A new chapter in Welsh devolution was launched as the Wales Bill received Royal Assent.
The Wales Act 2017:
- Introduces a new reserved powers model of devolution for Wales. The National Assembly will be able to legislate on anything not reserved to the UK Parliament.
- Devolves powers to the National Assembly and Welsh Government in areas including consenting for new energy projects, fracking, sewerage, teachers’ pay, licensing gaming machines in new premises, speed limits, pedestrian crossings and traffic signs.
- Provides a comprehensive package of water and sewerage devolution.
- Opens the door for the Welsh Rates of Income Tax to come on stream.
- Enables the National Assembly to change its name and take control of its own affairs.
- Devolves control of National Assembly elections and local government elections in Wales.
Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, said:
“The Wales Act 2017 delivers what I’ve always intended – a clearer, stronger and fairer devolution settlement for Wales based on a reserved powers model.
The provisions in this Act will make a real difference to the lives of everyone living in Wales. The powers being devolved to the National Assembly and Welsh Ministers have a real purpose and will enable them to decide the speed limits on Welsh roads; whether fracking should take place in Wales and how new gaming machines should be licensed.
With more powers, comes more responsibility. The new Welsh rates of income tax will make the Welsh Government more accountable to the people of Wales for the money they spend and doubling capital borrowing to £1bn will help the Welsh Government to invest in infrastructure.
This truly marks the coming of age of Welsh devolution. I will be working closely with the National Assembly and the Welsh Government in the coming months on plans to bring the new Welsh devolution settlement into force.”