Press release

Commission on Devolution in Wales takes shape

The Government has today [Tuesday 11 October] announced the membership of the Commission on Devolution in Wales and its Terms of Reference (…

The Government has today [Tuesday 11 October] announced the membership of the Commission on Devolution in Wales and its Terms of Reference (ToR).

Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan announced that the Commission will be chaired by Paul Silk, Clerk to the National Assembly for Wales from 2001 to 2007 and a former Clerk in the House of Commons.  He will be joined on the Commission by four party political members, nominated by each of the political parties in the National Assembly for Wales, and by two independent members.

The Commission membership will consist of:

  • Paul Silk, Chair
  • Dyfrig John CBE (Chairman of the Principality Building Society)
  • Professor Noel Lloyd CBE (former Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University)
  • Professor Nick Bourne (Welsh Conservative nominee)
  • Sue Essex (Welsh Labour nominee)
  • Rob Humphreys (Welsh Liberal Democrats nominee)
  • Dr Eurfyl ap Gwilym (Plaid Cymru nominee)

Welcoming the announcement, Mrs Gillan said:  “The Commission members, headed by Paul Silk, have between them, a wealth of experience and expertise in financial and constitutional matters relating to Wales.  Taking forward our Coalition agreement commitment to set up this Commission, the Government has worked closely with the Welsh Government and all parties in the Assembly in agreeing its Terms of Reference.  I expect the Commission to consult widely on its proposals, and building on the consensus we have sought to achieve in its formation, to make recommendations which are likely to have wide degree of support.

“Following the referendum in March, the Welsh Government has new powers over the devolved areas.  It is therefore only right and proper that we look at ways to make the Assembly more accountable and today’s announcement is the first step in taking this forward.”

Paul Silk, Chair of the Commission on Devolution in Wales said:  “It is a great privilege to have been asked to head up this Commission and I was honoured to accept.  I am joined by a team of commissioners who have such a range of experience and talent, and I am confident this knowledge will be invaluable as the Commission undertakes its work.

“The Commission has a challenging and complex remit and I look forward to working constructively with the UK Government and the Welsh Government over the coming months.  I want to listen and engage with people across Wales on these important issues as we begin our work on the task in hand.”

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: “The creation of this Commission is the fulfilment of an important commitment to the people of Wales that we made in our Coalition Agreement. With its impressive membership, under the chairmanship of Paul Silk, I hope very much that this Commission will be able to form a broad consensus about the next steps in devolution of power to Wales, and in particular to give Welsh taxpayers a greater say in how their money is spent.”

Notes

Whilst a separate Commission website is under construction, you can follow the Commission’s work at http://www.walesoffice.gov.uk/about/commission-on-devolution-in-wales/ and @silkcommission.

A copy of the Commission’s ToR can be found here.

The Commission’s ToR reflect the fact that it will carry out its work in two parts.  In Part 1, the Commission will look at the case for the devolution of fiscal powers to the National Assembly, recommending a package of fiscal powers that would improve its accountability.  In Part 2, the Commission will look at the powers of the Assembly, and recommend modifications to improve the present constitutional arrangements.

The Commission will make every effort to report to the UK Government on its recommendations in relation to Part 1 in the autumn of 2012, and on Part 2 during 2013.                                  

A copy of the WMS can be found here.

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