—felly buaswn yn falch pe gallech chi gyrraedd eich cwestiwn byr iawn ar y diwedd os gwelwch yn dda.  

The very short question at the end, appreciating the patience shown, is: will the Minister commit to aligning with World Health Organization health guidelines by recommending universal FFP2 and FFP3 mask wearing for health and social care workers in Wales?

Y cwestiwn byr iawn ar y diwedd, gan werthfawrogi'r amynedd a ddangoswyd, yw: a wnaiff y Gweinidog ymrwymo i gydymffurfio â chanllawiau iechyd Sefydliad Iechyd y Byd drwy argymell bod yr holl weithwyr iechyd a gofal cymdeithasol yng Nghymru yn gwisgo masgiau FFP2 a FFP3?

Well, I won't agree to that unless it's appropriate to do so. And, obviously, we take our lead from Public Health Wales, who scrutinise the evidence. They've looked at what the World Health Organization has recommended, and the World Health Organization, as you yourself have suggested, actually suggests that there's low incidence and there's low protection when there is low incidence. So, this is something that I've pushed, discussed with, and I've questioned Public Health Wales on, and, when it's appropriate, I'm sure that they will know when to recommend health boards should be reintroducing that. But that is not the situation at the moment, and, actually, the incidence is relatively low at the moment.

Wel, ni wnaf gytuno i hynny oni bai ei bod yn briodol gwneud hynny. Ac yn amlwg, cawn ein harwain gan Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru, sy'n craffu ar y dystiolaeth. Maent wedi edrych ar yr hyn y mae Sefydliad Iechyd y Byd wedi'i argymell, ac fel rydych chi eich hun wedi'i nodi, mae Sefydliad Iechyd y Byd yn awgrymu mewn gwirionedd fod nifer yr achosion yn isel a bod lefel yr amddiffyniad yn isel pan fo nifer yr achosion yn isel. Felly, mae hyn yn rhywbeth yr wyf wedi ei wthio, wedi ei drafod gydag Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru ac wedi eu holi yn ei gylch, a phan fydd yn briodol, rwy'n siŵr y byddant yn gwybod pryd i argymell y dylai byrddau iechyd ailgyflwyno hynny. Ond nid dyna'r sefyllfa ar hyn o bryd, ac mewn gwirionedd, mae nifer yr achosion yn gymharol isel ar hyn o bryd.

Cadw Meddygon
Retention of Doctors

3. Pa fesurau mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn eu cymryd i gadw meddygon yn y gwasanaeth iechyd gwladol yng Nghymru? OQ60663

3. What measures is the Welsh Government taking to retain doctors in the national health service in Wales? OQ60663

Mae cadw staff yr un mor bwysig â recriwtio staff newydd. Mae ein cynllun gweithredu cenedlaethol ar gyfer y gweithlu yn nodi nifer o gamau i wella’r lefelau cadw. Mae nifer y meddygon sy'n cael eu cyflogi'n uniongyrchol gan sefydliadau NHS Cymru wedi cynyddu bob blwyddyn am y naw mlynedd diwethaf, ac mae hynny’n cynnwys ymgynghorwyr meddygol.

Retaining staff is equally as important as recruiting new staff. Our national workforce implementation plan sets out a number of actions to improve retention. The number of doctors, including consultants, directly employed by NHS Wales organisations has increased every year for the last nine years.

Diolch am hwnna, Gweinidog. Mae tâl meddygon iau yng Nghymru wedi ei dorri bron i draean mewn termau real ers 2008-09. Erbyn hyn, fel dwi'n gwybod y byddwch chi'n ymwybodol, mae yna berygl gwirioneddol y bydd toriadau cyflog olynol yn gyrru hyd yn oed yn fwy o feddygon i ffwrdd o'r proffesiwn ar adeg pan fydd cleifion eu hangen fwyaf. Dydy meddygon iau ddim yn gofyn am godiad yn eu cyflog; maen nhw'n gofyn am adferiad yn eu cyflogau. Dwi'n ymwybodol o ba mor anodd ydy'r setliad ariannol sydd gennym, ond, eto, mae'n rhaid i gyflogau meddygon fod yn deg ac yn gystadleuol gyda systemau gofal iechyd eraill ledled y byd, neu byddwn ni'n eu colli nhw. Felly, a fyddwch chi, Weinidog, yn dychwelyd at y bwrdd negodi gyda meddygon iau mewn ymdrech i osgoi mwy o streics, achos dydyn nhw chwaith ddim eisiau bod ar streic; maen nhw eisiau bod yn yr ysbytai yn helpu cleifion?

Thank you for that, Minister. The pay of junior doctors in Wales has been cut by almost a third in real terms since 2008-09. By now, as you'll know, there is real danger that successive pay cuts will drive even more doctors away from the profession at a time when patients need them most. Junior doctors are not asking for a pay rise; they're asking for pay restoration. I'm aware of how difficult the financial settlement that we have is, however, doctors' salaries must be fair and competitive with those in other healthcare systems around the world, otherwise we will lose them. So, will you, Minister, return to the negotiating table with the junior doctors in an effort to avoid more strikes, because they don't want to be on strike either; they want to be in the hospitals helping patients?

14:50

Diolch yn fawr. Well, we certainly recognise the strength of feeling amongst junior doctors, and, whilst we certainly are very keen to address their pay restoration ambitions, I'm afraid that the 5 per cent that has been put into their pay packages is at the limits of the finances available to us this year, and, obviously, it's the same thing as has been offered to other health unions this year.

We know, and you heard, in terms of the debate yesterday, the strength of feeling amongst other areas of Government and all the demands that were being asked of us as a Government yesterday. We took money from other parts of Government to shore up the health service, to enable us to pay for that 5 per cent. So, already it's been very difficult for us to make that. I think it's probably worth noting also that, when we can offer more, we do. So, last year, we offered 4.5 per cent, plus 1.5 per cent consolidated, plus 1.5 per cent non-consolidated, while in England they only offered 2 per cent. So, I do think it's important to take a longer term view of this as well.

Diolch yn fawr. Wel, rydym yn sicr yn cydnabod cryfder y teimlad ymhlith meddygon iau, ac er ein bod yn sicr yn awyddus iawn i fynd i’r afael â’u huchelgeisiau i adfer cyflogau, mae arnaf ofn fod y 5 y cant a roddwyd tuag at eu pecynnau cyflog ar ben eithaf yr arian sydd ar gael i ni eleni, ac yn amlwg, mae’r un fath â’r hyn a gynigiwyd i undebau iechyd eraill eleni.

Fe wyddom, ac fe glywoch chi, yn y ddadl ddoe, am gryfder y teimladau mewn meysydd eraill o Lywodraeth a’r holl alwadau arnom fel Llywodraeth. Fe aethom ag arian o rannau eraill o Lywodraeth i gynnal y gwasanaeth iechyd, i’n galluogi i dalu’r 5 y cant. Felly, eisoes, mae wedi bod yn anodd iawn i ni wneud hynny. Rwy’n credu ei bod yn werth nodi hefyd, pan fyddwn yn gallu cynnig mwy, ein bod yn gwneud hynny. Felly y llynedd, fe wnaethom gynnig 4.5 y cant ynghyd ag 1.5 y cant cyfunedig, ac 1.5 y cant anghyfunol, ond yn Lloegr, dim ond 2 y cant a gynigiwyd ganddynt. Felly, rwy’n credu ei bod yn bwysig edrych yn fwy hirdymor ar hyn hefyd.

Retaining doctors, including GPs, is absolutely fundamental to a sustainable health service. I recently visited a GP practice in my constituency. The current contract burdens them with bureaucratic paperwork, a lack of compensatory element and decreasing funding in the wake of increasing staffing costs, leading to redundancies, thus longer waiting times, and, indeed, driving some GPs to consider their and their practice's future.

Another practice in my constituency has now ceased to provide five key services, despite spending money on the equipment and training, because the contract funding simply does not cover the costs of providing the services. Simply put, the retention crisis cannot be addressed without revisiting GP contracts. Minister, are you in conversation with health boards to consider contractual issues that are threatening GPs, their practices and local primary care?

Mae cadw meddygon, gan gynnwys meddygon teulu, yn gwbl hanfodol i wasanaeth iechyd cynaliadwy. Yn ddiweddar, ymwelais â meddygfa yn fy etholaeth. Mae'r contract presennol yn eu llwytho â gwaith papur biwrocrataidd, diffyg elfen ddigolledu a chyllid sy'n gostwng yn sgil costau staffio cynyddol, gan arwain at ddiswyddiadau ac amseroedd aros hwy, ac yn wir, mae'n gwneud i rai meddygon teulu ystyried eu dyfodol a dyfodol eu meddygfeydd.

Mae meddygfa arall yn fy etholaeth bellach wedi rhoi'r gorau i ddarparu pum gwasanaeth allweddol, er eu bod wedi gwario arian ar yr offer a'r hyfforddiant, am nad yw cyllid y contract yn talu costau darparu'r gwasanaethau. Yn syml iawn, ni ellir mynd i'r afael â'r argyfwng cadw staff heb ailedrych ar gontractau meddygon teulu. Weinidog, a ydych chi'n siarad â byrddau iechyd i ystyried materion cytundebol sy'n bygwth meddygon teulu, eu practisau a gofal sylfaenol lleol?

Thanks very much. I'm very pleased to say that, actually, today, we have announced that we have actually come to a conclusion with the general medical services in terms of conclusion with them. They have been offered 5 per cent as well, but that, obviously, is aligned to certain commitments that we're expecting of them. But it's not just for them; it's also for their staff. And I think it's really important that we remember that this is not just about people; it's the team around the doctor that we have to consider as well. So, I'm very pleased that we have come to a conclusion on that issue.

Diolch yn fawr. Rwy'n falch iawn o ddweud ein bod wedi cyhoeddi heddiw ein bod wedi dod i benderfyniad gyda'r gwasanaethau meddygol cyffredinol. Maent wedi cael cynnig 5 y cant hefyd, ond mae hynny, yn amlwg, wedi ei alinio ag ymrwymiadau yr ydym yn eu disgwyl ganddynt. Ond nid ar eu cyfer nhw yn unig y mae; mae ar gyfer eu staff hefyd. Ac rwy'n credu ei bod hi'n bwysig iawn ein bod ni'n cofio bod hyn yn ymwneud â mwy na phobl; mae'n rhaid inni ystyried y tîm o amgylch y meddyg hefyd. Felly, rwy'n falch iawn ein bod wedi dod i benderfyniad ar y mater hwnnw.

When GP partners take on responsibility for running doctors' surgeries, I think it is a sign of confidence in the sustainability of that local service in the community. And that's why the news that Aneurin Bevan University Health Board is handing back the management of Bryntirion surgey in Bargoed to new GP partners is welcome, although I have to say to the Minister that we would have preferred that to have been run directly from Bargoed, rather than at arm's length from a private company in England, although it will see contracted GPs at the surgery. 

With Welsh Government support, the health board facilitated the construction in my constituency of a new centre for health in Llanbradach, which opened in August 2021, and there is the prospect of other new sites of primary care provision opening in my constituency in the future. Does the Minister agree, therefore, that we need to look at these good examples and that we need to be looking at where things are positive and turning around in order to recognise that the Welsh Government and the health boards are doing things to take pressure off our hospitals?

Pan fydd partneriaid meddygon teulu yn cymryd cyfrifoldeb am redeg meddygfeydd, credaf ei fod yn arwydd o hyder yng nghynaladwyedd y gwasanaeth lleol hwnnw yn y gymuned. A dyna pam rwy'n croesawu'r newyddion fod Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Aneurin Bevan yn trosglwyddo rheolaeth meddygfa Bryntirion ym Margoed i bartneriaid meddygon teulu newydd, er bod rhaid imi ddweud wrth y Gweinidog y byddai'n well gennym pe bai'n cael ei rhedeg yn uniongyrchol o Fargoed, yn hytrach na hyd braich gan gwmni preifat yn Lloegr, er y bydd yn golygu y bydd yna feddygon teulu dan gontract yn y feddygfa. 

Gyda chefnogaeth Llywodraeth Cymru, hwylusodd y bwrdd iechyd y gwaith o adeiladu canolfan iechyd newydd yn fy etholaeth i yn Llanbradach, a agorodd ym mis Awst 2021, ac mae gobaith y bydd safleoedd newydd eraill sy'n darparu gofal sylfaenol yn agor yn fy etholaeth yn y dyfodol. A yw'r Gweinidog yn cytuno, felly, fod angen inni edrych ar yr enghreifftiau da hyn a bod angen inni edrych ar lle mae pethau'n bositif ac yn gwella er mwyn cydnabod bod Llywodraeth Cymru a'r byrddau iechyd yn gwneud pethau i dynnu pwysau oddi ar ein hysbytai?

Thanks very much, Hefin. I had a meeting just this morning with the chief executive of Aneurin Bevan, who was positively buzzing about the fact that, actually, every single GP in her health board will be an independent contractor in future. Obviously, that actually represents quite good value for money for the health board. So, whilst we're very happy to have them directed by the health boards and run by the health boards directly, if people are happy to come in and run it for themselves independently, then that's also something to be celebrated. So, it's not just your area, Hefin. There are lots of other areas in Aneurin Bevan that have been super successful recently at recruiting new GPs and, hopefully, giving confidence to the communities. 

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Hefin. Cefais gyfarfod y bore yma gyda phrif weithredwr Aneurin Bevan, a oedd yn llawn bwrlwm cadarnhaol am y ffaith y bydd pob meddyg teulu yn ei bwrdd iechyd yn gontractwr annibynnol yn y dyfodol. Yn amlwg, mae hynny'n werth eithaf da am arian i'r bwrdd iechyd. Felly, er ein bod ni'n hapus iawn iddynt gael eu cyfarwyddo gan y byrddau iechyd a'u rhedeg gan y byrddau iechyd yn uniongyrchol, os yw pobl yn hapus i ddod i mewn a'u rhedeg drostynt eu hunain yn annibynnol, mae hynny'n rhywbeth i'w ddathlu hefyd. Felly, nid eich ardal chi yn unig ydyw, Hefin. Mae llawer o ardaloedd eraill yn Aneurin Bevan wedi bod yn hynod lwyddiannus yn ddiweddar wrth recriwtio meddygon teulu newydd, ac wedi rhoi hyder i'r cymunedau hynny, gobeithio. 

14:55

Good afternoon, Minister. I'd just like, also, to follow up on the issue of GPs, particularly in rural areas where they face particularly severe challenges with recruitment and retention, but also escalating costs, a paucity of social care options, and difficulties in arranging home visits across such a wide area. They have a unique economic disadvantage, which does jeopardise their sustainability. I've been talking with GPs across Powys recently, and it is evident that the current arrangements don't meet their costs or meet their challenges. They need mechanisms and money, in essence, to offset these higher delivery costs. One idea could be a rural GP premium that enables rural communities to meet those primary care needs of their rural populations. Would you, Minister, perhaps give consideration to a rural GP premium? Diolch yn fawr iawn.

Prynhawn da, Weinidog. Hoffwn innau hefyd fynd ar ôl mater meddygon teulu, yn enwedig mewn ardaloedd gwledig lle maent yn wynebu heriau arbennig o ddifrifol gyda recriwtio a chadw, ond hefyd costau cynyddol, prinder opsiynau gofal cymdeithasol, ac anawsterau wrth drefnu ymweliadau cartref ar draws ardal mor eang. Mae ganddynt anfantais economaidd unigryw, sy'n peryglu eu cynaliadwyedd. Rwyf wedi bod yn siarad â meddygon teulu ledled Powys yn ddiweddar, ac mae'n amlwg nad yw'r trefniadau presennol yn talu eu costau nac yn mynd i'r afael â'u heriau. Mae angen mecanweithiau ac arian arnynt, yn y bôn, i wrthbwyso'r costau cyflawni uwch hyn. Mae'n bosibl mai un syniad fyddai premiwm gwledig i feddygon teulu i alluogi cymunedau gwledig i ddiwallu anghenion gofal sylfaenol eu poblogaethau gwledig. Weinidog, a wnewch chi ystyried premiwm gwledig i feddygon teulu? Diolch yn fawr iawn.

Well, you'll be pleased to hear we already have it, Jane. We already have a system. It's a targeted incentive system, which provides £20,000 to GP trainees who take up training posts in particular parts of Wales where we are challenged, and that includes north Wales—there are three training schemes in Bangor, Dyffryn Clwyd and Wrexham—and Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys. So, it is, I think, probably worth recognising that that scheme is already in place and is making a huge difference in terms of recruitment.

Wel, fe fyddwch chi'n falch o glywed bod gennym ni un eisoes, Jane. Mae gennym system eisoes. Mae'n system gymhelliant wedi'i thargedu, sy'n darparu £20,000 i rai sy'n hyfforddi i fod yn feddygon teulu ac sy'n derbyn lleoliadau hyfforddi mewn rhannau penodol o Gymru sy'n her i ni, ac mae hynny'n cynnwys gogledd Cymru—mae tri chynllun hyfforddi ym Mangor, Dyffryn Clwyd a Wrecsam—a Cheredigion, sir Benfro a Phowys. Felly, mae'n debyg ei bod yn werth cydnabod bod y cynllun hwnnw eisoes ar waith ac yn gwneud gwahaniaeth enfawr o ran recriwtio.

Rydyn ni'n gweld y problemau sydd yn codi yn sgil heriau recriwtio a chadw meddygon teulu yn benodol yn y creisis sydd yna yn Hwb Iechyd Cybi ar hyn o bryd. Mae'r Gweinidog yn ymwybodol o'r sefyllfa. Dwi'n gwybod bod meddygon wedi ysgrifennu ati hi ac ataf innau yn codi pryderon am arafwch y bwrdd iechyd yn penodi meddygon teulu yn sgil y ffaith bod yna bedair yn gadael ar gyfnod mamolaeth ar yr un pryd a bod yna un meddyg teulu yn gadael. Ac efallai mae argyfwng dros dro ydi o, ond mae o'n dal yn argyfwng. 

Rŵan, mae'r bwrdd iechyd yn dweud wrthyf i eu bod nhw'n hyderus y bydd popeth yn iawn, ond does yna ddim ateb hyd yma. Dwi'n apelio ar y Gweinidog i helpu i wthio am sicrwydd staffio yn y byr dymor yn Hwb Iechyd Cybi achos mae hi'n boblogaeth sydd wedi bod drwy gyfnod o wasanaeth gofal sylfaenol annigonol am resymau mae'r Gweinidog yn gwybod amdanyn nhw. Ond, ydy hi'n cytuno hefyd fod hyn eto yn arwydd clir o ba mor fregus ac anghynaliadwy ydy'r sefyllfa o ran meddygon teulu ar hyn o bryd?

We do see the problems arising as a result of recruitment and retention problems, particularly amongst GPs in the crisis in the Cybi health hub at the moment. The Minister is aware of the situation, and I know that doctors have written to her, and to me, raising concerns about the sluggishness of the health board in appointing GPs in light of the fact that four are leaving on maternity leave at the same time, and that one GP is leaving the service. And it may be a temporary crisis, but it's still a crisis. 

The health board tells me that they're confident that everything will be fine, but there's no solution to date. I would appeal to the Minister to help to push for staffing assurances in the short term in the Cybi health hub, because it's a population that's been through a period of inadequate primary care for reasons that the Minister will be aware of. But does the Minister also agree that this is a clear sign of how vulnerable and unsustainable the situation is in terms of GPs at the moment?

Dwi'n meddwl y gall pobl baratoi. Dwi'n meddwl y gall byrddau iechyd baratoi, ond dwi ddim yn meddwl ei bod hi'n deg i ofyn iddyn nhw baratoi am bedwar o bobl yn mynd ar gyfnod mamolaeth ar yr un pryd. Dwi'n meddwl bod yna limit i faint o baratoi maen nhw'n gallu gwneud. A dyna pam dwi'n falch bod y bwrdd iechyd wedi cymryd hwn o ddifrif. Dwi'n gwybod eu bod nhw wedi cwrdd â chi yn barod i drafod hyn, ac yn sicr dwi'n gwybod eu bod nhw'n cymryd hwn o ddifrif ac yn rhoi mesurau mewn lle.

I think that people can prepare. I think health boards can prepare, but I don't think that it's fair to ask them to prepare for four people going off on maternity leave at the same time. I think there is a limit to how much preparation they can do. And that's why I am pleased that the health board has taken this seriously. I know that they have met you already to discuss this and, certainly, I know that they are taking this seriously and are putting measures in place.

Camddefnyddio Cyffuriau
Misuse of Drugs

4. Sut mae'r Llywodraeth yn sicrhau bod triniaeth iechyd effeithiol ar gael i bobl sy'n camddefnyddio cyffuriau? OQ60637

4. How does the Government ensure that effective health treatment is available to people who misuse drugs? OQ60637

We are committed to reducing the harm caused by substance misuse in Wales. We currently invest over £67 million in our substance misuse agenda, of which over £39 million goes to our area planning boards to commission local services in response to need.

Rydym wedi ymrwymo i leihau'r niwed a achosir gan gamddefnyddio sylweddau yng Nghymru. Ar hyn o bryd rydym yn buddsoddi dros £67 miliwn yn ein hagenda camddefnyddio sylweddau, ac mae dros £39 miliwn ohono'n mynd i'n byrddau cynllunio ardal i gomisiynu gwasanaethau lleol mewn ymateb i angen.

Diolch. Mae etholwr wedi cysylltu â mi yn dweud ei fod, ers iddo gael presgripsiwn Buvidal, wedi gallu rhoi'r gorau i ddefnyddio heroin ac mae hyn wedi gwneud gwahaniaeth enfawr i'w fywyd. Cafodd y cyffur oherwydd ei fod e mewn rhaglen benodol ar gyfer troseddwyr. Mae’n debyg bod y rhestr aros ar gyfer y driniaeth yma yn hir, ac mae fy etholwr yn ymwybodol o bobol sydd yn troseddu yn benodol er mwyn medru cael mynediad i Buvidal yn gynt. Mae e'n poeni nad yw'r driniaeth ar gael i fwy o bobl a fyddai’n gallu elwa o’i chael yn yr un modd ag ef. 

Mae’r Athro Bewley-Taylor o’r Arsyllfa Polisi Cyffuriau Byd-eang ym Mhrifysgol Abertawe wedi nodi bod tystiolaeth yn gynyddol awgrymu bod Buvidal yn effeithiol wrth drin defnydd problemus o opioid, yn enwedig ymysg y rhai y mae eu hamgylchiadau’n gwneud ffurfiau traddodiadol o amnewid opioid yn anaddas. Mae’r niwed cymdeithasol ac i unigolion sy'n cael ei achosi yn sgil defnyddio cyffuriau yn gymhleth ac yn eang, a dylai’r Llywodraeth, meddai'r Athro Bewley-Taylor, fod yn gwneud popeth o fewn ei gallu i helpu’r rhai sy’n chwilio am gefnogaeth.

O ystyried, felly, fod Buvidal wedi profi i fod yn effeithiol, ac yn fwy effeithiol na chyrsiau o driniaeth eraill, a wnewch chi esbonio pam nad yw ar gael i bob defnyddiwr cyffuriau opioid sy'n awyddus i wella o'i gaethiwed i gyffuriau? Rwy'n deall bod cyfyngiadau cost i’r fath yma o driniaeth, ond onid oes yna ddadl i ystyried ehangu ei argaeledd fel triniaeth iechyd ataliol effeithiol, wrth ystyried y costau ychwanegol i’r pwrs cyhoeddus o beidio â sicrhau hynny?

Thank you. A constituent has contacted me saying that, since he was prescribed Buvidal, it has allowed him to stop using heroin, which has made a huge difference to his life. My constituent received the drug because he was in a special programme for offenders. Apparently, the waiting list for this treatment is long, and my constituent is aware of people who commit offences deliberately so that they can get access to Buvidal sooner. He is concerned that the treatment is not available to more people who could benefit from receiving it in the same way as he has.

Professor Bewley-Taylor of the Global Drug Policy Observatory at Swansea University has noted that there is a growing evidence base to suggest that Buvidal is effective in treating problematic opioid use, particularly among those whose circumstances render traditional forms of opioid replacement unsuitable. The social and individual harms caused by drug use are complex and widespread, and the Government should be doing all that it can, says Professor Bewley-Taylor, to help those looking for support.

Given that Buvidal has proven to be effective, and more effective than other courses of treatment, will you explain why it is not available to all opioid users who are eager to recover from their drug addiction? I understand that there are cost implications to this sort of treatment, but isn't there an argument for expanding its availability as effective preventative healthcare, considering the additional costs to the public purse of not ensuring that?

15:00

Can I thank Sioned Williams for that question? As I said, we have prioritised substance misuse services in Wales. We have protected funding for those services, and even for the next coming year, when, as you know, the budget has been so very difficult, we are increasing our allocation to area planning boards by a further £2 million, from £39 million to £41 million. We've been using Buvidal in Wales since the pandemic—it was rolled out in the pandemic—and we're currently investing £3 million per year in Buvidal. We've got more than 1,600 people who are on Buvidal, so we are very much leading the UK in terms of Buvidal treatment.

I share the Member's enthusiasm for Buvidal. We've commissioned a full evaluation of it, but the anecdotal evidence we've received—and you can see that through the word of mouth, that people are telling other people that Buvidal is a good thing to take—is that this is a really beneficial treatment. What we know is that it enables people to get on with their lives; they don't have to go back and forth to the pharmacy, they can hold down jobs and, also, it seems to bring with it a clarity of mind that enables people to tackle some of the problems underpinning their heroin use.

We have, to some extent, been a victim of our own success in relation to Buvidal, and, currently, demand for this treatment does exceed what we can financially support. In some, but not all, areas, there are waiting lists for Buvidal, but it is important to note that those people can still access standard opioid substitution therapy treatment. We've also got these pressures in relation to people entering treatment through the criminal justice setting in the community, and although we don't commission criminal justice substance misuse services, we have funded Buvidal in these settings as well. 

So, we are very much leading the way on Buvidal. We will have the evaluation to look at the outcomes from it. I've also asked officials to look at the waiting lists in different parts of Wales, and we will do what we can within the financial envelope that we've got to ensure that as many people who could benefit from it will do. 

A gaf i ddiolch i Sioned Williams am y cwestiwn hwnnw? Fel y dywedais, rydym wedi blaenoriaethu gwasanaethau camddefnyddio sylweddau yng Nghymru. Rydym wedi diogelu cyllid ar gyfer y gwasanaethau hynny, a hyd yn oed ar gyfer y flwyddyn nesaf, er bod y gyllideb, fel y gwyddoch, wedi bod yn anodd iawn, rydym yn sicrhau cynnydd o £2 filiwn arall yn ein dyraniad i fyrddau cynllunio ardal, o £39 miliwn i £41 miliwn. Rydym wedi bod yn defnyddio Buvidal yng Nghymru ers y pandemig—cafodd ei gyflwyno yn ystod y pandemig—ac ar hyn o bryd, rydym yn buddsoddi £3 miliwn y flwyddyn yn Buvidal. Mae gennym fwy na 1,600 o bobl ar Buvidal, felly, rydym yn arwain y DU i raddau helaeth mewn perthynas â thriniaeth Buvidal.

Rwy'n rhannu brwdfrydedd yr Aelod ynghylch Buvidal. Rydym wedi comisiynu gwerthusiad llawn ohono, ond y dystiolaeth anecdotaidd a gawsom—a gallwch weld hynny ar lafar, fod pobl yn dweud wrth bobl eraill fod Buvidal yn beth da i'w gymryd—yw bod hon yn driniaeth fuddiol iawn. Fe wyddom ei fod yn galluogi pobl i fwrw ymlaen â'u bywydau; nid oes rhaid iddynt fynd yn ôl ac ymlaen i'r fferyllfa, gallant gadw swyddi ac mae'n ymddangos hefyd ei fod yn cynnig eglurder meddwl sy'n galluogi pobl i fynd i'r afael â rhai o'r problemau sy'n sail i'w defnydd o heroin.

I ryw raddau, rydym wedi dioddef yn sgil ein llwyddiant ein hunain mewn perthynas â Buvidal, ac ar hyn o bryd, mae'r galw am y driniaeth yn fwy na'r hyn y gallwn ei gynnal yn ariannol. Mewn rhai ardaloedd, ond nid pob un, mae yna restrau aros am Buvidal, ond mae'n bwysig nodi y gall y bobl hynny barhau i gael triniaeth therapi amnewidion opioid safonol. Mae pwysau arnom hefyd mewn perthynas â phobl sy'n cael triniaeth drwy leoliad cyfiawnder troseddol yn y gymuned, ac er nad ydym yn comisiynu gwasanaethau camddefnyddio sylweddau cyfiawnder troseddol, rydym wedi ariannu Buvidal yn y lleoliadau hyn hefyd. 

Felly, rydym yn arwain y ffordd i raddau helaeth o ran Buvidal. Bydd gennym y gwerthusiad i edrych ar y canlyniadau yn ei sgil. Rwyf hefyd wedi gofyn i swyddogion edrych ar y rhestrau aros mewn gwahanol rannau o Gymru, a byddwn yn gwneud yr hyn a allwn gyda'r amlen ariannol sydd gennym i sicrhau y bydd cymaint o bobl a allai elwa ohono yn gwneud hynny. 

I would like to declare an interest as a patron of Brynawel Rehab, and I'm thankful to Sioned for raising this important issue. Minister, residential rehab remains one of the best available treatments for those suffering from drug and alcohol misuse. However, this type of treatment is vastly underutilised. I remain concerned that tier 4 funding under the substance misuse programme is regularly underspent by local authorities. So, what discussions have you had with colleagues in local government and on programme boards about the importance of referring these patients to residential rehab?

Hoffwn ddatgan buddiant fel un o noddwyr Brynawel Rehab, ac rwy'n ddiolchgar i Sioned am godi'r mater pwysig hwn. Weinidog, mae adsefydlu preswyl yn parhau i fod yn un o'r triniaethau gorau sydd ar gael i'r rhai sy'n dioddef yn sgil camddefnyddio cyffuriau ac alcohol. Fodd bynnag, ni wneir agos digon o ddefnydd o'r math hwn o driniaeth. Rwy'n dal i bryderu bod cyllid haen 4 o dan y rhaglen camddefnyddio sylweddau yn cael ei danwario'n rheolaidd gan awdurdodau lleol. Felly, pa drafodaethau a gawsoch gyda chymheiriaid mewn llywodraeth leol ac ar fyrddau rhaglenni am bwysigrwydd atgyfeirio'r cleifion hyn at adsefydlu preswyl?

Thank you very much, Altaf. I know how committed you are to Brynawel, and I've been very pleased to visit there on two occasions myself. You'll be aware that we've provided investment to Brynawel ourselves, including a very significant capital investment to enable them to develop some detox beds. In terms of rehabilitation, clearly that's a really important area of work, and that's why, in Wales, we've established Rehab Cymru, which is our framework for enabling people to access rehabilitation services. That's been underpinned with ring-fenced funding that area planning boards can access to enable people to access the services that they need. We're very committed to doing what we can to build on those rehabilitation services, and I'm very much looking forward to Brynawel being in a position to open their detox beds.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Altaf. Rwy'n gwybod am eich ymrwymiad i Frynawel, ac rwyf wedi bod yn falch iawn o ymweld â'r lle ar ddau achlysur fy hun. Fe fyddwch yn ymwybodol ein bod wedi buddsoddi ym Mrynawel ein hunain, gan gynnwys buddsoddiad cyfalaf sylweddol iawn i'w galluogi i ddatblygu gwelyau dadwenwyno. O ran adsefydlu, mae'n amlwg fod hwnnw'n faes gwaith pwysig iawn, a dyna pam, yng Nghymru, ein bod wedi sefydlu Rehab Cymru, sef ein fframwaith ar gyfer galluogi pobl i gael mynediad at wasanaethau adsefydlu. Mae hynny wedi'i ategu gan gyllid wedi'i glustnodi y gall byrddau cynllunio ardal gael mynediad ato er mwyn galluogi pobl i ddefnyddio'r gwasanaethau sydd eu hangen arnynt. Rydym wedi ymrwymo'n fawr i wneud yr hyn a allwn i adeiladu ar y gwasanaethau adsefydlu hynny, ac rwy'n edrych ymlaen yn fawr at weld Brynawel mewn sefyllfa i agor eu gwelyau dadwenwyno.

15:05
Cenhedlaeth Ddi-fwg
A Smoke-free Generation

5. A wnaiff y Gweinidog roi'r wybodaeth ddiweddaraf am y camau y mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn eu cymryd i greu cenhedlaeth ddi-fwg? OQ60641

5. Will the Minister provide an update on Welsh Government action to create a smoke-free generation? OQ60641

Thank you. We are working with the other UK nations to take collective action on smoking and youth vaping and intend to legislate to create a smoke-free generation. This will make it an offence for anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 to be sold tobacco products, thereby protecting future generations.

Diolch. Rydym yn gweithio gyda gwledydd eraill y DU i gymryd camau ar y cyd ar ysmygu a fepio ymhlith ieuenctid ac rydym yn bwriadu deddfu i greu cenhedlaeth ddi-fwg. Bydd hyn yn ei gwneud yn drosedd i werthu cynhyrchion tybaco i unrhyw un a anwyd ar neu ar ôl 1 Ionawr 2009, gan ddiogelu cenedlaethau'r dyfodol drwy hynny.

Thank you, Deputy Minister. I welcomed your written statement of 29 January, covering actions that will be taken on disposable vapes, and to deal with some of the aspects of vaping that are, perhaps, aimed at under-aged users. From discussions with schools in my constituency, I know that this is one of their priorities too. Public Health Wales has produced guidance aimed at secondary schools and other settings, and is working to develop materials to support its implementation. So, can I ask when you expect that these will be available, and also how they will make sure that families are also aware of these messages around the misuse of vapes by under-aged users?

Diolch yn fawr, Ddirprwy Weinidog. Croesawais eich datganiad ysgrifenedig ar 29 Ionawr, a oedd yn sôn am y camau gweithredu a gymerir ar fêps tafladwy, ac i ymdrin â rhai o'r agweddau ar fepio sydd, efallai, wedi'u hanelu at ddefnyddwyr dan oed. O drafodaethau gydag ysgolion yn fy etholaeth, gwn fod hyn yn un o'u blaenoriaethau nhw hefyd. Mae Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru wedi cynhyrchu canllawiau ar gyfer ysgolion uwchradd a lleoliadau eraill, ac mae wrthi'n datblygu deunyddiau i gefnogi eu gweithrediad. Felly, a gaf i ofyn pryd ydych chi'n disgwyl y bydd y rhain ar gael, a hefyd sut y byddant yn sicrhau bod teuluoedd hefyd yn ymwybodol o'r negeseuon hyn ynghylch camddefnyddio fêps gan ddefnyddwyr dan oed?

Thank you very much, Vikki. I entirely share your concerns about the rising prevalence of youth vaping. As you've highlighted, Public Health Wales have been working very hard in this area. They established an incident response group to look at youth vaping and what could be done through schools, and you'll be aware that they published guidance for schools last year, which was well received, and teachers have been able to use that information to guide important conversations with young people on the dangers of vaping. Public Health Wales is continuing to work with education practitioners and are currently working to develop a toolkit with a range of supporting materials for schools. Those toolkit materials will be aligned with the curriculum and we expect them to become available to schools in the spring term in 2024—so, this year.

But in addition, you've highlighted a very important point about how families can tackle the issues of young people vaping, and I'm pleased to let you know that Public Health Wales is also planning to develop a web-based information resource that will highlight some of the concerns associated with vape use amongst children and young people, and will provide information on how parents can support their children. As you know, we have plans to regulate vapes and to prevent them being accessible or appealing to children and young people, and while we continue to develop this legislative work, I'm really pleased that we're also taking these steps to make sure that young people and their families can make sensible, informed decisions about vaping.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Vikki. Rwy'n rhannu eich pryderon yn llwyr am y cynnydd mewn fepio ymhlith pobl ifanc. Fel y nodwyd gennych, mae Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru wedi bod yn gweithio'n galed iawn yn y maes hwn. Fe wnaethant sefydlu grŵp ymateb i ddigwyddiadau i edrych ar fepio ymhlith pobl ifanc a'r hyn y gellid ei wneud drwy ysgolion, ac fe fyddwch yn ymwybodol eu bod wedi cyhoeddi canllawiau i ysgolion y llynedd, a gafodd dderbyniad da, ac mae athrawon wedi gallu defnyddio'r wybodaeth honno i lywio sgyrsiau pwysig gyda phobl ifanc am beryglon fepio. Mae Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru yn parhau i weithio gydag addysgwyr ac ar hyn o bryd, maent wrthi'n datblygu pecyn cymorth gydag amrywiaeth o ddeunyddiau ategol ar gyfer ysgolion. Bydd y deunyddiau cymorth yn cyd-fynd â'r cwricwlwm ac rydym yn disgwyl iddynt fod ar gael i ysgolion yn nhymor y gwanwyn yn 2024—felly, eleni.

Ond hefyd, rydych wedi tynnu sylw at bwynt pwysig iawn ynglŷn â sut y gall teuluoedd fynd i'r afael â phroblem pobl ifanc yn fepio, ac rwy'n falch o roi gwybod i chi fod Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru hefyd yn bwriadu datblygu adnodd gwybodaeth ar y we a fydd yn tynnu sylw at rai o'r pryderon sy'n gysylltiedig â phlant a phobl ifanc yn defnyddio fêps, a bydd yn rhoi gwybodaeth ynglŷn â sut y gall rhieni gynorthwyo eu plant. Fel y gwyddoch, mae gennym gynlluniau i reoleiddio fêps a'u hatal rhag bod yn hygyrch neu rhag apelio at blant a phobl ifanc, ac er ein bod yn parhau i ddatblygu'r gwaith deddfwriaethol hwn, rwy'n falch iawn ein bod hefyd yn cymryd y camau hyn i sicrhau bod pobl ifanc a'u teuluoedd yn gallu gwneud penderfyniadau synhwyrol, gwybodus ynglŷn â fepio.

Contractau Meddygon Teulu
General Practitioner Contracts

6. A wnaiff y Gweinidog ddatganiad am gontractau meddygon teulu yng Nghanolbarth a Gorllewin Cymru? OQ60661

6. Will the Minister make a statement on GP contracts in Mid and West Wales? OQ60661

Mae sicrhau dyfodol cynaliadwy i bractis cyffredinol mewn cymunedau ar hyd a lled Cymru yn flaenoriaeth i'r Llywodraeth yma. Rŷn ni wedi cymryd camau i wella mynediad at wasanaethau a helpu i recriwtio meddygon teulu, ac fe fyddwn ni’n dal i weithio gyda’r byrddau iechyd a'r proffesiwn meddygon teulu i wreiddio’r newidiadau hyn.

Ensuring a sustainable future for general practice in local communities across Wales is a priority for this Government. We have taken steps to improve access to services and to incentivise GP recruitment, and we will continue to work with health boards and the GP profession to embed these changes.

Diolch, Weinidog. Rŷch chi eisoes wedi clywed gan Jane Dodds, wrth gwrs, fod yna bryder enfawr ar draws y rhanbarth dwi a chi'n ei chynrychioli am ddyfodol ein meddygfeydd, a'r anghydfod ynglŷn â chontractau. Mae adroddiad diweddar y BMA yn nodi bod dros 80 o feddygfeydd wedi cau yng Nghymru rhwng 2013 a 2022. Mae'r problemau hyn yn amlwg iawn yn ein cymunedau gwledig, sydd yn wahanol dros ben i beth rŷn ni wedi'i glywed am ardal Aneurin Bevan yn gynharach. Yng ngeiriau adroddiad pwyllgor meddygol lleol Dyfed Powys, ac fe gwrddais i â nhw yn ddiweddar, fel mae'n digwydd, mae hyn yn cael ei ddweud:

Thank you, Minister. You've already heard from Jane Dodds, of course, about the huge concerns across the region that both you and I represent about the future of our GP surgeries, and the dispute regarding contracts. A recent report by the BMA notes that over 80 surgeries closed in Wales between 2013 and 2022. These problems are very apparent in our rural communities, which are very different to what we heard about the Aneurin Bevan area earlier. In the words of the Dyfed Powys local medical committee, and I met with them recently, as it happens, this is said.

'Sustainability continues to be a concern and is a symptom of the difficulty in recruiting GP partners in parts of Dyfed Powys'.

'Mae cynaliadwyedd yn parhau i fod yn bryder ac mae'n symptom o'r anhawster wrth recriwtio partneriaid meddygon teulu mewn rhannau o Ddyfed Powys'.

Nawr, fel ateb i gwestiwn Jane Dodds yn gynharach, fe ddywedoch chi fod yna gynllun ar waith yn targedu ardaloedd arbennig, sydd yn cynnwys rhannau o Bowys, ardaloedd Betsi Cadwaladr a Hywel Dda. Felly, yn wyneb yr argyfwng dwi wedi ei amlinellu fan hyn, allwch chi roi asesiad i ni o ba mor llwyddiannus mae'r cynllun yna wedi bod, ac os oes angen mwy o waith, sut ŷn ni'n mynd ati i recriwtio mwy o feddygon i ardaloedd gwledig?

Now, in response to Jane Dodds's question earlier, you said there was a scheme in place targeting particular areas, including parts of Powys, areas in Betsi Cadwaladr and Hywel Dda. So, given the crisis that I've outlined here, can you give us an assessment of how successful that scheme has been, and if more work needs to be done, how will we recruit more doctors to rural areas?

15:10

Diolch yn fawr. Y peth cyntaf yw bod yn rhaid i ni sicrhau bod pobl yn teimlo yn gyfforddus yn eu meddygfeydd nhw, ac mae hwnna'n rhan o'r rheswm pam ŷn ni mor falch ein bod ni wedi dod i gytundeb â'r general medical services. Mae £20 miliwn ar y bwrdd, mae hwnna'n fwy nag erioed o'r blaen, ac rŷn ni yn gobeithio bydd hwnna'n helpu. Ond rŷn ni yn deall bod yna gwestiynau ynglŷn â chynaliadwyedd, a dyna pam—a dwi'n meddwl ei fod e'n werth cofio—ein bod ni'n gweld symudiad o, er enghraifft, single-handed practices. Mae pobl eisiau cydweithio yn well, mae e'n fwy sustainable iddyn nhw. Felly, er efallai eich bod chi'n gweld llai o feddygfeydd, beth ŷch chi'n ei weld yw bod grwpiau o feddygon yn dod at ei gilydd. Felly, maen nhw'n dal i gynnal yr un cymunedau, ond maen nhw'n dod at ei gilydd ac maen nhw'n fwy sustainable. Dwi'n meddwl bod hwnna yn bwysig.

Jest o ran recriwtio a'r trainees, maen nhw wedi bod yn hynod o lwyddiannus. Mae 175 o trainees newydd wedi cael eu recriwtio yn 2022, ac mae hwnna, wrth gwrs, yn wahanol i'r 'Train. Work. Live' campaign ŷn ni'n ei rhedeg hefyd. Felly, mae hi wedi bod yn hynod o lwyddiannus, a dwi'n gwybod eich bod chi wedi bod yn ymwneud â'r GP practice yn Laugharne, ac mae yna ofidion fanna. Dwi'n gwybod bod y meddyg yn fanna wedi gwthio i Gaerfyrddin fod yn rhan o'r cynllun yma i ddenu pobl, achos doedd Caerfyrddin ddim yn rhan o'r project yna, ond mae hi nawr, o ganlyniad i'r lobïo a ddaeth o fanna.

Thank you very much. The first thing is that we have to ensure that people feel comfortable in their surgeries, and that is part of the reason why we're so pleased that we have come to an agreement with the general medical services. There's £20 million on the table, that's more than ever before, and we do hope that that will help. But we do understand that there are questions about sustainability, and that's why—and I think it's worth bearing in mind—we're seeing a move away from, for example, single-handed practices. People want to collaborate better, it's more sustainable for them. So, although you may be seeing fewer surgeries, what you are seeing are groups of doctors coming together. So, they are still sustaining the same communities, but they are coming together and they're more sustainable. So, I think that's important.

In terms of recruitment and the trainees, they have been very successful. There are 175 new trainees that have been recruited in 2022, and that, of course, is different to the 'Train. Work. Live' campaign that we're running as well. So, it has been very successful, and I know that you have been involved with the GP practice in Laugharne, and there are concerns there. I do know that the GP there has pushed for Carmarthen to be part of that plan to attract people, because Carmarthen wasn't part of that project originally, but it is now, as a result of the lobbying that emanated from there.

Cefnogaeth ar gyfer Gofal Sylfaenol
Support for Primary Care

7. A wnaiff y Gweinidog ddatganiad am gefnogaeth gan Lywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer gofal sylfaenol? OQ60636

7. Will the Minister make a statement on Welsh Government support for primary care? OQ60636

The four primary care services of general medical services, community pharmacy, dentistry and optometry are the most familiar and frequently used health services. We continue to work with health boards and professional bodies on the reform of the national contracts for these important services to improve access.

Y pedwar gwasanaeth gofal sylfaenol, sef gwasanaethau meddygol cyffredinol, fferylliaeth gymunedol, deintyddiaeth ac optometreg, yw'r gwasanaethau iechyd mwyaf cyfarwydd a'r rhai a ddefnyddir amlaf. Rydym yn parhau i weithio gyda byrddau iechyd a chyrff proffesiynol ar ddiwygio'r contractau cenedlaethol ar gyfer y gwasanaethau pwysig hyn er mwyn gwella mynediad.

I thank the Minister for that response. I really want to highlight the importance of primary care. Where it works well, it provides a great service. Can I make a request to the Government to protect the percentage of the health budget provided for primary care in the same way as mental health is protected? And what further powers over primary care practices that are funded by the health boards can be given to health boards? I am fed up with a very poorly performing GP practice in my constituency that generates over 25 complaints a year.

Diolch i'r Gweinidog am yr ymateb hwnnw. Rwy'n awyddus iawn i dynnu sylw at bwysigrwydd gofal sylfaenol. Lle mae'n gweithio'n dda, mae'n darparu gwasanaeth gwych. A gaf i ofyn i'r Llywodraeth ddiogelu'r ganran o'r gyllideb iechyd a ddarperir ar gyfer gofal sylfaenol yn yr un modd ag y mae iechyd meddwl yn cael ei ddiogelu? A pha bwerau pellach y gellir eu rhoi i fyrddau iechyd dros bractisau gofal sylfaenol a ariennir gan y byrddau iechyd? Rwyf wedi cael llond bol ar bractis meddyg teulu yn fy etholaeth sy'n perfformio'n wael iawn ac sy'n cynhyrchu dros 25 o gwynion y flwyddyn.

Thanks very much, Mike. I think we've got to get to a place in relation to the health service where we stop talking about money going in. What I'm interested in is what do we produce as a result of the money going in; it's got to be about what are the outcomes as a result of that money. That's why, actually, the current funding is linked to contract values, and if that happens, then that creates, effectively, a ring fence.

I am very keen to see, as in our strategic document, which is 'A Healthier Wales'—. We want to see a shift from secondary care into the community, right? So, that's the strategic plan. Actually, it's been slightly blown out of the water, not because we're not doing it, but because we've piled a lot of money into trying to clear the backlog. So, because we've spent or we're planning to spend £1 billion over the course of this Senedd term on clearing the backlog, obviously it looks disproportionate, then, in terms of the percentage differences. But it doesn't mean that less is going into primary care, it's just that the percentage may look smaller because of the need to clear the backlog.

But I'm absolutely with you all the way, Mike, in terms of the need to get into that preventative space, into that community space. It's something that I ask regularly of health boards: ‘Demonstrate to me that you're on that journey, show me what you're doing.' But what I'm interested in is not the money; I'm interested in outcomes, and we've got to get back into that space.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Mike. Rwy'n credu bod yn rhaid inni gyrraedd lle mewn perthynas â'r gwasanaeth iechyd lle rydym yn rhoi'r gorau i siarad am arian yn mynd i mewn. Yr hyn y mae gennyf ddiddordeb ynddo yw beth a gynhyrchwn o ganlyniad i'r arian sy'n mynd i mewn; mae'n rhaid iddo ymwneud â beth yw'r canlyniadau o ganlyniad i'r arian hwnnw. Dyna pam mae'r cyllid cyfredol yn gysylltiedig â gwerthoedd contract, ac os bydd hynny'n digwydd, fe fydd yn arian wedi'i glustnodi, i bob pwrpas.

Rwy'n awyddus iawn i weld, fel yn ein dogfen strategol, sef 'Cymru Iachach'—. Rydym am weld newid o ofal eilaidd i'r gymuned, onid ydym? Felly, dyna yw'r cynllun strategol. A dweud y gwir, mae wedi cael ei esgeuluso braidd, nid oherwydd nad ydym yn ei wneud, ond oherwydd ein bod wedi pentyrru llawer o arian i geisio clirio'r ôl-groniad. Felly, oherwydd ein bod wedi gwario neu ein bod yn bwriadu gwario £1 biliwn yn ystod tymor y Senedd hon ar glirio'r ôl-groniad, yn amlwg, mae'n edrych yn anghymesur o ran y gwahaniaethau canrannol. Ond nid yw'n golygu bod llai'n mynd tuag at ofal sylfaenol, dim ond y gallai'r ganran edrych yn llai oherwydd yr angen i glirio'r ôl-groniad.

Ond rwy'n cytuno'n llwyr, Mike, ynghylch yr angen i fynd i'r gofod ataliol hwnnw, i'r gofod cymunedol hwnnw. Mae'n rhywbeth yr wyf yn ei ofyn yn rheolaidd i fyrddau iechyd: 'Dangoswch i mi eich bod ar y daith honno, dangoswch i mi beth rydych chi'n ei wneud.' Ond nid yr arian sy'n bwysig i mi, ond y canlyniadau, ac mae'n rhaid inni ddychwelyd i'r lle hwnnw.

15:15
Gwasanaethau IVF
IVF Services

8. Pa ystyriaeth mae'r Gweinidog wedi'i rhoi i gyflwyno gwasanaethau IVF am ddim ar y GIG ledled Cymru? OQ60654

8. What consideration has the Minister given to introducing free NHS IVF services across Wales? OQ60654

Mae gwasanaethau IVF yr NHS ar gael am ddim yn barod ar draws Cymru. Maen nhw’n cael eu comisiynu gan Bwyllgor Gwasanaethau Iechyd Arbenigol Cymru ar ran pob un o’r byrddau iechyd. Mae gan gleifion ledled Cymru sy'n bodloni'r meini prawf mynediad hawl i ddau gylch o driniaeth IVF ar yr NHS, ac mae’r gwasanaethau ar gael hyd at ben-blwydd menyw yn 43 oed.

NHS IVF services are already freely available across Wales. They are commissioned by the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee on behalf of all health boards. Patients across Wales who meet the access criteria are entitled to two NHS cycles of IVF treatment, and services are available up to a woman’s forty-third birthday.

Diolch ichi am eich ateb, Gweinidog, ac am y nifer o lythyron dwi wedi eu derbyn gennych chi ar y pwnc yma. Dwi'n siŵr y gallwn ni i gyd gytuno mai triniaeth IVF a ffrwythlondeb yw un o wyrthiau meddygaeth ein cyfnod ni. Mae'n llenwi gwacter o fewn teuluoedd. A dylwn i ddatgan budd, oherwydd rwyf wedi profi'r llawenydd hwnnw ac yn hynod o ddiolchgar i'r gwasanaeth iechyd am yr hyn maen nhw wedi ei wneud. Ond mae rhai darpar rieni yn talu hyd at £1,600 am y driniaeth. Mae hyn yn effeithio'n anghymesur ar gyplau lesbiaidd, sydd yn rhy aml yn gorfod talu o'u pocedi eu hunain yn hytrach na derbyn y driniaeth ar y gwasanaeth iechyd. Yn ôl dashboard yr Awdurdod Ffrwythlondeb ac Embryoleg Dynol, dim ond 33 y cant o donor insemination neu driniaethau IVF yng Nghymru a gafodd eu hariannu gan y gwasanaeth iechyd rhwng 2019 a 2021. Derbyniodd 37 y cant o fenywod gyda phartneriaid gwrywaidd eu triniaeth ar y gwasanaeth iechyd, ond mae'n syrthio i 11 y cant i gyplau lesbiadd. A wnaiff y Gweinidog gymryd camau i sicrhau bod triniaethau ffrwythlondeb yn decach i gyplau lesbiaiadd? Diolch yn fawr.

Thank you for that response, Minister, and for the number of letters I've received from you on this issue. I'm sure we could all agree that IVF and fertility treatment is one of the miracles in medicine in our time. It fills a void within families. And I should declare an interest because I have experienced that joy myself and am extremely grateful to the NHS for what they did. But some prospective parents are paying up to £1,600 for the treatment. This has a disproportionate impact on lesbian couples, who too often have to pay from their own pockets, rather than receiving the treatment on the NHS. According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority dashboard, only 33 per cent of donor insemination or IVF treatments in Wales were funded by the health service between 2019 and 2021. While 37 per cent of women with male partners received their treatment on the NHS, it falls to 11 per cent for lesbian couples. So, will the Minister take steps to ensure that fertility treatments are fairer for lesbian couples? Thank you.

Diolch yn fawr. Dwi eisiau ei gwneud hi'n glir ein bod ni'n blaid sy'n credu'n gryf mewn ecwiti, ac yn arbennig pan fo'n dod i lesbiaid a'r posibilrwydd iddyn nhw gael plant hefyd. Mae yna access criteria ar gyfer y nifer o cycles IVF NHS y mae pobl yn gallu eu cael, ac mae yna eglurder ynglŷn â phwy sy'n gallu cael y rheini. Dwi'n gwybod ein bod ni wedi bod yn ysgrifennu llythyrau at ein gilydd i sicrhau ein bod ni'n deall y sefyllfa. Dwi'n gwybod bod NICE ar hyn o bryd yn edrych unwaith eto ar fertility assessment and treatment. Maen nhw'n disgwyl gweld hynny'n digwydd yn yr hydref, ac mi edrychwn ni eto ar y sefyllfa. Ond mae'r sefyllfa o ran ecwiti yn hollbwysig i ni fel Llywodraeth.

Thank you very much. I want to make it clear that we are a party that believes greatly in equity, and particularly when it comes to lesbians and the possibility of them having children as well. There are access criteria for the number of NHS IVF cycles that people can have, and there is clarity about who can have those. I know that we have been exchanging correspondence to ensure that we do understand the situation. I know that NICE at present is looking once again at fertility assessment and treatment. They expect to see that happening in the autumn, and we will look again at the situation then. But the situation in terms of equity is very important for us as a Government. 

Pwynt o Drefn
Point of Order

Pwynt o drefn nawr yn codi o'r cwestiynau gan un o Gyd-gadeiryddion y pwyllgor COVID, Tom Giffard.

A point of order arising from questions from one of the Co-chairs of the COVID committee, Tom Giffard. 

Diolch yn fawr, Llywydd. I wanted to make a point of order based on the comments made by Mabon ap Gwynfor in his spokesperson's questions, where he made reference to the committee, saying it had met four times, always behind closed doors. I have looked at the Senedd website, and the committee has met seven times, and the last three have been in public, including one yesterday morning. 

Diolch yn fawr, Lywydd. Roeddwn am wneud pwynt o drefn yn seiliedig ar y sylwadau a wnaed gan Mabon ap Gwynfor yn ei gwestiynau fel llefarydd, lle cyfeiriodd at y pwyllgor, gan ddweud ei fod wedi cyfarfod bedair gwaith, bob amser y tu ôl i ddrysau caeedig. Rwyf wedi edrych ar wefan y Senedd, ac mae'r pwyllgor wedi cyfarfod saith gwaith, ac mae'r tri diwethaf wedi bod yn gyhoeddus, gan gynnwys un fore ddoe. 

Thank you for that clarification. I'm sure it's accepted by Mabon ap Gwynfor. 

Diolch am yr eglurhad hwnnw. Rwy'n siŵr ei fod wedi ei dderbyn gan Mabon ap Gwynfor. 

Thank you for the immediate correction of the record. Diolch yn fawr iawn. 

Diolch am gywiro'r cofnod ar unwaith. Diolch yn fawr iawn. 

3. Cwestiynau Amserol
3. Topical Questions

Cwestiynau amserol nesaf. Mae'r cwestiwn cyntaf i'w ateb gan Weinidog y Gymraeg ac Addysg. Heledd Fychan i ofyn y cwestiwn.

Next, the topical questions. The first question is to be answered by the Minister for Education and the Welsh Language. Heledd Fychan to ask the question. 

Myfyrwyr yng Nghymru
Students in Wales

1. Pa asesiad y mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi'i wneud o effaith cynyddu'r cap ffioedd dysgu a thorri grantiau cymorth ôl-raddedig ar y nifer tebygol o fyfyrwyr sy'n gwneud cais i astudio ym Mhrifysgolion Cymru? TQ981

1. What assessment has the Welsh Government made of the effect of increasing tuition fee caps and cutting postgraduate support grants on the probable number of students applying to study in Welsh Universities? TQ981

Mae hwnnw'n fater o bwys i ni. Mae tystiolaeth yn dangos mai costau byw yn hytrach na ffioedd yw'r rhwystredigaeth fwyaf i fynediad at addysg uwch. Dyna pam rydyn ni wedi ffocysu ein hadnoddau ar gynnal costau byw i israddedigion ac ôl-raddedigion sydd gyda'r uchaf ym Mhrydain. 

This is an issue of great importance to us. Evidence shows that it is the cost of living, rather than fees, which is the greatest barrier to accessing higher education. That's why we've focused our resources on support with the cost of living to undergraduates and postgraduates that is among the highest in the UK.

Diolch, Weinidog. Heb os, mae ein prifysgolion ni mewn sefyllfa argyfyngus. Dro ar ôl tro, rhybuddiodd cyn is-ganghellor Prifysgol Caerdydd, Colin Riordan, bod eu sefyllfa gyllidol yn anghynaliadwy. Mewn erthygl ym Mehefin 2023, roedd yn gyfan gwbl onest eu bod nhw’n gorfod bod yn orddibynnol ar ffioedd myfyrwyr rhyngwladol gan olgyu bod myfyrwyr o Gymru yn colli allan ar lefydd. Dywedodd bod hyn yn 

Thank you, Minister. Without a doubt, universities are in a critical situation. Time and time again, the former vice-chancellor of Cardiff University, Colin Riordan, warned that their financial situation was unsustainable. In an article in June 2023, he was very candid about the fact that they had to be overly dependent on international student fees, meaning that students from Wales were missing out on places. He said that this is

'a risky strategy, and arguably difficult to defend in moral terms.'

'strategaeth beryglus, a gellir dadlau ei bod yn anodd ei hamddiffyn mewn termau moesol.'

Mae myfyrwyr dan straen cynyddol hefyd, wedi eu heffeithio, fel y dywedoch chi, gan yr argyfwng costau byw, gyda 35 y cant o fyfyrwyr yn dweud wrth NUS Cymru ym Mehefin 2023 eu bod wedi ystyried gadael eu cyrsiau o’r herwydd. Wrth gwrs, ein cred ni, ym Mhlaid Cymru, yw y dylai addysg fod am ddim, a bod buddsoddi mewn pobl ifanc yn fuddsoddiad nid yn unig yn eu dyfodol nhw, ond hefyd dyfodol ein cenedl.

Ond o dderbyn nad yw hynny'n rhywbeth sy'n bosib yn y sefyllfa gyllidol eleni, gaf i ofyn pam bod hyn yn digwydd mor hwyr yn y dydd pan fo llythyrau gyda chynigion eisoes wedi eu gyrru i fyfyrwyr, ac yng nghanol cylch ffioedd a chynllun mynediad? Pan godwyd y ffioedd yn Lloegr, dywedodd Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig wrth brifysgolion flwyddyn yn flaenorol, felly roedd gan fyfyrwyr a phrifysgolion ddealltwriaeth glir o'r sefyllfa.

Beth yw eich cyfiawnhad dros gyflwyno hyn mor ddisymwth? Pa sicrwydd allwch chi ei roi fod yr hyn sydd wedi ei gyhoeddi yn gyson gyda chynlluniau ffioedd a mynediad y prifysgolion unigol ac yn ymarferol bosib ei weithredu yn gyfreithlon ym mhob prifysgol yr un pryd? Byddai'n sefyllfa annheg pe bai prifysgolion unigol yng Nghymru yn codi ffioedd gwahanol—annheg i fyfyrwyr ac yn beryglus o ran eu hyfywedd cyllidol. Yn bellach, pan gyhoeddwyd y gyllideb ddrafft ym mis Rhagfyr, nodwyd ym mharagraff 58 o ran ffioedd dysgu, a dwi'n dyfynnu:

'Os penderfynwn gynyddu costau, caiff cynigion eu cyflwyno at ddibenion ymgynghori.'

Pryd bu'r ymgynghoriad, ac efo pwy? Ac os na fu ymgynghoriad, ai dyma'r ffordd o lywodraethu—dweud un peth a gwneud fel arall?

Students are also under increasing stress, affected, as you said, by the cost-of-living crisis, with 35 per cent of students telling NUS Cymru in June 2023 that they had considered leaving their courses because of that.Of course, our belief, in Plaid Cymru, is that education should be free, and that investing in young people is an investment not only in their future, but also the future of our nation.

Accepting that that is not something that's possible in this year's fiscal situation, may I ask why this is happening so late in the day when offer letters have already been sent out to students, and in the middle of a cycle of fee and access plans? When fees were raised in England, the UK Government told universities a year in advance so students and universities had a clear understanding of the situation.

What is your justification for introducing this so suddenly? What assurance can you give that what has been published is consistent with the fee and access plans of the individual universities and is practically possible to implement legally in all universities at the same time? It would be an unfair situation if individual universities in Wales were to charge different fees—unfair for students and dangerous in terms of their financial viability. Furthermore, when the draft budget was published in December, paragraph 58 stated in relation to tuition fees, and I quote:

'If we decide to increase charges, proposals will be brought forward for consultation.'

When was the consultation, and with whom? And if there was no consultation, is this the way to govern—to say one thing, but do another?

15:20

I thank the Member for the questions. Just to be clear, maintenance support for eligible undergraduate students will increase by 3.7 per cent and the tuition fee cap, which has been announced, will be increased only to the same level already charged by higher education providers in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. We've protected our policy of partial cancellation of debt of up to £1,500 when a student begins repaying their loans—and this is unique to Welsh students no matter where they study. The fee limit changes will not result in an increase to the monthly repayment that students will make. Repayments will still be subject to the earnings threshold.

Diolch i'r Aelod am y cwestiynau. I fod yn glir, bydd y cymorth cynhaliaeth ar gyfer myfyrwyr israddedig cymwys yn cynyddu 3.7 y cant a bydd y cap ar ffioedd dysgu, sydd wedi'i gyhoeddi, yn cael ei gynyddu i'r un lefel a godir eisoes gan ddarparwyr addysg uwch yn Lloegr, Gogledd Iwerddon a'r Alban. Rydym wedi diogelu ein polisi o ddileu dyled o hyd at £1,500 yn rhannol pan fydd myfyriwr yn dechrau ad-dalu ei fenthyciadau—ac mae hyn yn unigryw i fyfyrwyr Cymru waeth ble maent yn astudio. Ni fydd y newidiadau i'r terfyn ffioedd yn arwain at gynnydd i'r ad-daliad misol y bydd myfyrwyr yn ei wneud. Bydd ad-daliadau'n dal i fod yn ddarostyngedig i'r trothwy enillion.

Mae'r Aelod yn gwneud pwyntiau pwysig ynglŷn â'r pwysau sydd ar brifysgolion o ran adnoddau—dyna pam mae'r newid hwn wedi cael ei gyflwyno. Mae'r newid yn cael ei gyflwyno o fewn y flwyddyn hon oherwydd y pwysau arbennig sydd ar y gyllideb eleni a'r angen i allu sicrhau cefnogaeth i brifysgolion yn y cyd-destun hwnnw, fel y nodwyd yn y dyfyniad oddi wrth Is-Ganghellor Riordan cyn iddo adael Prifysgol Caerdydd. Rŷn ni wedi bod mewn trafodaethau gyda'r is-gangellorion a rŷn ni wedi trafod hefyd gydag NUS Cymru ynglŷn â'r newidiadau sydd ar y gweill.

The Member makes important points on the pressures on universities in terms of resources—that's why this change has been introduced. The change is being introduced within this year because of the particular pressures on this year's budget and the need to ensure adequate support for universities in that context, as noted in the quote from Vice-Chancellor Riordan before he left Cardiff University. We have been in discussions with the vice-chancellors and we've also had discussions with NUS Wales on the changes in the pipeline.

Can I thank Heledd Fychan for tabling this question? It's very important. I sympathise with the general health of the university sector in Wales. Paul Boyle, the vice-chancellor of Swansea University and chair of Universities Wales said recently:

'Currently, the income for neither research nor domestic undergraduate teaching courses covers the cost of delivery.'

He warned that the financial environment for universities

'is one of the most challenging in recent memory'.

In light of the decision that's been taken, could you speak to your reading of the wider health, if you like, of those universities in Wales, and whether they are able to compete on that global stage, where we know that is very, very important for our universities.

But secondly, this decision, obviously—. The Welsh Government doesn't set course fees itself; it's important to say that. The Minister has obviously raised the maximum level of these Welsh Government tuition fees. I wonder what work the Welsh Government and the Minister have done to understand the proportion of courses that will now charge this new maximum fee. 

A gaf i ddiolch i Heledd Fychan am gyflwyno'r cwestiwn hwn? Mae'n bwysig iawn. Rwy'n cydymdeimlo ag iechyd cyffredinol y sector prifysgolion yng Nghymru. Dywedodd Paul Boyle, is-ganghellor Prifysgol Abertawe a chadeirydd Prifysgolion Cymru yn ddiweddar:

'Ar hyn o bryd, nid yw'r incwm ar gyfer cyrsiau ymchwil na chyrsiau addysgu israddedig domestig yn talu am y gost o'u cyflwyno.'

Rhybuddiodd fod yr amgylchedd ariannol i brifysgolion

'yn un o'r rhai mwyaf heriol o fewn cof'.

Yng ngoleuni'r penderfyniad a wnaed, a allech siarad am eich barn chi am iechyd ehangach, os mynnwch, y prifysgolion hynny yng Nghymru, ac a ydynt yn gallu cystadlu ar y llwyfan byd-eang hwnnw, lle gwyddom fod hynny'n bwysig iawn i'n prifysgolion.

Ond yn ail, y penderfyniad hwn, yn amlwg—. Nid yw Llywodraeth Cymru yn pennu ffioedd cyrsiau ei hun; mae'n bwysig dweud hynny. Mae'r Gweinidog yn amlwg wedi codi uchafswm ffioedd dysgu Llywodraeth Cymru. Tybed pa waith y mae Llywodraeth Cymru a'r Gweinidog wedi'i wneud i ddeall pa gyfran o gyrsiau a fydd yn codi'r ffi uchaf newydd hon nawr. 

The Member is right to say that that is a matter for universities and it is a matter for them whether they choose to increase the fee limit within the cap. As the Member will know, the tuition fee cap, when increased, will be the same as already charged by higher education providers in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and Welsh students studying outside Wales will already be paying fees at the increased cap.

It is a matter for universities how they approach charging for their courses; that is not a matter for me as the Minister. And to answer the point that I failed to answer to Heledd Fychan, the timing of any changes that universities wish to make is a matter for them and they will each have their own arrangements in relation to that. We've been open with them about the timing of this change.

In relation to the broader picture, which Tom Giffard is inviting me to comment on, universities are under funding pressure; they're under funding pressure right across the UK. We are in ongoing discussions with all our vice-chancellors in Wales, and with the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales as well, to make sure that we are sighted on challenges as they emerge. In my discussions with university vice-chancellors, they have welcomed the change that I have announced. It is not a change I was keen to make, but it is one that will enable more funding to go to universities without changing the monthly repayments of those students. In fact, most students will have their tuition fee loans written off before they get to the point where this extra charge is paid. So, it effectively operates as a means of providing more income to universities without, generally speaking, affecting students in their own pockets in the longer term.

Mae'r Aelod yn iawn i ddweud mai mater i brifysgolion yw hynny ac mae'n fater iddynt hwy a ydynt yn dewis cynyddu'r terfyn ffioedd o fewn y cap. Fel y bydd yr Aelod yn gwybod, bydd y cap ffioedd dysgu, o'i gynyddu, yr un fath â'r hyn a godir eisoes gan ddarparwyr addysg uwch yn Lloegr, Gogledd Iwerddon a'r Alban, a bydd myfyrwyr o Gymru sy'n astudio y tu allan i Gymru eisoes yn talu ffioedd ar y cap sydd wedi'i gynyddu.

Mater i brifysgolion yw sut yr ânt ati i godi tâl am eu cyrsiau; nid mater i mi fel y Gweinidog yw hynny. Ac i ateb y pwynt y methais ei ateb i Heledd Fychan, mae amseriad unrhyw newidiadau y mae prifysgolion am eu gwneud yn fater iddynt hwy a bydd gan bob un ohonynt eu trefniadau eu hunain mewn perthynas â hynny. Rydym wedi bod yn agored gyda nhw am amseriad y newid hwn.

Mewn perthynas â'r darlun ehangach, y mae Tom Giffard yn fy ngwahodd i wneud sylwadau arno, mae prifysgolion dan bwysau ariannol; maent dan bwysau ariannol ledled y DU. Rydym mewn trafodaethau parhaus gyda'n holl is-gangellorion yng Nghymru, a chyda Chyngor Cyllido Addysg Uwch Cymru hefyd, i sicrhau ein bod yn ymwybodol o heriau wrth iddynt ddod i'r amlwg. Yn fy nhrafodaethau gydag is-gangellorion prifysgolion, maent wedi croesawu'r newid a gyhoeddais. Nid yw'n newid yr oeddwn yn awyddus i'w wneud, ond mae'n un a fydd yn galluogi mwy o gyllid i fynd i brifysgolion heb newid ad-daliadau misol y myfyrwyr hynny. Mewn gwirionedd, bydd y rhan fwyaf o fyfyrwyr yn gweld eu benthyciadau ffioedd dysgu yn cael eu dileu cyn iddynt gyrraedd y pwynt lle byddai'r tâl ychwanegol hwn yn cael ei dalu. Felly, mae'n gweithredu i bob pwrpas fel ffordd o ddarparu mwy o incwm i brifysgolion heb effeithio, a siarad yn gyffredinol, ar bocedi'r myfyrwyr eu hunain yn fwy hirdymor.

15:25

Of course, I share a lot of the concerns that Heledd Fychan has raised. I take the point in terms of the focus on cost of living, but of course, a lot of the postgraduate support grants were around making it more affordable for people to continue on to postgraduate degrees. Of course, there is also a psychological effect when it comes to tuition fees. I think of myself now, looking at my student finance account and seeing a sum of £33,000 that I owe in payments. This, potentially, is going to have a long-term effect, isn't it, on the skills base we have here in Wales. We know there are substantial skills gaps in a number of sectors. So, I'd be really interested to know from the Government's perspective whether or not they've done an assessment on what potential effect this might have on that skills base, and also how this might align, then, with the economic priorities that were set out by the Government just last year.

Wrth gwrs, rwy'n rhannu llawer o'r pryderon y mae Heledd Fychan wedi eu codi. Rwy'n derbyn y pwynt ynghylch y ffocws ar gostau byw, ond wrth gwrs, roedd llawer o'r grantiau cymorth ôl-raddedig yn ymwneud â'i gwneud yn fwy fforddiadwy i bobl barhau i wneud graddau ôl-raddedig. Wrth gwrs, mae yna effaith seicolegol hefyd o ran ffioedd dysgu. Rwy'n meddwl amdanaf fy hun nawr, wrth edrych ar fy nghyfrif cyllid myfyrwyr a gweld swm o £33,000 sy'n ddyledus gennyf mewn taliadau. Mae hyn, o bosibl, yn mynd i gael effaith hirdymor, onid yw, ar y sylfaen sgiliau sydd gennym yma yng Nghymru. Gwyddom fod bylchau sylweddol mewn sgiliau mewn nifer o sectorau. Felly, byddai gennyf ddiddordeb mawr mewn gwybod o bersbectif y Llywodraeth a ydynt wedi gwneud asesiad o'r effaith bosibl y gallai hyn ei chael ar y sylfaen sgiliau honno, a hefyd sut y gallai hyn gyd-fynd, felly, â'r blaenoriaethau economaidd a nodwyd gan y Llywodraeth y llynedd.

I think it is really important that we are clear about what is being changed and what is not being changed. All the evidence that we have points to the fact that students are more likely to make the decision based on the costs of living and the maintenance cost implications rather than on the tuition fee element itself. I think it's important that we still, in the discussions that we have in the Chamber, encourage people into higher education and postgraduate study. Wales is the only nation in the UK that offers our students, wherever they have studied, a £1,500 write-off at the start of the repayment of their loans, which is twice the amount by which the cap is increased on a typical three-year degree. So, I think that is important context because, as he says, people considering going into higher education will want to know what the reality of the support available is. Maintenance support in Wales is set to reflect the national living wage and will be increased by 3.7 per cent, because we absolutely recognise that that is more likely to be a barrier to higher education that students face.

In relation to postgraduate support specifically, as he will know from previous exchanges in the Chamber—and we've had the opportunity to discuss this in committee as well—these are unenviable choices about the allocation of resources. The choice that I have made as Minister is to prioritise the resources we have available at the earliest point in the education journey, which all evidence tells us is the most progressive way of making the biggest change in the most lives for the longest term. That does mean, unfortunately, that students studying postgraduate degrees will now be supported by loans rather than grants. The bursary scheme that we have, which we've also reallocated, comes on top of postgraduate support that is already at a higher level than most students in the UK can access. These are not choices one wants to make as a Minister, but I'm absolutely confident that the choices we have made in this budget are the most progressive choices available to us within that context.

Rwy'n credu ei bod yn bwysig iawn ein bod yn glir ynghylch yr hyn sy'n cael ei newid a'r hyn nad yw'n cael ei newid. Mae'r holl dystiolaeth sydd gennym yn dynodi bod myfyrwyr yn fwy tebygol o wneud y penderfyniad yn seiliedig ar gostau byw a'r goblygiadau o ran costau cynhaliaeth yn hytrach nag ar yr elfen ffioedd dysgu ei hun. Rwy'n credu ei bod yn bwysig ein bod, yn y trafodaethau a gawn yn y Siambr, yn parhau i annog pobl i addysg uwch ac astudiaethau ôl-raddedig. Cymru yw'r unig wlad yn y DU sy'n cynnig dileu £1,500 i'n myfyrwyr, lle bynnag y buont yn astudio, wrth iddynt ddechrau ad-dalu eu benthyciadau, swm sy'n ddwywaith y swm y caiff y cap ei gynyddu ar gyfer gradd dair blynedd arferol. Felly, rwy'n credu bod hwnnw'n gyd-destun pwysig oherwydd, fel y mae'n dweud, bydd pobl sy'n ystyried mynd ar drywydd addysg uwch am wybod beth yw realiti'r cymorth sydd ar gael. Mae disgwyl i'r cymorth cynhaliaeth yng Nghymru adlewyrchu'r cyflog byw cenedlaethol a bydd yn cynyddu 3.7 y cant, gan ein bod yn cydnabod yn llwyr fod hynny'n fwy tebygol o fod yn rhwystr y mae myfyrwyr yn ei wynebu i addysg uwch.

Mewn perthynas â chymorth ôl-raddedig yn benodol, fel y bydd yn gwybod o drafodaethau blaenorol yn y Siambr—ac rydym wedi cael cyfle i drafod hyn yn y pwyllgor hefyd—mae'r rhain yn ddewisiadau annymunol ynghylch dyraniad adnoddau. Y dewis a wneuthum fel Gweinidog yw blaenoriaethu'r adnoddau sydd gennym ar gael ar y pwynt cynharaf ar y daith addysg, ac mae'r holl dystiolaeth yn dweud wrthym mai dyna'r ffordd fwyaf blaengar o wneud y newid mwyaf yn y mwyaf o fywydau am y cyfnod hiraf. Mae hynny'n golygu, yn anffodus, y bydd myfyrwyr sy'n astudio graddau ôl-raddedig bellach yn cael eu cefnogi gan fenthyciadau yn hytrach na grantiau. Daw'r cynllun bwrsariaeth sydd gennym, ac sydd hefyd wedi'i ailddyrannu, ar ben cymorth ôl-raddedig sydd eisoes ar lefel uwch nag y gall y rhan fwyaf o fyfyrwyr yn y DU ei gael. Nid yw'r rhain yn ddewisiadau y mae rhywun am eu gwneud fel Gweinidog, ond rwy'n hollol hyderus mai'r dewisiadau a wnaethom yn y gyllideb hon yw'r dewisiadau mwyaf blaengar sydd ar gael inni yn y cyd-destun hwnnw.

Diolch i'r Gweinidog. Mae'r cwestiwn nesaf i'w ateb gan y Gweinidog llywodraeth leol, ac i'w ofyn gan Peredur Owen Griffiths.

Thank you, Minister. The next question is to be answered by the Minister for local government and to be asked by Peredur Owen Griffiths.

Cyllid Canlyniadol ar gyfer Awdurdodau Lleol
Consequential Funding for Local Authorities

2. Pa ymgynghoriad y mae'r Gweinidog wedi'i gynnal gydag awdurdodau lleol ledled Cymru cyn i Lywodraeth Cymru ddyrannu cyllid canlyniadol i awdurdodau lleol yng Nghymru yn dilyn cyhoeddiad Llywodraeth y DU ym mis Ionawr 2024? TQ987

2. What consultation has the Minister held with local authorities across Wales before the Welsh Government allocates consequential funding to local authorities in Wales following the UK Government's announcement in January 2024? TQ987

I have formally consulted local authorities on the provisional settlement. Responses to that consultation included requests for the restoration of the social care workforce grant to the value of £45 million. Responses also reflected on a range of pressures being felt by all local authorities, including in social care and education.

Rwyf wedi ymgynghori'n ffurfiol ag awdurdodau lleol ar y setliad dros dro. Ymhlith yr ymatebion i'r ymgynghoriad hwnnw yr oedd ceisiadau am adfer grant y gweithlu gofal cymdeithasol i £45 miliwn. Roedd ymatebion hefyd yn myfyrio ar bwysau amrywiol a deimlir gan bob awdurdod lleol, gan gynnwys ym maes gofal cymdeithasol ac addysg.

Diolch yn fawr am yr ateb yna.

Thank you very much for that answer.

I welcome the fact that the Welsh Government has recognised the need to further support local authorities during this period of extreme financial hardship—something that Plaid Cymru has been calling for ever since the draft budget was announced in December. I also welcome that the Minister has given reassurance in her statement that extra funding will be made available for councils, to allow them to make their final decisions on council tax rates and budgets for the next financial year.

We also need to keep sight of the bigger picture: that this money will barely scratch the service in terms of undoing the devastating impact of 14 years of Tory-driven austerity, and that local authorities across Wales will still need to make very painful decisions over the coming weeks on cuts to public services, substantial changes in council taxes or, in many cases, both. 

I note that you've raised the funding floor to 2.3 per cent. How high did you consider increasing this before settling on 2.3 per cent? Or is it the natural increase when the extra £14.4 million is applied via the RSG to the original 2 per cent floor?

You also mentioned in your statement that the RSG uplift will help support local authorities meet the cost of funding the 5 per cent pay increase for teachers that was agreed in October. But local authorities have been making the case for some time that their core finance settlement for 2024-25 is simply insufficient to cover this expense. As my colleague Heledd Fychan mentioned in the draft budget debate yesterday, we'd urge the Government to restore the recurrent funding model that was agreed for the previous pay award to ease the extreme pressures facing local government. Will you consider, therefore, to at least part-fund the teacher pay award? Diolch yn fawr.

Rwy'n croesawu'r ffaith bod Llywodraeth Cymru wedi cydnabod yr angen i gefnogi awdurdodau lleol ymhellach yn ystod y cyfnod hwn o galedi ariannol eithafol—rhywbeth y mae Plaid Cymru wedi bod yn galw amdano ers cyhoeddi'r gyllideb ddrafft ym mis Rhagfyr. Rwyf hefyd yn croesawu sicrwydd y Gweinidog yn ei datganiad y bydd cyllid ychwanegol ar gael i gynghorau, er mwyn caniatáu iddynt wneud eu penderfyniadau terfynol ar gyfraddau'r dreth gyngor a chyllidebau ar gyfer y flwyddyn ariannol nesaf.

Mae angen inni hefyd gadw golwg ar y darlun ehangach: mai prin y bydd yr arian hwn yn crafu'r wyneb o ran dadwneud effaith ddinistriol 14 mlynedd o gyni wedi'i yrru gan y Torïaid, ac y bydd angen i awdurdodau lleol ledled Cymru ddal i wneud penderfyniadau poenus iawn dros yr wythnosau nesaf ynghylch toriadau i wasanaethau cyhoeddus, newidiadau sylweddol i drethi cyngor neu'r ddau beth, mewn sawl achos. 

Rwy'n nodi eich bod wedi codi'r cyllid gwaelodol i 2.3 y cant. Pa mor uchel oeddech chi'n ystyried ei gynyddu cyn penderfynu ar 2.3 y cant? Neu ai dyma'r cynnydd naturiol pan fo'r £14.4 miliwn ychwanegol yn cael ei ddefnyddio drwy'r grant cynnal refeniw i'r cyllid gwaelodol gwreiddiol o 2 y cant?

Fe wnaethoch chi grybwyll yn eich datganiad hefyd y bydd codi'r grant cynnal refeniw yn helpu i gefnogi awdurdodau lleol i dalu cost ariannu'r codiad cyflog o 5 y cant i athrawon y cytunwyd arno ym mis Hydref. Ond mae awdurdodau lleol wedi bod yn dadlau'r achos ers peth amser nad yw eu setliad cyllid craidd ar gyfer 2024-25 yn ddigon i dalu am y gost hon. Fel y soniodd fy nghyd-Aelod Heledd Fychan yn y ddadl ar y gyllideb ddrafft ddoe, rydym yn annog y Llywodraeth i adfer y model ariannu rheolaidd y cytunwyd arno ar gyfer y dyfarniad cyflog blaenorol i leddfu'r pwysau eithafol sy'n wynebu llywodraeth leol. A wnewch chi ystyried ariannu'r dyfarniad cyflog i athrawon felly, yn rhannol fan lleiaf? Diolch yn fawr.

15:30

Daeth y Dirprwy Lywydd (David Rees) i’r Gadair.

The Deputy Presiding Officer (David Rees) took the Chair.

I'm very grateful for the question and particularly for the welcome that I know Plaid Cymru has given to the additional funding going into social services. I know that, listening to Plaid Cymru's responses in respect of the draft budget, social services, and local government in particular, are a shared area of priority. And just to confirm as well that I have had some discussions with the designated Member for the co-operation agreement on this particular issue, again reflecting our shared priority of social services in particular, but local government more widely.

I should just recognise that point, really, that local government will nonetheless be making some really difficult choices in the period ahead. We have provided the best possible settlement in terms of keeping our promise about the 3.1 per cent for next year and providing this additional £25 million, which has come through as a result of the consequential funding announced by the UK Government. We do also have to reflect that it does come with a bit of risk that the Welsh Government will hold, in the sense that this figure won't be confirmed until the UK Government's spring statement on 6 March. So, it could potentially be offset by cuts elsewhere. Local government can count on it. We were keen to make the announcement early so that they could plan it into their future budgets and so that they could consult on the basis of this new information. So, we felt it was worth us taking the risk in Welsh Government to be able to do that.

And to confirm that specific question, the floor that we had originally set was 2 per cent, and that involved providing an additional—well, more than £1 million into the RSG. But the impact now of the additional £14.4 million into the RSG means that no authority will have an increase of less than 2.3 per cent. So, the increase is the natural—I think you described it as the 'natural increase' as a result of that additional funding to the RSG.

We do know those key pressures that authorities are facing. So, when writing to local authority leaders today to notify them formally of the additional funding, I have set out that the additional funding is to support the pressures that they've identified in both social care and education, including teachers' pay, as local need dictates. And, of course, that supports one of our key priorities in developing the budget of protecting core front-line services as far as possible.

So, we understand that it won't meet all of the pressures. It is the case that teachers' pay should be covered from within the funding with the RSG. I said yesterday in the debate on the draft budget that, in previous years, we have been able to provide some in-year allocation as a result of underspends that have emerged across Government. We haven't been able to do so on this occasion, but we do hope that the additional funding, formally announced today, will at least help with some of those pressures. 

At yesterday's debate, Heledd Fychan raised the issue of pensions and the superannuation contributions adjusted for past experience issue, and I neglected to answer that in response to the debate then, so I'll answer it now, and that is that we are pressing the UK Government to fund that fully. We have said that we will provide that funding on to public services as and when it comes from the UK Government, but we have a larger proportion of workers in the public sector here in Wales, so it will cost us more. So, what we need the UK Government to do is fully fund that and we continue to press them to do that.

Rwy'n ddiolchgar iawn am y cwestiwn ac yn arbennig am y croeso y gwn fod Plaid Cymru wedi'i roi i'r cyllid ychwanegol sy'n mynd tuag at wasanaethau cymdeithasol. Wrth wrando ar ymatebion Plaid Cymru mewn perthynas â'r gyllideb ddrafft, gwn fod gwasanaethau cymdeithasol, a llywodraeth leol yn benodol, yn faes blaenoriaeth a rennir. Ac i gadarnhau hefyd fy mod wedi cael rhai trafodaethau gyda'r Aelod dynodedig ar gyfer y cytundeb cydweithio ar y mater penodol hwn, gan adlewyrchu eto y flaenoriaeth a rannwn i wasanaethau cymdeithasol yn arbennig, ond i lywodraeth leol yn ehangach.

Dylwn gydnabod y pwynt y bydd llywodraeth leol yn gwneud dewisiadau anodd iawn er hynny yn y cyfnod i ddod. Rydym wedi darparu'r setliad gorau posibl o ran cadw ein haddewid am y 3.1 y cant ar gyfer y flwyddyn nesaf a darparu'r £25 miliwn ychwanegol, a ddaeth o ganlyniad i'r cyllid canlyniadol a gyhoeddwyd gan Lywodraeth y DU. Mae'n rhaid inni ystyried hefyd fod ychydig o risg ynghlwm wrtho i Lywodraeth Cymru, yn yr ystyr na fydd y ffigur yn cael ei gadarnhau tan ddatganiad y gwanwyn Llywodraeth y DU ar 6 Mawrth. Felly, gallai gael ei wrthbwyso gan doriadau mewn mannau eraill. Gall llywodraeth leol fod yn sicr o'i gael. Roeddem yn awyddus i wneud y cyhoeddiad yn gynnar fel y gallent gynllunio ar ei gyfer yn eu cyllidebau yn y dyfodol ac fel y gallent ymgynghori ar sail yr wybodaeth newydd hon. Felly, roeddem yn teimlo ei bod yn werth inni gymryd y risg y bydd Llywodraeth Cymru yn gallu gwneud hynny.

Ac i gadarnhau'r cwestiwn penodol hwnnw, y cyllid gwaelodol yr oeddem wedi'i osod yn wreiddiol oedd 2 y cant, ac roedd hynny'n golygu darparu—wel, mwy na £1 filiwn ychwanegol i'r grant cynnal refeniw. Ond mae'r effaith nawr o'r £14.4 miliwn ychwanegol i'r grant cynnal refeniw yn golygu na fydd yr un awdurdod yn cael cynnydd o lai na 2.3 y cant. Felly, mae'n gynnydd naturiol—credaf ichi ei ddisgrifio fel y 'cynnydd naturiol' o ganlyniad i'r cyllid ychwanegol hwnnw i'r grant cynnal refeniw.

Rydym yn ymwybodol o'r pwysau allweddol y mae awdurdodau yn ei wynebu. Felly, wrth ysgrifennu at arweinwyr awdurdodau lleol heddiw i'w hysbysu'n ffurfiol ynghylch y cyllid ychwanegol, rwyf wedi nodi bod y cyllid ychwanegol ar gyfer cynnal y pwysau y maent wedi'u nodi ym maes gofal cymdeithasol ac addysg, gan gynnwys tâl athrawon, fel y mae angen lleol yn ei bennu. Ac wrth gwrs, mae hynny'n cefnogi un o'n blaenoriaethau allweddol wrth ddatblygu'r gyllideb i ddiogelu gwasanaethau rheng flaen craidd cyn belled ag y bo modd.

Felly, rydym yn deall na fydd yn lleddfu'r holl bwysau. Mae'n wir y dylai cyflogau athrawon ddod o'r cyllid gyda'r grant cynnal refeniw. Dywedais ddoe yn y ddadl ar y gyllideb ddrafft ein bod, mewn blynyddoedd blaenorol, wedi gallu darparu rhywfaint o ddyraniad yn ystod y flwyddyn o ganlyniad i danwariant a ddaeth i'r amlwg ar draws y Llywodraeth. Nid ydym wedi gallu gwneud hynny y tro hwn, ond rydym yn gobeithio y bydd y cyllid ychwanegol, a gyhoeddwyd yn ffurfiol heddiw, o leiaf yn helpu gyda pheth o'r pwysau hwnnw. 

Yn y ddadl ddoe, cododd Heledd Fychan fater pensiynau a'r cyfraniadau pensiwn wedi'u haddasu ar gyfer profiad blaenorol, ac ni atebais hynny mewn ymateb i'r ddadl bryd hynny, felly fe wnaf ei ateb nawr, a dweud ein bod yn pwyso ar Lywodraeth y DU i ariannu hynny'n llawn. Rydym wedi dweud y byddwn yn darparu'r cyllid hwnnw ymlaen i wasanaethau cyhoeddus pan ddaw gan Lywodraeth y DU, ond mae gennym gyfran fwy o weithwyr yn y sector cyhoeddus yma yng Nghymru, felly fe fydd yn costio mwy i ni. Felly, rydym angen i Lywodraeth y DU ariannu hynny'n llawn ac rydym yn parhau i bwyso arnynt i wneud hynny.

15:35

Minister, I certainly welcome your announcement of the additional £25 million for local authorities in the next financial year. And as we've already heard, when the UK Government announced an increase to the local government settlement in England, of the £600 million, it has then released that £25 million in consequential funding for the Welsh Government, which of course is a substantial amount of money, but, as you say, and others say, not the full amount to deal with many of the pressures that councils are facing at the moment. My colleagues and I called for this money to be passported to local councils from the moment it was announced, and I'm pleased to see that this is going to happen.

Welsh councils are facing these huge challenges, as we've all acknowledged here today. We firmly believe this is not helped by what we see as an unfair funding formula from Cardiff Bay here, in particular affecting councils in north Wales and rural areas, who are feeling the sharp end of these funding disparities. So, I wonder, Minister, whether, on reflection, with this funding specifically identifying pressures in specific areas in local authorities, that's triggered any thoughts in your mind around the funding formula at the moment and its quality, in terms of what it's identifying as need in councils across Wales.

Weinidog, rwy'n sicr yn croesawu eich cyhoeddiad am y £25 miliwn ychwanegol i awdurdodau lleol yn y flwyddyn ariannol nesaf. Ac fel y clywsom eisoes, pan gyhoeddodd Llywodraeth y DU gynnydd i'r setliad llywodraeth leol yn Lloegr, am y £600 miliwn, mae wedi rhyddhau £25 miliwn mewn cyllid canlyniadol i Lywodraeth Cymru, ac wrth gwrs mae'n swm sylweddol o arian, ond fel y dywedwch chi ac eraill, nid yw'n swm llawn i ymdrin â llawer o'r pwysau y mae cynghorau'n eu hwynebu ar hyn o bryd. Galwodd fy nghyd-Aelodau a minnau am basbortio'r arian i gynghorau lleol o'r eiliad y cafodd ei gyhoeddi, ac rwy'n falch o weld bod hyn yn mynd i ddigwydd.

Mae cynghorau Cymru yn wynebu heriau enfawr, fel y mae pawb ohonom wedi cydnabod yma heddiw. Credwn yn gryf na chaiff hyn ei helpu gan yr hyn a welwn fel fformiwla ariannu annheg o Fae Caerdydd yma, gan effeithio'n arbennig ar gynghorau yng ngogledd Cymru ac ardaloedd gwledig, sy'n teimlo brath y gwahaniaethau ariannol hyn. Felly, Weinidog, gyda'r cyllid hwn yn nodi pwysau penodol mewn meysydd penodol mewn awdurdodau lleol, tybed a yw hynny wedi cymell unrhyw feddyliau yn eich meddwl ynghylch y fformiwla ariannu ar hyn o bryd a'i ansawdd, o ran yr hyn y mae'n nodi fel angen mewn cynghorau ledled Cymru.