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Upcoming Legislative Programme - 2020

The First Minister and deputy First Minister issued a statement this week setting out the bills (legislation) they expect to introduce before the Assembly’s summer recess.

There will be ten bills introduced covering Finance, Communities, Justice and the Exective Office.


The Minister of Finance will introduce the normal Budget Bills as part of the annual financial cycle.


There will be four bills from the Minister of Communities. The bills will deal with Welfare Mitigation, Pension Schemes and Liquor Licensing.

Welfare Mitigation / Social Sector Size Criteria

The bill will ensure that mitigations for the "Bedroom Tax" will continue past 31 March 2020.

Pension Schemes Bill

This bill aims to ensure that those saving into a Master Trust scheme, a form of multi‐employer occupational pension scheme, are protected.

Housing (Amendment) Bill

The purpose of the bill is to make the changes required to address the Office for National Statistics’ classification of Housing Associations to the public sector

Reclassification to the private sector will allow Housing Associations to borrow money to help the Social Housing Development Programme and to access Financial Transactions Capital. Without reclassification, all Housing Association borrowing would be charged against Executive Funds and Financial Transaction Capital would not be available.

Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Bill

This bill will tackle practices within the licensed trade which could contribute to alcohol misuse.

It will support the hospitality sector to promote tourism. Making its offering more sustainable and attractive. It will also recognise the role licensed premises and private registered clubs play in their communities as places to socialise and employers.

The proposals in the bill will:
  • Place restrictions on the advertising of alcoholic drinks in supermarkets and off sales premises.
  • Make provision for a Special Events Licence for events such as The Open Championship at Portrush.
  • Introduce a new category of licence for local producers of alcoholic drinks.
  • Introduce occasional additional late opening for certain licensed premises. Changes to holiday period opening hours for certain licensed premises and registered clubs.
  • Introduce changes to the law affecting private members clubs.


The Minister of Justice will introduce two bill. A Criminal Justice Bill to reform the Committal process, and a Domestic Abuse Bill.

Criminal Justice Bill to reform the Committal process

Committal Reform is one project within the wider ‘Speeding Up Justice’ programme of work.

Domestic Abuse Bill

The bill will create a new domestic abuse offence. Closing a gap in the law to ensure that protection is not limited to cases of physically violent behaviour.

Northern Ireland Act 1998 Amendment No 1, 2 and 3 Bills

The First Minister and deputy First Minister will introduce three legislative packages to put in place commitments given in the New Decade, New Approach Deal. These will:

  • Make provision for an Office of Identity and Cultural Expression and repeal the Administration of Justice (Language) Act 1737.
  • Appoint an Irish Language Commissioner and to provide official recognition of the status of the Irish language.
  • Make provision to appoint a Commissioner to enhance and develop the language, arts and literature associated with the Ulster Scots and Ulster British tradition in Northern Ireland. Make provision for a duty on the Department of Education as regards Ulster Scots.

The First Minister and deputy First Minister intend to table a motion for a debate in the Assembly on the Legislative Programme.

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