Speeches recovered from the Conservative party’s online archive More…

Bourne: Labour-Plaid window dressing hides lack of delivery

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"I wish to put several questions to the First Minister on the delivery plan. He spoke earlier today—not just in this statement—about the tight financial settlement that we live under in the Assembly. I appreciate that point, and I know that people throughout Wales, and throughout the United Kingdom, are feeling the pinch too. It is certainly the case with, for example, the eradication of the 10p tax rate band, which I am sure is been raised with many of us.

Turning to the statement, I will take it in the order in which the 228 items are listed in the document, which I have tried to go through in the limited amount of time that I have had since receiving it. The first issues that are dealt with are the constitutional ones and the all-Wales convention. There is talk in the document—and I have read it carefully—of a referendum on law-making powers being held 'when practicable'. That is different from what is noted in 'One Wales', which talks about having a referendum when practicable, within this Assembly term. Does that mean that there has been slippage? There is a clear difference there, and I would be grateful for the First Minister's response on that issue.

The second constitutional issue that is touched on—and I notice what the First Minister said about transparent democracy, but this is far from clear—is the commission on finance. It is hoped that that will get going later this year and that it will have a two-year 'horizon', which I take to mean two years to consider the issue. Does that mean that there will be time in this Assembly to react to any of its findings, or will that be something for the fourth Assembly to consider? Could the First Minister say something on that?

The next issues discussed in the document relate to health. I hope that we will have an opportunity, in Government time, to look at the important changes that were announced during recess on NHS reconfiguration. It is mentioned in the document, although somewhat vaguely, that we will know what the way forward is on this in early 2008. We need to look at the cost implications of this, and at what the cost of the 22 local health boards, which are now being scrapped—we are moving on from them—has been. Therefore, we need a debate on that.

There is much here that we welcome and have supported, and I will outline some of those points. If I miss any, it does not indicate that we do not support them; it will just be because time is scarce. We welcome palliative care core funding. When can we expect a decision on the allocation of those resources? It is not clear from the document, but many hospices throughout Wales, such as the Beacon of Hope, Hope House, and Usk House, are waiting for decisions on core funding. When can we expect some clarity on that?

Somewhat cryptically in the document—and this comes back to its 'transparency'—there is a section on a charter for patients' rights. That sounds right, and I am sure that we would all support it. However, it is noted that a decision is still needed on the direction of the work. It almost sounds as if that has come from a working draft and has not been clarified in the final document. Is that a drafting note? Where are we on this? It is not clear where that is going.

You made much of hospital car parking charges, and we have supported the basic principle of that. However, I ask again, because this is consistently raised with me—and with others, I am sure—whether we can expect the health service and hospitals to be reimbursed for this cost? Someone's operation will be cancelled or postponed to meet these charges; the cost has to come from somewhere.

We back up what is said on carers. We look forward to a timetable on that, because, again, it is not clear from the document what the timetable will be for providing help for carers.

Moving on to the economy and the business rate relief, I am glad that something is happening, but businesses will get no help in terms of rate relief until 2009-10, which is a year in arrears and some way down the road. Therefore, could something be done to move that forward? Many businesses need this relief urgently.

We are strongly in support of workplace childcare—we would also provide tax incentives for workplace nurseries throughout Wales. Will you be doing anything throughout Wales? There is talk of areas of the highest need, which we support, but it must be recognised that areas throughout Wales will need assistance.

Something that is not touched on in the document but is consistently raised by the higher education sector is the funding gap. I think that the First Minister accepts that there is a funding gap. He and I both know that it exists, although we could dispute the amount. It is becoming an increasingly important issue, because the gap is growing year on year, despite additional money's having been put in. We are also looking at a declining number of students, across the board in HE in Wales this year.

On school closures, we would have a Welsh-language impact assessment before any school closure. Could the First Minister comment on that? There is nothing in the document relating to the Welsh language and school closures. We have consistently support the commitment to Welsh-medium provision through the federal college.

On housing, increasing the supply of affordable homes by 6,500 over four years just scratches the surface; 40,000 are needed. I encourage the First Minister to reconsider this, particularly as the amount of money in the budget for first-time buyer grants is negligible.

On transport, the cut in the road safety budget, which concerns my party and me, are not mentioned in the document. It is a cut in real terms over the term of this Assembly and we should not be cutting back in that area. We will support Safe Routes to School for all schools, and that should also be extended to play areas and other areas where young people congregate.

More needs to be done to look at reopening stations such as that at Carno and at opening additional, new commuter stations in, for example, Llandre and at Bow Street on the Aberystwyth-Shrewsbury line. We need more investment there.

We support what is happening on energy. I am disappointed that there is nothing here on plastic bags, which we have brought up as an area in which we could do something, either by speaking to the supermarkets and trying to move the issue forward on a voluntary basis or by moving it beyond that if it did not work. We also need to look at the diversity of renewable sources of energy, and I am not sure whether that is touched on in the document.

On agriculture, there is mention of a new farm-entrants scheme, with preparatory work going on right up until 2011. I am not sure why it is taking so long to get money into the new-entrants scheme. It is marked as preparatory work for each of the three years, which seems like rather slow progress on something that we all recognise as being important.

With regard to social justice, we are totally supportive of what the Government is doing on the refugee strategy. There is only one mention of post offices here, in point 148 of 228. We need to see money up front, now. To wait until the end of this process of closures that Labour at Westminster has generated will be too little, too late.

On the Welsh language, we are strongly supportive in the vanguard of gaining official status and we are strongly supportive of the language commissioner. We would have supported a Welsh-medium newspaper, but there is no mention of that here.

St David's Day's being made a bank holiday is mentioned, but I am not sure why we have to wait to have a new bank holiday before that can happen and why we cannot look at it as a replacement bank holiday. It is clear in the document that we can only have progress if there is a new bank holiday. Why is that?

Again, I think that we were first in the field on the creation of a national gallery; therefore, we are pleased that that is included in the document.

There is nothing on the Commonwealth Games bid. I recognise that we are being competitive, following Glasgow's success, but I believe that we should be looking at that in the long term.

On overseas support, we support campaigns against poverty in Africa and elsewhere, and we are supportive of the assistance that we previously gave following the tsunami and the Kashmir earthquake. We welcome all of that.

Therefore, we support much of what is in the document, but there are many unanswered questions. I hope that I have put some of those forward, but I have not had time to scrutinise the whole document in detail."

"Hoffwn ofyn amryw o gwestiynau i'r Prif Weinidog ynghylch y cynllun cyflenwi. Soniodd yn gynharach heddiw—nid dim ond yn y datganiad hwn—am y setliad ariannol tynn sydd gennym yn y Cynulliad. Gwerthfawrogaf y pwynt hwnnw, a gwn fod pobl ledled Cymru, a ledled y Deyrnas Unedig, yn teimlo'r esgid yn gwasgu hefyd. Mae hynny'n sicr yn wir yn sgil dileu'r band treth 10c er enghraifft, sy'n fater sydd wedi cael ei godi gyda llawer ohonom mae'n siwr.

Gan droi at y datganiad, ymdriniaf ag ef yn nhrefn y 228 o eitemau a restrir yn y ddogfen, y ceisiais eu darllen yn yr amser prin a oedd gennyf ers iddi ddod i law. Y materion cyntaf yr ymdrinnir â hwy yw materion cyfansoddiadol a chonfensiwn Cymru gyfan. Ceir sôn yn y ddogfen—ac yr wyf wedi ei darllen yn ofalus—am gynnal refferendwm ar bwerau deddfu 'pan fydd hynny'n ymarferol'. Mae hynny'n wahanol i'r hyn a nodir yn 'Cymru'n Un', sy'n sôn am gael refferendwm pan fydd hynny'n ymarferol, yn ystod tymor y Cynulliad hwn. A yw hynny'n golygu bod pethau wedi llithro? Mae gwahaniaeth pendant, a byddwn yn ddiolchgar i gael ymateb y Prif Weinidog ar y mater hwnnw.

Yr ail fater cyfansoddiadol y sonnir amdano—a sylwaf ar yr hyn a ddywedodd y Prif Weinidog am ddemocratiaeth dryloyw, ond nid yw hyn yn glir o bell ffordd—yw'r comisiwn cyllid. Y gobaith yw y bydd hwnnw ar waith yn ddiweddarach eleni ac y caiff 'orwel' o ddwy flynedd, a chymeraf fod hynny'n golygu dwy flynedd i ystyried y mater. A yw hynny'n golygu y bydd amser yn y Cynulliad hwn i ymateb i'w ganfyddiadau, neu a fydd hynny'n rhywbeth i'r pedwerydd Cynulliad ei ystyried? A allai'r Prif Weinidog ddweud rhywbeth am hynny?

Mae'r materion nesaf a drafodir yn y ddogfen yn ymwneud ag iechyd. Gobeithiaf y cawn gyfle, yn amser y Llywodraeth, i edrych ar y newidiadau pwysig a gyhoeddwyd yn ystod y toriad ar ailgyflunio'r GIG. Sonnir yn y ddogfen, er yn eithaf amwys, y byddwn yn gwybod beth fydd y ffordd ymlaen yn hynny o beth ar ddechrau 2008. Mae angen inni edrych ar oblygiadau cost hyn, ac ar gostau'r 22 o fyrddau iechyd lleol, sydd bellach yn cael eu diddymu—yr ydym yn symud ymlaen oddi wrthynt. Felly, mae angen inni gael dadl ar hynny.

Mae llawer o bethau yma yr ydym yn croesawu ac yr ydym wedi eu cefnogi, ac amlinellaf rai o'r pwyntiau hynny. Os methaf rai, nid yw'n arwydd nad ydym yn eu cefnogi; bydd hynny oherwydd prinder amser. Croesawn yr arian craidd ar gyfer gofal lliniarol. Pa bryd y gallwn ddisgwyl penderfyniad ar ddyrannu'r adnoddau hynny? Nid yw hynny'n glir yn y ddogfen, ond mae nifer o hosbisau ledled Cymru, fel Ffagl Gobaith, Ty Gobaith, ac Usk House, yn aros am benderfyniadau ar arian craidd. Pa bryd y gallwn ddisgwyl eglurder ynghylch hynny?

Mewn modd eithaf cryptig yn y ddogfen—a daw hyn yn ôl at 'dryloywder'—ceir adran ar siarter hawliau cleifion. Mae hynny'n swnio'n briodol, ac yr wyf yn siwr y byddem oll yn ei gefnogi. Fodd bynnag, nodir bod angen penderfyniad o hyd ar gyfeiriad y gwaith. Mae'n swnio bron fel bod hynny wedi deillio o ddrafft ac nad yw wedi cael ei egluro yn y ddogfen derfynol. Ai nodyn drafftio yw hwnnw? Beth yw'r sefyllfa? Nid yw'n glir i ba gyfeiriad y mae'n mynd.

Rhoddasoch lawer o sylw i ffioedd parcio ceir mewn ysbytai, ac yr ydym wedi cefnogi'r egwyddor sylfaenol. Fodd bynnag, gofynnaf eto, oherwydd codir hyn yn gyson gyda mi—a chydag eraill, mae'n siwr—a allwn ddisgwyl i'r gwasanaeth iechyd ac ysbytai gael eu had-dalu am y gost hon? Caiff llawdriniaeth rhywun ei chanslo neu ei gohirio er mwyn talu'r taliadau hyn; rhaid i'r gost cael ei thalu rhywsut.

Yr ydym yn cefnogi'r hyn a ddywedir am ofalwyr. Edrychwn ymlaen at amserlen ar hynny, oherwydd, unwaith eto, nid yw'n glir o'r ddogfen beth fydd yr amserlen ar gyfer darparu cymorth i ofalwyr.

Gan symud ymlaen at yr economi a'r rhyddhad ardrethi busnes, yr wyf yn falch bod rhywbeth yn digwydd, ond ni chaiff busnesau unrhyw gymorth o ran rhyddhad ardrethi tan 2009-10, sydd flwyddyn ar ei hôl hi ac yn gryn amser i aros. Felly, a ellid gwneud rhywbeth i symud hynny yn ei flaen? Mae angen y rhyddhad hwn ar lawer o fusnesau ar unwaith.

Rhywbeth nad oes sôn amdano yn y ddogfen ond a godir yn gyson gan y sector addysg uwch yw'r bwlch ariannu. Credaf fod y Prif Weinidog yn derbyn bod bwlch ariannu. Yr wyf finnau ac yntau'n gwybod ei fod yn bodoli, er y gallem ddadlau ynghylch y swm. Mae'n fater sy'n cynyddu o ran pwysigrwydd, oherwydd mae'r bwlch yn tyfu o flwyddyn i flwyddyn, er gwaethaf yr arian ychwanegol a fuddsoddwyd. Yr ydym hefyd yn edrych ar ostyngiad yn nifer y myfyrwyr yn gyffredinol mewn addysg uwch yng Nghymru eleni.

O ran cau ysgolion byddem yn cynnal asesiad effaith ar yr iaith Gymraeg cyn cau unrhyw ysgol. A allai'r Prif Weinidog wneud sylwadau ar hynny? Nid oes dim yn y ddogfen sy'n ymwneud â'r iaith Gymraeg a chau ysgolion. Yr ydym wedi cefnogi'n gyson yr ymrwymiad i ddarpariaeth cyfrwng Cymraeg drwy'r coleg ffederal.

O ran tai, dim ond megis crafu'r wyneb yw sicrhau cynnydd o 6,500 yn y cyflenwad o dai fforddiadwy dros bedair blynedd; mae angen 40,000. Pwysaf ar y Prif Weinidog i ailystyried hyn, yn arbennig gan fod yr arian yn y gyllideb ar gyfer grantiau i brynwyr am y tro cyntaf yn bitw.

O ran trafnidiaeth, ni sonnir am y toriadau yn y gyllideb diogelwch ffyrdd, sy'n bryder i'm plaid ac i mi, yn y ddogfen. Mae'n doriad gwirioneddol dros dymor y Cynulliad hwn ac ni ddylem fod yn gwneud toriadau yn y maes hwnnw. Cefnogwn Lwybrau Diogel i'r Ysgol ar gyfer pob ysgol, a dylid ehangu hynny i ardaloedd chwarae ac ardaloedd eraill lle mae pobl ifanc yn ymgasglu.

Mae angen gwneud mwy i ystyried ailagor gorsafoedd fel Carno ac i agor gorsafoedd newydd, ychwanegol i gymudwyr yn Llandre a Bow Street, er enghraifft, ar y llinell rhwng Aberystwyth a'r Amwythig. Mae angen rhagor o fuddsoddiad arnom yno.

Cefnogwn yr hyn sy'n digwydd o ran ynni. Yr wyf yn siomedig nad oes dim yma ar fagiau plastig, mater yr ydym wedi ei godi fel maes lle gallem wneud rhywbeth yn ei gylch, naill ai drwy siarad â'r archfarchnadoedd a cheisio symud ymlaen gyda'r mater hwn yn wirfoddol neu drwy symud y tu hwnt i hynny os na fyddai hynny'n gweithio. Mae angen inni hefyd edrych ar yr amrywiaeth o ffynonellau ynni adnewyddadwy, ac nid wyf yn siwr a sonnir am hynny yn y ddogfen.

O ran amaethyddiaeth, sonnir am gynllun i newydd-ddyfodiaid, gyda gwaith paratoadol yn mynd rhagddo hyd 2011. Nid wyf yn siwr pam ei fod yn cymryd cymaint o amser i roi arian i'r cynllun newydd-ddyfodiaid. Caiff ei nodi fel gwaith paratoadol am bob un o'r tair blynedd, sy'n ymddangos fel cynnydd araf ar rywbeth yr ydym oll yn cydnabod ei fod yn bwysig.

O ran cyfiawnder cymdeithasol, yr ydym yn gwbl gefnogol i'r hyn y mae'r Llywodraeth yn ei wneud ar y strategaeth ffoaduriaid. Dim ond unwaith y sonnir am swyddfeydd post, ym mhwynt 148 o blith 228. Mae angen inni weld arian yn awr. Bydd aros hyd ddiwedd y cynllun cau swyddfeydd post a ysgogwyd gan Lafur yn San Steffan yn rhy hwyr.

O ran yr iaith Gymraeg, yr ydym yn cefnogi'n gryf y nod blaengar o sicrhau statws swyddogol a chefnogwn yn gryf y bwriad i benodi comisiynydd iaith. Byddem wedi cefnogi papur newydd Cymraeg, ond nid oes sôn am hynny yma.

Sonnir am wneud Dydd Gwyl Dewi yn wyl y banc, ond nid wyf yn siwr pam mae angen inni aros i gael gwyl banc newydd cyn i hynny ddigwydd a pham na allwn ei ystyried fel gwyl banc i ddisodli un arall. Mae'n amlwg yn y ddogfen mai dim ond os bydd gwyl banc newydd y gwneir cynnydd yn hyn o beth. Pam hynny?

Unwaith eto, credwn mai ni oedd y cyntaf i sôn am greu oriel genedlaethol; felly, yr ydym yn falch bod hynny wedi'i gynnwys yn y ddogfen.

Nid oes sôn am y cynnig ar gyfer Gemau'r Gymanwlad. Yr wyf yn cydnabod ein bod yn gystadleuol, yn dilyn llwyddiant Glasgow, ond credaf y dylem fod yn edrych ar hynny yn yr hirdymor.

O ran cymorth tramor, cefnogwn ymgyrchoedd yn erbyn tlodi yn Affrica ac mewn gwledydd eraill, a chefnogwn y cymorth a roddwyd gennym yn y gorffennol ar ôl y tswnami a daeargryn Kashmir. Croesawn hynny oll.

Felly, cefnogwn lawer o'r hyn sydd yn y ddogfen, ond mae amryw o gwestiynau heb eu hateb. Gobeithiaf fy mod wedi cyflwyno rhai o'r rheini, ond nid oedd gennyf amser i graffu'n fanwl ar y ddogfen gyfan."

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech