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Joe Atkinson takes a look at what’s happening in Welsh politics in a particularly busy week for government ministers, assembly members and committees…

Committees get new inquiries underway

Several of the Assembly’s committees are kicking off new inquiries this week. The Children, Young People and Education Committee will begin its inquiry into the status of the Welsh Baccalaureate qualification with two evidence sessions on Wednesday, while on Thursday the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee will be holding four evidence sessions on the impact of the Social Services and Well-being Act 2014 on carers. Also on Thursday morning, the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee will be travelling to Treforest to host an opening session on its inquiry into research and innovation in Wales.

Budget scrutiny continues

It has been a busy few weeks for ministers (and us at Newsdirect) as committees undertake scrutiny of the Welsh Government’s draft budget for 2019-20. The Welsh language minister Eluned Morgan will be appearing before the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, while culture minister Dafydd Elis-Thomas will be focusing on the sport aspect of his portfolio as he gives evidence to the Health Committee. Housing minister Rebecca Evans and the local government secretary Alun Davies will also be scrutinised by the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee.

Carwyn Jones’ final committee scrutiny session

Carwyn Jones also faces scrutiny this week, as he appears before the Assembly’s Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister for the final time on Friday. Mr Jones, who leaves office next month after nine years leading Wales, will predominantly answer questions on the challenges and achievements during his tenure, while committee members will also question him on topical matters. The committee meets once each Assembly term and its membership comprises of the chairs of every other Assembly committee.

What about plenary?

As well as a busy week for the Senedd’s committees there is also a packed plenary agenda, with five ministerial statements scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, including from education secretary Kirsty Williams on a new package of support for teachers and health secretary Vaughan Gething on NHS winter planning. There will be a focus on animal welfare, with rural affairs secretary Lesley Griffiths addressing AMs on this issue on Tuesday, before UKIP lead an opposition debate on Wednesday which calls on the Welsh Government to ban non-stun slaughter of animals. Children’s rights are also on the agenda, with Tuesday seeing a statement from the children’s minister Huw Irranca-Davies on improving outcomes for children entering care and a debate on the Children’s Commissioner for Wales’ 2017-18 annual report.

Post-Brexit funding debated

As uncertainty over the UK’s exit from the EU continues to grow, AMs will debate the Finance Committee’s report on Wales’ preparedness for replacing EU funds post-Brexit. The report, published in September, made several recommendations including for the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government to get the best possible Brexit deal and for the Barnett formula to be replaced with a sustainable, long-term solution. The UK leaving the EU without a deal has become far more likely since the publication of the report, which only refers to a “no-deal” Brexit once.

Featured image: CPMR – Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions via Flickr 

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