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Draft Wales Bill

Volume 600: debated on Tuesday 20 October 2015

I am pleased today to publish the draft Wales Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny.

The draft Bill sets out the Government’s plans for a stronger, clearer and fairer devolution settlement for Wales that will stand the test of time. 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 (CM 9020), published in February.

The key measures include a new reserved powers model for Welsh devolution, similar to the one which currently operates in Scotland, providing a clear and complete boundary between devolved and reserved subjects. 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 new devolution settlement provided for in the draft Bill will create a stronger Wales within a strong United Kingdom. It will work better for the people of Wales and allow more time for the Welsh Government to focus on delivering growth, jobs and better public services.

I am grateful to the Welsh Affairs Committee for agreeing to undertake pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Bill and I look forward to receiving their report. The Government will continue discussions with the Welsh Government on the detail of the reserved powers model alongside pre-legislative scrutiny. It is vital that we deliver a robust new devolution settlement that works for the people of Wales.