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Summary

  1. Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee
  2. Plenary begins at 13.30 with Questions to the Counsel General
  3. Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government: The Trade Union (Wales) Bill
  4. 90 Second Statements
  5. Plaid Cymru debate on Tata Steel
  6. Plaid Cymru debate on the National Grid
  7. Welsh Conservative Debate on bin collections
  8. Welsh Conservative Debate on small businesses
  9. Short Debate: Righting the wrongs - historical allegations relating to pupils at the Royal Cambrian and Llandrindod Wells Residential Schools for Deaf Children

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK

Hwyl

That's it for today.

Senedd Live will be back on Tuesday 24 January.  

Senedd
BBC

'Righting the wrongs'

Finally in the Siambr a Short Debate by Julie Morgan.

The subject: Righting the wrongs - historical allegations relating to pupils at the Royal Cambrian and Llandrindod Wells Residential Schools for Deaf Children.    

Julie Morgan
BBC

Continue and extend the Visual Impact Provision project for Wales

The motion that the National Assembly for Wales believes that:

  a) the National Grid should use underground or undersea cables or alternatives to carry electricity through National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Wales where feasible;

  b) there should be a preference for underground cables or alternatives rather than electricity pylons in any new or current developments in Wales by the National Grid; and

c)   Ofgem should commit to continue and extend the Visual Impact Provision project for Wales to replace current pylons  with underground cables or other alternatives

was passed with 51 members for and none against.

the vote
BBC

More than £200m of support for ratepayers

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford says the Welsh Government will provide more than £200m of support for ratepayers in Wales in 2017-18 to pay non-domestic rates, in addition to the Welsh Government's £10m transitional relief scheme

Scheme details available easily?

UKIP's David Rowlands says it is essential that information on the business rate relief scheme is available easily to all that qualify, and that the appeal procedure is efficient.

David Rowlands
BBC

£10m additional business rate relief

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price "welcomes the £10m additional business rate relief secured by Plaid Cymru as part of the 2017/18 budget negotiations."

Business rates all over Wales and England have been re-calculated, with the new tariffs based primarily on how much a property would cost to rent.

The re-valuation, based on 2015 prices, was carried out by the independent Valuation Office Agency.

The pledge was agreed with Plaid Cymru ahead of the Welsh Government's final budget.

Business rates increase

Nick Ramsay calls on the Welsh Government to "provide more support for small businesses affected by the 2017 non-domestic rates revaluation, including more information regarding the £10m additional funding announced in December 2016."

The tax bills of businesses such as shops, pubs and cafes are set to increase significantly in April as a result of a revaluation of their premises.

Mr Ramsay says firms in Monmouthshire face a big hike in rates.

Welsh Conservatives debate

Another Welsh Conservatives debate now.

The subject is the non-domestic rates revaluation.

Small businesses
BBC

'Accept the autonomy of local authorities'

Environment secretary Lesley Griffiths highlights "Wales' success in reaching 60 per cent recycling in 2015/16 and achieving the highest recycling rate in the UK and the 4th highest rate in Europe."

But she says the assembly should "accept the autonomy of local authorities, in the spirit of localism, in deciding how often to collect residual waste whilst recognising that less frequent waste collections do not lead to increased fly tipping or constitute public health risks."  

Better recycling rates, but at what cost?

Gareth Bennett says UKIP will support the Conservative motion today. 

He asks, "we acknowledge that the Welsh Government has performed well in terms of recycling rates, but at what cost?"

Gareth Bennett
BBC

Enable people to increase the amount of waste they recycle

On behalf of Plaid Cymru, Simon Thomas calls on the Welsh Government to enable people to increase the amount of waste they recycle through banning styrofoam packaging.

He also calls on the Welsh Government to enable people to increase the amount of waste they recycle through introducing a plastic, glass and can deposit scheme.

Power back on

The Llywydd apologises for the "unexpected break". The debate on bin collections resumes. 

'Fault on our high voltage network'

'Didn't expect effect that quick'

Have they pulled the plug?

Power cut

Proceedings come to a halt in the Siambr after a power cut.

Welsh Conservatives debate

Now a Welsh Conservatives debate, calling on the Welsh Government to ensure councils collect residual waste "no less frequently than fortnightly, to protect public health, and deter fly-tipping."

Janet Finch-Saunders says that "penalising our residents in terms of monthly bin collections is simply not the answer."

Bin collections
BBC

'Pillars bare like nude giant girls that have no secret'

Simon Thomas ends the debate by quoting from 'Pylons', a poem by Stephen Spender:

Now over these small hills, they have built the concrete

That trails black wire

Pylons, those pillars

Bare like nude giant girls that have no secret.  

Preference for underground cables

On behalf of the Welsh Government, Lesley Griffiths says there should be a  "preference for" rather than "presumption in favour of" underground cables or alternatives rather than electricity pylons in any new or current developments in Wales by the National Grid.

Lesley Griffiths
BBC

'Content to see energy prices go through the roof'

UKIP's Michelle Brown says "underground cables would be better than pylons, but it seems that Plaid are content to see energy prices for local people to go through the roof".

Michelle Brown
BBC

'Debate in Anglesey has been particularly heated'

David Melding says the "debate in Anglesey has been particularly heated, and it's a sign of things to come."

Rhun ap Iorwerth, the island's AM, says there is unanimous opposition to plans for a second line of electricity pylons across Anglesey.

Last month councillors voted at an extraordinary meeting to call for electricity to be carried in underground cables.

They would connect the island's planned nuclear power plant to a substation in Gwynedd.

The National Grid consultation ended last month, and it said it needs to balance people's views against technical and legal requirements.

The plan is to connect the proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station to the Pentir substation in Gwynedd by pylons.

The new electricity line would run in parallel with an existing line.

Where the line crosses a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the Menai Strait, the National Grid is proposing to build a tunnel and run the cables underground.

National Grid graphic of how the tunnel will look
National Grid
The Menai Strait cable will take five years to build

'Presumption in favour of underground cables, not pylons'

Plaid Cymru propose that:

a) the National Grid should use underground or undersea cables or alternatives to carry electricity through National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Wales where feasible;

b) there should be a presumption in favour of underground cables or alternatives rather than electricity pylons in any new or current developments in Wales by the National Grid; and

c) a feasibility study should be carried out of the possibility of removing current pylons and replacing them with underground cables or other alternatives.

Simon Thomas
BBC

Plaid Cymru debate

Now another Plaid Cymru debate, on alternatives to electricity pylons.

Pylons
BBC

'Still a sensitive period'

Economy secretary Ken Skates says "we've come a long way since last January, but we are not out of the woods yet. This is still a sensitive period."

He says "any changes to the pensions scheme are a decision for the workers".

He adds, however, that a rejection of the deal would "throw the entire steel industry in Wales into doubt".

The Excalibur management buyout for Tata remains "live", Mr Skates says but they are also worried about pensions.  

Ken Skates
BBC

Ballot expected to begin at the end of January

The workers' ballot over whether to accept a less generous pension scheme is expected to begin at the end of January.  

Port Talbot
Reuters

'UK Government supporting the steel industry'

Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies highlights the role of the UK Government's in supporting the steel industry "through the introduction of new public procurement rules and increased support with energy costs, saving the industry £400 million by the end of the current UK Parliament."

Andrew RT Davies
BBC

'Politicians should not be trying to influence workers'

UKIP's Caroline Jones says that "politicians should not be trying to influence workers over the proposed deal to keep the plant open."

Caroline Jones
BBC

'Binding, written commitments'

Plaid Cymru's economy spokesman Adam Price has urged steel workers to reject a move from final salary pensions.

Mr Price proposes that the assembly:

1. Calls on the First Minister – in the absence of any intervention by the UK Government – to meet with the interim Chair of Tata Steel to improve the terms of the deal offered by the company’s UK division for steelworkers in Wales; and that such an amended proposal should consist of binding, written commitments on employment, investment and the protection of accrued pension rights.

2. Calls on the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government, Unions and interested parties to prepare an alternative strategy in the event of the current proposal being rejected by the Welsh steel workforce.

Adam Price
BBC

Background: Tata' ballot

Tata said pension reform is essential to a deal that would see £1bn invested at Port Talbot over 10 years.

The company made a commitment to secure jobs and production at Port Talbot and its other steelworks in December.

The financial climate around the steel industry has changed over the last 12 months.

World steel prices have risen from $385 per tonne of hot rolled coil a year ago, when Tata announced more than 1,000 UK job losses, to $536 per tonne by August just after the company put the sale of its Welsh operations on hold.

China had been accused of selling surplus steel to Europe at below cost price, driving down its market value.

But last summer, the European Union continued imposing tariffs on foreign imports - with up to 22% levied on cold rolled steel, which is used in cars and washing machines.

And the turnaround plan put in place at the biggest plant, Port Talbot, saw the reported losses of £1m a day at the site reduced.

Plaid Cymru debate

Now the first of this afternoon's debates. 

It's a Plaid Cymru debate on Tata Steel. 

Tata Steel works in Port Talbot
Getty Images

Issues of topical interest

We now have the 90 Second Statements, where three AMs have the opportunity to raise issues of topical interest. 

'Slippery slope to totalitarianism'

Dawn Bowden, Labour AM for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, says the Conservative ministers' Trade Union Bill is a "slippery slope to totalitarianism".  

Dawn Bowden
BBC

'Why is the UK measure such a threat?'

Neil Hamilton says UKIP "applauds the social partnership approach of the Welsh Government... but if  the social partnership model of the Welsh Government is so successful I can't understand why they think the proposed measure being introduced at Westminster is such a threat to the good relations that currently exist between public service unions and the government in its various forms in Wales".

Neil Hamilton
BBC

A 're-balance of interests'?

Conservative Janet Finch-Saunders says the UK Trade Unions Act aims to re-balance the interests of employers, employees and the public with the freedom of trade unions to strike, and that the Welsh Government's bill is a throwback to the beer and sandwich days of the 1970s.

Mr Drakeford accuses her of "rehearsing cliches ancient and modern".

Janet Finch-Saunders
BBC

Testing the boundaries of the devolution settlement

BBC's Daniel Davies tweets

'Positive role that trade unions can and should play'

Plaid Cymru's Sian Gwenllian says she hopes that members will work on a cross-party basis to highlight the "positive role that trade unions can and should play in our society."

Sian Gwenllian
BBC

'Unequivocally devolved to the Assembly'

Mark Drakeford says "we have a successful model here in Wales. 

"It is not for UK Ministers to invent some new doctrine in which they claim a right to interfere in areas that, under the terms of our current settlement, are unequivocally devolved to the Assembly - and to do so in a way that is entirely contradictory to our approach to public services. 

"It is for this Assembly rightfully to decide how we want to see those services delivered in Wales."

Mark Drakeford
BBC

Story of the bill so far

The Trade Union (Wales) Bill

Next is a statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government, Mark Drakeford on the Trade Union (Wales) Bill.

Trade unions
BBC

Article 50 expenditure 'absolutely right'

Counsel General Mick Antoniw says it was "absolutely right" to spend  £84,000 setting out objections to the Supreme Court, "but awful that we had to".

The UK government appealed against a High Court ruling that Theresa May must consult Parliament over the process to leave the European Union.

The UK government claims the prime minister can invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to launch the formal two-year process of leaving the European Union using crown prerogative.

But Welsh ministers have objected, claiming the same method could be used to undermine devolution unless the appeal fails.

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