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  1. Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee
  2. Plenary begins at 13.30 with Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Education
  3. 90 Second Statements
  4. Debate on Members' Legislative Proposals
  5. Debate on the Children, Young People and Education Committee's report on its inquiry into Youth Work
  6. Welsh Conservatives debate: further education
  7. Welsh Conservatives debate: industrial strategy
  8. Short Debate: Developing emotional resilience in our children and young people

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones

All times stated are UK


That brings today's proceedings in the Siambr to a close.

Senedd Live returns on Tuesday 14 February.


Developing emotional resilience

The topic chosen for the Short Debate by Lynne Neagle (Torfaen) is 'developing emotional resilience in our children and young people'.

She tells AMs that nearly half of all mental health problems start by the age of 14.  

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'Failure to support the steel industry'

Economy secretary Ken Skates notes the UK Government's intention to develop a more active industrial policy, but criticizes "their failure to support the steel industry across Wales and the UK over the last twelve months."

The Welsh Government will publish a "cross-cutting strategy to support economic growth" later in the spring. 

Getty Images

Return of government-led industrial policy

Free markets are good, government intervention is bad: That's been the economic thinking of many governments since the 1980s and the BBC’s Business Daily has looked into how that’s about to change in the UK with the new industrial strategy for the economy. 

Getty Images

'Damning indictment of 17 years of Labour'

UKIP's David Rowlands refers to comments by the first minister yesterday - that "the skills that are required for the Welsh Revenue Authority at the moment are skills that aren’t actually available in Wales to any great extent" - as a "damning indictment of 17 years of Labour in the assembly". 

David Rowlands

'Historic under investment in Wales' infrastructure'

Adam Price

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price: 

1. Notes the need to strengthen the performance of the north Wales economy.

2. Recognises the importance of infrastructure investment to promote the economy of north Wales.

3. Believes that any UK Government Industrial Strategy must address historic under investment in Wales' infrastructure. 

4. Calls for a sustained programme of improvements to the A55 corridor, and calls on the Welsh Government to continue to support the electrification of the North Wales Coast Line.

5. Calls upon the Welsh Government to publish its Economic Strategy for Wales which will set out how north Wales can develop into an economic powerhouse in its own right whilst also cooperating with the northern powerhouse in England and promote cross-border economic activity.

Second Welsh Conservatives debate

The Conservatives propose that the assembly:

1. Notes the UK Government's industrial strategy and the impact it will have on Wales.

2. Recognises the inter-governmental work to develop the North Wales Growth Deal.

3. Believes that city regions can play a valuable role in delivering economic improvements to communities across Wales.

4. Calls on the Welsh Government to work with key stakeholders to drive economic growth in all parts of Wales.

Russell George

UK Government's 'damaging policy of austerity'

Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, Alun Davies says the Welsh Government has a commitment to parity of esteem between vocational and academic routes through education.

He contrasts the "additional £30m of funding provided for Further and Higher Education in the 2017-18 Welsh Government budget", with  "the UK Government's damaging policy of austerity which has negatively impacted all public services across the UK, including higher and further education". 

Who knew?

Mohammad Asghar reveals that he has a taxi licence and is also a fully qualified pilot.

Mohammad Asghar

'Parity of esteem between vocational and academic pathways'

Plaid Cymru's Llyr Gruffydd says there "should be parity of esteem between vocational and academic pathways, and that the Welsh Government should work to promote equity between them."

He calls on the Welsh Government to "work in the spirit of Hazelkorn to eliminate much of the unhelpful competition that has emerged in post-16 education in recent years, and to develop clearer and more flexible post-16 learning pathways." 

Welsh Conservatives debate

We move on to the first of the two Welsh Conservatives debates today. The proposal is that the assembly:

1. Recognises the vital contribution that further education and vocational skills make to the Welsh economy, especially in our most disadvantaged communities

2. Calls on the Welsh Government to commit to a three-year funding cycle for further education colleges at a fair level, to enable more sustainable planning and safeguard the skills needed to make local economies resilient.

3. Calls on the Welsh Government to invest a significant proportion of the savings it expects to make as a result of changes to higher education student support into the further education sector, including into higher level skills delivered in a further education setting and Welsh language provision.

further education

Change of approach by the government

On behalf of the Welsh Government, Alun Davies says the committee's report has led to a "change in policy and change of approach by the government". 

The Welsh Government's detailed response to the report can be seen here.   

Alun Davies

Youth services suffering 'alarming' decline

All young people in Wales aged 11 to 25 can access youth services including youth clubs, information and advice centres, or specific projects in their area.

But the assembly's children, young people and education committee found fewer were taking part in council-run activities since youth service budgets have been cut.

It also found local authorities had cut nearly 150 youth workers' jobs - almost one in five - in 2015-16.

One group representing voluntary youth work organisations told AMs almost a third of its members feared they would not survive beyond the next financial year.

Youth services

Children, Young People and Education Committee's report

Lynne Neagle (Torfaen) introduces the report of the Children, Young People and Education Committee 'What type of youth service does Wales want? Report of the inquiry into Youth Work'.

Lynne Neagle

School pupils already learn 'emergency aid procedures'

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething says school pupils already learn "emergency aid procedures" in personal and social education lessons.  

The government will abstain in the vote, while backbenchers have a free vote.

Vaughan Gething

'Terrifying moment' daughter choked on a grape

Angela Burns learnt her CPR training as a rescue diver. She tells AMs about the "terrifying moment" her daughter choked on a grape, when her husband successfully dislodged the grape.  

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First AM to use new procedure

Ms Davies is the first AM to use a new procedure known as a member's legislative proposal to table a debate in the assembly.

She said she hoped it would influence the Welsh Government to take up the idea.

CPR dummy

Proposal for a Bill on life saving skills

Suzy Davies (South Wales West) introduces a proposal for a Bill on life saving skills. 

The Welsh Conservatives assembly election manifesto last year included a pledge to introduce mandatory emergency life-saving skills.

Back in 2011, Suzy Davies lead a short debate calling for schools to teach life-saving skills as part of the curriculum.

She has also suggested using red phone boxes to house defibrillators in communities who don’t yet have publicly accessible life-saving equipment. 

Suzy Davies

Issues of topical interest

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

There were no 90 second statements last week because no members submitted statements.

No questions tabled for the Assembly Commission

The Commission and administration is explained here.

Incidentally, the commission won’t release the name of the AM mentioned here for confidentiality reasons:

"A Member provided evidence to support the view that there were exceptional circumstances and that a new starter should commence their employment at a higher pay point than the minimum. The Head of Members Business Support disagreed and only authorised payment at the lowest point of the scale.

"The Assembly Member appealed the decision to the Chief Executive and Clerk to the Assembly who upheld the original decision."

This is in line with independent Remuneration Board’s Determination on Pay and Allowances which states that in relation to the appeals process the "published record must, so far as possible, exclude any information disclosing the identity of the individual Member". 

Due diligence will take 4 - 6 weeks

Mr Skates says due diligence will take 4 - 6 weeks, and adds that the people of Ebbw Vale have shown "considerable patience".  

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Welsh Government undertaking 'rigorous' due diligence

The economy secretary says that the Welsh Government is now undertaking "rigorous" due diligence, including whether the 6,000 jobs figure holds water, and a Fit and Proper Person test for the directors. 

Circuit of Wales
Circuit of Wales

Circuit of Wales development

AMs hear an Urgent Question to the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure:

Adam Price (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm whether he now intends to support the Circuit of Wales development following reports that the Heads of the Valleys Development Company have secured the private funding required for its construction?

Circuit of Wales
Circuit of Wales

'Fewer schools in red categorisation than ever'

UKIP's Michelle Brown asks the cabinet secretary for assurance that she will take "personal responsibility" for helping schools in a red category to reach green status.

Kirsty Williams replies that "the good news is that we have fewer schools in red categorisation than ever". 

Michelle Brown

Teaching 'weakest aspect' of education

Darren Millar refers to the education watchdog Estyn's annual report which stated that the quality of teaching was the "weakest aspect" of provision across most areas of education in Wales.

Kirsty Williams replies that "too often there is a level of variability that I do not think is acceptable". 

Darren Millar

Progress in the provision of supply teachers?

Llyr Gruffydd questions whether progress has been made in the provision of supply teachers. 

Kirsty Williams says she will "look again at how we can make progress in this area".

Llyr Gruffydd

Absence of children who are genuinely unwell

Ms Burns expresses concern that parents of children who are genuinely sick receive "threatening letters". 

Kirsty Williams says she will consult officials to see if they can offer more advice to local authorities about how to manage the absence of children who are genuinely unwell. 

How to improve attendance in schools?

Plenary begins with Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Education.

The first of the tabled questions is:

Angela Burns (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire): Will the Cabinet Secretary outline the guidance that the Welsh Government is providing to schools on how to improve attendance?  

'In the interests of the Assembly and the wider Labour party’

Who remembers where they were during this dramatic event on 9 February 2000

Back at 1.30pm

The committee is now meeting in private.

Senedd Live continues with plenary at 1.30pm.

'Missed financial inclusion action plan'

Committee member tweets

'Alarming how much money is going out of Wales'

"It's alarming how much money is going out of Wales because of extortionate credit rates through payday loans and other forms of borrowing", says the economy secretary.


New economic strategy by the spring

Asked by Sian Gwenllian when a new economic strategy will be in place, Mr Skates says it will be "completed by the spring".

Sian Gwenllian

'Enormous once in a lifetime opportunities'

Mr Skates says the south Wales metro "is one of a number of enormous once in a lifetime opportunities and enablers for employment and prosperity."

He also cites "the lagoon, or the lagoons as we hope they will become, and Wylfa Newydd". 

south Wales metro
Welsh Government

No end to child poverty by 2020

Mr Skates acknowledges that the target to end child poverty in Wales by 2020 cannot be achieved.

He says that responsibilities which sit within his portfolio are central to the Welsh Government’s approach to promoting prosperity and tackling poverty, including focusing on "decent jobs that pay well, skills, infrastructure and connectivity". 

Ken Skates

Bore da

The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee is scrutinising the work of the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure this morning.

Cardiff Bay