Y Pwyllgor Deddfwriaeth, Cyfiawnder a’r Cyfansoddiad
Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee30/01/2023
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Alun Davies MS|
|Huw Irranca-Davies MS||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|James Evans MS|
|Peredur Owen Griffiths MS|
Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol
Others in Attendance
|Aled Evans||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol, Comisiwn y Senedd|
|Legal Adviser, Senedd Commission|
|Peter Fox MS||Aelod Cyfrifol, Bil Bwyd (Cymru)|
|Member in Charge, Food (Wales) Bill|
|Samiwel Davies||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol, Comisiwn y Senedd|
|Legal Adviser, Senedd Commission|
|Tyler Walsh||Uwch-gynghorydd/ymchwilydd—Swyddfa Peter Fox|
|Senior Adviser/Researcher—Office of Peter Fox|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Gerallt Roberts||Ail Glerc|
|Kate Rabaiotti||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
|P Gareth Williams||Clerc|
|Sarah Sargent||Ail Glerc|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle 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.
Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor yn y Senedd.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 13:30.
The committee met in the Senedd.
The meeting began at 13:30.
Croeso, bawb, prynhawn da i chi i gyd.
Welcome, everyone, good afternoon to you all.
Welcome, everybody, to this afternoon's session of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee. We're meeting here today not in virtual session at all, but actually all present and correct here in committee room 4 in Tŷ Hywel. We have business to get on to today, but before we do, let me just remind Members we're not expecting a fire alarm today, so if there is a fire alarm, just follow the ushers out of the building. If you can make sure that your mobile devices are switched to silent mode. We're operating through the mediums of Welsh and English, so with your headphones, they will translate on channel 1 into English as you want. The sound operation is controlled for you; there's no need to press any buttons, it will be done for you.
And with that we're going to go directly now—if I can summon up my own papers here on my laptop—into the first substantive item of today, because we have no apologies; we've got a full turnout from our committee members. We're delighted to have in front of us today, under item 2 for the Food (Wales) Bill evidence session, Peter Fox, Member of the Senedd. Peter, good to see you here; thanks for coming in. But you've also got with you a panel supporting you. So, I understand we have Tyler Walsh, Member support staff; Samiwel Davies, Senedd Commission legal adviser; and Aled Evans, Senedd Commission legal adviser. So, I'm sure we'll have all the answers we need by the end of this session.
Just to remind you, while this is not the policy committee or the Finance Committee or whatever, we very much focus on the propriety of the legislation, the fitness for purpose of it in layperson's terms, and the necessity of it as well. So, those are the things we go on, but we'll inevitably drift a little bit into policy, I'm sure, in order to answer our questions.
So, let me begin with the obvious one. You'll have seen the Minister's evidence to us last week—and thank you, by the way, for your written follow-up on the back of the Minister's evidence. May I ask you the very straightforward question, Peter: why do you think this legislation is necessary?
First of all, thank you, Chair, for inviting us along. It's good to see committee members.
I think it's very clear that the food system is absolutely central to the future socioeconomic prosperity of Wales, and of course, it has to be a robust food system. I think what we've seen over recent years, very recent years, is the fragility of the sustainability of our food system. You've only got to look at what's happened with COVID, what's happened with Ukraine and the current cost-of-living crisis, and how some of those earlier events—COVID and Ukraine—affected our food supplies, affected food security, and really made us significantly feel that the food system in Wales wasn't really robust enough to ensure that security and stability of supply for years to come.
Many stakeholders, over the months we talked to them through the consultation process, have highlighted how there is a lack of scrutiny of policy on the wider food system in Wales, meaning that policy is generally not being consistently designed to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. I think that was highlighted in the consultation responses, where 100 per cent of those who responded said there wasn't a joined-up approach for food strategies across Wales.
Also, it's been found that there's a very inconsistent approach in certain policy areas relating to food across the piece, without any formal regulation over the top of them. So, some public bodies will interpret rules or legislation in different ways, or strategies in different ways, and there's an inconsistent approach to how food policy is generated or adhered to. That leads to weaknesses. You've not got a consistent approach across the piste, and you're not moving towards a robust, joined-up food system.
So, there's a very patchy policy framework, we believe, as it currently is, that doesn't join up the dots. There are some great bits of legislation that have been developed. They sometimes contradict themselves, don't necessarily talk to each other, but they certainly don't talk to a wider overarching food perspective that drives us towards that sustainable food system and ensures food security. Very much the policies we have at the moment talk a lot about food production, how we're going to do that, which is great and it's formally part of the Bill, but there is very—. Well, there isn't anything that looks at the wider societal side of the food system of how we use the food, and actually improve the health of the nation and for future generations.
Okay. Thank you, Peter. Tyler, you wanted to come in there, and I think Alun and then James. Tyler.
Diolch, Chair. If you don't mind, I want to flip your question on its head and ask: why don't we need this Bill? The Minister, throughout this process, has talked about, 'Well, we've got the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, so we don't need this Bill.' In my opinion, I think it's disappointing that the future generations Act, which, of course, is meant to be a progressive piece of legislation—I know Members will have different views on how it's been enacted, in this committee, and I can see the Member for Blaenau Gwent laughing a little bit with that—but I think it is a shame that we're seeing a progressive piece of legislation being used as an excuse not to do something.
I know we shouldn't just legislate for legislation's sake, but we've had a lot of discussions with the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales—the outgoing future generations commissioner, sorry—about how she sees that argument, and her opinion was that, actually, she could see the need for this Bill. She has supported this Bill throughout its process, and she has talked about issues with capacity within her office, capacity within knowledge and expertise that perhaps doesn't cross cut into the food policy framework.
But just going back to the Act for a second, I know this was raised in the Economy, Trade, and Rural Affairs Committee meeting on 19 January that there are no food indicators within the well-being of future generations Act, and it was Katie Palmer from Food Sense Wales—a brilliant organisation that I think some of you are aware of—talking about looking at the well-being assessments from the public services boards, and the lack of data about how food plays a role within these and the future generations Act more widely.
So, the issue with the argument that we don't need this Bill because we have the future generations Act, I think, is—. There are also questions within that in itself, because if a future generations Act already covered this, then, fine, we don't need it, but the evidence is there that that Act doesn't actually look at some of these things, and my argument would be, 'Should we really be shoehorning other bits into existing pieces of legislation, or should we actually do this properly and have a full scrutiny process and accountability coming from that?'
Indeed. If I may, Chair, I met with the outgoing commissioner only last week at an event, and I talked about how we were progressing and she wishes this well. And I suggested there had been—. I said, 'A few have suggested that this is something your area could pick up.' She said, 'No, this is too broad, too wide', and that was only last week.
Okay. Look, thank you for that. You've articulated a strong defence there of the necessity for this Bill, but I'm going to pass to Alun and James. Just one remark: when the Minister was in front of us, as you will have seen, she certainly relied upon the framework given by the well-being of future generations Act, but she also then talked in detail about a range of other policy areas that actually encompass part—. But we'll come back to those as we go through, because we've got an hour and we want to drill into this a little bit. But, Alun, over to you.
I wish you well as well, but it doesn't necessarily mean this is the right Bill; that's a different question, isn't it? As you know, I voted for you, for this Bill—
Keep voting, Alun.
That depends on you this afternoon. [Laughter.]
No pressure. [Laughter.]
Let me say this: I don't disagree with the overall analysis, as it happens, although I would suggest that the disaster of Brexit and the trade deals that we'll be debating in the Chamber tomorrow are doing more to undermine food production in Wales than the lack of a strategy. And, when I produced a food strategy over a decade ago, what I was relying on was an economic base to deliver it. And, you can have plans coming out of your ears—and you've made this criticism of Welsh Government before—but, unless you've got the substance, you don't have the ability to deliver that plan.
When I voted for your Bill, I think there is an area in Wales that does need some sort of coming together and a wider, more holistic view of food production, food marketing, food consumption, and the rest of it, so I do sympathise with that desire, but I was anticipating and hoping and expecting that what you would do would be to narrow the scope and the focus of the Bill to achieve a particular objective. What you seem to have done—you said in your notes, or in a letter you sent us, that the Bill is virtually unchanged from introduction. I was hoping you would narrow it down to provide a far greater focus for the Bill because, as a private Member's Bill, this has an enormously wide scope, and I'm not confident that is appropriate for a private Bill.
That's an interesting provocation, because I would argue that the legislation, as we put it, is relatively simple and it hasn't changed much. In fact, it's reduced slightly. We may have added things like—
What about the focus?
Absolutely. Absolutely it has a focus: to make sure that we actually have a joined-up approach in Wales to food security and how we use food. The reality is, you're talking about could we be specific about just food production. Now, food production is a big part of this, but if you go back to my original brief, it talked about addressing socioeconomic issues.
Yes, it did, yes.
So, where is there a current legislation or strategy or a joined-up approach across the Government that actually takes food from the ground to our children's mouths and into our health system and to address those societal issues linked with health and education and the many areas about that? Now, because it's very difficult to—. If I'd have gone and tailored this in a prescriptive way—. In many ways, there are so many people who have been supportive of this. If I'd have tried to accommodate all of those areas in this, but not being the person who could actually deliver the legislation, because I'm not a Minister, I'd have no hope. I would have no hope to get it anywhere. So, we purposely made this, based on legal advice as well, a framework Bill, which isn't overly prescriptive, but it gives the powers to the Government and the legislator to change the nature of the contents or the goals or the targets and the various elements that can deliver that overarching primary food goal. So, it is relatively simple. It can be amended by Government, via regulation, to actually make it work. But the overarching premise of this is the requirement to have an overarching food strategy, and obviously local bodies having local food plans that align to that strategy.
Can I stop you there? Because your colleague Paul Davies put forward—I think it might have been in the last Senedd, actually—an autism Bill, and he was talking about not dissimilar principles, pragmatic principles. And he drew on the experience of the late Cheryl Gillan in the House of Commons, of course, and her Bill for an autism strategy was—your lawyers will advise you exactly how long it was, but it was very short. It might have been two or three clauses, and it said the Secretary of State shall produce a plan—and it didn't touch the needs of children, which I thought was a weakness—and the UK Government will report to Parliament once a year or whatever, and it was almost two or three lines. You've got four main sections, a Schedule—26 sections in total, and a Schedule—and I'm thinking surely it would have been better—and you might still have time to do this—to establish, say, the production of a national food strategy and local food plans, full-stop, rather than go through this in the way in which you've done it.
With respect, pretty much, that's what we're putting forward, isn't it, with the addition of a commission, the overarching principle of a food strategy, designed by the Government, in consultation with the commission. That's a very straightforward, quite simple thing that you would expect or would have expected a Government to aspire to, as they are in Scotland and as they are in the UK Government. So, that's a very simple one.
The food plans are the other key plank—local bodies, expected to try to procure more local produce to get into our schools. It aligns with the Government's intention of rolling out quality free school meals, as Jenny Rathbone is promoting; it enables that. The commission is arguably a point of contention. Some think it's a good thing, some think it's a bad thing. It's not seen to be hindering the Government at all, it's to help the Government to shape the right strategy and the right answers to that. The food goals are purely there to set the direction that needs to be targeted to align to the principal food goal and strategy. It's not complicated or deep.
I think if we say because it's a backbencher's Bill, it has to be simplistic and rather tokenistic, I think that would be—
I didn't say 'tokenistic', I said it was discrete.
No, but it would assume that if you're doing something very small that that's about matters where you're going to get—
A discrete Bill can have great power. Look at Leo Abse and the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967—an enormously powerful but simple Bill.
I would argue that this is relatively discrete. It gives so much power to other people in the legislature to shape it, but it creates a framework, which is sadly lacking at the moment.
Yes, I want to move away from that, if that's okay, Peter. I wish you very well and I just want to thank you and your staff for bringing this forward, and the Commission staff also for helping you. And I hope we do bring this in; I think it's well needed in Wales. But, a comment you said earlier was that there are pieces of legislation currently in place but they don't talk to each other. I know that Tyler mentioned the well-being of future generations Act, but you said 'pieces' of legislation, which is obviously more than one. What other pieces of legislation do we have, and why do you think they don't talk to each other and deliver what your Bill wants to set out?
Well, you've obviously got the Agriculture Act 2020, you've got the sustainable farming scheme, which is coming in to align with that, you've got the environmental Bill, you've got the Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Bill, you've got various strategies—all of these things. And colleagues can perhaps talk to that a little bit more in detail, but what was coming back as a recurrent theme from many of the people we talked to was that, often, legislation is developed in this place in silos. It's got a portfolio mentality that addresses its current thinking, but what it doesn't have is an overarching goal to align to. So, there are conflicts—and I'm sure somebody can—. We've written them—. Certainly, in the explanatory memorandum, there are some examples of where there is non-alignment between strategy on food and drink and things like that, whereas you would hope that, whilst each piece of legislation has got good intention, it would have some synergy with other bits of legislation so that it delivers a wider goal and it doesn't compete or have different interpretations or a lack of clarity. And that's what we've found through some of the consultation responses is that there isn't a consistent approach. Tyler, did you have an example or anything?
Yes. It's a good question, James. Some of the examples that were drawn to us, which we mention in the explanatory memorandum, are, for example, the minimum alcohol pricing strategy versus the Public Health (Wales) Act 2017 and some of the provisions in that. You've then got the Welsh Government drink strategy and the targets in there as well. So, a bit different to the other two that I've just mentioned. The food and drink retail plan and then the 'Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales' strategy and some of the differences in that. I think we've heard about the lack of targets in the obesity strategy as well. So, again, we fully understand that things are going on and we're not sitting here and saying the Government are doing nothing, because that's not correct. But, what we're saying is that—and it's the nature of Government, isn't it, that when you have such big portfolios, you might sometimes look within your portfolio, rather than across Government. But, it's just bringing all of this together and considering where you can merge some of these priorities and just think about, for example, what targets exist in bits of policy, legislation, and just make sure that they speak to each other as well.
Can I have one more, perhaps to the legal team? One thing I always worry about is the unintended consequence of legislation. It could undermine other pieces of legislation, which means that other pieces need to be changed to adapt, or when a new Bill comes forward. Have you done any analysis around, if this becomes law through the Senedd, any other pieces of legislation that we're putting through or are currently on the statute book will need to change because this is coming in?
Pered, go ahead, yes.
On a similar sort of theme, if you're talking about conflicts within legislation and what James was talking about there, why is adding another piece of legislation going to make it any less conflicted if you're adding to the complexity?
No. I think it's trying to simplify and give purpose to the current framework, which is disjointed and inconsistent and not joined up. What we're trying to do, from my perspective, is actually to join that up. And another point was made in the Economy, Trade, and Rural Affairs Committee, where one of the Members suggested, 'Well, why can't you just bolt all of this into the partnership and procurement Bill? We can do this'. No, you cannot fundamentally do that. I don't think we could formally do that, if you wanted to, without—
What I'm trying to get at, Peter, is whether the analysis has been done, though—that, if this comes in, will anything else need to change as a consequence of doing it?
Can I bring Aled in on that?
There's nothing that's going to need to be changed in the process of the Bill. And maybe just referring to other legislation that might have an impact or not, well, we've done a thorough analysis, for example, looking at the UK Internal Market Act 2020, and we've come to the conclusion that that Act wouldn't have an effect on this Bill. I think the Member's intentions are quite clear from the beginning of this that what he wants is to have a piece of legislation that has a real practicable impact on people in Wales and the food system in Wales, and the Bill has been designed to ensure that. For example, food labelling policies haven't been taken forward, because of the concern that strengthening the requirement on food labelling in Wales might not have the desired impact in practice, because of the effect of that Act. So, that's the analysis that we've undertaken, and everything's been done to ensure that it has a practicable impact on food policy in Wales.
I'm sure that it won't be unheard of where a new set of regulations impact on existing legislation. There may need to be reflections in that legislation, via whatever process is necessary, to align them. But that's just the nature of the beast, isn't it?
Okay. Just to clarify on the UK Internal Market Act, as far as you're concerned, this is clear of any impacts for that.
Yes, that's correct. This committee will be very familiar with it. Obviously, that Act is in relation to the sale of goods; the sale of food, for example. Here, this Bill stays away from that. Food labelling might have been something that may have fallen within it, so that's the reason why it's not there.
Thank you, Aled. One of the other Chairs' standard questions you'll know from your previous experience on this committee: are you confident that this falls within the competence of the Senedd?
Absolutely, yes. We're very clear that that is the case and obviously, the Llywydd has also made that recognition as well. So, we believe we're totally right.
Okay, brilliant. Thanks for that. Look, just in those opening one or two questions, we've managed to use up a third of the time available to us already. But it's a very important one, a necessity for this. You've put forward your case eloquently. Subsequently, we'll analyse this as well. But your passion for this is very clear as well; it's commendable. I don't say that lightly. And we like, as a committee, to support backbench business coming forward—we've made that clear, but we have to look at this in a very cold way. So, Pered, we're going to hand over to you. Drill a little bit deeper.
Yes. Hi, Peter. The Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd has said that she believes that a lot of your suggestions can be carried out without legislation by taking forward the community food strategy. Can you explain briefly what the legislation can achieve that the community food strategy can't, highlighting any differences or any similarities?
I would certainly love to see a community food strategy, because there isn't one yet; it hasn't been developed. The Minister has made it clear at ETRA that she has £1.8 million put aside ready to implement it. However, with her limited capacity of staff, and they have been focused on scrutinising this Bill, they haven't been able to advance the community food strategy as they'd wish. However, I understand that it's very much looking at localised, or will look at localised opportunities to develop food strategies around smaller entities—community-produced food and different things like that. But because we haven't got one to interrogate, plus the fact that it would be a strategy, it wouldn't be legislation, it wouldn't be enforceable, it wouldn't make, for instance, food plans—local authorities and public bodies creating food plans that require them to consider. It may suggest that good practice would be to do this, that and the other, as strategies do, but this is what is fundamentally wrong with the current framework is that inconsistent approach to how it's being looked at, and different people in different bodies deliver to those strategies in different ways, leading to a lack of consistency.
That is what was verified through the consultation by 100 per cent of those, and these aren't just Joe Bloggs off the street responding here, these are major organisations, major players from academia to local health boards, to councils themselves to various unions, various others in the food sector. A hundred per cent say that it isn't joined up. So, if it isn't joined up, I'll put the question back: would a community food strategy suddenly join it up with none of the legislative weight and power that it needs to make sure that we deliver a sustainable, long-term food system that not only addresses our food security, but addresses those societal needs that we desperately need, as people from the health sector who have responded to the consultation say, on malnutrition-related conditions, obesity, diabetes—all of those things?
Now, I'm not saying that we're going to see an immediate return on the legislation straight away, but what we do with this Bill is lay the foundations to make sure that, in 50 years' time, we see a massive reduction of societal pressures faced by misuse of food at the moment. I don't think a community food strategy, which could be anything at the moment—and I would argue again, because I absolutely couldn't believe what the Minister shared at the ETRA committee, where she said that she hasn't got the capacity to develop to move it forward. Well, if a Government hasn't got the capacity, even though it's got the money, to develop something so fundamentally important to future generations in Wales, it demonstrates why there's a need for what we're proposing here.
Thank you, and going on from a little bit of what Alun was saying earlier, you've decided what to put on the face of the Bill, what not to put and to leave some of it to be determined by regulations. How did you work out that balance, and do you think that Senedd scrutiny of this Bill is impaired by not having the detail?
Thank you, Pered. Can I revert to Sam?
I think Peter has been clear from the start, when preparing the Bill, that he wanted a balance of a clear structure of what is expected from the Welsh Ministers from the Bill and what we want them to do, but underpinned by the flexibility to allow them to react to changing circumstances over time, if we look at the targets and the food goals, that they can evolve as time goes on. But if you look at what's been left off the face of the Bill for regulations, all of the regulations made under the Bill are subject to the affirmative procedure, so they'll all have to be approved by the Senedd. In addition to that, all the regulations are subject to some sort of consultation requirement, so there's no allowance for the Welsh Ministers to act unilaterally, for want of a better phrase; they'll have to consult with either the commission or other relevant bodies when preparing those regulations. So, even though the detail isn't on the face of the Bill in that sense, there's that reassurance that, whatever is passed by regulations will have gone through a consultation process and then the approval process of the Senedd. So, there is that backboard of, 'That will happen, even though we can't see it now, it will be subject to scrutiny down the line'.
So, if regulations aren't brought forward, then they're just in the same place as a community strategy.
But there's a requirement on the face of the Bill to make those regulations, then.
Could I bring Tyler in to supplement this?
Just really quickly, Chair, I think we all understand that the committee prefer as much detail on the face of the Bill, rather than issues being left to regulations and I think we completely understand and agree with that. Obviously Peter, being a former member of this committee, will have heard many discussions about that. But, as the Member in charge mentioned earlier, we're in this very peculiar position where we're designing a Bill to be enacted by other people. In an ideal world, Peter would be the Minister, we'd be Government officials, and we'd be able to design the Bill as we would enact it. So, we've had to strike a bit of a balance between what we would like this legislation to do and also being aware that if we put something into the Bill and Ministers have a different interpretation of what's in the Bill, then that might cause a conflict, and that also might mean the Ministers and officials won't actually support this Bill as it stands. So, we've had to inbuild it with flexibility through this process.
We are definitely including that quote in our report, come what may—that, in an ideal world, Peter would be the Minister.
On that point, in an ideal world, Peter, I'd love you to be the rural affairs Minister, but, in the near distant future, I can't see that happening—[Interruption.] But one thing that—. I've lost my train of thought now. I've lost it now. Thank you very much for putting me off my train, Alun. Carry on; I've lost my train of thought now.
We'll come back to you. We've probably covered the issues of the social partnership Bill and future generations—
It's back now, Chair. It's back.
You talk about not being the Minister and other people enacting it. How much engagement did you have with the Minister for rural affairs in actually shaping this Bill? As you said, in an ideal world, you'd like to enact it yourself, but what engagement did the Minister have with you on actually helping to shape this piece of legislation?
First of all, I'll start by saying I have nothing but compliments for the way the Commission wrapped a team around me as a backbencher to develop this, as you can see, and they've done a fantastic job. Engagement opportunities with the Minister for this have taken three occasions. The first occasion was the initial overview, just after we took it, 13 months ago. The Minister made it very clear to me at that point that she didn't want to introduce legislation for legislation's sake and she didn't believe there was any need for this and it could be done with her existing legislative framework—something along those lines. Then, I think we met a follow-up time—was it with the Minister again?
And Lesley was trying to understand a little bit more about what we were trying to do, but expressed her main sticking concerns were with the idea of a commission. That was a problem for her. I'm not sure if Cefin Campbell was in on that meeting, or was it the following meeting? Was Cefin in the following meeting?
Yes, and then we had—
Sorry, may I ask you a question?
Cefin Campbell was there as a designated Member.
As a designated Member for the co-operation agreement. So, Cefin joined us on the third occasion. Again, the Minister wanted to understand further, and this is where we referred a little bit to the proposal for a community food strategy. What we learnt at that meeting was that there was very little work done on the community food strategy at that point, and I think I did offer the Minister—. I said, 'Minister, I can fill that gap for you now with my proposed legislation.'
So, those are the three times that we've actually met and talked, but what we haven't had, which I think I'm slightly disappointed in, is that Government and officials didn't say—. I'm not saying—. My team members might have had conversations with some of the Government officials, but I haven't had an opportunity to sit down and say, 'Look, are there elements of this Bill that might be more conducive to your thinking? Where are things that we could do differently that might make a way forward for you?' Not once have I been offered that opportunity. It's almost, 'This isn't going to happen whatever you decide'.
And I think it's really important, Chair, to get on the record, from Alun's point earlier, that we do support backbench business in this committee, and I do think it is incumbent on Government to work with backbench Members to try and bring things forward that the Government wouldn't have legislative time to do to actually improve the legislation here in Wales. So, I think it's very important that we got that on the record. Thank you, Peter.
Thank you, Peter. We're going to go to Alun now to have a look at some of the food goals and targets within this, if you would, Alun.
Thank you, and I very much agree with what James has just said, but we also need to examine private legislation as well.
In an earlier answer, you alluded to my critique of some of the future generations legislation, and that is because I am not convinced that by putting declaratory words on the face of a Bill, you make things happen. And I've always had real concerns with declaratory legislation. So, you can imagine how I felt when I read the food goals as listed—secondary food goals: creating new economic opportunities. It would be more surprising if we had legislation that said we shouldn't create economic opportunities. This is open to so much interpretation as to be almost without meaning.
And let me give you an example of what I mean by that: environment.
'Lessening environmental impacts of food production, processing and consumption.'
That's an absolutely laudable goal, but it would lead you, I presume, to support the Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2021.
The secondary food goals are fundamental component parts, because through their breakdown and their indication, they create the blocks that need to have targets put alongside them to achieve the overarching food goal. There are many different interpretations; you could have elements within the food goals, and Welsh Ministers, by regulation, can amend the description of those secondary food goals, as laid out in table 1 of the Bill, if they were minded to do so. They would have to do that—I can't remember the rules—however's appropriate. The fundamental point, though, Alun, is not what's necessarily described in those food goals; it's the nature of the targets that the Government align to them.
Let me stop you there, because this is on the face of the Bill; it's primary legislation. So, it's difficult to argue that you need these goals on the face of the Bill and then to argue that they're not the important element; the important element is the stuff that isn't written down yet. That's a very difficult point to argue.
Can I move on a little bit because, for me—? And I don't necessarily think you're wrong, as it happens, because I would tend to prefer, and Members who've sat with me in different committees will say I'm always asking Ministers for this—to have targets, objectives. You know, what's the point and purpose? I've spoken to the First Minister about some of the stuff around Qatar, for example, and the world cup—what is the target, what is the purpose, what is the objective? So, I think it is important to have those things—I don't disagree with you—but I'm not convinced that the face of the Bill is the place to put that.
And it takes me back to the points, I think, that have been emerging as a theme in this session, which is would it not be more appropriate to have less on the face of a Bill and to have a clearer focus. For me, for example—and I've said this to you already today—that is a national food strategy on the face of the Bill, delivered by secondary legislation, with affirmative plus or superaffirmative through the Senedd process, to bring the Senedd into this so that you would have means of delivering a food strategy across the field that you've described, but it would be of greater clarity and it wouldn't leave you open to interpretation, as the goals currently do.
I think the primary food—. We mustn't argue there's a lot of focus, often, on the secondary goals. The secondary goals are there to deliver against the primary food goal, which you could argue is a strategy. It hasn't been defined in exact detail, but,
'The primary food goal is the provision of affordable, healthy, and economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable food for the people of Wales.'
Now, I would argue that is a pretty good strategy. So, if you're aspiring to deliver—
It's a goal; it's not a strategy.
Well, it's a goal, which will require—hence the need for the Bill—a strategy to deliver against that. And if I hadn't have had food goals there, then I would be challenged, 'Well, how are you aiming to deliver that primary food goal if you haven't got the thinking and the methods that you want to obtain it?'
I think the primary goal is fine, as it happens, and I think the Government miss out, because they don't have that in their agriculture Bill, as it happens. So, I don't disagree with you on that, but the secondary goal—
There are different—. I mean, we've heard from different people about the nature of secondary goals. Could they be worded differently? Could they be more aligned to the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales? And, you know, it's a fair challenge. Don't forget, as I shared here, the Bill very clearly does say that if the Government and the legislature decide that they want to change the description of those food goals—even though we can disagree or agree if they should be on the face of the Bill—they have the power to do that via regulation. So, this, in its entirety, is creating a framework that gives the flexibility for those things to—
It gives so much flexibility as to leave it almost meaningless. The example I quoted to you at the beginning of this question was on environment and environmental standards. It would enable the Government to argue that the nitrate vulnerable zones regulations are delivering on your goal. And that—I assume you're still opposing those regulations—would enable you to say you're opposing those regulations on the same basis. So, the legislation itself would be devoid of meaning.
I'm going to—. You're clearly—. I'm out of my depth with you, Alun. I'm going to—
Well, that's rarely said, to be fair.
—refer to a learned colleague to give a reflection.
I think, just adding to that, obviously this is a policy decision ultimately, but I think stakeholders were really keen early on to have that overarching aim and to have principles on it, outlining what the important focus was. But, perhaps looking at the water regulations, for example, I think the whole point of the overview on what you have in this section is to promote that discussion, so that the Welsh food commission can act, then, as a body that takes into their opinion the views of all these stakeholders, wider groups, unions, who might have an interest. So, perhaps you do then come to a position where those interests are represented before, perhaps, such legislation might be enacted.
Can I just touch on this as well? Just to add to what Aled is saying, I think you are completely right that, in and of themselves, the secondary food goals aren't the clarity, but the power is behind the targets, and that's what differentiates this Bill from, for example, our community food strategy in that, when making targets under this Bill, there is that point of reference that the Government have to come back to: 'Have we matched up the targets we're setting with the secondary food goals and the ultimate overarching food goal?' And it's been drafted in a way, under Peter's instructions—. I think 'a point of reference' is the best way of describing it. They are there as clarity statements of what is being aspired to, but they will be ultimately underpinned by regulation-made targets that are more quantifiable and set down in legislation what those, as you said, achievable aspects of them are.
I like the latter goal; I'm less convinced about the former goal.
It's going to be inevitable that, in an hour, we're not going to get through all the detail that we want to, so I'll say already we're going to have to write to you with quite a number of detailed questions that follow up from this, but did you want to go on to any other aspects of the targets and goals, James?
Yes. On one point on the targets—and I'm a big believer that Government should have targets, they should have deadlines on targets and proper reporting mechanisms for them—the Bill requires the Welsh Ministers to report on food targets, but it doesn't impose a deadline for such reporting; it leaves it open to Welsh Ministers to set when they want to report on targets. So, in one respect, it's putting it there, but, in another way, it's letting Welsh Ministers get away with it.
Can I bring Sam in on that?
I think that's just to reflect, as we've just touched on, the wide range of things the targets can be set on, and that it was difficult—well, it's almost impossible—on the face of the Bill, to determine what kind of targets are going to be set for what kind of sector, and the varying timescales and realistic timescales of what will be achieved by when. If we tried to place on the face of the Bill, 'Target x has to be achieved by such and such a date', it really reduces the flexibility of the range of targets that can be set. As it is now, there is a requirement that the targets must have a deadline, but that's left for the regulations to set the target. So, a regulation passed in 2025 might have a two-year target, whereas a different target being set in subsequent legislation might require a five-year target. And that was drafted in that way to retain that flexibility so that Welsh Ministers can tailor the deadline to the nature of the target being set.
Okay. That's fine.
Pered, did you want to come in on this?
Just on that, if you're setting targets, are you convinced that the underlying data is there to be able to set a meaningful target in those areas?
I would be amazed if the Government hasn't got access to the right data it needs. If it hasn't got that data, it needs to find it pretty quickly, because that wouldn't give us much confidence for the future if they couldn't find the data to put in strong targets. Actually, the process for setting targets is clear in section 5(2):
'Before making regulations which set a target, the Welsh Ministers must be satisfied that the target can be met.'
So, before they set a target, they have to make sure they've got the appropriate data to be able to set the target. But I would go back to my earlier point: I would very much hope if they feel there's a target needed to achieve one of these things but they're not sure if they've quite got the data, then it may be that that target is one that needs further development before they can actually implement it, and they need to get the data to achieve that end result. And I suppose that's where, sometimes, certain parts of the Bill might take longer to put in place than others.
Thanks, Pered. James, are you content or do you want to go further?
I'm going to move on to something else, if that's all right. I think we could be here all day talking about targets and I know we're short of time, Chair. It's just a little bit about wording, because in section 5(1)(b), where it refers to
'other persons the Welsh Ministers consider to be independent and to have relevant expertise',
this does differ from the usual wording in legislation, which is 'any other persons the Welsh Ministers consider appropriate'. How do you envisage that working in practice, when that isn't how you normally write legislation?
Can I invite Sam in again, please?
The policy intention here was that, in setting targets, there should be some form of independent consultation by the Welsh Ministers so they don't set targets that are either too easy or that don't go far enough. The consultation requirement was put in there with the independence element to ensure that they were not only realistic but that they were something that actually was a real target rather than just a tick-box exercise. That said, we do appreciate that some arm's-length bodies could add value to setting targets. You could look at other commissioners, or if it was an environment example then perhaps Natural Resources Wales could add value in setting environmental targets. But I think it's worth noting that that provision doesn't prevent the Welsh Ministers consulting non-independent persons, there's just the requirement there that they do consult with the independent person to ensure the target is suitable and achievable. But it doesn't prevent them speaking to anyone.
But don't you think the current wording does that anyway, 'the persons Welsh Ministers consider appropriate'? 'Appropriate' could mean an independent person. I know it's a play on words here, but 'any other persons the Welsh Ministers consider appropriate' I think covers what your wording originally said. And I think it's changing the wording on legislation for changing the wording's sake. That's my personal opinion.
I tend to agree with you, but I am conscious that other people aren't agreeing. I think, in fairness, it's an area perhaps we need to reflect on further so that we don't actually remove somebody who could be useful to contribute to it or who the Government might want to consult with. So, again, there will be elements of the Bill as written at the moment, around wording, timings and things like that, that we have reflected on already and there may be tweaks that we could suggest to make, because there have been some good points made. So, I think we've got to be pragmatic and remember that we might not have the answer to everything and what could be done slightly better. We're content to amend certain things if needs be throughout the process.
That's fine. I know others want to come in, Chair. I'll leave it there for the time being.
Thanks, James. We'll go on, then, to look at issues around the food commission and the national food strategy. Pered, it's in your hands.
There might be a couple of questions that we won't get to here. It's on the interplay between the national food strategy and then the fact that public bodies are required to publish their local food plans, both happening within two years of Royal Assent. What happens if the Minister takes a long time to produce it, up to the two-year deadline, and then you've got the local authorities under a lot of pressure to produce this within a very short period of time? Have you given any thought to that interplay?
This has come up, and we have considered this a bit. Aled will respond to that.
Diolch am y cwestiwn.
Thank you for the question.
As Peter alluded to, there are some areas around the timescales where we might reconsider. This is one of those where potentially at Stage 2, for the reasons you've outlined, you may want to move the local food plans to three years, just in case, for whatever reason, the Welsh Ministers haven't been able to develop their strategy further enough into that two years, so you don't have a clash. Of course, the normal constitutional convention is that we expect Ministers to do the right thing, but for whatever reason, if it is late in the day, then yes, amending that to three years wouldn't be a problem.
Three years would only give the local food plans a year to implement in that scenario. Is that going to be long enough? It's things that need to be thought through. And then, if that was four years down the line, and then you've got a review period in the fifth year, is that going to give you enough time?
We've discussed this. I think three years would be appropriate. I think the message from stakeholders, again from a policy perspective, is that there is a real need for this, and it's a case of balancing that, making sure that this is up and running as soon as possible, whilst also giving the Welsh Ministers sufficient time to do it. So, we think the balance between two and three could work well.
And what about the extra pressure on local authorities and health authorities to do that work, and the budgetary impact? We'll come to this next week or the week after when you come to Finance Committee. It's that impact on the pressure on those local authorities.
Whenever you put an extra expectation on a body, they have to learn how to manage that, and they do that all the time. As new regulations and expectations are put on them, they have to align themselves to them. But I would draw you to some of the consultation responses where we've actually got health boards and councils advocating for this and wanting to do it. Indeed, many are already developing local food strategies and have already put a lot of work in on this. I think it's inconceivable that a Government couldn't put together a food strategy within two years, an overarching food strategy, but in that real potential case, again, this is an area where we have to be pragmatic and we have to make sure that we plan for any outcome. If we have to alter some of the time frames, and there is a consequence with altering one time frame, we might then have to review something else as well. But it doesn't detract from the fundamental purpose of what we're trying to do, I don't think.
Diolch. Alun, is there anything you want to take us on to here? We've got about seven minutes left. I don't know how you're pressed on time. The time is flying.
I could spend a lot of time discussing this. Where's your red line, Peter?
Where's my red line?
You said you'd be prepared to amend earlier.
We've said we'd be pragmatic to amend certain elements of this. You're referring to when I said it would have been nice to talk to the Minister about it. To me, these four asks within this legislation are pretty simple. The strategy, the food plans and the commission are really important. There are different perspectives around the commission and commissioners. My view was that I felt that it was appropriate to have a board-and-chair commission, so that you can have the breadth of expertise to support that commission to help assist the Government to do things. I know others prefer the commissioner model; it gives it a higher profile, puts more weight behind the legislation. I'd be happy to have a conversation if somebody wanted to have a conversation with me. The fundamental driver of this Bill always was to create a robust, secure food system in Wales that recognises the societal needs that are manifested due to the inappropriate—. Well, not inappropriate, but certainly not a good use of our food. So, there's not a joined-up approach. The Bill, I think, is robust, I think it's simple. It's supported by so many people. It is a framework, it doesn't give, perhaps, the detail you would all like, but it enables those who would enact it to have the flexibility to shape it into something meaningful for future generations, and I think that's fundamental.
We're slightly short on—. Tyler, you wanted to come in.
Just a really quick point, if I may, Chair. I think, at the moment, we're in a situation where the Minister's been very clear she is not going to support this legislation. What we haven't had, as the Member said, is an alternative to this. It's, 'Bill is struck down, and we're back to the status quo'. So, if it's not this Bill, then the question to the Minister should be, 'What is the alternative?' We've heard time after time that the status quo simply is not good enough at the moment. As the Member in charge said, we're flexible. We're approaching it in a flexible way; I don't think the Welsh Government have approached it in a way that—
Well, I've just asked Peter what his red line was, and he listed the whole of the Bill. [Laughter.]
I'm absolutely 100 per cent behind this Bill—
I know you are.
—but I'm a backbench Member bringing a backbench Member's Bill that I'm asking the Government to implement, and I want the weight of the legislature to come behind me on this. I hope that the legislature and the Government can see the overarching aim that we're trying to achieve—
But we're asking you where you're prepared to compromise.
You know my view on commissions and commissioners, Peter; I think we've got enough Government quangos telling them what they want to hear. I'll be honest, I think we've got enough of those and I don't think they deliver for the people of Wales. That's my personal view. There's one thing that I do wonder. If the Government were to come to the table and say, 'We agree with having the targets in legislation, we agree with the goals and the measures set out in there, but we don't agree with the commission', for example, would that be something you'd be willing to compromise on? Because there is no cost identified. Well, there is a rough cost identified within the plan for the costs of the commission. I want to see this Bill succeed as much as anybody, because you know my personal interest in agriculture and the rest of it, but I don't want to see a very good piece of backbench legislation getting voted down because the Government don't agree with putting another quango in, as such, to tell them what they want to hear.
I hear your points on that, James. I think the commission is absolutely fundamental to drive this forward to pull together the expertise, not in just food production, but in health, in education, in all those other areas, to help shape the legislative framework. As the Minister shared in other committees, capacity to develop a community food strategy is limited to one. How will the Government be able to develop the breadth of everything in here without a supportive framework such as a commission? Through our consultation—I know you would have looked at it—you will note that 91.4 per cent of those consulted were in support of a Welsh food commission. We know Scotland, in their good nations Bill—is that what they call it?
Good food nation.
They have just put in a commission, a chair-and-board commission, actually, to deliver moving forward, recognising that they need the expertise to shape that policy. The commission is designed not to stand in the way of the Government at all, but to assist, to bring the expertise to help shape, to be a critical friend, to challenge where necessary. Otherwise, if you haven't got scrutiny—. We have got elements of scrutiny, obviously, with our legislature, the Senedd itself, and future committees' scrutiny, but you'd hope that the Government would welcome the commission in the same way it welcomes a commission for every other, virtually, subject it delivers with one.
But on my one point, though, what I'm trying to get to is—. I want to see it succeed, Peter, I really do, but we live in an area where the Minister obviously doesn't look like she's going to support this, and you said the main element is she doesn't support the commission element of it. If the Minister was minded to get her group to support this Bill if the commission wasn't in it, would that be something you'd be willing to do? The simple reason being that, if we needed a commission in future, the Bill could be amended again to actually put a commission in place.
If I could, just really quickly, Chair—. So, as part of the development of this Bill, we did look at a couple of different models—so, for example, a standalone commissioner, and the board-and-chair model that we've got. Obviously, in consultation with external stakeholders, this is the model that we felt was the most appropriate, but, again, like I said, we have considered other models. And just a really quick point. For example, if we go back to the future generations Act—'We don't need a separate commission/commissioner for the food system because we've got that'—in Scotland, obviously, as the Member said, there is now going to be a Scottish food commission, but, interestingly, in its programme for government for 2022-23, the Scottish Government are looking at a sort of well-being Act, which will have a future generations commissioner. So, in Scotland, they're saying, 'We need, potentially, a future generations commissioner and a food commission.' In Wales, we're saying, 'We don't need a food commission because we have the future generations Act.' So, one of those is—. You know, who's right or wrong in this situation?
Now, it's not a zero-sum game. There are benefits and disadvantages to either system. But it's interesting how you've got two very different attitudes to the inclusion of a commission. But, yes, as we said, we have considered other models than in this Bill.
The Irish is a better model than either the Scottish or the Welsh, but we won't go there. [Laughter.]
Okay, we have run over time. We will write to you with a fairly long list of some detailed questions that we haven't had time to get to, but I think we've dealt with some substantive issues here. We started by asking about the necessity of this legislation, and we tried to probe at it about what parts of this you think are absolutely key, and I think you've defended robustly all aspects of this. It's for you as a backbench Member to negotiate with Ministers and so on and so forth, but it's been interesting for us to understand where you think the key areas are.
A long way to go on this—I understand you're in front of three committees in total.
Yes. This is my second, so, yes.
Okay. Well, I applaud your diligence and your commitment, and the assistance that you've had here as well. We'll, obviously, as well as writing to you, discuss it in private, about our remit within this committee towards it, but can I just say, on behalf of the committee, well done on getting this far? You might go further, but well done on getting this far, because it will encourage backbenchers to bring forward legislation. We'd always encourage the Government Ministers to engage as well, even if sometimes that engagement is, 'We've looked at it. We don't like it', but to engage properly and meaningfully as well.
So, Peter and your colleagues, thank you very much indeed.
Thank you, Chair.
We'll send you the transcript so you can look through it for accuracy as well. So, thank you very much.
We'll just take a little breather while Peter and his colleagues leave before we return to our main business. If Members are happy we'll go for a short break. We'll go into private now and then we'll resume afterwards.
Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 14:33 ac 14:41.
The meeting adjourned between 14:33 and 14:41.
Croeso nôl—welcome back—to the reconvening of this afternoon's session of our committee. We've just finished an evidence session with Peter Fox on his private Member's Bill that he is hoping to take forward. We've just considered evidence on that, and we'll consider that further later when we go into private session, but, for now, we have business in front of us.
We'll turn first of all to item 4 on our agenda for today in public, instruments that raise issues—. Oh, my apologies. Oh, my apologies, my apologies. Sorry. Item 3, instruments that raise issues—I was leaping ahead—to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3. So, under item 3.1 we have SL(6)312, the Government of Wales Act 2006 (Budget Motions and Designated Bodies) (Amendment) Order 2023. This Order amends the 2018 Order, which designates bodies in relation to the Welsh Ministers. The effect of the Order is to insert four further bodies into the list of designated bodies contained within the Schedule to the 2018 Order, and the purpose of such designation is so that information relating to the resources expected to be used by such bodies can be included within a budget motion. Welsh Ministers have consulted with HM Treasury on the bodies to be designated in accordance with the Government of Wales Act 2006. And our lawyers have identified two technical reporting points. Kate.
Yes. Both the technical points relate to apparent defective drafting. The first questions why article 2(2) of the Order refers to 'Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales' when the correct title would now be 'His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales'. In response, Welsh Government says it's correct to refer to the body by the name given in the establishing statute, on the basis that section 10 of the Interpretation Act 1978 then requires that reference to be read as a reference to 'His Majesty'. The committee's legal advisers do disagree with Welsh Government on that point. In our view, it cannot be correct to continue to refer to the body as 'Her Majesty's' when the sovereign of the day is now a king. And while the interpretation Act provision ensures that existing legislation will continue to operate when there's a change of monarch, it shouldn't be used as justification for continuing to use a factually inaccurate term in new legislation.
The second technical point notes that, in the Welsh language version of the Order, the bodies being inserted into the list are not being inserted alphabetically, and that makes the instruction to insert them at the appropriate place unclear. But, in response, Welsh Government says that article 2(2) provides for the bodies to be inserted 'at the appropriate places'—plural—and so, in Welsh Government's view, as the list in the 2018 Order is alphabetical, it will be clear that the bodies are to be inserted where they should appear alphabetically, in that order, rather than in the order they appear in this amending Order. But the question that raises then is whether it's reasonable to expect the reader to identify the error, which is in the middle of a word, and then insert the terms into the correct places.
So, overall, Welsh Government are obviously disagreeing with both of the reporting points, and, while they are technical matters, they do go to the accessibility of the legislation and so they may be points that you wish to follow up on.
I think so. Colleagues, any comments on those, or are you happy to agree those? They may be technical, but they are key to what we do, so—. Alun, yes.
I assumed that the Demise of the Crown Act 1901 meant that all these designations changed automatically, without reference to any further legal action.
The title changes automatically, and the Interpretation Act 1978 means that it doesn't matter if an old piece of legislation still refers to 'Her Majesty'.
But, as we develop new legislation and regulations, then it should be correctly—
Yes. That's our view. Welsh Government may come back and provide further details, but we'll consider that if they do.
Okay. Thank you. With those points, I think we're happy to agree those reporting points.
That takes us on, then, to item No. 4, instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3, which we have previously considered. We have one item here. It's SL(6)308, the Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2022, and we have a report and a Welsh Government response. We considered this instrument in our meeting on 23 January 2023, laid the report the same day, so it's just to consider and to note the response, if you're content with it. Okay. No particular comments on that from our perspective or—. Kate.
Just to say that Welsh Government have laid a replacement explanatory memorandum, which contains the additional information that the committee requested. So, that's a good outcome.
Great. Excellent. Unless Members have any comments, we'll agree that, then.
Item 5, notifications and correspondence under the inter-institutional relations agreement. So, under item 5.1, we have correspondence from the Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution on the inter-ministerial group for elections and registration. A meeting took place on 25 January of that inter-ministerial group. We received the letter on the morning of 23 January, despite it being dated 20 January—just to draw that to Members' attention. And just to remind Members that we brought this letter to your attention during last week's meeting, just to make sure that we were all aware that the meeting was taking place; otherwise, it would have been left to this week. So, the Counsel General, just to let you know, has stated his intention to write again to us, following the meeting, and we love to have, in case he's listening, great detail on the discussions—as much as he can share with us. Content with that?
So, item 5.2, correspondence from the Minister for Social Justice in respect of the safety, security and migration inter-ministerial group. This is a letter of 24 January 2023, relating to the meeting to be held on 1 February, which will be the first meeting of that inter-ministerial group. And the letter states that a copy of the agenda will be forwarded to us in due course, as well as a communiqué being issued following the meeting. And again, in common with much of our discussions, both within this committee and with committees in Westminster as well, the greater the detail, we really appreciate that.
Item 5.3, correspondence from the Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Well-being to the Health and Social Care Committee in relation to the Food Supplements and Food for Specific Groups (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2023. I don't know if we have any comments on that. Just to note it for now. We're happy with that. Yes. Okay.
And then we have some papers to note under item No. 6. First of all, we have correspondence from the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd in respect of the Animals and Animal Health, Feed and Food, Plants and Plant Health (Amendment) Regulations 2022. It responds to our recommendation that the Minister should table the necessary motion and seek the Senedd's agreement to the inclusion of a relevant provision in the regulation. Now, just to note, Members will note from that correspondence that the Minister has rejected that recommendation. We may want to come back to this in private session, about whether and how we respond and take that forward.
Then we have item 6.2, correspondence from the Minister for Economy in respect of the Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill, and this is a letter of 25 January 2023. It's outlining the timing of the Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill through the UK parliamentary process, and confirms that a Senedd debate, indeed, on a consent motion is scheduled to take place tomorrow, 31 January. Yes. So—.
Item 6.3—and, again, we can return to these in private as well, if required—we have correspondence from the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd, and the Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Well-being in relation to the TARP regulations, the abbreviation for the Trade in Animals and Related Products (Amendment and Legislative Functions) and Animal Health (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2022, and the Food and Feed (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2022. So, the Minister, in the Minister's letter, responds to a number of questions set out in our letter of 16 January relating to errors in the above sets of regulations and when those errors will be corrected. As for the TARP regulations, Members will note that the Minister has said that a 'bespoke statutory instrument' will be brought forward in early March, and we obviously pushed on this in the Senedd debate on this issue. And with the food and feed regulations, the letter confirms an instrument will be made in mid March. So, again, I don't know if Members have any comments on that, but we can otherwise keep them to the private discussion and just note that for now. Okay.
Item 6.4, we have correspondence from the Counsel General to the Llywydd in relation to the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill. And in the letter, the Counsel General sets out some of the Welsh Government's concerns with the Bill, and he notes that Welsh Government officials are analysing the Bill 'at pace' and the Welsh Government will confirm whether a legislative consent memorandum is required as soon as possible. So, that's the correspondence to note.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
And with that, under item No. 7, if Members are happy, I'll put the motion, under Standing Order 17.42, to resolve to exclude the public for the remainder of the meeting. Are we happy to do so? We are. So, we'll move into private, please.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 14:52.
The public part of the meeting ended at 14:52.