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Summary

  1. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the First Minister
  2. Business Statement and Announcement
  3. Statement on the Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunals (Wales) Bill
  4. Statement on the Development Bank of Wales
  5. Statement on Child Poverty Strategy for Wales - Progress Report 2016
  6. Statement by the Counsel General: Codes of Welsh Law

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK

Hwyl

That's it for today.

Senedd Live will be back tomorrow morning when we'll be broadcasting the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.

Senedd
BBC

Christmas prize or Christmas turkey?

Vaughan's Verdict

Provisions in the Children and Social Work Bill

Members agree, without objection:

that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 29.6 agrees that provisions in the Children and Social Work Bill, relating to the prohibition of a relevant employer from discriminating against a person who applies for a children's social care position because it appears to the employer that the applicant has made a protected disclosure, in so far as they fall within the legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales, should be considered by the UK Parliament.  

Provisions in the Criminal Finances Bill

Members agree, without objection:

that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 29.6 agrees that provisions in the Criminal Finances Bill, relating to the creation of a new tax evasion offence, in so far as they fall within the legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales, should be considered by the UK Parliament.  

Assembly Timeline Infographic

For those who would like an interactive tool providing information about AM's past and present...  

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Reforms to 'help improve access to justice'

A "major programme to build a distinct body of Welsh law" is to be introduced by the Welsh Government, the Counsel General for Wales, Mick Antoniw announces.

The laws in areas devolved to Wales will be brought together and set out in distinct “Welsh law”, rather than in laws that also apply to England or the rest of the UK.

According to Mr Antoniw, this will involve laws in areas such as education, tax, local government, planning and housing being consolidated, or brought together, and becoming part of a Welsh legal code, making them easier to find and understand.

Once codified, all of the law, from Assembly Acts to guidance, would, for the first time, be published together and available in one place - on the Cyfraith Cymru/Law Wales website, in both English and in Welsh.

The Counsel General says the reforms will help improve access to justice and increase efficiency.

The process of beginning to consolidate and codify Welsh laws will begin during this Assembly term, prior to the adoption of a formal Consolidation and Codification Programme from the 6th Assembly onwards.    

Law
BBC

Statement by the Counsel General

The final statement today is by Mick Antoniw: Codes of Welsh Law. 

Mick Antoniw
BBC

'We are not going to be able to achieve our ambition'

The Welsh Government, for the first time, says it will not achieve its aim of ending child poverty by 2020. 

Communities Secretary Carl Sargeant says there had been progress towards other child poverty objectives, but that UK government welfare reforms were partly to blame for frustrating the Welsh Government's ambitions. 

The 2020 target is a long-standing goal and was re-stated in a child poverty strategy last year. 

In an update to AMs, Mr Sargeant says: "Our commitment to tackling child poverty is not in doubt. 

"However, the decisions and actions of the UK government on welfare reform, which, alongside changes in the labour market play a major part in the forecasted rise in poverty, mean that we are not going to be able to achieve our ambition to eradicate child poverty by 2020." 

He also says, “we know we need to do more. In 2015, there were still nearly 72,000 children living in workless households and in-work poverty is a growing issue.” 

Carl Sargeant
BBC

Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children

Now a statement by Carl Sargeant on the Child Poverty Strategy for Wales - Progress Report 2016

The Welsh Government has today published the statutory report on progress towards achieving the five key child poverty objectives.

They are:  

  • To reduce the number of families living in workless households.
  • To increase the skills of parents and young people living in low-income households.
  • To reduce the inequalities which exist in the health, education and economic outcomes of children and families by improving the outcomes of the poorest. 
  • To use all available levers to create a strong economy and labour market which supports the tackling poverty agenda and reduces in-work poverty in Wales.
  • To support families living in poverty to increase household income through debt and financial advice, action to address the poverty premium and action to mitigate the impacts of welfare reform. 
Children
BBC

'Wholeheartedly believe in the concept'

UKIP's David Rowlands says his party "wholeheartedly believe in the concept" of a Development Bank of Wales, but calls for clarity about its remit. 

"It will be more than a signposting body as the member fears," replies Mr Skates.

David Rowlands
BBC

Lender of last resort?

Welsh Conservative economy spokesman Russell George says Mr Skates' statement was a "cosmetic rebrand of Finance Wales" - something the minster denied, saying the Development Bank reflected calls from AMs to build on Finance Wales' experience and expertise. 

Mr George calls for assurances that the development bank would not just become a de-facto lender of last resort.

Russell George
BBC

Business plan to be published

In response to a call from Plaid Cymru AM Adam Price to publish the business plan for the development bank, Mr Skates commits to doing so when it has been finalised.

Mr Skates says the business case for the bank was still in a draft form, but he would publish it in the New Year after the Welsh Government has gathered more feedback. 

Adam Price
BBC
Adam Price

Background: Finance Wales

A review written in 2013 by business expert Prof Dylan Jones-Evans questioned whether Finance Wales was doing enough to help the Welsh economy and recommended the creation of a development bank.

In October it emerged a subsidiary company of Finance Wales, FW Capital, was competing for work in the UK Government's Northern Powerhouse. 

Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure

A bank designed to make it easier for small businesses to borrow money and get advice will be launched early next year. 

Plans for the Development Bank of Wales - which ministers say could have its head office in north Wales - have been drawn up by Finance Wales, the government-owned investment agency. 

The bank will not compete with other private-sector lenders, but will instead provide "top-up finance" to help companies grow, the Welsh Government says. 

Economy Secretary Ken Skates says the new bank was on course to launch in the first half of 2017 if approved by regulators and would have a target of investing £80m a year by 2022. 

Ken Skates
BBC

Bill has 'much to recommend it'

UKIP's Michelle Brown says the bill has "much to recommend it" but raises a number of questions about its implementation, including processes, staff and money.

Michelle Brown
BBC

Assembly Research Service briefing on Additional Learning Needs

Staffing capacity, finances and access to professionals

Darren Millar of the Welsh Conservatives also welcomes the bill and looks forward to scrutinising the legislation to ensure that it addresses key concerns around staffing capacity, finances and access to professionals for those who need them.  

Darren Millar
BBC

Bill outlined

  • Introduces the term Additional Learning Needs for children and young people aged 0 to 25, "ensuring equity of rights and improved transition between settings"
  • A single statutory plan - the individual development plan
  • Increases the participation of children and young people, ensuring they are at the centre of the planning and decision-making process
  • Prioritises high aspirations and improving outcomes, focusing on the child or young person's achievement of their full potential
  • Provides a simpler and less adversarial process, ensuring learners' needs are at the centre and are continually met
  • Creates new statutory roles within health and education to ensure collaboration and integration and that learners' needs are met
  • Focuses on earlier disagreement resolution, with disagreements resolved at the most local level possible
  • Introduces clear and consistent rights of appeal to the Education Tribunal where disagreements cannot be resolved at a local level
Children
BBC

Reform 'long overdue'

Plaid Cymru education spokesman Llyr Gruffydd welcomes the bill and says his party would work to ensure it offers the strongest possible support for children and young people with additional learning needs in Wales.

He says that reform is long overdue.

Llyr Gruffydd
BBC

Statement by the Minister for Lifelong Learning

The way children with additional learning needs are treated will change under new laws unveiled.

The Welsh Government says it wants to improve exam results and aspirations of those who need extra support.

Lifelong Learning Minister Alun Davies has said the current system is "no longer fit for purpose".

But some teaching unions have said they have "serious concerns" about the new bill and are waiting to see the full details of the planned legislation.

If passed, the Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal (ALNET) Bill could come into force by 2019.

Last year, 23% of pupils with ALNs achieved five GCSEs compared with 59% of all pupils in Wales.

In September, the Children's Commissioner for Wales criticised the current process for assessing children with ALNs and said the planned new legislation was "a one in a generation opportunity".

Alun Davies
BBC

Variety of statements requested

The topics raised with Jane Hutt include "female politicians in Cardiff Council being bullied", sustainable procurement, and the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Jane Hutt
BBC

Business Statement and Announcement

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

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Acutely sick patients' care

We now have an urgent question to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-Being and Sport.

Mohammad Asghar asks the Minister to make a statement on the Welsh Government's review into acutely sick patients' care following the highly critical investigation by the Public Service Ombudsman into the care of a 93-year-old patient at the Royal Gwent Hospital.

This comes after the publication of a highly critical ombudsman's investigation into the care of a 93-year-old man who died three days after being admitted to Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital in December 2014.

The report found the man - referred to as Mr Y - was not seen by a doctor for more than six hours on a Sunday, the day before his death.

That was despite concerns about his deteriorating health, with guidelines indicating he should have been medically reviewed within 30 minutes.

Royal Gwent Hospital
GEOGRAPH/ROBIN DRAYTON

Discussions about the miners' pension scheme

The Welsh Government spoke to UK government civil servants this morning about the miners' pension scheme, says the first minister.

Former miners in Wales are calling for a review of their pension fund, arguing they should be awarded a larger share of surplus money.

Currently, the UK government takes 50% of any surplus earned by the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme from its investments as part of a guarantee.

miners
ROGER TILEY

'Clear discrimination' in rail powers

There's "clear discrimination" in rail powers devolved to Wales and Scotland, says the first minister. 

He repeats his belief that one company should run tracks and trains.

The way that England's railway network is run is set to be overhauled under plans by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

'Years of under-investment' in Welsh rail

There have been "years of under-investment" in Welsh rail by the UK government, says the first minister.

He calls for more powers for the Welsh Government over railways.  

Rail
BBC

Emigration not immigration

On immigration Leanne Wood says,  "You shouldn't be implying there's a problem when we don't have a problem." 

She says, however, that emigration is a problem.  

'Dancing to UKIP's tune'

What's the difference between Carwyn Jones and Jeremy Corbyn on immigration, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood wants to know.  

On freedom of movement, Mr Jones says he's closer to Ms Wood than to Mr Corbyn.  

Ms Wood says the first minister is "dancing to UKIP's tune".  

On free movement/immigration, the first minister says: "I don't believe that the current system gets the widest support that it should."  

Leanne Wood
BBC

'Style, finesse, skill and dexterity'

UKIP group leader Neil Hamilton wants to know "what's the greatest failure" of the Welsh Government this year -- health, education, poverty?  

Not surprisingly, the first minister prefers to list successes and says the greatest failure is seeing Mr Hamilton elected to the assembly Siambr.

 Mr Hamilton compliments the first minister on his "style, finesse, skill and dexterity."

Neil Hamilton
BBC

First minister endorses a 'very good deal'

Mr Davies pushes the first minister on whether he thinks Tata workers should accept the company's deal on pensions to secure the future of the Port Talbot site.

The first minister endorses a "very good deal", compared to the situation in the spring when Tata wanted to sell up.

He says the Welsh Government's offer of £60m for Tata is equivalent to 5 years free of business rates.

Tata site, Port Talbot
Getty Images

Tata a company 'that listens'

In response to Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies, the first minister credits Tata as a company "that listens". 

He claims that  "Tata wouldn't be in the position it's in in Wales if it wasn't for the help we've given".  

Andrew RT Davies
BBC

Call to resist attempts to water down the assembly's powers

The first minister is asked by independent AM Dafydd Elis-Thomas to resist attempts to water down the assembly's powers. 

Yesterday a Conservative MP suggested that Westminster should have the power to put the Welsh Government into "special measures" over its education record.

Dafydd Elis-Thomas
BBC

Poor air-quality and increased car journeys

Plaid Cymru's Neil McEvoy and Conservative David Melding raise issues around poor air-quality and increased car journeys. 

"We can't rely on car-based transport for ever," says the first minister, and he lists Welsh Government plans for better trains and cycling routes.  

Cardiff could be a 'glorified car park'

Mr Bennett says major housing developments could turn Cardiff into a "glorified car park."

The first minister says that the local authority has a duty to ensure that section 106 (of the Town and Country Planning Act) is used to its fullest extent.   

Carwyn Jones
BBC

Welcome to Senedd Live

Plenary begins as usual with Questions to the First Minister. 

The first question tabled for today is by Gareth Bennett: What steps is the Welsh Government taking to alleviate road traffic congestion in South Wales Central? 

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