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LCO Process Is Holding Back Wales, Says Plaid AM

20/12/2021

The AM for South Wales Central has discovered that the mandatory process of waiting for consent to be granted by both Houses of Parliament has delayed the 16 Legislative Competence Orders (LCOs) referred since June 2007 by a total of 3,407 days.

The Carers LCO was delayed the longest – it gained approval a staggering 315 days after the Welsh Assembly requested powers from Westminster. The LCO on Affordable Housing was also stalled for 310 days. On average, the 16 LCOs laid by the Assembly have been delayed for 213 days by both Houses of Parliament before they could come into force.

Assembly requests for new powers through LCOs are scrutinised in turn by AMs and MPs. Before the Assembly is empowered to pass its own laws in the subject area covered by the LCO, it must be agreed by the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The process was called "unclear and unaccountable" by constitutional expert Alan Trench of University College London when he appeared before MPs on the Welsh Affairs Select Committee earlier this year. In March of next year, the Welsh electorate will go to the polls in a referendum on the Assembly’s law-making process.

Ms Wood, who is Plaid Cymru’s representative on the all-party steering group to campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote, said:

“It is simply unacceptable that legislation drawn up by directly elected Welsh Assembly Members is held up for so long by Westminster. In the case of the House of Lords, we are talking about unelected politicians who should have no business meddling in the affairs of this country.

“The LCO process is a complete mess, worthy of a political satire. However, there is nothing funny about the delays it is having on Welsh legislation that is needed now, not in several years’ time.

“I hope people will remember just how convoluted and inefficient the LCO process is when the referendum vote comes round in March of next year, and that they will be prepared to go out in their droves to support a ‘yes’ vote.

“In the current economic climate, Wales cannot afford the waste and delays associated by this cumbersome LCO system.”

ENDS / DIWEDD

NOTES:

Title[1] Laying date UK Parliament referral date Date of approval by both Houses of Parliament No. of days between referral and approval[2]

Education and Training 11 June 2022 26 July 2022 19 March 2022 237

Environment[3] 19 June 2022 27 April 2022 03 February 2022 282

Vulnerable Children[4] 09 July 2022 19 March 2022 17 November 2021 243

Domiciliary Care 26 November 2021 26 November 2021 01 July 2022 218

Affordable Housing[5] 03 December 2021 13 May 2022 19 March 2022[6] 310

Provision of Mental Health Services 18 February 2022 21 May 2022 03 February 2022 258

Domestic Fire Safety 20 February 2022 08 October 2021 06 April 2022 180

Red Meat Industry 22 September 2022 07 October 2021 16 June 2022 252

Carers 08 December 2021 09 December 2021 20 October 2021 315

Exceptions to Matters[7] n/a n/a 20 October 2021 n/a

Welsh Language 02 February 2022 09 February 2022 15 December 2021 309

Culture 15 June 2022 01 July 2022 06 April 2022 279

Local Government 13 July 2022 14 July 2022 30 March 2022 259

School Governance 19 October 2021 22 October 2021 06 April 2022 166

Housing and Local Government 30 November 2021 03 December 2021 14 July 2022 223

Transport 07 December 2021 14 December 2021 06 April 2022 113

Total number of days 3,407