The UK Government has today (3 March 2014) welcomed the publication of the report by the Commission on Devolution in Wales (the ‘Silk Commission’) which sets out clear recommendations for the future of devolution in Wales.
The report has examined the powers of the National Assembly for Wales and makes 61 recommendations for changes to the current devolution settlement.
The publication of today’s Part II report concludes the work of the Silk Commission which was established by the Wales Office in 2011 to review the present financial and constitutional arrangements in Wales.
The UK Government will now consider in full the recommendations and their implications.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
I am proud of this Government’s record in delivering for Wales and bringing further devolution. The tax and borrowing powers we are devolving will give the Welsh Assembly and Welsh Government additional means to help generate economic growth and today’s report makes recommendations that propose a new course for the future.
I know that the Secretary of State for Wales, and colleagues from across Government, will give careful thought to each of the recommendations made.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said:
One of my top priorities is to ensure the devolution of power away from Westminster. It is one of the Coalition’s proudest achievements, and is absolutely vital if we are to continue building a strong economy in a fair society for Wales.
Paul Silk and the Commission deserve the thanks and congratulations of Wales and the rest of the UK for the serious and important work they have done. We have been unambiguous in our willingness to turn their first set of recommendations into action, as the recently scrutinised Draft Wales Bill demonstrated.
The proposed measures in that could mean big changes for everyone in Wales: more local decisions over how your taxes are spent, more powers over how much Wales borrows and more importantly, more decisions about Wales made by the people of Wales. I now welcome this second report which offers a way forward to advance devolution.
Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones said:
This Government has consistently reaffirmed its clear commitment to devolution, and we warmly welcome the Commission’s second report which sets out its recommendations for making devolution in Wales work better.
The report raises crucially important questions about the future governance of Wales within the United Kingdom. Therefore, it is only right that we now take the time to consider in full each of the recommendations and their implications.
We will consider implementing some of the changes the Commission has recommended during this Parliament. But there is insufficient time remaining in this Parliament to implement any changes that require primary legislation.
These will therefore be a matter for the next Government and Parliament, and for political parties to set out their proposals and intentions to the electorate ahead of the General Election in 2015.
Wales Office Minister, Baroness Jenny Randerson said:
Devolution in Wales is a journey and the report includes recommendations from across Wales as to what the next steps in that journey might be. We look forward to reviewing the recommendations and thank the Commission for the time and dedication it has invested in bringing this report to fruition.
The Commission reported on Part I of its remit in November 2012 recommending the devolution of fiscal powers to the National Assembly. The Government is implementing almost all of the recommendations made within that report, and will bring forward a Wales Bill to devolve tax and borrowing powers to Wales as soon as parliamentary time allows.
Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones added:
The publication of today’s report brings to a conclusion over two years of hard work by the Commission, under the leadership of Paul Silk.
They have produced two thorough, well researched reports which document the views and opinions of people across Wales, and will be recorded as important contributions to the development of devolution in Wales. I would like to pay tribute to all of those who have served on the Commission and their dedication to delivering their remit.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Silk Commission’s Part II report is available on its website
The Silk Commission was set up in 2011 and the terms of reference were agreed by all four political parties in the Assembly. A copy of the terms of reference can be found here