Commenting on the Welsh Labour Government’s tabling of the Agricultural Sector (Wales) Bill today and its plans to use the emergency procedure to push it through the Assembly in the next three weeks, Antoinette Sandbach AM, Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, said:
“The power to rush through legislation is supposed to be reserved for genuine emergencies, not to force through controversial legislation in a narrow timeframe while, due to a Plaid Cymru resignation, the government has a majority.
“We need to hear reassurances from Welsh Labour Ministers that this emergency procedure is not being used to avoid detailed scrutiny from AMs, unions and the agricultural industry.
“The Welsh Government’s own consultation on the future of agricultural wages has not even closed yet, leaving many in the sector wondering why they’ve bothered voicing their views when the Minister plans to ride roughshod over them anyway.
“It appears that yet again this Welsh Labour Government is playing party politics by proposing to create its own version of an Agricultural Wages Board, when the fact is that employment issues aren’t even devolved as they are specifically exempt from the Government of Wales Act.
“It is bizarre that the Welsh Government is now in a hurry to introduce legislation when it has been tortuously slow in introducing Bills since the last election and has filed to use its allotted government debating time in plenary for many weeks.
“Only a few months ago with changes to council tax benefit we saw what happens when this lazy Labour Government rushes through sloppy legislation without due scrutiny.
“We need Ministers to ditch this lazy Labour attitude and start delivering considered evidence-based proposals for scrutiny and debate.”