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Plaid Cymru calls for the transfer of significant powers to Wales

25/02/2013

No Delay, No Ambiguity: Plaid’s evidence to Silk shows leadership

Plaid Cymru has called for the transfer of significant powers to the Welsh Government without undue delay in written evidence submitted today to the Silk Commission for their second report.

In the evidence, Plaid Cymru makes the case for devolving a wide range of powers which will improve Wales, make the devolution settlement work better, make it more robust, and put more powers in the hands of the people of Wales.

You can see the full submission here.

Plaid Cymru calls for substantial powers over policing and criminal justice, natural resources and energy, the Crown Estate and transport, including rail infrastructure and broadcasting. Much of what the party calls for can be achieved without the need for new legislation.

However new legislation will be needed to move to the reserved powers model similar to what exists in Scotland. This would clarify the devolution settlement, and drastically reduce the prospect of legal challenges and will mean increased accountability, transparency and efficiency.

Plaid Cymru is also calling for powers over broadcasting, the Food Standards Agency in Wales, electoral arrangements and job search functions such as JobCentre Plus. The party’s submission goes on to make the case for a National Public Service across the public sector in Wales.

Constitution spokesperson, and former party leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones AM said:

“Plaid Cymru is putting forward a comprehensive, reasonable and realistic proposal for the development of Welsh democracy. We believe that having these powers in Wales will make the devolution settlement work better and ensure that the Welsh Government will be more accountable to the people of Wales.

“Plaid Cymru has long made the argument for the transfer of powers over criminal justice, energy and broadcasting to the Welsh Government. It is in the Welsh national interest for decisions on these to be made in Wales, particularly for a Welsh way of policing and justice, environmental sustainable development and ending the democratic deficit in the Welsh media.

“Other powers should be transferred because they are a better fit with those powers already employed by the Welsh Government. Powers over JobCentre Plus and jobsearch functions, for example, fit well with the Welsh Government’s economic powers and proposals in the Silk Commission’s first report. It makes similar sense to transfer the Food Standards Agency, as responsibility for food is with the Welsh Government and tidying-up issues related to transport, including rail infrastructure.”

Plaid Cymru leader at Westminster, Elfyn Llwyd MP, said:

“There must be greater consistency in the devolution settlement. The reserved powers model in both Scotland and Northern Ireland should be adopted in Wales to provide greater clarity for where powers lie, rather than the current opaque system. This will increase efficiency and accountability for the Welsh Government.

“Now that Wales makes its own laws, there is an obvious need for a Welsh legal jurisdiction to reflect this, and this should be introduced quickly, followed by Welsh policing and criminal justice powers. Scotland and Northern Ireland both have these powers. In the case of Northern Ireland these were only recently transferred – and they were done so quickly with few problems. The costs currently incurred by the UK Government on justice should be transferred to the Welsh Government. In Scotland the justice costs per head are lower than in England and Wales showing that a devolved system cannot just be right, but cheaper as well.

“As there is no good reason to delay these proposals we should have a Government of Wales Act as soon as practicable so that the next Welsh Government can use these powers for the benefit of the people of Wales.”