Summary

  1. Health, Social Care and Sport 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. Debate on the Housing Act (Wales) 2014
  5. Welsh Conservatives debate on children and the internet
  6. Plaid Cymru debate on training and recruiting of medical staff
  7. Plaid Cymru debate on unemployment and low wages in the South Wales Valleys
  8. UKIP debate on foreign aid budget
  9. Short Debate: Electrical fires - an increasing threat in today's technological age

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK

Hwyl

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

Senedd Live will be back on Tuesday 23 May.

Senedd
Senedd

Proposal for an amendment to the Housing Act

Members pass the proposal that the assembly:

1. Notes a proposal for an amendment to the Housing Act (Wales) 2014.

2. Notes that the purpose of the amendment would be to outlaw the practice of landlords advertising properties for free rent in return for sexual favours.

There were 36 members for, 11 abstentions and nobody against.

the vote
BBC

Debate has 'exposed a divide in the assembly'

Leader of the House Jane Hutt says the debate has "exposed a divide in the assembly that I have not seen before in my 18 years here".

She says the Wales for Africa programme has been a success for over a decade.

'Motion makes my skin crawl'

Plaid Cymru's Simon Thomas says the UKIP motion on the foreign aid budget makes his "skin crawl".

He says "this motion's pious posturing, its pretense to be concerned about the burden of aid on the working people of Wales, really should read 'Black Lives Matter Less' ".

Simon Thomas
BBC

'Trade as well as aid'

Conservative David Melding says "trade as well as aid is at the heart of a just international society".

He adds there are rigorous procedures for tackling alleged fraud in foreign aid spending.

'A comprehensive international policy for Wales'

On behalf of Plaid Cymru, Steffan Lewis calls on AMs to "note the importance of international aid in alleviating human suffering, and support Wales's contribution to humanitarian projects through initiatives such as Wales for Africa".

Plaid Cymru also calls on the Welsh Government to "develop and publish a comprehensive international policy for Wales including enhancing the nation's international aid activities".

Foreign aid
BBC

'Much of the foreign aid budget is wasted'

The topic chosen by UKIP for its debate is the foreign aid budget.

Neil Hamilton (Mid and West Wales) proposes that the assembly:

1. Believes that, whilst there is a case to support humanitarian and emergency aid to poorer countries especially in specific crises, it makes no sense to fix the foreign aid budget at an arbitrary 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI).

2. Notes that the UK national debt has been doubled since 2009 and now stands at £1.6 trillion, which equates to £22,000 for every UK man, woman and child.

3. Believes that the wellbeing of future generations must be considered when making all public spending decisions and that the foreign aid budget should be evaluated by the UK Government in the context of other pressing needs at home.

4. Calls for the repeal of the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015, which enshrined the 0.7 per cent target figure in UK law.

5. Believes that much of the foreign aid budget is wasted, diverted by corruption and spent unproductively.

6. Calls on the Welsh Government to urge the UK Government to reduce foreign aid target spending to 0.2 per cent of GNI, which is similar to the US, Italian and Spanish aid budgets.

7. Believes that the £8 billion savings which would be released should be redirected proportionately to the UK nations and spent on deserving causes like the NHS or social housing.

Foreign aid
BBC

'A fair work nation'

Economy Secretary Ken Skates proposes deleting all of the Plaid Cymru motion and replacing it with a proposal that the assembly:

"1. Recognises the impact of the UK Government's ongoing programme of austerity on communities in the south Wales valleys and the rest of Wales, and calls on the next Westminster government to invest in more balanced economic growth across the UK.

2. Supports the aim of the Welsh Government to make Wales a fair work nation where everyone can access better jobs closer to home.

3. Notes the work of the Welsh Government in:

a) supporting nearly 150,000 jobs in the last Assembly term, many of which were in valley communities;

b) preparing a new approach to economic development to stimulate stronger regional growth;

c) planning major infrastructure investments in the valleys and across Wales in a way which supports more resilient regional economies and strengthens local supply chains;

d) setting up a Ministerial Taskforce for the South Wales Valleys working with local communities to attract new jobs, raise skills and improve local services;

e) developing a Better Jobs Closer to Home programme using procurement levers to stimulate the creation of meaningful employment in areas of economic need, such as the valleys; and

f) establishing a Fair Work Commission to help build an economy where more people in valley communities and across Wales can access good work and a secure income."

'Endless government intervention in the valleys'

UKIP's Neil Hamilton says "we've had endless government intervention in the valleys over my lifetime and what has it achieved?

"We've improved infrastructure and done a lot of good things, but it has not transformed the life chances and hopes of the people of the valleys".

Neil Hamilton
BBC

'Valleys communities will judge Plaid Cymru on its actions'

Labour's AM for Neath, Jeremy Miles causes uproar on the Plaid Cymru benches when he says:

"People in valleys communities will judge Plaid Cymru on its actions, not on the sermons and slogans.

"People will recall the last time Plaid Cymru held the economic development brief, when Lehman was collapsing, they were prioritizing a bypass in Porthmadog".

Jeremy Miles
BBC

Swansea and Cardiff City regions

On behalf of the Conservatives Russell George notes "the work that the UK Government is doing to develop both the Swansea and Cardiff City regions, which will offer numerous supply-chain opportunities for the south Wales valleys".

Russell George
BBC

Second Plaid Cymru debate

The second Plaid Cymru debate is on unemployment and low wages in the South Wales Valleys.

Plaid Cymru proposes that the assembly:

1. Notes that Gross Value-Added per head in the central valleys and Gwent valleys NUTS2 areas is consistently below the Welsh average.

2. Notes that unemployment in most south Wales valleys local authorities is above the Welsh average.

3. Notes that insecure work, low wages and poverty are significant problems in the south Wales valleys.

4. Notes a record of under-investment in the south Wales valleys by the Welsh and UK Governments.

5. Calls on the Welsh Government to:

a) create a suitably empowered and accountable Valleys Development Agency;

b) bring forward a positive decision on the Circuit of Wales project, subject to normal due diligence; and

c) give greater priority to investment in jobs and infrastructure in the valleys.

South Wales Valleys
BBC

This is Wales: Train Work Live recruitment campaign

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething proposes deleting all of the Plaid Cymru motion and replacing it with a proposal that the assembly:

"1. Welcomes the Welsh Government's This is Wales: Train Work Live recruitment campaign to encourage healthcare professionals, including doctors, to choose Wales as a place to train, work and live.

"2. Notes:

a) there has been a 19 per cent increase in the application rate for GP speciality training in 2017 and the number of filled GP training places is at 84 per cent compared to 68 per cent at the same stage in 2016 following the launch of This is Wales: Train Work Live;

b) there were more than 1,000 more full-time equivalent consultants working in Wales in 2016 than there were in 1999; and

c) there has been a 12 per cent increase in the number of GPs working in Wales between 1999 and 2016."

'Not convinced it would solve recruitment and retention problems'

Michelle Brown says UKIP supports the idea of Bangor University hosting a new medical school in north Wales, "although I'm not convinced it would solve recruitment and retention problems".

Michelle Brown
BBC

'A more in-depth and wide-ranging north Wales medical programme

Mark Isherwood says the Conservatives support the call for a medical school in Bangor.

He also calls on the Welsh Government to "work with health and education institutions on both sides of the border to build a more in-depth and wide-ranging north Wales medical programme".

Doctors
Thinkstock

Plaid Cymru debate

We move on to a Plaid Cymru debate on the training and recruiting of medical staff.

Sian Gwenllian proposes that the assembly:

1. Notes continuing difficulties with the training and recruiting of medical staff (including doctors) in many parts of Wales, particularly rural and north Wales.

2. Calls for the development of a medical school in Bangor as part of an all-Wales approach to increasing training, recruitment and retention of doctors in Wales.

Medical staff
BBC

National online safety action plan commissioned

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams says the Welsh Government is "fully committed to keeping children safe online".

"We all know that trolling from opponents is one of the least satisfying aspects of this job, so if it gets us down, imagine what relentless cyber-bullying does to the young mind," she says.

She announces she has commissioned a national online safety action plan.

Kirsty Williams
BBC

Role of parents

UKIP's Gareth Bennett says children face a multitude of risks in using the internet, but warns it is a fast-changing issue. He calls for a "comprehensive" government strategy and emphasises the role of parents.

The internet
BBC

'Safe internet use an essential part of a child's education'

On behalf of Plaid Cymru, Llyr Gruffydd notes "the importance of a digitally literate Wales, and that encouraging safe internet use is an essential part of a child's education".

He calls on the UK government "to work with the relevant companies to tackle online abuse, noting in particular the abuse experienced by women and minority groups".

Llyr Gruffydd
BBC

Welsh Conservatives debate

Now we have a Welsh Conservatives debate on children and the internet.

The party calls on the Welsh Government to "outline a comprehensive response to concerns raised by the NSPCC, regarding an increase in related calls they have received about internet safety".

It further calls on the Welsh Government to "ensure that prioritisation of online safety is integral to all strategies aiming to deliver safer communities for children across Wales".

Children and the internet
BBC

'Not a quick and easy issue to address'

Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant condemns this "devious practice".

He says it is "not a quick and easy issue to address", because "legally the roles of landlords and tenants do not apply where sex rather than money is used for the exchange of accommodation".

He says he will "continue to work with the Home Office" as well as taking preventative measures such as reducing homelessness.

An 'eye-opener'

UKIP's Gareth Bennett says he was not aware of this issue before seeing Dawn Bowden's legislative proposal, and it was an "eye-opener" for him.

Gareth Bennett
BBC

Long-term solutions such as more affordable housing

Sian Gwenllian supports Dawn Bowden's call, adding that other long-term solutions are needed such as more affordable housing so that fewer people, almost always women, are forced into such situations.

Sian Gwenllian
BBC

'Morally repugnant'

David Melding says that landlords offering rent-free or low rent accommodation in return for sex is "obviously morally repugnant", and he says he hopes for a change in the law.

David Melding
BBC

'Vile and exploitative practice'

Dawn Bowden describes this as a "vile and exploitative practice" by "unscrupulous and predatory landlords".

She read out examples of two adverts in Wales, including one which talks about "tenants with benefits".

She says it is "astonishing" that the deals are legal, and are on classified ad sites such as Craigslist.

Dawn Bowden
BBC

Properties for free rent in return for sexual favours

The next item in the Siambr is a debate on a Member's Legislative Proposal.

Dawn Bowden (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney) proposes that the assembly:

1. Notes a proposal for an amendment to the Housing Act (Wales) 2014.

2. Notes that the purpose of the amendment would be to outlaw the practice of landlords advertising properties for free rent in return for sexual favours.

Houses
Thinkstock

90 Second Statements

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

Glastir applications that have not been paid

The second Topical Question is by Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): "Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the 1,761 Glastir applications that have still not been paid?"

Lesley Griffiths says 99.2% of farm businesses have been paid, and that "all but probate and other legally complex cases will be paid by the end of next month".

Lesley Griffiths
BBC

IT infrastructure in Wales

The first of the two topical questions today is by Eluned Morgan (Mid and West Wales): "What assurances can the Cabinet Secretary give that the IT infrastructure in Wales is protected, to ensure the continuity of care for Welsh patients following the cyber-attacks in the NHS in England?"

Many routine surgery and GP appointments were cancelled across the NHS in England following the global outbreak.

Mr Gething says "whilst we have been unaffected on this occasion we must continue to be vigilant to ensure our systems are as resilient as possible".

Matters of national, regional or local significance

We now have the topical questions, which must relate to a matter of national, regional or local significance where an expedited Ministerial response is desirable.

It is be up to the Llywydd to determine how many topical questions to select within the 20 minute slot, and how to divide the time available between those questions, e.g. by varying the number of supplementaries called.

Call for an 'honest' look at CAMHS waiting times

Accessing specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is the topic raised by Rhun ap Iorwerth.

He refers to the first minister's words in the Siambr yesterday, that health boards:

"have made great strides to reduce the numbers waiting over the last 12 to 18 months. One example: in Betsi Cadwaladr, we’ve seen the percentage of CAMHS referrals seen within 28 days go from 21 per cent in April last year to 84.5 per cent in February this year. That’s an enormous improvement..."

He accuses the first minister "of taking a month where the figures were at their worst as your starting point."

He calls for an "honest" look at CAMHS waiting times.

Rhun ap Iorwerth
BBC

'Pretty good retention rate for nurses'

UKIP's Caroline Jones raises the recruitment and retention of nurses, and states there has been a 14% real terms fall in nursing pay since 2010.

Mr Gething points to the training bursary available to nurses who take up employment in Wales for at least two years.

"We have a pretty good retention rate for nurses that complete their courses," he adds.

Nurse
Getty Images

Consequential funding following the UK Government’s budget

Suzy Davies welcomes today's announcement by Rebecca Evans, Minister for Social Services and Public Health, that an extra recurrent £20m made available through consequential funding following the UK Government’s March budget will be invested in social care.

She calls on the Welsh Government to ensure the £3 million that will be provided to local authorities to support respite for carers is spent on "frontline provision".

Suzy Davies
BBC
Suzy Davies

Latest median waiting time

Vaughan Gething says the latest median waiting time for diagnostic tests across Wales is 2.6 weeks.

Vaughan Gething
BBC

Reducing waiting times for diagnostic tests

Now we have questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport, Vaughan Gething.

Caroline Jones (South Wales West) asks for an update on progress the Welsh Government is making in reducing waiting times for diagnostic tests.

Caroline Jones
BBC

Heads of the Valleys A465 'progressing well'

UKIP's David Rowlands asks whether the final section of the A465 Heads of the Valleys road in south east Wales will be turned into a dual carriageway by the time the Circuit of Wales opens.

"That all depends on the delivery of the Circuit of Wales," replies Mr Skates.

He adds that the road is "progressing well".

David Rowlands
BBC

Severn Bridge tolls and M4 relief road

Russell George welcomes the Conservatives plan to scrap the Severn Bridge tolls if they win the general election.

The pledge goes further than the existing plan to halve the tolls - currently £6.70 for cars - by 2018.

He asks when the M4 relief road will open to provide a further boost to the economy.

Mr Skates says the public inquiry is looking at the Welsh Government's preferred 15.23 mile (24km) route. The Welsh Government wants to build a £1.1bn six-lane motorway south of Newport to relieve congestion on the current M4 between Magor and Castleton.

He says the inquiry is "proceeding to the time frame that was outlined...and subject to the outcome of the inquiry work will be carried out without delay".

Severn Bridge
BBC

'I will not short circuit the due diligence process'

Ken Skates says: "My interest is with the people of Ebbw Vale. Yours seems to be political self interest.

"There is a big difference between ambition and recklessness. I will not short circuit the due diligence process."

The economy secretary said he remained "excited" about the £425 million project.

In April, the Wales Audit Office said there were "significant shortcomings" in the way that funding had been approved.

'Looking for any excuse for saying no'

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price raises the delay in making a decision on the Circuit of Wales racetrack.

The company behind it has asked for a £210m taxpayer-funded guarantee - about half the cost of the scheme.

He quotes a written answer by Economy Secretary Ken Skates which said officials and external advisers "identified many material gaps and inaccuracies in the information contained within the Circuit of Wales application".

Mr Price says "it is your government that has been inaccurate" after a decision was initially expected in March, and has been "looking for any excuse for saying 'no' ".

He accuses the minister of trying to delay the decision until after the local and general election polls.

Circuit of Wales
Circuit of Wales

Advice and support

Ken Skates says the government acts as an enabler with schemes such as Superfast Cymru and the advice and support of Business Wales.

Ken Skates
BBC