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Summary

  1. Health, Social Care and Sport Committee
  2. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure
  3. Questions to the Counsel General
  4. Debate on the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee report: Taming the traffic: The impact of Congestion on Bus Services
  5. Debate on the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee's report on the implications of Brexit for Welsh ports
  6. United Kingdom Independence Party debate: business rates
  7. Short Debate: Protecting and developing regional centres of medical excellence

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Iolo Cheung

All times stated are UK

  1. Hwyl

    That brings today's proceedings in the Siambr to a close.

    Senedd Live returns on Tuesday 17 October.

    Senedd
  2. 'Real ambition for the quality of our services'

    Health Secretary Vaughan Gething says "we have to have a conversation with the public based on evidence, with a real ambition for the quality of our services".

    He says if everyone "fights for the status quo, services could become unsustainable".

    vaughan gething
  3. Short Debate: regional centres of medical excellence

    The topic chosen by Dai Lloyd (South Wales West) for the short debate is: 'Protecting and developing regional centres of medical excellence'.

    He calls on the Welsh Government to remember that "Wales doesn't end in Cardiff".

    For example, he says Morriston hospital has the potential to be a regional centre of excellence.

    He concludes: "We need regional centres of medical excellence dotted around Wales."

    dai lloyd
  4. 'Simpler, fairer and better targeted towards growing businesses'

    Leader of the House Jane Hutt says the Welsh Government has demonstrated its commitment to supporting high street retailers and other businesses by providing more than £200 million of funding in 2017-18 to support around three-quarters of ratepayers in Wales through rates relief.

    She points out that in 2017-18, more than half of all businesses across Wales pay no rates at all, and she draws attention to the Welsh Government's intention to put in place a permanent small business rate relief scheme which is "simpler, fairer and better targeted towards growing businesses in Wales" from April 2018.

    Jane Hutt
  5. Business rates 'illogical and regressive'

    UKIP's Michelle Brown says the current system of "taxing business people on the nominal value of their property is illogical and focuses on the building rather than the businesses that operate within them".

    She adds it is a "regressive tax and changing it to a more progressive model is long overdue".

    Michelle Brown
  6. Business rates 'anachronistic and discredited'

    Plaid Cymru's Adam Price describes business rates as an "anachronistic, discredited tax".

    Plaid Cymru calls on the Welsh Government to:

    a) abolish business rates for all businesses with a rateable value of less than £10,000 per year, and provide tapered relief for businesses whose rateable value is between £10,000 and £20,000;

    b) make all businesses during their first year of operation exempt from paying any rates in order to encourage new start-ups across Wales;

    c) introduce a split multiplier for small and large businesses as is the case in Scotland and England; and

    d) explore replacing business rates altogether with alternative forms of taxation which do not discourage employment, town centre regeneration and investment in plant and machinery.

  7. 'Highest high street vacancy rate in Great Britain in 2017'

    Conservative Nick Ramsay calls on AMs to welcomes the "full devolution of business rates to the Welsh Government and the potential this unlocks".

    He criticises the Welsh Government for "presiding over the highest high street vacancy rate in Great Britain in 2017, at 14.5 per cent".

    The party calls on the Welsh Government to abolish business rates for all small businesses with rateable values of up to £15,000, and "reform the business rates system and explore splitting the Welsh multiplier to increase the competitiveness of smaller businesses".

    The Conservatives also call on the Welsh Government to extend the funding available to support free parking pilot schemes in Wales.

    Nick Ramsay
  8. United Kingdom Independence Party debate

    We move on to the UKIP debate on business rates.

    Caroline Jones explains the party believes that:

    "a) as an interim measure, pending the replacement of business rates by a tax related to ability to pay, business premises with a rateable value below £15,000 should be exempt and the rates of business properties within the band of £15,000 - £50,000 are reduced by 20%;

    "b) Welsh local authorities should encourage local trade by offering at least 60 minutes free parking in their town centre car parks;

    "c) out-of-town shopping developments should bear a greater but reasonable share of the burden of business rates, and such rates should apply to their car parks, to help revive town centres."

    Caroline Jones
  9. 'Seeking to understand threats and opportunities' following Brexit

    Ken Skates says the Welsh Government is "committed to ensuring our ports are able to continue their contribution to the current and future prosperity of Wales, particularly in the context of further devolution from April 2018".

    He adds that the Welsh Government is "actively seeking to understand the threats and opportunities which could impact on our ability to protect and enhance the role of ports following Brexit".

  10. Impact on ports 'exaggerated for political reasons'?

    UKIP's Gareth Bennett says Brexit's impact on ports should not be "exaggerated for political reasons".

    He calls for the Welsh Government to work with the sector to plan for the different scenarios after leaving the EU.

    gareth bennett
  11. 'Threat facing the port of Holyhead'

    There's "no hiding from the threat" facing the port of Holyhead, says Rhun ap Iorwerth.

    He points out that two million passengers and 500,000 vehicles travel through the port every year, and says a hard border with the Republic of Ireland could be a severe blow to those numbers.

    Freight across Irish Sea
  12. 'Concerning' that recommendation 'only accepted in principle'

    Conservative Mark Isherwood says it is "concerning that the Welsh Government only accepts in principle" the recommendation that it "seeks clarification from the UK Government on the anticipated timescales for the development and implementation of these IT-led customs arrangements" and how it expects those costs to be borne.

    Mark Isherwood
  13. 'Barking mad to leave the customs union'

    On the proposed "IT-led solution" to the UK’s future customs arrangements, Eluned Morgan reminds AMs about the "desperately poor record of the UK government on high-tech IT solutions".

    She adds "we would be barking mad to leave the customs union".

    eluned morgan
  14. Committee chair 'disappointed' by lack of detail in government response

    Committee chair David Rees (Aberavon) presents the report, which has eight recommendations.

    One of the conclusions expresses concern that "a soft border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and a hard maritime border between Wales and the Republic of Ireland, could severely disadvantage Welsh ports and result in a loss of competitiveness leading to a displacement of traffic from Welsh ports – principally Holyhead – to ports in England and Scotland, via Northern Ireland."

    Mr Rees says he is "disappointed" that the cabinet secretary's response to the report does not include more detail.

  15. External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee's report

    The next debate on the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee's report on the implications of Brexit for Welsh ports.

    View more on twitter
  16. Recommendations accepted at least in principle

    Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, sets out the government's response, which can be seen in detail here.

    He accepts or accepts in principle the recommendations.

    He says the Welsh Government has already put in place a range of measures to help tackle congestion and to help improve the punctuality of bus services, for example, to enable local authorities to adopt powers to tackle parking, bus lane and moving traffic contraventions.

    In addition, he says he has established "a series of pinch-point programmes, including one for the motorway and trunk road network, and one for the local road network".

  17. Year long congestion expected near roundabout

    Hefin David refers to congestion caused by the programme of improvements at the busy Pwll-y-Pant (‘Cedar Tree’) roundabout in Caerphilly, which recently began and will continue for a full year.

    Pwll-y-Pant improvements
    Image caption: Pwll-y-Pant improvements
  18. Registered bus services in Wales declined by nearly half over the last decade

    Vikki Howells, Labour AM for the Cynon Valley, points out that registered bus services in Wales declined by nearly half over the last decade, from 1,943 services in March 2005 to 1,058 in March 2015, and the number of bus passenger journeys declined by around 19% between 2008 and 2015.

    She says congestion must be tackled "so that buses are a first choice and not a last resort".

    Vikki Howells
  19. SNP government 'leading the way'

    The Scottish Government is "leading the way" in terms of active travel and investment in transport, according to Plaid Cymru's Adam Price.

    He suggests that a condition of the new Wales and Borders rail franchise should be to establish a bus service between Carmarthen and Aberystwyth, which would prepare the way for reopening the railway between those two towns in the "medium term".

    adam price