The Welsh Affairs Committee will undertake pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Wales Bill in January 2014.
The Government published the draft Wales Bill on 18 December 2013. The Bill primarily intends to enact UK Government policy in two areas:
Devolution of taxation and borrowing powers
Following the Government’s acceptance of the majority of the recommendations of the Silk Commission, the draft Bill provides for:
- Partial devolution of income tax, and full devolution of stamp duty land tax, landfill tax, business rates and other smaller taxes to the National Assembly for Wales and Welsh Government;
- The power for the National Assembly for Wales to be able to trigger a referendum on the devolution of income tax.
- Increased capital borrowing powers for the Welsh Government.
National Assembly for Wales electoral arrangements
- Move the National Assembly for Wales from four to five year fixed terms;
- Restore the right for candidates to stand on both a constituency and regional list during Assembly elections;
- Ensure Assembly Members cannot be MPs at the same time.
Interested parties are invited to consider:
- Are the Government’s proposals, as set out in the draft Bill, in respect of both financial devolution and the National Assembly’s electoral arrangements sound? If not, how could the draft Bill be improved?
- Do the provisions of the draft Wales Bill deliver the policy intentions of the UK Government? Could the wording of the draft Bill be improved or changed?
The Committee particularly welcomes suggestions of specific amendments or modifications to clauses in the Bill.
Interested parties are invited to keep to a word limit of 3,000 words and to focus on key areas that the Committee should investigate during its inquiry. There is no need to address all issues raised in the Bill. The deadline for submissions is Thursday 16 January 2014 although, given the short timescales of pre-legislative scrutiny, it would be helpful to submit written evidence before that date if possible.
The Committee will begin taking oral evidence on Tuesday 14 January 2014. The Committee intends to report in late March 2014. The Government intends to introduce the proper Bill in the 2014-15 Session.