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Live Reporting

Alun Jones

All times stated are UK

  1. Hwyl fawr

    The nineteenth FMQs of 2022 comes to a close.

    Thanks for following - join us again next week.

    The Senedd will once again be lit tonight in the blue and yellow colours of Ukraine’s flag as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine and its people.

    Senedd Cymru
  2. 'Increased risk to animal welfare'

    Asked by Llyr Gruffydd, the first minister acknowledges that there is an increased risk to animal welfare as a result of the cost of living crisis.

    He says "we assess that risk together with our partners in the farming unions, third sector organisations, and through the Welsh Government's established animal health and welfare group."

    Mr Gruffydd asks whether the government could provide financial support for animal charities "because at the end of the day, we are going to see animal welfare suffering appallingly if a number of these animals have to be put down?"

    The first minister replies that "the minister and the chief veterinary officer are working very closely with the third sector. They do excellent work; of course, the government's stance is to support people in that sector and to assist them. I don't know if we can do that financially, but we do do it in other ways, to support them in the important work that they do."

    Mark Drakeford
    Image caption: Mark Drakeford
  3. Perinatal mental health problems

    Plaid Cymru's Siân Gwenllian emphasises the need for services to support women who are affected by perinatal mental health problems.

    She says, "one in four women can develop problems of this kind. I am therefore concerned about mothers in my constituency and across the north of Wales. There is no access to a specialist unit close to home for these mothers. Will you commit to develop specialist support in an appropriate location?"

    The first minister replies, "in order for an independent unit to operate, it would need to meet the standards required by the relevant royal colleges, and that includes the number of patients that would be required to sustain a specialist unit of this kind. That's what people in north Wales are currently discussing. Can we establish a unit in north Wales, where the royal colleges will be content to give their seal of approval for that to move forward? Those discussions are ongoing, and I know that all opportunities are being taken to accelerate the process of agreeing a range of practical proposals."

    Siân Gwenllian
    Image caption: Siân Gwenllian
  4. Free school meals

    Mark Drakeford says the idea of free school meals came from a visit to a school in Rhondda Cynon Taf by then-First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

    "He met a formidable headteacher, who said to him that if there was one thing that she would like to see the Welsh Government do, it would be to take action to prevent children in her school turning up every morning too hungry to learn. And that was a very sobering moment."

    Reception class children in Wales will get free school meals from September - the first in a rollout for all primary school pupils.

    All the country's approximately 272,000 primary school pupils are set to get free lunches by 2024.

    It is part of a deal between Plaid Cymru and the Labour Welsh government.

    School meals
  5. Picket lines

    A number of Labour MPs have shown support for this week's rail strikes by appearing at picket lines outside stations, despite warnings from Sir Keir Starmer's office.

    Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price refers to reports that senior Labour MPs were told not to show support for the strikes.

    He says, "in Westminster's rail crisis, there seems to be a competition between politicians to see who can be the most invisible. Is it Grant Shapps refusing to sit down with the rail unions, or is it Keir Starmer banning his shadow Cabinet from the picket lines and berating them from speaking out in favour? I was at an RMT picket line this morning—proud to be there expressing my solidarity with workers fighting for jobs and decent pay and conditions. At a time when trade unions and workers are being demonised, being turned into scapegoats, being vilified to distract attention from Boris Johnson's many failures, isn't it even more important that we show them our support?"

    First Minister Mark Drakeford replies that no inhibition exists to prevent his MSs showing their support for trade unions.

    But he adds, "Keir Starmer is in a very different position. If he were to sanction that, the story would never, ever be about support for the trade union movement. It would be the Tories succeeding in their wish to portray this as somehow an example of the country returning to days which had been left far behind."

    Workers picketing near Cardiff Central station on Tuesday morning
    Image caption: Workers picketing near Cardiff Central station on Tuesday morning
  6. Only two MSs on Zoom

    Only two MSs are on Zoom today, which leads to the Llywydd Elin Jones commenting on noise levels in the Siambr.

    "I'm hearing the effect of it around me".

  7. 'Do you support the strikes?'

    On the day of the rail strikes, Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, asks "do you support the strikes?"

    "There are no strikes in Wales" replies the first minister, "there is no dispute between Transport for Wales and the trade union. Where I am responsible for these things, workers are not on strike, because of the way in which the Welsh Government acts on a social partnership basis to bring people round the table together to make sure that conversations take place and solutions are reached."

    He says most trains aren't running in Wales because the UK government "has created a dispute with Network Rail, and Network Rail have removed some of the staff, who could have been available to make trains run in Wales, in order to keep trains running in England."

    Mr Davies says "we need to move away from the 1950s working practices and move into the 2020s—practices that see people not sharing vans to get to the same site to work, practices that rule not using drones for health and safety or the ability to use apps on phones to send messages to workers who are in vulnerable locations."

    Andrew RT Davies
    Image caption: Andrew RT Davies
  8. Recruitment of health professionals

    The Llywydd (presiding officer) Elin Jones conducts a ballot to determine the names of members who may table questions to the first minister and Welsh ministers. Each member may enter their name into a ballot.

    Conservative Samuel Kurtz asks "what action is the Welsh Government taking to enhance healthcare provision in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire?"

    First Minister Mark Drakeford replies that action includes "reform of the dental contract to enhance access to NHS care".

    Mr Kurtz calls on the Welsh Government to do more to help the recruitment of health professionals, particularly to rural surgeries.

    The first minister replies, "we've had a very good experience in the last couple of years in recruiting GPs into training practices here in Wales. Those numbers have exceeded the threshold that we set last year and the year before, and we are doing very well to include in those training practices additional practices in rural parts of Wales. I feel confident that the general principle there is one that stands up to examination, that if you go and train somewhere, and you spend time there, it increases the chances that that is where you will want to work permanently."

  9. Croeso

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the nineteenth session of First Minister's Questions in 2022.

    The meeting is held in a hybrid format, with some members in the Siambr (Senedd chamber) and others joining by video-conference.