Welsh Labour plan legislation on schools and piercings

First Minister Carwyn Jones rejected David Cameron's call for public sector reform as he unveiled Welsh Labour's plans.

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Two bills on the education system will be published by the Welsh Government, First Minister Carwyn Jones has said.

He outlined Labour's five-year legislative programme to Welsh assembly members on Tuesday.

Bills on the organ donation system and allotments were also among 21 pieces of legislation announced.

Mr Jones said a bill would be offered for consultation on making sure parents consent to their children getting piercings.

More than a quarter of people who have piercings experience complications, he told AMs in the Senedd chamber.

The Schools and Standards (Wales) Bill - the first of two education bills - will be published early next year.

Mr Jones said it would "put in place actions to drive up school improvement" and change the process of reorganising schools.

Start Quote

This legislative programme provides new powers, duties and institutional capacity to advance our goals of building a sustainable Wales”

End Quote Carwyn Jones First Minister

A second education bill will include provisions for teachers, including performance management and continuing professional development. It will also make legal changes to reform the higher education sector.

Labour will press on with the plans of the previous assembly government to introduce an opt-out system of organ donation. A white paper will be published before the end of the year.

A shortage of organs for transplant was causing preventable deaths and suffering, the First Minister said.

A bill on food hygiene rating will be published for consultation at the end of the year.

It will allow the Welsh Government to make mandatory arrangements for giving customers easy-to-read information on hygiene standards at businesses.

The first minister said the 2005 E.coli outbreak in south Wales, which killed five-year-old school boy Mason Jones, showed the importance of food safety.

'Finding consensus'

Labour lacks an overall majority in Cardiff Bay, taking power after winning half the assembly's seats in May's election.

Mr Jones said: "It is inevitable and proper that the opposition will seek to hold this government to account.

"But it should not be about political point scoring, but about working together and finding consensus where possible, in developing distinctive Welsh policies for the betterment of the communities we each represent."

He added: "This legislative programme provides new powers, duties and institutional capacity to advance our goals of building a sustainable Wales."

Legislation will put a duty on local authorities to provide cycle paths in "key areas" and an Environment Bill will be used to try to meet increasing demand for allotments.

New laws will reform the way the Wales Audit Office is run. It follows the controversial handling of the spending watchdog by former Auditor General Jeremy Colman.

A Local Government Bill will require councils to consider making joint appointments for senior posts.

But Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said that if the local government minister thought the current structure of local authorities was not fit for purpose he "should front up what he truly believes, that he wants a reorganisation and he should publish a white paper and consult on it properly rather than bringing forward pieces of legislation such as this".

Welsh Conservative assembly leader Paul Davies said the first minister's statement lacked a strategy to stimulate the economy.

"Given Welsh Labour's failures over the past 12 years, we need to see a dramatic improvement in public services and the Welsh economy over the next five years," he said.

Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said the fact that the first minister could list so many bills showed the campaign to secure direct law-making powers at the referendum in March was worthwhile.

"It's another issue of course as to the content of the bills," he said.

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