The proposed amendment of Schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Act 2006 - Welsh Affairs Committee Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

1.  The Government is right to ensure that Schedule 7 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 is amended in advance of the referendum on the transfer of powers to the National Assembly for Wales. It should be clear to Parliament, the National Assembly and the people of Wales what powers the National Assembly for Wales will be able to exercise if the electorate votes "Yes" in the referendum. (Paragraph 21)

2.  Were it to be put into effect, Schedule 7, as amended, would confer broader powers on the National Assembly for Wales than currently exercised under Schedule 5. We have identified no immediate need for any further protection of the current legislative competence of the National Assembly. (Paragraph 31)

3.  We note that the Government has not used this opportunity to define more clearly the powers of Ministers in relation to the National Assembly for Wales on the grounds of time and cost. However, we also note that there would be scope for the National Assembly to legislate on the powers of Ministers of the Crown in certain circumstances, with and sometimes without the consent of the Secretary of State. (Paragraph 34)

4.  The Devolution Guidance notes, which set out the working arrangements between the UK Government and the devolved administrations, are key to the administrative and the constitutional relationship between the administration in Cardiff and the UK Government. Clearly, these constitutional arrangements would have to be changed if there were a "Yes" vote in the referendum in March 2011. We recommend that in those circumstances, the Welsh Affairs Committee be consulted during the process of the revision of these documents. (Paragraph 38)

5.  The Government has made clear that the Welsh Affairs Committee will be consulted on how requests from the National Assembly for Wales should be dealt with in the event of Schedule 7 coming into effect following a "Yes" vote in a referendum. We consider that any future conferral of legislative power on the National Assembly should have the consent of both Parliament and the Assembly itself, whatever means is used to achieve that end. (Paragraph 45)

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