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Summary

  1. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the First Minister
  2. Business Statement and Announcement
  3. Student Support in 2018/19 and the Publication of the Summary of Results from the Consultation on Implementing the Welsh Government's Response to the Diamond Report
  4. Statement by the Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport: The Interim Report of the Parliamentary Review on Health and Social Care
  5. Statement by the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language: The Welsh Language Strategy
  6. Statement by the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language: Update on the Ministerial Taskforce for the South Wales Valleys
  7. Statement by the Minister for Skills and Science: Employability
  8. Debate: Stage 3 on the Trade Union (Wales) Bill

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 Children, Young People and Education Committee.

Cardiff Bay
Google

Stage 3 completed

That completes Stage 3 of the Trade Union (Wales) Bill.

Guide to Public Bills and Acts

There is generally a four-stage process for the consideration of a Public Bill involving:

  • Stage 1 – consideration of the general principles of the Bill by a committee, and the agreement of those general principles by the Assembly;
  • Stage 2 – detailed consideration by a committee of the Bill and any amendments tabled to that Bill;
  • Stage 3 – detailed consideration, by the Assembly, of the Bill and any amendments tabled to that Bill;
  • Stage 4 – a vote by the Assembly to pass the final text of the Bill.

Keeping agency worker cover ban in strikes in Welsh public sector

The next group of amendments relates to a prohibition on using temporary workers to cover industrial action.

Rules stopping employers from using agency workers to cover strikers will be protected in the public sector under Welsh Government plans.

A UK Government consultation was held on changing the rules in 2015 but the idea has not been put into action.

Currently employment regulations prevent firms and organisations from providing agency workers to cover the duties performed by an employee on strike.

UK ministers consulted in 2015 on removing the regulation, saying it was committed to tackling the "disproportionate impact of strikes in important public services".

The Welsh Government now wants to add protections to the Trade Union Bill that would stop agency workers being used in the Welsh public sector if the regulation was lifted.

The Welsh Conservatives oppose this, but their amendments are rejected.

the vote
BBC

Third group of amendments not passed

The next group of amendments in the name of Janet Finch-Saundersare on requirements relating to ballot before action by trade union, and removing definitions of devolved Welsh authorities.

"These amendments deserve to be defeated", says Mark Drakeford.

The amendments are not passed.

'This isn't a pantomime'

"This isn't a pantomime" says the Llywydd Elin Jones in a rowdy Siambr.

Pantomime
BBC
Pantomime

Janet Finch-Saunders' amendment on facility time rejected

Janet Finch-Saunders' second amendment seeks publication requirements in relation to facility time.

Mark Drakeford says the Conservatives are not interested in telling the public about the advantages of facility time, and the amendment seeks to establish a "biased one-sided account".

The amendment is again rejected with 12 for and 43 against.

UKIP opposing all the Stage 3 amendments

Gareth Bennett says UKIP will be backing this Bill and opposing all the Stage 3 amendments by the Conservatives.

Gareth Bennett
BBC

Janet Finch-Saunders' amendment 1 rejected

Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government Mark Drakeford calls on AMs to reject Janet Finch-Saunders' amendment 1.

"The amendment sets out to solve a problem that does not exist," he says.

12 members were for the amendment, 43 against.

Mark Drakeford
BBC

'Taxpayer shouldn't be funding the collection of union subs'

Janet Finch-Saunders' amendment relates to the restriction on deduction of union subscriptions from wages in public sector.

"In the 21st century, the taxpayer shouldn't be funding the collection of union subs," she says.

Janet Finch-Saunders
BBC

Summary of Stage 2 changes

Stage 3 of bill

Finally today, after a 10 minute break, we have a debate on Stage 3 of the Trade Union (Wales) Bill.

The bill is intended to ensure restrictions making it harder to call strikes, brought in by the UK Government's Trade Union Act, will not apply to Welsh public services.

strike
Reuters

‘Working Wales’ coming into effect in April 2019

Julie James says she is establishing a new cross-Welsh Government Board to lead on the development of the Employability Delivery Plan, which will be published before the end of this year.

The Employability Programmes will be called ‘Working Wales’, coming into effect in April 2019.

Julie James
BBC

Statement by the Minister for Skills and Science

The next item is a statement by the Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James on employability.

Employability
BBC

Previous initiatives focused on the valleys 'haven't worked'

Leanne Wood says the taskforce must be different to previous initiatives and programmes focused on the valleys "because they haven't worked".

"No specific budget has been allocated," she notes.

Performance indicators of the taskforce’s plan

Andrew RT Davies notes the taskforce’s plan – Our Valleys, Our Future – will be published on July 20 whereas the performance indicators will not be available until the autumn.

Three of the taskforce’s priorities

Alun Davies sets out some of the taskforce’s priorities, ahead of the plan’s publication next week;

  • Closing the employment gap between the South Wales Valleys and the rest of Wales by getting an additional 7,000 people into work by 2021, and creating thousands of new, fair, secure and sustainable jobs;
  • Creating new strategic hubs in six areas across the Valleys, including the new automotive technology business park for Ebbw Vale, announced by Ken Skates last month;
  • Exploring the concept of a Valleys Landscape Park, to help local communities build on their many natural assets, including the potential for community energy generation and tourism.

Statement by the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language

Now another statement by the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language: Update on the Ministerial Taskforce for the South Wales Valleys.

The taskforce was announced last July.

Alun Davies has pledged an "industrial renaissance".

The Valleys
BBC

'No major new funding'

Nick Servini

Political editor, Wales

Carwyn Jones believes the heat and the divisions surrounding the Welsh language have been consigned to the history books. This strategy is likely to put that view to the test in a number of communities. There is no major new funding, so any rise in Welsh-medium education will have to be matched by a corresponding reduction in capacity in English-language schools. How controversial that proves depends on the role of local authorities who will be crucial in the entire process. The Welsh Government's "hearts and minds" approach will have to be prepared to deal with complaints that Welsh-medium education is getting the lion's share of new funding. One of the central pillars of the argument from ministers is that this is not a central government diktat, but a response to the increase in demand for Welsh-medium education across many different communities".

'Measured and practical steps'

UKIP's Neil Hamilton gives a "warm welcome" to the strategy which includes "measured and practical steps".

He adds "we must do our best to avoid the sort of controversy" over changes at a school in Llangennech, Carmarthenshire.

He refers to the announcement that there will be 150 more Welsh-medium nursery groups created over the next decade as a "beacon of hope".

A row blew up over changing Llangennech infant and junior school to a Welsh-medium primary
Google
A row blew up over changing Llangennech infant and junior school to a Welsh-medium primary

The strategy a 'positive initial step'

Plaid Cymru's Sian Gwenllian describes the strategy as a "positive initial step".

She emphasises the importance of good jobs in areas with a high-proportion of Welsh speakers, and she criticises the Welsh Government for not locating the Welsh Revenue Authority, for example, in an area where Welsh is the community language.

The WRA, with a total staff of around 40, will be based in Treforest, near Pontypridd.

Support for strategy

Opportunities to upskill the Welsh workforce

Suzy Davies, Conservative spokeswoman on the Welsh language, says she supports the drive but added that "success will depend on persuading our different communities, different individuals, why it is so valuable to have skills in both our languages".

She also says she wants to see more opportunities to upskill the Welsh workforce in their actual workplace.

Suzy Davies
BBC

'Two languages, two cultures, but one nation'

Welsh language minister Alun Davies says the Welsh Government will lead by example.

"I want to shift the emphasis from regulation to promotion," he says.

He says the strategy is an historic commitment that will seek to unite the nation.

"Two languages, two cultures, but one nation," he concludes.

Alun Davies
BBC

70% of all pupils to be fluent in Welsh

Currently 22% of seven-year-olds are being taught in Welsh-medium schools but ministers want it to rise to 30% at every level by 2030.

If the expansion is achieved, it would mark the biggest increase in recent years.

As part of the proposals, pupils in English-medium schools will have to devote more time learning the Welsh language.

The full details will not be known until the new curriculum is finalised before its expected implementation in 2021.

There will be 150 more Welsh-medium nursery groups created over the next decade, as well as plans to recruit significantly more Welsh-speaking teachers in order to cope with demand.

The intention is for 70% of all pupils to be fluent in Welsh by the time they leave school in 2050.

The Welsh language
BBC

What does the strategy mean?

Strategy to double the number of Welsh speakers in the next 30 years

Now we have a statement by the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, Alun Davies on the Welsh Language Strategy.

Plans to increase Welsh medium education have been set out as part of a target to get one million people speaking Welsh by 2050.

A strategy to double the number of Welsh speakers in the next 30 years has been set by the Welsh Government.

In order to hit this target, a plan to increase Welsh medium education by a third over the next 14 years has been announced.

Education will be one of the key factors in boosting the Welsh language
Thinkstock
Education will be one of the key factors in boosting the Welsh language

'We adapt or we perish'

UKIP's Caroline Jones welcomes the interim report which "starkly lays out the challenges".

"We adapt or we perish," she warns.

Caroline Jones
BBC

'Many steps could be taken by the government now'

Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Iorwerth welcomes the interim report, and says many findings are relatively obvious.

Even though it's an interim report, he says many steps could be taken by the government now without waiting for the final report.

Rhun ap Iorwerth
BBC

'Green shoots' of innovation

Conservative Angela Burns says you can see the "green shoots of innovation throughout the health service", but there are difficulties translating those ideas into policies which can be replicated across the board.

“All too often innovation is crushed by red tape or under-funding by Welsh Government," she says.

Angela Burns
BBC

'Strong interim report'

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething says "this is a strong interim report and I welcome the practical approach that the review panel intend to take to their work.

"I look to health and care organisations, and members of the public to respond with equal vigour and work constructively with the Parliamentary Review over the coming months".

Vaughan Gething
BBC

Interim report commissioned by the Welsh Government

The members are now listening to a statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport, Vaughan Gething on the Interim Report of the Parliamentary Review on Health and Social Care.

The health and social care system in Wales will not be sustainable in the future in its current form, the team of independent experts has warned.

Change to deliver major NHS and care improvement is urgently required - and at a much faster pace, they said.

New ways of caring for older people should be a priority because of an ageing population, the experts added.

The interim report was commissioned by the Welsh Government. Detailed findings are expected later this year.

The biggest challenge is caring for an ageing population in Wales
Getty Images
The biggest challenge is caring for an ageing population in Wales

'Money could be spent elsewhere in the education system'

UKIP's Michelle Brown says "I fail to see how offering £1,000 per student regardless of income is a positive step forward... that money could be spent elsewhere in the education system such as making essential repairs in a rural school".

Michelle Brown
BBC

Students' debts will increase

Plaid Cymru's Llyr Gruffydd says the "most significant" announcement is that of an inflation-linked maximum tuition fee level.

He wants to know why Kirsty Williams has made a u-turn on that policy, which he says will lead to students' debts increasing from the current "horrendous" levels.

Llyr Gruffydd
BBC

Inflation-linked maximum tuition fee level

On the policy of an inflation-linked maximum tuition fee level, Conservative Darren Millar asks about the impact if there is a significant shift in tuition fee levels elsewhere.

Darren Millar
BBC

Equivalent maintenance support across full-time and part-time undergraduates

Maximum tuition fees at Welsh universities will rise to £9,250 from autumn 2018.

They will be linked to inflation for the three years that follow.

Maximum fees at English universities have already risen to £9,250 and are likely to be over £9,500 by autumn 2018.

Education secretary Kirsty Williams said the rise was a direct "knock-on" effect of the policy in England.

She says that from 2018/19, Wales will be the first country in Europe to introduce equivalent maintenance support across full-time and part-time undergraduates, as well as post-graduates.

She says the average household income for a student in the current system is around £25,000. Under the new system such a student will receive around £7,000 a year in non-repayable grant.

She adds that in 2018/19 there will be "a return to the pre-2012 policy of an inflation-linked maximum tuition fee level and that will be in place for the next three academic years".

Education
Thinkstock

'Full Diamond package with minor modifications'

Prof Ian Diamond called for fundamental changes, with a shift from support for tuition fees to help with living costs.

Kirsty Williams says the Welsh Government is introducing "the full Diamond package with minor modifications".

Kirsty Williams
BBC

Implementing the Welsh Government's response to the Diamond Report

The first statement of the day is by the Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams.

Her topic is student support in 2018/19 and the publication of the summary of results from the consultation on implementing the Welsh Government's response to the Diamond Report.

Inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal

Responding to the the prime minister's announcement that an inquiry will be held into the contaminated blood scandal that left at least 2,400 people dead, Julie Morgan, AM for Cardiff North and chair of the Cross-Party Group on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood, says this is "fantastic news for the families affected. I hope this will finally help them get the answers they need."

Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Iorwerth also welcomed the inquiry. He said: "It has become clear to me from talking to the families of those affected by this contaminated blood scandal that we must be given answers once and for all."

A recent parliamentary report found around 7,500 patients were infected by imported blood products.

BBC Panorama - Contaminated Blood: The Search for the Truth

Julie Morgan
BBC
Julie Morgan

Business Statement and Announcement

The next item in the Siambr is the Business Statement and Announcement where the Leader of the House Jane Hutt outlines the future business of the Assembly.

Jane Hutt
BBC