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2016 Legislative Agenda

The Welsh Government confirms it will bring forward 6 Bills this year.

Too much news, there’s just too much news. So went a Tweet from a BBC Wales reporter earlier this week. Not normally a problem for journalists and commentators in Wales, where the Welsh Government is rarely driven by the news cycle and, for better or worse, the back room machinations of Westminster don’t happen as much Cardiff Bay.

Indeed, it seemed almost strange that the Welsh Government chose this week – perhaps the biggest for political news ever - to outline its legislative programme for the next 12 months.

In contrast to previous sessions, the First Minister (Carwyn Jones) did not set out legislative plans for the next five years, deciding to focus on the next year. He said this would enable the Welsh Government to be more responsive to the challenges facing Wales and free up more time and resources for Private Member Bills.

This itself is interesting as it is indicative of the new approach being taken by the Welsh Government, which has become very aware of the need to take other parties with it now, after they voted down Labour’s nomination for First Minister last month.

But not quite yet. Mr Jones had previously confirmed he would not bring forward any legislation until 100 days into the Fifth Assembly, allowing AMs space to deal with the steel crisis and the EU referendum result. Quite prescient.

After that, six bills will be brought forward for their consideration:

  • A Land Transaction Tax Bill and a Landfill Disposals Tax Bill with this legislation also being used to establish a “general anti-avoidance rule for devolved taxes in Wales”.
  • Repeal of sections of the UK Trade Union Act to dis-apply the parts of this Act AMs refused consent for to devolved public services.
  • Reintroduced Public Health Bill as it was amended at Stage 3 in the last Assembly, with restrictions on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces removed.
  • Additional Learning Needs Bill to provide a new legal framework for supporting people aged 0 – 25. This will be based on earlier consultation exercises.
  • Abolish the Right to Buy and the Right to Acquire to tackle pressure on current housing stock.

So, nothing hugely controversial in the next year now that proposals for e-cigs have been taken out of the Public Health Bill. There is also none of the world leading legislation which the Assembly was proud to pass in the Fourth Assembly such as the Human Transplantation Act or the Well-being of Future Generations Act. 

Probably a good thing. We’ll need to save some news for when this all settles down.

Do any of these Bills affect your organisation? newsdirect wales offers bespoke monitoring of all Assembly proceedings. Call us on 029 2009 0693 to arrange a free trial. 

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