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Senedd votes for ‘compromise’ over UK Government’s levelling up bill

18 Oct 2023 2 minute read
Julie James MS speaking in the Senedd

Chris Haines, ICNN Senedd reporter

MSs have backed the UK Government’s Levelling Up and Regeneration bill, despite concerns that it “rides roughshod over and undermines” Welsh democracy.

Members debated a legislative consent motion (LCM) on the bill, which lays the foundations for the UK Government’s levelling-up agenda and covers areas which have been devolved to Wales.

Julie James, Wales’ climate change minister, explained that the debate on the LCM had been rescheduled due to a “continued ping-pong” on amendments to the Bill which started in a “deeply unsatisfactory state”.

She told the Senedd that the UK Government has failed to meet its manifesto promises of replacing EU funds in full and no power being lost to Wales.

However, Ms James recommended that the Senedd consents to the bill after amendments tabled by the UK Government and commitments to engage with Wales.

“I make no bones about it, this is a compromise position,” she said. “It is a better position than we would be in if we don’t do it – it’s not the position I would have liked to have been in, but, in the end, it’s a pragmatic approach.”

Huw Irranca-Davies, who chairs the Senedd legislation committee, raised concerns about the risk of co-decision making between governments bypassing scrutiny in the Welsh Parliament.

Levelling down

Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price told the Siambr the bill undermines Wales’ democracy.

The former party leader said: “This is not a levelling-up bill for us, it’s a levelling-down bill which takes away power and actually inhibits us from doing the kind of economic regenerative work that is necessary to drive up prosperity in every part of Wales.”

Labour’s Alun Davies said the levelling-up agenda is dead as he argued that it does not address inequality nor redistribute wealth.

The Blaenau Gwent MS said: “I don’t believe the UK Government was ever committed to it – but the moment it took the decision on HS2, it died.”

The Senedd agreed consent with 43 voting for, 13 against and no abstentions.

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Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
5 months ago

Has Labour compromised Wales ?

This UK leveling up bill is about UK central planning bypassing Welsh parliament and democracy.

Do you really think they at Westminster will take any notice of Welsh amendments?
Don’t hold your breath.

Suspect the UK government will just use their parliamentary majority given to them by un-proportional FPTP elections (the Belarus system) to put their plans in action.

There is no Bundesrat in the UK system where regions can veto legislation.
So, not much of democracy at UK level.

Kathleen Walker
Kathleen Walker
5 months ago

Labour is worthless it’s English and Tories are Quislings cannot. Call themselves Welsh

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
5 months ago

This just gives Westminster the incentive to further try and diminish the Senedd, in any way it chooses in the future, and it will. We have had centuries of this dictatorship and look it at where it has got us – one of the poorest regions in Europe. It has to stop, we owe it to our children. We can give them a far better chance of living in a prosperous country in the future by becoming independent.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
5 months ago

Genuflecting serfs gratefully lapping up the scraps discarded from their Westminster masters’ trough

5 months ago

Brexit was ever thus. The gift of power to those in No10.

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