House of Commons Library

Welsh Affairs - annual debate on 19 March 2018

Published Thursday, March 15, 2018

A general debate on Welsh Affairs is held each year in the Commons Chamber on, or around, St David’s Day. Since 2010, the Backbench Business Committee has allocated time for the annual debate from its 35 allotted days.

The debate was originally scheduled for 1 March but, following heavy snow, was cancelled at the request of Welsh Members to allow MPs to travel home safely.

There will be no debate pack for this wide-ranging debate but the following links may be helpful.

Previous Debates

Last year’s debate on 2 March 2017 raised a range of issues including: the digital economy; higher education; transport and energy infrastructure; the Cardiff capital region city deal; tourism; and the joint ministerial committee and repatriation of EU powers to the UK. The motion was moved by Albert Owen with Alun Cairns, the Secretary of State for Wales, responding.

The 2016 debate on 3 March highlighted the First Report from the Welsh Affairs Committee, on Pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Wales Bill, [HC449]. The motion was moved by Stephen Kinnock. Alun Cairns, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, responded.

Welsh Grand Committee

Autumn Budget as it relates to Wales, 7 Feb 2018. The Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, opened the Welsh Grand Committee debate in the House of Commons in Welsh for the first time. Previously, MPs could only speak Welsh in the Welsh Affairs Select Committee.

Westminster Hall debates on Welsh matters

 

The Wales Act

The Wales Act was drawn up to give effect to the Government's policy of establishing a 'reserved powers' model for devolution in Wales. This arose from the second report of the Silk Commission, Empowerment and Responsibility: Legislative Powers to Strengthen Wales, published in March 2014. The Act received Royal Assent on 31 January 2017.

The Wales Act 2017 page on the Parliament website provides links to the debates in both Houses of Parliament. Follow the link to All Bill documents and scroll down for all the House of Commons Library and House of Lords Library briefings on the Act.

Commons Library briefings

Civil Law

Civil Legal Aid: England & Wales, Scotland and N Ireland compared, Jun 2016

  • The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) made significant changes to the operation of the civil legal aid scheme in England and Wales, both reducing the scope of civil legal aid and changing the financial eligibility criteria.

Constitution

Brexit: devolved legislature business, A record of Brexit-related business in the devolved legislatures, updated each Monday, Feb 2017. The paper includes a link to:

Legislating for Brexit: the Great Repeal Bill, Feb 2017

  • If the Great Repeal Bill transposes all directly applicable EU law (leaving aside some items that cannot be carried over for logical reasons) it could effectively implement a range of provisions that are within devolved competence (e.g. agriculture). This would require consent from the devolved legislatures, so long as the Sewel Convention is respected. An alternative approach would be to restrict the Bill to reserved matters and leave the devolved legislatures to create their own continuation Bills. The Secretary of State for Scotland has suggested that a legislative consent motion would be sought for the Great Repeal Bill.
    (See Section 6 of the briefing for more information.)

European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, Jan 2017

  • The Supreme Court decided unanimously in the Miller case that the devolved legislatures do not have a legal power to block the Government from triggering Article 50. The Government has said the current Bill does not require a legislative consent motion.

Economy

Regional and national economic indicators, Feb 2017

  • Data summarising the economic situation around the UK. See section 11 for Wales.

Regional and local economic growth statistics

  • Overview of annual statistics on the economies of the UK including local areas. The landing page for this briefing links to an interactive spreadsheet of data for local areas.

Housing

Comparison of homelessness duties in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Dec 2016

  • Comparison of the legal duties to tackle homelessness and assist people presenting as homeless in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland. In this devolved policy area, increasingly divergent approaches are emerging from the four nations.

Comparing private rented sector policies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Aug 2016

  • Housing is a devolved matter; policy approaches to the private rented sector in the devolved administrations are showing some significant divergences. Both Scotland and Wales have introduced legislation to implement a new framework for the sector.

Comparing the Right to Buy in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Jul 2016

  • The Welsh Government has decided to abolish the Right to Buy. The Legislative Programme for 2016-17 announced that a Bill to abolish the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire will be introduced during the current session.

Transport

Transport in Wales, Jul 2016

  • An overview of those transport areas that are reserved to the UK Parliament; those which are devolved to Wales and proposals by the Silk Commission and in the Wales Bill to devolve further powers.

Welsh Affairs Committee 

Current Welsh Affairs Committee Inquiries:

Prison provision in Wales. Inquiry announced 15 January 2018. Written submissions are still being accepted.

  • Oral evidence given by David Fraser, author and former Senior Probation Officer, Dr Caroline Hughes, Senior Lecturer, Wrexham Glyndwr University, Dr Robert Jones, Lecturer, University of South Wales, and Dr Alyson Rees, Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University; Frances Crook OBE, Chief Executive, The Howard League for Penal Reform, Dr Thomas Guiney, Senior Programme Manager, Prison Reform Trust, and Dr Kate Paradine, Chief Executive, Women in Prison. HC 742 | Evidence heard on 27 February 2018 To be published.

Responsibilities of the Secretary of State for Wales. (The Committee questions the Secretary of State for Wales on a wide range of issues affecting Wales.)

  • Oral evidence given by Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP, Secretary of State for Wales, Guto Bebb MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office. HC 680 | Published 19 January 2018

Brexit: Agriculture, Trade and the repatriation of powers. Inquiry announced 21 September 2017.

  • Oral evidence given by Professor Richard Rawlings, University College London. HC 402 | Published 20 Oct 2017
    • Oral evidence given by Jo Hunt, Reader in Law, Cardiff University, Viviane Gravey, Lecturer, Queen's University Belfast, Nerys Llewelyn Jones, Managing Partner, Agri Advisor Legal LLP. HC 402 | Published 31 Oct 2017
    • Oral evidence given by John Davies, Deputy President, NFU Cymru, Huw Thomas, Political Adviser, NFU Cymru, Glyn Roberts, President, Farmers Union of Wales, Dr Nick Fenwick, Head of Policy, Farmers Union of Wales. HC 402 | Published 15 Dec 2017
    • Oral evidence given by Gwyn Howells, Chief Executive, Hybu Cig Cymru, David Swales, Head of Strategic Insight, Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board HC 402 | Published 12 Jan 2018
    • Oral evidence given by Chris Yarsley, Policy Manager, Freight Transport Association, Mark Simmonds, Policy Manager, British Ports Association, Hans Noren, Chairman, and Captain Wyn Parry, Operations Manager Irish Sea South, Stena Line UK. HC 402 | Published 02 Feb 2018
    • Oral evidence given by Jill Rutter, Programme Director, and Joe Owen, Senior Researcher, Institute for Government; Professor James Foreman-Peck, Head of the Economics Section, and Professor Patrick Minford, Professor of Applied Economics, Cardiff Business School. HC 402 | Published 21 Feb 2018

Commons Debate packs CDP-2018-0045

Author: Sarah Priddy

Topic: National Assembly for Wales

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