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This content is taken from the The University of Edinburgh & Cardiff University's online course, Scotland and Wales Vote 2016: Understanding the Devolved Elections. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds This is the Senedd building. The assembly has been meeting in here for almost exactly 10 years. But devolution is older than that. The National Assembly was established following the referendum back in 1997 where the Welsh voters approved the UK government scheme for devolution by the narrowest of margins– 6,721 votes. The powers of the National Assembly have actually changed quite substantially since 1999. Back then, the assembly only had executive powers. The powers of the Secretary of State pre-devolution were transferred to an elected body here, which operates it internally, almost as a branch of local government. Since then, the internal organization has become much more parliamentary in character and the powers of the Assembly have increased.

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 seconds Now, since the 2011 referendum, the Assembly has primary legislative powers across a whole range of public policy areas, including health, education, local government, transport, and so on. Hand in hand with an increase in the powers of the Assembly, we’ve seen an increase in public support for devolution here in Wales. Devolution was only approved in 1997 by the narrowest of margins. Now, however, all the evidence we have suggest that the vast majority of people in Wales support the principle of devolution. And actually, a plurality support the idea of more devolution.

Skip to 1 minute and 34 seconds In parallel with the election campaign, we have a process whereby the UK government is introducing a new piece of legislation which will establish Welsh devolution on a different constitutional basis– on the basis of a reserve powers model, bringing Wales more into line with Scotland and Northern Ireland.

What Does the Welsh Assembly Control?

Devolution in Wales has evolved substantially since 1999. Richard Wyn Jones discusses the powers of the Welsh Assembly.

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This video is from the free online course:

Scotland and Wales Vote 2016: Understanding the Devolved Elections

The University of Edinburgh