The Legislative Programme

1. Questions to the First Minister – in the Senedd at on 11 June 2024.

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Photo of Delyth Jewell Delyth Jewell Plaid Cymru

(Translated)

4. Will the First Minister provide an update on the Welsh Government's legislative programme? OQ61258

Photo of Vaughan Gething Vaughan Gething Labour 2:08, 11 June 2024

Yes. I will set out the Government’s legislative priorities in my July legislative statement. The annual debate under Standing Orders, covering policy objectives and the legislative programme, will provide further opportunities for Members to consider an update on progress.

Photo of Delyth Jewell Delyth Jewell Plaid Cymru 2:09, 11 June 2024

The turmoil that has faced your Government in recent weeks has made people question whether you would stick to your word, First Minister. There are many, vastly important Bills that this Government has promised to deliver, from bus reform to coal tip safety, and from tackling homelessness to the Welsh language. But people are nervous because, since you took office, your Government has backtracked on reforms to council tax, 20 mph and changes to school holidays. You've signalled, time and again, that brave, progressive changes won't be made if it makes you and your Government more unpopular. So, what certainty can we have that you will bring forward these Bills and that they won't be watered down or be made less ambitious in any attempt to preserve your own leadership?

Photo of Vaughan Gething Vaughan Gething Labour

The reason why we've reviewed a range of the areas of activity is partly because we've made pledges to do so: 20 mph is a good example. We'd already pledged to have a review of the implementation and to see whether we need to make any sort of changes, and we're listening to the public in doing so. I don't see that as a weakness; it's a strength. And if you look at the first set of data around the changes in the speed limits, it does show, as we said, that there are fewer casualties. It's about the refinement of that, to make sure we're getting it right in all the different areas after more than six months of experience.

If you look at what we have been doing, and the legislative programme, we're actually creating more space to make sure we can deliver on the radical reforming legislation that will come forward in that legislative programme. It will be a strength to see the space given over and the ability to deliver on a whole range of areas. Now, I won't go through every single one of them, because I have a legislative statement in early July to do so, but I believe that the Member will see the ambition of this Government to radical reform that makes a real difference with and for the people of Wales, that goes back to our manifesto and looks to deliver it. We'll be there, bright as ever, and I will be proud to lead a Government that will actually deliver that and make the difference that we have promised to do so.

Photo of Samuel Kurtz Samuel Kurtz Conservative 2:11, 11 June 2024

Since being elected, First Minister, you've u-turned on reform to the school year, delayed the sustainable farming scheme, and attempted to change the rhetoric around the default 20 mph policy, without actually changing anything. So, this is a Labour Government so bereft of new ideas that it is now changing policies that it itself introduced that we've been campaigning against. So, thank you. Wouldn't you agree with me, First Minister, that this is a Welsh Labour Government out of ideas and led by a First Minister who is hanging on by a thread?

Photo of Vaughan Gething Vaughan Gething Labour

Well, it's interesting that the Member now decries action that he was asking for. The fact is that, last week, we had the first round-table on taking forward the sustainable farming scheme. We are committed to a scheme that supports high-quality food and drink production and meets our obligations for the climate and nature emergencies that we face. That is what we are doing, and we're giving ourselves the space to do so.

And when it then comes to the rest of his comments, I admire the fact that he's advertising for a future vacancy to his group. I actually think that when the public come to vote, they will look for a positive partnership for Wales and Britain. They will look to what his party has done. They will look to the way that his party has assaulted devolution, taken our money and taken our powers, and reflect that that cannot be the right answer for Wales. I look forward to what we will do in the future. I look forward to the Member retaining his place in the benches of opposition, where he belongs.

Photo of Rhianon Passmore Rhianon Passmore Labour 2:12, 11 June 2024

First Minister, the Welsh Labour Government was resoundingly re-elected by the people of Wales in 2021, to deliver a stronger, fairer and greener Wales. First Minister, as you contemplate your first legislative statement, which you're due to deliver to the Senedd before the summer recess, on behalf of my constituents in Islwyn, can I ask you to consider how the Welsh Labour Government can best legislate to improve their lives? The proposed bus reform Bill is critical and crucial to improving public transport throughout Islwyn, but in particular to the surrounding communities of Pontllanfraith and Blackwood, served only by bus. This is to be placed firmly at the doors of the policy of the UK Government. The utterly failed Thatcherite system of deregulation from the 1980s must be consigned to the scrapheap by this Welsh Parliament.

The coal tip safety Bill is a positive step forward in addressing those industrial scars on our environmental landscape, albeit still at present totally unsupported by the UK Tory Government. However, as we have seen in communities like Ynysddu in Islwyn, with very strong concerns around the Bedwas tip proposals, coal tip remediation cannot be done at any cost. So, First Minister, with both the bus Bill and the coal tip safety Bill, what dialogue will your Government have with progressive authorities throughout the rest of the United Kingdom, including the new UK Government, after this critical general election? Thank you.

Photo of Vaughan Gething Vaughan Gething Labour 2:14, 11 June 2024

The Member sets out again the case for reform that we have committed to in the past. I look forward to delivering a legislative statement that shows how we will take forward measures that we are committed to. On the bus Bill and the coal tip safety Bill, those won't be the technical titles of the Bills, but both of those will deliver a real difference, I believe, in providing a legislative statement to allow us to invest in a future that makes sense, because we do know that, for all of our investment in rail, it is making a real difference in the communities served by rail. There are many others, including in my own constituency, but also all around Wales, that are only served by bus. We need greater sense in how the buses are regulated and how we invest in a system that is truly sustainable. Work has already taken place in some other parts of the UK. I look forward to working with a future UK Labour Government to do so on the bus Bill, and indeed on coal tip safety. The legislation needs to come alongside the willingness to work together and to recognise some of the responsibilities are reserved, some are for us to deliver. A partnership with willing people who recognise the legacy we are now dealing with is exactly what we need for her community and many others around Wales.