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Summary

  1. AMs support "the principle of voting rights for prisoners at Welsh elections"
  2. Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee holds scrutiny session with Natural Resources Wales
  3. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the Minister for Economy and Transport
  4. Questions to the Counsel General and Brexit Minister
  5. Statement by the Llywydd: Introduction of a Commission-proposed Bill - Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill
  6. Debate on the Public Accounts Committee report: Natural Resources Wales' Annual Report and Account 2017-18
  7. Plaid Cymru debate - Welsh Independent Living Grant
  8. United Kingdom Independence Party debate - Prisons and Prisoners
  9. Short Debate: Air quality legislation fit for modern challenges.

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK

  1. 'Air quality legislation fit for modern challenges'

    The topic chosen for the Short Debate by Dai Lloyd (South Wales West) is "air quality legislation fit for modern challenges".

    He says "recent figures show that, every year, more than 2,000 lives are cut short in Wales as a result of poor air quality. It is nothing short of a national scandal.

    "Now, as Chair of the cross-party group on a clean air Act for Wales, the purpose of today’s short debate is to make the case for a new clean air Act and the need to create a robust legal framework that sets out ambitious approaches to improving air quality in Wales".

    Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government Hannah Blythyn replies, "going forward, we must maintain our commitment to deliver action to comply with our statutory obligations, but we're clear that this is not just about taking action to tick boxes—this is taking action because we know we need to do it for the benefit of our citizens and for their health.

    "This can be achieved in a number of ways, including through improved policy integration and collaboration. Many targets, including some World Health Organization air quality guidelines, are not safe levels but are thresholds to limit individual risk. So, we are looking at all potential options to reduce exposure of the population to air pollution in the most effective way, including the potential effect of WHO standards."

    Air quality
  2. Labour 'did object to the Plaid Cymru motion'

    Labour's Jane Hutt, the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, says she did object to the Plaid Cymru motion, but the Llywydd says she did not hear the objection so the Plaid Cymru motion has been passed.

    Jane Hutt
  3. 'Supports the principle of voting rights for prisoners at Welsh elections'

    AMs pass the Welsh Government amendment to delete the entire UKIP motion and to replace with a proposal that the assembly:

    1. Believes that prisons should be places of reform and rehabilitation.

    2. Supports the principle of voting rights for prisoners at Welsh elections, but awaits the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee’s report.

    There were 34 for, 4 abstentions and 10 against.

    Vote
  4. 'Rehabilitative services, community sentences and reducing reoffending'

    Conservative Mark Isherwood welcomes the "focus by the Ministry of Justice on rehabilitative services, community sentences and reducing reoffending", and notes that the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee have an ongoing Inquiry into voting rights for prisoners.

    He says "existing prisoner voting rights should not be extended in future".

  5. 'Prisoners should not be given the right to vote in Welsh elections'

    The topic chosen for the United Kingdom Independence Party debate is prisons and prisoners.

    UKIP propose that the assembly:

    1. Believes that prisons should be places of reform and rehabilitation, and that imprisonment is a punishment for those found guilty of a crime.

    2. Resolves that prisoners should not be given the right to vote in Welsh elections.

  6. Plaid Cymru motion passed

    Nobody objects to the Plaid Cymru motion, despite the Welsh Government and the Conservatives tabling amendments, so the assembly pass the proposal "calling on the Welsh Government to retain the Welsh Independent Living Grant in full".

    The Welsh Government amendment was to delete all the Plaid Cymru motion and replace with a proposal that the assembly:

    1. Recognises the Welsh Government has always committed the full amount of funding transferred for the Independent Living Fund for that purpose.

    2. Commits the Welsh Government to work with recipients and local authorities to ensure the intentions of the Welsh Independent Living Grant continue to be delivered in Wales.

  7. 'Resources are no barrier to a full package of care and support'

    Deputy Health and Social Services Minister Julie Morgan says while the majority of former ILF [Independent Living Fund] recipients are receiving the same or more care as they were previously, a significant number have experienced a reduction in hours of support, and there is also considerable variation in the reductions in support.

    She says "I have therefore written to local government leaders to request a pause of the transition with immediate effect in order to bring in the revised arrangements.

    "This is a significant change of approach that ensures that the needs of former WILG recipients will be fully met, and that resources are no barrier to a full package of care and support."

  8. Labour's Mike Hedges had planned to vote against Welsh Government

    Labour's Mike Hedges says he has changed his voting intention following the Welsh Government's change of policy. He says the change is now in line with Labour party policy so he can vote in favour.

    Mike Hedges
  9. 'Safeguard the rights of disabled people to live independent lives'

    Conservative Mark Isherwood calls on the Welsh Government to "ensure that disabled people are full partners in the design and operation of an Independent Living Fund for Wales which safeguards the rights of disabled people to live independent lives".

    Mark Isherwood
  10. Welsh Government behaviour 'like the Tories in London'

    Yesterday the Welsh Government said anyone wanting a "second opinion" could have an "independent social work assessment" and the move to the new system would be put on hold while new arrangements are put in place.

    Leanne Wood welcomes the changes, but says "the behaviour of this government as a whole until now demonstrates similarity to the approach that we've seen from the Tories in London".

    Leanne Wood
  11. Plaid Cymru debate

    The topic chosen for the Plaid Cymru debate is the Welsh Independent Living Grant.

    Plaid Cymru's motion is to call on the Welsh Government to retain the Welsh Independent Living Grant in full.

    The Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG) is being scrapped with councils taking over funding care for the more than 1,000 people receiving it.

    Previous social care minister Huw Irranca Davies had insisted there would be "no losers" due to the changes.

    But, in October, BBC Wales discovered around 100 of the 600 recipients reassessed had lost some support.

    The research was conducted by the Wales Live programme.

    The WILG was introduced in Wales to replace the UK-wide Independent Living Fund (ILF), which was closed down by the UK government in 2015.

  12. All three recommendations accepted

    Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs sets out the Welsh Government's response to the report.

    All three recommendations are accepted.

    The Welsh Government's response to the report can be seen in full here.

    Lesley Griffiths
  13. How did it all start?

    Back in 2014, Natural Resources Wales struck a 10-year deal with BSW Timber - worth £39m to the quango - to buy wood in a bid to deal with diseased larch.

    This collapsed in March 2017, because BSW Timber did not build a saw line as it had promised.

    The fact that the contracts were never put to the open market led to auditors criticising the accounts for 2015/16 in what is known as a "qualification" - they were unable to say if the deals were lawful or not.

    But despite this incredibly strong - and rare - criticism of a public body, NRW embarked on a further 59 contracts with three different firms which were again not tendered.

    It sparked a qualification to the annual accounts for a third year.

    Natural Resources Wales
  14. 'Failures of governance'

    Public Accounts Committee chair Nick Ramsay (Monmouth) presents the report, which has three recommendations.

    One recommendations is that "should the independent review findings on the failures of governance be insufficient, that the Welsh Government ensures that there is an immediate comprehensive review of governance within Natural Resources Wales, examining how these failures were able to occur".

    Mr Ramsay says the committee was "extremely disappointed" that NRW's accounts were qualified for three consecutive years. The agency - responsible for publicly-owned woodland across Wales - repeatedly sold its timber without going to the open market.

    NRW called in experts, Grant Thornton, to review its processes after the Wales Audit Office put a black mark against its 2017/2018 accounts for the third year running.

    Nick Ramsay
  15. UKIP against cutting voting age

    Gareth Bennett says UKIP opposes the proposal to allow 16-year-olds to vote at the next assembly election.

    Gareth Bennett
  16. 'Senedd' would reflect the institution's growing powers

    "I understand the sensitivity about the name change," says Plaid Cymru's Dai Lloyd, adding Senedd would reflect the institution's growing powers.

    Dai Lloyd
  17. Senedd 'not so well established among constituents'

    Renaming the assembly the Senedd is "work in progress" says Conservative David Melding.

    He says he would prefer to use "senedd" but the word is "not so well established among constituents".

    David Melding
  18. Bill 'not as clear and as accessible as possible'

    Counsel General Jeremy Miles welcomes the bill which he describes an an "important milestone in the devolution journey".

    However, he warns "it's very important that the provisions on the name-change as on other matters are as clear and as accessible as possible. As the bill is currently drafted, I am concerned that this is not the case".