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Welsh Government to prioritise local government reform

The Welsh Government is to bring forward legislation to reform local government in Wales as part of its legislative priorities for the year ahead.

The bill will “establish a new relationship between the Welsh Government and local government, create greater transparency in decision making and ensure greater collaboration through mandatory regional working arrangements”, it said.

The Welsh Government’s five proposed bills will also include:

  • Legislation making it illegal for alcohol to be sold below a set price. “The Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) Bill will propose a formula for calculating the minimum price for alcohol, based on its strength and volume, and enable local authorities to enforce the powers and bring prosecutions.”
  • Reform of the regulatory controls for registered social landlords in Wales. “In September 2016, the Office for National Statistics reclassified RSLs into the public sector. As a consequence, any private sector borrowing by RSLs will become a charge against the Welsh Government’s capital budget. If not addressed, the change by ONS could restrict the development of new affordable social housing and restrict our own ability to fund other capital infrastructure projects. The Welsh Government’s bill proposes to reform central and local government controls over RSLs, enabling the ONS to reconsider the reclassification and return them to the private sector.”
  • A bill to stop landlords and estate agents from charging unfair, up-front fees to tenants and prospective tenants in the private rented sector. 

First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, said: “The bills we intend to introduce during the 2nd year of this Assembly will support our efforts to build a Wales that is healthy and active, prosperous and secure, ambitious and learning and united and connected.

“The 5 bills will tackle harmful alcohol consumption, help support working parents, protect tenants from unfair fees and reform and improve local government.”