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Present

  • Rt. Hon. Mark Drakeford MS (Chair)
  • Rebecca Evans MS
  • Vaughan Gething MS
  • Lesley Griffiths MS
  • Jane Hutt MS
  • Julie James MS
  • Jeremy Miles MS
  • Eluned Morgan MS
  • Mick Antoniw MS
  • Dawn Bowden MS
  • Hannah Blythyn MS
  • Julie Morgan MS
  • Lynne Neagle MS
  • Lee Waters MS

Officials

  • Des Clifford, Director General Office of the First Minister
  • Will Whiteley, Deputy Director Cabinet Division
  • Toby Mason, Strategic Communications
  • Jane Runeckles, Special Adviser
  • Madeleine Brindley, Special Adviser
  • Alex Bevan, Special Adviser
  • Daniel Butler, Special Adviser
  • Ian Butler, Special Adviser
  • Kate Edmunds, Special Adviser
  • Sara Faye, Special Adviser
  • Clare Jenkins, Special Adviser
  • Andrew Johnson, Special Adviser
  • Mitch Theaker, Special Adviser
  • Tom Woodward, Special Adviser
  • Christopher W Morgan, Cabinet Secretariat (minutes)
  • Damian Roche, Cabinet Secretariat
  • Catrin Sully, Cabinet Office
  • Tracey Burke, Director General, Education and Public Services
  • Andrew Goodall, Director General, Health
  • Judith Paget, Director General Health designate
  • Reg Kilpatrick, Director General, COVID-19 Crisis Coordination
  • Andrew Slade, Director General, Economy, Skills and Natural Resources
  • Helen Lentle, Director Legal Services
  • Tim Render, Director Land, Nature and Food
  • Helen John, Deputy Director Borders Infrastructure Delivery
  • Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer

Item 1: Minutes of previous meetings

1.1 Cymeradwyodd y Cabinet gofnodion y 11 Hydref / Cabinet approved the minutes of 11 October.

Item 2: Senedd business

2.1 Cabinet noted the Plenary grid.

Item 3: Border issues

3.1 The Minister for the Economy introduced the paper, which invited Cabinet to consider the overall approach to Border Control Posts (BCPs) and the impact on Ports in Wales.

3.2 As a result of Brexit, checks on imports of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) products, such as plants, animals and animal products, from the EU were required at BCPs and without such Posts the products could not be imported. The UK government had delayed physical checks until July 2022.

3.3 Some ports had developed their own BCPs, funded in part by UK government’s Port Infrastructure Fund. Where the facilities could not be built at the port, UK ministers intervened to build inland border facilities.

3.4 In Wales, new BCPs were required for Holyhead, Pembroke Dock and Fishguard and the Welsh Government had inherited delivery of facilities at these Ports in late 2020. At that stage, the current model had been adopted, with inland sites to check the full range of commodities coming through the ports.

3.5 The government was committed to developing facilities at Holyhead for the full range of goods, but it would not be operational by 2022, and temporary measures would remain in place for around 6 to 9 months.

3.6 A combined BCP could be built to serve South West Wales.

3.7 In the meantime, interim arrangements were being prioritised and, working in partnership with the Ports, the Local Authority and Border Force, officials were exploring the possibility of introducing basic checks on products of animal origin and low risk plants at the Ports, supplemented with offsite checks for live animals and high risk plants.

3.8 The formal request to UK Treasury for funding to cover the full cost of BCPs had been submitted as part of the Spending Review as the UK Statement of Funding Policy stated that BCPs should be funded by UK government as part of the EU Exit policy. It would not be appropriate for these facilities to be funded through Barnett consequentials as they were based on place based requirements and not population size.

3.9 Cabinet expressed concern that the UK government may not provide sufficient resources to develop and operate BCPs in Wales, and it was important to pursue this with the Treasury as it was clearly Brexit related expenditure.

3.10 It was agreed the government’s public approach should be to focus on delivering a permanent BCP at Holyhead, exploring alternative delivery models in South West Wales while prioritising the consideration of interim arrangements to conduct physical checks for all three Ports from July 2022.

3.11 Cabinet approved the paper.

Item 4: Programme for Government

4.1 The First Minister introduced the paper, which asked Cabinet to note progress on embedding the Programme for Government.

4.2 Notwithstanding the ongoing implications of the pandemic, the consequences of Brexit and increasing hostility by the UK government to devolution, after only 5 months substantial progress had been made in embedding the Programme for Government. For example, funding had been announced for an additional 100 Police Community Support Officers across Wales and there was further progress with plans to establish a North Wales Medical School, with more students completing their training in the region.

4.3 Cabinet noted the paper.

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