It has been 20 years since Wales made the historic decision to create its National Assembly and, in that time, we have seen some significant changes to the way in which Wales is governed.
I am pleased that my government has made an important contribution to Wales’s devolution journey. We enacted the Wales Act earlier this year which delivers a new devolution settlement for Wales, further powers to the Assembly and the Welsh Government and making clearer their areas of responsibility. We have also agreed a fiscal framework with the Welsh Government that secures fair levels of funding for Wales for the longer term and paves the way for the Assembly to take responsibility for Welsh Rates of Income Tax in two years’ time.
The Welsh economy has also acquired an international reputation for excellence. I took the CEO of Aston Martin to Japan with me where the company signed a £500 million deal which will help safeguard jobs in Wales and open new possibilities for future deals with Japan.
We also saw the signing of the Cardiff City Region Deal and Swansea Bay Region City Deal bringing in millions of pounds of investment and creating thousands of jobs, helping provide real opportunities for growth and prosperity in Wales.
We have also announced the abolition of Severn tolls which is a vital investment artery into Wales which will boost the economy of South Wales by around £100 million a year.
We are now engaged in another historic mission which will see the UK leave the European Union and start the process of bringing a range of new powers back from Brussels to UK shores.
I have been clear that throughout this process we will negotiate as one United Kingdom, taking due account of the specific interests of every nation and region of the UK.
I will continue to engage with the devolved administrations as we seek a deal that secures the specific interests of the people and governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as those of all parts of England.
Wales will always have a voice at the negotiating table.