Support our Nation today - please donate here
Opinion

As First Minister I would seek more powers for Wales, and share more powers within Wales

01 Feb 2024 6 minute read
The Daily Express, 19 September 1997

Vaughan Gething

Thursday, September 18, 1997 is a night that will always stay with me.

After months of going door to door, leafleting and speaking with voters, I was in the Park Hotel with my fellow Students Say Yes campaigners, waiting to hear whether our efforts had been enough – whether a majority had voted Yes for Wales to create a Welsh Assembly of our own.

I will never forget the explosion of excitement, pride and gratitude we felt when the Yes result was announced. It was proof of what we can achieve together, and how every vote matters. It had been a very close-run thing until Carmarthenshire came through at the end.

And now I’m honoured to be standing to be Prif Weinidog in the Senedd that I, and so many others, campaigned long and hard to establish.

Fairness

The reason I led Students Say Yes in 1997 is the same reason I’m fighting for more devolution today – it’s about fairness and putting power into people’s hands so we can all have more of a say in our own lives and communities.

It’s also about creating a platform that means decisions about Wales are taken in Wales. From the language and culture to industry and sport, devolution allows for distinctive approaches for Wales based on mandates that should never be trampled over.

That’s why as First Minister I would seek more powers for Wales, and share more powers within Wales.

Now is the time for more powers to the Senedd, and we should start with the Crown Estate.

Green energy is central to tackling poverty and climate change together.

Well-paid, highly-skilled jobs in renewable energy industries have the potential to lift people across Wales out of poverty with secure work that helps secure the future of the planet.

Crown Estate

If I am elected Welsh Labour leader and First Minister, responsibility for the Crown Estate is the most important set of new powers our future Welsh Labour Government would seek for the Senedd.

It is the single area of policy that, if devolved, would bring the most benefit to people’s pockets in Wales – and to the planet.

Renewable energy from Wales must bring benefit to people in Wales, and devolving the Crown Estate to Wales is crucial to achieving that.

Our Welsh Labour Government would also push for the devolution of youth justice and probation services – as former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s landmark report recommends – followed in time by justice and policing powers in their entirety.

We’d also press for devolving greater borrowing powers to Wales so we can invest in infrastructure and get more for each pound of public money we spend.

As First Minister, I would also back creating an independent secretariat to ensure the UK Government cannot continue to mistreat devolved nations.

Over the last 14 years, we’ve seen the Tories attack and undermine our democratic devolution time and again.

HS2

HS2 is clearly an England-only project that has been classified as England-and-Wales to deny us funding to which we are entitled.

This is why it’s so important we turf out the Tories in the upcoming General Election and replace them with a constructive UK Labour Government.

That’s why we have a bold, progressive vision for the next 25 years of devolution to Wales.

The Gordon Brown report and the report from the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales are both essential contributions to that debate.

I’m also pleased I’ve already secured an agreement from Keir Starmer that EU replacement funding and powers will return to Wales under a UK Labour Government, having been hoarded in Westminster by the Tories.

My manifesto is clear that we would use this funding to reinvest in apprenticeships and establish Gwaith Teg, a new fair work fund for Wales.

But my vision for devolution is not just more powers for Wales; it’s more powers shared with communities across Wales too.

We cannot and should not be content with replacing centralisation in London with centralisation in Cardiff Bay. That isn’t the Welsh Labour way, and it isn’t my way.

We can go further again and put power into the hands of people across Wales.

The Welsh Government can’t just work for all of Wales; it needs to be seen and to be felt to be working for all of Wales.

That’s why our Welsh Labour Government would beef-up the role of the Minister of North Wales, with an office in North Wales and a team of officials based in North Wales from across key Welsh Government departments.

Local government

We would develop a package of powers to be devolved to local government across Wales.
Devolving power has to come with funding to match, so we would work with the regions to drive investment into good, well-paid jobs and opportunities around the country, and we would create a stronger role for councillors.

For 14 years, local councils across Wales have been at the coalface in dealing with the harsh realities of Tory austerity as services and communities suffer.

As a former councillor myself, I know our local elected representatives get involved to help people in their communities.

The bleak reality of what this means under the Tories can be draining – but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Our government would work in a partnership of equals with Labour councillors to tackle shared challenges we face.

In 1997, we took the historic opportunity to set up our own Welsh Government. This year, we have the opportunity to ensure we have two Labour Governments working together for Wales for the first time since 2010.

While I have only ever stood for a Senedd seat, I understand the vital need for Labour administrations in both Cardiff Bay and Westminster.

We must make the most of that opportunity with a bold vision for the next 25 years of devolution: more powers for Wales and shared within Wales for a future built by all of us.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
11 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
David
David
20 days ago

What would happen if a Labour government in Westminster refused to devolve the Crown Estates to Cymru?

Annibendod
Annibendod
20 days ago

Just woeful. Gething’s vision of Wales is a sub region of a UK in which Labour holds power. It’s so Labour first it’s unreal. The devolution he talks of in insubstantial and piecemeal. We already see Welsh MP’s like Jo Stevens opposing the recent commission’s recomendations. When he says that centralisation is not the Labour way I struggle to understand which Labour he is talking about – has he not noticed what happened to his colleague Beth Winter or the McCarthyist purge in his party? Looks like centralist control is alive and well in Labour and it also looks like… Read more »

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
20 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

Great comment!

But aren’t you being a little bit too radical there for Plaid Annibendod? Okay, so you’re not (quite) revolutionary in your zeal, but a lot there is going to unsettle the deacons and the pobl parchus and might even cause Rhun a funny moment or two!

Great class analysis, but needed that’s just as much yn y cydestun Cymreig.

Annibendod
Annibendod
20 days ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

I think you’re playing to stereotypes there Padi. And don’t take Martin Shipton’s recent opinion piece too seriously. Rhun is focused on building our governmental capacities in the short term and a consensus for statehood in the long. Too many people take pot shots at Plaid from the sides when they ought to be putting their time and energy into the party. Can’t be all things to all people.

Neilyn
Neilyn
20 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

Nailed it.

G Horton-Jones.
G Horton-Jones.
20 days ago

Devolution for the next twenty five years ???
Sounds like Welsh Labour is Son of Sunak

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
20 days ago

All well and good, but Starmer went against all those things he said he would retain when he was campaigning to be Labour leader, and he’s U turned on just about everything else, and just yesterday has U turned on the 28 billion pound green investment fund. Mr Gething is promising things he doesn’t have the ability to promise, Wales isn’t important to Starmer other than in providing votes for Labour, who will do nothing to radically improve things for Wales. We need to remember the words of the late Gwyn Alf Williams, who said something along the lines that… Read more »

Annibendod
Annibendod
20 days ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Absolutely spot on.

Neilyn
Neilyn
20 days ago

No thanks Vaughan Gething. Clearly, you have little real interest in fighting for our emancipation from the imperious claws of Westminster. You read exactly like just another faceless UKer trotting out patronising promises of better days to come. It’s 2024, and the Cymry don’t want more lily-livered London stooges throwing crumbs; we want resolute, uncompromised Welsh men and women of substance and courage who’ll fearlessly take on the established interests. You’ve already set yourself up to fail. I’ll pass.

Riki
Riki
19 days ago

Seek more powers? There you have it, yet another Politician from Wales who will go begging for something that is ours by the right of self determination. We truly a wonder to the world! England and its politicians have no authority over Wales so we don’t need to seek anything from any of them.

Richard E
Richard E
18 days ago

Kiers’ mate ✅
Wales’ mate ❓

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.