Cabinet meeting: 17 May 2021
Minutes of a meeting (via Teams) of the Cabinet on 17 May 2021.
A PDF download of this document will be available soon.
In this page
- Rt. Hon. Mark Drakeford MS
- Rebecca Evans MS
- Vaughan Gething MS
- Lesley Griffiths MS
- Jane Hutt MS
- Julie James MS
- Eluned Morgan MS
- Jeremy Miles MS
- Mick Antoniw MS
- Dawn Bowden MS
- Hannah Blythyn MS
- Julie Morgan MS
- Lynne Neagle MS
- Lee Waters MS
- Shan Morgan, Permanent Secretary
- Will Whiteley, Deputy Director Cabinet Division
- Toby Mason, Head of Strategic Communications
- Jane Runeckles, Special Adviser
- Madeleine Brindley, Special Adviser
- Alex Bevan, Special Adviser
- Daniel Butler, Special Adviser
- Ian Butler, Special Adviser
- Kate Edmunds, Special Adviser
- Sara Faye, Special Adviser
- Clare Jenkins, Special Adviser
- Andrew Johnson, Special Adviser
- Mitch Theaker, Special Adviser
- Tom Woodward, Special Adviser
- Christopher W Morgan, Cabinet Secretariat (minutes)
- Damian Roche, Cabinet Secretariat
- Tracey Burke, Director General, Education and Public Services
- Andrew Goodall, Director General, Health
- Andrew Slade, Director General ESNR
- Reg Kilpatrick, Director General, COVID-19 Crisis Coordination
- Frank Atherton, CMO
- Rob Orford, Chief Scientific Adviser for Health
- Catrin Sully, Cabinet Office
- Tom Smithson, Deputy Director COVID-19 Restart
- Gemma Nye, Deputy Director Public Health
Item 1: First Minister’s items
1.1 The First Minister welcomed everyone to the first Cabinet meeting of the new Government and outlined a number of important issues that Ministers would need to consider.
Programme for government
1.2 The First Minister informed Cabinet that officials had been working on a preliminary version of the Programme for government. The aim was for this to be published in early June.
Ministerial responsibilities document
1.3 It was noted that the latest version of the ministerial responsibilities document had been shared with ministers.
1.4 Plenary was expected to remain in hybrid format, and some thought would need to be given to when ministers should attend in person, given that there was a maximum of 20 Members within the Siambr at one time and only 3 seats were available for the government.
1.5 The Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd outlined Plenary business for the next 2 weeks, which would be limited to sessions on a Wednesday only. Oral questions to the First Minister would resume on 26th May. After half term there would be a return to twice weekly sessions and the full OQs schedule.
Relations with the UK government
1.6 The First Minister informed Cabinet that he had met the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster the previous week to discuss the UK-wide independent inquiry on the handling of the pandemic. It was the intention to agree the terms of reference and ways of working by the end of the year with the inquiry commencing sometime in 2022. At that meeting the First Minister stressed the importance of the inquiry taking into account the decision making processes within the devolved administrations.
1.7 The First Minister had responded to the letter from the Prime Minister regarding a ‘Team UK’ approach to the recovery from the pandemic and was now awaiting a response on the next steps.
Future Cabinet meetings
1.8 Cabinet would continue to meet on a Monday afternoon.
Item 2: COVID-19 situation update
2.1 The First Minister invited the CMO to provide the latest information on the transmission of the virus, specifically the new variant that appeared to have originated in India, and the impact on the NHS.
2.2 The situation in Wales remained favourable with the 7 day average infection rate around ten in every 100,000 of the population. Overall, there were currently 26 cases of the new variant (B.1.617.2) in Wales, with clusters in Cardiff and Newport. The rate of growth appeared to be faster than the current dominant variant.
2.3 It was more problematic in England, with over 2,000 cases and 100 clusters with community transmission evident, particularly in the North West, East Midlands and London. Welsh cases are being overseen by Incident Management Teams, and developments in Bolton were being closely monitored.
2.4 There was currently no high quality information on the severity of the disease or whether it was sensitive to the vaccines. However, if B.1.617.2 resulted in more severe symptoms this would lead to increased hospitalisation and further pressure on the NHS. There was also the potential for a third wave in late summer or early autumn.
2.5 It was agreed that TAC would need to provide ministers with further information on the use of face coverings in education settings.