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  1. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the First Minister
  2. Business Statement and Announcement
  3. Statement: The Tax Policy Framework
  4. Statement: The Independent Review of Support for Publishing and Literature in Wales
  5. Statement: An Update On Digital
  6. Statement: The Genomics for Precision Medicine Strategy
  7. Statement: Update on Superfast Broadband

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK


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

Senedd Live will be back tomorrow morning when we'll be broadcasting the Children, Young People and Education Committee.


Landfill Disposals Tax (Wales) Bill at Stage 3

Ministers do not move the motion to vary the order of consideration of Stage 3 amendments to the Landfill Disposals Tax (Wales) Bill because "an error in the motion has been identified".

The tax, along with stamp duty land tax, is being devolved in April 2018.


'Oh forget it' says Conservative AM before walking out

When the Llywydd Elin Jones insists that Janet Finch-Saunders comes to her question, she sighs "oh forget it" and walks out of the Siambr.

Janet Finch-Saunders

UK lags behind in ultra-fast broadband

Plaid Cymru's Dai Lloyd welcomes work to establish a successor broadband investment project to Superfast Cymru.

He cites an Ofcom report that the UK lags behind countries such as Japan, Spain and South Korea in terms of ultra-fast broadband.

Dai Lloyd

'Welsh Government have failed in its 2011 commitment'

Conservative Russell George says "it is undeniable that the Welsh Government have failed in its 2011 commitment to ensure all residential premises and businesses in Wales will have access to next generation broadband by 2015."

Russell George

Four week consultation on results of open market review

The Welsh Government launched an open market review in November to establish on a premises by premises basis where superfast broadband has been delivered to date and where the market plans to invest over the next three years.

Today, Julie James launches a four week public consultation on the results of the open market review.

She says, "We are keen to hear the views of both the telecoms industry and residents and business owners on whether any further premises should be included or whether any premises currently on the list should be excluded".

Julie James

Statement by the Minister for Skills and Science

The final statement in the Siambr today is by the Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James: 'Update on superfast broadband'.

Superfast broadband
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Five-10 year plan

The strategy outlines the key initial actions, as part of a 5-10 year plan, that will aim to:

  • Develop internationally-recognised medical and public health genomics services in Wales – that are innovative, responsive and well-connected to the major genetics and genomics initiatives that are evolving worldwide.
  • Develop internationally-recognised research in genomics and excellent platforms for precision medicine, with All-Wales leadership and coordination and strong links to clinical genetics.
  • Be outward-looking, and actively seek out partnerships that can strengthen genomics and precision medicine services and research in Wales, with a focus on those partnerships that will bring the biggest benefits for patients.
  • Develop the NHS and research workforce in Wales, in recognition that this investment will have the biggest impact on our ability to realise the potential of genomics and precision medicine for patient benefit.
Vaughan Gething
Vaughan Gething

The Genomics for Precision Medicine Strategy

Next in the Siambr is a statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport, Vaughan Gething on the Genomics for Precision Medicine Strategy.

The Welsh Government has been consulting on a number of things including:

  • working with patients and the public in genomics
  • the provision of clinical and laboratory genetics services in Wales
  • plans to improve the health and healthcare provision for the people of Wales.
Precision medicine seeks treatments based on an individual patient's own physiology and response to diseases
Precision medicine seeks treatments based on an individual patient's own physiology and response to diseases

Equipment to take advantage of the new infrastructure

Plaid Cymru's Llyr Gruffydd testifies as a parent to the success of Hwb.

He says that capital investment is needed in purchasing equipment to take advantage of the new infrastructure.

Llyr Gruffydd

Hwb 'a staple resource in Welsh classrooms'

Kirsty Williams says that Hwb - a digital learning platform for all 3-19 education institutes in Wales - "is now a staple resource in Welsh classrooms".

She announces "a new user interface which will further enhance teachers’ and learners’ experience of Hwb and will give quicker access to the tools and functions that are most commonly used, all developed following feedback from teachers and the regional education consortia".

Kirsty Williams

Digital competence: one of three cross-curricular responsibilities

Now we have a statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams entitled 'Successful Futures: An Update On Digital'.

In 2015 the Welsh Government accepted all 68 recommendations in Successful Futures, an independent report into education in Wales by professor Graham Donaldson.

It is intended for the new curriculum to be fully up and running by 2021.

A group of assembly members has already raised concerns about converting the vision of this new curriculum into something tangible in the classroom.

The Digital Competence Framework aims to "encapsulate the skills that will help learners thrive in an increasingly digital world".

Pupils at Cardiff's Ysgol Gyfun Bro Edern using iPads in lessons
Pupils at Cardiff's Ysgol Gyfun Bro Edern using iPads in lessons

'Not sure I look forward that much to reading all of it'

"The report is a long one, so I'm not sure I look forward that much to reading all of it", says UKIP's Gareth Bennett.

Gareth Bennett.

Welsh Books Council to take some functions of Literature Wales

Ken Skates says "it has taken some time for this report to be finalized", partly because of an "unexpectedly large response to the consultation".

"Broadly I accept the panel's conclusions, " he says.

He adds he will "set out a formal response in due course" but he is "minded" to ask the Welsh Books Council to agree to take on some of the functions of Literature Wales, including Book of the Year, bursaries and literary events.

Literature Wales and the Arts Council will retain some functions such as running the Ty Newydd writing centre.

Mr Skates said: "I realise some people may be surprised at the extent of these changes.

"I should stress these are in response to specific needs in a specific area of activity. They are not a reflection on the wider work of the Arts Council, and my appreciation of the great work that Literature Wales is delivering in some areas."

Ken Skates

Are the aims of supporting publishing and literature being achieved?

Members are now listening to a statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates on the Independent Review of Support for Publishing and Literature in Wales.

When University of Wales Trinity Saint David vice chancellor Medwin Hughes was appointed by the Welsh Government to chair the review, critics argued the work would not be done in a "balanced way" because two publishers come under the university's wing.

The study has been looking at whether or not the Welsh Government's aims in supporting the industry are being achieved.

Medwin Hughes
Medwin Hughes

'Dog-eat-dog economy of the neo-liberal imagination'

Neil Hamilton refers to Mark Drakeford's words - "this government sees no attractions whatsoever in the low tax, low pay, low investment, dog-eat-dog economy of the neo-liberal imagination".

Mr Hamilton wonders "whether that was specifically directed at me. I assure him there is nothing neo about me".

Mark Drakeford
Mark Drakeford

Scrutiny of Finance Committee

Plaid Cymru's Simon Thomas sets out some of the work of the Finance Committee, which he chairs, in scrutinising the tax policy framework.

Simon Thomas

'Foreword reads like a Shakespearean sonnet'

There is "a lot in the document we can agree with", says Conservative Nick Ramsay.

He says the "foreword reads like a Shakespearean sonnet".


Implementation of the first Welsh taxes in April 2018 for almost 800 years

Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government

The first of this afternoon's statements is by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government Mark Drakeford on the Tax Policy Framework.

The Welsh Government has published its tax policy framework and 2017 work plan here.

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'Jane Hutt does not need help'

If the member for Blaenau Gwent [Alun Davies] has something to say he should get up and say it, Plaid Cymru's Adam Price says before accusing ministers of giving misleading answers about negotiations to build a race track in Blaenau Gwent.

The Llywydd tells Alun Davies that Leader of the House Jane Hutt, who is answering questions, does not need help.

Circuit of Wales
Circuit of Wales

'Inappropriate' question?

Business Statement and Announcement

Now we have the Business Statement and Announcement where the Leader of the House Jane Hutt outlines the future business of the Assembly.

Jane Hutt

Plan for name change

Japanese knotweed a huge problem

Japanese knotweed is a huge problem in his Swansea East constituency, says Mike Hedges, asking for further sites for psyllids - insects that feed on knotweed - be considered.

Japanese knotweed has spread across the UK, thriving on disturbed soil
Japanese knotweed has spread across the UK, thriving on disturbed soil

Compulsory voting a 'form of cop out' for politicians

Neath AM Jeremy Miles asks that the experience of compulsory voting abroad be considered in future electoral system work in Wales.

The first minister says they will consider that but adds that he considers compulsory voting to be a "form of cop out" for politicians.

Awaiting date for implementation of key worker commitment

Andrew RT Davies presses for a date for when the commitment for cancer patients to get key workers will be met.

The first minister says he will write to Mr Davies with a date for implementation.

The Welsh Government said in May 2010 health boards should ensure key workers - who help co-ordinate patients' care - were in place by the end of March 2011.

'A third of cancer patients do not get a key worker'

Why are so many cancer patients not getting a key worker, asks Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies.

Both he and the first minister say they've seen family members affected, including the first minister's wife.

Cancer patients having a key worker is something they are still working towards, says the first minister.

Mr Davies says at least a third of patients do not get a key worker.

Andrew RT Davies

When will NHS finances improve?

Ms Wood says deficits are still emerging with four out of ten NHS organisations failing to break even over three years.

In response, the first minister says NHS finances are sound.

When will NHS finances improve and is it still the case you won't bail out struggling health boards, asks Leanne Wood.

No services have suffered as a result of NHS deficits, claims the first minister.

Satisfied with the financial governance of the NHS

"Are you satisfied with the financial governance of the NHS?" Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood asks.

The first minister says he is.

Leanne Wood

'Wages being driven down'

On immigration, Neil Hamilton says he struggles to understand why Labour would countenance wages being driven down.

The first minister says the greatest threat to wages is a "Tory government bent on austerity".

Mr Hamilton says that "firm control of unskilled and semi-skilled migration from the EU is a vital necessity".

"We used to say if you get a job your income will increase," says the first minister, adding that is now not the case.

Carwyn Jones

'Hard brexit espoused by UKIP is dead'

UKIP leader Neil Hamilton says it is clear the failure of the prime minister's "cynical opportunist gamble" has thrown Brexit negotiations into "confusion".

"The hard brexit espoused by UKIP is dead", the first minister tells him.

Neil Hamilton

Access to work experience placements

The first question tabled for today is by Mohammad Asghar (South Wales East): What is the Welsh Government doing to improve access to work experience placements for secondary school pupils in Wales?

The first minister cites Business Class, a project delivered by Careers Wales that aims to build lasting partnerships between business and schools in Wales.


Welcome to Senedd Live

Plenary begins as usual with Questions to the First Minister, Carwyn Jones.

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