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Summary

  1. Health, Social Care and Sport Committee discusses reciprocal healthcare
  2. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the the Minister for Education
  3. Questions to the Minister for Health and Social Services
  4. Debate on the Finance Committee report: The Cost of Caring for an Ageing Population
  5. Debate on the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee report: State of the Roads in Wales
  6. Welsh Conservatives debate - Housing
  7. Short Debate: Closing the skills gap in Wales in the digital age

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK

  1. 'Role to see new technologies as a means to free up people'

    Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, says "our role is to see new technologies as a means to free up people to do things that machines can't".

    Lee Waters
  2. White heat of technology?

    The topic chosen by Mohammad Asghar (South Wales East) for the Short Debate is "The white heat of technology? Closing the skills gap in Wales in the digital age".

    He says "we need a coherent and long-term strategy from the Welsh Government for 'digital Wales' - from skills to infrastructure".

    Mohammad Asghar
  3. 'Record investment' in housing

    Minister for Housing and Local Government Julie James, speaking for the first time in her new portfolio, says the Welsh Government is providing "record investment" in housing and that a new assessment of housing need and demand is necessary, based on up-to-date data and the latest household projections.

    She calls on AMs to welcome

    "a) the Welsh Government commitment to deliver 20,000 affordable homes during this term of government, which is on track and will be delivered in partnership with the housing sector.

    "b)the introduction of land transaction tax in Wales and the £180,000 starting threshold for the main residential rate, which means that the majority of homebuyers, and the vast majority of first-time buyers, pay no tax when buying a home."

    She draws attention to "the Welsh Government’s continuing commitment to social housing, which has remained a fundamental priority, supporting the most vulnerable and protecting our existing social housing stock, unlike in England," and "the flexibility available to housing associations so they can develop a range of tenures to meet the demand for affordable housing."

    Julie James
  4. Welsh Government 'complacency'

    Gareth Bennett says UKIP supports the Conservative motion and accuses the Welsh Government of "complacency" with regard to housing.

    Gareth Bennett
  5. 'Increase the social housing stock'

    Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood says that homelessness has risen substantially, and that this has cost public services considerably more than it would have cost to prevent homelessness.

    Plaid Cymru calls on the Welsh Government to:

    a) support housing associations and local authorities to increase the social housing stock through maximising their ability to access finance for this purpose, including through the use of Welsh Government borrowing powers;

    b)implement the recommendations of the Crisis report, 'Everybody In: How to end homelessness in Great Britain';

    c) ensure that local development plans include a requirement for investment in public services in order that new developments can become sustainable communities; and

    d) ensure that local development plans include a substantially greater proportion of social housing.

    Leanne Wood
  6. 'Give greater flexibility to housing associations'

    David Melding also calls on the Welsh Government to acknowledge the need to build at least 100,000 homes between 2021-2031 and "give greater flexibility to housing associations so that they can develop a range of tenures to meet the demand for affordable housing".

    David Melding
  7. 'Number of homes being built in Wales is inadequate to meet demand'

    The topic chosen by the Welsh Conservatives for their debate is housing.

    The party proposes that the assembly:

    1. Recognises that the number of homes being built in Wales is inadequate to meet demand.

    2. Regrets that:

    a) there are currently more than 27,000 empty homes in Wales; and

    b) the average house price in Wales is now roughly over 6 times the average earnings due to a shortage of homes.

    3. Notes the Welsh Conservatives 'Housing a Nation' white paper which presents a comprehensive strategy to tackle Wales's housing crisis and provide suitable housing for all.

    Houses
  8. Four recommendations rejected

    Transport minister Ken Skates sets out the response by the Welsh Government.

    Four recommendations are rejected, including that the Welsh Government "should consider how best it could incentivise local authorities to invest in maintenance".

    They reject because "it is a matter for local authorities to decide on how they allocate the Revenue Support Grant for maintenance and unhypothecated capital grant for refurbishment or new provision. Additional £32.5m of specific grants have been allocated in 17/18 to highway authorities to improve the condition of the road network and a further £60m is being made available over a period of three years to assist the authorities to further improve the condition of their assets."

    The response can be seen in full here.

    Ken Skates
  9. 'Improve the quality of real time data available for Wales’ road network'

    Committee chair Russell George (Montgomeryshire) presents the report, which has 14 recommendations, the first of which is that the Welsh Government should "evaluate whether mobile apps like Boston’s Street Bump could be used to improve the quality of real time data available for Wales’ road network".

    Russell George
  10. Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee report

    The next debate is on the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee report: State of the Roads in Wales.

    The inquiry looked at three issues:

    • the condition and maintenance of the road network;
    • delivery of major enhancement projects; and
    • the sustainability of the approach to highways.

    Responsibility for the Welsh road network is split between the Welsh Government, as highway authority for the trunk road and motorway network, and local authorities who have the same responsibility for local roads.

    The inquiry was prompted by media reports suggesting it would take 24 years to clear the backlog of road repairs across Wales - according to the annual survey by the Asphalt Industry Alliance.

    It would take 24 years to fix the backlog of road repairs in Wales, according to an industry survey
    Image caption: It would take 24 years to fix the backlog of road repairs in Wales, according to an industry survey
  11. All recommendation accepted or accepted in principle

    Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, sets out the response of the Welsh Government to the report.

    All recommendation are accepted or accepted in principle.

    The response can be seen in full here.

    Rebecca Evans
  12. Social care levy: what would the public expect to receive for making additional contributions?

    First Minister Mark Drakeford has said he is sympathetic to suggestions a new tax or levy could fund social care.

    Finance Committee chair Llyr Gryffydd says the Welsh Government should engage with the public about the future funding of social care services but it "first needs to discuss what they would expect to receive in return for making additional contributions".

  13. Strengthen support to carers

    The first debate of the day is on the Finance Committee report: The Cost of Caring for an Ageing Population.

    Committee Chair Llyr Gruffydd presents the report, which has nine recommendations.

    One recommendation is that "the Committee recommends that the Welsh Government conducts a review of carers’ assessments to evaluate whether an intended effect of the Act to strengthen support to carers is being achieved. The outcomes of the review should be reported to the Assembly".

    Older people
  14. Trefnydd elected to Business Committee

    The newly-appointed Trefnydd Rebecca Evans (Labour) is elected as a Member of the Business Committee in place of Julie James (Labour).

  15. 'Intended to focus the health board on appropriate actions'

    Health Minister Vaughan Gething says the increased escalation is "intended to focus the health board on appropriate actions and to get back on track in respect of the concerns".

  16. Topical Question: Cwm Taf University Health Board

    Dawn Bowden (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney) asks: Will the Minister provide the users of services in Cwm Taf University Health Board with reassurance as to the purpose of the enhanced monitoring announced today?

    Inspectors are to keep a closer eye on the health board at the centre of a review into maternity services.

    An investigation was launched in October into "adverse outcomes" for 43 babies born over two years, and is expected to report back in the spring.

    The health board covers 300,000 people living in the south Wales valleys, with maternity services at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil and the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant.

  17. Concerns about access to My Health Online

    UKIP's Neil Hamilton raises concerns that the My Health Online website is not available for many patients to book a GP appointment.

    Mr Gething says there is "more to do" regarding patients' access to healthcare and better use of technology.

    Vaughan Gething
  18. Cwm Taf health board: why has it taken so long to escalate monitoring?

    Conservative Darren Millar asks "why on earth its taken more than three months" to escalate monitoring at Cwm Taf health board in south Wales which will now receive "enhanced monitoring" to get back on track.

    He also points out that Cardiff and Vale, Hywel Dda, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg (ABMU), and Betsi Cadwaladar were all in higher categories last year.

    Vaughan Gething says "matters are being addressed appropriately and speedily".

    Darren Millar
  19. No-deal Brexit will have 'almost immediate impact on people's health and well-being'

    Plaid Cymru's Helen Mary Jones asks what contingency plans are in place to ensure the supply of medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

    Mr Gething outlines the meetings he'd had and will have, but warns that the "undeniable truth is that if we crash out without a deal it will have a real and almost immediate impact on people's health and well-being".

    Helen Mary Jones