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  1. Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee
  2. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs
  3. Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services
  4. Topical Questions
  5. Motion to give instructions to the Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister
  6. Member Debate: cavity-wall insulation
  7. Welsh Conservatives debate: health services in north Wales
  8. Plaid Cymru debate: budget
  9. Short Debate: Wales’s invisible problem - the social impact of gambling

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Sarah Down-Roberts

All times stated are UK


That's the end of today's proceedings in the Siambr.

Senedd Live returns on Tuesday 5 December.


Short Debate: 'Wales’s invisible problem'

The topic chosen by Jayne Bryant (Newport West) for her Short Debate is "Wales’s invisible problem - the social impact of gambling".


Opposition defeated

Opposition calls for an Assembly committee to investigate allegations of bullying within the Welsh government have been rejected by 29 votes to 27.

AMs backed a Labour motion by 29 votes to 27 setting up an inquiry led by an independent figure. Opposition parties say this lacks transparency as it would be held "behind closed doors".

the vote

Cautionary tale: Gibbons' wrong vote

As we reach voting time, the Welsh Government will be hoping there is no repetition of 2006 when the then Health Minister Dr Brian Gibbons AM argued the government's case in a debate, but when it came to voting he mistakenly voted with the opposition for an inquiry.

'Lift self-imposed public sector pay cap'

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford calls on the UK Government to "lift its self-imposed public sector pay cap and fully fund a pay rise for all public sector workers", also to "devolve greater decision-making powers over infrastructure investment to Wales to support the Welsh economy".

Mark Drakeford

'Disappointing' no commitment to Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon

UKIP's Caroline Jones says that "while the additional money for Wales was welcome, it was disappointing" that the UK Government budget announcement did not commit any support to the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.

Caroline Jones

'£1.2 billion increase in the Welsh budget over four years'

Conservative Nick Ramsay points to the "£1.2 billion increase in the Welsh budget over four years as a result of Barnett consequentials resulting from the UK budget".

He also asks AMs to note "the £67 million increase in the Welsh budget as a result of the fiscal framework negotiated between the Welsh and UK Governments", and "the commitment in the UK budget to commence formal negotiations for a north Wales growth deal".

nick ramsay

Plaid Cymru debate

Plaid Cymru propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

1. Notes that the recent UK Government budget announcement:

a) did not contain specific new announcements for Wales; and

b) included downward revisions for economic growth, productivity and business investment.

2. Believes that the anticipated changes to the Welsh block grant reflect a continuation of failed austerity measures instead of new resources.

3. Regrets that the UK Government budget announcement did not commit any support to the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.

4. Calls on the Welsh Government to take steps to lift the public sector pay cap.

5. Urges the Welsh Government to secure greater decision-making powers over infrastructure investment and the Welsh economy.

Independent financial review into Betsi Cadwaladr health board

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has commissioned an independent financial review into Wales' biggest health board.

He also says the performance on waiting times of Betsi Cadwaladr is "unacceptable."

Ministers have revised the deficit forecast for Betsi Cadwaladr University health board down to £36m for this financial year.

vaughan gething
'Reprehensible' to settle scores after Sargeant death - Labour AM
Labour AM Lee Waters says it was 'reprehensible' for people to settle scores from their time in government after the death of sacked minister Carl Sargeant.

'Self-proclaimed party of the NHS doesn't seem up to the job'

UKIP's Michelle Brown says "the self-proclaimed party of the NHS really doesn't seem up to the job.

"Labour has been governing Wales for two decades and Betsi Cadwaladr got into its current state on their watch".

michelle brown

'Requires a substantial expansion in the workforce'

Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn) says that "resolving the issues faced by Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board will require a substantial expansion in the workforce, which will require an expansion of medical and nursing training".

Rhun ap Iorwerth

Measures to improve patient outcomes

Conservative Angela Burns calls on the Welsh Government to:

a) clarify what steps it is taking to ensure that the financial uncertainty at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board does not undermine the delivery of services;

b) publish a clear action plan for returning the health board to its normal status; and

c) explain the measures the health board will undertake to improve patient outcomes.

Angela Burns

Welsh Conservatives debate

The topic chosen by the Welsh Conservatives for their debate is the role of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which was placed in special measures by the Welsh Government in June 2015, in delivering services and supporting patients across north Wales.

The Conservatives believe that the Welsh Government "has failed to address increasing waiting times in north Wales and the health board’s deteriorating financial position".

Last month a report warned the budget deficit at Wales' biggest health board could double without "significant intervention",

Betsi Cadwaladr had planned to overspend by £26m, but a report said the total could top £50m.

The health board serving north Wales has been in special measures since June 2015
The health board serving north Wales has been in special measures since June 2015

'Effective redress is crucial'

Energy Secretary Lesley Griffiths says that "since 1995, there have been 330,498 installations completed in Wales that are covered by CIGA [Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency]. Of these, 4167 have reported problems, representing 1.26% of all installations".

She says "although that percentage is small, when there are problems the consequences can be devastating, and having effective redress when failure does happen is crucial".

She says she has introduced measures which include independent checks and improving the complaints procedure for home-dwellers who are having problems.

Ms Griffiths adds that the Welsh Government would work with the UK government in the "interest of consumer rights".

900,000 homes built with cavity walls

Last year, a report by the construction research organisation BRE concluded there should be a nationwide survey of the problem in Wales.

According to the investigation, about 900,000 homes have been built with cavity walls.

Drilling for wall insulation

'Living with damp for seven years'

Earlier this year mother-of-three Anna Phillips from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, told BBC Wales she had insulation in her home removed last year after living with damp for seven years.

The insulation is meant to make homes warmer and more energy efficient but if installed incorrectly, or in unsuitable properties, it can lead to damp.

Cavity wall insulation had been installed by the previous owners.

Ms Phillips said damp started coming through in 2010 and the insulation was removed early last year after she contacted the industry-funded guarantee organisation Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA).

"It was soaking wet, absolutely drenched. It took them two days to take it all out due to how poor it was," she said.

The mental health support worker said heating bills were higher as the mould and damp had affected the whole house and she believed it had impacted on her family's health.

Speaking about her three children - aged 11, nine and four - she added: "They're poorly all the time, two suffer with eczema, their chests, they're continuously coughing, it's freezing.

"You can have the heating on all day in this house and you don't feel it, you really don't".

Anna Phillips

Member Debate

Mike Hedges (Swansea East)David Melding (South Wales Central)Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales)Dawn Bowden (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney)

propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

1. Recognises that cavity-wall insulation when correctly installed in suitable properties can be a cost-effective way of reducing fuel bills, thereby contributing to reductions in fuel poverty and carbon emissions.

2. Believes that there remains, however, a significant minority of installations in unsuitable properties that are not complying with standards of good workmanship, and for which seeking redress is often difficult and compensation often inadequate or not possible to obtain.

3. Urges the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government, the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA) and others to provide proper redress and compensation for incorrect installation, and to strengthen consumer protection going forward.

'Scrutiny has to be above politics'

On behalf of the Welsh Government, Leader of the House Julie James says a “line needs to be drawn" under allegations and scrutiny has to be above politics.

She says the government has "put forward the right constitutional solution" but accepts they could have done so sooner.

Julie James

Score settling 'reprehensible'

Lee Waters says that "in two days time we'll be burying our colleague and friend" Carl Sargeant and it is "reprehensible" how people have used his death to settle scores.

Lee Waters

'Scrutiny is required, but not through committee hearings'

Lynne Neagle says that scrutiny is required, but not through committee hearings held in public.

Lee Waters then says he was "disgusted" that the leader of the opposition, Tory leader Andrew RT Davies, had told Lynne Neagle she had "taken the shilling".

Mr Davies later clarified after the debate that he had directed the remark at independent AM Lord Elis-Thomas, who has recently joined the Labour-led Welsh Government, and not Ms Neagle.

'Inaction may have had unforeseen outcome'

UKIP leader Neil Hamilton says "what has happened to Carl Sargeant could not have been foreseen and I don't hold the first minister responsible for that.

"But the consequences of his inaction over the years may well have had that unforeseen outcome."

Neil Hamilton

'Vital that light is shed on concerns'

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood says it is "vital that light is shed on the events that have been raised as a concern".

Ex-minister Leighton Andrews and former adviser Steve Jones have alleged there was a "toxic" atmosphere in the previous Welsh Government.

Carwyn Jones has referred himself to an independent inquiry

Labour has tabled its own proposal for a vote which, if successful, would prevent the Tory demand for an inquiry from coming to fruition.

Carwyn Jones referred himself to a separate independent inquiry into claims of bullying in the Welsh Government after the opposition's proposal was tabled last week.

Inquiry would be 'totally transparent'

Conservative Paul Davies says on this issue "the opposition parties have led while the Welsh Government has followed".

He says an inquiry by the Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister would be "totally transparent and held in public".

He says otherwise it would send a message to the public that the first minister only answers questions when he feels like it.

Paul Davies

Call for Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister to hold its own inquiry

We move on to a debate on a Conservative proposal, supported by Plaid Cymru and UKIP AMs, to instruct the Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister to hold its own inquiry into what Carwyn Jones knew and did about the allegations about bullying within the Welsh Government.

UK Government's Brexit Impact Assessments

Leanne Wood (Rhondda): Will the First Minister make a statement on the implications for Wales of the UK Government's Brexit Impact Assessments following their release on Tuesday?

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford says the assessments were sent to the Welsh Government "late on Monday and they are being studied to ascertain what, if any, new insights and implications they contain".

He adds, "we believe that these reports should be in the public domain but that is a decision only the UK Government can make."

Leanne Wood says "the UK Government are showing contempt for Wales. We need those 58 sectors analysed properly so that we can prepare Wales for a hard Brexit".

Allegations of abuse on Caldey Island

Darren Millar (Clwyd West) asks: What consideration has the Cabinet Secretary given to commissioning an independent inquiry into allegations of abuse on Caldey Island?

Minister for Children and Social Care Huw Irranca-Davies says Dyfed-Powys Police have an ongoing investigation.

He also says there is a "massively transformed safeguarding environment for children and adults in Wales".

Caldey Island is a popular tourist attraction
Caldey Island is a popular tourist attraction

Impact of the recent floods on Anglesey's road network

Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn) asks: Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the impact of the recent floods on Anglesey's road network?

The A545 which runs along the Menai Strait has been closed since Thursday following a landslip at Glyn Garth.

Ken Skates says he will "consider a request for financial support" to address problems on the A545.

Flood water sweeps away land on the A545 between Menai Bridge and Beaumaris on Anglesey
Flood water sweeps away land on the A545 between Menai Bridge and Beaumaris on Anglesey

Overspend on the project to dual the A465

Russell George (Montgomeryshire) asks: Given the announced 23 per cent overspend on the project to dual the A465 between Abergavenny and Hirwaun, will the Cabinet Secretary confirm where the additional resource to fund this will come from?

Completion of the project, which is now projected to cost around £270m, has been delayed until autumn of 2019.

Economy Secretary Ken Skates says the additional cost is spread over three financial years.

"There is no hiding my disappointment," he adds but insists they exercised "appropriate level of management and supervision".


Expedited Ministerial response

We move on to Topical Questions which must relate to a matter of national, regional or local significance where an expedited Ministerial response is desirable.

'Warmish welcome for Alun Davies'

BBC journalist tweets

Reducing the number of rough sleepers

Conservative David Melding questions what is being done to reduce the number of rough sleepers.

Minister for Housing and Regeneration Rebecca Evans says that in 2016 the Welsh Government "improved the national rough sleeper count to capture a truer picture" and to "better target services".

cysgu ar y stryd

Target of 7,000 net additional jobs

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price returns to the Ministerial Taskforce for the South Wales Valleys.

Alun Davies confirms that the target of 7,000 jobs are net additional jobs.

Mr Price asks "who is going to deliver this? With all these hubs, we need a hub of hubs".

Adam Price
Adam Price

'Conflict of interest'

"Serving as a local authority member and a member of this place creates a conflict of interest," Alun Davies tells Neil McEvoy.

Is the high-level plan vague?

Alun Davies refers to the recently published "high-level plan". The key priorities in the plan are:

  • good quality jobs and the skills to do them
  • better public services
  • my local community.

Leanne Wood says the plan is "vague".

Work of the taskforce for the valleys

Alun Davies now answers questions for the first time since his promotion to the post of Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood begins by seeking an update on the work of the taskforce for the valleys in Rhondda.

Alun Davies

Lesley Griffiths' department 'suffers biggest cut'

Lesley Griffiths confirms to Simon Thomas that her department suffered the biggest cut in the draft Welsh Government budget.

She replies, "I've had a cut of 1.5%", adding no part of her portfolio has had a disproportionate cut.

'Considerable concerns' over Welsh Government plans

UKIP leader Neil Hamilton also says there are "considerable concerns" over Welsh Government plans for nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs).

He says a less heavy-handed approach is open to the government.