Laws that will pave the way for the Welsh Government collecting its own taxes and enabling councils to merge into larger local authorities have been announced in the Senedd. The First Minister set out the legislative programme, the principal laws that AMs will be asked to during the next 12 months.
The Welsh Government says its planning bill will "simplify rather than frustrate" development. A public health bill won't be introduced until next summer but could now include minimum pricing for alcohol, following the recent Supreme Court judgement on the extent of the Assembly's powers.
When I announced this Government’s ambitious five year legislative programme I set out our plans to address many of the issues the people of Wales care deeply about, such as improving public services despite the difficult financial situation.
We are now halfway through the programme, and while we have already achieved many of our goals, the ten bills I am announcing today continue our commitment, with legislation that will really make a difference to the people of Wales.
This legislative programme also sees us take action on two major areas of reform, putting in place the measures needed for local authority mergers and entering a new phase of the devolution story by preparing for our new tax-raising powers.
The 10 bills announced today are:
- *Planning Bill *to reform and simplify the current planning system
- *Qualifications Bill *to establish an independent body for the regulation and quality assurance of non-degree level qualifications
- Additional Learning Needs Bill will be the sixth and final education bill of this Assembly
- Local Government Bill** will prepare the ground for reforming local authorities in Wales through a series of mergers**
- *Renting Homes Bill *to provide a new legal relationship between landlords and tenants
- Social Services Regulation & Inspection Bill to raise the quality of care and support
- *Environment Bill *for the sustainable management of natural resources
- Heritage Bill** to improve protection of listed buildings and ancient monuments**
- Public Health Bill -a consultation on its contents has just closed
- Tax Collection & Management Bill will create a tax system
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