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Marking 20 years of Devolution at the Assembly

May 17, 2019 at 4:18 PM

This month we've celebrated 20 years of devolution at the Senedd.

Also, on May 1st, I celebrated 22 years of serving Cardiff North, first as MP and now as AM (below is a photo from the campaign trail back in 1997 courtesy of the Western Mail. I'm with Richard Attenborough and Nick Smith).

GE-1997-with-Richard-Attenborough-Nick-Smith-WMail-copyright-400px.jpg

Photo: COPYRIGHT WESTERN MAIL

We should be proud of the achievements we've made in Wales in that time - some of the 'firsts' include changing the organ donation law to opt-out and the 5p carrier bag charge - both of which have seen England follow suit. And the 'frees' include free school breakfasts, free prescriptions and free hospital parking.

More achievements since Devolution in Wales

Devolution marked the first time decisions about Wales were made in Wales.  Now, in 2019, for the first time in almost 800 years, some of the taxes collected in Wales stay in Wales to fund Welsh public services.

More achievements

  • Free entry to museums
  • Free bus travel for over 60s and disabled people
  • Free swimming for children and older people
  • Free school breakfasts
  • Free prescriptions
  • Free hospital parking
  • Free entry to Cadw sites
  • Free child burials
  • Children’s rights are embedded in all the Welsh Government does – Wales is the first non-Member State to “adopt” the UNCRC
  • Welsh Baccalaureate introduced
  • Foundation Phase introduced
  • Stopped sending people to prison because they can’t pay their council tax.
  • Banned rip-off housing fees
  • Banned smoking in cars carrying children – first in the UK
  • Banned smoking in school grounds, hospital grounds and playgrounds – first in the UK
  • 5p carrier bag charge introduced – first in the UK
  • Organ donation law changed to opt-out – first in the UK
  • Wellbeing of Future Generations Act – first of its kind in UK
  • Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Act passed – first of its kind in the UK
  • Third highest recycling rates in the world.
  • Almost half the electricity used in Wales in 2018 was generated from renewable sources.

And there’s more to come …

  • Ambitious reform of education system in Wales underway
  • A 50p minimum unit price for alcohol will be introduced in 2019.
  • A government Bill to remove the defence of reasonable punishment and protect children from assault is being considered by the National Assembly.
  • Votes for 16 and 17-year-olds in local and Welsh elections.
  • New animal welfare legislation to protect wild animals and domestic pets.
  • Social care levy to fund social care for the future?