WALES should take powers over policing, the railways, S4C and teachers pay - but there should be more AMs in return.
That’s according to the second Silk Commission report which calls for the whole model for how devolution works in Wales to be changed, bringing it in line with Scotland and Northern Ireland.
But it is unlikely that any of the proposals that would need new legislation seeing the light of day until after 2015.
According to the report the National Assembly should be able to take control of: • Most aspects of policing
• Powers over ports, rail, bus and taxi regulation, speed and drink drive limits
• Control of the funding of S4C
• Teachers pay
It also calls for a “phased approach” to the devolution of the justice system, with the youth justice system devolved immediately and a feasibility study for the devolution of prisons and probation.
However the report says there is not a broad consensus in favour of wholesale devolution of the justice system at the present time.
Competence for water should be aligned to the border. In total the commission has made 61 recommendations.
The commission also calls for more backbench members of the Assembly, although it’s not clear how many it thinks there should be.
Improvements to the Assembly’s effectiveness could be made in the short term, however, with the report arguing for greater flexibility on the number and size of committees, more research staff and better use of Assembly members’ time.
Paul Silk’s commission recommended moving from the so-called conferred powers model of devolution – where Wales’ powers are specifically laid out – to a reserved powers model.
This sets out which powers are not devolved, rather than the powers that are, bringing Wales into line with Scotland and Northern Ireland.
According to the commission such a system would make Wales’ responsibilities clearer.
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