Secretary of State for Wales, Cheryl Gillan has today met with members of the Commission on Devolution in Wales to hear first hand about the progress being made on reviewing the present financial and constitutional arrangements in Wales.
The Commission on Welsh Devolution, known as the ‘Silk Commission’, was launched by Mrs Gillan in October 2011.
The first part of their work looks at the financial accountability of the National Assembly for Wales.
Today, the Chair, Paul Silk and other members of the Commission took the opportunity to update the Welsh Secretary on their work to date, including taking into account the various engagement events held across the length and breadth of Wales, the ICM opinion poll published this week, and the written evidence received from the public.
The findings of part one of the Silk Commission’s work will be reported in the late autumn of 2012. The findings of the second part, when the Commission will look at the powers of the Assembly and recommend modifications to the present constitutional arrangements, should be published in 2014.
Speaking after today’s meeting, Mrs Gillan said:
“It is encouraging to hear the promising progress that the Commissioners have made during part one of their work. Seeking to improve the financial accountability of the Assembly and the Welsh Government has been a critical part of the Silk Commission’s remit.
“It was particularly interesting to hear about the outcome of the events that have been held across Wales and successful efforts to engage the general public in discussions about the issues of devolving tax and borrowing powers to the Assembly.
“In 2013, the Commission will turn its attention to the second part of its remit, looking at the powers of the Assembly and establishing whether to recommend modifications to the present constitutional arrangements that would enable the Welsh devolution settlement to work more effectively.
“The recommendations which the Commission makes in both aspects of its work will need to have a wide degree of support and I look forward to seeing the final findings in due course.”
Paul Silk, Chair of the Commission said:
“Today’s meeting was an opportunity to update the Secretary of State on the progress of our work on Part I of our remit and discuss the evidence we have heard to date. This week we are also holding meetings with the First Minister and all opposition party leaders in the Assembly and will be in front of the Assembly’s finance committee tomorrow to discuss their recent report on borrowing powers. These meetings are vitally important as we progress towards the launch of our report later this year.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
- The Commission is chaired by Paul Silk, and is known as the ‘Silk Commission’. Paul is a former clerk to the National Assembly for Wales.
- Paul is part of a strong Commission team. He is joined by two independent members. They are:
- Dyfrig John CBE, Chairman of the Principality Building Society and a former Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive of HSBC Bank; and
- Professor Nick Bourne, the Welsh Conservative nominee, and former leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Assembly;
- Sue Essex, the Welsh Labour nominee, and a former Welsh Assembly Government Minister;
- Rob Humphreys, the Welsh Liberal Democrats nominee, and Director for the Open University in Wales; and
- Dr Eurfyl ap Gwilym, the Plaid Cymru nominee, and a former Deputy Chairman of the Principality Building Society.