Time for Wales to have 'a full Parliament' with tax powers says Welsh Secretary

Stephen Crabb to deliver his first speech to Assembly members Photo:

The Welsh Secretary will call for the Assembly to become 'a full Parliament with tax raising powers' when he speaks in the Senedd later. He'll call for politicians to end the 'continuous debate about powers' and instead focus on 'delivery and real change.' But the UK Government's plans for Wales have been criticised as 'second rate' by Plaid Cymru.

Stephen Crabb's first speech to AMs could also be one of the last because he's expected to announce that the Wales Bill will abolish 'the outdated requirement for the Secretary of State to address the Assembly and hold a seat in the chamber.'

A seat is available in the Senedd chamber for whomever occupies the rôle of Welsh Secretary although traditionally they've only used it to update AMs on the Queen's Speech.

When he appears in the chamber later, Mr Crabb will tell AMs that 'devolution is not an endless journey' and that 'it is time for the 16-year continuous debate about powers to end and for the Welsh Assembly to become a full Parliament.'

I firmly believe the Welsh public are hungry for us to move forwards as a nation. For this place to become a true forum of debate, the articulator of our national ambition….not a vehicle for a never-ending conversation about more powers.

We are embarking upon a fundamental re-writing of the devolution settlement, the most far reaching and significant package of powers ever devolved to Wales. It is now time that the Welsh Government demonstrates its commitment to becoming a full and accountable legislature, by making progress on the income tax raising powers that are available to it. The time has come to put the endless sclerotic debates about powers behind us and focus on how the new Welsh Parliament can generate growth, champion innovation, increase productivity and deliver better public services. That is what people in Wales want and that is what they deserve.

– Stephen Crabb MP, Secretary of State for Wales

The UK Government's plans will be set out in a Wales Bill which is due to be published in the autumn. The proposals will be based on those agreed in cross-party talks known as the St. David's Day agreement. You can find details of what was agreed by clicking here.

But while Stephen Crabb calls the Wales Bill a 'fundamental rewriting of the devolution settlement,' others are more suspicious.

The First Minister has criticised the lack of detail and the lack of talks between the two governments over what could be included. He's also warned that the Assembly has the power to veto any plans that AMs don't believe are in the best interests of Wales.

Plaid Cymru calls the UK Government's proposals a 'package that treats Wales as second rate.'

Leader Leanne Wood says the indications are that the Bill will 'fall short of what the people of Wales expect and deserve.'

If the devolution dispensation is to last, it must reflect the will of the people and respect Wales as an equal partner in this Union. Any devolution package that treats Wales as second rate is destined to fail.

I’m afraid that if the St David’s Day Command Paper forms the basis of the Wales Bill, it has already failed the test of time. It leaves Wales languishing behind Scotland and Northern Ireland and will continue to leave Wales worse off in terms of funding.

– Leanne Wood AM, Plaid Cymru Leader

Stephen Crabb will make his comments in a debate in the Senedd chamber on the Queen's Speech which is due to begin at around 2.15pm.