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  1. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the First Minister
  2. Business Statement and Announcement
  3. Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Education: Pisa results
  4. Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs: Energy
  5. Debate on the Draft Budget 2017-18

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK


That's it for today. 

Senedd Live will be back tomorrow morning when we'll be broadcasting the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee.


Vaughan's Verdict

Drakeford 'worthy of Strictly'

Labour's Huw Irranca-Davies commends the finance secretary for his "deft footwork" on the budget, "it would be worthy of Strictly".



"Why are you twice as likely to have your tonsils removed in Ynys Môn than you are in Wrexham, which are both part of the same health board?" asks Mike Hedges.

Mike Hedges

'Local government settlement looks vulnerable'

UKIP's Mark Reckless says it's a "steady as you go budget", and he adds the "local government settlement looks vulnerable for future years."

Mark Reckless

Background: Labour and Plaid Cymru struck a deal

With Labour just short of a majority in the Senedd, ministers have struck a deal with Plaid Cymru to ensure the budget will pass.

The agreement - covering £119m worth of spending - included a promise of £30m extra funding for higher and further education and £5m to boost the Welsh language.

The two parties held budget talks under the post-election deal by which Plaid Cymru supported Carwyn Jones's return as first minister.  

Labour and Plaid Cymru

Budget 'does not meet the needs of the Welsh people'

Conservative Nick Ramsay proposes his party's amendment, that the assembly "does not believe the Welsh Government's draft Budget 2017-18 meets the needs of the Welsh people."

He says  "lack of recognition in the draft budget for devolution of tax is symptomatic of the government's lack of forward planning."  

Nick Ramsay

Welsh draft budget 2017-18

An extra £240m for the NHS is in the budget, and Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford also promised £10m for a pilot scheme to provide 30 hours of free childcare for three and four year olds.

There are cuts to some areas of local government and community projects, plus the end of the £20m Schools Challenge Cymru scheme.

Funding commitments in the budget include £111m for apprenticeships and traineeships, and £4.5m towards a pledge to raise the savings limit for people in residential care to £50,000.

The end of the flagship Communities First anti-poverty programme - costing £30m a year - had previously been announced.

Local government has been given a real-terms cut in its day-to-day spending, but a large increase in the amount of capital funds available for one-off projects.  

Welsh budget

Article by National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Debate on the Draft Budget 2017-18

The final item today is a debate on the Draft Budget 2017-18


'We need more oomph'

Conservative David Melding says the statement was "rather low wattage, we need more oomph".

Plaid Cymru's Simon Thomas says the statement was "very long on process, short on detail and virtually negligible in terms of targets."

"Was there anything new in the statement?" asks UKIP's Neil Hamilton.

David Melding
David Melding

'From fossil fuels to a nation renowned for its clean energy'

Lesley Griffiths says the Welsh Government will reduce the amount of energy used in Wales and move from the "traditional association with fossil fuels to a nation renowned for its clean energy."

She says: “Wales has huge potential to host projects which generate energy on a large scale for the UK and can bring significant benefits to Wales. 

“If we are to deliver secure and affordable low carbon energy, we need an energy mix of different technologies and scales, from community level to major projects. I am keen to move this agenda forward so Wales benefits from this change rather than being left behind."

Lesley Griffiths

Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs

The next item in the Siambr is a statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths on energy. 


'It's good to see you'

Laughter in the Siambr as Kirsty Williams tells independent AM Nathan Gill, "It's good to see you".

Mr Gill left UKIP's group in the assembly to sit as an independent AM for north Wales after being threatened with expulsion for refusing to give up his other elected role as an MEP.  

Nathan Gill

Welsh Government 'devoid of new ideas'

UKIP's Michelle Brown says the Welsh government "should go back to the drawing board and open its mind to new ideas and a fresh approach."

She accuses the government of being "devoid of new ideas"  and calls on them to "divert from its path of mediocrity." 

Michelle Brown

A 'damning indictment of Labour's performance'

Plaid Cymru's Llyr Gruffydd says the Pisa results tell  "a very grim story" and are a "damning indictment of Labour's performance." 

A 'scandal of monumental proportions'

According to Conservative Darren Millar, "that our results in 2015 were actually worse than in 2006 signifies a decade of underachievement and is a scandal of monumental proportions."

He describes "a litany of failure by successive Welsh governments". 

Darren Millar

Science results 'deeply, deeply disappointing'

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams says "We would all have liked to see greater progress. 

"We can all agree in this chamber we are not where we want to be."

She adds that the results for science are "deeply, deeply disappointing."

Kirsty Williams

Wales worst in UK in world education tests

Members are now listening to a statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams on the Pisa tests, which are taken by 15-year-olds every three years.

Scores of Welsh students in science, reading and maths were below the average of 72 countries and economies taking part in the major study of educational performance.

Welsh students also did worse than their counterparts in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

This is the fourth time Wales has done worse than the other UK nations.

The latest results show:

  • In maths, Wales scored 478, below England and Northern Ireland which both scored 493 and Scotland which scored 491
  • In reading, Wales once again came last in the UK with 478, England scored 500, Northern Ireland 497 and Scotland 493.
  • In science, Wales scored 485, England scored 512, Northern Ireland 500 and Scotland 497.

Pisa logo

Range of statements requested

Among statements requested by AMs are the long-term future of Ford's Bridgend engine plant, the South Wales Metro, and the business rate relief scheme.    

Ford plant in Bridgend

Business Statement and Announcement

Next we have the Business Statement and Announcement where Leader of the House, Jane Hutt, outlines the future business of the Assembly. 

Jane Hutt

Urgent Question 2 - Ruabon Medical Centre

The second urgent question is to the health secretary:  

Mark Isherwood (North Wales): Will the Minister make a statement on Ruabon Medical Centre in Wrexham, which has ended its contract with the NHS after being unable to fill two vacant doctor posts?

Vaughan Gething replies that Betsi Cadwaladr health board has written to patients to ensure them the surgery "will not be closing and services will continue."

Mark Isherwood

'Identify and support a sustainable local bus network'

Ken Skates replies that the government has been "working with Wrexham borough council and other local authorities in north east Wales for some time to help identify and support a sustainable local bus network."

Ken Skates

Urgent Question 1 - bus services in the north-east

The first urgent question, to the economy secretary is: 

Llyr Gruffydd (North Wales): In light of the Traffic Commissioner’s decision to revoke the public service vehicle operator’s licence of RJ’s of Wem, will the Minister make a statement on the future of bus services in north-east Wales?

GHA Coaches, based in Ruabon, Wrexham, went into administration in July with the loss of 320 jobs after failing to pay a tax bill.

Gareth and Arwyn Lloyd Davies were later disqualified from holding public transport operator licences.

Llyr Gruffydd

Conservative leader's urgent questions 'rejected'

Britain 'has always been multi-cultural'

The first minister says he didn't hear comments ascribed to Stephen Kinnock MP on "assimilation", but adds that Britain "has always been multi-cultural."  

'Tough FMQs'

BBC Wales Political Editor tweets

Welsh Government 'trying to frustrate the will of the people'

UKIP group leader Neil Hamilton says the Welsh Government is trying to frustrate the will of the people by intervening in the Brexit Supreme Court case.   

The Welsh Government has been allowed to intervene in the case, arguing that triggering Article 50 would "significantly change" how devolution works.  

The UK government's case rejects the Welsh Government's argument that Article 50 will "short-circuit" the need for AMs' consent
The UK government's case rejects the Welsh Government's argument that Article 50 will "short-circuit" the need for AMs' consent

Labour AMs 'embarrassed' claims Conservative leader

Labour AMs were all looking at their computers rather than listening to the first minister, claims Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies -  they're "embarrassed" he says.  

"For goodness' sake, show some humility," says Mr Davies. "Give us some vision".  

The first minister admits the OECD report "is uncomfortable reading...but what we will not do is panic." 

Andrew RT Davies

First minister accused of being 'complacent' on education

"We've heard it all before," says the Plaid Cymru leader, who accuses the first minister of being "complacent" on education.   

OECD advice is to avoid "wild reform" in education, says the first minister, but Leanne Wood says he's always moving the goalposts. 

"I'm confident when the next Pisa results come we'll see more improvements", says Mr Jones, but he says he accepts the current scores are not good enough.   

'Improvements in some areas but disappointing in others'

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood asks if the first minister takes responsibility for the Pisa results.

Mr Jones says the results show improvements in some areas but they are disappointing in others, and he adds that the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) says that Wales is on the right track.  

Leanne Wood

Important that access to banking services is maintained

Mr Jones replies that although it's a commercial matter for banks, it is important that access to banking services is maintained.

Several AMs raise concerns about bank branch closures.  

Carwyn Jones

Welcome to Senedd Live

Plenary begins as usual with Questions to the First Minister. 

The first question tabled for today is by Llyr Gruffydd: What assessment has the First Minister made of the effect of bank closures on businesses in Wales?  

NatWest bank announced last week it will shut nine branches across north Wales from May next year.  In September 2015, the high street bank closed 11 branches across north Wales.

Closure map
Closure map