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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 Finance and Local Government: The Fiscal Framework
  4. Legislative Consent Motion on the Wales Bill
  5. Debate: The Local Government Settlement 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 Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee.


Local Government Settlement 2017-18 approved

  The Local Government Settlement 2017-18  has been approved, with 36 for, 10 abstained and 9 against.


Assembly approves the Wales Bill

The Assembly has approved the Wales Bill. 

AMs voted for the legislative consent motion, with 38 for and  17 against.

The vote

'Reasonable' settlement

Gareth Bennett says UKIP will support the "reasonable" settlement. 

He expresses concern about the use of procurement cards, senior officer pay and reductions in service provision.

Another 'difficult' local government settlement

Conservative Janet Finch-Saunders accuses the government of  delivering “yet another difficult” local government settlement for Welsh councils.  

She says that council budgets have been devastated across Wales, particularly in rural areas.

Janet Finch-Saunders

No to the 'ideology of austerity'

Sian Gwenllian says that Plaid Cymru rejects the "ideology of austerity", and commends the deal between Labour and Plaid Cymru to pass the £15bn spending plans.

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

Sian Gwenllian

Breakdown of percentage change in funding by local authority

Council budgets see first cash increase for years

The final debate today is on the Local Government Settlement 2017-18.  

The Welsh Government budget sees total funding for day-to-day council spending in 2017/18 rise by £10m to £4.1bn.

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford says it is a "good settlement" for councils to plan for harder choices ahead.

As promised in October's draft settlement, no council will see its cash funding fall by more than 0.5%, and many authorities will see their first cash increase for three years.

However, the effects of inflation will result in a real terms cut.


Achieving parity with Scotland and Northern Ireland

First Minister Carwyn Jones says devolution of part of the taxation system does not require a referendum.

He says the bill and the fiscal framework should be considered "as a package", and that it is about achieving parity with Scotland and Northern Ireland and making the UK a "true partnership". 

Political convention between the assembly and Westminster

Under a political convention between the assembly and Westminster, the Wales Bill needs a legislative consent motion passed in the Senedd before it can be become law.

That is because the Wales Bill relates to devolved matters.

The convention does not have legal force but Wales Office minister Lord Bourne has said the bill will not become law if the assembly does not approve it.

'For the politics students of the future'

Simon Thomas sets out the Plaid Cymru case for the Wales Bill, even though they will be voting against, "if only for the politics students of the future".  

Plaid Cymru and UKIP 'will not convince the people of Wales'

Independent AM Dafydd Elis-Thomas says the arguments set out by his former party, Plaid Cymru, and by UKIP "will not convince the people of Wales". 

He says politicians should work together constructively to create change.  

Dafydd Elis-Thomas

A 'roadblock' to more devolution?

Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies insists he wasn't a "roadblock" to more devolution, prompting Leanne Wood to protest that he was.  

He then adds, "I stood in the way of criminal justice and policing coming to this place."

'They know they will lose'

UKIP's Mark Reckless says the reason there will not be a referendum on devolving income tax powers is "they know they will lose".  

Mark Reckless

'Breach of faith'

Neil Hamilton says the only reason UKIP will vote against the bill is that the party is opposed to the devolution of income tax powers without a referendum, which he describes as a "breach of faith with the Welsh people".

Devolution of income tax powers without a poll is a "constitutional deficiency we ought not to ignore," he adds. 

Powers and permanence

Conservative David Melding commends the efforts of the Secretary of State for Wales and his Wales Office team in spearheading the delivery of the Wales Bill.  

Mr Melding, a former Deputy Presiding Officer, says the bill will offer the assembly increased powers, permanence, greater accountability and fiscal stability.

David Melding

Voting against the Wales Bill with a 'heavy heart'

Plaid Cymru is voting against the Wales Bill with a "heavy heart", Leanne Wood tells AMs. 

"We never want to see Wales backed into a corner again."  

'Don't want to accept crumbs from the table of Westminister'

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood says her party will vote against the Legislative Consent Motion on the Wales Bill because of fears that the assembly will lose powers.  

"We don't want to accept crumbs from the table of Westminister," she says.

Westminister and Senedd

Bill 'will not deliver lasting, durable settlement'

Huw Irranca-Davies, chair of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, speaks about the committee's report, which concludes that it is a "complex and inaccessible piece of constitutional law that will not deliver the lasting, durable settlement that people in Wales had expected," but which also welcomes the move from a conferred powers to a reserved powers model.

Huw Irranca-Davies

'In the interests of Wales'

Despite his reservations about the Wales Bill, the first minister says it is in the interests of Wales to take what is on offer.  

Commission to be set up on the future of the justice system

Although Labour will support the Wales Bill, the first minister says the reserved powers model in it is not "fit for purpose for the long term".  

He adds that a commission will be set up on the future of the justice system in Wales.

'Not everything we would want'

  "I am not going to pretend to this chamber that this bill is everything we would want," the first minister tells AMs.   

The next stage of devolution?

Assembly members now hold a debate before deciding whether to support the next stage of devolution outlined in the Wales Bill.

It promises new powers for Wales, but has been criticised for possibly rolling back devolution in some areas.

Labour - the largest group with 29 of the 60 assembly seats - voted on Monday to back the bill despite reservations.

The latest Wales Bill offers to extend the transfer of powers over tax, energy, transport and the assembly's own affairs.

Wales Bill

'Framework is of vital importance to Wales'

Income tax powers in 2019

Income tax rates in Wales could be varied from April 2019 as part of a deal with the UK Treasury.

In addition, the amount the Welsh Government can borrow for capital spending - funding for building and infrastructure - will double to £1bn.

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford says agreement on the fiscal framework guaranteed "fair funding" for Wales.

Mark Drakeford

'Significant milestone'

The Welsh Government and the UK Government said in a statement:

"This agreement represents a significant milestone for Wales. Following the recommendations of the Commission on Devolution in Wales (Silk Commission), the Wales Act 2014 provided the legislative framework to devolve tax and borrowing powers to the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Government. These powers provide the Welsh Government with further tools to grow the Welsh economy and to vary the level of tax and spending in Wales, thereby increasing its accountability to the people of Wales."

Statement by the finance secretary

The next item is a statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government, Mark Drakeford, on the Fiscal Framework.


'Urgent action' needed to strengthen sea defences

Urgent action is needed to strengthen sea defences protecting the railway line and the A55 in Old Colwyn or lives could be lost, says Conservative AM Darren Millar.

He said the coastline was further damaged by bad weather in early January, and is now in a "critical condition".

Clwyd West AM Mr Millar said he is "very concerned" and warned every storm "takes its toll" on the promenade.

Recent storms have battered Old Colwyn's sea defences
Recent storms have battered Old Colwyn's sea defences

River Teifi pollution

Simon Thomas calls for a debate on plans for a £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, and a statement  on the pollution which killed salmon and sea trout in a two-mile stretch of the River Teifi in Ceredigion.

Simon Thomas

Business Statement and Announcement

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

Jane Hutt

Debt on the Severn crossings

Ken Skates says, "I'm disappointed that the UK Government is not considering writing off the debt, which stands at around £36 million, as they wrote off the debt for the Humber crossing." 

Ken Skates

Urgent Question 2: Tolling of the Severn Crossings

UKIP's Mark Reckless asks Ken Skates, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, for a statement on future tolling of the Severn Crossings.

Ministers have suggested cutting tolls to as low as £3 for many motorists by 2018.

Forecasts suggest traffic would rise by 45% between 2018-2027 if the reduction was brought in.

The UK government is also considering a "free-flow" tolling system - removing toll barriers and using cameras to track who uses the bridges - as a way of managing the traffic impact.

The issues are all being considered as part of a consultation which closes on March 10.

Severn Crossing tolls

Urgent Question 1: Government funding to NSA Afan

The first urgent question today is to the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant:

Bethan Jenkins (South Wales West): Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the suspension of Welsh Government funding to NSA Afan?

The community regeneration charity in Port Talbot has had its funding suspended amid allegations of a misuse of public funds.

The Welsh Government confirmed it had suspended funding for NSA Afan, based in Sandfields, Port Talbot.

A 35-year-old woman from the area has been arrested and bailed on suspicion of theft.

In a letter to councillors, Steven Phillips, the chief executive of Neath Port Talbot council, said the funding suspension "could have considerable consequences" for the delivery of Communities First services in the area.

NSA Afan

'Beef full of hormones' coming into the UK market

The first minister suggests a Trump trade deal could lead to "beef full of hormones" coming into the UK market.  

Sound of the Senedd: 'Always looking on the black side of things'

The first minister "is always looking on the black side of things," says Neil Hamilton "He did this with Donald Trump", prompting heckling.  

Neil Hamilton

Competing to be the 'Jeremiah of Wales'

UKIP group leader Neil Hamilton accuses the first minister of competing with Leanne Wood to be the "Jeremiah of Wales".

The first minister asks Mr Hamilton how you can control immigration with the land border on the Island of Ireland.

Mr Hamilton says there's no reason that cannot be resolved.

'Nothing to stop the assembly implementing European directives'

Leanne Wood says much of the non-European investment in Wales has been attracted here because of our position in the single market. 

Mr Jones says there is nothing to stop the assembly implementing European directives if it wishes. He adds there would need to be a vote in the assembly before MPs and peers can vote on the final Brexit deal.

'Leaving the single market I do not agree with'

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood asks if the first minister believes that it is in the Welsh national interest to continue to participate in the single market.

Mr Jones says "some" of Prime Minister Theresa May's speech this morning was welcome. "Leaving the single market I do not agree with," he adds.

Leanne Wood

'Standing up for Welsh workers'

Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies accuses the first minister of prioritising the trade union bill over measures on autism.

Mr Jones responds that the Welsh Government will "stand up for Welsh workers".  

Mr Davies says Welsh Labour is taking "us back to the 70s" with the trade union act repeal.

The first minister says it is "odious" that Mr Davies is using people who are dealing with autism to attack workers.  

Andrew RT Davie

Concern about nitrate vulnerable zones.

Paul Davies, Conservative AM for Preseli Pembrokeshire, says farmers in his area are concerned about the introduction of nitrate vulnerable zones.   

NVZs are areas designated as being at risk from agricultural nitrate pollution.

The rules, designed to improve water quality in rivers and lakes, mean farmers in affected areas would face tougher restrictions on fertiliser and manure spreading.