Coalition of organisations call for a ‘bigger and better’ National Assembly for Wales

Leading Welsh organisations have joined together to ask decision-makers to back increasing the size of the Welsh Assembly.

The organisations, led by ERS Cymru, have published an open letter today (Friday 3rd November) outlining their concerns around capacity issues within the Senedd.

The letter [1] argues that a strain on the Assembly is having direct consequences on the working of the Senedd, stating:

“The Assembly’s limited capacity is becoming increasingly evident and is directly impacting Assembly Members’ ability to properly scrutinise laws, which themselves have a direct effect on the services provided to the people of Wales.”

It also notes the example of a current piece of legislation where scrutiny has been deferred to just four AMs instead of an entire committee.

Jess Blair, ERS Cymru Director, said:

“As organisations working in civil society in Wales, we are noticing a serious strain on the Assembly in terms of being able to have the impact  it should.

“We have to remember that the Assembly has changed immeasurably from the institution that was established in 1999, with a raft of new powers, the ability to legislate and to raise its own finances. With Wales losing all of its MEPs in 2019 – and many European powers headed for Cardiff Bay – Wales will have more powers but with fewer representatives for voters. Brexit therefore presents a challenge for the Senedd which must be met.

“We are writing to decision-makers because a stronger, more effective Assembly is vital in order to give our Welsh Parliament the capacity it needs to improve the lives of people in Wales.”

The letter comes ahead of a National Assembly Expert Panel’s findings on the issue of size of the assembly, which are expected to be published shortly.

Those that have authored the letter include: 

  • Jess Blair, Director, ERS Cymru
  • Stephen Brooks
  • Cerys Furlong, Chief Executive, Chwarae Teg
  • Daran Hill, MD, Positif and Campaign Director of Yes for Wales
  • Ellen Jones, NUS Wales President
  • Auriol Miller, Director, IWA
  • Richard Percival, Cardiff University
  • Dr Ed Poole
  • Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive, Community Housing Cymru
  • Professor Roger Scully, Cardiff University
  • Professor Richard Wyn Jones

The letter has been sent to all Welsh AMs, MPs and other decision makers across Wales.

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Nathan Spackman

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