By Mark Isherwood

MS for North Wales

I spoke at and Chaired the ‘Building Communities Trust’ Fringe event on ‘Community Action in Wales’ at the Welsh Conservative Party Conference in Newtown. The Institute of Welsh Affairs's recent 'Our Land: Communities and Land Use' report ‘found that Welsh communities are the least empowered in Britain’. I stated “It is time to enable our local communities and time to set Wales free to travel the road to a vibrant, people-powered recovery”.

Questioning the Education Minister, I said that although the Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Code’s Children’s Rights Impact Assessment states that ‘Children and young people currently recorded as having SEN are twice as likely to be eligible for free school meals as those who do not’, there is concern that some Local Authorities are using Free School Meals as the sole measure to allocate ALN funding to Schools. I warned that this “could leave ALN pupils in Schools with lower Free School Meals levels deprived of the resources they need to fulfil their potential” and asked the Minister how he is ensuring that Local Authority allocation of ALN funding to schools allows the aims of the ALN (Wales) Act 2018 to be implemented.

Responding to the Statement by the Social Justice Minister, ‘Update on Ukraine’, I referred to the latest UK Government figures showing that 3,300 visas had been issued to people from Ukraine to come to Wales via the Homes for Ukraine scheme, up 1000 in just a fortnight, and called on her to ensure that Local Authority and Health Services across Wales understand what is expected of them regarding Ukrainian refugees arriving in Wales.

Questioning the Deputy Minister for Climate Change, I raised concerns that 21 rapid Electric Vehicle charging points announced for Wales last June by Transport for Wales, working on behalf of the Welsh Government, have still not been installed.

I Chaired meetings of the Cross-Party Group on Hospices and Palliative Care, our fourth evidence session looking at ‘Experiences of end of life care during the pandemic’, which focused on the impact on workforce health and wellbeing; and of the Cross-Party Group for North Wales.

Other meetings included the Cross-Party Group on Tourism, at which the Wales Tourism Alliance spoke about the need to limit the impact on the tourism industry in Wales of the Welsh Government’s tax proposals; and the Cross-Party Group on Rare, Genetic and Undiagnosed Conditions for their AGM and a presentation on the latest Wales Rare Diseases Action Plan.

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