This House of Commons Library briefing paper provides a high-level overview of recent changes to social security provision in Northern Ireland and Scotland, including the devolution of significant welfare powers, and analyses how this has affected the structure of the UK social security system as a whole.
There is no debate pack for this debate but links to relevant briefings are provided below.
The first debate specifically set aside for discussion of “Welsh affairs” in the House of Commons took place almost 75 years ago on 17 October 1944.
That debate was led by Megan Lloyd George, the Liberal MP for Anglesey, who considered the debate “somewhat overdue”. She said:
- We welcome this Debate as a recognition of the distinctive problems and needs of Wales, not as an area, not as a part of England, but as a nation with a living language of its own, with hundreds of years of history behind it, and with its own culture.
Not all Welsh Members supported the idea of a dedicated debate. Aneurin Bevan, the Labour MP for Ebbw Vale, said that while Wales had “a special place, a special individuality, a special culture and special claims”, he did not think “this is the place where any of them can properly be considered”:
- There may be an argument—I think there is an argument—for considerable devolution of government, but there is no need for a special day in Parliament and this Debate has demonstrated it completely. Do not let us indulge in the humbug that this Debate to-day has had the slightest relevance to any important Welsh problem.
Last year’s debate was originally scheduled for 1 March but, following heavy snow, was cancelled at the request of Welsh Members to allow MPs to travel home safely. The Government found time for the debate to be rescheduled on 19 March 2018. The motion was moved by The Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, with Christina Rees responding.
The Wales Act
On 1 April 2018, the “reserved powers” model of devolution – similar to that in Scotland and Northern Ireland – came into effect under the Wales Act 2017. The same day, devolved control over Stamp Duty (subsequently replaced with a Land Transaction Tax), business rates and landfill tax took effect under the Wales Act 2014.
On 1 April 2019, the UK Government will reduce the basic, higher and additional rates of income tax paid by Welsh taxpayers by 10% because the Wales Act 2017 transferred partial control of income tax to Wales. The National Assembly has already agreed the proposed Welsh rates of income tax for 2019-20, which means there will be no change to overall income tax rates.
Commons Library briefings
Brexit: devolved legislature business, A record of Brexit-related business in the devolved legislatures, updated each Monday. The paper includes a links to statements made by Ministers in the Welsh Assembly. On 19 February 2019, First Minister Mark Drakeford made an Oral Statement on the Latest developments in the UK Government’s Brexit Negotiations.
- How the legislative consent convention works in the context of Brexit and devolution.
- An overview of the attempts of the Joint Ministerial Committee on European Negotiations to agree changes to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill to gain legislative consent from the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales.
It is nearly 20 years since the National Assembly for Wales was first elected in May 1999. The Commons Library briefing paper, “A process, not an event”: Devolution in Wales, 1998-2018, summarises the main developments over the past two decades.
In September 2017, the then First Minister Carwyn Jones established a Commission on Justice in Wales to review the operation of the justice system in Wales, including the prospect of a separate jurisdiction (which did not form part of the Wales Act 2017). It is scheduled to report in 2019.
- Data summarising the economic situation around the UK. See section 11 for Wales.
Welsh Affairs Committee
Current Welsh Affairs Committee Inquiries
Responsibilities of the Secretary of State for Wales (The Committee questions the Secretary of State for Wales on a wide range of issues affecting Wales.) 04 Sep 2018 – Responsibilities of the Secretary of State for Wales – oral evidence | PDF version (331 KB)
Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station – Inquiry announced 7 February 2019
Renewable energy in Wales – Inquiry announced 23 July 2018
Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon– Inquiry announced 09 May 2018
Prison provision in Wales – Inquiry announced 15 January 2018
Brexit, trade and customs: implications for Wales – Inquiry announced 2018
S4C review – Inquiry announced 03 July 2018
Devolution of Air Passenger Duty to Wales – Inquiry announced 08 January 2019
Recent Westminster Hall debates on Welsh matters
- Protection of Welsh Speakers from Defamation, HC Deb c331-339WH
- Water industry (future of the water industry in England and Wales), HC Deb 22 Jan 2019 cc51-75WH
- Shared Prosperity Fund: Wales, HC Deb 14 Nov 2018 cc158-176WH
- M4 Upgrading: South Wales, 14 Nov 2018 cc158-176WH
Having left the EU, the government is setting up for an independent UK state aid or ‘subsidy control’ regime, based on WTO rules. This briefing sets out the background of the new approach and the negotiations on state aid with the EU.
This is a reading list of publications on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and future UK-EU relations from library, research services and committees of the UK and devolved parliaments and assemblies.