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Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK

  1. Hwyl fawr

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

    AMs will now be returning to their constituencies.

    Senedd Live returns after the summer recess on Tuesday 17 September.

    Senedd
  2. Tax devolution

    The topic chosen for the Short Debate by Mark Reckless (South Wales East) is tax devolution.

    He says, "one concern I have in this area is the idea that somehow we should tax for taxation's sake, or we should tax in order to test the devolution machinery, and I first heard this from Mark Drakeford when he addressed the Finance Committee in Newport.

    "Rather than saying, 'We should tax because we need that tax to fund those particular public services, and this is the best way of getting it,' it seemed almost as if the tax was seen as a good thing in itself."

    Minister for Finance and Trefnydd Rebecca Evans replies, "the process surrounding the new taxes and the devolution of them was set out in the Wales Act 2014, and it is really important that we take this first opportunity to check if it is a system that is fit for purpose.

    "Why do we not tell the UK government exactly what we would do with the powers were we to have them? Well, that's because we really do need to consult widely. So, we can't tell the UK government, for example, at what level we would set rates of tax or provide exact details as to how those taxes would be applied, because it would have to be subject to consultation."

    Mark Reckless
  3. 'Clarifying the future funding arrangements for the integrated autism service'

    Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services, says that while progress is being made, there is more work to do to overcome some of the barriers that remain for autistic people.

    The Welsh Government amendment commits to:

    • "building on the monitoring that exists within services to allow for more effective reporting of outcomes for autistic people;
    • "clarifying the future funding arrangements for the integrated autism service beyond the initial funding period of March 2021 once we have the much awaited clarity from the UK Government of our settlement for 2020 – 21 and beyond;
    • "placing the integrated autism service within a broader approach to support autistic people and to deliver the ‘priorities of action’ outlined in the Refreshed Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan, including increasing education and employment opportunities;
    • "working with partners and stakeholders to consider the recommendations of the Evaluation of the Integrated Autism Service and the Autism Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan."
    Vaughan Gething
  4. 'Incredible, brilliant support'

    Hefin David discusses the personal experience of his four year old daughter.

    He says that his family has received "incredible, brilliant support", although he adds some issues still exist with services.

    Hefin David
  5. Integrated autism service

    Jenny Rathbone draws attention to the good work of the Cardiff and Vale integrated autism service in her constituency.

  6. 'Many issues still remain'

    Conservative leader Paul Davies says it was an honour to try to develop autism legislation and was disappointed that it didn't reach the statute book.

    He acknowledges that there have been welcome developments in some services, but he warns that many issues still remain.

    Paul Davies
  7. 'No such thing as a normal or healthy type of brain'

    Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood says "there is no such thing as a normal or healthy type of brain". She says she has heard many examples of discrimination against autistic people.

    She reinforces her party's call for neurodiversity to be considered as an equalities issue in its own right.

    Leanne Wood
  8. Autistic people and families 'feel like they don't matter'

    Former Labour minister Alun Davies says that, after speaking to his local National Autistic Society branch in Blaenau Gwent, it was clear that autistic people and families "feel like they don't matter and that the local authority doesn't care".

    He cites a constituent reporting she "had to reach a real crisis point" before getting any support.

    Alun Davies
  9. 'Neurodiversity needs to be considered as an equalities issue in its own right'

    Plaid Cymru's Helen Mary Jones says that "in order for people with autism to receive the best services possible, neurodiversity needs to be considered as an equalities issue in its own right, with having a non-neurotypical brain becoming a protected characteristic under equalities legislation, and public services responding accordingly."

    Helen Mary Jones
  10. 'Providing sufficient support and services to autistic people and their families'

    The Conservatives call on the Welsh Government "to ensure the long-term sustainability of the integrated autism service and to deliver high quality autism support services by:

    a) providing sufficient support and services to autistic people and their families that reflects the wide range of needs that they may have; ensuring that the service meets the expectations of users and strengthens the autistic voice by moving beyond autism awareness to autism empowerment;

    b) developing a clear and consistent monitoring system to allow for more effective reporting of outcomes for autistic people;

    c) clarifying the future funding arrangements for the integrated autism service beyond the initial funding period of March 2021 to provide certainty for service users;

    d) placing the integrated autism service within a broader approach to support autistic people and to deliver the ‘priorities of action’ outlined in the Refreshed Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan, including increasing education and employment opportunities;

    e) working to implement the recommendations of the Evaluation of the Integrated Autism Service and the Autism Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan as soon as practical."

  11. 34,000 autistic people in Wales

    The National Autistic Society had supported the legislation, saying that a good law was "the essential foundation for improving the support for the 34,000 autistic people in Wales".

    But the Welsh Government was concerned the bill would create a perception that autistic people will receive preferential services, meaning resources would be diverted from elsewhere.

  12. Failed bid to put autism services on a statutory footing

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

    Earlier this year an autism bill, backed by the Tory assembly leader Paul Davies, failed because it did not have Welsh Government support.

    Opposition AMs had supported Mr Davies' bid for a new law, which would have put autism services on a statutory footing, but Labour and other government members did not.

    AMs voted 28 against the bill and 24 for, stopping the bill proceeding in the assembly, when it was put to politicians on 16 January.

    Autism
  13. All recommendations accepted, at least in principle

    Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, responds to the report on behalf of the Welsh Government.

    All the recommendations are accepted, at least in principle.

    The Welsh Government's full response can be seen here.

    Rebecca Evans
  14. 'Clearly set out the strategic integrated impact assessment process'

    Finance Committee chair Llyr Gruffydd (North Wales) presents the report, which has five recommendations.

    Recommendation 1 is that the Welsh Government "clearly sets out the strategic integrated impact assessment (SIIA) process (in greater detail than provided previously), its purpose and expected outcomes, following engagement with and agreement from the relevant statutory commissioners".

  15. 'Valid' formal complaint about corporate induction training provision for Assembly Member support staff

    The report states that "unfortunately, for the first time this year, we received a formal complaint about our corporate induction training provision for Assembly Member support staff... It was found that the complaint was valid and that there were shortcomings in the provision of corporate induction training. It was confirmed that this went completely against the statutory provisions of the Official Languages Scheme, and against the spirit of the unconditional offer which underpins the Official Languages Scheme.

    "Following the investigation, steps were taken to ensure better arrangements for the transfer of information between staff leaving and joining the team. It was also decided that Welsh and English sessions should be offered alternately. This means that new starters can register for a course in their language of choice without having to wait for too long."

  16. Official Languages Scheme

    We move on to a motion to note the annual report on the Assembly Commission's Official Languages Scheme for 2018 - 19.

    Siân Gwenllian, Assembly Commissioner with responsibility for official languages, says "much of our work has focused on the language skills levels and the ethos of our organisation, which will continue throughout the life of this Scheme".

    She adds, "the way we consider language skills is now more refined giving us the opportunity to celebrate and recognise skills at all levels. In due course, this will change the ethos of our organisation as we see increasing opportunities for everyone to use their skills whatever they may be."

  17. EU citizens living in Wales: 'the contribution you make is valued'

    David Rees focuses his comments on three priority areas:

    - Brexit preparedness, particularly in terms of the implications for our economy;

    - the risk to devolution and the future of the union of the United Kingdom; and

    - the impact of Brexit on EU and European Economic Area (EEA) nationals living in Wales.

    He says "there are two new scrutiny challenges that we, as an Assembly, must address with some urgency:

    -the emergence of UK-wide common policy frameworks; and

    -the impact on devolution of UK international agreements."

    He adds that the committee has launched a consultation into the implications of the UK government’s White Paper on the future of immigration rules after Brexit.

    "We will also be launching an online conversation through the ‘Dialogue’ app in the coming weeks, and holding focus group sessions with those most likely to be affected by changes to these rules, in the autumn term.

    "Throughout this process it is important to us as a Committee to state clearly to EU citizens living in Wales – you will always be welcomed here. The contribution you make is valued, and we hope that you will continue to make your lives here as part of our communities up and down the country."

    David Rees