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Summary

  1. Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee
  2. Plenary begins at 13.30 with Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure
  3. Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport
  4. 90 Second Statements
  5. Statement by the Chair of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee on Inquiries and Engagement
  6. Plaid Cymru Debate: Future prosperity of Wales
  7. United Kingdom Independence Party Debate: zero-hours contracts
  8. Short Debate: Enriching lives of carers

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK

  1. Hwyl

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

    Senedd Live will be back on Tuesday 7 March.

    Senedd
  2. 400,000 carers

    Finally today is a Short Debate by Jayne Bryant AM. Her chosen topic is:

    'Enriching Lives of Carers: Caring for those that Care'. 

    She says that there are 400,000 carers in Wales, proportionately more than anywhere else in the UK.  

    Carers
  3. Addressing use of zero hours contracts in social care

    Minister for Skills and Science Julie James says the Welsh Government is taking action to address the use of zero hours contracts in social care.

    She cites the work of the Workforce Partnership Council in this area, which led to the publication of the Public Services Staff Commission's principles and guidance on the appropriate use of non-guaranteed working hours arrangements in devolved public services in Wales.

    Julie James
  4. 'Employment practices are rapidly changing'

    Conservative Russell George says that "employment practices are rapidly changing, including an increase in zero hours contracts, self-employment and short-term 'gig' work."

    He draws attention to the "work carried out by the UK Government to clamp down on abuses in zero-hours contracts, including the banning of exclusivity clauses."

    He welcomes the UK Government's commissioning of the Taylor Review on Modern Employment Practices which will consider the implications of new forms of work on workers' rights and responsibilities.

    Russell George
  5. 'Ban use of zero hours contracts in all devolved public services'

    Bethan Jenkins says that "attempts by Plaid Cymru to ban zero hour's contracts in various sectors on five different occasions during the fourth Assembly were voted down by the Labour Welsh Government and Welsh Conservatives."

    She calls upon the Welsh Government to ban the use of zero hours contracts in all devolved Welsh public services. 

    She adds that the use of zero-hour contracts, including specifying this through any services that are procured, is prohibited in the Assembly.  

  6. 'A life of stress'

    David J Rowlands (South Wales East)  proposes that the assembly:

    1. Believes that, although zero-hours contracts can benefit employers and workers in the freedom and flexibility they can offer, they can also create problems relating to reliability of income, security of employment, employment status and the balance of power between employer and employee.

    2. Notes that, for the majority of those employed on zero-hours contracts, this freedom is more illusory than real and, for those who need a minimum number of working hours per week to ensure financial security for their family, life on a zero-hours contract is one of almost permanent uncertainty;

    3. Notes that, for those who have had their hours reduced or changed because of a perceived unwillingness to work the hours their employer requires or following the lodging of a workplace complaint, this uncertainty can be coupled with the anxiety that comes from exploitation.

    4. Believes that working on zero hours contracts has the potential to:

    a) create a life of stress;

    b) impact negatively on the management of household budgets;

    c) impinge on family commitments;

    d) undermine employment rights and relations; and

    e) complicate access to tax credits and other benefits, the continued rise of which is a growing concern

  7. United Kingdom Independence Party Debate

    Next in the Siambr is a UKIP Debate on zero-hours contracts.  

  8. Unemployment rate lower than the UK average

    On behalf of the Welsh Government, Jane Hutt says that the unemployment rate in Wales has fallen to 4.4%, lower than the UK average, and that the recently-published OECD healthcare quality indicators show Wales is performing at a similar level or better than other countries in the UK on the majority of indicators.

    She also notes that the 2015/16 GCSE exam results for Wales show the main performance measure has increased each year since records began in 2006-07, while the attainment gap between pupils eligible for free school meals and their fellow pupils is closing.

    Jane Hutt
  9. 'One of the most successful nations in the world'

    "If Wales were to become an independent nation politically, there is no reason whatever why it could not be one of the most successful nations in the world", says UKIP leader Neil Hamilton.

    Neil Hamilton
  10. 'Need to think more creatively if we are to transform our economy'

    Paul Davies confirms that the Conservatives will support the Plaid Cymru motion.

    He speaks about the "need to think more creatively if we are to transform our economy in Wales".

    Paul Davies
  11. 'Inspire our future'

    "We can use events from our past to inspire our future" says Rhun ap Iorwerth, citing the NHS and the industrial revolution.   

    Industrial revolution
  12. Plaid Cymru Debate

    Now the first of this afternoon's debate. 

    It's a Plaid Cymru Debate on Wales' prosperity. 

    Plaid Cymru propose that the assembly:

    1. Notes Wales's prominent contribution to the industrial revolution, to the creation of the National Health Service and its leading role in the development of secondary education provision.

    2. Regrets:

    a) that recent GVA statistics released in December 2016 show that GVA per head in Wales in 2015 was 71 per cent of the UK average, the lowest amongst the devolved countries and English regions;

    b) that patients in Wales will wait substantially longer for diagnosis and treatment than they would for the same conditions in England and Scotland; and

    c) Wales's most recent performance in the OECD's 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment , published in December 2016, which revealed that scores in maths, reading, and science were lower in 2015 than in 2006, and lower than the UK average.

    3. Recognises:

    a) the essential role of education and skills as an important driver to improve Wales's economic productivity levels;

    b) the need for sustained improvement in Welsh waiting times for diagnosis and treatment; and

    c) the potential of the blue and green economy in ensuring the future economic prosperity of Wales.

  13. A stronger voice for Wales?

    The committee has launched a  public consultation  to seek views. The deadline for responses is 5 June 2017.  

  14. Engaging with Westminster and the devolved institutions

    Mr Irranca-Davies says the  Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee  is undertaking an inquiry into inter-institutional working with Westminster and the devolved institutions in order:

    • To produce best practice principles for inter-institutional working for constitutional legislation.
    • To reflect and build on the work of other legislatures on inter-institutional working as it relates to broader policy areas.
    • To seek, establish and promote opportunities for inter-parliamentary working, including promotion of citizen engagement.
    Huw Irranca-Davies
  15. Statement by the Chair of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

    The members are now listening to a statement by the Chair of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, Huw Irranca-Davies on Inquiries and Engagement. 

  16. Issues of topical interest

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

  17. Resources for Social Care Wales

    Social Care Wales will come into effect from 3 April 2017 and will replace the existing Care Council for Wales. Suzy Davies questions the government on how it has evaluated how much more resources it will need.

    Minister for Social Services and Public Health, Rebecca Evans announced yesterday that the board will be chaired by Arwel Ellis Owen who is the currently the Chair of the Care Council for Wales board.  

    Rebecca Evans
  18. Statistics on GP appointment availability 'should be published'

    Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Iorwerth raises January A&E waiting times, with 74.1% of patients seen within four hours. He says statistics on GP appointment availability and waiting times should be published.

    The NHS in Wales has faced "exceptional" challenges this winter, the head of the organisation , Dr Andrew Goodall has said.

    It includes some of the busiest days ever faced by hospital emergency units and the Welsh Ambulance Service.

    Rhun ap Iorwerth