Devolution: Do we want further powers? A debate


by George Cook

Wales has had its own Assembly in Cardiff since the successful devolution referendum in 1997, yet the settlement has proved to be rather incomplete, resulting in an evolutionary process in comparison to the original settlement.

After the Richard Commission in 2006, separating legislative and executive powers, the Welsh Assembly did manage to achieve some more useful functions in terms of law making. Despite this, more powers need to be devolved, in order to give the Welsh Government more autonomy and control over policy direction and social issues.

Although it is anticipated the Assembly will eventually receive taxation powers like Scotland, they are yet to be included in the current arrangement. This is a significant limitation due to the limited amount of money the Welsh Government currently has available to spend. If they had powers to increase taxation, extra money could be made available to spend on vital services.

Furthermore, due to much higher levels of unemployment in many parts of Wales, more control over services available and employment opportunities would be of huge benefit to all regions.

Once again, much of the modern and most recent discussions regarding devolution come down one thing: Brexit (like almost everything since the referendum last year). The powers that are currently possessed by the European Union, especially some farming measures, will be of better use in the hands of people in Wales than those in Westminster, who many believe are disconnected from the lives of ordinary Welsh communities.