Commission on Devolution in Wales

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 26th March 2014.

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Photo of David Jones David Jones The Secretary of State for Wales

The Wales Bill, which I introduced in this House last week, implements most of the recommendations made by the Commission on Devolution in Wales in its first report. I had proposed to discuss the Bill and the commission’s second report with the First Minister on Monday but, sadly, the meeting was postponed.

Photo of Elfyn Llwyd Elfyn Llwyd Shadow PC Spokesperson (Wales), Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader, Shadow PC Spokesperson (Constitution), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

It is absolutely disgraceful that it has taken the Government one year to respond to the first recommendations of the Silk report. Why does the Secretary of State not get a grip now and bring in the second tranche of recommendations in the new Bill that he has introduced? We have been treading water in Parliament for the past few weeks. There is plenty of legislative time. If the will is there, let us get on with it.

Photo of David Jones David Jones The Secretary of State for Wales

I am surprised to hear that criticism from the right hon. Gentleman, as he knows that we will implement the recommendations of part I of the Silk commission in this Parliament. So far as part II is concerned, he should surely recognise that the recommendations will require significant consideration. Where those recommendations do not require primary legislation, we will look at implementing them in this Parliament, but we clearly cannot guarantee to do that.

Photo of Elfyn Llwyd Elfyn Llwyd Shadow PC Spokesperson (Wales), Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader, Shadow PC Spokesperson (Constitution), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

May I ask about zero-hours contracts? Does the Secretary of State appreciate that they are exploitative, and no more so than in the care sector, which the Resolution Foundation has said is

“where their use is most entrenched and where their impact on vulnerable workers and care recipients is most worrying”?

Does he not agree that to hear Labour carping about that matter here and voting against an amendment to delete it in Wales is a bit unfortunate? Does it appear at all on his radar, or is he above all this?

Photo of David Jones David Jones The Secretary of State for Wales

That is extremely generous, Mr Speaker.

I do not recall that zero-hours contracts were subject to the recommendations of part II of Silk report. I will look again at the report more closely, but right hon. Gentleman will know that, as a proportion, zero-hours contracts are only 2% of all contracts for work in Wales.

Photo of Guto Bebb Guto Bebb Conservative, Aberconwy

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is difficult to see the justification for the devolution of further powers given that the Welsh Government are refusing any fiscal accountability?

Photo of David Jones David Jones The Secretary of State for Wales

We are anxious to seek fiscal accountability for the Assembly, and that is what we propose to deliver with, no doubt, the support of all parts of the House.