New powers for Wales in St David's Day devolution deal

David Cameron and Nick Clegg made the announcement at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

David Cameron and Nick Clegg have unveiled proposals for a range of new powers for the Welsh Government and National Assembly as part of the UK Government's St David's Day devolution agreement.

The funding measures involve introducing a limit, or 'funding floor', to the Barnett formula used to work out how much funding the Welsh Government gets - to ensure fairer funding for Wales.

Additional powers over energy, transport, the environment and elections have also been announced.

The agreement says the National Assembly should be able to lower the voting age to 16 for Assembly elections, set its own speed limits and have control over fracking, sewerage, ports and taxi and bus regulation.

It was also agreed that the National Assembly should be formally recognised as a permanent institution and have control over its own affairs, including the power to change its name if it wishes.

In addition, it says that Wales should move to a “reserved powers model” – in line with the model in Scotland - where it's assumed that the Assembly has full control over all devolved areas.

Wales' ministers must agree before a referendum can go ahead.

The framework's recommendations include:

  • Energy projects up to 350megawatts should be decided by Welsh Ministers. This would include most onshore wind farms and renewable technologies to harness tidal power

  • The National Assembly should have powers over the development of ports to improve Wales’s transport infrastructure.

  • The National Assembly should have the power to lower the voting age to 16 for Assembly elections. The Assembly already has the power to lower the voting age to 16 for a referendum on devolving income tax powers.

  • All powers relating to Assembly and local government elections should be devolved. This includes deciding the electoral system, the number of constituencies, their boundaries, the timing of elections and the conduct of the elections themselves.

  • Welsh Ministers should have the power to appoint one member of the Ofcom board to represent Welsh interests.

  • A review should be carried out of Air Passenger Duty which could open the door for it to be devolved to Wales.

The announcement follows months of talks between the leaders of the four different parties at Parliamentary and Assembly levels.

The Prime Minister said the St David's Day agreement "represents one of the biggest transfers of power in the history of Welsh devolution".

Nick Clegg said today's agreement is another step towards "a fairer, stronger Britain".

Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb said it was "a strong package that creates the foundations for a stronger, fairer, lasting devolution settlement for Wales".

Read: First Minister says devolution deal is 'rushed' and 'unsatisfactory'

Read: St David's Day devolution deal due