In a Tomorrow’s Wales event at the Royal Welsh Show this week Elin Jones AM highlighted the need for further legislative powers to be devolved to the National Assembly for Wales, which can only be achieved through a successful referendum. The Minister drew attention to the Red Meat LCO and Measure that took three years to pass through two governments and two Committees in both Cardiff and London.
Elin Jones, the Minister for Rural Affairs said:
“There is no doubt that rural and agricultural interests have been served well by devolution and government in Wales. However, a more streamlined and responsive democratic process would see the Senedd better serve the interests of rural Wales.
“Agricultural and rural legislation is better developed and scrutinised in Wales, because it can be more appropriately tailored to the needs of Wales. The current legislative process is wasteful of resources and democratic scrutiny.
“There is no better example of this than the recent Red Meat LCO and Measure. This has been a wholly uncontroversial piece of legislative transfer. However, it has still taken three years to achieve legislation - and in the meantime, the legislation was developed by two Governments - in Cardiff and London - and then scrutinised by two sets of Committees and Legislatures, in Cardiff and London.
“It is now time to give the National Assembly its own legislative powers so that rural Wales can achieve its aspirations within Welsh democratic scrutiny.”
Moving to part four of the Government of Wales Act 2006 will give the National Assembly law-making powers that will enable elected members in Wales to create laws according to the needs and interests of Wales.
Gareth Vaughan, the Farmers’ Union Wales president said:
“Farming is an integral part of the landscape and culture of Wales, and decisions that might suit other parts of the UK have the potential to damage not only Welsh agriculture but also our landscapes, communities and culture. Devolution, which was fully supported by the FUW, has given powers to Welsh policy makers to focus on Welsh issues; it means we can lobby people who are elected in Wales for decisions to be made that suit Wales, and that the majority of important decisions affecting our industry are not taken by people in London who know nothing about our industry and may never have even been to Wales.
“We may not always agree with the decisions made by Welsh policy makers, but I have no doubt that without devolution our grievances would be far more numerous and acute.”
In their evidence to the All-Wales Convention, National Farmers’ Union Cymru said:
“In NFU Cymru’s experience devolution has brought politicians and government much closer to the people of Wales, giving us much easier access to both than had been possible previously.
“Securing a historic approach to the single farm payment is a positive outcome to devolution which would not have been possible had it not been devolved to Wales. Wales’s simpler system allowed for swifter payments to farmers.
“It is our view that the advent to devolution has done much to lift the self esteem and national mood of Wales as a nation, and there appears to be a growing awareness from outside Wales that there is scope to do things differently in Wales.”