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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Welsh Government takes a breather on change to anti-smoking regulations

The BBC report that the scheduled debate on the order that would  exempt film and TV sets from the smoking ban has been put back so that the Welsh Government can better explain their intentions to Assembly Members.

Ministers want to change the law because they fear producers will not come to Wales if actors are not allowed to smoke when filming. However, anti-smoking groups question whether there is evidence to back those fears and suggest that such a change will be the thin-end of the wedge in terms of undermining the smoking ban.

This rowing back by the Welsh Government appears to be driven by the mathematics in the chamber. Both Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats have said that they will vote against the change in the regulations, whilst it is understood that the vast majority of Tory AMs are of the same mind.

The Government's biggest problem though is in the Labour group where a number of AMs are pushing for a free vote on the issue. It is unclear whether this new charm offensive by Ministers will switch the balance of opinion sufficiently to get the amendment approved.
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