First Minister unveils legislative programme including increase in number of Senedd Members
The First Minister of Wales has announced the Welsh Government’s legislative programme for the coming year, highlighting reform as the driving force behind the proposed bills.
The Welsh government’s agenda for the next 12 months will see a “once-in-a-generation” bill to reform the Senedd earmarked for introduction in the autumn.
It will see the creation of a “modern Senedd, better able to represent the people of Wales” with an additional 36 Senedd Members added.
Conservative opposition leader branding the legislative programme “truly depressing”.
Mark Drakeford said other bills will bring about positive change for the Welsh people, covering a range of key areas including bus services, safety of disused tips, Welsh language education and local government finance, and the reform of the Senedd.
Another key legislative proposal is a Bus Bill designed to reform and enhance bus services, with the aim of prioritising community needs over profits.
A world-first initiative, the Disused Tips Safety Bill, aims to manage disused tips effectively, providing better safety for residents living nearby.
The Welsh Language Education Bill seeks to increase the number of Welsh speakers and protect Welsh-speaking communities.
Also, a bill will be introduced to reduce the democratic deficit in Wales and to create an electoral system suitable for the 21st century.
Mark Drakeford MS also mentioned a bill aimed at reforming council tax and non-domestic rates systems, aligning them with changing market conditions to respond better to people and organisational pressures.
A “once-in-a-generation” bill, expected to be introduced in the autumn, seeks to modernise the Senedd, enhancing its capacity to scrutinise, make laws, and hold the government accountable.
In a move to make the Senedd more representative, a bill will be introduced to set gender quotas for candidates for election to the Senedd.
Legislation to eliminate private profit from the care of looked after children is also part of the proposed programme.
Commenting on the legislative programme, the First Minister stated: “This is an ambitious and radical programme of reform, which will modernise parts of our tax and electoral system, ensure we put the needs of looked-after children ahead of profits, and create a Senedd which reflects the Wales we live in today.”
The First Minister further indicated that the government’s legislative priorities for the rest of this Senedd term would include bills to deliver commitments in the Programme for Government and Co-Operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, relating to homelessness and building safety, a visitor levy, tourism, tax, transport, environment and justice.
Additional consolidation bills aimed at improving the accessibility of Welsh law will be brought forward in this Senedd
Further details on these plans will be provided by the Counsel General as part of his annual progress report on the accessibility programme.
Responding to Mark Drakeford’s legislative agenda announcement, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies MS said: “Mark Drakeford has announced his legislative agenda for the next 12 months and it is truly depressing to see how out of touch the Labour party have become after 25 years of failing the people of Wales.
“In his programme there is no mention of the excessive waiting lists in our Welsh NHS or a plan to eliminate 2-year waits that still stand at over 30,000 patients, compared with virtually zero in England. No mention of our rising unemployment, despite reductions elsewhere in the UK. No mention of a plan to address our position at the bottom of Britain’s GCSE and PISA rankings and no plan to end child poverty, which is still rising in Wales.
“Labour Ministers in the Senedd are focussed on the wrong priorities, they are far more keen on bringing forward their tone-deaf proposal to send 36 more politicians to Cardiff Bay, costing the taxpayer £100 million and their so-called council tax reforms that will increase bills further for the people of Wales, than addressing the people’s priorities.
“It will be interesting to see whether Mark Drakeford will actually see his legislative programme through or if he’ll stand down, as indicated, halfway through this Senedd term.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com