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UK Government accused of ‘usurping’ devolution with new education programme in Wales

30 Jun 2022 3 minute read
Welsh Secretary Simon Hart before the Finance Committee

The UK Government have been accused of a “usurpation” of devolution after they said they would fund an educational programme in Wales, without yet having involved the Welsh Government in it.

The Department of Education Multiply project – which aims to improve adults’ numeracy skills – will also be extended into Wales, they said.

Education is devolved to Wales under the Wales Act 2017 but the Welsh Secretary of State told a Senedd committee that the Welsh Government’s views had not yet been sought as part of the programme.

Appearing in front of the Senedd Finance Committee, Welsh Secretary Simon Hart and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies, said that £101m would be spent on the project in Wales.

Senedd Member Rhiannon Passmore asked whether the Welsh Government had been involved to date, and was told that they had not.

“Not to date, but it’s been set up and they’d be invited to participate in the UK wide ministerial forum to work with strategic geographies on the development of the investment,” David TC Davies, who is the MP for Monmouth, said.

Rhiannon Passmore interjected: “I don’t quite understand. Obviously, we have devolved areas in Wales. Why are you doing a devolved function?”

David TC Davis said: “Well, there are, there is a feeling that I think we all share that we need to improve mathematical skills.

“And I think the devolved administrations would agree with that. So I’m hoping that they will all be able to be happy to cooperate and bring it forward.”

‘Chipping away’

Simon Hart, who is the MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire added in the committee meeting that it would be a shame if it “didn’t happen because of constitutional niceties”.

Rhiannon Passmore said: “It’s a devolved function. We’ve agreed on that I think, and we’ve not participated so far in discussions on a devolved area for this Senedd.”

The move was described by Ed Gareth Poole, a Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University’s Welsh Governance Centre as a clear move by the UK Government into an area that was devolved to Wales.

Wales usually received a population share of spending in England on devolved areas that the Welsh Government can choose to spend as it chooses.

Ed Gareth Poole said: “A straightforward usurpation of Welsh Gov competence which the SoS unconvincingly defends by asking that we move on from whether this is ‘technically within or without’ the settlement.

“But there is no argument; it’s crystal clear in the Wales Act 2017.”

Plaid Cymru Senedd Member Rhun ap Iorwerth also reacted to the discussion online, saying that the UK Government were “chipping away at devolution and our nationhood” and “laughing at Wales’ inability to stop them”.

“But we can. We can be independent and forge new relationships across these islands, based on respect.

“But Labour in Wales are hopelessly addicted to the abusive relationship of this union,” he said.


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Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
5 months ago

For goodness sake !!!! Welsh Labour, quit the UK party and get behind the independence movement now before it is too late ! Listen, learn ! Devolution is going to be killed off by the Tories – let’s get out of this dispicable union now before it is too late to do so !!

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
5 months ago

Yes another piece of our democracy chiseled away by the facist Conservative idiocracy in London aided and abetted by treacherous Tories Andrew RT Davies, David TC Davies & Simon Hart.. Wake up Mark Drakeford and do something!

It seems Welsh Labour are like a rabbits caught in the red, white & blue headlights of an ugly Unionist jugsnaught that’s trampling over our right to self-government.. This unacceptable infringment and goes against the devolution act. This has to stop, NOW!

Quornby
Quornby
5 months ago

I’ve had a full adult life of unionist propaganda.. no more please!!

Philip Jones
Philip Jones
5 months ago

Every step this awful UK government take is based on the fascist/ nazi playbook of the 20s and 30s. Chip away at democracy bit by bit.
Remember – he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Nia James
Nia James
5 months ago

Let us not kid ourselves, there is a section of Welsh Labour, including several MPs, who will be quietly delighted with this Tory intervention. They are devo-sceptic and will feel that their priority is promoting Starmer rather than defending Welsh policy and legislation.

Brian
Brian
5 months ago
Reply to  Nia James

Well said Nia, the future (and survival) of the British Labour party is their top priority. As an aside we’ll probably see far more of Gordon Brown in the months before a second Scottish Referendum – he’s someone who’ll defend his party at the expense of the people in his country.

Gareth
Gareth
5 months ago

So according to Hart, devolution is just “constitutional niceties”. There we have it, the votes of the people of Cymru count for nothing, elect who you want, then Westminster will ignore and overrule whatever decisions are made by the Senedd if they do not like them. Democracy my arse, and as Labour MPs elected by the people of Cymru sit in London in the vain hope of ever forming a UKGov, we are left to rot.

WilliamsG
WilliamsG
5 months ago

Wales is going to disappear if Welsh Labour don’t wake up and start acting. It will soon become ‘for Wales – See England’ again, we are heading there fast. They will get bolder with every step they take and Labour being ‘very annoyed’ about it makes no difference whatsoever. I despair

Not My Real Name
Not My Real Name
5 months ago

The word is STEALING not usurping

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
5 months ago

We have a full on assault on Welsh Devolution, and our government is doing nothing, because their Westminster bosses aren’t interested in devolution or Wales. The people of Wales aren’t doing anything either, because most aren’t aware of what’s going on, thanks to Wales not having its own independent nationwide media, unlike Scotland we don’t even have “Welsh editions” just plain simple English newspapers, with the constant attacks on Wales and our language within their pages. We’ve also got the added pressure of the upcoming 2nd Scottish independence referendum, Westminster are just warming up for the fight, they’re needlessly taking… Read more »

George
George
5 months ago

It is a slow and “gentle” chipping away at devolution. The correct response is not obvious.

John
John
5 months ago

Interesting that RT Davies, David Davies and Simon Hart(farm school),
have never been to University.
Yet they feel happy to pontificate about education.
A classic example of empty vessels making most noise!

Brian
Brian
5 months ago

The Welsh British Labour party activists at grassroots level are more than happy with the status quo of bowing down to Westminster. The status quo keeps their Welsh based fiefdoms intact and keeps them in power. They are Brits to the core basically only interested in keeping power. The Welsh British Labour party based in the Senedd has a far greater understanding of the need for continued devolution of powers to Wales. The labour party leadership need to devote time to communicated their thinking to grassroots activists. Such communication would help grassroots activists become more aware of the potential for… Read more »

Kathleen Walker
Kathleen Walker
5 months ago

The two nazi Tory’s need to stop defecation
Of Wales with mindless bigoted curriculum
b*****d Britishness just Russia And the Chinese!

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