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Welsh Labour promises 'detailed' law-making programme

12 July 11 06:53
Welsh assembly

The Welsh Government is preparing the most detailed law-making programme since devolution, First Minister Carwyn Jones has said.

Bills on the organ donation system, cycling and allotments are among 10 pieces of legislation that the government is planning in the next five years.

Opposition parties have accused Labour of a delay in announcing legislation.

Labour is in power after winning half the assembly's seats at May's election.

Mr Jones said his statement would set a timetable for bills and "the most detailed programme of government to the assembly" since it was created.

Without an overall majority, he told reporters on Monday: "We want to make sure that we work with other parties when it comes to the details of the bills and any amendments they feel would be helpful."

The assembly was granted direct law-making powers at a referendum in March.

The previous assembly government wanted to introduce a system where people are presumed to have consented to their organs being made available for transplant when they die.

Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said the government was committed to an organ donation bill, but there would be a "huge amount of consultation" on a very "sensitive issue".

"The respondents from the last consultation we did were very much in favour of a soft opt-out system which is used in other countries, particularly Spain," she said.

Outlining Labour's priorities last month, Mr Jones said a cycling bill would introduce a duty to provide bike routes in key areas.

Lee Waters, director of green transport charity Sustrans Cymru, said a change in culture towards walking and cycling was needed.

"Changing the law is only part of achieving that," he said.

He called for a measure that puts a requirement on highways authorities to develop and maintain a network of paths as they do roads.

'Tribalism'

Conservative assembly leader Paul Davies said: "We look forward to the Welsh Labour Government shedding the tribalism of the past to work constructively with other parties in the Welsh national interest."

Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said: "By the time the first bill is published in the autumn, this government will have been in power for some five months without introducing a single piece of primary legislation."

His party called for legislation to reform the planning system, change the school term and ban smoking in cars carrying children.

Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black said it was "astonishing" Labour had taken so long since the election on 5 May to "cobble together" a legislative programme.

He said: "The biggest issue facing the people of Wales is the economy and jobs and how we stimulate growth and prosperity."

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