Wales Bill: Lords third reading

25 November 2014

The Wales Bill had its third reading, a final chance to ‘tidy up’ the bill, on Monday 24 November.

Members of the Lords focused on the issue of voting age, in particular whether the Welsh Assembly should be able to decide whether 16 and 17 year olds could vote on an income tax referendum provided for under the bill.

The bill will now return to the House of Commons for consideration of Lords amendments.

Lords report stage: Tuesday 11 November

Debate began with an amendment to require the government to report to Parliament six months after the Wales Bill becomes law with the steps needed to set up a reserved powers model for the Welsh Assembly, and a timetable. The amendment went to a vote, with 146 for it and 215 against, so the change was not made.

The second amendment proposed devolving power to the Assembly for it to decide the age at which people will be able to vote. The government agreed to bring forward an amendment at third reading to give the Assembly the right to take the decision in relation to referenda, with a two thirds majority.

Members went on to debate proposed changes relating to tax and the Assembly.

Lords committee state day 3: Wednesday 15 October

Peers began by looking at data sharing regulations, they also discussed ways to make the voter registration process more straightforward, and as part of the discussion asked how they could increase political engagement among young people in Wales.

Lords also debated amendments around how taxation should be devolved to Wales, and tax collection mechanisms.

Lords committee stage day 2: Monday 13 October

Peers began by discussing the date for elections to the Welsh Assembly, they also looked at the number of members on the Assembly, and whether it should be increased to handle the further powers the Assembly would be granted under the bill.

Lords went on to ask if the right to vote should be extended to 16 year olds at Welsh local elections, and whether the name of the Welsh Assembly should be changed to the ‘Welsh Parliament’.

Lords second reading: 22 July 2014

Peers discussed the key areas of the bill against the background of potential constitutional change for the UK (the upcoming Scottish independence referendum). There was general support for the bill but some members were concerned about the timing because of this possible significant change.

Other members said there should be more powers for the Welsh government relating to tax and borrowing arrangements. Peers also debated processes of election to the National Assembly.

The government said the bill should be looked at in the context of the current UK constitutional set up, and that committee stage in the Lords (where detailed checking of the bill takes place) will start once the result of the Scottish independence referendum is known. She also said the government is happy to revisit taxation arrangements.

Wales Bill summary

The bill includes measures covering:

  • elections to and membership of the National Assembly for Wales
  • the Welsh Assembly Government
  • the setting by the Assembly of a rate of income tax to be paid by Welsh taxpayers and about the devolution of taxation powers to the Assembly
  • Part 4A of the Scotland Act 1998
  • borrowing by the Welsh Ministers
  • miscellaneous amendments in the law relating to Wales.

Further information

 

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