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Speed up pace of progress on more powers for Wales - Elfyn Llwyd

Elfyn Llwyd MP

Plaid Cymru Parliamentary Leader Elfyn Llwyd MP has responded to the newly published report on the transfer of non-financial powers from Westminster to Wales by criticising the pace of progress on Welsh devolution.

The report is the result of work carried out by the Silk Commission examining the possibility of further devolution in fields such as justice, policing, broadcasting, energy and natural resources.

While welcoming the Commission's recommendation that Wales should move to a 'reserved powers' model of devolution that would grant parity with Scotland, and the acceptance of Plaid Cymru's longstanding view that policing should be devolved, Mr Llwyd stated that the report falls short of signalling 'real progress' on securing more meaningful powers for Wales.

Speaking shortly after the report was published, Mr Llwyd said:

"Having made great strides on the devolution journey in recent decades, it feels as if Wales is now sadly being dragged along at an agonisingly slow pace of progress.

"Plaid Cymru believes that all decisions affecting the people of Wales should be made in Wales. That is why the issues dealt with in this new report - justice, policing, energy and more - form the vital building blocks of a stronger, more prosperous nation.

"While we welcome the fact that the Commission has accepted our view that policing should be devolved, it is frustrating to see little progress being made on creating a Welsh legal jurisdiction.

"Limiting the Assembly's powers over planning consent for energy developments to projects generating 350 mw or less is also a concern. With control over the Crown Estates also being denied, Wales is in the position of having a wealth of natural resources but limited power to utilise them to benefit our people. No energy-rich nation should have thousands of households living in fuel poverty as we do.

"As far as broadcasting is concerned, we welcome the proposal to devolve the funding and responsibility for S4C, but believe that the Commission has ignored the opportunities for Wales that would arise if broadcasting was fully devolved to the Assembly.

"This report clearly shows that our current devolution settlement is confused, complex and unsatisfactory.

"As Labour and Tory in-fighting over Silk's first report on the devolution of financial powers goes on, we are in danger of losing sight of the Commission's goal - to create a more responsible and accountable National Assembly.

"If these recommendations are to signal real progress and bring about meaningful change, all parties must commit to putting the interests of Wales ahead of their own narrow agendas."

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