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Draft Government and Laws in Wales Bill

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The draft bill sets out the Welsh Government’s vision for coherent, clear and stable governance of Wales within the UK.

Its purpose is to demonstrate what is needed in order to establish a long lasting system of government and bring the debate on Wales’ constitutional arrangements to an end.


When the National Assembly for Wales was created in 1999, its powers were generally limited to those previously held by the Secretary of State for Wales. These powers had developed in a piecemeal way since the 1960s, as responsibility for certain areas such as health and education transferred to the Welsh Office.

While the National Assembly now has full law-making powers in certain areas, the scope of these powers is still largely based on decisions taken more than 50 years ago.

Devolution in Wales has developed incrementally, without any firm guiding constitutional principles. Our draft bill aims to remedy that.

The alternative Wales Bill

The draft Government and Laws in Wales Bill would:

  • introduce a ‘reserved powers model’ of devolution, but with substantially fewer matters reserved to the UK Parliament than proposed in the UK government’s draft Wales Bill
  • introduce a further category of ‘deferred’ matters to be devolved after 2026, including policing, civil and criminal law and the administration of justice as proposed by the Silk Commission
  • create a distinct legal jurisdiction for Wales with England and Wales initially sharing judiciary and courts services
  • remove the Secretary of State for Wales’ veto on National Assembly legislation
  • expand the scope of Welsh Ministers’ powers so that they better match the National Assembly’s competence to pass laws
  • partially devolve income tax if two-thirds of the National Assembly vote in favour
  • transfer responsibility for Air Passenger Duty and the aggregates levy to the National Assembly
  • consolidate existing legislation on Wales’ devolution settlement into one place.

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