The UK Government publishes its evidence to the Silk Commission - which looks at the potential for further Welsh powers. It makes no specific proposals for change, but highlights potential problems with devolving policing and non-nuclear energy.
Plaid Cymru's Westminster leader, Elfyn Llwyd MP, has responded to the UK Government's submission to the Silk Commission by criticising what he's calling the lack of depth and direction to the 114 page document.
This is a very disappointing submission which clearly shows that the UK Government has little interest in securing a stronger , more efficient devolution settlement for Wales.
It offers no real ambition or vision for our nation.
This is further evidence that the UK Government is completely out of touch with public opinion given the consecutive polls in Wales have shown a growing appetite for greater autonomy.The evidence also reveals the lack of consensus between the ConDems in Westminster and their colleagues in Cardiff who are completely undermined by today's publication
– Plaid Cymru 's Westminster leader, Elfyn Llwyd MP
The MP went on to say;
We now wait with much anticipation to hear whether Labour MP's from Wales are willing to endorse the Welsh Government's submission.
In start contrast to the Unionist discord, Plaid Cymru's submission to the Silk Commission makes a united and convincing case for a fairer and more robust devolution settlement.
We fully support the transfer of powers in all- important fields such as justice and policing, energy generation, broadcasting and transport in order to deliver greater transparency and accountability in a better Wales.
– Plaid Cymru 's Westminster leader, Elfyn Llwyd MP
The UK Government has released its evidence to the Silk Commission that's looking at the potential for further devolution to the Welsh Government and Assembly. It's provided a very detailed description of the current devolution settlement but makes no specific proposals for change.
However it does make frequent reference to the advantages of the current settlement and the potential problems of going further. This is particularly noticeable in the case of two major areas where the Welsh Government has asked for a transfer of power, non-nuclear energy and policing.
Given the nature of energy policy, which involves matters of national importance reaching across Great Britain and the UK, ... the management and strategic direction of energy policy is determined by the UK Government. Our domestic goals require major investment in energy infrastructure - much of that investment will be sourced internationally - and a consistent framework for energy policy attracts potential investors to our energy industry.
Overall, the current [policing] arrangements work well. There are four key points to bear in mind in considering the devolution boundary for policing. They are:
A. Policing is inextricably linked with the criminal justice system.
B. Existing governance and partnership arrangements provide a significant level of integration and autonomy.
C. There are cost and complexity issues with separating out national structures and arrangements.
D: The Strategic Policing Requirement and the management of national threats.
– UK Government evidence to the Silk Commission
The Commission will report in early 2014. The Welsh Secretary, David Jones, argues that having set up the Silk Commission, the UK Government should not tell it what its findings should be. Eventually ministers will have to decide whether to accept its recommendations.
The next stage of the Silk Commission has the potential to make an important contribution to ensuring a firm foundation for the longer-term governance of Wales within the United Kingdom.The UK Government’s evidence provides the Silk Commission with a thorough and objective analysis of the Welsh devolution settlement which, I hope, the Commission will find useful as it undertakes its work. I look forward to the Commission’s findings early next year.”
The UK Government is expected to reveal later if it's willing to look at giving more powers to the Welsh Government and Assembly. It's due to publish the evidence it's submitted to the Silk Commission on the Constitution, set up by the Wales Office to look at the future of devolution.
The Commission has already made radical proposals for devolving taxation and borrowing powers and is now looking at whether responsibility in other areas still controlled by central government should be transferred to Cardiff Bay.
The Welsh Government has already called for a major shift in power. Control of the police and non-nuclear energy are at the top of its agenda but Carwyn Jones wants the courts and prisons to eventually be transferred as well.
Both Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats want to go further and faster but the Welsh Conservatives have said that the case for devolving control of the police and criminal justice has been made.
They have asked for the devolution of energy policy and broadcasting and for the Assembly to get the right to make St David's Day a public holiday.
When the UK Government's position is revealed, attention is likely to focus on what it's prepared to offer on energy and on policing and other areas currently controlled by the Home Office.