Press release

A stronger Wales within a strong United Kingdom

Draft Wales Bill laid in Parliament.

Welsh flag

The new Wales Bill will create a stronger Wales within a strong United Kingdom, Stephen Crabb will say today as the draft Wales Bill is published in Parliament.

The draft Bill sets out in detail how the Government plans to deliver the St David’s Day commitments to create a stronger, clearer and fairer devolution settlement for Wales that will stand the test of time.

The key measures include:

  • a reserved powers model so that the people of Wales know precisely what powers the Assembly has and can hold it to account

  • important new powers for Wales over energy, transport and local government and Assembly elections

  • greater powers for the Assembly over its own affairs including the ability to change its name

The new Wales Bill will make devolution work better for the people of Wales. More clarity about what is devolved will mean fewer costly trips to the Supreme Court and more time for the Welsh Government to focus on the issues that matter.

The draft Bill is a key part of the radical package of measures the Government is implementing to put Welsh devolution on a stable and enduring footing.

The draft Bill will be subject to Pre-Legislative Scrutiny by the Welsh Affairs Committee, and will be introduced to Parliament in the New Year. The UK Government will continue discussions with the Welsh Government on the detail of the reserved powers model alongside the Pre-Legislative Scrutiny process.

Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb said:

Wales has resolutely rejected the kind of nationalism that threatened to break up our United Kingdom last year. But as Secretary of State, I recognise that there is a strong appetite in Wales for a greater say over Welsh affairs within a stronger devolution settlement.

The current settlement is unstable and unclear and the only people it benefits are the lawyers. It’s time we had a robust devolution settlement that works for the people of Wales.

Today’s draft Bill is part of a comprehensive package which, alongside our commitments to protect Welsh funding, will devolve major new responsibilities that will lead to a step-change in devolution in Wales.

The new Wales Bill will do exactly what we said it would do: meet the appetite of Welsh people for devolution and build a stronger Wales within a strong United Kingdom.

With the economic indicators all moving in the right direction, Wales now has a golden opportunity to move forwards and achieve its potential as an outward-looking nation that punches well above its weight in the global economy. The new Wales Bill will allow the Welsh Assembly to focus on achieving that goal by ending the constant debates about devolution that have characterised Welsh politics for too long.

There will be much debate over the coming months over the detail of the Bill and I will continue to listen carefully. But if we are serious about seizing this opportunity to drive our nation forwards then we must work together to deliver a strong Wales Bill that works for the people of Wales.

Notes to editors:

  • You can see the Bill here

  • You can read about the St David’s Day agreement here

Published 20 October 2015