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  1. The Public Accounts Committee discusses the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales
  2. The plenary begins at 13.30 with questions to the first minister.
  3. Draft Budget 2016-17
  4. Debate on the General Principles of the Public Health (Wales) Bill
  5. Debate on the General Principles of the Tax Collection and Management (Wales) Bill

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Anwen Lewis

All times stated are UK

  1. Nos da

    Members voted in favour of the General Principles of the Public Health (Wales) Bill (25 for, one abstention, 21 against) and with that comes the end of our coverage for today.

    Join us tomorrow morning at 9am for the Finance Committee.

    Nos da!

  2. 'Benefits' of the bill

    According to the Welsh government the benefits of the bill are that it:

    • establishes the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA), with powers to identify and collect devolved tax
    • gives the WRA comprehensive civil investigation powers and provides for the conferral of criminal enforcement powers on WRA
    • creates duties on taxpayers to pay penalties and interest in certain circumstances, and gives taxpayers rights of review and appeal against certain WRA decisions.
  3. The bill as introduced

    The bill puts in place the legal framework for the collection and management of devolved taxes in Wales.

    To see a copy of the bill as introduced please click here.

  4. Tax Collection and Management

    We move on to the last item of the day, a debate on the general principles of the Tax Collection and Management (Wales) Bill.

  5. Liberal Democrats not supporting

    Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams says: "This bill seeks to enhance and promote public health in Wales.

    "As it is currently drafted the inclusion of the e-cigarettes measure doesn't do that and therefore we can not support it."

    Kirsty Williams
  6. List for intimate piercings grows

    The Bill proposes to set an age restriction of 16 years old for intimate piercing. It defines the intimate body parts as the anus, breast, buttock, natal cleft, penis, perineum, pubic mound, scrotum and vulva.

    The minister says today that he will also add tongue piercings to the list. 

  7. E-cigarettes ban watered-down

    The most controversial part of the bill is the provision to ban the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public places.  

    The Health Minister Mark Drakeford has expressed concerns in the past that using these devices indoors "re-normalises" the culture of smoking.

    However, he announces today that he has agreed to water-down plans for a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public places. 

    Mr Drakeford tells AMs it remained his "personal view" that a ban should be introduced. 

    But he conceded that, without a majority in the Senedd, the Welsh government needed to compromise. 

    He said the Public Health Bill would be modified to take into account a recommendation from a cross-party committee that the ban should apply only to schools, public transport and places serving food. 

  8. Tobacco, piercings and toilets

    The Bill includes provision for the following:

    Tobacco and nicotine products

    • Restricting the use of nicotine inhaling devices such as electronic cigarettes in enclosed and substantially enclosed public and work places, bringing the use of these devices into line with existing provisions on smoking;
    • Creating a national register of retailers of tobacco and nicotine products;
    • Adding to the offences which contribute to a Restricted Premises Order (RPO). (An RPO prohibits the sale of tobacco products from a premises);
    • Prohibiting the handing over of tobacco or nicotine products to people under the age of 18.

    Special procedures

    • Creating a mandatory licensing scheme for practitioners and businesses carrying out ’special procedures’, namely acupuncture, body piercing, electrolysis and tattooing;
    • Introducing a ban on the intimate piercing of people under 16 years old.

    Pharmaceutical services

    • Changing the way Health Boards make decisions about pharmaceutical services by making sure these are based on assessments of pharmaceutical need in their areas.

    Provision of toilets

    • Requiring local authorities to prepare local toilets strategies for the provision of, and access to, toilets for public use, based on the needs of their communities.
  9. Public Health (Wales) Bill

    Members move on to a debate on the general principles of the Public Health (Wales) Bill.

    Public Health
  10. Second closure for unit

    The unit also closed back in August due to infection.

  11. Neonatal Unit closed to new admissions

    Another urgent question, this time on the closure of the neonatal unit at the University Hospital of Wales to new admissions because of infection.

    The Health Minister Mark Drakeford says: "The unit remains able to deal with urgent emergency cases should the need arise."

    University Hospital of Wales
  12. 'Quieter, faster journey' on electrified rail

    According to the Welsh government an electrified rail network is more economical to operate and maintain which will deliver value for money to the taxpayer. 

    Passengers will travel in a more environmentally sustainable way and experience a quieter, faster journey with savings of up to 20% on existing timetables.

    Investment in rail infrastructure is non-devolved. 

    The Welsh Government will now work with the Department for Transport and Network Rail to deliver these important projects.

    Arriva train
  13. No completion date for Cardiff to Swansea line

    The minister Edwina Hart tells members that "the principal implication for Wales" of the Hendy Review which was published following the Autumn Spending Review "is the confirmation that the timescales for electrifying the Great Western main line have slipped considerably."

    The electrification of the line between London and Cardiff will be completed by 2019 instead of 2017 as was previously announced; and there is no firm completion date for the Cardiff to Swansea line.  It is expected to be completed between 2019-2024.

  14. Statement on rail electrification

    Members have moved on to a statement by the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport Edwina Hart, on rail electrification.

  15. Percentage changes to the budget

    Here are the main budget changes in percentage terms:

    NHS - up 4.3% 

    Local Government - down 2% 

    Communities and tackling poverty - up 10.7% 

    Economy, Science and Transport - up 5.8% 

    Education and Skills - up 1.1%

    Natural Resources - up 3%

  16. Budget will shrink 3.6% in real terms by 2019/20

    Jane Hutt says that the overall Welsh government budget would shrink 3.6% in real terms by 2019/20. 

    Labour AMs cheered as she announced there would be almost £300m extra for health next year. 

    Around £260m of that will go on day-to-day, or revenue, funding for the NHS. 

    Another £33m will go towards infrastructure, maintaining the NHS estate and equipment. 

  17. Extra money for the NHS

    "At the centre of our plans is a significant additional investment in I am announcing nearly £300 million extra for the NHS in Wales" says Ms Hutt.

    The actual figure is £293.5m.     

    Jane Hutt
  18. Draft Budget

    Jane Hutt gives her second statement of the day, this time on the Draft Budget 2016-17.