Thursday, 10 March 2011
The “yes” vote in the referendum in Wales on 3rd March means that the National Assembly for Wales, like the Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly, will now have the power to make primary legislation in all those areas for which it already has responsibility under the existing devolution settlement. This covers the delivery of local public services such as transport, housing and planning and also agriculture, fisheries and forestry. All other areas previously non-devolved remain non-devolved. This includes the Hunting Act 2004 and firearms legislation. Parliament will continue to legislate in areas of national, UK wide importance such as defence, foreign affairs, policing, and social security. There is talk of devolving tax-varying and borrowing powers for the Assembly and the Government has indicated that it is not ruling anything in or out at this stage. Clearly, with the Assembly’s increased powers the work of the Countryside Alliance in Wales becomes all the more important in representing and defending rural interests.