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  1. Children, Young People and Education Committee
  2. Plenary begins at 13.30 with questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children
  3. 90 Second Statements
  4. Motion to approve the Assembly Commission's Budget 2017-18
  5. Plaid Cymru debate: Overseas nationals working in the Welsh NHS
  6. Plaid Cymru debate: Mineworkers' Pension Scheme
  7. Welsh Conservatives debate: Older people
  8. United Kingdom Independence Party Debate: Tolls on the Severn bridges
  9. Short Debate: Value of small and medium-sized enterprises to the Welsh economy
  10. Short Debate: The loss of heart research at Cardiff Medical School

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK


That's the end of today's proceedings. 

Senedd Live will be back next Tuesday 22 November.


Short Debate: Heart research at Cardiff Medical School

 The final item today is the Short Debate postponed from 9 November.

Julie Morgan's topic is the loss of heart research at Cardiff Medical School.

Last year, plans to cut 63 medical academics at Wales' biggest medical school were branded "absurd".

Julie Morgan

Short Debate: Small and medium-sized enterprises

And finally today two Short Debates. 

The first is by Hefin David. 

The subject: The value of small and medium-sized enterprises to the Welsh economy.  

Hefin David

Amended motion passed

The UKIP motion proposing that the assembly:

"Supports the abolition of tolls on the Severn bridges following their return to the public sector"

was amended by adding as new points 1 and 2 and renumber accordingly:

1. Notes the benefit removing tolls on the Severn bridges would have on the economy of Wales.

2. Believes there is no case for continuing to charge tolls on the Severn bridges to fund ongoing maintenance once the concession ends as they represent an unfair tax on the people and businesses of Wales.

45 of the 60 AMs backed the motion.  

The vote

Revert to public ownership

Economy secretary Ken Skates says the tolls should be scrapped immediately when the Severn bridges revert to public ownership. 

"The UK government should not make a profit from the bridges," he says.

Ken Skates

'Heavily congested roads'

Llanelli's Labour AM Lee Waters says the "floodgates would open" if the fee is scrapped, leading to "heavily congested roads" around the Brynglas tunnels and on the planned M4 Relief Road.

He believes some tolls should be kept to pay for improvements in public transport, such as the South Wales Metro project.

Lee Waters

'Unfair tax' on motorists

Plaid Cymru's amendment calls for the bridges' ownership to be devolved so the tolls can be scrapped.

According to Infrastructure spokesman Dai Lloyd, the tolls are an "unfair tax" on motorists who use the bridges regularly, and "send the wrong message to potential investors".

Dai Lloyd

Secured through existing budgets?

The Welsh Conservatives' amendment says the abolition should be a "priority" only if the bridges' future can be secured through existing budgets with no impact on other transport projects.

Severn bridge

Economic activity and accessibility

Mark Reckless, UKIP AM for South Wales East, says that lifting the "extra tax that everyone pays for doing business in Wales" would have "such a positive impact" on economic activity and the accessibility of Wales.  

Mark Reckless

UKIP debate

For the next hour we have a UKIP debate, proposing that the assembly supports the abolition of tolls on the Severn bridges following their return to the public sector. 

Drivers spend at least £6.60 crossing from England to Wales on the bridges, set to return to UK government ownership at the end of 2017.  

The UK government has promised to halve the fee, with Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns suggesting a toll of £1.80-£1.90 either way could be charged if a free-flowing system was introduced.  

Severn toll booths

'Ongoing delays by the UK Government'

The Minister for Social Services and Public Health, Rebecca Evans reminds AMs of the government's commitment to double to £50,000 the amount of cash older people going into care can keep from the sale of their homes. 

She also criticises the "ongoing delays by the UK Government to the reform of the arrangements for paying for care."  

Rebecca Evans

'Statutory action is necessary'

Gareth Bennett says UKIP supports the Conservatives' motion.

"Statutory action is necessary," he says.

Gareth Bennett

Voices of older people in the planning of public services

Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Iorwerth expresses support for the work of the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales in working towards extending and promoting the rights of older people, and in ensuring the voices of older people are heard in relation to the planning of public services.

He calls on the Welsh Government to build more supported housing to broaden choice and compliment residential and institutional care, and to work with police and crime commissioners and local authorities to protect older people from scams, mis-selling and other forms of financial exploitation.

Dignity and respect

The Conservatives propose that the assembly:

1. Recognises the important and valuable contribution made to Welsh society by older people.

2. Believes that older people deserve dignity and respect, as well as independence and the freedom to make decisions about their own lives.

3. Regrets the Welsh Government's failure to provide security for older people by setting a cap on costs and protecting £100,000 of assets for those in residential care ensuring people do not lose their life savings and homes to care costs.

4. Notes the findings from a dementia report produced by the Older People's Commissioner for Wales that highlighted the difficulties those with dementia have in accessing the information, support, and services that can make a big difference to their lives.

5. Calls on the Welsh Government to:

a) Introduce an Older People's Rights Bill, to extend and promote the rights of older people;

b) Place a duty on public sector bodies to consult older people when making decisions which affect their lives; and

c) Make Wales the first dementia-friendly nation in the UK.

Conservatives debate

Next in the Siambr is a Welsh Conservatives debate on older people. 

Older people

Plaid Cymru's motion passed

Plaid Cymru's motion was passed without amendment, so AMs have supported the call by former miners for a review of their pension deal, arguing they should be awarded a larger share of surplus money. 

First Minister has written to the UK government

On behalf of the Welsh Government, Jane Hutt says the First Minister Carwyn Jones has written to the UK government supporting the position of the National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) in calling for a review.

Jane Hutt

'Bonuses to members'

Conservative Paul Davies says the "presence of the guarantee has enabled the trustees to invest in a way that has generated surpluses and as a consequence bonuses to members."

Paul Davies

'Address an injustice'

Plaid Cymru's Steffan Lewis,  AM for South Wales East, says he is seeking "to address an injustice that occurs every day of every week."

He says it is time for a review so that the surplus from the fund is more fairly split between government and miners.  

A pension surplus is when the assets in the scheme exceed the amount owed.  

About 25,000 miners are thought to be in receipt of the MPS in Wales  

Steffan Lewis

Second Plaid Cymru debate

Another Plaid Cymru debate now on the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme (MPS). 

Currently, the UK government takes 50% of a surplus from the MPS as part of a guarantee.

The UK government say pensions were approximately 30% larger than without the guarantee.

The UK government has received £3.35bn from the scheme since 1994.   


'Explore all options'

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething calls on the UK Government to "ensure the Welsh NHS remains able to recruit qualified healthcare workers born and trained overseas, if and when necessary, after the UK leaves the EU, and to explore all options to facilitate that."

Vaughan Gething

'Cannot close the door to foreign workers'

"We cannot close the door to foreign workers", says Angela Burns, who adds that she has no intention of turning her back on nurses that have made an outstanding contribution to the NHS.

'Work-permit and visa regime'

UKIP's Neil Hamilton calls on the Welsh Government to "support sensible UK immigration controls, including a work-permit and visa regime to fill skills gaps in the Welsh NHS."

Neil Hamilton

'Significant contribution'

Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Iorwerth calls for recognition of the significant contribution made by workers from overseas to the care and treatment of patients within the NHS.

He calls on the Welsh Government, "through negotiation with the UK Government, to secure powers to issue work permits for overseas nationals to work in the Welsh NHS."

Rhun ap Iorwerth

Plaid Cymru debate

Next is the first of this afternoon's debates. 

It's a Plaid Cymru-led debate on the NHS in Wales. 

Getty Images

Assembly Commission's Budget approved

Members approve the Assembly Commission's Budget 2017-18


Blood Bikes Wales

Rhun ap Iorwerth's topic is the launch of Blood Bikes Wales in North West Wales.  

The bikers say their service can mean the difference between life and death  

Anniversary of the birth of John Roberts, Harpist of Wales

Russell George makes a statement on the anniversary of the birth of John Roberts, Harpist of Wales.  

Russell George


Angela Burns says, "My husband was told to expect the worst [...] sepsis kills more patients each year than bowel, prostate and breast cancer".  

Angela Burns

90 Second Statements

Members are now listening to 90 Second Statements where three AMs have the opportunity to raise issues of topical interest.  

Rent Smart scheme in 'chaos'?

Mr Sargeant describes Conservative Russell George's claim that the Rent Smart scheme is in "chaos" as  "complete rubbish".

He says landlords were given a year to register and he would not extend the deadline.

So far around 50,000 out of 130,000 landlords have now registered.


  • Registering as a landlord costs £33.50 if completed online and £80.50 on paper, irrespective of the number of properties
  • Landlords who undertake letting and management tasks at their rental properties are also required to apply for a licence, which costs £144 if completed online and £186 on paper
  • An alternative to applying for a licence is to pay for a letting agent to carry out those tasks. Agency fees range up to £6,000 depending on the numbers of properties
  • The money raised pays for running the scheme and making sure landlords comply with regulations
  • You can check online whether any house or flat is on the register as a rented property and find out who the landlord is
house keys

A 'great job' in establishing national adoption service

UKIP's Michelle Brown asks what the government is doing to improve adoption services.

Mr Sargeant says the previous government "did a great job" in establishing the national adoption service, and he will issue a written statement on the service

Rent Smart deadline for Wales' landlords

Plaid Cymru's Bethan Jenkins asks about the new Rent Smart scheme that requires anyone who rents out property in Wales to register or become licensed by 23 November.

She questions the available resources, with  "only nine enforcement officers" to tackle rogue landlords.

Mr Sargeant says there has been a large increase in numbers registering as the deadline approaches.

Bethan Jenkins

Tackling child poverty

In response to Mark Isherwood's question on tackling child poverty, Mr Sargeant says the government has "legislated to embed policies",  through the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.  

'Great examples of partnership working'

Mr Sargeant says there are "great examples of partnership working" within Communities First, and adds he'll be making a statement on the scheme in the new year following the current consultation.

Communities First spends about £30m each year, with more than £300m spent since it was launched in 2001.  

Mr Sargeant has previously said he was not convinced "continuing to focus on 52 small areas is the most effective way to deliver for Wales".

First Minister Carwyn Jones has already warned that some government schemes would be cut to pay for new priorities.

Carl Sargeant

Prynhawn da

Plenary begins with questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant. 

The first of the tabled questions is by Suzy Davies: Will the Minister make a statement on his evaluation of partnership working within Communities First?

Suzy Davies

Back at 1.30pm

The committee is now meeting in private. 

Senedd Live will be back at 1.30pm for plenary. 


"We heard your frustrations loud and clearly" says committee chair Lynne Neagle.

Lynne Neagle

Waiting for public consultation

All the witnesses point out that the "delay" in progressing the National Approach to Statutory Advocacy has meant that the revised National Standards and Outcomes Framework has yet to be made available and issued for public consultation.  

'Woeful lack of leadership from the Welsh Government'

"There's been a woeful lack of leadership from the Welsh Government on advocacy," says Darren Millar. "Do you agree that they need a rocket up their backside in order to get on and deliver this national approach that your all asking for?"

Sean O’Neill, Policy Director of Children in Wales, replies, "The case for change has been tabled, we are not clear why it's taken a year to see an implementation plan". 

Sean O’Neill
Sean O’Neill