Cabinet meeting: 28 June 2021
Minutes of a meeting (via Teams) of the Cabinet on 28 June 2021.
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
- Des Clifford, Director General Office of the First Minister
- 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
- Reg Kilpatrick, Director General, COVID-19 Crisis Coordination
- Andrew Slade, Director General, Economy, Skills and Natural Resources
- Catrin Sully, Cabinet Office
- Emma Williams, Director Housing and Regeneration
- Amelia John, Deputy Director Housing Policy
- Helen Lentle, Director Legal Services
- Dylan Hughes, First Legislative Counsel
- Claire Fife, Policy Advisor to the Counsel General
Item 1: Minutes of the previous meeting
1.1 Cymeradwyodd y Cabinet gofnodion y 16 a 21 Mehefin / Cabinet approved the minutes of 16 and 21 June.
Item 2: Senedd Business
2.1 The Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd informed Cabinet that Plenary would commence on Tuesday with the nomination of Committee Chairs. This would allow for secret ballots to be conducted during the day’s proceedings, if required. Guidance on the ballot process had been circulated to all Senedd Members and the results of any ballots would be announced after voting time. It was hoped that the membership of some of the Committees could be firmed up on Wednesday.
2.2 Voting time was expected to be around 6:50pm on Tuesday and approximately 5:45pm on Wednesday.
Item 3: Affordability, second homes and the Welsh language: approaches in our rural and coastal heartlands - CAB(21-22)13
3.1 The Minister for Climate Change introduced the paper, which asked Cabinet to agree a broad approach and cross-Government activity as part of addressing affordability of homes for local people in rural and coastal areas and supporting the evolving Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan.
3.2 There was significant concern from people within coastal and rural communities and the Welsh speaking heartlands about the impact of the increasing numbers of second homes. This was driving locals out of the housing market, particularly young people who could not afford to live in their home communities, and having a significant impact on the sustainability of such towns and villages. There was also the issue of empty homes, which were higher in number but more evenly distributed when compared with second homes.
3.3 This had been further complicated by the growth in property prices since the pandemic, fuelled by people seeking more living space and wishing to move to less densely populated areas. In addition, investor companies were taking advantage of the boom in property prices. The availability of affordable homes was also complicated by the need to house all those that had been offered temporary accommodation during the pandemic. It was acknowledged that the plan for 20,000 homes for social rent was a longer term policy objective.
3.4 This demonstrated why there was a need for urgent action. The paper set out some of the key challenges and complexities relating to affordable housing and explored the leverage across Government to counter these challenges, while being mindful of any unintended consequences. In the first instance, actions should be framed in the context of a Welsh Language Housing Community Plan.
3.5 The Minister for Education and the Welsh Language indicated that the paper had set out the scale of the challenge along with potential solutions, on which it would be important to engage with communities and Local Government partners to test effectively.
3.6 A toolkit of measures was proposed, which would seek to address the core issue of affordability through interventions and leverage across government and within local authorities. Existing housing programmes would be targeted and tailored across tenures, while developing and trialling new approaches. There would also be a need to change regulatory frameworks to improve the management of additional second homes and short term holiday lets, while changing national and local taxation systems to ensure that second home owners made a fair and effective contribution to those communities.
3.7 It would be important to pilot those interventions on a trial basis.
3.8 Cabinet welcomed the paper and agreed that the government would need to act quickly, given the scale of the challenge.
3.9 Cabinet approved the recommendations in the paper.
Item 4: Codes of Welsh law: programme for improving the accessibility of Welsh law
4.1 The Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution introduced the paper, which asked Cabinet to approve the draft programme to improve the accessibility of Welsh law, which was a requirement under Part 1 of the Legislation (Wales) Act 2019.
4.2 The scale of the work was significant and early estimates indicated that at least 50 consolidated Bills would be required to bring together all the current law application in Wales. Given this, the previous Government had made a commitment during the passage of the legislation that there should be between four and five consolidation Bills during the current Senedd.
4.3 The programme outlined in the paper proposed, initially, two such Bills: a consolidation of historic environment legislation; and the simplification and modernising of planning law. In addition, a small Bill to remove obsolete and spent provisions from the statue book was proposed.
4.4 In addition, work would continue with the Law Commission to identify one or more projects relating to Welsh law for inclusion in its 14th Programme of Law Reform, which was scheduled to commence in 2022.
4.5 Cabinet approved the paper.
Item 5: Any other business
Emergency Business Support
5.1 Cabinet noted that the Minister for the Economy would be announcing later that week a continuation of emergency support for businesses that remained closed or severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, which would run until the end of August.