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Cofnod y Trafodion
The Record of Proceedings

Pwyllgor yr Economi, Seilwaith a Sgiliau

The Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee




Agenda’r Cyfarfod
Meeting Agenda

Trawsgrifiadau’r Pwyllgor
Committee Transcripts



4        Cyflwyniad, Ymddiheuriadau, Dirprwyon a Datgan Buddiannau      

Introductions, Apologies, Substitutions and Declarations of Interest       


4        Panel y Sectorau Adeiladu a Pheirianneg—Comisiwn Seilwaith Cenedlaethol i Gymru     

Construction and Engineering Sectors Panel—National Infrastructure Commission for Wales


31      Papurau i’w Nodi

Papers to Note


31      Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i Benderfynu Gwahardd y Cyhoedd o’r Cyfarfod

Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to Resolve to Exclude the Public from the Meeting         












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


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



Aelodau’r pwyllgor yn bresennol
Committee members in attendance


Hannah Blythyn



Hefin David



Russell George

Ceidwadwyr Cymreig (Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor)
Welsh Conservatives (Committee Chair)


Vikki Howells



Mark Isherwood

Ceidwadwyr Cymreig
Welsh Conservatives


Jeremy Miles



Adam Price

Plaid Cymru
The Party of Wales


Eraill yn bresennol
Others in attendance


Mark Bodger

Cyfarwyddwr Partneriaethau Strategol, CITB Cymru Wales

Director of Strategic Partnerships, CITB Cymru Wales


Ed Evans

Cyfarwyddwr, Cymdeithas Contractwyr Peirianneg Sifil Cymru

Director, Civil Engineering Contractors Association Wales


Mark Harris

Cynghorwr Cynllunio a Pholisi Cymru, Ffederasiwn Adeiladwyr Cartrefi

Planning and Policy Advisor Wales, Home Builders Federation


Neil Sadler


Cadeirydd, ACE Cymru Wales

Chairman, ACE Cymru Wales


Swyddogion Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru yn bresennol
National Assembly for Wales officials in attendance


Mike Lewis

Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk


Gareth Price



Gareth David Thomas

Y Gwasanaeth Ymchwil
Research Service

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:31.
The meeting began at 09:31.


Cyflwyniad, Ymddiheuriadau, Dirprwyon a Datgan Buddiannau

Introductions, Apologies, Substitutions and Declarations of Interest


[1]          Russell George: Good morning, and welcome to the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee. We move to item 1. We only have one apology this morning, from David Rowlands. Can I ask if there are any declarations of interest from Members? There are none.


Panel y Sectorau Adeiladu a Pheirianneg—Comisiwn Seilwaith Cenedlaethol i Gymru

Construction and Engineering Sectors Panel—National Infrastructure Commission for Wales


[2]          Russell George: I move to item 2, which is our first large piece of work on the national infrastructure commission for Wales. This morning, we have an expert panel in front of us to help us with the start of our inquiry. I’ll ask the members of the panel to introduce themselves. You can start from my left.


[3]          Mr Harris: Morning. My name’s Mark Harris—without the ‘e’, sorry, I just point that out. I’m planning and policy adviser for the Home Builders Federation in Wales.


[4]          Mr Bodger: I’m Mark Bodger, the strategic partnerships director for the Construction Industry Training Board, often known as CITB, in Wales.


[5]          Mr Evans: Bore da. Good morning. I’m Ed Evans, I’m the director of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association in Wales.


[6]          Mr Sadler: Good morning. I’m Neil Sadler. I’m the voluntary chairman for the Association for Consultancy and Engineering in Wales.


[7]          Russell George: I’m very grateful for your time this morning. Members have got various questions, but if I could start: why do we need a commission? I appreciate that could lead to a very detailed answer, but what are the top lines? Why do we need a commission? To any member of the panel—Mr Evans.


[8]          Mr Evans: Shall I deal with it first? I think probably the track record of the delivery of infrastructure projects, not just in Wales but across the UK, has not been great, for a whole host of reasons. The decision making, the time it takes to make decisions—and all the time that indecision is costing our economy, our economic growth—it’s hindering it. So, we feel, certainly, that a commission can start to bring some structure and some connectedness into all the various projects and aspirations that we all have. Really, it’s about bringing some order into things, allowing us to focus on what investment we need to take things forward and, importantly, what the skills are that we need. And that does need to be—as boring as it sounds—put into some sort of plan.


[9]          Russell George: And why can’t the Welsh Government do that themselves, in your view?


[10]      Mr Evans: There’s always a political and a slightly shorter term view on some of these things, which is understandable. So, I think, certainly, our view in terms of a commission is it’s not about taking decisions away from politicians, but it’s possibly enabling them to make better decisions, and also better informing citizens, so citizens can understand some of the decisions that are made. Thank you for the question, but—


[11]      Hefin David: Very delicately put.


[12]      Mr Evans: I’ve been practising that. [Laughter.]


[13]      Russell George: If I could ask any other members to comment and perhaps widen it out as well to the level of staffing that you might think the commission might need, as well.


[14]      Mr Sadler: Okay. That wasn’t where I was going to go.


[15]      Russell George: I’ll come to somebody else on that.


[16]      Mr Sadler: Okay, but it does relate to that. I think what we would hope, as a construction industry, is that the commission would drive a focus that would enable us to respond better to the demands of infrastructure development. At the moment—and staffing is part of that—we don’t know, and haven’t known for the 30 years I’ve been running a business in Wales, what the future demands are going to be with any degree of certainty. I think what we would hope the commission would do would be to draw a focus on that to enable the construction industry as a body to respond better to the demands of the nation.


[17]      Russell George: And perhaps if I could ask the other panel members—do you have comments on the level of staffing and the level of funding that the commission may need?


[18]      Mr Bodger: As far as the staffing is concerned, I think it needs to be an appropriate level, obviously—somewhere between 10 and 12 may be a suitable number—but it needs to have a range of expertise covering a wide range of specialisms: from technical, through to funding, through to a wider knowledge base, maybe with international experience as well, to bring the best practice from around the world, so that we can get some certainty to projects here in Wales, to stop the inevitable boom and bust that we see across the sector, which doesn’t help the skills agenda at all, and can help maximise the benefits of investment here in Wales for the people of Wales.


[19]      Russell George: And should the remit of the commission be set out in a remit letter from the Cabinet Secretary? Do you have views on that?


[20]      Mr Sadler: Very broadly, I think the most important thing is to have the right people on the commission. Going back to your question of staffing, I think the commission needs to be a body of experts, almost, covering all the disciplines, as has already been suggested, but then it would need a secretariat, or a body of support people so that whatever their recommendations are can actually be properly published and channelled.


[21]      Russell George: And how close should that be to Welsh Government?


[22]      Mr Sadler: It should be independent.


[23]      Russell George: Independent. Mr Harris.


[24]      Mr Harris: Just to come back to the first question—‘Why do we need a commission?’—one other thought, and maybe why a commission would work better than Welsh Government, is that a lot of the infrastructure issues are cross-border and wider than just Wales. I’m not suggesting Welsh Government don’t work well with English Government, but we all know examples where they maybe haven’t worked as well as they could have done, from both sides, so maybe a commission would be in a better position to deal with those cross-boundary and wider-than-Wales issues.


[25]      Mr Sadler: There’s also another issue there, I think, which is probably true, which is that infrastructure as a whole needs a single vision. I think infrastructure imparts influence on lots of different departments within government—would I be right in saying that? So, maybe one of the problems Welsh Government has is the interdepartmental boundaries, and we hope that the commission could cross all those boundaries.


[26]      Mr Bodger: Coming back to the remit letter, if there was a remit letter that clearly outlined what the requirements were, and the governance arrangements, it would enable feedback through a relevant committee through to a Minister or Cabinet Secretary, but also it would make sure that there was regular consultation with the sector as well. I think if that was set out clearly in a remit letter, it would give that continuity, and the arrangements—it would be clear for everyone to see what those were, and it would give that transparency that I think people are looking for.


[27]      Russell George: Mr Evans.


[28]      Mr Evans: We’d struggle, I think, if that remit letter was constraining. I think we need to see infrastructure in its entirety, and it does encompass economic, social and environmental considerations. We need to tap in to the ambitions across the whole of Wales. I think if we exclude a bit of it—and I think there is a suggestion at the moment to exclude, maybe, the social element of it—I’m not quite sure how that ties in with the well-being of future generations Act, which I think has got to underpin the work of this commission. But if you think of social infrastructure in terms of housing, for instance, that has to be seen in the context of transport, connectedness, integration—it’s an important driver of some of the decision making. So, maybe at a strategic level, that should be in there. Operationally, I think that’s a different discussion to be had.


[29]      Russell George: I’m grateful. Jeremy Miles.


[30]      Jeremy Miles: Thanks, Chair. Actually, I’ve got questions on the way in which the commission would work with the Welsh Government, or how they’d work together, but just a follow-on question to the points that you raised, Chair, if I may: on the issue of staffing and composition of the commission itself, what’s your view on whether what’s currently being consulted upon is likely to be the best structure to attract the right people to make the best judgments on infrastructure, generally?


[31]      Mr Evans: I think, clearly, they need to be open appointments; we need to have a diverse cross-section of people on there. If I’m honest, without doing myself or my colleagues down, if it’s full of people like us, we’ve probably missed something. This should be businessmen; it should be people who are going to drive and grow our economy. You do need the expertise of delivery and the strategic view, but I think it needs to be that cross-section of businesspeople.


[32]      Mr Sadler: Your question was, ‘How do you attract the right people?’, was it?


[33]      Jeremy Miles: Well, the question was quite specific in the sense of, from what you’ve seen of what’s been proposed, is that the best means of attracting the kind of people you’re talking about, making the decisions or making the recommendations?


[34]      Ms Sadler: You’ve got to make it attractive to them to want to participate, you mean.


[35]      Jeremy Miles: Yes.


[36]      Mr Evans: I think, to a certain extent, it depends on how much credibility and influence this particular body has. If it’s seen as purely a talking shop, purely advisory, I don’t think you will attract the right people, because people want to make sure that they’re giving their time well.


[37]      Jeremy Miles: That takes us on to my area of questioning, actually. Others are going to ask you about specific aspects of the remit and about governance. I’m really looking at the operational relationship between the two bodies. A number of you, in your written evidence, have talked about the importance of getting a strong evidence base for the recommendations, which the commission will make, taking into account the Welsh Government economic ambitions and realistic views on timescales. Could you just give your thoughts on how you see the commission getting to the point of its recommendations—what process it would follow and what sort of evidence you’d expect to see being taken into account in that set of recommendations?


[38]      Mr Sadler: I think the commission needs the power to be able to draw whatever evidence it can from Government departments, initially. It also needs the funding and the power to commission any research that it thinks is necessary, if the evidence doesn’t exist. So, it will need to have the money to be able to do that.


[39]      Jeremy Miles: Okay. The Cabinet Secretary’s spoken about being able to commission evidence where evidence doesn’t already exist. Now, that, in a sense, is sensible, but clearly the nature of the evidence sought can vary. And who’s to say whether the evidence out there is adequate for the decisions that the commission wants to make? So, you’re suggesting a pretty broad remit for commissioning the kind of evidence it feels is appropriate for its decisions.


[40]      Mr Sadler: Yes, it makes its own decisions about that. We talked earlier about social infrastructure; I think if you can attract the right people with the right powers—. I believe that the questionnaire from Government at the moment is suggesting that the social infrastructure is not part of the remit of this. I think you’ve got to give the people on the commission the powers to make that decision themselves.


[41]      Jeremy Miles: Okay. Others will ask you about the remit in particular, or that particular question. Some of you’ve talked about a need, including today, for a project pipeline, if you like, against which you can set expectations for the various sectors of what the likely demands and opportunities are going to be over a reasonable time frame. You’ve got the commission making recommendations and you’ve got the Government making the decisions; how do you see the project pipeline ambition fitting between those two separate but related tasks, if you like?


[42]      Mr Bodger: The key thing is to make sure that the process is transparent and that there are recommendations that are scrutinised in an appropriate way. So, once the commission publishes its recommendations, then they should be scrutinised through a committee structure, through to the Cabinet Secretary. But if the Welsh Government then decides not to take up the recommendations of the commission, there should be reasons published as to why that might be the case, so that the public can see what those recommendations were and why they may not have been taken up in the form that they recommend.


[43]      Jeremy Miles: Okay. So, just to develop that thought, you’d see a report being issued by the commission annually; presumably the point is not to do it on a project-by-project basis, but to do it on a strategic overview basis. So, it would be a periodic report that would contain a list of recommendations and you would want the Government to respond, essentially, in detail to them saying, ‘Yes, we will do these projects in this order, over this time frame’. Is that the sort of thing you have in mind?


[44]      Mr Bodger: To provide that level of certainty, I think that’s something that we would love to see, as far as the skills agenda is concerned, to get that consistency and to get that investment, as far as the benefit to the economy here in Wales is concerned.


[45]      Mr Harris: Just adding to that, obviously, Welsh Government currently produces the infrastructure plan, so maybe one of the first tasks of the commission is to look at that infrastructure plan and say, ‘Well, are we doing this in the right way? Can we help support that, or do we need to do it in a completely different way?’ But, obviously, in gathering evidence, they’ll see that, to a certain degree, that pipeline of work is already being established. What’s maybe not clear in that document is when those decisions—when the pipeline actually happens.




[46]      Jeremy Miles: Yes.


[47]      Mr Evans: And I think that’s why it’s important that investment is brought into this, or funding, or how the commission is enabled to at least propose how those projects can be funded, otherwise it lacks a certain amount of credibility, just putting forward a programme that is probably not further forward than where we are now, really, with an infrastructure investment programme.


[48]      Jeremy Miles: You wouldn’t want, essentially, a wish list that would take you nowhere, really; you’d want visibility from the commission and certainty from the decision making within the Government.


[49]      Mr Evans: Absolutely. And that brings it back to having the right people on there and attracting the right people. If they see that, then you’ve got more chance of getting the right people on that commission.


[50]      Jeremy Miles: Great. Thank you very much. Thanks, Chair.


[51]      Russell George: Vikki Howells.


[52]      Vikki Howells: Thank you, Chair. Regarding the remit of the commission—and I know this is an area that you’ve touched on already, Mr Evans—I agree with everything that you’ve all said so far, that it’s very important that the commission is not just seen as a talking shop but can actually help to deliver real, tangible results that improve the lives of the people of Wales. There was a report out just this morning from the Bevan Foundation, which looked at the issues around low pay. We know we’ve got the lowest unemployment now in the UK, but it’s time for us to shift the agenda and really try and improve the lives of people with regard to pay. Now, some might say that, in that respect, if the commission is really seeking to have an impact on people’s lives and also tie in with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, that the remit of the commission needs to not just look at economic infrastructure, but to look at social infrastructure as well and have that broader remit. And I know, Mr Evans, that your organisation certainly takes that view. I wonder whether that’s something that you could all shed some light on as to your views around that, please.


[53]      Mr Evans: Obviously, as civil engineering contractors, businesses are great employers of apprentices and certainly massive contributors to local economies. I think the difficulty—. I think the whole community benefits agenda that has been driven by Welsh Government has been really important, but I think, with the way we deliver infrastructure projects at the moment, it’s not really conducive to doing that in a very slick way. And, very often, you’re limited in terms of how many people you can take on board from disadvantaged backgrounds, whereas we see—at least I think we do—the potential for an infrastructure commission to give a lot more structure to this and allow to plan not just for investment needs and for delivering projects, but for the skills agenda as well. And we’ve got plenty—you’ll know yourselves—of communities that would benefit greatly from that opportunity. So, it’s a way of doing it better, I think.


[54]      Mr Sadler: I think there’s a very big missing part from the questionnaire issued by Government at the moment about skills. It avoids that issue altogether in the way the questions are framed, and I think we all feel, and the people we talk to about this all feel, that that’s a big gap and that skills is a big part of this, not just from the industry capability point of view, but also from the social benefits point of view. And the two things go together.


[55]      Mr Bodger: I think, obviously, for us skills are an absolutely crucial part of this. To be able to deliver the projects that we’re talking about, to have those skills is essential. And to maximise the number of people who could be trained and benefit as a result of that, with the economic impact that that’ll have and the social impact that that’ll have by raising the aspirations, so to see people getting involved in the construction sector and the built environment sector more widely, seeing the range of opportunities that there are, I think that will impact massively as far as the social impact that this has, and then we’ll be able to impact some of the other policy agendas that we’ve got in Wales around poverty and other things. So, widening it out as far as the opportunities that infrastructure investment brings is massive. And that gives an opportunity right across Wales. It’s not in any particular area; it’s right across Wales. There are opportunities that we see where this will benefit the people of Wales.


[56]      Mr Sadler: I think history tells us that, when there was a lot of infrastructure development done in the 1950s and 1960s all around the UK, on the back of that, there was an awful lot of export opportunities on the basis of the improved skills that were grown during that period. If this vision looks far enough ahead, we’re not only improving our own infrastructure, we’re also upskilling our workforce to be able to sell our skills all around the world. There’s a big spin-off from that with a very big social benefit, to my mind.


[57]      Mr Harris: I think the only other comment I’d have is that by widening the role of the commission to look at the social—. You know, we’re all aware there’s going to be a large number of projects competing for a small pot of money. And, obviously, it tends to be that the infrastructure project concentrates on its main benefit, but maybe this ability to look slightly wider will help in decisions over prioritisation, because the big obvious project may not have some of the wider benefits that the next project down could have.


[58]      Vikki Howells: And building on that, then, Mark, I wonder if you could give us some more background about why the Home Builders Federation believe the commission should be able to take a strategic view of housing within its remit, and what you would consider to be the benefits of that approach.


[59]      Mr Harris: I think it was certainly during the last election that the idea that there is a housing crisis in Wales became far more accepted by politicians and the public. And we see that the delivery of housing in Wales, currently there are a number of factors that restrict it, but infrastructure is clearly one of them. Now, whether or not the infrastructure we’re talking about for actually delivering on the ground is at a level where this commission would look at—because we’re often talking about drainage issues and local highway issues, but actually there is maybe a step back to say, ‘If we’re not able to deal with those local issues effectively, should we be looking at delivering housing in a different way in Wales?’ One of the obvious examples is the opportunities around the metro. You know, we very quickly heard ‘metro-proofing’ become a word being used around new development in Wales, and I think the follow-on to that was, ‘Well, the metro could potentially open up areas that were previously considered unsustainable in terms of transport links’. Not wanting to necessarily copy England, but we’re obviously seeing a move to delivery of housing on a much larger scale in England with new garden cities, or whatever you want to call them. You deliver the new hospital, the new school, the new employment and the housing and the infrastructure all in one go, and clearly large infrastructure projects would enable us to do that. It’s not something that we’ve probably done in Wales for quite a long time.  


[60]      Russell George: I’ll come to Adam first, and then to Hefin. Adam.


[61]      Adam Price: Just following on from that point, really, there’s been a suggestion in England with reference to the garden cities, garden towns and even garden villages that that could be part of the national infrastructure commission, where you’re talking about major housing projects, whether it’s new towns or urban extensions. Wouldn’t it seem sensible at least that that element of strategic planning for new settlements in Wales, which could be part of the answer to some of our housing need, should be part of the broad mix of an infrastructure commission’s overview?


[62]      Mr Harris: I think so; I definitely would agree with that, and obviously the timing is right in terms of Welsh Government are starting to prepare the national development framework, which is the replacement for the strategic development plan. We’ve also got the Cardiff city region, potentially the strategic development plan, and the move towards a strategic development plan process being the way that local government provides its services across Wales. So, you know, all the things that are happening all seem to link in. And, ultimately, we do have an issue with the shortage of land for housing in Wales. Quite often, our existing towns are constrained by the topography or other physical factors, and we’ve traditionally bolted bits on to existing towns and seen that as sustainable. The choice now maybe, in terms of planning for the bigger future, is to start looking slightly differently at these large new projects.


[63]      Russell George: Hefin David.


[64]      Hefin David: Let’s assume, Mark, you get the powers that you want and the remit that you want. Isn’t this just creating a big potential for conflict with local planning authorities?


[65]      Mr Harris: I think in the current model of local planning authorities, yes, and we’ve seen that happen before. But I’ve mentioned the fact that it appears that we’re going to have a new model for local authorities where they work more strategically—you know, the south-east, the Cardiff city region and the 10 local authorities working together. I did some research recently and I think it’s about 60 per cent of new houses in Wales are built within those 10 local authorities. You know, you’ve got a Swansea model and a north Wales model, which probably would pick up the three local authorities—Conwy, Wrexham—where the most houses are built. So, everything seems to be leading us towards that more strategic working. So, yes, you’re right: traditionally, there would have been hurdles, and we’ve seen this idea of creating a national figure for housing and then trying to divvy it up between local authorities not work, but I think, if we go where we seem to be going, there’s likely to be less of an issue.


[66]      Hefin David: When I was first elected, the first question I raised in the Chamber was: we need a strategic development plan for the 10 local authorities in south-east Wales. Is that achievable?


[67]      Mr Harris: I think it is, but I think that, at the moment, it needs more of a push from Welsh Government. I think, at the moment, my own view is that, and the feedback I’m getting, the way the powers were put in place was that it was for the local authorities to come forward with the idea, and, at the moment, in those 10 local authorities, I think the city deal is taking priority with people’s time and effort, because they see money associated with it, whereas the strategic development plan is just another headache of four or five years of having to work through a process, and will it achieve anything?


[68]      Hefin David: I think it’s a bit more than that. I think it’s also that local authority leaders are concerned about losing control of their own local planning, and will a commission actually create even more concerns of those kinds?


[69]      Mr Harris: Yes, I guess I’ve avoided touching on local politics—


[70]      Hefin David: All politics is local.


[71]      Mr Harris: Yes, I know, and we haven’t got the power to do anything about that. I guess that’s a question for the commission, isn’t it, in terms of their remit: understanding what role they have in working with the local politicians. But, again, you know, hopefully, if we move to a more strategic way of delivering local authority, some of those issues may be resolved.


[72]      Hefin David: Okay, I’m a little bit more sceptical of whether that’s possible.


[73]      Mr Harris: I’m trying to be positive.


[74]      Hefin David: Yes. I think we need to explore the potential pitfalls.


[75]      Mr Evans: I think that we do need to have those discussions, and I think that perhaps we are shying away from them. Whether it’s the links with the UK Government and the work of the commission there, whether it’s the links between city regions, we can’t, or we shouldn’t, shy away from those decisions. I think some of it is that just having a commission there allows us, I think, to have those discussions at a much broader level, which I’m not convinced we’re able to do with the moment.


[76]      Hefin David: So, you don’t think the leaders of local authorities will say, ‘Oh well, here’s a body that’s going to take away our powers to deliver the city region’, for example?


[77]      Mr Evans: I think there’s a big danger of that. That would be, I guess, the gut reaction, straight away. I guess there was probably a little bit of that as well with some of the city region discussions, I would suspect, between, let’s just say, more centrally-based local authorities and some others around the periphery. But I don’t think that’s a reason not to have the discussion, and I think a commission allows you, it gives you, a structure to have that discussion in, ideally, a mature way.


[78]      Hefin David: Well, it depends how much power the commission might have.


[79]      Mr Sadler: Doesn’t the commission have the opportunity to challenge the effectiveness of those groups?


[80]      Hefin David: Isn’t it the role of the local councillors to do that—elected councillors?


[81]      Mr Sadler: Not in the sort of overall-strategic-vision-for-Wales sense. Because that must be the remit for this commission.


[82]      Hefin David: Okay. And one—. Sorry, go on.


[83]      Mr Evans: Well, I was just going to say that, clearly, there’s room here for quite a bit of tension, but, again, I come back to the point that I think we need to have that debate, and this gives us a structure to have that debate.


[84]      Hefin David: And I think you are right, to be frank, that there will be resistance at regional—not necessarily at local authority level, but at regional authority level, where local authorities need to work together.


[85]      Just coming back to an issue that I’d like solved—and I wonder if the commission might be able to do that—which is that the building—. Let’s imagine you get the powers you want, that you’d suggest they should have. The building tends to be, in my view, close to the city—the house building tends to be close to the city, close to the jobs, and the northern Valleys tend to get neglected. Could a commission solve that problem, do you think? Adam Price has touched on it, but with the idea of, you know, planned cities and planned towns. Is there a way that the commission could solve those issues?


[86]      Mr Evans: To a certain extent, I think it comes back to the social, environmental and economic ambitions of us as a nation and as a Government and a National Assembly. What are those ambitions? That’s what should drive the work of any commission, and if it is to spread, to move, then it should be able to do that, and it should be able to have that discussion. But I think that’s probably where it needs some guidance in a remit letter or whatever. We need to link whatever we do to the ambitions of the whole nation.




[87]      Mr Bodger: I think by raising that possibility of jobs and buildings happening in those areas, then you’ve got opportunities for upskilling people in those regions, where those could actually be at the end of a metro line, or wherever that may be. So, there’s the possibility of taking jobs to the people where they may be.


[88]      Hefin David: The issue is, though, house builders will build where there’s profit and there’s less profit building three £50,000 to £200,000 houses in the northern Valleys than there is in building one £300,000 house in the south. That’s a fact. Is that a big issue that—?


[89]      Mr Harris: It won’t surprise you that—[Inaudible.]


[90]      Hefin David: I was hoping you would.


[91]      Mr Harris: I think it’s just a subtle use of wording. Yes, profit is important because we’re businesses, we employ people, so let’s not pretend profit isn’t important. But how I would word that slightly differently is: the reason we’re able to sell houses is because it’s where people want to live. So, if there’s a reason for people to want to live there then they’ll buy the house. So, it’s no good saying, ‘We want the houses built in this area because people will come there, because, you know, they will.’ There has to be a reason. So, I think, coming back just on your earlier question, there is a clear sort of infrastructure strategy for the way Wales has developed at the moment and that’s the M4 corridor and the A55 corridor. That’s the basis around everything, isn’t it? It’s around employment, it’s around housing and, naturally, once you’ve got employment and housing, you’ve then got education and hospitals. It all links together. So, again, one of the roles of the commission, if you want to start opening up other areas, is to say, ‘Well, actually, are we better off looking at big infrastructure projects that open up these areas where we’d like to see development and then development on a scale that supports all the things you need for people to want to live there?’


[92]      Hefin David: Thank you.


[93]      Russell George: I’ve got two other Members on this section before we move on to the next subject area. Vikki Howells.


[94]      Vikki Howells: I just want to come back to the key question, really, about the remit of the commission. While there appears to be consensus among the panel that the remit should be broad and far-reaching, it’s obviously still a matter for debate within the wider context of this discussion. So, I know that one of the proposals on the table is that the commission shouldn’t have a specific role in planning social infrastructure, but that it should be able to advise on the interaction between economic, environmental and social infrastructure. Do you see a tension within that particular suggestion? If the remit of the commission ends up being more focused how could it possibly advise on those kinds of interactions if it didn’t have a specific role in planning social infrastructure?


[95]      Mr Sadler: I think that, again, comes down to the individual people who are appointed and the broadness of their understanding, and if they haven’t immediately got to hand the evidence they need to cover those aspects, then they need to be able to get it. And I think where the question is going at the moment is saying, ‘Well, we think all those strategies are okay where they are.’ That’s my reading of it. But I go back to what I said before: you must make the commission’s individuals—. They’ve got to decide for themselves that that is the case, otherwise they do need to bring it in, because otherwise they can’t cover the whole of their remit.


[96]      Mr Evans: And then it will effectively lead to (a) tensions and (b) get-out clauses to a certain extent: ‘Well, you know, that wasn’t part of our remit, and perhaps if it had been, we would’ve come to a different conclusion.’ I don’t think that’s helpful. I don’t think that’s really extending the debate to as far as it needs to go.


[97]      Mr Harris: I think you are right: there is a potential conflict. I think the issue, and it’s a well-known and long-running issue, is that there is a general acceptance that social delivery is best done at a local, grass-roots level—local people understanding what they want and what they need. I think we continue to see that being taken to a higher level, taken away from people and more of the decisions being made for them. I think, probably, taking that sort of level of decision to a commission is just too far away, so there needs to be—. Yes, the commission needs to understand its impact, but I think that delivery needs to be made at a more local level, and by the commission.


[98]      Mr Bodger: And I do think the social aspect needs to be considered as part of an infrastructure commission, because without that, then you lose a lot of benefit that there’s potential for delivering through that commission—through recommendations, particularly related to the upskilling at all levels across the construction sector and the built environment sector and beyond. So, I think the possibilities there are wide, as long as that’s taken into account in its broadest sense. But, again, it does impact on who the people are on the commission, and when we need international experts, we also need people that understand what happens in Wales. So, there needs to be that balance between wider expertise and local expertise as well.


[99]      Russell George: Mark Isherwood.


[100]   Mark Isherwood: Thank you. As you’ll be aware, north Wales has drafted a strategic development plan supported by all the local authorities, predicated upon internal devolution of growth levers. So, there might be a context there—. In the context of local authorities, I think Mark Harris talked about the need to reach out to local politicians, and I think Neil Sadler referred to the need to engage with citizens, but given that the objections almost invariably raised with the likes of us and county councillors come from the communities, and usually are actually based on infrastructure—traffic volumes, where we’re going to put the pupils in schools, local general practitioner surgeries already overwhelmed, or what have you—how, therefore, could you see that working in terms of engaging with the citizens to address their concerns and bring them on board, enabling the county councillors to support their planning officers when these applications come before them?


[101]   Secondly and finally, Mark Harris earlier referred to the barriers facing the house building industry; I suspect that relates to concerns previously expressed about the cumulative regulatory burden in Wales. Again, to what extent could you see the commission objectively reviewing that and perhaps shining a light forward?


[102]   Mr Sadler: So, your first question really was about how the commission would engage with the general public.


[103]   Mark Isherwood: Yes, especially at micro level, where that big scheme may not happen because of lots of little protest groups who are saying, ‘It’s going to damage our village or our town, and we don’t want them here’.


[104]   Mr Sadler: Yes, I think the current legislation allows for that to take place, doesn’t it? The current procedures allow that interaction to happen for any major project that goes forward. If it goes to public inquiry, for instance—


[105]   Mark Isherwood: It tends to be decision consultation. If we’re going to bring people on board and to engage with them, identify their concerns and how we’re going to address them—


[106]   Mr Sadler: At an early enough date for the commission to make a sensible recommendation—. I think it needs to have its research done at the grass-roots level. If it feels it needs that research, it needs to have the power to commission that research. If it hasn’t already been developed—you know, if the projects are already under way, some of that research will have been done. The consultation will have been done. If it hasn’t been done, and it’s missing and they think it’s a problem, they need to have the power to have that research conducted.


[107]   Mr Bodger: And one of the things for me around local versus national versus international is very much around the skills agenda. Obviously, we’ve got skills being devolved, and there’s tension about whether the skills should be devolved by region, by sector. The key issue is, when we’re looking at some of these large infrastructure projects, we’ll have a mobile workforce. We’ve talked about people living in some of the Valleys. What we want to do is see some level of ability for mobility for people’s opportunities right the way across Wales, and by opening up some of these projects, and some of this infrastructure development, I think we’ll have a more mobile workforce, we’ll have more opportunities for people to move within Wales, and also have an increase in their skill level, and hopefully see the economy benefit as a result, both personally and nationally. Then, once that has started to happen, some of the local objections—they’re not going to go away, but they may become more palatable, when people see the opportunities that are there for local people.


[108]   Russell George: We’ll make a bit of ground as that does take us on to our next subject area, and there are some specific questions on skills, which Hannah Blythyn is going to lead on. Hannah.


[109]   Hannah Blythyn: Thanks, Chair. That segues very neatly into the area I wanted to cover. You’ve all briefly touched on the role in terms of the social benefits that skills will play in terms of the infrastructure commission. Do you think there would be a benefit within that remit, within the commission, to produce a national infrastructure skills plan as part of that? How would you support that being included in the remit? And how would you see that working in practice?


[110]   Mr Bodger: I think, for me, that’s an essential part of an infrastructure plan, and will help maximise the benefits of delivery of whatever is ultimately approved and comes on stream. So, if that plan is there, it’ll enable us to stop that rise and fall that we see in projects, the stop/start, the boom/bust. That certainty of investment will lead to a certainty of investment in skills. If we’ve got that, we will be able to put a plan in place to look at—. It takes two to three years to train an apprentice in Wales in most of the construction sector skills, and for that to happen we can utilise the projects, but also, if there’s a plan, you can have precursor plans. So, you can put things in place before the big project comes, so that you’ve got people work-ready, so that they’re not just training on the job, they’re training before the job, ready to work on the job, so that they maximise that benefit going forward. So, for me, it’s an essential part. But, I dare say, you would expect me to say that. [Laughter.]


[111]   Mr Sadler: I think it’s an inevitable consequence that if the commission’s effective, the first thing it starts off—it needs a national infrastructure assessment, it needs to know where we are now. The next thing it produces, if you like, is an equivalent of the infrastructure plan, and to support that infrastructure plan, you need a skills plan. I’m not suggesting that’s necessarily on a lower tier, but it’s a supporting—you can’t have one without the other—. So, I think it’s inevitable.


[112]   Mr Evans: If I go to more of a micro level, you can imagine a lot of member companies are big employers, and they’re also big providers of apprenticeships. We’re constantly about large schemes just over the horizon, Hinkley, Wylfa, M4, a number of others, and everybody feels really good about that. But it’s not here now. So, to have the confidence to be able to take on an apprentice, or somebody from a disadvantaged area, you have to have that work now. So, you have to be able to plan. Dealing with the boom/bust: if a commission is able to move from that to that—it’s never going to move to that, but if it can move to that, then we’ve made a step forward. So, that’s why it needs that plan, but it needs that workload plan and it needs that investment strategy to give the certainty. But it all needs to be tied to our economic social and environmental ambitions. If we don’t get that right—and that really needs to be set by politicians, effectively—. Then we can move on to planning for that.


[113]   Mr Sadler: So, for the commission to develop that plan, it needs good engagement with industry as well. I think, you know, it’s no good them saying, ‘Well, we need another 25,000 carpenters and so many—’. They’ve got to know what’s there at the moment, and what’s available and what—. There needs to be an engagement there, I think.


[114]   Mr Bodger: We have a construction skills network that produces a report annually on labour forecasting. But, again, it’s based on what the probabilities of projects will be. So, it’s only as good as the certainty of the information that we can get. So, at the moment, it’s currently stating that we need 3,500 in addition. That’s to meet the current planned requirements each year, annually, over the next five years within the construction sector. That’s over and above the churn that we see in the sector, but that’s based on what we think will happen. So, the greater certainty that the projects bring, the greater certainty we can have that the investment in skills will actually benefit in jobs that are delivering projects in Wales. So, for me, a skills plan will maximise the funding that we in Wales spend on skills.


[115]   Mr Sadler: I think there’s another issue here, we have collective discussions about these sorts of things, as you’d imagine, all the time within the industry, and one of the things that keeps cropping up, which is relevant to this, is that a lot of businesses go across the border to get their business now. So, if you have a skills plan, you’ve got to recognise that there is attraction for these skills for projects in England, particularly. My firm is very much like that, so I know that.


[116]   Mr Harris: That was the point I was going to make—it’s one of the questions about the interaction with what’s happening in England, and a similar body being set up. Yes, there are—it happens in south Wales and north Wales—two key areas where there is that cross-border movement. It’s a big enough issue if all our projects come forward, let alone if a lot of the English projects come forward at the same time as well.


[117]   Hannah Blythyn: So, following on from that, would you think that the UK’s national infrastructure plan for schools would provide a model for us to build on in Wales, or would you suggest some alternative?


[118]   Mr Harris: I don’t think it necessarily has to be the model, but, equally, there’s no point the two documents completely—either contradicting themselves would be absolutely the worst or just tackling things in a different way, so, actually, if you put the two together they make no sense. There just needs to be some overview that they at least make sense when compared together.




[119]   Mr Evans: We shouldn’t kid ourselves with all the discussions we are having here; there are going to be tensions, and they are going to be—. I think, for me, the principle here is that the commission cannot be a constrained and inward-looking commission. It needs to look way beyond that, and not just across the direct border that we have, but much more broadly than that as well.


[120]   Russell George: Jeremy Miles.


[121]   Jeremy Miles: Just on that question, actually. We are, sort of, discussing a dynamic, fluid environment here. To your point about the tensions, actually, is there a sense in which, if what’s happening in the UK, on the skills point particularly, there’s a skills plan that is a very clear trajectory of what the demand is going to be and if there’s an absence of something that fills that role in Wales, do you think that creates unhelpful competitive pressures for us in Wales? Or is it not that linear, if you like?


[122]   Mr Evans: I think it is—. We’re talking about a very mobile workforce here.


[123]   Jeremy Miles: Absolutely.


[124]   Mr Evans: Traditionally, there has been a movement, for various reasons, from Wales to England. Maybe the pay is better—all sorts of reasons, really—and the increased workload there. So, you’re going to have that. What we would be really missing a trick on is if we do lose a lot of our skills and labour to England when we’ve got some major, major projects coming through in Wales, we hope.


[125]   Jeremy Miles: So, in a sense, I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but, actually, given those economic pull factors, if you like, for whatever reason— there’s a number of them—it’s actually, in a sense, more imperative to be able to create a visibility of what’s coming up in the Welsh market for skills, so that people have that visibility to weigh against that pull. I know it’s not that straightforward, but that would be important, wouldn’t it?


[126]   Mr Evans: It would. It’s like giving anybody certainty. You would prefer to work in your local community, you’d prefer to be home, you don’t want to be working away, week in, week out. But you need that certainty. In the same way you need certainty to invest in the future, you need it for the skills and for your employees as well.


[127]   Mr Bodger: That’s why if there’s a skills plan in England, as far as us having a skills plan goes, it just gives that certainty to employers as far as investment, as far as saying, ‘We’re going to invest for people here because we can see that certainty of work coming up and we’re willing to do that.’ Employers generally will do that if they can see there’s that certainty of work, and opportunities in front of them to train young people and others, and bring people back into the workforce in Wales. We do have a risk of people being sucked out of the economy of Wales and it’s important that we bring them in at all levels, from level 1 right the way through to degree and beyond, within this, and I think that this has got the opportunity of doing that.


[128]   Russell George: I’m aware that we’ve got two or three other big subject areas to cover in the next 12 minutes or so. Mark Isherwood on a new subject area.


[129]   Mark Isherwood: What are your views on the commission being a non-statutory body and the extent to which this will deliver independence from Welsh Government?


[130]   Mr Evans: Most of my comments are couched on the basis of a phased approach to this. I think we all want to see something established fairly quickly and fairly simply and that first step is always the hardest and the most important. Certainly our members would like to see this moved to a statutory basis—it gives it that independence, that credibility. But that takes time. So, I think there is room here for a phased approach and to move towards that. What we would like to see is some certainty that there is a move towards that.


[131]   Mark Isherwood: And to what extent or should the commission be enabled to recruit its own staff and raise funds independently of Welsh Government to support that independence?


[132]   Mr Evans: Again, part of that phased approach and I think that’s where we need to be getting to. Because without some kind of resource to be able to commission work, to build up that evidence base, to make some of those decisions, I think it’s going to be severely hindered. The arm’s-length element, the independence, I think, are critical for credibility for this commission.


[133]   Mark Isherwood: What can we learn from the international experience of bodies advising government on infrastructure in Australia, and bodies in New Zealand and Canada, where they—[Inaudible.]—including this?


[134]   Mr Bodger: There are wider examples around the world and some of them even include the impact of raising funding as well, and that’s something that I think is an area that some of those bodies, particularly in America, around California and elsewhere, have pulled together across states, and even into Canada, looking at how non-profit distribution-type models can operate and bring development and fast forward some of their investment. So, there are models out there that I think we can look at from a wider perspective and, again, if those happen in a quicker context, then maybe we can look at raising and training more people in Wales to deliver things here.


[135]   Mr Evans: We keep hearing time and time again that money is cheap at the moment. It won’t be forever, but having a commissioning base, having a forward programme and being clear about what our ambitions are is going to be more attractive to investors. It gives, again, certainty to investors as well as the deliverers. So, it just gives it that greater confidence in the ability to raise funds, which is critical to this, I think.


[136]   Mark Isherwood: Thank you. And finally from me: how should appointments be made to the commission board?


[137]   Mr Evans: Well, I think there’s a fairly well-established process for appointments. There’s nothing that came through the consultation that, for me anyway, raised any particular concerns. I think it’s quite a well-established process. I don’t know if colleagues want—.


[138]   Mr Bodger: I think the key thing is to get the right people and that the process shouldn’t preclude getting the right people. Sometimes, there are ways and means of making sure that those people go through the right process.


[139]   Mr Sadler: Actually to write the remit in an attractive way is quite important—very important.


[140]   Russell George: Who are the right people? What expertise specifically does the commission need?


[141]   Mr Evans: I think we’d probably all say that it needs some delivery expertise, but there’s a funding element. I’d argue that maybe that isn’t well developed enough within Government, that the resources are not necessarily there to do that. There’s clearly the skills element, but, for me personally, I think the economic drivers are really key to this: having people—the growers of wealth, I guess—who need this infrastructure to be able to develop their businesses to contribute to the economy.


[142]   Mr Sadler: Yes, I think some prominent business people. As well as an economist, it needs a prominent business person with a successful track record in growth.


[143]   Mr Harris: We were talking about this earlier that although you need people, obviously, with particular skills and expertise, it’s avoiding either the number of them or the type of person who ends up being very concentrated on just their own interest, their own particular issue. Obviously, if you have too many people who are transport minded, it sways everything towards transport. So, it’s finding that balance between skills across all the areas that it’s going to look at, but people who also are able to take a wider view on things as well.


[144]   Mr Sadler: And someone who understands the process. If we’re going to have these conflicts within departments and within different groups, someone who understands how Government works, really.


[145]   Russell George: I’m grateful. Adam Price.


[146]   Adam Price: A couple of you have touched already in your remarks this morning, and in some of the evidence that we’ve seen, on the importance of a direct role by the commission in facilitating the additional investment, including private investment, needed to realise some of the ambitions that we all have. And we’ve seen, only in the last couple of weeks, the Canadian Government has announced the creation of a Canadian infrastructure bank to do just that and, indeed, there is some discussion in the press that the UK Government might also be looking to create an infrastructure bank to channel private investment into public infrastructure. Do you think the commission needs to be performing a similar role, arranging, co-ordinating, facilitating additional private investment in order to maximise the opportunities to accelerate infrastructure investment in Wales?


[147]   Mr Evans: I think that if we constrain the commission to just a fixed amount of money, maybe what we can raise through public funds, then, again, we miss a trick, because we are constraining the whole work programme. We’re not in a position to be able to meet some of those ambitions that we have, so I think it’s critical that it has that ability, maybe initially, to take a broad look at this and to understand what is available out there and how we could, effectively, speed up the delivery of some of our infrastructure works, because if we don’t, that indecision, that inability, just reduces our economic growth in the future. This is an invest-to-save, effectively. So, I think that, without that ability to take that overview and maybe, in time, even develop a facility as they had in Ireland with the National Development Finance Agency, where they are actually bringing in this additional funding; we mustn’t constrain ourselves to just public sector funding.


[148]   Mr Sadler: But don’t slow the process down by saying that, ‘It has to be in place right at the start.’ It’s one of the things that’s got to develop. I’ve personally been involved in a number of PPP projects, and you get involved in the City of London and all these things. It’s very involved and it involves a lot of people doing lots of things other than things that you think would normally be necessary to deliver the project. So, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that that might actually be quite a bulky organisation to make that happen.


[149]   Mr Evans: It’s a phased approach, I think.


[150]   Mr Sadler: Yes.


[151]   Mr Harris: There is an opportunity potentially around CIL, the community infrastructure levy, as well, which was set up by the UK Government across the whole of the UK as a way of raising money for infrastructure. I think there was a statement last week that it’s maybe one of the things that may be devolved to Wales, the CIL. There’s also a review of CIL due to come out. That’s raising money, but I don’t think it’s having much success spending the money, but it’s an area that could be looked at.


[152]   Adam Price: So, there’s this idea of it having a role in helping unlock private sources of finance, but that could evolve over time, so it could look at the variety of models that are available—you know, conventional PPP, the not-for-profit distributing models, and this idea of infrastructure bonds that the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, the IPA, at the UK level is also reportedly looking at. So, there’s a range of tools out there, and what you’re saying is, ‘Don’t constrain the commission; don’t overload it, maybe initially, but don’t constrain it from being able to look at whether these are appropriate for Wales.’


[153]   Mr Sadler: It’s inevitable, isn’t it? You sit a group of people around the table like this, the first thing they’re going to say is, ‘What can we afford?’, or, ‘Where can get the money to do this?’ You can’t ask them to make recommendations if they don’t have some attachment to the money that’s needed to deliver it.


[154]   Adam Price: I mentioned the IPA. They have a role in looking at finance, but also in the delivery of complex, major, nationally significant projects. They sit alongside the National Infrastructure Commission. So, effectively, at the UK level, there are two bodies. One is advisory, largely, and one is getting more into issues of delivery. With a national infrastructure commission in Wales, we probably don’t want to create two bodies, do we? Is there an argument saying that, actually, maybe the national infrastructure commission for Wales should be a bit of a hybrid compared to those two UK bodies, having an advisory and strategic role, but also drilling down into some of the operational issues—skills, finance, capacity within the industry—as well?


[155]   Mr Bodger: I think the concern about having bodies—. The closer people are together—. As we’ve already said, if you know how much money is available, you’ll be able then to prioritise projects most appropriately and therefore maximise the benefits of skills. Just because a project’s big, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily going to deliver the best skills and, therefore, economic benefit as a result. So, the commission could look at that in the round, if that was part of its remit, together, that funding and skills and what projects are there and available.


[156]   Mr Evans: I think the commission needs to focus on a work programme, but it needs to have that investment bit of it and it needs to have the skills bit of it. But, initially, I suspect that, if you’re taking a staged approach, it would be more of a strategic advisory view on all those matters. And then, over time, maybe you do then move to more of an operational delivery, but that’s a phased approach, I think.


[157]   Adam Price: Okay. Great. Thanks.


[158]   Russell George: Can I ask how you think the commission should work with the future generations commissioner?


[159]   Mr Evans: It’s imperative. It underpins pretty much everything—all the decision making that happens across Government and that, hopefully, will happen across Wales in time. So, you know, you’d expect the commissioner to be a formal statutory consultee or an integral part of that process. Again, I suppose it comes back to tensions as well. There will be tensions through that as well, but, again, you need to confront these tensions, not create something that doesn’t get the opportunity to do that.




[160]   Russell George: The Cabinet Secretary has a proposal that the future generations commissioner should hold the commission to account on the well-being goals. Is that a view that you would share?


[161]   Mr Bodger: I think it’s crucial that that’s done up front at the very beginning, and if we’re talking about planning things, then that’s the absolute point where future generations activity should take place and be considered right at the start. If we start in that way, then things will progress a lot more simply and in a more straightforward way. If you try and bolt things on after the event or you haven’t considered those at the start, then it becomes much more difficult. So, I think up front is the time and place to fully engage and to be held to account for decisions and recommendations that are made.


[162]   Mr Evans: I’d argue that, at the moment, without a commission and looking at things on an ad hoc one-by-one basis, we don’t actually have the opportunity to really do justice to the well-being of future generations Act, because we’ll have constrained ourselves. I think the M4 is a classic example—that we’re not able necessarily to take that wider view at the moment.


[163]   Russell George: I’m grateful. I’ll ask the last question unless other Members have got anything pressing. No?


[164]   Hefin David: [Inaudible.]


[165]   Russell George: That’s all right. We do have the Cabinet Secretary before us to take evidence from him in a few weeks’ time. What question should we ask him?


[166]   Mr Sadler: ‘How much power are you going to give the commission?’


[167]   Russell George: How much—


[168]   Mr Sadler: ‘How much power are you going to give the commission, or delegate to?’


[169]   Mr Evans: I’m always wary about the word ‘power’ because it has all sorts of—. [Laughter.]


[170]   Mr Sadler: I wanted to use ‘teeth’, but it didn’t sound very—.


[171]   Mr Evans: I think the whole issue about statutory, non-statutory and part of Government or arm’s length, or whatever you want to call it, I think they’re quite critical things, because if it is part of Government, I really don’t think that we’ll get what we need from this. I mean that not as an industry, but as a nation, really.


[172]   Mr Sadler: Or, ‘How are you going to ensure this isn’t just another talking shop?’


[173]   Mr Bodger: For me, it’s, ‘How can we make sure that we maximise the work of the commission to benefit the social aspects, which include skills and upskilling the workforce in Wales, and how can we make sure that that happens through the structure of the commission if skills aren’t an integral part of it?’


[174]   Russell George: I’m grateful. Well, can I thank you for your time this morning? I’m very grateful. Over the next few days, you will get a transcript of proceedings, so please study those and let us know if there are any comments following that. So, very grateful for your time this morning.


[175]   Mr Evans: Thank you. Diolch yn fawr.




Papurau i’w Nodi
Papers to Note


[176]   Russell George: If I move to item 3, there are a number of papers to note: letters from us to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and to the Finance Committee; and one letter as well that we’ve received from the Welsh Retail Consortium regarding apprenticeships. Are Members happy to note those items?


[177]   Mr Price: Just on the apprenticeships levy, we’re working up a paper for next week that will look at a piece of work on that early in the next term. I know that Members were quite keen to look at that last week, so we have bolted that into the planning.


Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i Benderfynu Gwahardd y Cyhoedd o’r Cyfarfod
Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to Resolve to Exclude the Public from the Meeting






bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod a’r cyfarfod ar 23 Tachwedd yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).


that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting and the meeting on 23 November in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).


Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Motion moved.



[178]   Russell George: So, I move to item 4, under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. Are Members content with that? And the next meeting will be on 23 November, but I’m asking Members to resolve that we put forward 17.42 on the basis of the remainder of this meeting and next week’s meeting also. Are Members content with that?


Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Motion agreed.


Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:34.
The public part of the meeting ended at 10:34.