We are are doing everything in our power to make Wales a place where everyone can prosper and thrive.
Over the last year, we have focused on tackling the causes of poverty, promoting fair work and the steps we can take to address the climate emergency to improve our country for generations to come.
This annual report sets out our key achievements and outlines the action we continue to take to improve the wellbeing of people throughout Wales.
This year we declared a climate emergency – the first country in the UK to do so. It was a call to action for all of us in Wales. We have to take action now if we are to pass on the Wales we know and love today to our children and grandchildren.
And we are taking action. We have planted more than 10 million trees since 2014 and we are creating a National Forest for Wales. We are on target to build 20,000 affordable homes this Senedd term and we have installed home energy efficiency improvements in more than 50,000 homes to take people out of fuel poverty and create a greener Wales.
This annual report contains many things we can be proud of in Wales – policies which are making a real difference to people’s lives – from our school holiday lunch and learn programme, combatting holiday hunger, to our nursery-to-university education reforms, which with the help, support and hard work of the teaching profession are improving standards at all levels. The 2018 PISA results showed Wales was the only country in the UK to record improvements in all of the three core areas and we achieved our best ever scores for reading and maths.
The unemployment rate in Wales fell to 3% in the 3 months to November 2019 – the lowest rate since records began. We want to make Wales a nation of fair work, where everyone has access to fair and rewarding work, and we are committed to putting our social partnership approach onto the statute book.
We have achieved everything set out in this report against the turbulence of the wider political climate, caused by ongoing austerity imposed by the UK government and by the uncertainty arising from Brexit.
Leaving the European Union will fundamentally change Wales and our place in the world for decades to come. We will always be a voice for Wales and will always stand up for Wales’ interests, especially as we enter this next phase of Brexit as the UK renegotiates its place in the world.
I am proud of what we have achieved this year and look forward to working together to make Wales a more prosperous, equal and greener country in the year ahead.
First Minister of Wales
This is our annual report, reviewing and setting out progress towards our well-being objectives under the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
Our well-being objectives
We identified 12 well-being objectives in 2017, which were included in Prosperity for All: the national strategy. These are the areas where our work will make the greatest contribution to the national well-being goals, supporting a fairer Wales today and in the future.
Prosperity for All: the national strategy set out the steps we would take to achieve our well-being objectives; these were further developed in the First Minister’s leadership manifesto. There are a number of priority areas, which cut across multiple well-being objectives and require a whole-government approach:
- early years
- social care
- mental health
- skills and employability
During the development of the 2020-21 Budget, biodiversity and poverty were identified as additional priorities.
The progress made to October 2019, is set against the unprecedented uncertainty caused by Brexit and ongoing austerity. But this has not prevented us from delivering for the people of Wales. We have also considered Well-being of Wales: 2018-2019 when reviewing our well-being objectives and producing this report.
We continue to ensure we deliver our services in line with the Welsh language standards. The Welsh language belongs to everyone in Wales and we are proud to embed and celebrate it across our work.
Creating a more prosperous, equal and greener Wales
We have delivered our work against the well-being objectives under 3 themes:
- more prosperous
These themes capture our overall vision and ambition for Wales supporting the delivery of our well-being objectives and maximising our contribution towards the well-being goals.
Preparing for Brexit and embracing our global role
Throughout 2019, the UK government and Parliament lurched between deadlock and frenetic activity. The date for the UK leaving the EU was extended 3 times (29 March, 12 April and 31 October), and was confirmed for 31 January 2020. We continued to advocate Wales’ interests, as set out in Securing Wales’ Future and A Brighter Future for Wales. Our work highlighted the profoundly damaging impact a no deal Brexit would have on the Welsh economy and our communities. Our proposals also set out what we believe would be the best form of Brexit for Wales and the UK.
We worked to prepare for a no deal outcome. Our preparations included developing the necessary legislation to ensure a functioning statute book on exit day (completing around 50 Welsh Statutory Instruments, and consenting to more than 150 UK Statutory Instruments), working with the UK government on operational readiness projects, civil contingencies, and Wales-specific projects over and above work on UK-wide measures.
By working with private, public and third sector organisations we developed the ‘Paratoi Cymru / Preparing Wales’ website to inform, advise and guide the public; a Business Wales Brexit Portal to aid companies in navigating the challenges ahead; and a package of support to help EU nationals living and working in Wales. Through our European Transition Fund we allocated £46 million to businesses, public bodies and third sector organisations, to assist preparations.
Through our inter-governmental relations we are seeking a clear role in negotiations with the European Union, and future trade deals. We are heavily engaged in ensuring an open internal UK market and common frameworks in areas of shared decision-making. A great deal of work has been done to influence the intergovernmental relations review and to progress the model of ‘shared governance’ between the UK administrations. We published Reforming Our Union which contributes to the debate about a viable, dynamic future for the UK.
We continue to work with stakeholders and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to further develop our approach to regional economic funding post Brexit. We continue to press the UK government to honour the pledge that Wales will receive in full the funding it would otherwise have received from the European Union if the UK had remained a member of the EU.
An outward-facing Wales with rich global partnerships
Strengthening Wales’ place in the world is crucial for our ongoing prosperity, especially as the UK’s future relationship with Europe remains uncertain. To further cement an outwardfacing Wales, and the importance of Wales in the world, a new portfolio was created for International Relations and the Welsh Language, including Culture, Sport and Tourism.
During 2018 and 2019, we opened new offices in Paris, Berlin and Dusseldorf, completing our strategic plan to expand our international presence. The Cymru Wales brand is as strong as ever and our Visit Wales campaign has influenced £350 million a year of additional spend in the Welsh economy. Our new International Strategy was published in 2020.
Highlights against the priority areas
Prosperity for All: the national strategy identified a series of cross-cutting priority areas, which we have continued to review and add to. These are aligned to the First Minister’s leadership manifesto. This year, budget preparations for 2020 to 2021 considered investment to accelerate our work to alleviate poverty and reverse the decline in our natural environment.
Key achievements include:
Shaping and improving the lives of every child in Wales:
- Rolling out our childcare offer ahead of schedule to help parents into work
- Supporting more than 36,000 children through our Flying Start programme
- Extending School Holiday Enrichment programmes
Ensuring everyone can have a good quality, affordable home:
- Accelerating our programme to provide 20,000 more affordable homes
- Investing in our Innovative Housing Programme to support high-quality new homes
- Retrofitting homes to improve energy efficiency and quality of life
Providing the right treatment at an early stage:
- Developing our Together for Mental Health plan which was published in January 2020
- Investing in a new whole school approach to support young people
- Increasing the ring-fenced mental health budget to £679 million in 2019 to 2020
Embedding compassion and giving people dignity and autonomy:
- Raising the residential care capital limit to £50,000 - 2 years earlier than planned
- Working with local authorities to reduce numbers of looked after children
- Delivering our Integrated Care Fund to better meet care and housing needs
Skills and employability
Giving people the skills to secure fair, rewarding work:
- Investing in 100,000 apprenticeships by 2021, including higher level and STEM qualifications
- Launching Working Wales, providing support to more than 15,000 people
- Extending the NHS Wales Bursary scheme to open up careers in the NHS to everyone
Supporting a clean and healthy environment for everyone:
- Publishing our low carbon delivery plan with 100 policies and proposals
- Moving towards a circular economy, building on our worldleading recycling rates
- Building our renewable energy industries, which now produce 50% of our electricity
A whole government approach to tackling poverty:
- Offering free breakfasts to more than 75,000 children
- Delivering our Warm Home scheme to lift people out of fuel poverty
- Using our Pupil Development Grant to ensure every child, no matter their background, can fulfil their potential
Reversing the decline in our environment for future generations:
- Developing our National Forest and planting trees here and abroad
- Promoting sustainable land management practices, including precision agriculture
- Changing speed limits to combat air pollution and create safer roads
The most effective way to help people out of poverty is through secure and fair work. We aim to use the levers available to us to support a prosperous economy, providing people in Wales with a decent quality of life and recognising that those with the greatest need may require additional support.
The employment rate in Wales reached a record high of 76.2% in the last 3 months of 2018 and has remained high in historical terms. While this is encouraging, we want to see an economy built on high skills, higher productivity and fair pay and conditions. We also want to remove barriers to employment and progression for the vulnerable.
Supporting people and businesses through fair work and employability
People should be able to expect fair work and be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace. We have accepted the Fair Work Commission’s recommendations and are developing a Fair Work Strategy, to make Wales a Fair Work nation. We are consulting on a Social Partnership Act to put our successful social partnership model on a statutory footing.
Everyone in Wales should have the support they need to find rewarding and fair work. We launched our employability support service Working Wales in May 2019, and the service has already supported 12,000 adults and 3,300 young people. We invested £116 million in apprenticeships in 2018-19 and we have delivered more than 74,000 apprenticeships – we’re on track to meet our commitment of 100,000 all-age quality apprenticeships by the end of this Senedd term.
We have helped more people with health problems to stay in work – the In Work Support Service helped nearly 3,000 people to remain in work and a further 1,200 to return to work. This year we announced an additional £9.4 million of funding which will extend the service until December 2022, providing support for up to 12,000 people. One hundred employers have signed up to the Healthy Working Wales Award, which supports employers, individuals and health professionals to help working age people to stay fit and healthy.
We continue to embed our Economic Contract and have agreed more than 200 economic contracts with businesses. We are investing in the Foundational Economy – we launched the £4.5 million Foundational Economy Challenge Fund, which as of January 2020 is supporting more than 50 innovative projects across Wales and working to spread the benefits of local spending in the local economy.
Vibrant and resilient communities, culture and business
Wales needs supportive, inclusive and vibrant communities, enriched by our Welsh national culture, language and identity. We continue to deliver our Cymraeg 2050 strategy in order to reach our target of a million Welsh speakers and to increase the percentage of the population that speak Welsh daily. The strategy is supported by annual action plans. We have worked with a number of organisations, including the National Eisteddfod, the Urdd and the Mentrau iaith to deliver on Cymraeg 2050.
We are developing an internal Welsh strategy to become a national exemplar in promoting and facilitating the Welsh language. We have rolled out services, including the childcare offer, bilingually to ensure people can receive services in Welsh. The £2 million Arfor Innovation Fund supports business, community and entrepreneurial initiatives which promote the Welsh language in West Wales. In July 2019, we published the More Than Just Words action plan 2019-20, which sets how we will deliver health and social care services in Welsh.
Thriving high streets are a crucial part of inclusive, vibrant communities, and our programmes will have enabled £800 million investment in town centres by 2022. Our innovative Town Centre Loans scheme has provided £31 million of funding and this year we launched a £2.1 million Town Centre Property Investment Fund to bring empty buildings back into use.
We have made significant investments in the facilities at the heart of communities. In 2019-20 we allocated £5m additional capital funding to Sport Wales which has helped more than 120 different sports clubs and organisations improve their facilities in each local authority area. We also provided more than £1.4 million to support major capital improvements to 11 libraries, museums and archives across Wales.
Our major events unit supported 28 cultural and sporting events in 2018, attracting more than 230,000 visitors to Wales, supporting 965 jobs and contributing £42 million to the Welsh economy. These include the Newport Wales Marathon, the 2018 Tour of Britain and the Focus Wales international music and art showcase in Wrexham.
We have explored the possibility of setting up a community bank for Wales to maintain vital banking services in those communities, which have been affected by the closure of high street bank branches.
Local businesses and entrepreneurs make our communities dynamic and fulfilling places. The Development Bank of Wales is managing more than £500 million of support for businesses, helping entrepreneurs thrive. Business Wales helped create more than 1,040 new enterprises during 2018.
Modern infrastructure connecting communities
People and local communities need stable, integrated and reliable infrastructure. Building on the success of our Superfast Cymru programme, we are rolling out superfast fibre broadband to a further 26,000 houses and businesses. We have nearly doubled the number of premises with access to fast broadband since 2012, in an area where the UK Government has responsibility.
We are making it easier for people to switch from their cars to other forms of transport, investing £30 million to improve active travel – the biggest investment ever seen across Wales. Our Improving Public Transport White Paper sets out a bold vision for an integrated public transport system.
Bus travel is the backbone of public transport in Wales. This year we announced £1 million for a demand-responsive bus pilot and extended the MyTravelPass discounted bus scheme to 16 to 21 year-olds. More than 20,000 young people have taken 1.3 million discounted journeys since the scheme began. We are on a £5 billion journey to transform rail services over the next 15 years. Transport for Wales inherited a challenging legacy but new rolling stock is being introduced across Wales, providing 6,500 more seats every week on the core Valley lines and, from January 2020, there are fare reductions across the rail network, putting money back into the pockets of people across Wales. This includes extending free travel to children under 11.
We are investing in active travel and public transport to encourage people to use their cars less but we will continue to maintain and upgrade the nation’s roads. This year we began construction of the Caernarfon to Bontnewydd bypass, announced procurement plans to improve the A55 Flintshire corridor trunk road and continued to upgrade the A465 Heads of the Valleys road. In June 2019 we decided not to make the Orders for an M4 relief road. The South East Wales Transport Commission will consider and make recommendations on the opportunities, challenges and objectives for tackling congestion on the M4.
To help reduce nitrogen dioxide levels, we have introduced 50mph speed limits at 5 locations across the road network. We also announced plans to extend 20 mph speed limits in residential areas to reduce emissions and improve road safety. We have allocated £4 million to local authorities for schemes to prevent road collisions and are developing an electric vehicle charging strategy.
Tackling regional economic inequality and driving sustainable growth
Our Economic Action Plan supports a regionally-focused model of economic development to maximise strengths and address the needs of distinct places and communities – supported by programmes to build the skills we need for the future.
Through the Tech Valleys project we are investing £100 million to create around 1,500 sustainable jobs over 10 years to make Blaenau Gwent and the wider South Wales Valleys a globally-recognised centre for the development and delivery of emerging technologies. In September 2019, we announced plans for the National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC) in Ebbw Vale, including plans to work with local businesses and schools to increase digital capability.
Alongside this our Valleys Taskforce is working with communities and local organisations to tackle the blight of empty homes, harness the potential of key towns and outdoor visitor attractions and improve local transport to create better jobs closer to home.
The National Digital Exploitation Centre is an example of a magnet site – world class centres which draw in further investment, benefit whole regions and foster innovative ways of working. Other examples include the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Broughton, which could increase the value of the Welsh economy by as much as £4 billion over the next 20 years. The Digital Signal Processing Centre for Excellence at Bangor University will help make Wales a global leader in 5G technology.
We are determined to extend social justice in Wales, and support equality of opportunity and outcomes for all. This begins at birth with Healthy Start vouchers and our plans to pilot baby bundles – our welcome gift to babies born in Wales. This support continues through school and into adulthood, supporting people to get the skills, employment, secure housing, healthcare and social care services they need to thrive throughout their lives.
Supporting children and young people to have the best start in life
Everyone has just one childhood – it deserves to be the best possible start in life. We have rolled out our childcare offer a year early, providing up to 30 hours a week of free early education and childcare, worth £135 a week, for up to 48 weeks a year. We continue to run our Healthy Start voucher and Nursery Milk schemes, which provide nearly £900 of vouchers to eligible parents. We are also developing a baby bundle to provide a “welcome gift” for babies born in Wales – this will be piloted in 2020.
Our Flying Start health visitor programme reaches more than 36,000 children every year. We provided free healthy breakfasts to more than 60,000 children this year and have increased our investment in free school meals to reach 3,000 more children by 2022.
Our school holiday Food and Fun enrichment programme helps to feed and educate children during the summer holidays. This year we expanded the scheme, offering 4,000 extra places to children throughout Wales. Our Holiday Hunger Playwork Pilot ran in 92 play and community settings this year, providing 13,000 meals to children at risk of hunger. We have increased our Pupil Development Grant - Access fund by £5 millon, helping parents with the everyday costs of sending their children to school. We continue to deliver the successful Designed to Smile service, which has reduced dental decay in 5-year-olds by 13.4% since 2008, with the greatest improvements in disadvantaged areas.
Too many children are separated from their families in Wales and we are working with local authorities to reduce the number of looked after children. All local authorities have now established edge-of-care services and developed plans to safely manage a reduction in the number of children in care in the coming years - 18 of the 22 local authorities have signed up to formal targets.
Supporting people to reach their potential
All children need a school experience, which gives them the skills, knowledge and experience to live independent, rewarding lives. This year we launched our single biggest investment of £24 million for teachers’ professional development, and increased the starting salary for newly-qualified schoolteachers by 5%. We continue to develop our groundbreaking, made-in-Wales new curriculum, which will deliver education fit for the 21st century.
Our 21st Century Schools programme is the biggest school building programme since the 1960s and is benefitting whole communities. In September 2019, Ysgol Godre’r Berwyn opened, bringing together three schools on one site with stateof- the-art facilities. It also includes a public library, a theatre space and a dance studio. We have also launched the £15m Community Hubs programme, which supports innovative, radical new approaches to supporting children and bringing communities together.
Its crucial people have fair access to further and higher education so they have the right skills in a rapidly changing world. We continue to provide the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and Financial Contingency Fund for learners in further education – more than 20,000 people benefited from EMA last year. We have introduced a new package of financial support for higher education and part-time learning and all Welsh undergraduates can now apply for a maintenance grant of £1,000 a year.
Secure affordable homes for all
Housing is a springboard from which individuals and households can achieve better futures. We are on track to deliver 20,000 more affordable homes this Senedd term – we built 2,592 affordable homes in 2018-19, a 12% increase on 2017-18 and the highest annual total to date. Our £90m Innovative Housing Programme tests new approaches to social and affordable housing through low carbon designs and use of renewable energy and has supported delivery of 1,440 homes, including more than 1,000 affordable homes.
We have joined forces with the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru to help local authorities build more council homes. Cardiff, Anglesey, Flintshire, Wrexham, Swansea and Vale of Glamorgan councils are building houses again. Local authorities aim to build 1,750 new council houses by the end of 2022.
We continue to work to prevent homelessness and where it cannot be prevented, ensure it is rare, brief and unrepeated. We have provided £8.8m directly to local authorities to enhance the statutory provision available in each area, and to support homelessness prevention. We’ve allocated £1.6m to seven Housing First projects across Wales to provide intensive support to people with a history of repeated rough sleeping. We have also provided £10m to support young people in or facing homelessness, this includes a £4.8m innovation fund supporting 25 youth homelessness projects.
People who rent deserve a fair deal and we have banned unfair letting fees, saving tenants almost £200 per tenancy.
High quality, accessible health and social care services
We spend £3,051 per person every year on health and care services – the highest in the UK – and we increased spending by more than £500 million in 2019-20. This additional funding is helping to improve NHS care and will support actions to reduce the length of time people wait to access services.
Wales is the first country in the UK to develop a single cancer pathway for everyone suspected of having cancer. 5-year cancer survival rates have improved by 6.8 percentage points over 10 years.
Providing social care for an ageing population remains one of the most pressing challenges of our time – in Wales and in the rest of the UK. We have raised the capital limit, the amount of savings and other capital people can keep before being charged for residential care, from £40,000 to £50,000. This is now the highest level in the UK, and we achieved this change two years earlier than planned.
Our New Treatment Fund supports faster access to new lifesaving and life-changing medicines, supported by £80 million of funding across this Senedd term. As of September 2019, the average time taken for these new treatments to be available on the NHS had fallen from 90 days to just 11.
Mental health remains a key priority and we have increased the ring-fenced mental health budget to £679 million in 2019-20. We have established a perinatal mental health team in every health board and integrated mental and physical health provision. Our whole school approach to mental health has benefited more than 10,000 children – 87% of whom needed no onward referral to specialist services. We have consulted on the Together for Mental Health Delivery Plan 2019-22, which was published in January 2020.
Transforming health and social care services
As well as continuing to provide high quality health and care services, we have started to radically change how these services are delivered. Last year we published A Healthier Wales, our 10-year plan for health and social care and we are seeing a shift in ambition and approach across Wales.
This year we developed our 10-year Healthy Weight, Healthy Wales plan, which is integrated with our plans for active travel and our environment. We continue to deliver our Integrated Care Fund, providing £105 million of funding this year for projects which bring services together and emphasise prevention.
Access to care is crucial and people should be able to receive the most appropriate health and care services, as close as possible to where they live. The Choose Pharmacy IT system is now available in 98% of pharmacies and more than 100,000 consultations have been completed in community pharmacies across Wales. 8 out of 10 people accessing the Choose Pharmacy service said they would have visited their GP, out-ofhours or A&E department if it had not been available.
We continue to invest in training new and existing healthcare professionals. This year, we exceeded our expanded target for GP training places, filling 186 GP training places. The NHS Wales workforce has grown by 10.4% over the last 5 years – nurse training places have risen by 40% overall in this period and midwifery places have risen by 71%.
Valuing everyone in Wales
We have taken forward a wide range of work to ensure everyone in Wales can thrive and live with dignity. Our Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Board brings leading women from these fields together. We funded 18 events across Wales for Windrush Day in June 2019 to celebrate the lives of people who have come to Wales from across the Caribbean. Our innovative Youth Justice Blueprint and Female Offending Blueprint set out a radical approach to prevention and early intervention.
We published Action on Disability, our framework and action plan to help everyone in Wales live independently, and we continue to use our disability employment scheme to help people into rewarding work. The employment rate of disabled people in Wales increased to 49.2% in the year ending September 2019, 3 percentage points higher than the previous year. Over the same period, the gap between the employment rate of disabled people and non-disabled people in Wales narrowed by more than 2 percentage points.
The annual report on Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence highlights how we are leading the rest of the UK to tackle and eradicate all forms of violence against women. Our Period Dignity Grant has been distributed to all schools in Wales to provide free sanitary products, and we are developing a broader strategy for period dignity.
In April 2019, Welsh Rates of Income Tax (WRIT) were introduced, enabling the Senedd to make decisions – for the first time – about a proportion of income tax to be paid in Wales. WRIT and the other Welsh taxes now contribute around £3.6 billion a year to the Welsh Budget. The first Welsh rates of income tax were set at 10p, the same level as in England and Northern Ireland, fulfilling our commitment not to increase income tax rates during this Senedd term.
We have introduced new legislation to make council tax fairer in Wales, removing the penalty of imprisonment for non-payment of council tax and exempting care leavers up to the age of 25 from paying council tax. We have also maintained our Council Tax Reduction Scheme to support those most in need, with 220,000 households in Wales paying no council tax at all.
We also provide advice services, helping 77,000 people secure more than £53 million of benefit income they are entitled to in 2018-19. We also continue to support businesses and our high streets with £230 million per year in relief for ratepayers. Half of all businesses in Wales pay no rates at all thanks to our support.
There is an urgent need to address the threat posed by climate change and biodiversity loss. Wales has some of the greatest environmental assets of any small country, but our basic ecosystem is in decline. This year we declared a climate change emergency, placing ourselves on the leading edge of a wider social movement to combat the crisis and restore our natural environment.
Accelerating decarbonisation to combat climate change
Since declaring a climate change emergency, we have increased our carbon reduction target to 95% by 2050, with an ambition to get to net zero. This year we published our low carbon delivery plan Prosperity for All: A Low Carbon Wales, which sets out 100 policies and proposals to reduce carbon emissions. Our carbon budget for 2020 is a 27% reduction from 2016, demonstrating our ambition to decarbonise at pace.
We are committed to establishing world-leading renewable energy industries. The Energy Generation in Wales Report 2018 found more than 50% of our electricity came from renewable sources, up from 19% in 2014, and that there are nearly 69,000 renewable energy projects in Wales. We’ve secured EU investment to establish a marine energy sector in Wales and we will be trialling some of the most advanced wave and tidal technologies in the world.
We helped take an estimated 177,000 homes out of fuel poverty between 2008 and 2018, more than halving it across Wales. Our Warm Homes scheme, has provided energy efficiency advice to 112,000 people and installed home energy efficiency measures in more than 50,000 homes. These improvements delivered an average estimated annual energy bill saving of £409. The scheme has been extended to 2021 and we are also developing an energy retrofit programme for the next Senedd term to contribute to our ambition of achieving net zero carbon.
Reducing waste and restoring our environment
Wales has the 4th highest recycling rates in the world – we recycled, reused or composted 63% of our waste. Our aim is to create a circular economy where waste is reduced and assets are re-used. In April 2019, we launched a £6.5 million Circular Economy Fund, offering grants to businesses to increase their use of recycled materials in manufactured products, components or packaging. We are taking a variety of approaches to make a circular economy a reality. We have started work to ban some single use plastics to help preserve our environment, going further than equivalent plans in England. We have consulted on deposit return schemes for drink containers and a polluter pays scheme to hold businesses to a greater account for their impact on our environment.
Our Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme awarded £1.4 million of grants to 44 community and environmental projects in 2018-19.
We are developing an Environmental Growth Plan and in June 2019, we held our first Clean Air Day Wales to raise awareness of the causes and effects of air pollution. We continue to develop a Clean Air Bill. Our Noise and Soundscape Action Plan has been awarded a prestigious John Connell Prize by the Noise Abatement Society, and more than 70 communities and organisations have received Bee Friendly awards under our Action Plan for Pollinators.
We need to rapidly increase the scale and pace of tree planting in Wales and we are scoping the delivery of a National Forest, building on the success of the Wales Coastal Path. This 20-year project will link up sites across the country into a single continuous forest, creating a symbol of national pride. The National Forest is supported by our Plant! tree planting scheme, which plants 2 trees for every child born or adopted in Wales – one in Wales and one in Uganda. These trees contribute to our Mbale programme, which plants trees in the heavily deforested region of Mount Elgon in Uganda. The Mbale programme, which is part of our globally responsible Wales for Africa initiative, has planted 10 million trees since 2014 with a goal of planting 25 million by 2025.
Mitigating the impact of climate change
We need to understand the risks arising from climate change and what they mean for our communities and places. This year we developed Prosperity for All: A Climate Conscious Wales. This is our 2nd climate change adaptation plan for Wales, and shows how we are responding to the most urgent risks and consequences of climate change. The plan outlines how we will build the resilience of our communities and natural environment, focussing on flooding, drought, our eco-system and the agriculture sector.
This year we published guidance to encourage natural flood management, invested £44 million in tackling flood and coastal erosion risk and launched our £150 million Coastal Risk Management programme which will run until 2022. We introduced the new Flood and Coastal Erosion Committee in April 2019 and consulted on a 10-year National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management in Wales.
Supporting farmers and protecting the Welsh food industry
Agriculture plays a huge role in the prosperity of our economy, the health of our communities and the diversity of our natural environment. We need to ensure that our farms have the resilience they need to thrive and protect our natural world.
Although immensely challenging and disruptive, Brexit brings with it the possibility of designing a bespoke, made-in Wales system for supporting farmers. In Brexit and Our Land, we set out how we will keep farmers in sustainable farms which support the wellbeing of the farming industry, rural communities and all of the people of Wales. This year we consulted on Sustainable Farming and our Land, which contains detailed proposals on how we would support farmers when we leave the Common Agricultural Policy. This includes a refreshed focus on precision agriculture, knowledge transfer, and working with wider supply chains.
Our world-leading food sector has shown how investing in our environment can support the economy of Wales. This year we consulted on proposals for a new strategic plan for the Food and Drink sector in Wales. This plan sets out our vision, developed with the Food and Drinks Wales Industry Board, for a strong and vibrant Welsh food and drink sector with a global reputation for excellence. We welcomed the global food and drink industry to Wales for BlasCymru/TasteWales in March 2019, generating nearly £22 million in new business opportunities and building on the £16 million of business secured from the 2017 BlasCymru event.
Review of the well-being objectives
We have reviewed our well-being objectives in light of the challenging and fast-moving broader context of 2019, including:
- The UK government’s decade of austerity, which has had a profound impact on the people of Wales and our ability to provide public services and tackle the causes of inequality
- The need to undertake a significant and complex range of activity to prepare for, and mitigate the potential impact of various Brexit scenarios in a fast-moving political context, which has diverted significant resource away from our planned activity
- The climate emergency, which has required immediate action to accelerate activity to protect our planet and reverse the decline in our natural environment.
In reviewing our well-being objectives we also took account of Well-being of Wales: 2018-2019. We concluded that the 12 well-being objectives, each of which contribute to one or more of the national well-being goals, are still the right objectives to direct the remainder of this Senedd term and ensure we make the biggest contribution towards the overall national well-being goals.
The current backdrop requires us to be resolute in our determination to deliver real progress and build on our significant progress to embed long term thinking, prevention, involvement, integration and collaboration in all aspects of our work.
This year we have considered the review of our well-being objectives in the context of 3 overarching themes; more prosperous, equal and greener, with the 5 ways of working providing the foundation that guides all our activities. This has helped to frame the approach to our 2020-21 draft budget plans to maximise the impact of our available resources. Our budget preparations and priorities have been shaped by strategic investments in our 8 priority areas of early years, social care, housing, employability and skills, better mental health, decarbonisation, poverty and biodiversity making a contribution across our well-being objectives. The interconnected nature of our well-being objectives has driven significant improvements to the way we operate, integrating the levers of government to improve delivery across government and public services.
|Well-being objective||More prosperous||Equal||Greener|
|1. Support people and businesses to drive prosperity|
|2. Tackle regional inequality and promote fair work|
|3. Drive sustainable growth and combat climate change|
|4. Deliver quality health and care services fit for the future|
|5. Promote good health and well-being for everyone|
|6. Build healthier communities and better environments|
|7. Support young people to make the most of their potential|
|8. Build ambition and encourage learning for life|
|9. Equip everyone with the right skills for a changing world|
|10. Build resilient communities, culture and language|
|11. Deliver modern and connected infrastructure|
|12. Promote and protect Wales’ place in the world|