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Welsh Government

Lord Lloyd-Jones appointed as President of Welsh Law Council

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Lord Lloyd-Jones, Justice of the UK Supreme Court, will serve as the inaugural President of the Law Council of Wales.

The appointment was confirmed by Wales’ Counsel General in a speech at the Legal Wales Conference in Cardiff this morning.

The Law Council is being set up to promote legal education and training and awareness in Welsh Law, and support the economic development and sustainability of the legal sector in Wales. Its establishment was a recommendation from the independent Commission of Justice in Wales, chaired by Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, which delivered a landmark report in 2019 setting out a vision for justice in Wales.

Lord Lloyd-Jones has been a Justice of the Supreme Court since October 2017. He is a Welsh speaker and was born and brought up in Pontypridd. He was appointed to the High Court in 2005, served as a Presiding Judge on the Wales Circuit and Chair of the Lord Chancellor’s Standing Committee on the Welsh language from 2008 to -2011. In 2012 he was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal and was Chairman of the Law Commission from 2012 to 2015.

Lord Lloyd-Jones commented: “I am delighted that steps have been taken to set up the Law Council, to bring together the legal sector to help shape legal education and training and the future of the legal professions in Wales and promote the growing body of Welsh law.”

The Law Council’s executive will be gathering for an initial meeting in November, as a precursor to the formal instigation of the Law Council.

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Mick Antoniw, the Welsh Government’s Counsel General and Minister for Constitution, said at the Conference: “Ensuring the Law Council meets its ambitious objectives will require leadership, and who better to lead it than the person whose initial vision for an Institute of Welsh Law inspired the Thomas Commission to recommend the Law Council? That person is of course also the most senior sitting judge to come from Wales, so I am delighted to be able to tell you that Lord Lloyd-Jones of the UK Supreme Court has kindly agreed to serve as the inaugural President of the Council.”

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Politics

Welsh Labour Government’s new commission to look at constitutional change – including potential Welsh Independence

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The Welsh Conservatives however claim that the creation of the commission is a “waste of time and resources”.

Professor Laura McAllister and Dr Rowan Williams will be co-chairs of the independent Constitutional Commission.

The Welsh Government say that the commission will develop options for fundamental reform of the constitutional structures of the UK in which Wales remains an integral part, and will also consider all progressive options to strengthen Welsh democracy.

Dr Williams and Professor McAllister will lead the Commission in making recommendations on how Wales’ constitutional settlement can best improve outcomes for the people of Wales. It will aim to engage with the public for a national conversation about the future of Wales.

The establishment of an independent commission to consider the constitutional future of Wales was a commitment in the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government. Following the appointment of the co-chairs the remaining members will be confirmed next month and its first meeting is expected to be in November.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and Professor Laura McAllister will co-chair the commission.

Professor Laura McAllister is a Welsh academic and former international footballer. She said: “Serious contributions to our constitutional debate are greatly needed and I’m looking forward to our work contributing to filling that space. We’ll think boldly and radically about all potential options for the future of Wales, in the context of the increasing pressure on the Union.”

Dr Rowan Williams, born in Swansea, served as the Archbishop of Canterbury from 2002-2012. He commented: “This Commission’s job is to ask what structures and constitutional provisions will best release the potential of Welsh communities and Welsh people.

“We want to make sure that the governance of Wales is effective, accountable and imaginative, and look forward to hearing what hopes and visions are animating people around the country.”

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The creation of the new commission has been criticised by the Welsh Conservatives.

Darren Millar MS

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for the Constitution, Darren Millar MS said: “People in Wales overwhelmingly rejected independence at the recent Senedd elections; and why the Welsh Labour Government would want to waste it’s time and resources discussing the topic is beyond me. 

“Instead of prioritising discussions on independence and constitutional change the Welsh Labour Government should be using the powers it already has to get to grips with the challenges facing Wales. 

“Talking up independence and talking down the Union won’t do anything to address the waiting list backlog in our NHS, the months of lost education experienced by our young people, or the adverse impact of severe restrictions on our economy and society.”

(Lead image: Llewelyn2000 / Wikimedia)

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Farming

Thousands of Welsh farms to receive early payment support

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More than 15,600 farm businesses across Wales will tomorrow receive a share of over £159.6m in Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) Advance payments, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has announced.

This news means 97% of claimants will receive an automatic payment worth 70% of their estimated full claim value.

Historically, BPS payments have commenced from 1 December annually. However, regulation changes made by the Welsh Government following the end of the EU Exit Implementation Period has simplified the requirements of BPS for 2021 and beyond.

This has allowed BPS Advance payments to be made prior to December to eligible BPS 2021 claimants, without the need to submit an application, as opposed to the opt-in BPS Support Scheme administered in previous years.

Full and Balance BPS 2021 payments will commence from 15 December as agreed with industry representatives.

The Welsh Government has already announced its intention for the Basic Payment Scheme to run until the end of 2023, subject to the UK Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

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A new system is being introduced which will move away from income support for famers to a system which pays farmers for the environmental benefit they deliver.

Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths said: “As we move to our new Sustainable Farming Scheme it is crucial we provide support to secure the long term sustainability and resilience of the farming sector.

“Following the end of the EU Exit Implementation Period and through consultation, I introduced legislation which simplified the requirements of BPS and will provide early payments to the vast majority of farm businesses in Wales.

“Full and remaining balance BPS 2021 payments will be made from 15 December, subject to full validation of a BPS claim and my officials will use the next two months to maximise the number of farmers receiving these payments early in the payment window.”

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Coronavirus

‘Vaccines are best way to help NHS ahead of challenging winter’ says Health Minister

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People eligible for booster COVID-19 vaccinations and flu jabs are encouraged to take up the offer ahead of a challenging winter for NHS Wales, the Health Minister has said.

In an updated COVID-19 vaccination strategy, being published today (Tuesday October 12), Health Minister Eluned Morgan confirms that the majority of people eligible will be offered their booster vaccination by December 31, 2021.

People who are severely immuno-suppressed will be offered a third dose of vaccine to provide them with as much protection as possible.  They will be prioritised for an urgent appointment at a time that’s right for them based on their treatment and the advice of their clinician.

The strategy also confirms that by November 1, 2021, offers will be made for;

  • one dose for all 12-15 year olds and,
  • a booster vaccination for care home residents and health and care staff.

Everyone in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)’s 1-9 priority groups will be invited for a booster vaccination when it has been at least six months since their last dose. As before, invitation letters will be sent directly from health boards and people are requested not to contact their GP.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “This winter will be incredibly difficult for our health service so it is vitally important for people to take up the offer of their COVID-19 and Flu vaccine if eligible to protect themselves and the NHS.

“Vaccinations for coronavirus are highly effective and protection against hospitalisation is estimated at around 95 per cent after the second dose. The flu vaccine will also protect people from serious complications and I encourage anyone who is eligible to get their flu vaccine regardless of their eligibility for a COVID-19 booster vaccine.

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“We have so far given more than 4.6 million COVID-19 vaccinations and 85 per cent of the over 16 population are fully vaccinated.

“There is no concern over the supply of any of the vaccines and we hope as many people as possible take up the offers to continue to protect those most vulnerable and the NHS.”

Health boards are already making good progress in providing the booster, vaccinating 16 and 17 year olds and 12-15 year olds, including those most of risk due to underlying health conditions.

We are also encouraging 12-15 year olds to have a conversation about having the vaccine with their family or trusted adult.

Most younger adults will only have received their second COVID-19 vaccine dose in late summer or early autumn and they will still have a high level of protection. The benefits of booster vaccination in this group will be considered when more information becomes available.

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The strategy also sets out that a digital booking system is being developed to allow people to book appointments online to try to make it as easy of possible for people to come forward at a time which suits them.

Appointments for first doses of COVID-19 vaccines are still available for anyone unvaccinated.

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