Welsh Labour promises 'detailed' law-making programme

Carwyn Jones First Minister Carwyn Jones will make a legislative statement to AMs on Tuesday

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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.

Analysis by BBC Wales political reporter Mark Hannaby

Four weeks ago First Minister Carwyn Jones announced his priorities for lawmaking to assembly members.

That was something of a taster of what's in store, whereas today we're promised the full legislative programme.

There has not been much detail on the proposed laws yet. Opposition politicians have criticised the First Minister for not being specific about changes to planning and education.

They will expect more information today. We should also hear of other bills in preparation.

I did ask Mr Jones what they would be. He said I'd have to wait and see but that what would be announced would be "the most detailed programme of government" since the assembly's inception.

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.

Andy Williamson, who has had a successful kidney transplant, said he fully supported the move.

"It needs to be done in such a way that it brings people along with it rather than feel that it's being forced on them," he added.

"Ultimately a transplant is the biggest gift someone can give."

Start Quote

Ultimately a transplant is the biggest gift someone can give”

End Quote Andy Williamson Kidney transplant patient

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'

The government has also indicated it will legislate on the amount of land to be used as allotments.

The chairman of the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners, Alun Rees, wants a law to force councils to allocate land within a set time.

"I would like to see a limit of two years from the point of demand to the point of opening an allotment site," he said.

"I waited eight years before we had an allotment in Maesteg - that's unreasonable."

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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