Wales politics

Welsh assembly: Tories call for energy and broadcasting to be devolved

Andrew RT Davies
Image caption Andrew RT Davies said the case has not been made to devolve policing to Wales

The Conservatives have called for powers over energy, broadcasting and public holidays to be devolved.

It came in a submission to the Silk Commission, which is considering whether the Welsh assembly should have new powers.

But the party said it did not believe policing and criminal justice should be devolved.

The commission has already published a first report which said the assembly should have some tax-varying powers.

Conservative assembly group leader Andrew RT Davies warned there were "major challenges in reaching a devolved settlement which has the levers to deliver positive change for the people of Wales".

The document argues the size of energy projects which can be decided in Wales should be "progressively" increased to 100MW.

'Failed to deliver'

It says broadcasters should be accountable to the Welsh assembly for their work in devolved areas such as the Welsh language, education and the economy.

The submission says there should be a "mechanism for joint accountability to both the assembly and the UK parliament.

"As the first 14 years of devolution and Labour-led assembly governments have failed to deliver the improvements in public services and prosperity that people want, there is considerable pressure to reach a constitutional settlement with sufficient levers to deliver for Wales," Mr Davies said.

"The Welsh Conservative group proposes changes to the devolution settlement, including powers over energy, broadcasting and public holidays to allow St David's Day to be made a bank holiday in Wales.

"We believe there is a strong case for Wales having control over Renewables Obligation Certificates, which would allow the assembly to ensure that electricity companies source a proportion of their supply from renewables and would also mark parity with Scotland and Northern Ireland.

'Proper parliament'

"We do not believe the case has been made to devolve powers over policing and criminal justice to be devolved to Wales, but believe it is important that the Silk Commission examines the merits of the proposal," added Mr Davies.

The UK government is expected to make its submission to the commission next week.

In its submission to the Silk Commission, the Liberal Democrats urged more powers should be devolved to the Welsh assembly as a step towards a "proper parliament" in Cardiff,

Prisons and policing should both be run from Cardiff Bay, the party said.

In their evidence to Silk, the Lib Dems say they are offering proposals to "bolster the National Assembly, moving closer towards a proper parliament for Wales".

They want the assembly to be able to alter the arrangements for local elections, including having the ability to lower the voting age to 16.

They also want powers over the regulation of broadcasting and decisions on energy planning to be devolved.

A new model of devolution was needed to spell out more clearly what the assembly can do and what areas of policy remain with Westminster, the Lib Dems said.

Welsh Lib Dem leader Kristy Williams said: "I am immensely proud of the Welsh Liberal Democrats' strong-held belief of securing home rule for Wales and I believe our submission today follows in that tradition.

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats were instrumental in establishing the Silk Commission as we believe Wales must have a proper functioning parliament.

"Our proposals today would make a giant step towards achieving that goal."

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