Draft Wales Bill published

23 October 2015

The draft Wales Bill has been published with proposals to create a new Welsh devolution system, moving to a reserved powers model similar to the one which currently operates in Scotland, providing a clear and complete boundary between devolved and reserved subjects.

The draft Bill sets out the government’s plans for a stronger, clearer and fairer devolution settlement for Wales. It implements the commitments made in the St David's Day Agreement and set out in the Command Paper Powers for a Purpose: Towards a lasting devolution settlement for Wales, published in February 2015. The Command Paper stated that in order to empower the Welsh Government to deliver for the people of Wales, they will introduce a floor in the level of relative funding provided to the Welsh Government with the expectation that the Welsh Government will call a referendum on income tax powers in the next Parliament.

The Wales Act 2014 gained Royal Assent in December 2014. Amongst a range of other non-fiscal measures, section 13 enables the Welsh Assembly to trigger a referendum on the devolution of some income tax. What we don’t yet have news of is whether there will be a referendum.

The draft Bill devolves important new powers for Wales in areas such as energy, transport and local government and Assembly elections. It also provides greater powers to the Assembly over its own affairs, including the ability to change its name.

The draft Wales Bill is open to consultation before a final version is published in February 2016.

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