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Summary

  1. Ex-steelworkers are unhappy they are not getting the full 90% of their pensions, because under their deal money paid in before April 1997 is not fully inflation-proofed.
  2. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs
  3. Questions to the Minister for Housing and Local Government
  4. Motion seeking the Assembly's agreement to introduce a Member Bill on Older Peoples Rights
  5. Member Debate - Allied Steel and Wire Pensions
  6. Welsh Conservatives debate - Welsh Rate of Income Tax
  7. Short Debate: How we could make greater use of rain in Wales.

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK

  1. Short Debate: 'Making the most of rainy days'

    The topic chosen by Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy) for the Short Debate is: "Making the most of rainy days. How we could make greater use of rain in Wales".

    She says she is "deeply disappointed" by the Welsh Government's approach to hydro schemes: "They could be harnessing a great, free resource: rain water.

    "This can be changed, by enabling hydro to flourish, through: introducing a hydropower development programme that provides a 50 per cent grant towards the total build cost of future hydropower schemes and a 75 per cent grant towards the cost of the consenting of future schemes; providing incentives to invest in infrastructure, such as loans for equipment to be paid off over longer timescales, in line with the lifetime of the asset.

    "Also, they could be inviting landowners to register an interest in developing a scheme, and in return, where reasonable, receive a free feasibility study long before investment takes place, or them having to put money into pursuing design, planning, or licences."

    Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths replies: "I think it's not just Welsh Government that needs to bring forward initiatives to support hydropower—it's also the UK Conservative Government.

    "But I do think well-designed hydropower schemes are a great example of how we can really harness our natural resources that are available to us for the benefit of local communities, while making sure that we protect the river environment."

    Rain
  2. 'Commit to not raise the Welsh Rate of Income Tax for the remainder of the Fifth Assembly'

    AMs pass the Conservative motion, with 42 for and eight against, that the National Assembly for Wales:

    1. Recognises the vital importance of attracting people, businesses and investment to Wales as a means of growing tax revenue in Wales.

    2. Calls on the Welsh Government to commit to not raise the Welsh Rate of Income Tax for the remainder of the Fifth Assembly.

    vote
  3. Allied Steel and Wire Pensions: motion passed

    The motion on Allied Steel and Wire Pensions is passed without objection (49 for, nobody against), so the National Assembly for Wales:

    1. Notes that former Allied Steel and Wire workers have still not received the full value of their pensions, despite a compensation deal reached in 2007 with the former UK Government and almost 14 years after a change in UK law.

    2. Notes that under a compensation deal reached in 2007 with the former UK Government, workers were promised the same treatment as workers and pension scheme holders under the pension protection fund and financial assistance scheme.

    3. Notes that under law changes since 2004, workers under the pension protection fund and financial assistance scheme are entitled to be paid up to 90 percent of their pension contribution value. However, contributions paid in prior to 1997 are not inflation proofed.

    4. Regrets the financial hardship this has caused to former ASW workers in Wales.

    5. Calls on the UK Government to honour the spirit of the commitments the previous UK Government made to ASW workers in Wales.

    Vote
  4. No to introduction of a Member Bill on Older People's Rights

    Members do not give the Conservative Darren Millar the Assembly's agreement to introduce a Member Bill on Older People's Rights.

    There were 21 for, two abstentions, and 27 against.

    vote
  5. 'No plans to change income tax during this assembly'

    Minister for Finance Rebecca Evans says the Welsh Government will support the Conservative motion, "as I have no plans to change income tax during this assembly".

    Welsh ministers gain powers to vary income tax rates from April.

    But Labour pledged in 2016 not to change things before the next assembly election.

  6. 'We are a low tax party as well'

    Neil Hamilton says that UKIP "broadly supports the Conservative motion, because we are a low tax party as well...what we need to do is grow the size of the economy in Wales if we are to have better public services".

  7. 'Mature civic discussion'

    The two amendments by Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn) are to:

    • Insert at end of point 1: 'but emphasises the priority of ensuring economic growth and increases in revenue through supporting indigenous businesses.'
    • Delete point 2 and replace with: 'Promotes a mature civic discussion regarding how best to use new devolved taxation powers for the economic and social benefit of Wales'.
    Rhun ap Iorwerth
  8. Attracting people, businesses, and investment to Wales

    Conservative Nick Ramsay makes the case that the best way to grow tax revenue is the recognition of the importance of attracting people, businesses, and investment to Wales, not taxing them further.

    He calls on the Welsh Government to comprehensively rule out income tax rises.

    Nick Ramsay
  9. 'Commit to not raise the Welsh rate of income tax'

    The topic chosen by the Welsh Conservatives for their is debate the "Welsh rate of income tax". The Conservatives propose that the assembly:

    "1. Recognises the vital importance of attracting people, businesses and investment to Wales as a means of growing tax revenue in Wales.

    "2. Calls on the Welsh Government to commit to not raise the Welsh Rate of Income Tax for the remainder of the Fifth Assembly."

    Cash
  10. 'Send a clear and unanimous message to the UK government'

    Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, says the Welsh Government supports the motion, although pension matters are not devolved, to "send a clear and unanimous message to the UK government".

    Rebecca Evans
  11. UK government 'in the pocket of the insurance industry'

    The Labour AM for Pontypridd Mick Antoniw says the UK government is "in the pocket of the insurance industry" and calls for a Royal Commission to review pensions "with the objective of restoring justice and restoring proper pension schemes".

    Mick Antoniw
  12. 'Robbery, if you want to be brutally honest'

    Conservative Andrew RT Davies says this is about "justice...there is a moral requirement here".

    He says the shortfall is "robbery, if you want to be brutally honest".

  13. Background: money paid in before April 1997 is not fully inflation-proofed

    About 1,000 ASW workers in Cardiff, Belfast and Sheerness in Kent lost their jobs and their pensions when the company was declared bankrupt in 2002.

    The campaign to save their money was a key factor leading to the creation of pension protection schemes which exist for UK employees today.

    In 2004 the then-Labour UK government launched the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS), which now pays 150,000 members of certain wound-up schemes up to 90% of their pensions.

    It was followed in 2005 by the launch of the Pension Protection Fund, a safety net aimed at safeguarding cash people are paying into pension schemes.

    Ex-steelworkers are unhappy they are not getting the full 90% of their pensions, because under their deal money paid in before April 1997 is not fully inflation-proofed.

    A pension protest outside the Senedd in 2009 - ex-ASW workers are still campaigning today
    Image caption: A pension protest outside the Senedd in 2009 - ex-ASW workers are still campaigning today
  14. 'Still not received the full value of their pensions'

    The next item is a Member Debate under Standing Order 11.21(iv), on Allied Steel and Wire pensions. Bethan Sayed (South Wales West) proposes that the National Assembly for Wales:

    1. Notes that former Allied Steel and Wire workers have still not received the full value of their pensions, despite a compensation deal reached in 2007 with the former UK Government and almost 14 years after a change in UK law.

    2. Notes that under a compensation deal reached in 2007 with the former UK Government, workers were promised the same treatment as workers and pension scheme holders under the pension protection fund and financial assistance scheme.

    3. Notes that under law changes since 2004, workers under the pension protection fund and financial assistance scheme are entitled to be paid up to 90 percent of their pension contribution value. However, contributions paid in prior to 1997 are not inflation proofed.

    4. Regrets the financial hardship this has caused to former ASW workers in Wales.

    5. Calls on the UK Government to honour the spirit of the commitments the previous UK Government made to ASW workers in Wales.

  15. 'Very disappointed' with lack of Welsh Government support

    Darren Millar says he is "very disappointed" that the Welsh Government will not support his bid to introduce the bill on older people's rights.

  16. 'If children are protected in law, why not the other most vulnerable group - the old?'

    David Rowlands says UKIP will support the introduction of the bill because "if children are protected in law, why not the other most vulnerable group - the old?"

    David Rowlands
  17. 'Bill should be considered in detail'

    Plaid Cymru's Helen Mary Jones says that Darren Millar should be allowed to introduce the bill, so it can be considered in detail.

    Helen Mary Jones
  18. Welsh Government has a 'more ambitious, holistic, strategic approach'

    Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, says she agrees with the "sentiments that lie behind the proposed bill".

    She lists a number of policies and actions that she says demonstrate that the rights of older people are "at the heart of policy-making" in Wales.

    She concludes "the time is not right for this particular bit of legislation", and that the Welsh Government has a "more ambitious, holistic, strategic approach".

    Julie Morgan
  19. '800,000 older people in Wales who deserve every opportunity'

    Darren Miller says there are some 800,000 older people in Wales who deserve every opportunity to be empowered, have their rights strengthened and needs fulfilled.

    He says the Bill will:

    • Further enshrine the rights of older people within Welsh law by placing a due regard duty on public bodies, namely the Welsh Government, local authorities and local health boards.
    • Place a duty on the Welsh Government to promote knowledge and understanding of the rights of older people across Wales.
    • Promote ageing well, and embed older people's wellbeing where public services are delivered by local authorities and local health boards.
    Darren Millar