UK Govt's Welsh powers views

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.

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  1. Nick Powell

UK Government highlights problems with more devolution

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.”

– Welsh Secretary David Jones MP

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