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Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
McConnell outlines way ahead
Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell has detailed legislative plans
First Minister Jack McConnell has outlined the Scottish Executive's legislative programme for the year ahead.

He set out six bills including new measures to increase the protection of children, to tackle homelessness, to update mental health laws and to improve the standards of buildings in Scotland.

He said ministers would bring forward draft legislation to review adoption laws and tackle the theft of rare birds eggs.

Mr McConnell also appealed to all MSPs to work together across the political divide to come up with ideas to tackle vandalism.

The Scottish Executive's Legislative Programme
Protection of Children Bill - to protect children from unsuitable adults
Reform of mental health law
A housing bill with the intention of helping the homeless get a permanent tenancy
A bill to improve building standards and give councils powers to identify and act on dangerous buildings.
Title Conditions Bill - to complete the process of abolishing the feudal system
Budget bill

He made his statement to the Scottish Parliament, which sat in Aberdeen while the Church of Scotland's general assembly occupied its usual home at The Mound, in Edinburgh.

He said he wanted the parliamentary session in the north east city to be a turning point in the way Scotland is governed.

In what he said was a new way of working, Mr McConnell told how he was prepared to collaborate with MSPs from all parties to bring forward new laws to control litter and dog fouling.

However, no legislation was offered on the Liberal Democrat demand of proportional representation (PR) for local government elections.

Mr McConnell said he would make an announcement in the autumn, once the current consultation period was over.

Unsuitable adults

Legislation to create an index to protect children from unsuitable adults will be launched this autumn, Mr McConnell said.

The Bill would bar unsuitable adults from working with children.

He said: "This Bill delivers a commitment I made last year and a debt that we owe to the people of Dunblane.

"Its clauses will reflect the outcome of our consultation and draw on the experience and expertise that lies in our communities."

Mr McConnell also promised legislation to reform mental health law, bringing what he called "new rights and new protection" to those with mental health problems.

There is also to be a housing Bill, ending what Mr McConnell called "the current obstacle course" for those needing a permanent home.

Woman and child
New measures to protect children
It would provide support for those needing help to sustain a permanent tenancy, and bring about improvements in the legislative framework.

A building Bill will also be introduced, giving local councils greater powers to identify and act on dangerous buildings, and aimed at ensuring greater consistency in applying building standards across Scotland.

The first minister also promised proposals to improve services for children with special educational needs, a white paper on planning to make public involvement more "meaningful" in the planning process, and a draft Bill to modernise laws on personal bankruptcy.

Political editor Brian Taylor
"Jack McConnell outlined the executive's programme for the year"
BBC Scotland's Kirsten Campbell
"All of the Bills were in the pipeline already"
John Knox reports
"Last November Jack McConnell promised to do less ... better"
See also:

30 May 02 | Scotland
17 Apr 02 | Scotland
25 Feb 02 | Scotland
05 Sep 01 | Scotland
05 Sep 01 | Scotland
04 Jun 01 | Scotland
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