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  • Lesley Griffiths MS (Chair)
  • Eluned Morgan MS
  • Hannah Blythyn MS
  • Jeremy Miles MS
  • Julie James MS
  • Julie Morgan MS
  • Lynne Neagle MS
  • Mick Antoniw MS
  • Rebecca Evans MS
  • Vaughan Gething MS

Leaders of North Wales local authorities

  • Cllr Carwyn Jones, Anglesey
  • Cllr Charlie McCoubrey, Conwy
  • Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn, Gwynedd
  • Cllr Ian Roberts, Flintshire
  • Cllr Jason McLellan, Denbighshire

Other external attendees

  • Jo Whitehead, Chief Executive – Betsi Cadwaladr UHB (item 1)
  • Mark Polin, Chair - Betsi Cadwaladr UHB (item 1)
  • Chris Llewelyn, Chief Executive, WLGA
  • Stephen Jones, WLGA

Welsh Government officials

  • Nick Wood, Deputy Chief Executive NHS Wales (item 1)
  • Tracey Burke, Director General, CCRA (item 2)
  • Elin Gwynedd, Deputy Director North Wales
  • Bryn Richards, Head of Regional Planning – North
  • Heledd Cressey, Senior Regional Planning Officer North
  • Martyn Rees, Senior Scheduled Care Manager (item 1)
  • Amelia John, Deputy Director, Housing Policy (item 2)
  • Christopher W Morgan, Head of Cabinet Secretariat
  • Damian Roche, Cabinet Secretariat 
  • Huw Llewellyn Davies, Cabinet Division


  • Mark Drakeford MS
  • Jane Hutt MS
  • Lee Waters MS
  • Dawn Bowden MS
  • Cllr Mark Pritchard, Wrexham

Item 1: Health in North Wales – Update from Minister for Health & Social Services and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

1.1 The Minister for Health and Social Services introduced the item by outlining the background situation in North Wales, including the continued prevalence of Covid at a high rate, with its associated impact on staff absence and delivery of routine treatment.

1.2 It was noted that Mental Health services were under pressure across the region and the Welsh Government delivery unit were assisting the health board to address issues as they arose.

1.3 Questions were raised about the progress of North Denbighshire community hospital, and how community hospitals could reduce pressure in terms of bed occupancy. A significant number of patients were unable to be discharged from hospitals and work was underway to improve discharge by working with social care departments.

1.4 The sub-committee discussed GP provision and the impact on A&E of difficulties in accessing GP services. The health board was working to train more GPs and advanced nurse practitioners. A ‘6 goals’ approach was being taken to emergency care, but there remained significant challenges, including those caused or made worse by inflation, and joint working with social care was stressed as a necessity.

1.5 The impact of summer tourism on the delivery of health services was acknowledged, and it was noted that workforce challenges were evident across the UK at present owing to several factors, not least of which was the UK’s exit from the EU.

Item 2: Housing - the North Wales perspective

2.1 The Minister for Climate Change provided an update on the housing perspective in North Wales.

2.2 The minister was grateful to colleagues across local authorities for their support, and wished to stress the positive achievements despite the many recent challenges, including the resettlement of refugees from Ukraine.

2.3 It was reported that significant funding had been provided to local authorities and registered social landlords to bring empty homes back into use.

2.4 The Minister for Finance and Local Government had announced measures to tackle the issue of second homes, including changes to the maximum discretionary council tax premium chargeable and changes to the occupancy thresholds for holiday lets registered for business rates.

2.5 It was noted that a temporary relaxation of standards had been necessary to achieve housing goals across the region, but these were only temporary and would soon revert, as maintaining quality housing stock was vital for future generations.

2.6 The sub-committee welcomed the period of notice for no fault evictions, which was being extended from 2 to 6 months through the homelessness provisions delivered through the Renting Homes Act.

Item 3: Local authority leaders presentation on local and regional priorities post-local government elections

3.1 The Leader of Gwynedd Council presented the priorities across the North Wales Authorities, which centred mainly on funding allocations.

3.2 The above inflation settlement from the previous year had been welcomed by local authorities, but pressures on services were now increasing substantially given the current rate of inflation. It was estimated that inflation was causing an additional £20 million funding shortfall, despite a significant proposed rise in council tax.

3.3 Amongst general staffing pressures, including not being able to recruit sufficient veterinary staff to complete the necessary sanitary and phytosanitary checks at border control posts, there were significant staffing pressures across social services, with the living wage for care workers already being eroded by price increases.

3.4 In terms of pay more broadly, the differential rate of pay increases in the public versus private sector of 1.8% to 8%, was leading to experienced staff leaving the public sector, creating a loss of experience and capacity.

3.5 The mileage rate for travel expenses was also discussed, with 45p per mile now considered insufficient in the face of increased petrol and diesel prices, but this was a matter for the UK government to remedy as it was a UK wide rate.

3.6 The sub-committee acknowledged the funding issues, which were amplified on a national scale, with the Welsh Government Budget being approximately £600 million worse off as a result of inflation.

3.7 In addition, questions were raised about the shared prosperity fund and how it could be used for community sport facilities to encourage sporting participation, along with how the qualification of the Welsh men’s football team for the World Cup in Qatar could be best leveraged.

3.8 The chair thanked attendees for their time and contributions and noted the next meeting would be held in the autumn term.

Cabinet Secretariat
July 2022