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  1. Finance Committee
  2. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure
  3. Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport
  4. Topical Questions
  5. Statement from the Chair of the Finance Committee: Fiscal Reform – Lessons from Scotland
  6. Debate on the report by the Public Accounts Committee on Natural Resources Wales: Scrutiny of Annual Report and Accounts 2015-16
  7. United Kingdom Independence Party debate: Brexit
  8. Short Debate: Problem gambling in Wales

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK


That's it from the Siambr for today, and for the summer as the assembly will be in recess from next week.

Senedd Live will be back on Tuesday 19 September.

Have a great summer!

Getty Images

'Poor public policy decisions from successive government'

Darren Millar says "thanks to poor public policy decisions from successive governments of all colours, gambling has never been easier than it is today".

He says a "public health crisis is brewing", and that "gambling is no respecter of persons; it can affect people from any social strata and all walks of life".

The Gambling Commission has estimated 1.1% of the Welsh population has a problem.

Darren Millar

Problem gambling in Wales

Finally in the Siambr today is a Short Debate by Darren Millar (Clwyd West).

His chosen subject: Problem gambling in Wales.


Wales' receipts from the Common Agricultural Policy and structural funds

Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government Mark Drakeford reminds UKIP members that "Wales' receipts from the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) and from structural funds form a far larger proportion of the UK's allocation than our Barnett share would ever do".

Mark Drakeford

UKIP's 'lack of awareness of how the European Union works'

Eluned Morgan says the debate has highlighted UKIP's "lack of awareness of how the European Union actually works".

Addressing UKIP's point about "unelected technocrats in Brussels", she says the "European Commission only has the powers to propose laws. It's the Council - the elected governments of the EU, overseen by the elected members of the European Parliament - who decide if these laws pass".

Eluned Morgan

'Endangers the control people in Wales have over their lives'

The Plaid Cymru view is the current approach to Brexit through the UK Government's European Union (Withdrawal) Bill "blocks the exercise of devolved powers by the Assembly and endangers the control people in Wales have over their lives".

'Deliver a post-Brexit framework that supports Welsh farmers'

On behalf of the Conservatives, Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire)says that leaving the European Union offers the opportunity to devolve more powers to the National Assembly for Wales.

He says "there will be an opportunity to reduce the amount of red tape facing Welsh farmers" and the Welsh Government should "work with the UK Government to deliver a post-Brexit framework that supports Welsh farmers".

The Conservatives call on the Welsh Government "to do more to support rural communities across Wales, by developing more tailor-made policies in the areas of health, education and housing".

Paul Davies

'Tailor made policies for rural areas within a localism agenda'

UKIP also believe "that the Welsh Government should develop other tailor made policies for rural areas within a localism agenda which empowers local people by:

a) making major planning decisions with a significant adverse impact on the quality of life, such as intrusive wind-farms, subject to local referendums;

b) making major changes to the provision of rural schools and other educational services subject to genuine local consultation;

c) facilitating more affordable rural housing; and

d) giving greater priority to the provision of NHS facilities in smaller rural towns".

Neil Hamilton

United Kingdom Independence Party debate

Brexit is the topic of the UKIP debate.

Neil Hamilton (Mid and West Wales) says that Brexit "enables the Welsh people to have more control over their own lives by devolving governmental powers from unelected technocrats in Brussels to Assembly Members in Cardiff and MPs at Westminster".

The party also believes that Brexit "can create more prosperity for agriculture and the rural economy, by replacing the CAP with an agricultural policy tailor-made for Wales's specific needs, with special reference to conservation and environmental protection based on scientific principles and incurring proportionate cost to rural taxpayers and businesses".

Wales an EU flags

Extending the appointment of the Chair of the Wales Audit Office Board

Members agree to extend the appointment of Isobel Garner as Chair of the Wales Audit Office Board for a further three years.

Isobel Garner

No 'wider systematic failing' in Natural Resources Wales

Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths says she is "pleased" that Natural Resources Wales conceded that with hindsight it would have done things differently over the timber deal, but there is not a "wider systematic failing" in the environment regulator.

Natural Resources Wales' leadership 'utterly lacking in humility'

Llanelli AM Lee Waters talks about the "broader arrogance" of Natural Resources Wales' leadership, "utterly lacking in humility".

Chief executive 'in denial'

Natural Resources Wales' outgoing chief executive Emyr Roberts was "in denial" says Labour's Jenny Rathbone, who questions whether NRW is fit for its important role in the timber industry.

Jenny Rathbone,

'Smaller manageable lumps of larch'

Natural Resources Wales sold a job lot of timber instead of "smaller manageable lumps of larch", says Nick Ramsay.

Welsh Government either 'incompetent or corrupt'

When Plaid Cymru's Neil McEvoy says the Welsh Government is either "incompetent or corrupt", he is warned by the Llywydd who then tells him he's out of time and his mic is turned off.

Neil McEvoy

'Extraordinary' to sell timber worth £72m without a business case

It was "extraordinary" the environment regulator decided to sell timber in a deal worth £39m to a sawmill company without a proper business case, the Public Accounts Committee said.

The trees sold were actually worth £72m.

Other firms were unable to bid for the Natural Resources Wales contract, which may have broken EU competition laws.

NRW have said it needed to award contracts quickly to control the rapid spread of the disease Phytophthora Ramorum in larch trees.

BSW Timber failed to open a new saw line in Wales as it was expected to as part of a 10-year contract with NRW. The contract has since been cancelled.


Three recommendations for Natural Resources Wales

Now the first of this afternoon's debates.

It's on the report by the Public Accounts Committee on Natural Resources Wales: Scrutiny of Annual Report and Accounts 2015-16.

Committee chair Nick Ramsay (Monmouth) presents the report which has three recommendations, the first of which is that:

"Natural Resources Wales undertake a full evaluation of its governance arrangements relating to contracting processes, clearly setting out lessons learned with specific reference to the timber sales contracts referred to in this report".

Natural Resources Wales

Finance Committee in 'a pivotal and potentially influential role'

"Never in the history of the assembly has the Finance Committee been in such a pivotal and potentially influential role in terms of deepening devolution," says Conservative Nick Ramsay.

Nick Ramsay

'Need for specific and timely data on a Wales level'

Simon Thomas says "one key lesson from Scotland is a need for specific and timely data on a Wales level, beyond the data provided on a UK level by the Office for Budget Responsibility".

Simon Thomas

Lessons from Scotland

We now have a statement from the Chair of the Finance Committee, Simon Thomas: Fiscal Reform – Lessons from Scotland.

Senedd yr Alban
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90 Second Statements

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

'Prompt action should always be taken'

Lesley Griffiths says the management and removal of dangerous structures "is a responsibility for the local authority, and planning [guidance] would not cover dangerous structures".

She adds that "prompt action should always be taken".

Lesley Griffiths

Topical Question 2 - fatal building collapse in Splott

David Melding (South Wales Central) asks: Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on current guidance for the management and removal of dangerous structures, following yesterday’s fatal building collapse in Splott?

The church in the Splott area of the city was being demolished but crumbled at about 14:50 BST on Tuesday.

A report in 2016 warned the church was a "dangerous structure" at risk of "imminent collapse"
A report in 2016 warned the church was a "dangerous structure" at risk of "imminent collapse"

Responsibility lies with the Ministry of Justice and the Youth Justice Board

Communities secretary Carl Sargeant says responsibility lies with the Ministry of Justice and the Youth Justice Board, but he commits to raising the issue with his UK government counterpart.

Carl Sargeant

Topical Question 1 - safety in youth jails

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East)asks: Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the decline in safety in youth jails in light of the publication of the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales' Annual Report 2016 –17?

Youth custody centres in England and Wales are so unsafe that a "tragedy" is "inevitable", the chief inspector of prisons has said.

Peter Clarke wrote to ministers earlier this year, after what he says was such a "staggering" decline in standards.

Launching his annual report, he said not a single establishment inspected was safe to hold young people.

There has been such a "staggering" decline in standards, says the chief inspector of prisons
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There has been such a "staggering" decline in standards, says the chief inspector of prisons

'Many cancer patients still do not have a key worker'

UKIP's Caroline Jones refers to the second Wales cancer patient experience survey.

She highlights that "many cancer patients still do not have a key worker".

Mr Gething replies. "we certainly want every patient where it is appropriate for a clinical nurse specialist to be part of the care to have one".

Caroline Jones

'Don't be afraid of failure, but learn from it'

Conservative Angela Burns refers to the independent review panel interim report on health and Social Care in Wales which says there are "significant barriers for good ideas and policies to translate fully throughout the NHS due to cultural resistance and fear of failure".

"Don't be afraid of failure, but learn from it" she says, calling for innovative reform of NHS Wales.

Mr Gething accepts "there are significant cultural challenges".

Angela Burns

Criticism for not establishing a north Wales medical school

Rhun ap Iorwerth criticises the health secretary's assertion that there is no case for a new medical school to be set up in north Wales.

Mr Gething says he believes there was still a case for increased medical education to take place there.

One of Bangor University's top medics had said in May it was ready to host a new medical school.

Rhun ap Iorwerth

'Capacity has not met demand'

Vaughan Gething acknowledges there has been a "significant increase in orthopaedic referrals in the Betsi Cadwaladr health board over the last four years and capacity has not met demand", and a range of measures are being taken to deal with the increase.

Vaughan Gething

Patients referred for orthopaedic treatment in north Wales

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

Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn) asks for a statement on the number of patients referred for orthopaedic treatment in north Wales.

Orthopaedic treatment

'Need to balance' direct grants and repayable loans

On Mr Skates' assertion that the Development Bank of Wales will be "moving away from direct grants to repayable loans", UKIP's David Rowlands says this will present a "particular obstacle" to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).

Mr Skates says "there is a need to balance" the two forms of funding.

David Rowlands

'National Infrastructure Commission should be on statutory footing'

Conservative Russell George suggests the Welsh Government should put the National Infrastructure Commission "on a statutory footing".

Mr Skates replies, "we will review the operations of the commission before the end of this assembly term.

"As of yet, we have received no compelling evidence for putting it on a statutory footing".

Russell George

Economic strategy to be published 'early in the autumn'

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price criticizes the delay in publishing the Welsh Government's economic strategy.

Mr Skates says the strategy 'Prosperity for All' was approved by Cabinet this week and will be published "early in the autumn".

Mr Price is critical given the promise to publish before summer.

Adam Price

Literature Wales review

Questioned about the Welsh Government-sponsored review that recommends stripping Literature Wales of most of its responsibilities, Mr Skates says "it is important that all interested bodies work together to ensure they all become strengthened in their respective areas".

Ken Skates

Tourism to aid economic regeneration

The first of the tabled questions today is by Rhianon Passmore (Islwyn): Will the Cabinet Secretary outline what actions the Welsh Government is taking to develop tourism in Islwyn to aid economic regeneration?

Accusations about the personal integrity of members

The Llywydd begins by referring to yesterday's question by Adam Price asking the first minister who is "lying" regarding the Circuit of Wales balance sheet discussions, the first minister or the company.

Elin Jones says "the people of Wales would not expect this chamber to be a place where accusations about the personal integrity of members are thrown around lightly or frequently".

Elin Jones

Welcome back to Senedd Live

The final plenary before the summer recess begins with questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates.

Back at 1.30pm

The members are now meeting in private.

Senedd Live will be back at 1.30pm for plenary.

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RIA not the IRA

When Nick Ramsay trips up pronouncing RIA (Regulatory Impact Assessments), committee chair Simon Thomas points out that "one witness kept calling them the IRA".

'Three different inspectors, doing effectively the same work'

Eluned Morgan says some care home owners have told her that they have "three different inspectors going in, doing effectively the same work, which is effectively a cost to those private care homes".

Mr Drakeford says "costs are often easy to quantify, benefits are more difficult to pin down".

Eluned Morgan