School visit and notable anniversaries

It was great to meet a group of school pupils from Litchard Primary School, Bridgend recently at the National Assembly for Wales. They were visiting the Assembly to learn more about the Assembly and to visit the Senedd building. When I met them, the school children gave a rousing performance of happy birthday which was lovely. It was good to speak to them about my role as an Assembly Member and as First Minister and then to ask them for their questions. They asked a number of questions about my school days, my religious beliefs, my hobbies, Wales’ football and rugby teams, my career before entering politics and how I use technology in my job.

Last week saw the 10th anniversary of the Welsh Labour Government’s popular free prescriptions policy. Since April 2007, people in my constituency together with people right across Wales have been exempt from prescription charges. This has saved money for people with long term conditions and has freed up pharmacists to spend more time with patients. I am very pleased that people in my area have not had to face the increasing prescription charges we have seen in England over the past ten years. Prescriptions in England currently cost £8.60 per item, which is a major burden for people in particular those with long term conditions.

Also this week marks the 10th anniversary of the ban on smoking in indoor public places in Wales. Legislation to ban smoking in enclosed public places was introduced in 2007 to protect the public from second-hand smoke. Wales was the first nation of the UK to introduce the smoking ban and it has been a big success.