The Welsh Government has “hit the ground running” during its first 100 days as it delivers its ambitious programme of building a united, connected and sustainable Wales, Carwyn Jones has said.
The First Minister said the Welsh Government’s top priority was to drive investment in the Welsh economy and improvements in the vital public services that the people of Wales rely on.
Speaking at a news conference to mark the government’s first 100 days in office, First Minister Carwyn Jones said:
“In May, I made a commitment to the people of Wales to form a Government that is open, confident and willing to work with others for the good of the country. In this spirit, I set out my priorities for the first 100 days of this Government. Some of that was about hitting the ground running - some of it was about slowing things down to bring in additional voices and expertise.
“We have ensured that progress on our priorities has not been halted by the Brexit vote – but it is of course important that we view our commitments in light of the referendum result.
“In the hours following Britain’s vote to leave the EU, I set out our six priorities for Wales and these remain at the forefront of how we approach the future – central to this is retaining uninterrupted access to the Single Market.
“Wales is playing a full and active role in the negotiations, and I made it clear to the Prime Minister that this access must continue unchecked.
“We have also taken a number of specific steps to protect the Welsh economy – our business confidence plan will provide support for Welsh exporters, and we have created a new fund to help boost employment and attract inward investment.
“While the people of Wales voted to leave the EU, we did not vote to be done over – and we must not lose a single penny of the funding we currently receive.”
During the first 100 days, the Welsh Government has:
Taken steps to protect the Welsh economy following the UK’s vote to leave the EU– including the publication of a business confidence plan and demanding long-term certainty and a full guarantee that funding will continue for our existing EU programmes to 2023;
- Continued to fight for Wales’ best interests by calling an emergency meeting of the British-Irish Council and the Council for Economic Renewal, and established a dedicated civil service team to represent Wales in forthcoming EU negotiations, making sure that Welsh interests have been to the fore in the early days of Brexit talks.
- Committed £80m to establish a New Treatment Fund and to independently review patient funding requests – this is a significant step forward in ensuring treatment for life-limiting and life-threatening diseases are immediately and consistently available across Wales. The independent review panel has been agreed and we fully expect the fund to be in operational in December.
- Developed a fully-costed business case for the creation of a Development Bank for Wales, and subject to Cabinet agreement this Autumn, it is expected to be in operation by the second quarter of next year. This will complement the Business Confidence Plan by providing greater levels of funding, support and advice to SMEs;
- Thanks to almost £100m of Welsh Government support, 70% of small businesses in Wales currently receive help with their business rates – with more than half of businesses paying no non-domestic rates at all. A new business rates relief scheme will be announced next month to ensure Wales’ small businesses continue to receive essential support.
- Announced ambitious plans to increase the number of Welsh speakers to one million by 2050.
The First Minister also revealed that now the Assembly has been in place for 100 days and in a position to scrutinise legislation, the Welsh Government intends to introduce the Land Transaction Tax Bill on 12th September, followed swiftly by a new Public Health Bill, Landfill Disposal Tax Bill, an Additional Learning Needs Bill, Trade Union Bill and legislation to abolish the Right to Buy.