Welsh Government plans schools and allotments laws

Carwyn Jones Carwyn Jones said Labour would not create legislation for the sake of it

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Bills on schools standards, the organ donation system and to create more cycling routes will be published by the Welsh Government.

First Minister Carwyn Jones outlined his legislative priorities for the next five-year assembly term on Tuesday.

It comes amid criticism from opponents that Labour has taken too long to reveal a programme of government.

Mr Jones said he would make an announcement about a programme of legislation next month.

Opposition leaders said they were disappointed by the content of Mr Jones's statement to the Senedd.

The first minister acknowledged that with 30 of the assembly's 60 seats, Labour did not have the majority required to pass legislation without opposition support.

"I hope that there will be many occasions when we can find common ground and move forward together to pass legislation that will work for the good of the people of Wales," he said.

He announced 10 pieces of legislation being planned by the Welsh Government, including funding and structural reform for schools to get more resources to the front line.

A bill will be introduced to simplify legislation regulating social care, with national eligibility criteria for social services.

A Cycling Bill would introduce a duty to provide cycle routes in key areas and a Heritage Protection Bill would strengthen protection for listed building, Mr Jones said.

Legislation on the amount of land available for allotments will be published and the first minister cited planning law as an area "clearly overdue for an overhaul".

LAW-MAKING PLANS

  • A Bill to build on the Children's Rights measure
  • A Bill to simplify 'the web of legislation' regulating social care to make access to services much easier and more understandable
  • Funding and structural reforms to drive resources to the education front line
  • Legislation to bring coherence and efficiency to higher education in Wales with a single strategic planning and funding body
  • Modernise the Auditor General in Wales and the Wales Audit Office
  • A new independent sustainable development body for Wales
  • Improve supply of and legislate on the amount of land to be used for allotments
  • Legislate to make it a duty to provide cycle-routes in key areas
  • Heritage Protection Bill to strengthen the protection of listed buildings
  • Organ Donation Bill to provide for an opt-out system of organ donation
  • Consolidation of exisiting laws, such as planning
  • Source: Welsh Government

Labour will also press ahead with plans for a bill to create an opt-out organ donation system.

The government would seek to use the direct law-making powers won by the referendum in March, "but we will not create legislation for the sake of it", the first minister added.

Ministers were finalising proposals ahead of a detailed statement on 12 July, he said.

He rejected suggestions that his administration had been "tardy", saying the Scottish Government would not publish its programme until September "and the UK Government have yet to publish a programme for the next five years".

'Dithering'

The Conservatives' assembly leader, Paul Davies, said: "It is disappointing that after weeks of dithering, ministers have yet to bring forward a coherent programme for government.

"People across Wales will be very concerned that Carwyn Jones's programme for government is just a blank sheet of paper."

Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said he was disappointed by the content of the first minister's statement and that it seemed likely AMs would not debate the government's programme before the summer recess.

"It is a cause for concern and I'm sure you share this concern that five months will have elapsed before we start to legislate in this place and we won't have a programme for government to scrutinise," the Plaid leader said.

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said: "I am not clear why the government is being as coy as they are with regards their legislative programme for the forthcoming five years."

She added: "I guess we are where we are and the government will keep us waiting a little bit longer before we have some meat on the bones with regard to how we will use the new powers that the people have bestowed upon us and it's somewhat disappointing that our initial response to those powers is the statement we have before us this afternoon."

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