05/03/2014 The Wales Report


In the week that a major report recommends further powers for the Assembly, Bethan Rhys Roberts talks to first minister Carwyn Jones about the future course of devolution in Wales.

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Tonight a special programme from the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. This week a


major report recommends further powers for the Assembly - we quiz


First Minister Carwyn Jones about the next steps on the devolution


journey in Wales. I want to see a settlement that is


clear and Scotland is in that position where we have a better fit


for services being delivered and then we can move on from endless


constitutional debate. Good evening and welcome to a


special programme from the Senedd where on Monday a major report into


devolution in Wales recommended that further powers be devolved here to


the National Assembly. The second part of the Silk Commission put


forward 61 recommendations including handing over control of policing to


Wales, along with granting more powers over energy and transport.


The report also said that the current devolution arrangement is


too complex for people to understand or to find out where exactly power


lies. Professor Richard Wyn Jones, the Director of the Wales Governance


Centre, went along to the report launch. He gives his take on the


report. This is a red letter day for


constitutional anoraks like myself. We are about to go and listen to the


launch of the second report of the Silk Commission and that is going to


determine the way Wales is governed for several years.


Our recommendations emerged out of the evidence. The commission was


established by the UK government after the 2011 action. Crucially,


all four of the parties represented in the Assembly nominated


representatives to the commission. Now begins the time that they try to


mobilise and apathetic public. The government is thinking about a


Scottish independent election and a general election over the horizon.


What is historically important about this kind of exercise is that it


injects basic constitutional principle into the debate, much of


the way Wales has developed has been down to the internal politics of the


parties and you get pragmatic decisions, some of which aren't


brilliant in terms of getting a government that works. These guys


have left their party affiliation at the door and come up with a


anonymous report which tries to inject some principle.


Our commission, I think, did have as it's ambition trying to settle some


of these prisoners questions, trying to settle their powers ought to be


distributed, so that the political dialogue in Wales can concentrate on


how those powers are used rather than the right powers in the right


place or the right structures of government exist.


I'm sure the headlines will be about things like devolving large-scale


energy projects but the real story at the heart of this is a complete


transformation about the model of devolution we have for Wales. To


understand what is devolved in Wales we have defined schedule seven of


the 2006 act and get into the detail. They are suggesting to


transform that and saying, everything is devolved unless it is


reserved to Westminster and that is a completely different mindset. It


will underline the fact that it is the most government and the National


Assembly for Wales which are the key levels of government in terms of our


daily lives. That is a radical transformation. We got the worst


political class, the most government and now the Silk Commission all


agreed that reserved powers is the way to go and this will give us a


more coherent and stable settlement. David Jones, the Secretary of State


for Wales, said that he favoured conferred powers and he doesn't want


a reserve power model for Wales. We have to diametrically opposed


positions and who wins smack comments from David Jones this week


-- who wins? Comments from David Jones suggest he is not about to


change his mind. The people of Wales will want the


bus government to make it clear the powers they get will be used


bus government to make it clear the properly and frankly, after proper


liaison with the UK government, which is another theme which has


developed in the Silk report. The Silk Commission have nominees


from each physical party in the Assembly. These representatives now


have to launch their carefully worded report onto the political


battlefield and convinced their parties to take its recommendations


on board. It is really important for me, as


the party nominee, to go to the conference and persuade our


conference attendance of the importance of actually putting this


into the manifesto, not just for the UK general election but also for the


Welsh election. I am expecting and in anticipating that other parties


will do the same. The content of the manifestoes are


going to be determined by the outcome of big battles within the


Driscoll parties themselves, particular Labour and the


Conservatives. Carwyn Jones has nailed his colours to the reserved


powers last and I suspect he will actually get that. Devolving


policing is the source of contention between Welsh Labour MPs on one hand


and the Welsh government on the other. In terms of the


Conservatives, there has already been a big public falling out


between David Jones and Andrew RT Davies on devolving tax varying


powers. Those battles will continue and intensify. Will this report end


up gathering dust on a Whitehall shelf? I think probably not and


that's because most of the people working in the national Assembly


actually believe we need a reserved powers model of evolution to


establish devolved government on a properly effective and stable


foundation. Notwithstanding that, whatever happens, I think it is


genuinely striking that three years after the last referendum we have a


unanimous report from a cross-party commission recommending further


powers in the devolution settlement for Wales. Wales is changing really


rapidly for up what --. What this has done is ring the bell to


commence a political fight that will play out before us over the next few


months and years. Where will that leave Wales in ten years time? I


might be self-confessed anorak but I'm no profit. Your guess is as good


as mine. Richard Wyn Jones, director of


Cardiff University's Governance Centre there. I'm joined now by


First Minister Carwyn Jones. Let's start on the last point, about


where we will be in ten years time in terms of Welsh devolution.


Where would you like to be? Over the next year or two I would like us to


chart the course for the next ten years. We know things are more


settled than they have been in the past and we have a devolution


settlement that will last. You used the word settled and that


is the word Peter Hain used several years ago and here we are. If the


journey going fast for your liking? There. We have a situation which


have two government bills which end up. It is so vague that people don't


understand where the boundaries are. I would like to see a settlement


which is clear and we have a better fit for service being delivered and


then we can move on from endless constitutional debate.


The Silk report, as you see it, is a tidying up exercise. Proving what we


know is devolved. You are not ambitious for more


powers? It is quite significant because it talks about the reserved


powers model, which is what everyone talks about on the street in Wales!


It makes it clear about who does what and talks about getting the


right level of power over energy, one of our greatest resources. It


talks about devolving the police, which is the only emergency service


which isn't devolved. It is very different and put us in a different


position from when we were before. You have said no to income tax. You


don't fancy that one and we will come on to that shortly but there


are arts of powers you don't want. Yes to policing but no to criminal


justice, for example. We know that. What about teachers pay? We didn't


ask about teachers pay but it maybe they devolved anyway. What is


crucial is they are devolved, the full financial package comes with


it. If it is on offer, we could look at it but we know with the council


tax benefits, for example, when we are giving something we didn't ask


for, they top slice the budget. Yes to further energy projects.


What about speed limits? It is about community safety and if you look at


What about speed limits? It is about driving it is a part of community


safety. So yes in terms of that but what


else do you want? It is up to the people of Wales but


what I want is clarity. I want to make sure we have proper powers over


energy and it's ridiculous that there is no way we can develop the


energy sector. We don't control the level of subsidies as the Scots do.


There is a better fit to have policing devolved because other


aspects are devolved but we can't just spend our time demanding more


time, even when they wouldn't work for us. No justice is an interesting


idea and massively expensive. We would have to build up expertise.


And many. -- and many. What about response


ability, which is about Silk part one, the financial settlement. Many


would argue that is where the response ability is and you have to


raise and very your own taxes. You are saying no thank you? As far


as tax DC is concerned, yes -- tax duty.


The big one? Wales is underfunded. We know that. Unless underfunding is


sorted out, all income tax powers will do is lock it in because with


we say to the Westminster government we have to have their funding, they


will say raise money yourselves without addressing the major


problem. Three quarters of our budget will come from the rock


around. Has it? Because it suits you at the


moment, doesn't you it? You can always say that London isn't giving


you enough money so the blame game is working.


It doesn't address the problem. All it will do is put us in a position


where people will have to pay more tax for fewer services and I'm not


going to recommend that. Secondly, the model is useless as a power and


all it does is raise money. You can't do it. You can't change things


for the better. What is the point? Not just taking powers that are on


offer without carefully considering what is on offer for the people of


Wales and in terms of income tax, I can't see the benefit for people


here. What about Assembly Members?


More recently members? I think it is difficult unless there are fewer


politicians elsewhere. We have 60 members here, smaller than the


Northern Ireland Assembly. It is true to say that backbenchers worked


exceptionally hard and are there to scrutinise the government. There


should be 80 here, perhaps, but the reality is I don't think the public


want to see more. Fewer councillors. You have got the


Williams Commission looking at fewer councils. Now is the time to reject


politicians. If you increase the numbers, do you


increase the number elected first past the post or do you increase


through proportional representation? That changes the way


this place is organised so it is not a case of effects elsewhere. We have


60 members and it is difficult for backbenchers. A lot of them sit on


three committees a week. Do you need more?


I think we can manage with the 60 we have. I don't think the time is


right. But you would like more and you


don't want to be unpopular by saying it?


If you look at Silk as a package, not confuse the number of Assembly


Members with the powers. I don't want the public in Wales to think if


this place gets more powers it needs more politicians. Looking at Silk is


a passage, are you bashing on Ed Miliband's door, saying, yet this in


the manifesto? I have met him already. He understands he needs to


put in a good already. He understands he needs to


of Wales. Is Silk the blueprint? It is the basis of discussions. Fair


funding is important, let's not take away from that. Each party will of


its package to the electorate next year. You would be disappointed if


Silk was not in the manifesto? Of course not, we have to make sure


there is a decent offer for the people of Wales. Notch has been --


much has been made of tensions, people saying, it was a trap. I said


that first. If you look at what has happened in the Conservative party,


there was openly rebellion. There was an open fight between the


Secretary of State and the leader in Wales, and you will have noticed


since the publication of Silk, a distinct lack of loud voices in the


Labour Party saying it is bad. We have talked about getting extra


powers for this place. People will say, they cannot manage what they


have got. They are making a hash of the powers they have got. Delivery


has been your big mantra during this term. Many would say, you are


delivering but you are delivering the worst education system in terms


of performance in the UK. And a failing health service. Are we?


Let's look at health for example. Roddick comes to cancer, -- when it


comes to cancer, waiting times are far lower than in England. They are


spiralling in England, they are taking money from social services to


put into hell. It is not extra money. If you look at it -- health.


If you look at education, we have a good deal.


If you look at education, we have a good Deal for students. You have got


good statistics on health, but 15,000 people are waiting for them


46 -- more than 36 months for treatment, your target is zero. An


education, just under half of secondary schools in Wales are


adequate or good. You cannot be proud of this. There is more work to


do, we understand that. It is difficult in the second is that we


find it. If you look at education, local authorities control it. Many


are in special measures because of the local government structure we


have. They are too small to be able the local government structure we


to cope. We need to make sure ourselves and local authorities cope


as well. We have put money into flooding, which they did not in


England. If you live in Somerset you probably look at what is happening


in Westminster at 12pm on Wednesday where Wales is ridiculed. Yanukovych


is politics. There is a general election -- that is politics. The


flooding has been dealt with is inept in England. Let's stick to


health and education. Economy, they are not doing as well as we are. We


have to look at education in the round. You say it is the hands of


local authorities, but surely you take some responsibility centrally


about those policies. take some responsibility centrally


have to. But we do not deliver education, that is delivered by


other bodies. We have to make/there is the right structure for education


-- we have to make sure there is the right structure. It is the blame


game again. In Westminster, we hear it all the time, the current


government blames the previous one. Here, you cannot do that because for


the past 15 years, it has been labour. We do not have


electioneering, you are right. You are living your own legacy. And it


is not great. I disagree. If you look at our economy, it is stronger


than any time since devolution. We are doing better than England in


terms of unemployment. It is not a race, but we are. We are doing far


better for young unemployment. We have the biggest inward investment


projects by Pinewood Studios. It is not like the Welsh economy is doing


compared to England, we aren't doing better. -- we are doing better. But


some statistics show that GDP is slipping. They are three years old,


those statistics. You cannot keep blaming other parts of Westminster.


Ella McRae have I a chilly done that? What am saying is. You two


have a chilly done that? What Westminster used figures selectively


to try and illustrate that Wales is doing badly in some areas, which is


true. Comparing it is very difficult. England, there is


true. Comparing it is very of gaming going on in terms of some


figures, particularly health. The National audit office has said that


you cannot trust the figures in England because they are not


accurate, and ours are. On education, it is often said that. On


education, it is often said that you have got the policies there. I you


confident that on health and education, things are turning


around? There is no question in my mind that things are going in the


right direction. It is not easy, it is difficult on health, that takes


45% of the aged. If you increase spending on health the -- of the


budget. If you increase spending on health, the effect is very big on


other departments. We are not prepared to do what they have done


in England, rob the social services put it in health, and you see people


are stuck in hospital because they cannot get home. Back to education,


Pisa is coming, do you sit in your office and think, that is coming? It


is a few years. I sit in my office and look for improvements, of


course. You need to be in this job in a position where you are


constantly looking for improvements. Constantly have a hunger to see


Wales do better. There are areas we have two improved, -- have to


improve, let's not pretend otherwise. We need to make sure we


have the right service provision in health, and difficult decisions have


to be taken into how health is delivered. You cannot deliver it in


the same way it has been delivered in the past 20 years it is going to


be effective, that can be effective. On Pisa, we will do better next


time? We have to, we have to do better. We have to make sure that


schools are taking Pisa as seriously as they should, it is not the only


measure, we also wanted to see an improvement in GCSE results and a


further closing of the gap with the UK. Let's move on to be the biggest


thing which is happening this year, the Scottish referendum. You have


made it clear that you hope they say no. If they say yes, where does that


leave Wales? Well, yes or no, there has to be a fundamental rethink of


the Constitution of Britain. You cannot just carry on as before, we


have to make sure that we have a sustainable settlement in the


future. The worst imaginable outcome would be for there to be, on the one


hand, and no vote, which would be good, but then nothing happens in


terms of further devolution of Scotland, I think


terms of further devolution of dangerous and Scotland would leave


the UK within a decade. There has to be further devolution for Scotland


and a package on the table in the event of a no vote. If it is a yes


vote, the UK cannot carry on as it is. There has to be a thinking of


the cost occasional relationship between the three different patients


to keep the UK together. -- the three different nations. In terms of


scenario planning, we call it the rump UK, are you having chats


behind-the-scenes, saying, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, we should


get together? What is our name? We have not done that. None of that is


going on. In my view I think it will be a no vote in Scotland. I think


you -- it will be closer than be a no vote in Scotland. I think


think. There will have to be change whatever happens. We have to have


constitutional change whatever happens, yes or no, in Scotland. And


Northern Irish minister recently said, we should beget in together


with Wales and England and planning for all eventualities. Is he right?


I do not clear at that stage. I do not see that we we -- I do not think


we are at that stage. I do not think that we will be there. My thought


is, what happens afterwards. If it is a no vote, how come we have a


sustainable constitutional future so we are not closely talking about it?


You know Alex Salmond, he is a wily politician, he could clinch it. He


is, but the detail has been lacking in the yes campaign. They have got


into an awful mess of a currency which they have not sorted out. The


response was from Alex himself, when it was put for him that Scotland


would not be part of sterling, he said, we will not take on the UK's


debts. So they will not ever raise any money because they will default


on their debts. Should they be allowed to keep the pound? They can


keep their own pound, I do not think they should be in a union with


sterling, when there are two different, to two different sets of


budgets feeding into one bank. You either join the euro zone, all you


have your own currency, or you have your own currency. Said George


Osborne is bang on? When Ireland left, they did not suggest they


should use sterling. And they paid their currency to sterling than 50


years. To have one currency run their currency to sterling than 50


two governments is an hurdle. If it is a no vote, and we get something


like Devo Max for Scotland, what you want for Wales? What I would like to


see at a UK level is there is an understanding that the model for


devolution should be the same across the UK. Not the power is necessarily


but the model. There is established mechanisms to make sure powers can


be devolved in the future and there can be bettered communication


between the governments of the UK. At the moment we meet every now and


again but there is no real mechanism for us to meet on a regular basis.


If it is going to be a no vote in Scotland, and then you want Silk,


you better get Silk in the manifesto now. Yes. So you will ask you to get


it in there? I have now. Yes. So you will ask you to get


already. We will consider what our response to be as a party. Clearly


there needs to be a good package of devolution on offer for the people


of Wales. You say now is not the time for scenario planning, when


this the time for the Scottish result? Once we know the results.


The next morning? Will you ring David Cameron and say, what we do


now? It looking to happen overnight. It will take a couple of years -- it


is not going to happen overnight. It will take a couple of years to


negotiate what happens. If the Scots to vote yes in September, they will


not become an independent state in the following week. Back to the


crystal ball we had at the beginning, 10-year time, what is


your visit -- vision for Wales? An ever stronger economy, health


service which is stable, which means we have to change it. An education


which is the best in Europe and above all else, people being


increasingly confident. We love to run ourselves down, perhaps less so


than we have been. The young people are more confident than we were at a


generation. But we are still there with this little germ, saying that


we in Wales cannot be as good as anyone else. Of course we can. I was


in America recently, I saw what we could do in promoting Wells, we have


16, is meant -- we had 16 congressmen signed up to the


supporting Wales caucus. Of course we can be the best, let's stop


believing we can. -- start believing we can. That's it for this week's


programme. Huw Edwards will be back next week, but in the meantime you


can get in touch.


In the week that a major report recommends further powers for the Assembly, Bethan Rhys Roberts speaks to first minister Carwyn Jones about the future course of devolution in Wales in a special programme.

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