Wales politics

First new assembly laws 'unambitious and managerial'

Daran Hill

The first laws passed by the assembly have been largely unambitious, a leading figure in the campaign for law-making powers in Wales has said.

Daran Hill, director of the 2011 Yes for Wales referendum campaign, said bills passed had been mainly "managerial".

AMs are expected to pass the last of 26 government laws for this assembly term on Wednesday.

Labour's Jane Hutt said the term was a success, with pioneering laws passed.

The National Assembly for Wales gained primary law-making powers after the result of the 2011 referendum, which the Yes side won.

If the Public Health Bill passes as expected on Wednesday on the last day of business, the government will have completed its legislative programme.

What laws has the assembly passed?

The Senedd AMs have passed 25 government bills into law so far. They have included:

Mr Hill, managing director of Welsh public affairs company Positif, said the bills had been "mainly managerial and unambitious", and were "aimed at the public sector and not individuals".

He said: "I don't think they ever intended to be particularly ambitious with this new system to start with."

Mr Hill said: "I remember somebody from the Labour camp telling me back in 2010, 2011, that Labour's first legislative programme would be as dull as the one Alex Salmond had done in Scotland, when he had a minority government from 2007 to 2011... proving you can use the system and making law but not necessarily particularly dynamic law either."

He added the government had handled getting its law plans through "pretty shrewdly".

Jane Hutt, Welsh Government business minister, refuted his claim the programme had not been ambitious.

She said there had been "pioneering legislation" passed by the assembly, such as the law on violence against women.

Ms Hutt said the legislative term had been a success for the Welsh Government because it had "got through policies into legislation with financial backing at a time of austerity when our budgets are being cut".

Asked if the government had been assisted in its legislative programme by a lack of unity among the opposition, Plaid Cymru North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd said: "I don't think we should be in a position to vote legislation down just because we want to have a go at the government."

Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives said there had been "opportunities missed" for the opposition to work together, but said the government had not put forward "tough decisions" to vote on.

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