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Summary

  1. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the First Minister
  2. Business Statement and Announcement
  3. Debate: The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill
  4. Statement: Rail Services and Metro Procurement
  5. Statement: Local Government Reform
  6. Statement: The Development Bank of Wales
  7. Debate: The General Principles of the Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Bill
  8. Debate: The First Supplementary Budget 2017-18
  9. Debate: Stage 4 of 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 Finance Committee.

Senedd
BBC

The Trade Union (Wales) Bill passes Stage 4

AMs approve Stage 4 of the Trade Union (Wales) Bill, despite the Conservatives voting against.

the vote
BBC

General principles of the Abolition of the Right to Buy Bill agreed

AMs agree to the general principles of the Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Bill.

the vote
BBC

'Steps must be taken to protect the interests of Wales'

The assembly agrees the proposal that the UK Government’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is

a) wholly unacceptable in its current form; and

b) all necessary steps must be taken to protect the interests of Wales and the constitutional position and powers of the National Assembly, including the publication of a continuity bill.

the vote
BBC

Fourth - not first - piece of legislation

Janet Finch-Saunders says the Trade Union (Wales) Bill is the current assembly's first piece of legislation.

Mark Drakeford corrects her, as it's the fourth.

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.

Final stage of bill

Finally in plenary today is a debate on Stage 4 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
EPA

Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives abstain

Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives say they will abstain in the vote on the Supplementary Budget.

Changes are 'mainly administrative'

Mark Drakeford says the changes are "mainly administrative".

He adds that "no budget mas been cut as a result of these changes" and the "net effect overall of these changes is zero".

Mark Drakeford
BBC

Number of allocations from the reserves

The next item in the Siambr is a debate on the First Supplementary Budget 2017-18.

The 1st supplementary budget proposes a number of changes to the final budget for 2017-18, which was published in December 2016. It sets out a number of allocations from the reserves and includes revised Annually Managed Expenditure forecasts.

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'Too strong an impediment to the aspiration of property ownership'

Gareth Bennett says, "we in UKIP accept the right of buy has been problematic" but "the removal of the right to buy is too strong an impediment to the aspiration of property ownership".

He says UKIP advocates "the construction of more factory built modular homes which could be much more affordable than conventionally built houses".

'Welcome but insufficient'

The Welsh Government's housing target of 20,000 homes in this assembly term is "welcome but insufficient", says Conservative David Melding.

But even if the Welsh Government meets its housing target, Wales would still have a housing shortfall of 66,000 by 2031, he says.

David Melding
BBC

'An absolute duty on the Welsh Ministers'

Huw Irranca-Davies, Chair of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, presents the committee's report.

It has has five recommendations, including that the Cabinet Secretary "should table an amendment to the Bill to place an absolute duty on the Welsh Ministers to provide every qualifying landlord based in Wales with a copy of the information document set out in section 8".

Huw Irranca-Davies
BBC

'Wide variation in the figures provided in the Regulatory Impact Assessment'

Finance Committee chair Simon Thomas presents the committee's report.

The Committee notes "the wide variation in the figures provided in the Regulatory Impact Assessment to estimate the potential financial costs or benefits that could arise from implementing the Bill’s provisions, however it acknowledges the difficulty in developing definitive figures given the uncertainties in predicting the number of property sales, as outlined by the Cabinet Secretary.

"Whilst the Committee would always prefer to see legislation accompanied by robust estimates of its financial implications, it is reassured by the modelling work undertaken by the Welsh Government in relation to this Bill and the Cabinet Secretary’s assertion that the figures provided in the RIA are accurate, despite the variations".

Simon Thomas
BBC

'Social housing tenants need clear, consistent information on the new law'

People who live in social housing in Wales must be given clear information about plans to end the right to buy their homes, Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee chair John Griffiths says.

He calls on ministers to "take the lead in promoting understanding" of the change.

The committee wants the Welsh Government to specify in the Bill exactly what information landlords will be required to provide to their tenants about the changes, and to ensure that it is produced in accessible formats that meets their needs.

John Griffiths
BBC

Ban expected to come into effect before next assembly election

We move on to a debate on the general principles of the Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Bill.

Right to Buy was introduced in 1980 but has led to pressures on the Welsh social housing stock, which has reduced by 45% in that time.

The Welsh Government believes ending the policy will help ease housing shortages.

Some 139,000 council and housing association homes have been sold since Right to Buy was introduced in 1980.

Tenants will have at least one year to apply to buy homes under the old rules after the bill, promised by Labour at the 2016 assembly election, becomes law.

The ban is expected to come into effect before the next assembly election, in 2021.

Key
BBC

'Rocking out hard outside the Senedd'

Target of creating 5,500 jobs annually

The final statement of the day is by economy secretary Ken Skates on the Development Bank of Wales.

The bank has been given the official go-ahead to help small and micro businesses get off the ground or to grow.

Developed from Finance Wales, it will have a target of providing £80m a year within five years and creating 5,500 jobs annually.

EU and Welsh Government funding will kick-start the bank, aimed at micro, small start-ups and innovative firms.

The Wrexham-based bank's running costs will be self-sustaining from next year.

The Development Bank of Wales will work closely with Business Wales, the Welsh Government's business support service.

Money
BBC

'Compulsory voting should be one of the options'

Llanelli AM Lee Waters says he is "disappointed that compulsory voting is not one of the options the Welsh Government is asking for opinions on".

Lee Waters
BBC

'Bring local government closer to the people'

UKIP's Gareth Bennett says "reforms could work well as long as the main aim is to bring local government closer to the people they serve".

Gareth Bennett
BBC

'Complexity of all the layers of government'

Plaid Cymru's Sian Gwenllian says "the complexity of all the layers of government that are being created as well where the accountability lies and scrutiny occurs - that becomes apparent to me ".

Sian Gwenllian
BBC

'I don't think anyone could knock the vision'

Conservative Janet Finch-Saunders says "I don't think anyone could knock the vision you seek to move forward".

She says she looks forward to the "finer detail" and raises concerns about financial resources, uncontested seats and warns against creating a system that would be "confusing for the electorate".

Janet Finch-Saunders
BBC

Consultation starting today

Mr Drakeford sets out plans for councils in three regions, based around Cardiff, Swansea and north Wales, to work together in areas like economic development, strategic planning and transport.

He says there had been reluctance among councils to share back-office services and called for more energy in reform so the public receives a more efficient service.

Joint working will form part of a local government bill next year.

The Welsh Government dropped merger plans to cut 22 councils to eight or nine last year.

A consultation on reforming council elections could also see 16-year-olds given the vote by the Welsh Government.

In addition, the consultation starting today also asks whether prisoners should be able to vote.

However, the Welsh Government is unclear whether it will have the powers to introduce such a measure.

It will also look at whether councils should be allowed to decide their own voting system, which has been opposed by the Electoral Reform Society for potentially creating too much confusion.

He also says a root and branch review of town and community councils is now underway, to be completed in a year and co-chaired by former AMs Gwenda Thomas and Rhodri Glyn Thomas.

Council services
BBC

Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government

The next item ins the Siambr is a statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government, Mark Drakeford on local government reform.

Summary of the Welsh Government’s requirements

At the end of this month the Welsh Government will be publishing a summary of the Welsh Government’s requirements for the next Wales and Borders rail service and the south east Wales Metro.

Map of the South Wales Metro
Welsh Government
Map of the South Wales Metro

'Four high quality bidders'

Ken Skates says, "following consultation and engagement, we identified our policy priorities that reflect the rail service that the people of Wales want.

"Based on those priorities, and with the support of Transport for Wales, we are undertaking a procurement exercise to for the next rail service contract. We have been successful in attracting four high quality bidders".

Transport for Wales is today publishing the summary of responses to the recent public consultation.

Ken Skates
BBC

Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure

The first statement of the day is by the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates: Rail Services and Metro Procurement.

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'A mob in Westminster with no mandate'

Plaid Cymru's Steffan Lewis says, "we waited 600 years for home rule, we cannot allow it to be eroded in the next six months by a mob in Westminster with no mandate to do so".

Steffan Lewis
BBC

'Part of the modern democratic settlement of the United Kingdom'

Conservative Mark Isherwood says "the parliaments and assemblies of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are part of the modern democratic settlement of the United Kingdom and should be fully engaged with the future makeup of a vibrant UK post-Brexit".

Mark Isherwood
BBC

'No threat to the current devolution settlement'

UkIP's Neil Hamilton says the Bill "proves no threat to the current devolution settlement".

Neil Hamilton
BBC

'Huge challenge the bill represents to the devolved settlement'

The first minister concentrates on the "huge challenge the bill represents to the devolved settlement as it has developed over the course of the last two decades".

He refers to the 2011 referendum in favour of increased law-making powers for the assembly.

He claims the bill does not return powers from the EU to the devolved administrations, but solely to the UK Government and Parliament.

He says, "Despite the very clear and repeated warnings from myself and the whole of the Welsh Government that we would not accept any attempt to use EU withdrawal as cover for a re-centralisation of power, that is exactly what this Bill as drafted aims to achieve".

What could the Bill mean for devolution?

'Wholly unacceptable in its current form'

Members have decided to have a debate on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, rather than the original intention of having a statement by the first minister.

Jane Hutt (Vale of Glamorgan)

Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn)

propose that the assembly:

"1. Notes the UK Government’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

2. Believes:

a) it is wholly unacceptable in its current form; and

b) all necessary steps must be taken to protect the interests of Wales and the constitutional position and powers of the National Assembly, including the publication of a continuity bill".

Brexit
Getty Images

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

Parking rules need to be 'properly enforced'

Parking rules at Wales' biggest hospital need to be "properly enforced", Carwyn Jones says.

Last week a judge at Cardiff Civil Justice Centre ruled private company Indigo could collect charges from staff at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

The judgement means 75 people with outstanding tickets must pay the debt, which runs into thousands of pounds.

Mr Jones says the rules had been introduced following a death on the site.

He says: "It's important I think that the reasoning behind the court case is understood.

"The reason why enforcement was put in place was because there had been a death on the site, partially due to illegal parking and partially due to the traffic flow going through the site.

"Some 16,000 traffic movements go through UHW at the moment and it's right that there is proper enforcement of illegal and unsafe parking. So that has to happen on a site that is so busy."

He added: "Why these individuals went to court and what advice they received is difficult to know. We do know that one of them in particular had 59 parking tickets...no explanation is given as to why that is".

University Hospital Wales
MICK LOBB/GEOGRAPH

Who is 'lying' regarding the Circuit of Wales balance sheet discussions?

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price refers to last week's Questions to the First Minister, asking who is "lying" regarding the Circuit of Wales balance sheet discussions, the first minister or the company?

Mr Jones says, "I stand by my words".

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'Broadband is key to mid Wales growth'

The first minister tells Conservative Russell George he's "more than happy" to discuss how a mid Wales "growth deal" would work, adding that broadband is key.

Russell George
BBC

Will enterprise zones be more successful than they were in the 1980s?

Mike Hedges asks how the government will ensure enterprise zones are more successful than they were in the 1980s.

The first minister says the governance of enterprise zones is being discussed with the chairs of the zones.

'One of the most damning reports I have seen'

Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies says the Wales Audit Office report on the Cardiff and Vale Health Board HR contract is "one of the most damning reports I have seen".

He asks the first minister if he has confidence in the Chair of Cardiff and Vale Health Board Maria Battle, following the WAO report.

Mr Jones says the health secretary will take the matter up with the health board, and insists "I do have confidence in the chair of Cardiff and Vale Health Board".

Raj Chana served as HR director on a consultancy basis before being given the job on a contract
NHS EMPLOYERS
Raj Chana served as HR director on a consultancy basis before being given the job on a contract

First minister has 'turned his back' on students

Last week, the fee cap at universities in Wales of £9,000 per year was lifted. Fees will rise in line with inflation from next year.

The first minister says he was surprised by NUS criticism.

Leanne Wood says he has "turned his back" on students and that the whole of society should fund higher education. She asks, "will you abandon the tuition fee hike?"

The first minister says Leanne Wood can't say tuition fees will be abolished without saying where money will be come from.

Higher education
PA