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Summary

  1. Welsh Government says it recognised there were "lessons to be learnt" from the spending of public money on the ill-fated Circuit of Wales project
  2. Health, Social Care and Sport Committee
  3. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs
  4. Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services
  5. Debate on the Public Accounts Committee report on The Welsh Government's initial funding of the Circuit of Wales project
  6. Debate on the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee report: Use of antipsychotic medication in care homes
  7. Debate on the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee report: Enterprise Zones: boldly going?
  8. Short Debate: Securing the future of the Prince Madog

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK

Hwyl fawr

That's it from the Siambr for today.

Senedd Live returns on Tuesday 17 July, for the final week before the summer recess.

Senedd
BBC

'Securing the future of the Prince Madog'

The topic chosen by Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn) for the Short Debate is "Securing the future of the Prince Madog: The case for having a national maritime research ship for Wales".

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All 10 recommendations accepted, at least in principle

Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport, sets out the response by the Welsh Government.

They accept, or accept in principle, all 10 recommendations.

The response can be seen in detail here.

Committee's findings 'no surprise'

Brian Meechan

BBC Wales business correspondent

For anyone who has been following the story of enterprise zones in Wales, the committee's findings will be no surprise. Some such as Deeside and Cardiff have been successful, arguably because they were already highly-performing business areas already benefiting the economy, and the zones helped build on that. Where zones were trying to create thriving business environments because of political will, the same success has not always been achieved. The committee also had to push ministers to give a detailed breakdown of how many new jobs resulted from investment in the zones, rather than figures for "jobs created or safeguarded". The all-party committee's call for annual reports and targets would give more clarity on their performance as changes are made to how they are managed in future."

The Snowdonia enterprise zone includes the site of the decommissioned Trawsfynydd nuclear plant
Getty Images
The Snowdonia enterprise zone includes the site of the decommissioned Trawsfynydd nuclear plant

'Failure to develop a spatial economic strategy'

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price says there has been "a failure to develop a spatial economic strategy on a local or regional basis".

'Need for clear goals and progress that could be monitored'

Russell George, Conservative chairman of the economy committee, presents the report.

Annual reports and targets for Wales' enterprise zones have been demanded by the committee which claims there is not enough evidence to judge their worth.

More than £220m has been spent offering business support in eight locations, focusing on particular industries.

Russell George backs the need to help deprived areas with clear goals and progress that could be monitored.

Around 3,000 jobs have been created since enterprise zones were set up in 2012 with a £221m investment.

The Welsh Conservatives claimed last October that was "not much to show" for the expenditure.

Russell George
BBC

'Enterprise Zones: Boldly going?' (pun intended)

The next debate is on the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee report: Enterprise Zones: Boldly going?

The enterprise zone locations include Anglesey and Snowdonia in north west Wales; Deeside in north east Wales; Milford Haven in west Wales; and central Cardiff, Cardiff Airport, Ebbw Vale and Port Talbot in south Wales.

Industrial themes across the zones range from aerospace and the motor industry to financial services and green energy.

enterprise zone
Welsh Government
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One recommendation rejected

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething sets out the Welsh Government's response to the report’s recommendations.

They accept, or accept in principle, all but one of the 11 recommendations.

They reject the recommendation that the Welsh Government "should develop a method for assessing the appropriate skills mix required for care home staff, and produce guidance on this to ensure that there are safe and appropriate staffing levels in every care home, and that staff have time to provide high quality care".

Vaughan Gething explains "it is not considered that an additional mechanism is required".

His response can be seen in detail here.

Welsh Government response 'does not provide assurance'

Labour's Lynne Neagle says "the question for me today is whether the response of the Welsh Government provides the assurance the committee is looking for that we are going to see concerted action to stop the inappropriate prescribing of antipsychotics.

"I have to say, regrettably, that for me, it does not".

Lynne Neagle
BBC

'Antipsychotic medication routinely administered in response to challenging behaviour'

Committee chair Dai Lloyd (South Wales West) presents the report.

The Committee heard evidence that antipsychotic medication is being routinely administered in response to challenging behaviour, in place of staff working to identify the root cause of the behaviour.

The Committee report notes that a person living with dementia presenting challenging behaviour often has an unmet need which they may be unable to communicate, and calls for comprehensive person-centred assessments to identify and fully address people’s needs.

The report also highlights evidence that medication reviews are not happening frequently enough for people with dementia, and that once medication is prescribed (including antipsychotics) it often rolls on with repeat prescriptions for long periods without being monitored effectively (despite the increased risk of harm with prolonged use).

Dai Lloyd
BBC

'Systemic changes are needed'

We move on to a debate on the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee report: Use of antipsychotic medication in care homes.

In 2014, the then Older People's Commissioner for Wales Sarah Rochira published the results of a major review of the experience of care home residents.

The use of antipsychotic drugs was a recurrent theme which she has branded a "national scandal".

This report by the assembly's health committee says systemic changes are needed to stop the inappropriate prescribing of antipsychotic medicines for people with dementia in Welsh care homes.

Antipsychotic medication
Thinkstock

'Not open to a casino in one of the most deprived parts of the UK'

Responding to concerns by Adam Price that there may be a casino on the site that would have been home to the Circuit of Wales, Ken Skates says "let me put on record that we are not open whatsoever to the presence of a casino in one of the most deprived parts of the United Kingdom.

"There are a number of project promoters. As I think the member is aware many discussion have taken place, commercial, in confidence, and the Rocksteady proposal is not the only proposal that's being considered."

Mr Price named the promoter as Rocksteady Partners and said it was proposing "a leisure resort and includes a casino".

The company's website says it has raised "billions" and has helped deliver projects including resort hotels, skyscrapers and super casinos.

'Recognised that there are lessons to be learnt'

Economy Secretary Ken Skates sets out the Welsh Government's response, which can be seen in detail here.

He says "we have recognised that there are lessons to be learnt from elements of the Welsh Government's handling of this project and have put in place new processes."

He adds the Welsh Government accepts all 13 recommendations of the report of the Public Accounts Committee.

Ken Skates
BBC

'Political myopia and administrative incompetence'

UKIP's Neil Hamilton describes the Welsh Government's actions as a "shocking catalogue of political myopia and administrative incompetence, evasiveness and even duplicity".

'Junkyard of broken dreams'

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price describes the Public Accounts Committee's report as "damning" of the Welsh Government's actions regarding the Circuit of Wales project.

He says "on the face of it the Welsh Government accepts all the recommendations but when you delve into the detail, doubt remains whether the truth behind the criticism has hit home".

He adds "Wales' map is becoming a junkyard of broken dreams".

Adam Price
BBC

'A department which was not properly in control of its business'

Public accounts committee chairman Nick Ramsay says the public were "misled" and wants spending controls tightened.

The committee found no evidence that ministers had approved the purchase of a motorcycle firm in England with funds earmarked for the Ebbw Vale race track.

The report highlights what it calls officials' failure to inform the then minister for business Edwina Hart "key information" on the project, and "inaccuracies" in Welsh Government press releases and a written statement.

This, say the AMs, "created a strong impression to the committee of a department which was not properly in control of its business".

The senior Welsh Government civil servant dealing with the project was James Price, then deputy permanent secretary at the economy department.

Mr Price has since been seconded to Transport for Wales to be its chief executive, with Andrew Slade promoted to his former role.

The public accounts committee urges the economy department "under its new leadership" to "take stock and put in place robust and effective governance and internal communication channels to guarantee that such issues do not recur".

Mr Ramsay says the Welsh Government was right to explore the possibilities of making such a "unique and significant" project work, but the committee was "deeply concerned" at the way it was handled.

Nick Ramsay
BBC

Critical of the way the Welsh Government scrutinised more than £9m of public money

The first debate of the day is on the Public Accounts Committee report on the Welsh Government's initial funding of the Circuit of Wales project.

Backers of the £433m project claimed it would create up to 6,000 jobs in an unemployment blackspot in south east Wales.

But the scheme was effectively killed off in June 2017 when ministers rejected a request by the Heads of the Valleys Development Company (HoVDC) - the firm behind the race track - to guarantee almost half the funding.

However, the report by AMs is critical of the way the Welsh Government scrutinised more than £9m of public money already spent on the proposal.

They were particularly concerned about HoVDC's purchase in 2016 of FTR Moto, a motorcycle firm in Buckinghamshire.

AMs were also worried about a deal which saw HoVDC pay a firm owned by its chief executive Michael Carrick £42,500 a month for specialist services.

They said Welsh Government officials had not checked whether Aventa Capital Partners got the work after a competitive tendering process, or knew exactly what services they had been hired to provide.

Circuit of Wales
BBC

Motion to amend Standing Order 18 approved

AMs approve the proposal to revise Standing Order 18, as set out in annex B of the report of the Business Committee.

The report recommends an amendment to Standing Order 18 to ensure an Accounting Officer Memorandum can be issued by the “responsible Committee” to the new Auditor General for Wales.

'Address the challenges faced by the medical workforce'

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething says the move would address the challenges faced by the medical workforce.

The partnership with Cardiff University aims to encourage more students to undertake their postgraduate training within the same area.

Vaughan Gething
BBC

Topical Question 2: expansion of medical education and training in north Wales

Joyce Watson (Mid and West Wales):Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the expansion of medical education and training in north Wales, following the announcement made earlier this week?

Would-be doctors will be able study at Bangor University throughout their training from 2019, as part of plans to expand medical education in Wales.

There are already schools of medicine in Cardiff and Swansea, but students currently only train in north Wales when they are on placement.

It is hoped the move will drive more doctors to north Wales.

Students at Bangor University will have longer placements and a greater emphasis on working within the community
Google
Students at Bangor University will have longer placements and a greater emphasis on working within the community

Use of mesh restricted in Wales

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething says that "In Wales the use of mesh will be restricted on a similar basis as in England, until additional safeguards are in place".

The mesh implants are used to ease incontinence and to support organs
BBC
The mesh implants are used to ease incontinence and to support organs

Topical Question 1: NHS mesh operations

Jack Sargeant (Alyn and Deeside): Does the Welsh Government intend to stop NHS mesh operations, in light of the announcement of an immediate stop to these operations in England?

It is estimated that more than 100,000 UK women have had a mesh fitted. The net-like fabric can be attached into the wall of the vagina to act as a scaffold to support organs, such as the bladder, to keep them in the right place to help manage incontinence or another condition called prolapse.

Jack Sargeant
BBC

'Almost as if civil servants don’t want people to take part in government consultations'

Labour AM tweets

Tackling drug misuse and county lines

Plaid Cymru's Bethan Sayed asks what action is being taken to tackle drug misuse in Wales as well as so-called "county lines" drug deals and crime in Wales.

Alun Davies says "I hope over the summer to put in place structures whereby we formalise the work we do with the police forces".

Bethan Sayed
BBC

Concern about the number of student flats being built in Cardiff

UKIP's Gareth Bennett expresses concern about the number of student flats being built in Cardiff, while at the same time he says there appears to be "a lack of demand for those already built".

Gareth Bennett
BBC

'Ring-fenced to focus on the most vulnerable in society'

Alun Davies replies that "the new integrated grant will be ring-fenced to focus on the most vulnerable in society".

Alun Davies
BBC

Concern over Teulu Partnership

David Melding expresses concern that the Welsh Government's proposal to amalgamate several funding streams into one will have a detrimental impact on an initiative called the "Teulu Partnership", which works with children who have complex needs.

Grants provided by local government to deliver public services

We move on to Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services, Alun Davies.

David Melding begins by seeking a statement on the grants provided by local government to deliver public services.

Public services
BBC

'All animals should be stunned before slaughter'

UKIP's Neil Hamilton calls on the Welsh Government to ban non-stun slaughter of animals, by ensuring that all animals are stunned before slaughter.

Lesley Griffiths says she is currently considering the issue in detail.

Neil Hamilton
BBC

'Food production is vitally important'

Lesley Griffiths replies that "food production is vitally important".

A shake-up of farm subsidies after Brexit will replace the EU's land-based payments with two separate funds under proposals from the Welsh Government.

Lesley Griffiths
BBC

'Breaking the link between wholesome food production and the ongoing support of payments'

Plaid Cymru's Simon Thomas accuses the Welsh Government of "breaking the link between wholesome food production and the ongoing support of payments".

He asks "do you still believe that such food production is in itself a public good or merely the associated environmental benefits?"

Simon Thomas
BBC

Definition of a 'land manager'

Andrew RT Davies, now the Conservatives' rural affairs spokesperson, seeks clarity on the Welsh Government's definition of a "land manager" in the consultation launched yesterday.

Lesley Griffiths, after welcoming the "19 stone of prime Welsh beef" to his new role, replies the "majority of land managers are farmers".

She denies that the proposed new system for agriculture funding would be open to allotments.

Andrew RT Davies
BBC

'Alarmed by hedges being trimmed during peak nesting season'

Joyce Watson says that "ever summer I'm alarmed by the number of hedges being trimmed during peak nesting season".

Minister for Environment Hannah Blythyn says she will meet local authorities to see how they are enacting the Environment Act 2016.

Joyce Watson and Hannah Blythyn
BBC

Summer hedgerow management

Plenary begins with Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths.

The first of the tabled questions is by Joyce Watson, seeking a statement on summer hedgerow management.

Hedgerow
BBC
Social care tax would not put people off Wales move, Drakeford says
Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford is "sceptical" about arguments that raising taxes to pay for social care would put people off moving to Wales.

Back at 1.30pm

The members are now meeting in private.

Senedd Live will be back at 1.30pm for Plenary.

Senedd
BBC

New workforce strategy by the end of 2019

Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for Children, Older People and Social Care, says that by the end of 2019, they will develop a new Workforce Strategy for Health and Social Care in Wales, "which includes planning for new workforce models, strengthening prevention, well-being, generalist and Welsh language skills, developing strategic education and training partnerships, supporting career long development and diversification across the wider workforce".

Huw Irranca-Davies
BBC

'Really important that people receiving care can do so in their preferred language'

'Most parents think it’s wrong to smack a child'

Minister tweets

This is based on a survey of 269 parents with children aged under six.

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